Evaluation of continuous-catch doors for trapping wild pigs


  • Associate Editor: Demarais


Lethal removal by trapping is frequently the most cost- and time-effective means for managing wild pigs (Sus scrofa); however, the effectiveness of continuous-catch trap doors, which allow the entry of additional pigs into the trap after the door closes, remains unstudied. Our objective was to determine entry of wild pigs through closed root, saloon, and trainer continuous-catch doors. We constructed 26 corral traps on 4 study areas in east-central and southwest Alabama, USA, during the summer of 2011. We pre-baited each trap for ≥1 week to condition wild pigs to freely enter and exit traps and used game cameras to verify conditioning and to identify individuals and sounders. We then randomly assigned a trap door to each trap, set the trigger to capture only part of each sounder, and used game cameras to record the behavior of non-captured individuals. We observed 239 individuals from 24 sounders. Non-captured sounder members made 2.9 additional visits/trial (SE = 0.45) to traps after the door had closed, with each visit averaging 57.8 minutes (SE = 14.55) in duration. Of 222 opportunities (non-captured pigs observed after trap door had closed) only 9 (16%), 1 (1.9%), and 1 (0.9%) wild pigs entered through closed root, trainer, and saloon doors, respectively. Continuous-catch doors were ineffective at capturing substantial numbers of additional pigs after the door had closed. Given the comparatively greater expense of continuous-catch doors, landowners and wildlife managers should weigh the relative cost and benefits of these doors when developing wild pig removal programs. © 2013 The Wildlife Society