Published in The Rains County Leader on May 8, 2018:
Two weeks ago I wrote about my lack of knowledge about feral pigs and my lack of desire to learn. However, it seems that I’m destined to learn about these destructive eating machines whether I want to or not.
When we first realized we had a pig invasion, our first thought was “traps.” It seemed easy, clean, and something other people would do for us at no cost because 1) it’s something they enjoy doing and 2) they can eat or sell what they catch. Unfortunately, nothing is ever quite as simple as it seems, and trapping pigs is no exception.
First, finding a trapper isn’t as easy as you might expect. Our neighbor Connie is persistent, though, and after a few bumps in the road, she found a trapper who agreed to come out and take a look at our situation. In fact, there was some confusion, and two trappers showed up at the same time. However, one graciously bowed out with no apparent hard feelings, and we moved forward with Chris.
The next step was to find out how many unwanted guests we were dealing with and when and where they were entering the property. The information we had gathered with Connie’s camera to that point was pretty sketchy, so Chris added two cameras of his own, one of which could be accessed remotely – and we waited.
For several days, our camera snapped a photo of a pig now and then, but most of the action we saw was of a stray cat or two, a possum, and a lonely armadillo. Chris came back after a week to check the camera without remote access, and he said his results were much the same as ours, except he also saw lots of deer and some raccoons as well. Regardless of the lack of pig pics, he had trap parts in the back of his truck – but he decided to rework the lock so it would be a little harder for deer to trip.
Chris returned on Wednesday afternoon to set up the trap. It wasn’t quite what I expected. The traps I had seen stacked outside Pott’s Feed Store were rectangular boxes constructed of metal, and they had a kind of doggy door that worked going in but not so well going out. What Chris put together in the clearing by our septic system was a small spiral-shaped corral with a gate that will hopefully be triggered by a pig who unwisely wanders in to sample some of the sour corn that has been scattered temptingly on the ground. Now all we have to do is wait for the pigs.
One thing I have learned about pigs from watching YouTube videos with David is that pigs are very intelligent, and once they have seen a trap in action, it’s unlikely they’ll walk into one. They also have a highly developed warning system where one of the older and more experienced sows stands off to one side and sounds a warning if she thinks any of the younger ones are in danger of doing something stupid. It appears that our pigs are not simply smart but are also wise guys about the whole thing.
Wednesday night we got nothing on our camera, but there was new evidence that the pigs had been in the front yard – so David moved the camera to the front. Thursday night we got a picture of a fat raccoon and several trucks whose drivers must work the early shift – but the pigs had paid us a visit in the back yard and had torn up the ground right in front of where the camera had been Wednesday night. We moved the camera again, this time closer to the trap. Thursday night we got a number of pictures of at least eight pigs all around the trap but not in it.
By Friday the pigs were really playing games with us. We had several really close-up shots of pig backs and pig snouts, and Saturday night, we had a couple of pictures of the other end of several pigs. I don’t care how cute their curly tails are, that view of a pig is not attractive.
So now I know more than I want to about feral pigs, and we’re more or less back to square one – wondering what to do while the yard becomes a ragged mess. If the trap hasn’t worked by this time next week, we may have to call in the hunters and the dogs.
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