First, let me say that I appreciate the fact that effort is being made to control or eliminate these scavengers.
I am over 80 years old; have hunted and fished for over 70 years; have ranched a modest spread in Central Texas, for over 60 years and am still doing so—at least to the extent that my strength and age will allow.
I have numerous trees, creek bottoms, stock ponds, two running creeks, and lots of hogs. A sanctioned helicopter flyover with two shooters about a month and a half ago across me and an adjoining neighbor’s netted over 200 hogs killed in one day. There are still plenty left.
I have numerous questions and concerns about the program you outline, which I’ll set forth:
• What form is the bait and how are you going to make sure they get it and eat it? I have a Brittany that I let run out that can, and does, get to anywhere a pig can – and who (I’ve learned) will eat anything put before him.
• What about the buzzards and coyotes and bobcats that may very well feed on these dead pig carcasses? The first thing the buzzards are going to eat are poisoned entrails.
• How many of these dead or dying hogs are going to wind up dead and rotted in my running creeks or stock ponds? My spread is as beautifully maintained as I can afford to keep it – both for my enjoyment and my family and friends.
• What are you going to do about Hog hunters and trappers? I have eaten feral hog meat that I have killed and understand that there is a market for this pork. Also, for every one man who can afford a private deer lease for his teenage son or daughter to hunt on and learn the important lessons of being in the wild and enjoying what nature provides – there are 10 that can probably afford to take their kids – or even themselves – for weekend hog hunts.
• How effective can poisoning be when sows have two litters of about 10 each twice a year, half of which are female – which will start breeding when they are six months old? Are enough of them going to continue to ingest the poison to make it an effective endeavor? Also, as much as I hate to admit it – these bastards are cunning; they might learn to not like your tainted oatmeal.
Ranching in the 1950s resulted in my spending more effort and time doctoring livestock for screwworm infestation than any other aspect of ranch work. One of the greatest things to ever happen to livestock and wildlife was the eradication through the process of sterilizing the screwworm flies. The fact is that almost all fawns born in Texas in the warm months prior to that time died.
Now we have as great an abundance of deer .I wonder what effort is being considered or made to effect the sterilization of these hog scavengers. Would it not be a plausible idea to explore and pursue?
My fear overall is that this proposed solution like so many government solutions could easily prove as bad or worse than the problem itself and no more effective than everyone involved just supporting and urging everyone that can to kill every hog they can.
Richard L. Mewhinney
Editor: Thank you so much for your great letter on the subject. We have covered these points both in print and at fishgame.com. In fact in this issue we cover a few of them. Your points of concern are well taken and seem to very eloquently voice those of outdoor lovers around the state.
Chester, as I listened in on you on the radio, I realized this was the first time tuning in. I appreciated your Gulf of Mexico topic; bringing to light information to people that have not had the opportunity to witness nature in our back yard. I am a dive master in Lake Charles, and by your description, it appears you have scuba diver experience as well. Thanks for touching on the subject.
Also during your program, you mentioned the manatees and how they drift westerly. A couple of years back a manatee was seen in Calcasieu Lake.
I would like to reach out to someone that has the ability to capture and relocate this type of mammal. I am the operations manager of a renewable power plant that utilizes a 21-acre cooling pond. During the winter months, the warmer temperatures may have the ability to maintain environmental conditions until the open water temperatures increase for release.
If you know of such a group, please send me their contact information.
Editor: Dear Mr. Kiser, thank you so much for your concern for the wonderful marine mammals of the Gulf of Mexico. There are several organizations including the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries that engage in marine mammal rescue.
The Coastal Wildlife Network (CWN), coordinated by Audubon Nature Institute, serves as the primary response partner for Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) for rehabilitating marine mammals (dolphins, whales, manatees) and sea turtles. You can find them at audubonnatureinstitute.org. Another is The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies who operated in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
You can get more information on them at www.imms.org.
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