North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

April 16, 2013

Gardendale council releases plan to rid city of wild hogs

By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News

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.”

Motion-activated cameras are used to find the hogs, and watch the traps.

The traps can’t come soon enough for Teresa Gravlee, who lives near Kmart. Her problems with the hogs destroying her yard were detailed in a North Jefferson News story last month. She addressed the council with her frustrations.

Mayor Othell Phillips asked residents to call the Public Works Department at 631-3394 if they see wild hogs in their area. He added that they city still needs to get permission from some landowners to place the traps on their property.

In other business, the council made two personnel moves. Doug Hand was hired as senior accountant, replacing Dee Gray, and Breanna Dunn was promoted to magistrate, replacing Sherry Baggett.

The council passed three resolutions related to the Dewey Barber Chevrolet road construction project, including the awarding of the construction contract to Anderson Belcher Construction for $339,800.

The city will once again take part in the annual sales-tax holiday for school supplies in August, thanks to an ordinance that passed unanimously. Gardendale has participated in the event ever since state legislators enacted the statewide holiday in the middle of the previous decade.