Texas recently approved the use of a warfarin-based toxicant called Kaput in its ongoing battle (and seemingly futile) war to control wild hogs. This action has spurred renewed discussion on the research and developments surrounding feral hog toxicants. Should other Southern states try them to control their out-of-control swine herds?

Alabama’s Wildlife and Freshwater Director Chuck Sykes said at the present time he is not sold on the idea that Kaput is the best solution to a difficult problem.

“Based on the data we have now, I’m not in support of it. There are a lot of questions about the use of toxicants. We’ve been working with the USDA for more than five years on the use of sodium nitrite.”

Warfarin-based toxicants rely on blood-thinning effects to kill hogs. However, a hog may have to ingest a Kaput bait multiple times over a long period before it kills the animal. Sodium nitrite affects the hog’s ability to transfer oxygen in its system, and it works quickly.

Director Sykes said the sodium nitrite bait is going through the licensing process, and he hopes it will be approved in the next couple of years and then possibly be used in Alabama, and subsequently in other hog states.

“Sodium nitrite has proven to be very lethal, very effective and very humane in the way it dispatches hogs during trial usage in Alabama, so we know it works here,” Sykes said. “And it doesn’t continue to kill on down the food chain line. The pig just eats the product, gets sleepy, lies down and doesn’t wake up. The product depletes the oxygen in the bloodstream.”

Sodium nitrite is administered through a peanut butter-based bait that won’t be available to the general public. Toxicants won’t be something that will be available on the shelf at the local co-op for everybody to use. In Alabama, it would be used by trained, licensed applicators.

According to the USDA, feral hogs cause more than $1.5 billion in damages to property, crops, timber, livestock, native wildlife, ecosystems and cultural and historic resources nationally each year. Damage from feral hogs in Alabama alone is estimated at $50 million annually.

Right now, trapping and then euthanizing the hogs is the best way to control swine herds. Unlimited hog hunting opportunities in southern states, including the use of bait and at night w/thermals, is fun and helps with pic management.

Source: Alabama Outdoor Weekly