People have all kinds of different hobbies but Greg Rhinehart has one that is a bit out of the ordinary. He is a self-taught wild hog trapper and where he sets his traps, no swine is safe.
This past week the 55-year-old Parker resident – and pastor for 27 years of Bible Believers Baptist Church in Parker – caught five wild hogs in a trap in north Bay County on private property. He’s caught close to three dozen feral pigs on this same property over the last two years.
But how did a pastor who still loves his church and people get into trapping wild hogs? The answer, in short, is a hog hunting trip seven to eight years ago and a wild hog that the land owner wanted trapped and removed.
“I enjoy welding but had to sit down and give the idea some thought on how to build a trap I could move but one that was effective at catching hogs,” Rhinehart says. The first trap is still in use today. It’s made of welded rebar, covered in chain link fencing and uses a sliding trap door. That trap and another similar one are slightly smaller than the 5- by 8-foot trailer that transports them.
Rhinehart often works by himself and for ease of loading and unloading uses detachable wheels on the traps. Once he finds the right location to place the trap, he can off load it, set it up and be gone in less than an hour. Part of the setup involves camouflaging the trap with brush and bushes.
“Wild hogs are smart animals and they‘ll notice anything that’s different. You want the trap to look like a natural part of their environment,” he said. “If they ‘smell a rat,’ they will not come in it.”
His 5- by 8-foot traps measure only 40 square feet, approximately, but sometimes Rhinehart literally finds he has a trap full of wild hogs. He often catches four or five pigs but has caught as many as 12 at a time. Some of the wild porkers are quite large. He’s caught six that weighed more than 300 pounds.
All of the hogs he catches wind up as food for the table. He doesn’t waste any of the meat, proudly processing all the meat himself.
His ability to catch wild hogs has even drawn the attention of the producers of the national TV channel Animal Planet, who wanted to know about his experiences with wild hogs and secrets of catching the feral animals.
Although no one knows how many feral hogs there are in Florida, it’s believed they number in the tens of thousands. In fact, wild hogs are now found throughout much of the U.S.
Rhinehart traps in Bay and surrounding counties and knows his unique services will be in demand for a while.