Field Evaluation of a Commercial Feeder to Control Wild Pigs

Wild pig (Sus scrofa) populations have exploded across much of the southeastern United States. In order to combat increasing wild pig num- bers in an effort to reduce both ecological and economic damage caused by wild pigs, toxicant baits are being investigated as a possible method to reduce wild pig numbers at the local scale. In fall 2017, we tested the HogStopper? feeder to ascertain if this feeder design would deliver bait to wild pigs while preventing non-target species from accessing bait. We examined visitation rates at feeders for wild pigs and non-target species using both digital and video cameras. We had a three-week acclimation period (feeder doors remained open allowing free access to bait) followed by a three-week activation period (feeders were closed). Wild pigs visited eight of 10 feeders but fed from only one of these feeders during the activation period. With the exception of the Louisiana black bear (Ursus americanus luteolus), non-target species were effectively prevented from accessing feeders. Wild pigs frequently (95% of the time) spilled corn while feeding during the activation period. Due to the potential for wild pigs to spill toxicants when feeding,spill rates should be addressed during research and development of feeders and their associated toxicants in order to minimize non-target species ex-posure. We recommend manufacturers carefully consider bait load capacities and feed spillage when designing feeders to deliver toxicants to wild pigs.

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