“We’re at the stage right now where we’re looking for the right dose, which varies according to the size of the pig,” he said.

Research, using grain-based baits has been conducted in Texas for the past few years and in Australia before then. There is a huge feral hog problem in the Queensland area of Australia, Gentry said.

“The question on most people’s minds right now is how long before we have something that works? And I’m saying probably eight months to a year,” he said. “In my opinion we are looking at probably four years down the road before we will have something the public can use, with all of the regulatory aspects that you have to go through with EPA and FDA.”

Also as part of the project, landowners in the parishes of East Feliciana, West Feliciana and East Baton Rouge parishes will have access to traps they can check out from their LSU AgCenter parish office to use in capturing pigs on their property, Gentry said.

“Basically what will happen is a farmer who has a problem will come to the county agent,” he said. “They will set up feeders and cameras to start monitoring, and when the pigs show up they will set up the trap. We have three of these traps right now.”

Typically the plan will be to catch the pigs in an area, then move the trap, thus giving farmers some short-term relief.

“When we catch pigs in the traps, we take them to our isolation unit where we are doing the dosage trials,” Gentry said. “For landowners, when they catch them, they are to kill them. We don’t want them transported around because that is partially how we got the problem that we have now.”

The meat from animals that have consumed the sodium nitrite should be fine for human consumption. The problem would occur if you consumed the stomach contents because it breaks down slower, he said.

LSU AgCenter wildlife specialist Don Reed said feral hogs are the biggest problem that landowners have in the state.

“So the popular saying right now is that there are two types of people in the state,” Gentry said. “There are those who have feral hogs and those who will have feral hogs.”

jmorgan@agcenter.lsu.edu