Date of this Version
Wildlife Society Bulletin 2023;47:e1480.
We examined dietary preferences of wild pigs to discern possible bait alternatives to corn. Captive trials were conducted during spring and fall 2021 in the Wild Pig Research Facility at Kerr Wildlife Management Area, Hunt, Texas, USA. We conducted 2‐choice tests by allowing wild pigs to feed ad libitum on soybeans, split peas, mealworms, and peanuts (spring 2021), and oats, acorns, earthworms, and peanuts (fall 2021), always with corn available as a second choice for reference. In each trial, we used proportion of test bait eaten versus total bait eaten, and relative access to both food sources as indices of bait preference. We found that a higher proportion of corn was consumed than that of any test bait in the spring, but not in the fall. However, we found that earthworms were consumed more than any other test bait in the fall. We also found that corn was accessed more than test baits in the spring, but not more than earthworms or peanuts in the fall. Greater consumption of earthworms relative to other baits, and access rates comparable to corn indicated that earthworms could be an effective alternative bait to corn. Our work suggests that alternative baits may be equally or more effective for attracting wild pigs than corn.
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