Toxicants for controlling feral hog populations may soon be a reality. Each year in the US, wild and ever-increasing hog populations are causing millions of dollars in damage on farms, ranches and even suburban settings. Neither hog hunting nor trapping has been able to control feral hog numbers. An approved toxicant has the best chance at being successful, in my opinion.
What land owners and managers need is exactly what a toxicant can provide, a solution that works more or less passively that is highly effective at eliminating large numbers of feral hogs. Toxicants do work. The biggest problem with toxicants is ensuring that they are only ingested by only unwanted, feral hogs. There is also problems with potential carryover into the human food chain should “toxic” hogs be shot, butchered and consumed. The latter is not a problem with sodium nitrite, but definitely an issue with warfarin.
Source: “Two toxicants that have previously been used in Australia to poison feral hogs are being considered for use in the U.S.
The United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is working with researchers to register and approve sodium nitrite. Sodium nitrite is used in hog poison in Australia and is used as a food preservative in the U.S. (ironically in bacon). It causes methemoglobinemia in hogs, resulting in rapid depletion of oxygen to the brain and vital organs. Death occurs within 1.5 hours in feral hogs.
Kaput® is a warfarin-based bait that was eventually banned in Australia. Warfarin is a blood thinner that hogs are very susceptible to, dying within a few days of receiving a lethal dose. Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) in collaboration with Scimetrics Ltd. Corporation worked to develop Kaput®. Kaput® has an Enviromental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved label and is currently being considered for approval in several states. Immediately following TDA approval of Kaput® for restricted use in the state of Texas, legal action followed citing concerns to human health. Kaput® says they will have a commercial product available in May-June 2017 if its use is legal in any states.
Toxicants will not be the silver bullet landowners are looking for, but it will be another tool in the war on hogs. The Kaput® label has very specific protocols for habituating hogs with a mandatory feeder, disposing of carcasses, grazing restrictions and reporting of non-target kills. It will be extremely important for applicators of toxic baits to adhere to all requirements in any label approved by the EPA as well as any special restrictions imposed by a state. Misuse of any approved toxicant can result in damage to natural resources and result in the loss of a new tool for hog control.”
In short, even using toxicants to control feral hogs is not a one-and-done deal, but based on the paragraphs above it appears baits formulated with warfarin have the potential for a number of issues both before and after baits have been ingested by wild pigs. At this point, it seems sodium nitrite may be the better option since the potential to harm us, humans, seems lower, but it seems more research is warranted.
It’s been said that there is no silver bullet for feral hog control, but I think an effective toxicant has the opportunity to be just that. Most hog gurus site that at least 70 percent of the hog population must be controlled annually to prevent an increase in hog numbers. My “back of a napkin” math makes me think that is possible, even if I don’t know exactly which toxicant is right for the job.
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