Feral Swine - Methods for Managing Damage

Feral Swine - Methods for Managing Damage

There are a variety of techniques that can be used to manage the damage caused by feral swine. Not all techniques are suitable in every location or situation and, often, a combination of methods must be used to ensure success.

 

USDA, APHIS, Wildlife Services (WS) wildlife biologists and field specialists reduce feral swine damage by providing technical assistance to landowners and land-managers or conducting direct operational management activities to eliminate or alleviate the damage, upon request.

The most successful feral swine damage management strategies employ a diversity of tactics in a comprehensive, integrated approach. Factors to consider when choosing a management method(s) are overall objectives, landscape, environmental conditions, feral swine behavior and density, local regulations, and available funding. The appropriate method or combination of methods for the situation can be determined by utilizing the best information available which can be gathered from surveillance of damage and signs of feral swine on a specific property.

Nonlethal management techniques can be effective for limiting disease transmission, crop damage, and livestock loss. However, lethal techniques may be a more effective means for limiting population growth and achieving long-term suppression of damage.
 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Prior to beginning any control program it is important to check federal, state, and local laws and regulations regarding hunting, use of firearms, and traps, snares, etc. It may also be helpful to contact your state Wildlife Services program for information, technical support, and assistance.
Effective solutions to feral swine problems can vary by locality due to the differing state legal classifications of feral swine, regulations and laws regarding methods for control, and the local environment where feral swine are causing damage.
For more information and help in your area, contact USDA, APHIS, Wildlife Services at 1-866-4-USDA-WS or use the Wildlife Services’ program directory to contact your local program or connect with your local Extension agency, wildlife agency or other professionals in your area.
 

Fencing

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.

Harassment

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.  For more information on animal health, visit the USDA APHIS Veterinary Services website.

Contraception

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.

Trapping

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, and should instead be humanely euthanized once in the trap. 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.

Snares

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 individuals remain in an 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

Ground Shooting

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.

Aerial Gunning

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.

Toxicants

Toxicants have potential to be a cost-effective tool for reducing feral swine populations. Researchers are currently working to identify a toxicant capable of effectively and humanely removing feral swine, without having an adverse effect on the environment and non-target species. No toxicant is currently registered for use on feral swine in the United States.


Manage the Damage - Stop Feral Swine
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