Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Feral hogs (Sus Scrofa)

Last week I attended a Master Naturalist Meeting where we learned about Feral Hogs. Our speaker was Dr. Cory Heaton, State Wildlife Specialist.  It was really interesting and I learned so much about them. I never realized what a pest they were becoming and that I didn’t need to be as frightened of them when hiking as I thought I was. I liked to share with you some things that I learned. 

Not everything about feral pigs are negative. Some plant communities benefit from feral hogs.

Reading suggestions:


1.     Most widely distributed mammals around the world
2.     Natural predators: black Bears, coyotes, panthers, cougars, alligators, crocodiles, hawks
3.     1st state to introduce feral hogs: Hawaii
4.     1539 Desoto brought to FL
5.     Current population 7 million
6.     1st permanent European settlers Purchased from Native Americans
7.     1st documented intro of swine 1566 at the Santa Elena settlement in Beaufort
8.     Russian Boar 1890 German imports released into 20000-acre enclosure in NH. They escaped.
9.     In all 46 counties of SC
10.  1988 - 462 US counties
11.  2004 -  1042 US counties
12.  Sexual maturity: 6 months 1st litter at 13 months
13.  Gestation 114 days
14.  Litter size 6  average  litter 1.5 litters/year
15.  Weaned by 3 month
16.  Heat cycle every 21 days
17.  Lifespan 4-8 years
18.  Home range 6 sq. Mi.
19.  Size males 200 lbs. females 275 lbs
20.  Diet mainly green foliage and roots.
21.  Diseases:
a.     Swine brucellosis
b.     Pseudorabies
c.     Classic swine fever
d.     African swine fever
e.     Foot and mouth disease
f.      Trichinosis
g.     Toxoplasmosis
22.  Acute sense of smell
23.  Hogs hate electricity
a.     1 wire 6 in off ground
b.     2nd wire 12-14 in off ground
c.     Can use polytape.
24.  Hogs sleep in places so thick that rabbits are afraid to go there.
25.  Legalities
a.     Hunted on private property year round during day. No firearm restrictions
b.     May be hunted at night with any caliber firearm and sighting device. Must be 10 ft elevated stand. March to June
c.     Depredation permits available to alter night take techniques
d.     Trapping year round on private property
e.     Must use legal trap; no snares, no toxicants
26.  Keys to successful trapping:
a.     Site selection: hogs are using the area, hogs feel safe, suitable for distance monitoring, not in public/common areas
b.     Scent control: #1 defense is smell, rubber boots, rubber gloves, distance monitoring
c.     Photo surveillance: combined with pre-baiting is deadly, after trapping provides good estimate for hunters, if you aren't using trail cans you should not be trapping
d.     Pre-baiting: sour corn, sour grains, grape jello, corn, sweet feed, molasses, commercial hog baits
e.     Trap design: single catch (drop doors, slammer doors); continuous traps
f.      Stay away from Guillotine Box traps, corral trap with drop door (need wide door); Corral trap with slammer trap, saloon doors, rooter gate; funnel entry (confusion trap) Jager Pro remote tripping systems (dependent on cell phone service $3000); boar buster trap system (very heavy)
27.  Trap baiting:
a.     Trip wires and root sticks ( majority of bait is placed before the trip wire or root stick)
b.     Reduce feed prior to setting
c.     Never bait outside trap
28.  Hunting-
a.     Still hunting:
                                                        i.     Stand and stalk hunting: usually during deer hunting seasons, year round on private property with your choice of firearms, always work with the wind
                                                      ii.     Dog hunting
                                                     iii.     night vision digging ag fields,
b.     Sharp-shooting:
                                                        i.     Night hunting (night vision, thermal imaging), aerial gunning, drones
29.  Judas pigs: tracking collar on them leads to other groups of pigs

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