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BoarBuster, a hybrid trap to control feral hogs

Progressive Cattleman Editor David Cooper Published on 25 February 2015
BoarBuster

Landowners throughout the Southwest have long wrestled with the exploding numbers of feral hogs in their region. But a newly developed method for trapping hogs could flip the momentum.

The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation has developed a new trap system that combines the most effective methods for capturing hogs.

The overhead corral system, called the BoarBuster, has been in testing mode over four years with Noble Foundation and is set to go on the market this summer.

Watch a video about the BoarBuster system.

Feral hogs, or feral swine boars, create costly challenges for landowners and livestock producers in southern states and parts of California.

Some studies report feral hogs are responsible for $1.6 billion in annual damages, with one report showing $52 million in annual losses in Texas alone.

BoarBuster - circular corral

Hogs also transmit disease such as pseudo-rabies and swine brucellosis, according to Texas A&M AgriLife, with additional damages to water sources and native wildlife.

“Some of the conventional feral hog traps available today to landowners are not very effective at capturing feral hogs; they don’t capture the entire sounder because of shyness issues,” says Josh Gaskamp, wildlife and range consultant at the Noble Foundation.

Feral swine are “inherently trap-shy” Gaskamp says, with corral traps being effective but easily detectable by pigs. Corrals are popular because of their ridged structure, allowing hogs to be confined after capture.

Crank works a pulley - BoarBusterMany producers also use drop nets as suspended canopy traps, which have the advantage of letting hogs enter from any direction without encountering panels.

In research done by Noble, Gaskamp says 86 percent of those surveyed had success with drop nets, and 49 percent were able to trap with corral traps.

“So what we realized was that a hybrid of those two systems was probably the best option,” Gaskamp says.

The BoarBuster is a circular corral pen that is suspended 3 to 4 feet above the ground, like a net system. The suspended pen allows hogs to travel inside from any direction, eliminating the suspicion of a trap wall.

Camera linked to smartphone techWith an accompanying camera monitoring system, a remote user can be alerted with a text or email when a sounder is around the trap. The pen can be dropped from the user’s phone.

The pen also has an integrated door to load out trapped animals into a trailer for processing.

“We also wanted to incorporate things like an avoidance of non-targeted species; live video streaming at a site is a good option to get rid of those non-target captures,” Gaskamp says.

The BoarBuster system was the result of four years of research conducted by the Noble Foundation. The system will be commercially available in mid-2015 and manufactured and marketed by W-W Livestock Systems.  end mark

PHOTOS 
PHOTO 1 & 2: The BoarBuster is a suspended circular corral trap that drops down on a 18-foot diameter area to catch up to 30 swine. Photo courtesy of Noble Foundation.

PHOTO 3: The crank works a pulley to elevate the BoarBuster.

PHOTO 4: Using cameras linked to smartphone technology, a BoarBuster user can see animals in the trap and trigger it remotely to capture hogs. Photos by David Cooper.

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