Date of this Version
The Journal of Wildlife Management 75(5):1200–1208; 2011; DOI: 10.1002/jwmg.134
Populations of feral swine (Sus scrofa) are estimated to include >2 million animals in the state of Texas, USA, alone. Feral swine damage to property, crops, and livestock exceeds $50 million annually. These figures do not include the increased risks and costs associated with the potential for feral swine to spread disease to domestic livestock. Thus, effective bio-security measures will be needed to quickly isolate affected feral swine populations during disease outbreaks. We evaluated enclosures built of 0.86-m-tall traditional hog panels for containing feral swine during 35 trials, each involving 6 recently caught animals exposed to increasing levels of motivation. During trials, fences were 97% successful when enclosures were entered by humans for maintenance purposes; 83% effective when pursued by walking humans discharging paintball projectors; and in limited testing, 100% successful when pursued and removed by gunners in a helicopter. In addition to being effective in containing feral swine, enclosures constructed of hog panels required simple hand tools, took <5 min/m to erect, and were inexpensive ($5.73/m excluding labor) relative to other fencing options. As such, hog-panel fences are suitable for use by state and federal agencies for rapid deployment in disease response situations, but also exhibit utility for general control of other types of damage associated with feral swine.