Technology helps corral feral hogs

How can a full-time college student-athlete maintain his classwork while at the same time running traps for wild hogs in a wide range of locations?

That was the dilemma faced by Wyatt Walton while a student at Hardin-Simmons University before he graduated in 2014. His solution? Cellular trapping.

Walton, now working with Lone Star Trapping, will be demonstrating his methods at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Horse Barn at the Taylor County Expo Center as part of the Texas Farm-Ranch-Wildlife Expo.

Technology allows his company or a landowner to monitor a corral trap via cell phone video. Once the hogs are inside, the gate can be triggered remotely to close, trapping the group.

But it’s not all that simple. A lot of preparation and planning is required for successful hog removal. And most of all: patience, Walton said.

“A lot of folks will see 25 pigs in their pen and shut the gate,” he said. “But if there’s 35, you need to wait for that other 10. Because if they see you trap 25, that’s going to be 10 educated hogs.

“There’s only one thing worse than a feral hog, and that’s an educated feral hog.”

Walton hunted with dogs for many years, and occasionally leads recreational hunts. But he has long since realize the inefficiency of dogs vs. proliferating hog populations.

“I didn’t have the time (while in school) I needed to check conventional traps. I found the efficiency of the cellular traps made it to where I could still go to school, go to football, get my needs done and still be trapping a lot of hogs.

“I was removing twice as much out of one of these pens as I was out of 10 of my old-school conventional pens.”

Walton uses a three-step process for feral hog removal.

The first step is gathering intel. He sets up cameras and feeding stations to see how many hogs are present. Once a number is established, he sets up a pen and gives the hogs time to get used to it. Then, it’s just a matter of waiting.

“Once you’ve gathered your intel and bring your pen in, you’re on the hog’s time,” he said. “It could be two or three days before the whole group comes in or it could be a week and a half.”

When the full group comes inside, the gate is dropped.

“Once you drop the gate, you win.”

Many of the captured hogs are killed. However, there is a small European market for live hogs, and a larger one for eating the meat.

There are only a few businesses that contract out cellular technology, Walton said, but it is available in many states.

“I’m just the Texas dealer,” Walton, who is the only authorized dealer for Jager Pro products in Texas, said. “There’s one in every southern state with hogs.”

If you go

What: Texas Farm-Ranch-Wildlife Expo

Where: Taylor County Expo Center

Cost: Free, except for luncheon

Schedule

  • 8 a.m.: Predator Management Seminar, Western Heritage Ranch House
  • 8:30 a.m.: Backyard Pollinator Seminar, Extension Conference Room
  • 9 a.m.-4 p.m.: Trade Show, coliseum
  • 10:30 a.m.: Cellular Feral Hog Removal, Horse Barn
  • 11:30 a.m.: Agriculture Scholarship Luncheon, Big Country Hall
  • 1:30 p.m.: Wildlife Seminar, Extension Conference Room
  • 2 p.m.: Ask an Ag Attorney, Coliseum

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