A trapper in Florida has designed a new and deceptively simple way to monitor pig traps. While the feral animals may be succulent on the dinner table, wild hogs cause more than $1.5 billion in damages every year across the nation. The brunt of that damage is faced by unfortunate farmers, such as the owners of orange groves in Florida’s Glades County. Grove managers have good reason to fear wild hogs, which have appetites out of proportion to their size. Recently in Australia, as little as a few hundred pigs chewed through more than $500,000 worth in macadamia nuts in the Gympie region of Queensland.
So Florida orange groves hire professional pig trappers. Among them is Buck Holly of the fittingly-named Silence of the Hams trapping service. According to WINK News, Holly developed a method that allows him to keep track of his traps from the comfort of home. Despite the high-tech devices needed to operate the traps, Holly’s method is actually pretty simple. The traps are rigged to alert Holly on his smartphone whenever a pig enters the 30-foot enclosure, but the gate does not automatically shut. Instead, Holly is able to monitor the trap from a camera and wait until more pigs enter the device, at which point he presses a button and the gate slams shut.
“When we believe that we have the entire sounder of pigs that we’ve been targeting, we then close the gate and not before then,” Holly said.
Wild pigs are the second-most popular large game animal in Florida, second only to deer. Hogs can be hunted year-round with any legal rifle, shotgun, crossbow, bow, or pistol but trapping remains one of the most popular options, especially for frustrated landowners. There are currently more than five million wild pigs in the United States. More than half of that number reside in Texas, where the wild pig population is expected to triple by 2018.