Introduction: Wild hogs started escaping from game ranches and other fenced facilities in significant numbers around 2001. Hog numbers high enough to cause serious property damage are now found in multiple counties. A major problem is that a wild hog population in the early stages of expansion tends to occupy lots of scattered areas but at densities too low to attract much attention. Years later, seemingly all of a sudden, you have a whole state full of hogs. In other states, once the wild hogs became established, none of those states were able to eliminate them despite massive and expensive efforts. The only hope for wild hog control in Michigan is a multi-front assault that involves citizens. The Michigan Wildlife Conservancy developed the Michigan Wild Hog Removal Program in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other groups in 2010. The Program includes training of landowners and other volunteers in trapping and other means of reducing local wild hog numbers.
Baiting and Trapping: The USDA lends 15x15-foot wild hog traps to landowners. Constructing a trap one section at a time over several days is recommended to help avoid scaring wary hogs. Carefully located and constructed traps can sometimes be used to eliminate entire groups of hogs.
Scent Control: Across the country, there are some fairly successful hog trappers who don’t pay much attention to scent control at the trap site. But in Michigan, where most of the animals are Eurasian wild hogs, there is evidence that wearing rubber boots and gloves, using scent-controlling sprays, and trying to mask human scent at the trap site are helpful.
Safety: Trapped hogs are unpredictable and can be dangerous. We recommend using a high caliber rifle or shotgun with slugs to kill hogs in a trap. Following a few time-tested recommendations will help ensure your safety while trapping wild hogs and handling carcasses.
Detection: The first step in controlling wild hogs is early detection. Since they are usually active only at night, use of trail cameras over baits such as soured corn, various mashes and cooking grease is effective. The more distinguishable signs of wild hogs include rooting, wallows, tree rubs, and beds. Most people have a hard time telling the difference between hog and deer tracks.
Blood Samples and Disease Monitoring: Volunteer hog trappers are asked to contact the USDA immediately when wild hogs are found in the trap. To obtain good blood tests for pseudorabies and other important diseases samples must be taken very soon after a wild hog is killed.