The explosion of wild hogs across North Carolina is a bittersweet occurrence. While they destroy natural habitats and compete with native species, they have offered hunters with a new animal to pursue — and they taste good, too.

But traditional still-hunting and hunting with hounds are not the only ways to target them. Trapping can offer hunters an exciting and innovative way to fill the freezer.

Evin Stanford, deer-project biologist for the N. C. Wildlife Resources Commission, endorses trapping hogs with little hesitation.

“Trapping is very effective and is the most-efficient way to capture hogs in large volumes,” he said. “Hogs compete with native wildlife, deplete native resources and cause damage to properties. If hunters are serious about making an impact to their hog population, trapping is a good way to do it.”

Hunters/trappers can take advantage of hogs’ overzealous appetites. Wild hogs will roam the countryside, rummaging through brush, forests, and bottomlands after just about anything containing calories, both day and night. “Eating like a hog” could never be more true when it comes to these animals in the wild, and their affliction for food allows trapping to become a deadly method to knock out a population of hogs.

Trappers utilize traps in many different sizes, configurations and with different triggering mechanisms. Traps are either portable or fixed; both styles can be effective. One important factor to consider with every hog trap is to ensure that the top of the trap is enclosed. Hogs will find a way out the top of the trap if the roof is open.

Corn, either soured or fresh, will lure hogs into the trap. In order to capture a large number of hogs at one time, the trapper must allow the hogs to become accustomed to feeding in the trap.

Colleen Olfenbuttel, furbearer and bear biologist for the Commission, urges hunters to deactivate triggering mechanisms at first to catch the most hogs later.

“Hogs can become weary of unfamiliar smells or just something different. It’s good to leave traps open to let the hogs get used to the trap,” she said. “The boar will often take the lead, and the rest will follow.”

After a few weeks of regular use, hogs will enter and exit with little hesitation, allowing hunters to capture a large number at one springing of the trap.