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Predator control featured at Louisiana field day

Landowners and farmers learn about controlling animal pests at recent LSU AgCenter field day. Special emphasis on coyotes and feral pigs.

Landowners and farmers learned about controlling animal pests, especially coyotes and wild pigs, at a Jan. 23 field day held by the LSU AgCenter and Louisiana Sea Grant.

The event featured Walter Cotton of the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), who demonstrated methods for catching coyotes with snares and foothold traps. He also showed techniques for hunting and calling coyotes.

Coyotes prey on household pets, as well as desirable wildlife, and also destroy crops.

Feral hogs, not native to the United States, carry disease and compete with wildlife for food. Their extensive rooting habits cause erosion and damage crops and native plants.

Armadillos also are a pest and carry disease and burrow in pastures and yards.

Methods for legally taking nuisance animals and outlaw quadrupeds were explained by Alan Matherne, LSU AgCenter/Sea Grant coastal and fisheries agent, and Rick Louque, LSU AgCenter agent in Assumption Parish.

They demonstrated examples of several methods of trapping pests, including leg-hold devices, cage traps and snares. They also discussed various baits for luring animals into the traps, including corn and other grains soaked in strawberry-flavored drink mix.

Because of the potential for animals to become wary of traps, the speakers suggested the option of snares set in game paths.

Hunting hogs at night or with the use of dogs is not as effective at population control, and it is time-consuming, the experts said. They also advised that well-built fencing can be an effective, although expensive, control.

Louisiana has legalized night hunting for pest animals from the last day of February until the last day of August.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and local law enforcement personnel were also on hand to provide guidance concerning taking outlaw animals at night and to answer additional questions.

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