MAKENZIE’S OUTDOOR ADVENTURES: Hog trapping
JEFFERSON COUNTY, Okla. (KSWO) -Feral hogs have caused billions of dollars in damage across Oklahoma and Texas.
In Makenzie’s latest Outdoor Adventures, she spent the day with a professional hog trapper to learn the importance of reducing the feral hog population.
Keith Hall has been trapping hogs for over 10 years, catching anywhere from 1200-1500 hogs in a given year.
“The reason for it is their destruction ability,” said Hall. “They’ve destroyed my crops before and neighbors crops, hay stacks, and numerous other things. They’re just extremely destructive.”
Hall builds his own traps, which he says takes a couple days, and is the culmination of years of work alongside fellow trappers designing and redesigning to come up with what he uses now.
Before he puts out a trap, there’s a lot of scouting involved.
“I make a circle around the perimeter of the place to look for the damages and try to decide if there’s enough pigs there to justify a trap,” said Hall. “If I think there is, I’ll bring the trap and set it, feed it, and feed it until I know hogs are coming and cleaning up the corn good.”
Hall usually has around 5 to 6 traps set out at any given time. And with them, a camera system to alert him when pigs are near.
“I’ll watch it until I have decided I’ve got them all,” said Hall. “It usually takes about 30 to 45 minutes for a good group of pigs to clean up the amount of corn seen here. So I’ll set a timeline, and if I haven’t got what I want by that end of 30 minutes, I’ll usually go ahead and shut the gate”
Hall likes to check his traps daily, and never leaves hogs in a trap very long.
“I’ll come in and load the pigs and take them to my home facility, contact the buyer or the buyers already contacted me and move them in that direction, to turn them into money,” said Hall.
The money is a big part of why Hall says he continues to trap, due to how much time and effort is put into it all. But as far as what kind of market there is for feral hogs? It’s pretty limited. Currently there is no state processing facility for trappers like Keith to take the animals. So high fence ranches are where the majority of his business goes.
“Here in Oklahoma, we have hunting ranches that are certified by the state department of agriculture. And they buy wild pigs and turn out on their enclosed hunting facilities, and people come and pay to shoot those hogs,” said Hall.
Hall says the studies he’s seen show that unless you remove 70 percent of the hog population, you only break even. He believes if there was more of a market to take feral hogs, the population would be much more manageable.
For those interested in trapping, he says there is no right or wrong way to trap, but to do what works for you.
“Just do the work, pay attention to detail,” said Hall. “Don’t be afraid to ask questions to somebody that has had success catching them. I love to go with other people that traps, because I can always learn something and that’s the attitude I think is important to have, is be willing to learn something with every opportunity you have.”
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