It has nothing to do with Texas A&M joining the Southeastern Conference, nothing to do with Aggie football. But out of that College Station institution comes an interesting and instructional publication on feral hogs.
Feral hogs, wild hogs, same thing. And they are a major problem in many parts of Arkansas. Texas, though, is head and shoulders ahead of us in hog problems. They’ve got “them” big time.
“Using Fences to Exclude Feral Hogs from Wildlife Feeding Stations” is a just-out publication of Texas A&M. It is available by mail at $1 a copy or free online at http://pcwp.tamu.edu/library/.
The instructions are aimed at people who use feeders to attract deer. Feral hogs are an immense problem where deer feeders dispense corn, alfalfa pellets and other wildlife food items. In Texas, the use of deer feeders is even more prevalent than in Arkansas.
By erecting a study metal fence around feeders, a fence high enough for hogs to be stopped since they don’t jump, but low enough for deer to easily access the feeder, hogs gobbling up the food can be prevented.
It involves work and expenditures for materials.
The critical height is somewhere from two to three feet high, meaning 24 to 34 or so inches, the A&M study concluded. Hogs can make it over a fence only a foot and a half high but not one a few inches taller. Adult deer can handle a three-foot fence with ease — but deer fawns can’t. Make the fence a little lower and fawns can get over it.
The Texas A&M study, after considerable field testing, concluded the simple solution is to use 60-inch livestock panels and cut them in half. Push the open ends from the cut into the ground a little, and you have two 28-inch fence panels from each 60-inch panel you buy and cut. Most of these panels are 16 feet long.
In Arkansas, 60-inch by 16-foot livestock panels are available at farm supply outlets for $20 to $30 each.
These panels come in more than one style, with horse panels made of heavier metal than cattle panels.
Other expense for hog-proofing deer feeders is for T posts and for wire clips to fasten fence sections together, and for fastening them to the T posts. Five-foot T posts can be used instead of the more common six-foot posts.
Unless you can rig up a metal-cutting power saw, you’ll need a pair of bolt cutters and a pair of sturdy work gloves to handle the cutting. The cross sections are four inches apart. Do the math on a 16-foot panel and you’ll see that quite a bit of work with those bolt cutters is required.
OK, you buy three of these 16-foot stock panels, cut each in half, and you have 96 feet of 30-inch fencing. The recommendation from the A&M folks is to overlap the panels where they join by one four-inch section. Fasten them and drive a T post at the spot. The T posts should be on the outside of the fence circle. Fasten panels to posts.
Arkansas wildlife biologists and landowners who have used fencing and traps for hogs all suggest not skimping on the fasteners. Baling wire can be substituted for wire clips, but only if you use plenty of wraps of the baling wire.
This will give you an enclosure something like 28 feet in diameter, and most feeders distribute their contents within such an area.
The cost — panels, posts, clips — will be most of a $100 bill for this hog-proof fence around a deer feeder.
Texas A&M folks said, “Research conducted in the South Texas brush country has found that enclosure fences are an effective way to keep feral hogs from eating corn and supplemental feeds that are intended for other animals. These fences protect corn and protein pellets from feral hogs and though labor intensive, they will pay for themselves in feed savings.”
Joe Mosby is a retired news editor of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and Arkansas’ best known outdoor writer. His work is distributed by the Arkansas News Bureau in Little Rock. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.