Warfarin-based toxicants have the potential to be a humane and cost-effective tool for reducing feral swine populations without having an adverse effect on the environment or non-target species. In January 2017, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered a warfarin-based feral hog toxicant, Kaput® Feral Hog Bait. This product is not currently registered for use in the state of Texas.
Sodium Nitrite-Based Toxicants
Sodium Nitrite (NaNO2) is a meat preservative commonly used to cure meats such as sausage and bacon. When eaten in high doses over a short period of time, it is toxic to feral swine. No Sodium Nitrite-based toxicant is currently registered for use on feral swine in the United States.
Research is currently being conducted for an effective oral or single injection contraceptive for use on feral swine, which may be useful for very specific situations. Current studies show promise; however, there is no registered contraceptive for use in controlling feral swine populations at this time.
There are many factors to consider with trapping, including type of trap, bait, and location. Captured feral swine should not be moved or released back into the environment. Feral swine are intelligent animals and if a trap is set improperly or an inadequate pre-baiting conditioning period is used, individuals from the group that are not captured will then be educated and much more difficult to capture later. Follow all trapping regulations for your state.
Fencing can be installed to exclude feral swine from crops; electric fencing has proven effective in some cases, but may become cost prohibitive for fencing large areas. Traditional fencing paired with habitat modification (clearing of underbrush along fence line) can also be an effective means for excluding feral swine. However, feral swine are strong, clever, and if motivated or agitated can destroy most fences, which should be considered during construction.
The use of snares can be useful in specific situations, such as alongside traps, in rough terrain where traps may be impractical, or when only a few individual wild hogs remain in the area. To assure the humane capture and dispatch of the animal, snares must be checked regularly and all snaring rules and regulations for your state must be followed.
While harassment can be an effective method for immediately removing feral swine from an area to provide relief from damage, it is not practical on a large scale, and will likely shift feral swine problems from one area to another. This method also makes them wary and can reduce success rates of other control methods.
Vaccination of Livestock and Pets
Work with your veterinarian to keep your livestock vaccinated, parasite free, and generally in good condition to aid in disease resistance. Diseases that can be carried by feral swine and may be transmitted to livestock include, but are not limited to, leptospirosis, brucellosis, porcine reproductive & respiratory syndrome, porcine circovirus type 2, influenza, and E. coli. A veterinarian can be consulted to develop a vaccination plan suited to the disease risks of your region.
Shooting can be an effective control measure when only a few individual feral swine are present in an area. If larger groups are observed, shooting a few individuals of the group can disrupt the social organization and cause them to disperse even further across the landscape, thereby increasing the potential for damage. It is also very difficult, if not impossible, to shoot all feral swine in a group at one time. Ground shooting is labor intensive and is unlikely to have the desired relief from damage. It is important to understand the regulations surrounding firearms in your area and to consider safety measures necessary before any shooting operation is conducted.
If the landscape is open, such as with grasslands, aerial gunning can be an effective means of quickly and efficiently reducing feral swine numbers; however, this technique is not permitted in all regions and may be cost-prohibitive.