Asked April 20, 2015, 3:31 PM EDT
A small cemetery has been invaded by Feral hogs. The damage is extensive and terrible. The damage is to the earth in large swaths of open land, and also smaller areas, including grave sites. It looks like a disaster zone.
We need help.
How to repair the damaged land so that mowers can again come in to cut the grass?
How to keep out the hogs?
What is a reliable fence (currently we have 4 line barbed wire, which is old and probably broken in places), and can wild Pigs be fenced out?
Is trapping a reliable thing to try? Shooting is not an option due to the potential damage to the grave markers. and monuments.
Can you recommend providers for any of the solutions you may suggest?
Fort Bend County Texas
I am sorry to hear of this damage, this article will provide insight into what I think is occurring on the property. Before you attempt to do any type of repair work on the grounds I would suggest first excluding the pigs from the site. Otherwise you may have to go back and repair future additional damage.
The technique used to repair the damaged land will depend on the type of soil on the site. If the soil has some sand to it you should be able to use some type of drag pulled behind a small tractor to level the ground. A heavy clay component in the soil may make it harder to level if the soil is dry. I have heard of people disking a damaged area and then leveling it off. I realize this is a special situation because of the many grave markers present. Ultimately it may take a lot of work done by hand and small lawn tractors or potentially an ATV.
A barbed wire fence will not effectively deter wild pigs. To keep out the pigs you will want to install a high tensile strength net wire fence. There are several manufacturers that make fences specifically designed to exclude pigs. It is important to consider the size of the fence mesh, if a pig can get their head through it they can get their body through as well. Although a net wire fence does a great job at excluding wild pigs it will need to be maintained over time to prevent future entry. Small mammals such as coyotes and raccoons may dig under the fence which will create a weak spot for the pigs to further excavate and gain entry. Also brush and trees will need to be kept from growing into and along the fence, if allowed to grow they will eventually compromise the fence. When excluding wild pigs it is important to also protect areas such as gates with fencing material to prevent unwanted entries.
Trapping can be expensive and time consuming. Corral traps typically have better capture rates than box traps, you can learn more about corral traps in this article. Before you consider trapping, you will need to conduct an assessment of the property you have access to. Is your property used only as a feeding site? If so then you will not want to attempt to trap them on your property. In this situation your bait will be directly competing with the natural foods the pigs are seeking out. You can learn more about trap site selection by reading this article. If you can intercept the pigs along a trail between their bedding area and the feeding site you have better odds. Ultimately an exclusion fence would be your best option for the long term. If an exclusion fence is not an option then trapping may be your only option to reduce damage.
We do not maintain a list of feral hog management providers. I would suggest you interview several providers and understand their techniques, methods and proposed capture success rates before deciding on a particular provider. You may consider contacting Texas Wildlife Services to inquire about wild pig damage abatement options within your county as well.
I would be happy to visit with you over the phone to further discuss any specific questions you may have, I can be reached at (979) 845-4698.
Thank you for your prompt response. Obviously we have a huge project ahead of us. I think your suggestion of going with exclusion or control before repair does make good sense. We are a very small cemetery and those of us concerned with it are all volunteers. I may call on you again later for more discussion.