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Feral Swine Control Pilot Program

Wild pigs cause damage to agriculture, forestry and the environment
Published: Oct. 22, 2020 at 9:52 AM CDT
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HEADLAND, Ala. (WTVY) -A new pilot program is now available for wild hog removal. Wild pigs cause $50 million dollars in agriculture and forestry damage in Alabama each year. So a Feral Swine Control Program has been created to combat the issue.

William Puckett, Executive Director Alabama Soil and Water Conservation Committee said, “Two phases to our program one is what you see here where we have USDA Wildlife Services will come out to your land and set a trap up and try to trap hogs for you at no cost and the second part of our program is an actual financial incentive program where we’ll provide the landowner with a cost share if they’d like the buy a trap and trap their own pigs.”

Farmers in Henry and Houston county can take advantage of a grant that’s been funded by the farm bill through September 2023.

An issue local farmers know all too well. Johnny Lee, a local landowner said, “You can see by where I’m standing a an 8 to ten inch maybe 12 inch place is rooted out where they’ve rooted and destroyed the crop.”

Acres worth of damage that costs hundreds of dollars to replace.

“We have this pretty regular on our food plots and also in our fields we do a lot of replanting especially of peanuts and corn,” Lee said.

Although people try to shoot and hunt the wild pigs, that isn’t the best way to get rid of the problem. Trapping is the most effective management tool there is for the removal of wild pigs, they bait the trap with corn and then they close it on the entire sounder.

Bence Carter, Forestry Wildlife Agent for Extension said, “The best opportunity that we have is called whole sounder removal, so a sounder is the family unit structure of a pig so it’s usually a few sows their immediate offspring so we bring trapping into the process so we can remove entire generations at a time.”

Puckett said, “Pigs are really smart and they educate really easy and if you don’t know what you’re doing you can educate them and make them trap shy and they will not come in this pen.”

There are two types of traps. One is a smart trap with video surveillance and the other is a trap the pig triggers itself.

Carter said, “It takes time to get the pigs acclimated to the trap, getting them in frequently its not all just an overnight process.”

Closing the gate on the problem.

Monday October 26 a Feral Swine Control Program Expo will be held at the Headland Experiment Center to show all the traps available in the cost share program. The expo will take place from 3 p.m. until 7p.m. There is no set program and attendees can come at any time within that window.

The expo will include four different trap manufacturers as well as free BBQ, information on Wildlife Services free trapping, and information on the Cost Incentive Program. Social distancing will be in effect at the event.

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