Missing In Action
Large Mammal Tension Swing Trap
During the summer of 2013 we had a herd of 60 goats grazing on a client site. The goats were held inside of 5-acre electrified paddock cells and were rotated every two-weeks into fresh pasture. The purpose was to use a “biological” control measure to reduce non-native invasive plants such as multiflora rose, Asiatic bittersweet, autumn olive, Japanese honeysuckle and others.
We did not realize that upon completion of the project, one goat was left behind. Now and again a report would come into the landowner that a visitor saw a goat. This being the case, we were able to confirm that a goat was indeed living off the land.
The site is surrounded by tidal salt water, and it did not take long to figure out the goat’s movement and utilization patterns. The main limiting factor is that all wildlife must take advantage of two freshwater ponds for water. The goat was behaving as becoming feral and we were not able to capture him. We did not want to go through the permitting and safety issues to rent a tranquilizing dart gun to drop the animal for capture. Therefore, we went to Plan B, a large mammal tension swing trap, as designed by our sub-contractor Patriot Land & Wildlife Management.
They used heavy gauge livestock fencing and created a tall, circular trap. At the entrance of the trap, the fence is pulled back under tension and held in place with a hair trigger cotter pin and wire. So here is how it works. The hungry goat comes into the trap to feed on a bail of hay. As he pushes forward to feed, the animals chest leans into the trip wire, releasing the cotter pin. The fence under tension then swings closed, and you’ve got your animal.
The trap worked like a charm. Once inside, the trail camera sent an image to a cell phone, notifying Patriot that the animal was captured. Ingenious!