Hog FAQ from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Discussion in 'Hog Hunting Tactics & Tips' started by hdfireman, Jul 10, 2013.

  1. hdfireman

    hdfireman Blackstone Arms SUS VENATOR CLUB LoneStarBoars Supporter Vendor

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    How many they average per litter and how often they can breed in a year? The wild pig is the most prolific large mammal on the face of the Earth. The average is between 5 and 6 pigs per litter. Sows have approximately 1.5 litters per year. Are more litters per year and larger litter sizes possible? Absolutely yes! Young females do not typically have their first litter until they are 13+ months of age, even though they can be sexually mature at 6 to 8 months of age.

    What is the average lifespan? Predation is not a big issue once they reach about 10 to 15 pounds. Hunting can be a significant mortality factor in some regions but generally is not enough to offset population growth. Depending on a variety of factors the average lifespan is between 4 and 8 years of age.

    How strong is their sense of smell? The wild pig’s sense of smell is well developed (much better than both their eyesight and hearing) and they rely strongly on it to detect danger and search out food. They are capable of sensing some odors 5‐7 miles away and may be able to detect odors as much as 25 feet underground!

    What are their eating habits, and how much they eat in a day? Wild pigs feed on plant and animal matter in addition to being able to play the role of a scavenger. They are largely indiscriminate in their feeding habits and eat both vertebrate and invertebrate animals. Approximately 85% to 90% of their diet is believed to be composed of vegetation and 10% animal matter. Small pigs may eat approximately 5% of their body weight daily; larger pigs an estimated 3% of body weight.

    How fast can they run? Wild pigs can run up to 30 mph. They can jump over fences less than 3 feet high and have “climbed” out of pig traps with walls 5 to 6 feet high. Therefore, traps with 90 degree corners must be covered on top because the pigs tend to pile up in that corner and literally climb over each other and the corner gives enough leverage for them to go over the top.

    How hard they are to kill? Most archers shoot wild pigs in the heart /lung region immediately behind the shoulder from broadside or at a slightly quartering away angle. Hunters using firearms are advised to shoot the pigs in the neck or in the vitals. Regardless of the caliber/weapon, shot placement is essential for a clean kill.

    What other animal would you liken their intelligence level to? Wild pigs are one of the most intelligent species found in the US. They learn to avoid danger very quickly and “halfhearted” attempts to control them just make them less susceptible to future control efforts. They respond to human pressure via avoidance.

    What is the average cost of property damage they inflict in TX? A 2004 survey conducted by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service placed annual damage to agriculture in TX alone at $52 million with an additional $7 million spent by landowners to attempt to control the pigs and/or correct the damage. This is indeed a very conservative estimate. Other researchers suggest that damage per pig per year averages $200 but the problem there is that the assumption is made that a 40 pound pig causes as much damage as a 300 pound pig, which is unlikely. The total pig population in TX has been estimated recently (2011) at 2.6 million.

    Do they use the same trails to get from pace to place? Wild pigs are creatures of habit and will use the same bedding/resting areas and feeding areas as long as the food source remains available. However, they are capable of moving great distances to find food. Human disturbance/pressure will make them alter their patterns of movement. They do have some affinity to their “home range” which can vary from a few hundred acres to several thousand acres based on food availability and pressure. A 2011‐12 telemetry study of adult female wild pigs in east Texas resulted in home range estimates of approximately 2 square miles, or 1,000 ‐1,200 acres.

    Are older boars loners? If you see a large wild pig traveling alone, 101 times out of 100 it is a boar. The mature boars become more solitary, or sometimes travel with a small number of other large boars. They only join up with sounders when a sow comes into heat.

    When does a sow abandon its litter and when do they separate? They really don’t “abandon” their litter over time. A “sounder” is a family group of pigs made up of sows (typically about 3 generations) and their piglets. Pigs are completely weaned by about 3 months of age, although they have been observed eating solid food (e.g., corn) at as young as 2 weeks of age. About 80% of the yearling females remain with the sounder and the rest disperse. Young males disperse from the sounder at about 16 to 18 months of age

    What kind of foods are they most attracted to? One size does not fit all when it comes to baits. However, research by Dr. Tyler Campbell with USDA‐APHIS/WS suggests that wild pigs are attracted to baits that have a sweet pungent odor, such as strawberry or berry flavorings. Hence, you will see several commercial “pig baits” that contain some type of strawberry flavoring based on this research. Many baits will and have worked and landowners are encouraged to vary baits among traps to find out what pigs find most attractive at a particular location or season. However, the more abundant the food supply, the more difficult it is to attract pigs to these baits. Shelled corn is often used, but landowners have also been successful by fermenting corn, milo, rice, oats, etc. to increase the odor attraction. Old fish grease, catfish “stink” baits and overripe fruit and vegetables have also been used successfully. Others have used maple syrup on corn.

    Is it true that they use of mud to keep them cool? Pigs have no functioning sweat glands and therefore they can be sensitive to high temperatures. During hot weather, they typically are associated more with cool shady places with water sources and tend to confine their movements at night when temperatures cool down.

    How do they interact with other animals? Most other wildlife species don’t associate with wild pigs. The less mobile may end up being their next meal, while others typically vacate the immediate area when pigs show up. They can be competitors with native species for certain food supplies such as acorns and limit the availability of those food sources for less aggressive native species.

    How many pigs are caught each year? The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service surveyed landowners in 2011 to determine how many pigs they removed by all legal means from TX in 2010. A total of 697 survey respondents controlling 1.8 million acres from 137 TX counties removed 36,646 pigs in 2010. Trapping represented 57% of the total. Dogs removed 6% and snares removed just 2%. Of the “shooting” category, only 11% of the total pigs removed were taken by hunters. Based on this survey, we estimate 753,000 wild pigs are removed each year. We also know that from 2004‐ 2009, 461,000 hogs were federally inspected prior to slaughter at TX processing plants. These pigs were generally trapped then sold to buying stations. Several studies suggest that annual hunter harvest averages 24% of the population but these data are also lacking. It takes between 50% and 70% of a population to be controlled annually just to hold the numbers stable from one year to the next (Our population model suggested 66% had to be removed to hold the population stable). Therefore, recreational hunting alone cannot keep a population in check.

    What are the different species of pigs typically found in TX? There is but one species (Sus scrofa) in the US but many breeds are involved as most of our wild pigs today are originally from domestic stock.

    What are the wild pig’s habitat preferences? Typically, wild pigs will seek out the heaviest cover near water they can find where they are not harassed, then range out from there to feed. They must have sufficient food, water, cover and living space. If one or more of these requirements are not met, they can be extremely mobile and move to new areas that meet all of their habitat needs.

    What impact do wild pigs have on our deer population? Wild pigs impact white‐tailed deer in 3 ways: 1) they compete ( and often out‐compete) deer for native mast (e.g., acorns) as a food supply in the Fall, 2) they compete for supplemental food sources (forages, corn fed as bait for hunting and protein supplements) that are meant for deer. We are making our wild pig population larger by feeding white‐tailed deer where they share habitats. Now, this is TX and we are not going to stop feeding deer, so we need to exclude feral pigs from deer feeders. The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and TAMUKingsville conducted a study in 2009 that showed that feeder pens at heights of 28” and 34” effectively denied wild pig access to supplement without significantly impacting deer access. 3) deer don’t tolerate pigs very well and typically vacate the immediate areas when pigs show up at feeder locations/stations.

    Are all traps the same? Recent research has shown that the catch rate in corral traps is 4x higher than in box traps. Also, boars have exhibited an aversion to entering the smaller box traps. Additional research found that boars spent an average of 32 minutes per visit to a bait/trap site while sounders spent 70 minutes per visit on average. Also, sounders made twice as many trips to the sites as compared to boars. Regardless, one study showed that 73% of pigs that were trapped and marked were recaptured at a later date. Lastly, one study found that 10 of 12 traps (83%) captured additional pigs within one week of pigs being euthanized in the traps. This suggests that blood left in a trap is not necessarily a deterrent to other pigs.

    Updated: Feb 2013
     
  2. TEXASLAWMAN

    TEXASLAWMAN Lone Star Boars Owner LSB TURKEY BUZZARD PRESERVATION SOCIETY SUS VENATOR CLUB LoneStarBoars Supporter

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    Great info thanks for posting this!
     
  3. Wassman

    Wassman Houston, Texas SUS VENATOR CLUB LoneStarBoars Supporter

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    Paints a pretty grim picture. Good info and learned a thing or two.
     
  4. Ratdog68

    Ratdog68 LSB Official Story Teller LoneStarBoars Supporter

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    Good info, thank you.
     
  5. MD1005

    MD1005 North east FL

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    Thanks, informative.
     
  6. TEXASLAWMAN

    TEXASLAWMAN Lone Star Boars Owner LSB TURKEY BUZZARD PRESERVATION SOCIETY SUS VENATOR CLUB LoneStarBoars Supporter

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    I have doubts about their trapping info at the end. Hogs I've seen are way smarter than that. They eat right up to the gate and then leave. But maybe we caught all the slow ones....
     
    TXHOGKILLER likes this.
  7. Brian Shaffer

    Brian Shaffer Pro Staff Third Coast Thermal SUS VENATOR CLUB LoneStarBoars Supporter

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    The article mentioned hogs being able to climb. This is a neat video that shows a more extreme example. I shake my head every time I see it. They call him a jumper, but he is more of a climber.

     
  8. TEXASLAWMAN

    TEXASLAWMAN Lone Star Boars Owner LSB TURKEY BUZZARD PRESERVATION SOCIETY SUS VENATOR CLUB LoneStarBoars Supporter

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    I feel bad for the smart one.
     
  9. rob072770

    rob072770 Lewisville NC SUS VENATOR CLUB LoneStarBoars Supporter

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    That was amazing a way smart hog
     
  10. Ratdog68

    Ratdog68 LSB Official Story Teller LoneStarBoars Supporter

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    I'm impressed. I never would've figured those things could jump like that... and climb too. Amazing critters.
     
  11. Guess

    Guess Hog Zombie SUS VENATOR CLUB

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    I have a four foot high fence. I had one boar that could clear it like a deer. he moved from sow pen to sow pen at will. Of course he got him killed in the end.
     
  12. Guess

    Guess Hog Zombie SUS VENATOR CLUB

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    Oh by the way these are good stats. Pretty accurate overall.
     
  13. Jerry Oden

    Jerry Oden New Member

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    I like the bit about the recapture rate of traps with recent kills. I have seen video of a hog getting shot under a feeder, then within a few minutes the rest of the sounder returns to eat right next to their dead relative.
     

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