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April 12, 2021
By Ryan McGeeneyU of A System Division of Agriculture
TEXARKANA, Ark. — In an agricultural state such as Arkansas, the substantial damage
feral hogs do to row crops is well known, and the financial impact is easier to estimate.
Most damage estimates, however, include only the crop itself, said Jennifer Caraway,
staff chair for Miller County Cooperative Extension Service office.
The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the University of Arkansas System Division
“We find that farmers also spend a lot of time and extra expense on replacing their
crops and repairing their fields, fences and roads,” Caraway said. “And those costs
are sometimes not considered.
The damage feral hogs do to pastureland, hay ground, wildlife habitat and water quality
can be even more difficult to quantify. The hogs are also known to introduce and spread
disease, she said.
Caraway has been helping landowners in southwestern Arkansas trap hogs successfully
for the past four years, conducting multiple field demonstrations with participating
farmers. Many of the producers who volunteer their land for the demonstrations have
ultimately purchased their own trapping systems for controlling feral hogs on their
A statewide team of Cooperative Extension Service agents, working as part of the Arkansas
Feral Hog Eradication Task Force, is available to assist with local efforts at educating
landowners about ways to control feral hogs including using traps.
Currently, the most efficient traps are those using cellular service. An image or
video is sent to a cell phone, from which the user can trigger the trap gate. The
use of cellular systems helps users avoid trapping non-target species, such as raccoons
Becky McPeake, professor of wildlife extension for the Division of Agriculture, said
the key to successfully reducing feral hog populations is to trap entire sounders
of hogs. (A sounder is essentially a “herd” of pigs.) A feral hog that manages to
avoid the trap may learn from the experience and will be more difficult to trap in
“One of the difficulties with cellular traps is the human factor,” McPeake said. “The
temptation to prematurely set the trigger is great. In some cases, feral hogs get
spooked and leave the area, and all efforts at surveillance and pre-baiting are lost.”
“This is why educating producers on how to properly use the trap successfully is so
important,” Caraway said.
In areas where cell phone coverage is not available, a pig-activated trigger system,
such as using a tripwire or rooting stick, may be used. While this avoids the expense
of the cellular systems, which typically cost about $8,000 or more, users are more
likely to trap non-target species and fail to trap entire sounders.
McPeake said the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is now testing a new net trap that
recently became available on the market.
“It’s portable and less expensive than fence panel traps,” McPeake said. “I’m looking
forward to what Game and Fish has to say about this net system.”
Landowners who know they have feral hogs on their property can contact USDA APHIS
Wildlife Services at 501-835-2318. They are leading the statewide effort at feral
hog removal, one pig at a time.
Landowners wishing to learn how to use a cellular trapping system should contact their
local extension agent, who can arrange for a demonstration and assistance.
To learn more about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative
Extension Service agent or visit uaex.uada.edu. Follow us on Twitter at @UAEX_edu.
About the Division of Agriculture
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen
agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption
of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative
Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work
within the nation’s historic land grant education system.
The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas
System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension
and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex,
gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital
or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and
is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
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Media contact:Ryan McGeeneyCommunications ServicesUniversity of Arkansas System Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service(501) email@example.com