USDA holds feral hog workshop for farmers and producers

USDA holds feral hog workshop for farmers and producers

WAURIKA, OK (KSWO) - Wild feral hogs are becoming a big problem for farmers and livestock producers here in Oklahoma by damaging and destroying crops and threatening livestock by carrying diseases, depleting food sources and contaminating the water.
Farmers and conservationists say they've seen an increase in wild hogs especially in agricultural areas.

Today, farmers from Southwest Oklahoma attended a feral hog workshop at the Jefferson Country fair grounds to learn ways they can trap these animals and hopefully stop or reduce the damage.

Guest speakers from the Department of Agriculture, Jefferson County Conservation District, and The Noble Foundation Wildlife and Range provided information on effective trap techniques along with a demonstration.

Keith Hall has been farming all his life. Take a look at these photos of wild hogs he catches everyday on his property. Hall said since 2009 he has trapped around 35 hundred wild hogs. He said these wild hogs have devastated his property.

"Many years ago when I raised watermelon I had 150 acres of watermelon and they harvested 110 acres, I only harvested 40 acres out of 150, that's how devastating it can be", said Hall.

According to a study conducted back in 2001 wild feral hogs caused about 1.5 billion dollars in agricultural damage in the United states. 
Wildlife and Range Consultant Josh Gaskmap said their population continues to increase.  He says they're especially attracted to agricultural areas.

"Its because of a lot of the transportation of pigs in the past, transportation to new areas  that they inhabited and thrive", said Gaskamp.

Gaskamp was one of the speakers at the workshop which provided more efficient and effective ways to trap the hogs.

Keith Hall builds and uses corral traps that are 3 feet tall, 4 feet wide and 8 feet long to capture up to 20 hogs at a time, but capturing them is difficult and time consuming.

"Just do a lot of work, scouting and moving traps and just learning where they are living, where they are running and using corn for bait it just takes a lot of work", said Hall.

Farmers use several techniques including snaring pigs, hunting and shooting them or using running dogs to scare them away but those techniques, like Hall's traps, tend to capture small portions of the hogs.

Gaskamp also said  feral hogs are very smart animals and they are becoming very aware of the traditional types of traps farmers usually use . That's why he advises farmers to invest in a trap called the Boar Buster.

"What the Boar Buster does is that it takes a suspended nature of a drop net which is a very affective way for capturing pigs and couples it with a ridged nature of a corral trap which allow owner to manipulate that trap remotely", said Gaskamp.

Once the trap is set owner will download  the Boar Buster app which is connected to the trap with cameras. The app notifies the owner when the pigs are there and with a simple push of a button, closes the trap capturing up to 45 pigs at a time. Once caught they can be taken to hunting facility where they are sold or euthanize.

The Boar Buster trap is expensive, it runs about 6,000 dollars, but includes the camera software needed for the App. More information can be found on the Boar Buster website.

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