TEXARKANA, Ark. - Feral hogs are not native to the United States but over the last several years they've become an unwelcome guest that have roamed, ravaged and reproduced at an alarming rate.
Miller County Extension Agent Jennifer Caraway said the animals are a serious and costly problem for farmers and landowners. The only way to reduce the population is by neighbors working together.
"It's really helpful to be able to combine resources and use each other to manage that problem," said Caraway.
Traps are available for landowners to borrow from the extension agency. Caraway said Drew Chandler in Fouke met the requirements to be able to use their Game Changer trap.
The problem started several years ago and it's only gotten worse.
"To me it's more or less a hassle. I'm not actually growing crops, but for some of our neighbors, they have hay fields that are getting destroyed and it's hurting their income as well," said Chandler.
Chandler is hopeful the trapping system will make a difference not only on his property, but will also help his surrounding community. The corral-style trap has gates controlled by a cell phone. The sensors send a notification when the hogs are inside the trap.
Videos of the hog capture can be viewed on a cell phone in real time. When a group gathers inside, the trap can be activated from the phone, Caraway said.
She said feral hogs are not only destructive and carry diseases, but they also disrupt the eco-system by pushing out all the native wildlife.
"If you have a deer lease where you're starting to see a lot fewer deer in the area that could very well be one of the reasons. Feral hogs have no known natural predators, so other than us really trapping or moving them out by pressure, they're there for the long haul unless we do something about them," said Caraway.
The winter time is the best time to trap hogs because there's not as much forage, she added.
Over the last four years, Caraway has been working with landowners like Chandler, who want more than anything to eliminate feral hogs.
"I do not ever see us eradicating them, but I feel like it's our responsibility to help manage the problem," said Caraway.
Landowners wanting to learn more about how to use a cellular trapping system should contact their local extension agent.