Fillin' the Trap to Fill the Freezer By: Cody Weiser
There is nothing like the smell of juicy wild pork steaks sizzling on the pit. It's great to be able to pop open the deep freeze and grab a few packages of pork to thaw for the grill. When the supplies get low it is time to head to the woods in search of meat hogs to re-stock the freezer. The easiest way to fill the freezer is to fill the trap.
I only trap for two reasons. One, to castrate and cull young boars in my hunting areas. Two, to stock up on young, tender, succulent pork for the BBQ pit. I do not trap with the intentions or hopes of catching a large trophy boar. A boar that is of trophy quality, won't be one for very long if he is caught in a steel trap. Large boars slam and thrash the sides of a trap once they have been caught. This almost instantly breaks tusks, and it is common for large hogs to break both their snout and bottom jaw. This is lethal for the animal and destroys all trophy value, not to mention the toll it takes on the trap. By selecting the proper design of trap and correct baiting method, you will be able to focus all your hunting time on the quest for a wall hanger and have the BBQ meat waiting for you when you are ready for it. Here is how to do it.
I've tried numerous styles and designs of hog traps over the years, and the top-hinged angled door by far works the best. I have found this style to yield the best results in both quantity and simplicity. A tip when designing and building this type of trap is to equip it with a large rear door. This added door has a two fold value. It allows easy access and release of animals and helps to familiarize hogs to the trap by allowing them to enter the trap from both ends before it is set as I will explain later.
I first locate a shady spot near a well-traveled hog trail to place the trap. I then tie open the trap door so the entry is 100% accessible. I then swing open the rear door and secure it. By having both doors open a hog has the ability to completely walk through the cage without any fear of enclosure. To coax hogs to walk through the trap I pour a steady line of soured corn throughout the length of the trap and past each end approximately 3 feet. This will get the pigs moving through the trap, like water through a garden hose. Once it is evident that your corn is missing and that hogs are traveling through the trap, it is time to close and secure the rear door and set the front. I set the door with a stick so the end of the door is about a foot off the ground. Once a hog that is taller than the stick enters the trap, he will cause the door to raise and the stick to fall. The door closes to the ground behind him, and he is caught. His hungry partners will quickly see that he is in the trap with a generous helping of corn and want to join in on the feast. They will push through the closed door one at a time, unable to resist the aroma that the soured grain creates.
The trick to filling the trap with multiple hogs is taking the initial time to get hogs moving through the trap before it is actually set. Once this comfort with the trap is established, then the procedure of baiting should go as follows:
Pour the 3 foot line of corn through the trap door just like you did when the trap was not set. Only this time use far less corn on the outside of the trap. Continue the line of corn through the trap door opening, and then concentrate a large pile of corn in the back quarter section of the trap. Do not pour any corn near or outside of the rear door. The more corn you place inside the trap, the longer the trapped hogs will remain calm and eat. This will tempt hogs on the outside to come on in and join the party. As soon as the corn runs out, the trapped hogs will realize they are caught, and they will let out distress squeals and even run into the trap. This will chase off any hogs that have remained on the outside. If too little bait is placed inside the trap, then you may very well miss out on a full cage of squealers. An abundant helping of bait will insure that even the shyest in the group joins in for dinner.
In most cases large boars will avoid confined steel trap entry gates. However from time to time a great tusker will let his stomach get the best of him, and he will enter. This occurrence will put your trap to the test in both strength and durability. I've see traps that looked like a dozer had been inside rather than a boar. The chance of catching and wounding a large trophy boar can be greatly decreased by regulating how high the trap door is allowed to open. This can be done by attaching a cable or rope to the trap door and the other end to the floor of the trap. The length of the cable regulates how high the door will be allowed to open. If set at a foot high, the trap will be a beacon for perfect grilling size porkers in the 80-100 pound range.
With a trapping system like this in place, you will never have to hunt for meat when you are really looking for a trophy. Also, the ability to catch multiple hogs at a time is a valuable tool when culling and castrating a sounder that is under trophy boar management. If you follow these simple guidelines, your trap will keep your freezer at full capacity all year long.