Here are a few tips and tricks to help out beginning trappers. These are things we've learned from years of trapping that will help take a little bit of the learning curve out of the process for you.
- When we setup a trap in a new area we will often bait in and around the trap and tie the door open so that the hogs can walk freely in and out of the traps, (we call it "soaking the pots" from Deadliest Catch fame). We even have traps that the back wall is removable and we will take it out to allow them to walk all the way through the trap. This will get them comfortable to feeding inside the trap and after a few days we will set it.
- If the hogs are eating all of your bait on the outside of the trap but they aren't entering the trap to eat the bait on the inside then tie the door open and only bait inside the trap. After a few days untie the door, set the trap but continue to only bait on the inside.
- Be prepared for anything, sometimes hogs break loose out of a trap and sometimes they get loose when you're transferring them from a trap to a trailer. If you do it enough then eventually you're going to have one get loose so don't let down your guard because an injured or angry hog can be dangerous.
- Some hogs get trap smart and some hogs don't. Just because you lose a hog for whatever reason don't just assume that it won't be back. We've lost hogs and then caught them again a few days later. It didn't appear that they got any smarter.
- If you're going to be trapping a lot and unloading the hogs live into a trailer then go out and buy a Hot Shot or cattle prod. You can thank me later.
- Have a plan on what you're going to do with the hogs after you have them trapped. Lots of beginners will get excited, set out a trap, catch some hogs and then what? Well, they haven't thought it out that far yet. If you're going to shoot them in the trap then get your gun ready before you approach or shoot them from a distance so that they're a little calmer. If you're going to load them up in a trailer then get everything ready before you approach the trap.
- If your trap is always closed when you go check it but there's never any hogs in there and you're using a trip line then raise it. That will keep raccoons or any other animal that's entering the trap to easily pass underneath the line without setting it off and closing the door.
- Check your traps often. Hogs are very sensitive to heat and can die if left out exposed to the sunlight and warm temperatures for extended periods. It's best to check your traps in the morning and in the evening and position them in shady areas if possible in case they get trapped mid-day.