Scientist testing poison-bait for feral hog population control

WICHITA COUNTY, Tx (RNN Texoma) - Scientists are testing out a new poison-bait to help farmers and ranchers with their feral hog problem. The poison-bait includes some ingredients in meat products.

"It's actually sodium nitrite which is just another form of salt," Wichita County Texas A&M AgriLife Extension agent David Graf said.

The same white crystal powder used in sausage and bacon could help farmers and ranchers control the feral hog population.

Feral hogs cause $1.6 billion in damage every year across the country.

Federal Wildlife Services is starting to field-test the poison in bait feeders to see how effective they are to attract feral hogs but it should be completed by next year and available for purchase around 2020.

The sodium nitrite puts the hogs to sleep just like NyQuil and it destroys the hogs red blood cells while they are unconscious. They simply fall asleep and do not wake up.

"It's unique in that hogs are very susceptible to salt just a little bit of salt can kill a hog," Graf said.

Scientists created the bait to suit the taste buds of feral hogs. The poison stays together as it makes its way to the hog's gut and does not break down while chewing.

Graf said it is safer for livestock to eat compared to other poisons like Warfarin based products. Warfarin is used in rat poison.

"The other thing is it's not going to do anything to their meat because it has been in the process meats business," Graf said.

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