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Feral Hogs in the United States
What are feral hogs and why are they destroying my crops? | The problem with feral hogs. | How did feral hogs become such a big problem? | Where are they now? | What can I do about feral hogs? | The problem with gated corral traps. | To eradicate your wild hog problem: Catch. The. Whole. Sounder. | An easy, effective, versatile and sustainable solution. | Why are Pig Brig Trap Systems better?
Feral Hogs - Past and Future
If you’re farming in the South, it's not a matter of “if” — it’s a matter of “when” wild hogs will come to your property. And when they do, it won’t take long for you to start seeing and feeling the damage.
Most farmers first know they have a feral hog problem when they look out onto their fields and see them ruined. A season’s worth of work and revenue can be lost almost overnight.
You’re no stranger to dealing with hazards on your land. Eventually, feral hogs will be one more threat you have to face — and solve — to make your living.
Hogs never come at a good time. They don’t follow property lines or notice fences. And they certainly don’t go away on their own. It’s hard to plan for them, and feral hog damage probably isn’t covered by your insurance — but once they’re established, they’re a consistent problem, ready to hurt your land and livelihood every planting season.
If you’ve been trying to solve this problem for any amount of time, you’re no stranger to being sold complex ways to rid your land of wild hogs. From hunting them in helicopters to trapping them in giant corrals with elaborate cameras and gates, the anti-hog industry seems to get bigger and more expensive as the hog problem grows.
And it’s true — the problem is growing.
To address the issue, let’s go back to basics.
What are feral hogs and why are they destroying my crops?
First, feral hogs are an invasive species. They travel in large packs called sounders — typically with 15 to 30 hogs. They are a threat to small animals, often killing birds, calves and goats. They have even been known to attack hikers and hunters. They destroy the natural ecosystem — devouring natural ground nutrients, causing erosion, disturbing fishing beds and polluting streams. This drives away game birds and deer and even affects the fish in streams, ponds and lakes.
They are wild-born and wild-bred, so their ancestry is a big, blended mess. They can be huge and threatening or relatively small and quick. And they are all incredibly smart.
They quickly learn to avoid unnatural-looking traps, and when hunting pressure increases, they quickly scatter. But scattering a sounder is about the worst thing you can do. Because wild pigs have evolved to do two things very well: eat and reproduce.
A scattered sounder quickly multiplies, leaving your land and probably your neighbors’ land with a problem two, three or four times the original size.
If you hear about a neighbor whose land has been dug up and crops destroyed, get ready. A hungry sounder is headed your way soon.
The problem with feral hogs.
If only there were one problem. The truth is, there are four very big problems that make wild hogs a massive problem for people who make a living off their land.
- There are a lot of them. In the U.S. alone there are 5 million feral hogs ravaging the land and destroying natural resources. Wild hogs are a major ecological and economic issue.
- They are rooting and eating machines. What they do not eat, they destroy.
- They reproduce quickly. There is ONE THING they like more than food. With an incredibly short gestation cycle, large litters and relatively low infant mortality, they can reproduce faster than you can hunt them.
- They are smart and learn quickly. If you make a few mistakes in trapping or shooting at them, the sounder will scatter, spreading the hogs’ destructive and reproductive activities to other parts of your land.
How did feral hogs become such a big problem?
Introduced to the United States during the 1500s, feral hogs were initially brought to the U.S. from Europe to be domesticated. They are delicious, after all. And as livestock, their fast reproductive cycle was an incredible advantage to those raising them for food and profit.
But the clever animals found ways to escape, and they did what many invasive species do — they took over.
Wild boars have no natural predators here, so they run amok, ravaging resources and endangering humans (through disease), wildlife (by consuming food resources) and your livelihood (by damaging crops and killing juvenile livestock).
In the 1900s, the problem got worse. Much worse.
The popularity of hunting wild hogs led to the import of European and Russian hogs into the United States. Hunters initially confined them to game preserves, but the hogs soon escaped. In the wild, they mixed and mingled and did what hogs do, which produced an even more destructive breed.
Where are they now?
Early on, feral hogs were concentrated around the coastal areas where they were imported and the rural areas where they were raised.
But now, wild hog damage has been reported in 35 states — including Hawaii. The biggest impact is seen in the southern half of the U.S., from Southern California to South Carolina, a range we call the “Bacon Belt.”. Texas has the largest population of wild hogs, but Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia have the fastest-growing infestations.
In 2018, the USDA estimated the feral hog population to be around 5 million, and it has grown significantly since then.
What can I do about feral hogs?
You’ve got two options: shoot ’em or catch ’em. Both have challenges.
Hunting feral hogs — When landowners first encounter hogs, the initial reaction is to go for their guns. You’ve likely been hunting all of your life, and with no seasonal limits to hunting hogs, it seems natural to try and harvest them one at a time.
The problem with hunting them is twofold. First, if you hunt wild hogs, they get smart fast. They quickly split up, change their travel habits and start destroying more parts of your land. Second, if you don’t kill them all, they will reproduce and your problem will never really go away.
Trapping feral hogs — Trapping is the only way to truly end the threat. However, traps have their own challenges. Single-catch traps are a lot like hunting. At best, they don’t make a dent in the sounder; at worst, they spread the problem to other parts of your land.
There are a variety of “multi-catch” traps available. There are many cheap homemade traps available online — some claim to be multi-catch — but they are not a viable solution because “multi-catch” traps just are not enough. We’ll get to that later.
Gated corral traps are better, but they are very large, complex and expensive.
The problem with gated corral traps.
Gated corral traps are big and expensive, and they make for great YouTube videos.
For many years, they have been the standard for those serious about protecting their land. But, big and complex traps have many disadvantages. For one, they are difficult to deploy.
These traps often are only suited for the right type of ground. They arrive in a trailer and usually require a team to set up. They also typically require a cellular signal. Unfortunately, pigs don’t look at the Verizon Wireless coverage map when they start ravaging the landscape.
You need a trap you can place anywhere: soft ground, uneven ground, wooded areas and wetlands. To be more precise, you need a trap you can put where the pigs are.
Gated corral traps have other problems, too. For one, you have to stay up all night to watch the cameras (if you have a good signal) and spring the trap at just the right moment to catch as many hogs as you can at one time.
To make matters worse, when that loud gate comes crashing down, the pigs outside scatter fast. And they don’t come back. Once they’ve learned a trap, they avoid it. Scattering the sounder only makes catching them that much harder. And moving a massive, gated corral trap is not an easy task.
So, while these traps can often catch more than one hog at a time, they still fall short of solving your problem completely.
Yes, you’ve caught a few hogs, but the rest are scattered. And, now you have to disassemble that massive trap, move it somewhere else, and then you have to hope…
- Hope that the new trap site has a cell signal for your cameras.
- Hope that the ground is suitable for a giant metal trap.
- AND, hope those incredibly smart pigs haven’t learned to avoid that big, unnatural metal trap that has already terrified them once before.
That’s a lot of hoping when your livelihood is on the line.
Ultimately, hunting, single-catch traps and multi-catch traps all fail to achieve the single most important thing: catching the whole sounder.
That’s what you have to do to protect your land and livelihood.
To eradicate your wild hog problem: Catch. The. Whole. Sounder.
The only solution to your wild hog problem is catching the whole sounder. Hunting doesn’t do that. DIY traps are not optimal. And even the most expensive gated corral traps have obvious disadvantages.
The best solution is a “continuous” trapping system. That is, a trap that doesn’t depend on a gate or a trigger, one that seems more natural to the pigs so they keep entering, one by one, without fear. It’s a trap where the pigs can root in — but they can’t root out.
That’s where the Pig Brig® Trap comes in. Instead of being a multi-catch trap, the Pig Brig Trap is a continuous trap system. Instead of watching a camera, dropping a gate and making one catch a night, the Pig Brig lets you catch pigs all night long … in your sleep.
One after another. Then you can return in the morning and eliminate the hogs. And you can keep trapping, anywhere and everywhere, until the whole sounder is eliminated.
The Pig Brig Trap does not require cameras or constant monitoring, because there are no gates to drop. The trap is a patented system of extremely tough nets. This makes it lighter, simpler and much more effective.
Instead of relying on unnatural-looking gates that pigs instinctively suspect, it uses the wild hogs’ natural rooting behavior against them. The pigs root under the netting — which feels like natural vegetation — but they can’t root back out. Ironically, the same instinctive behavior that leads pigs to destroy your crops will lead them to their own demise. And while pigs are smart, they can’t outsmart their own instincts.
An easy, effective, versatile and sustainable solution.
The Pig Brig Trap System weighs just a little more than a bag of corn and fits into a tote — we recommend a 24 lb. action packer. You can carry it around or throw it onto the back of an ATV. Because it’s lighter, it’s easy to deploy anywhere the hogs are.
So you can trap where the pigs are, on any type of ground — even densely wooded or extremely soft terrain. The Pig Brig Trapping Team has plenty of blogs designed to help you bait your trap and videos to help you place your trap.
And, when it’s time to move the trap to a different location, you don’t need a crane or a team to do it. Setting up the Pig Brig Trap only takes one person, and it can be done in less than an hour. See for yourself in this video.
Because loud gates don’t come crashing down and the trap walls aren’t metal, the wild hogs are not startled. They enter one after another after another. In fact, as long as there is food inside, they keep coming in and they don’t even know they’re trapped.
But they are. You can be sure of that.
The Pig Brig Trap is constructed of double-walled, 8,000 ft-lb drop strength netting. It gives but it doesn’t give in, even to the biggest and nastiest boars.
To see what a continuous trap looks like in action, look at these videos.
Our exclusive, patented design takes advantage of the natural behavior of wild pigs. We’ve refined the design of the Base Net over several years. We’ve also added the Boar Shield and Trap Cap accessories to restrain pigs until you can take them out.
Designed by determined people seeking solutions for real-world situations, the Pig Brig Trap System is the result of field development in real trapping situations. It has been field-tested and customer-proven to be the best way to catch the entire sounder and solve your pig problem.
Why are Pig Brig® Trap Systems better?
Beyond building a trap, Pig Brig is building a community of farmers, hunters, landowners, outdoorsmen, outdoorswomen, conservationists and park rangers who all want to reduce the economic and environmental impact that wild hogs have on our land and on our lives.
Our trap is smarter than smart traps, and it’s been field-proven through trial and error. It’s backed by science and we use it on our own land. We have a team of professional trapping experts who are eager and ready to help you solve any problem that may arise. And we have a private Facebook group of users who share their experiences and wisdom.
We believe it’s not just about making the best wild boar trap; it’s also about helping our customers get the most out of the best wild boar trap in the world. Our support team is real people who are ready to get you up and running. And our trap, instructions and content are designed to help you get the most out of our feral hog trap.
If you want to see the Pig Brig in action before you buy, we’ve got a page full of videos that not only show you how it works but how easy it is to use.
We’ve done all this because the wild hog problem is serious, and the only way to solve your pig problem for good — to truly protect your land — is to Catch. Them. All.