Use of Drop-nets for Wild Pig Damage and Disease Abatement
Gaskamp, Joshua Alden
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Numerous trap designs have been used in efforts to capture wild pigs (Sus scrofa); however, drop-nets have never been examined as a potential tool for wild pig control. I implemented a 2-year study to compare the effectiveness and efficiency of an 18.3 x 18.3 m drop-net and a traditional corral trap for trapping wild pigs. In spring 2010, treatment units were randomly selected and multiple trap sites were identified on 4,047 ha in Love County, Oklahoma. Trap sites were baited with whole corn and monitored with infrared-triggered cameras during pre-construction and capture periods. Unique pigs using trap sites were identified 5 days prior to trap construction and used in mark-recapture calculations to determine trap effectiveness. Three hundred fifty-six pigs were captured in spring of 2010 and 2011. I documented maximum captures of 27 and 15 pigs with drop-nets and corral traps, respectively. I removed 86 and 49% of the unique pigs from treatment units during the course of the study using drop-nets and corral traps, respectively. Catch per unit effort was 1.9 and 2.3 h/pig for drop-nets and corral traps, respectively. Wild pigs did not appear to exhibit trap shyness around drop-nets, which often facilitated the capture of entire sounders in a single drop. Use of drop-nets also eliminated capture of non-target species. During my study, damage by wild pigs was reduced by 90% across the study area, verifying control reduces damage on native rangelands. Population monitoring for pseudorabies virus, brucellosis, and porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome resulted in exposure rates of 24, 0.4, and 0.4%, respectively. Removal of wild pigs reduced rooting damage and probability of encountering pig borne diseases of importance to livestock and human health. My research confirms drop-nets can be an effective tool for removal of wild pigs.