Randy Smith

District Supervisor for Fort Worth District of the Texas Wildlife Services Program. A Cooperative between USDA-APHIS-Wildlife Services and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension – Wildlife Services.  Previously Randy was a staff biologist for the Texas Wildlife Services Program. Randy has 28 years of experience with this agency, starting as a Wildlife Biologist in Wichita Falls, Texas. In 1991 he moved to San Antonio to serve as the Urban Biologist, and took on the roll of Team Leader of the original Oral

Brucellosis in Feral Hogs

Swine brucellosis is a highly contagious infectious disease caused by the bacterium Brucella suis, of which there are five biotypes or strains.  Brucellosis represents a significant disease of domestic swine, which had been all but eliminated from domestic herds in the United States.  However, swine brucellosis infection commonly occurs in feral hog (also called wild hogs; Sus scrofa) populations in this country.  Several species of vertebrates can also contract this disease.  Biotypes 1 and 3 can cause infections …

Pseudorabies Virus in Feral Hogs

Pseudorabies virus (PRV), also known as Aujeszky’s disease, is an infectious viral disease that is caused by the Suid herpesvirus 1 (SuHV-1).  The name “pseudorabies” means “rabies like” or “false rabies;” however, PRV is a herpes virus and is not related to the rabies virus.  Although humans cannot be infected, PRV is found in several species of mammals (for example, cattle, sheep, goats, deer, bears, cats, dogs, mink, skunks, raccoons, rabbits and rats) as well as swine.  It represents a …

Use of Box Traps to Capture Feral Hogs

Figure 1.  A litter of feral hog shoats captured in a box trap in Texas (Texas AgriLife Extension Service Photo).

Construction

Box traps come in a variety of designs and shapes. Most are built from livestock panels with steel pipe or angle iron frames.  Because most traps are built by the users, they differ greatly in size, portability, door configuration, flooring, and roofing. In some areas, ready-to-use box traps with several different styles of gates can be purchased.  A common …

Quick Facts on Feral Hogs

Feral hog numbers are on the rise in the United States.  Likewise the problems they cause are also growing.  With attention on this invasive species, many myths are circulating about feral hog history, distribution, biology, and damage.  The following bullets will help get the facts straight.

History and Distribution

  • Swine were domesticated thousands of years ago from wild stock in Europe and Asia.
  • Swine were first introduced to North America by Spanish explorers. 
  • Confined and/or free-ranging domestic swine escaped from

Feral Hog Attacks on Humans

Feral hog (also called wild hogs and wild pigs; Sus scrofa) attacks on people are rare and uncommon.  In the United States, four people have died from feral hog attacks since the late 1800s—three victims were attacked by a wounded boar while hunting.

Given the opportunity, most feral hogs would flee rather than confront a nearby human. The majority of non-fatal attacks to people happen when hogs are cornered, threatened, or wounded in non-hunting circumstances.  Most human victims are …

Vehicle Collisions with Feral Hogs

Feral Hogs versus Vehicles

Vehicle collisions with feral hogs (also called wild hogs and wild pigs; Sus scrofa) are known to occur in the United States.  As the population size of these animals increases,  the frequency of feral hog-vehicle collisions increases concurrently.  In some locations of high incidence for these accidents, feral hog crossing signs have been erected to warn motorists (Fig. 1).  In general, feral hogs are large animals (for example, 200+ lb) with a relatively low center …

Food Habits of Feral Hogs

Feral hogs (also called wild hogs or wild pigs; Sus scrofa) are omnivorous and very opportunistic in their food habits.  Their feeding behavior is one of the main reasons why this species has been so successful in establishing new populations in areas previously without feral hogs.  The year-round diet of feral hogs is composed primarily of plants with smaller amounts of algae, fungi, animals, and other material (Fig. 1).  Their diet depends on food availability.  The types of food …

Constructing a Feral Hog Snare

Feral hog snares can be a beneficial tool for controlling feral hogs.  They are relatively inexpensive, simple to build with minimal tools needed, and highly adaptable to terrains where corral or box-type traps are not easily deployed. They also work well for trap-shy feral hogs.  It is important to remember, however, that snares can trap non-target species, such as deer. The trapper should take precautions in the deployment of snares to minimize this effect.

Tools and Materials for Constructing a

Corral Trap Designs for Feral Hogs

Corral traps are a popular and effective method of controlling feral hogs.  They are capable of catching entire sounders (groups of hogs) in one capture.   Most corral traps are made of 20- by 5-ft utility panels with 4- by 4-inch square mesh and steel T-posts.

Some corral traps use head gates, while others use the panels themselves to create a funnel.  These can be beneficial as head gates are typically expensive to purchase. This is the type we will discuss …