The first dozen hogs were trapped on the night of August 1st but that is not the end of our trapping journey. We know from camera images recorded during the pre-baiting phase that there are still several small pods of hogs responding to bait—as well as a couple of rather large solitary boars that have yet to enter the gate for a free meal.
This trapping process covered almost a month—from chumming, to hanging a camera, to trap construction, to final capture. Admittedly, we could have shaved perhaps a week or more off of our time spent during the month of July 2010—but peach picking at a commercial orchard takes precedent over all other activities during the harvest season.
If you think that this trapping process is too much of a time investment, consider this: Although these hogs had been well-trained to bait beforehand, they were reluctant to accept the presence of the trap, much less enter it. The fact is, in this particular area the hogs have been gun hunted (shot at as recently as early July), dogged and “trapped at” for a number of years. They are smart, they are trap-shy and they have an uncanny ability to avoid humans. Our camera data documented all of this in real time.
We are not finished trapping at this site. The gate has been wired back open and pre-baiting has resumed. Bait will again be placed immediately outside the gate and through the opening to entice hogs to either re-enter or enter inside the trap for the first time. As the peach crop plays out, shelled corn and soured corn will be used as bait. We will continue to conduct additional trapping efforts whenever camera data documents hog response inside the trap. It is possible that if additional hogs respond to bait but fail to venture all the way to the back of the trap, we will have to rig a “short trigger” that will facilitate gate closure just one-third or one-half of the distance to the current trigger location. Time will tell.
The bottom line is this…..trapping is indeed a process, not an event. If you have ever set up a box trap and became discouraged after just a few days of trapping effort, now you know why your efforts failed. The method outlined here is just one of many successful ways to trap hogs and abate the damage they cause.
Absentee landowners take note: This method is custom made for those of you that only get to your rural property on weekends. A deer corn feeder can be set up to feed while being monitored by a camera. Once the hogs respond to the bait consistently, construct a trap of the appropriate size around the feeder, taking care to make sure the feeder feeds both outside and inside the trap. Within another week or so, if the hogs are trained onto the feed as evidenced by camera data, you can determine the date of capture that fits your weekend schedule. Just make sure you have a plan formulated to deal with the captured hogs in a timely and ethical manner.