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Consider costs and effort when choosing trap doors
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Late winter is the peak time for trapping wild hogs, and the door or gate is a vitally important component in the construction of any enclosure.
Most experts agree corral traps that are 15 to 20 feet in diameter are the most effective for wild hog removal and control. Trapdoors for these hog traps range from high-tech, remote-controlled gates to smaller, traditional trapdoors and triggers. What type of trapdoor/gate will best meet your needs depends on budget, location and time.
The Cadillac of trapdoors/gates is the remote-controlled gate. These gates rely on a remote sensing camera -- very much like a game camera -- that records pictures or video of hogs inside the trap or moving about on the perimeter. The camera sends real-time images to the user’s smartphone or email address. The gate is triggered shut with a single text code sent to the camera. A user can monitor the trap and decide when to close the gate without leaving his or her home or office.
While these gates can reduce time and fuel expenses for trappers and greatly increase the chances of capturing entire sounders or family groups, they do have some drawbacks. In many cases, the camera’s subscriber identification module card has to be renewed each month.
Location can sometimes be a limiting factor, depending on signal strength and the distance from cellular towers. Also, because of the technological component, these gates can be expensive. However, one way landowners can reduce this expense is to “go in” with neighbors and relocate the gate to different owners’ properties as needed.
Smaller, traditional types of trapdoors include wooden drop doors, root doors, and spring-loaded single and double doors (saloon-style). A simple triggering system, such as a root stick or tripwire, is commonly used with these doors.
Another option is to just not use a trapdoor. Instead, build what is commonly referred to as a figure 6 or comma trap. Rather than a door, this trap uses a wire flap that allows hogs to enter the trap but prevents them from exiting. It’s the same idea as a fish or bird trap. I know of several people who have had much success using this type of trap.
Although traditional trapdoors are much less expensive, they do require more time and fuel to bait and monitor. Game cameras can help you monitor the trap and decide when to set the door to trigger. Also, automatic feeders can replenish bait daily. However, once the trap is set to catch, you will need to visit the trap daily.
When choosing a trapdoor, don’t just consider upfront costs. Also consider costs in time and fuel traveling to and from the trap site. If the high-tech route is not affordable or compatible with your location, you still can be very effective using traditional trapdoors.
Editor’s Note: Extension Outdoors is a column authored by several different experts in the Mississippi State University Extension Service.