GARDENDALE — The Gardendale City Council is taking its first concrete steps toward ridding parts of the city of an infestation of feral hogs.
In Monday night’s regular session, the council heard of plans to trap the hogs from Andy Baril, a regional agent for the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service. Baril described how the hogs live in families, called sounders, which are centered around a large sow.
“The oldest sow is the one we want the most,” Baril said. “What we are trying to do is to set traps where you catch the entire family unit at one time. Some will [number] in the 20s, some in the teens.”
The traps would consist of steel panels used often by farmers, which would be bent and then connected to form a circle with an opening at one end. That opening would use a trap door that would be sprung not by the smaller piglets, but by the larger sow.
“Once the ‘big mama’ goes in there, we set the door,” Baril said. “If we get her and most of her older piglets and miss some of the smaller ones, the coyotes will finish off the rest. The boars don’t matter — if we get the females, the boars will go north to Locust Fork.”
Traps cost about $100 each, with additional money needed for the corn used as bait.
The area occupied by the hogs are the Black Creek and Cunningham Creek bottom lands, in an area bounded roughly by Decatur Highway, Glenn’s Chapel Road, Paradise Valley Road, New Castle Road and Tarrant Road. Much of the area is wooded.
Baril said that it might take six months to catch the hogs.
“We’re guessing here, but we think there are about 100 hogs in five sounders,” Baril said. “But it could be 200 or 300.”