I LOVE ANIMALS.
Besides being a lifelong hunter and angler, I have always had companion and guard dogs.
My wife Lisa and I run a small zoological facility with more than 50 species ranging from Siberian chipmunks to gorgeous green-naped lorikeets from New Guinea.
Animals are a huge part of our lives.
I say this to preface the diatribe that is about to ensue. I have a burr under my saddle regarding people who never put the blame for any incident on animals—and I’m not talking about animal rights activists.
I’m talking about hunters and fishermen.
We ran a story on fishgame.com about the tragic hog attack in Anahuac the day after it occurred last November. We had a few people who claimed to be hunters saying the actions could not possibly be a hog.
One guy went as far as to say hogs “always run” when people approach them. He claimed to have hunted hogs with dogs for years and never had a hog charge.
I have hunted hogs with dogs a handful of times and had hogs charge on the majority of occasions. I got charged twice by the same hog in the Cumberland Mountains in Tennessee while hunting with dogs. A second charge occurred with a huge boar on a hog-dog hunt in East Texas. Also, along with my cousin Frank Moore, I was forced up a tree by a boar in Edwards County while we were simply walking through a cedar thicket.
Maybe this gentleman was pursuing vegan hogs on a gluten free diet or something.
I mean, imagine the horror of the poor things actually being chased by dogs as they were out there minding their own business destroying native wildlife habitat and causing untold damage to agriculture.
Can you imagine the nerve of those hunters?
This reminds me about the time I was investigating coyote attacks and was told by a wildlife “expert” there had never been a coyote attack on a person in Texas at that time.
When I pointed out that a coyote bit a man in the butt while grilling in his backyard, the expert said that wasn’t really an attack because the coyote was attracted to the food.
Tell that to the guy who had a coyote’s canines piercing his buttocks!
While talking about cougar management and the increasing presence of cougars in urban areas in California and other areas of the west, I was told that humans should stop going into their habitat. I informed this person that they are currently living on former cougar habitat and that their home displaced cougars and other critters.
When I mentioned the case of a cougar stalking kids on an elementary school playground, this person told me the cougars were there first, and we should not blame them if they kill a kid.
I am all for keeping mountain lions around. I think they should be managed properly and considered a prized game animal.
I do however think that cougars crossing onto playgrounds should have crosshairs put on their shoulders and 150 grains of lead sent into their vitals.
Kids come first—period.
Anyone who would prefer a cougar over children should not be making decisions on wildlife or human issues for that matter. Their opinion is invalid.
Then there’s the other side of animal apologetics. It is the cluelessness involving domestic animals and livestock and all-out hatred of wildlife. On my radio program I occasionally get calls from people who think we should basically eliminate wildlife and stop conserving any kind of predator.
This came up in a discussion about sharks. My response was that according to the Centers for Disease Control sharks kill about one person in the United States annually.
Horses kill around 20. That won’t grab too many headlines because too many media figures and wealthy, influential people have horses, but it is a fact.
Sharks are easy to sensationalize but in reality Mr. Ed’s kind has killed far more people than “Jaws” and its family in the United States. They have also killed more people than bears and mountain lions.
Dogs are the most egregious human attacker with anywhere between 30 to 50 fatalities annually and tens of thousands of hospital visits because of dogs. However, you can’t even mention a particular dog breed related to attacks or fatalities without people blowing a gasket.
Pit bulls have more keyboard warrior defenders than murder victims. If you don’t believe me, dare to post a news story about an attack involving a pit bull and see the people come out of the woodwork.
I have nothing at all against the breed, but I am sick of apologists denying that sometimes they do kill folks. Yes other breeds do too, but that’s not the point. We defend animals more than we do people.
We put energy and money into animal defense when it would go much better if spent on wildlife conservation.
We have a problem when people defend exotic animals such as hogs, which have caused billions of dollars of damage to agriculture, destroy untold acres of wildlife habitat—and yes attack people.
I would expect this from animal rightists, but not hunters and fishermen. It’s time to put the focus back in the right place, which is the safety of people and the conservation of native wildlife.
Now if I could just find some of those vegan, gluten-free, diet hogs. Seems like they would be great to cuddle with.
Maybe they’ll fly one day, too.
Email Chester Moore at [email protected]