DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR
LLANO — While some people are happy if they catch two or three feral hogs in a trap, Osvaldo Rojas of City Trapping would probably consider that a slow day.
“In the past five months, I’ve probably caught 450 hogs in one area that’s maybe 200 acres,” he said. “Now, it’s a wildlife preserve, so people don’t hunt there, and the hogs, they kind of pack in there. But you can see what you can do with a better type of trapping.”
Rojas runs 39 traps by himself in the Dallas and Dallas County areas. All he needs is his smartphone, a few remote cameras to monitor the traps and a big truck and trailer to haul off the hogs when he catches them. Using his method coupled with the Jager Pro Hog Control Systems, Rojas said landowners could make a significant dent in local feral hog populations.
“It’s not enough to catch one or two,” Rojas said. “With this system and the way I use it, you can get an entire sounder (a group of feral hogs).”
Rojas will share his methods and explain the Jager Pro Hog Control Systems during a feral hog-trapping program Dec. 30 at the Llano County Community Center, 2249 RR 152. Registration is 5 p.m with the two-hour program starting at 5:30 p.m.
The cost is $25 if you RSVP by noon Dec. 24 and $30 at the door. The fee covers a meal.
The Texas A&M AgriLIFE Extension Service in Llano and the Natural Resource and Conservation Service of Llano are sponsoring the educational program.
Llano County extension agent Jamie Osbourn said the goal of the program is to introduce local landowners and others to a better way of controlling feral hogs.
“The population of feral hogs is growing every year,” he said. “We have to do something to at least try and control it. They say that, just to control the feral hog population, you have to capture or harvest 60 to 70 percent of the population. And there’s no way we’re coming close to that.”
Feral hogs cause millions of dollars in property and crop damage across Texas. They are considered a nuisance species.
Unlike many other species that have offspring once a year, female feral hogs can give birth more than once a year. And their average litter is five to six piglets.
Their population doesn’t just increase, it grows exponentially.
“I heard about this system (City Trapping) is using, and that they’re having good success with it, so I thought it would be something to introduce down here,” Osbourn said.
Rojas explained that, unlike the small, traditional box trap, his system incorporates a 30-foot round pen with a six-foot by eight-foot gate. The pen is set up and baited in an area frequented by feral hogs. But unlike box-style traps that are typically triggered when a hog steps in, Rojas can close the round pen gate when a substantial number of the animals enter.
It’s done with a camera and his smartphone. The system uses a booster antenna, so even in remote areas and low spots, the signal can get in and out so Rojas can monitor his traps and trigger the gates.
After setting up his trap, Rojas can set the feeder to go off at a specific time.
Then, he monitors activity through a camera linked to his phone. He logs the number of hogs that enter the pen for, maybe, a week. Based on those statistics, he determines how and when to close the gate to capture the optimum number of hogs.
And triggering the gate is done by his phone as well.
“It’s a much more effective and efficient way of trapping hogs,” Rojas explained. “With the traditional traps, even if you catch a couple, the other hogs see that, and then they stay away from the trap.”
Rojas had been trapping feral hogs for 10 years but first started incorporating the Jager system into his business about three years ago. Since that time, he’s seen the number of feral hogs he captures skyrocket.
“It’s made a tremendous difference,” he said.
Rojas’ success hasn’t gone unnoticed. He landed a contract with the city of Dallas and a contract with Dallas County for hog control and abatement.
Rojas admitted he’s not somebody who’s looking to lead seminars but just wants to share his techniques and ideas with others to curb feral hog populations.
“I’m a hog trapper,” he said. “The only thing I talk about is how it works for me. And, hopefully, people can use the information to take care of the hogs on their property.”
To register for the event, call (325) 247-5159. Go to www.citytrapping.net for more information on Rojas, City Trapping and the Jager Pro System.