Date of Award

12-1972

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Wildlife and Fisheries Science

Major Professor

Michael R. Pelton

Committee Members

Ralph W. Dimmick, George M. Merriman

Abstract

The present study was conducted within the Tennessee portion of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The major objectives of this study were to evaluate techniques currently being utilized by the National Park Service for the control of the European wild hog (Sus scrofa) and possibly formulate improved methods of control.

From February, 1971, through February, 1972, a monthly program of live trapping and direct reduction was conducted within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Five types of live traps were evaluated. Three methods of direct reduction of free-roaming wild hogs were also evaluated. In addition to the evaluation of methods for control of the wild hog, activity and capture data were utilized to determine factors influencing the success of the overall control program.

Captures of wild hogs occurred on 1.38 percent of the 3,325 trap night during the study. Greater trapping success was found during the spring months, plus the months of August, November, and December.

Capture success at trap sites was found to decrease as the age of prior hog activity increased. Inaccessibility into areas of recent hog activity proved to be one of the factors most limiting the success of live trapping.

Hog activity differed significantly among major drainages within the study area, forest stand types, and types of traps. Site types (wet of upland), daily maximum and minimum temperatures, temperature deviation, daily precipitation, snow cover at the higher and lower elevations, and barometric pressure trends, during the trap night periods, were not found to influence overall trapping success. Activity near traps by other wildlife species posed a major problem within certain areas during the study.

Night hunting while walking proved to be the most efficient method of removing hogs by direct reduction (9.7 manhours per hog removed), and daytime hunting (31.4 manhours per hog removed).

Costs per hog removed by live trapping, 66 dollars, was found to be greater than for direct reduction, 47 dollars. Least cost per hog removed, 15 dollars, was accomplished when night hunting while walking.

Live trapping resulted in the removal of a high number of immature hogs, while those removed by direct reduction were predominately mature animals.

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