My father’s way of live has always been living mostly off the land and being independent. He is a practical man who prefers function over form, who despises buying grocery when he knows he can grow vegetables and hunt and slaughter his own meat.
Besides fishing and growing his own vegetables he harvests large amounts of meat. How and why did this happen? First off, he had a wild hog problem. Hogs are a big problem in Florida and are actually considered a nuisance, and on private land there is no bag limits and no season.
As much as my dad loves hunting he doesn’t have the time to constantly hunt hogs, and besides that he doesn’t have the space to store hundreds and hundreds of pounds of meat — and he sure isn’t going to kill and waste an animal just for the sake of removal.
So he has decided to build traps. He kills only the biggest hogs and raises the others and mostly gives them away. He may trade a pig for a few hours of chores around his property, or maybe a few more if he slaughters and butchers it. At the moment he’s passing out free sausage to anyone who needs it; he has too much.
When he first told me what he was doing and asked for help, I agreed but didn’t think it would work. I figured the hogs would be too skittish to just wander in a cage and trap themselves. I was soon humbled, though. At the moment he has a dozen or so 50-pound hogs and four piglets just off the teat. He’s also killed and given away half a dozen.
How To Make A Hog Trap
In trapping hogs, placement is important. You have to locate some of the more popular feeding areas or watering holes for hogs, but building directly on this area is a bad idea.
If the herd has come here every day to eat, rest or drink, then they are going to notice when you build your trap. My dad chose a location about 200 yards from a popular shade area, and he began baiting the hogs with corn. He dropped pounds of it prior to even beginning construction. He brought them closer and closer to the trap area.
Now building the trap is actually like building a pen – well, building two pens to be honest. The first is the actual trap, and the second is a long-term holding pen. We built ours in an octagon pattern. We used this pattern to minimize large corners that larger hogs could use to climb out. They’re reasonably intelligent animals who just think with their stomachs more than their heads on occasion.
We used two layers of materials to build the pen. That’s because wild animals, being what they are, likely will go a little nuts and have a greater risk of damaging the fence. So the first layer was field fencing. We dug a foot-deep trench around the fence line and installed a board layer at a 45 degree angle inward. Next, we attached the field fence to the board layer and strung it throughout the outline of the trench.
We used square fence posts in all eight corners and attached the field fence to these. Then we buried the trench in. Now if you are inside the pen, the field fence layer would the inside layer.
On the outside we used 2x4s to build a second layer of fence, five boards high. We reinforced the field fence by attaching the fence to the 2x4s, as well.
We built two of these, roughly about six feet apart. Both pens are connected by a small pathway line with a fence; facing this pathway in each pen is a door that swings inwards. This way the pigs can be moved securely and the trap can be reset. If you’ve captured enough pigs you can also simply leave the trap set and not worry about overcrowding your holding pen.
Of course, you’re going to need food and water for your captured pigs. Good thing is that pigs eat anything, but can be fed corn and any extra vegetables from your garden. A simple and efficient trough is to cut a 50 gallon drum in half, long ways — one side for food and one side for water.
One Key Element
Now when it comes to the actual trap, imagine a guillotine. The door is essentially the blade of the guillotine, supported by a rope and two pulleys.
The frame built for the door is roughly six feet tall, so we used two eight foot fence posts buried two feet into the ground, and a 2×4 across the top. Connected to the 2×4 is the first pulley. Of course, the rope goes around the pulley and connects to the door through whatever means you’ve chosen. We’ve simply drilled a hole through the door and tied a good knot through it.
On the opposite side of the pen, we attached another pulley to a fencepost. We ran the rope to the next pulley, then we attached it to a small section of a 2×4; this one only has to be about a foot long. The next step is to build two L-shaped pieces of wood. The small end of the L shouldn’t be any longer than six inches. The L shaped pieces will essentially be buried upside down. These will be used to secure that small piece of 2×4 attached to the rope. This now forms your trigger mechanism. Now the rope needs to be short enough that when secured under the two L-shaped pieces, the door (“guillotine blade”) is raised and open. The idea is to spread corn in a trail to the trigger mechanism and focus a large supply of corn around this. The hogs being hogs will hit the trigger and release the door and they are yours.
You can transfer the pigs almost the same way: just spread a trail of corn and open the door to the pathway. Remember: these are wild animal and can be very aggressive with you and with each other. It’s important to keep your distance and keep an eye on introducing different hogs to each other. You may get an aggressive one that needs to be separated, killed or released if necessary. No reason to lose pigs to infections and wounds for the sake of keeping one aggressive hog.
Editor’s note: Below are two videos by others describing their various hog pens.