Date of this Version
Published in Wildlife Society Bulletin (2012) 6 pages. DOI: 10.1002/wsb.221
Many different types of traps have been developed to increase feral swine (Sus scrofa) capture efficiency. Though not previously compared, gate styles may influence capture success. Our objectives were to report feral swine capture data from 31 trapping campaigns conducted in 17 counties from 2005 to 2011 in Texas, USA, compare capture rates by demographic category between side-swing and rooter gates, and evaluate influences of moisture, using the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI), on juvenile capture rates. We trapped feral swine during all months of the year. Our trap configurations were identical with the exception of gate style. Traps had either side-swing or rooter gates. We captured 1,310 feral swine during 2,424 trap-nights. We found no differences in capture rates between gate styles for adults, adult males, or adult females. However, we found juvenile capture rates and total capture rates to differ between gate styles. Box traps with rooter gates captured more juveniles, resulting in more total captures than in box traps with side-swing gates. Partitioned rooter gates are constructed to allow for continual entry after the gate has been tripped; whereas with single-panel side-swine gates, continual entry may be more challenging for juvenile animals that lack the size and strength to push through the spring tension. Rooter gates should be considered over side-swing gates in management programs aimed at overall damage reduction. However, in management or research programs that seek to capture adult feral swine, side-swing gates may be more appropriate because fewer non-target juvenile feral swine are captured.