Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A New Way of Hunting

I first started hunting when I was 12.  It seems like a long time ago, most likely because it was a long time ago.  Back then there was a moderate population of feral hogs.  But lately, the hog population has exploded.  And there are some simple reasons why.  A sow (female hog) can have up to four litters of piglets a year.  They have no natural predators, except for the odd alligator, and of course, man.

I remember back in the 80's there was a big anti-hunting movement.  The animal rights people did not like hunters shooting at bambi.  However, in these past few years the deer population has exploded in Northern states.  The average person has to worry about deer getting in their garbage, crop and flower gardens, and the massive damage that deer can cause when getting hit by a car.  Suddenly, deer aren't so cute anymore. 

In the North, many states have opened up hunting season so that there aren't so many deer competing for so little food during the winter.  I know of one place in Virginia when you buy your licence you get a licence to shoot one buck and two does.  If you fill that, you can go and get another permit for $12.00 letting you shoot one buck and two does.  And it goes on and on like that.  They really just want that $12.00.  But they are so overrun with deer they have to bring down the population.

So what does this have to do with hogs?  Well, in the Southern states we are having the same problem but with hogs. 


Here in Florida hogs and deer compete for a lot of the same food.  A lot of deer have been pushed out of their territory by feral hogs.  Just two years ago I shot a hog during the quota hunt season.  But I wasn't the only one.  There were only about 6 deer killed versus about 70 hogs killed during that time period.  Does that say something?  You bet it does.  The hog population has gotten out of control.

Hogs have started to creep into residental areas as well as farmland to seek out food.  The problem has gotten big in Texas.  They have an estimated 2.6 million feral hogs.  They have been destroying farmland in huge numbers.  It has gotten so bad that a bill was passed with help from Ted Nugent to allow hunters to take out feral pigs from helicopters.  That's right.  They can go all Vietnam style, and run down hogs with a helicopter while shooting semi-automatic rifles at them.

Here's the video from a series called "Pigman."

At first I wondered how bad the problem could really be.  If you've seen enough fishing shows, you know they fish over several days to get enough footage for a half hour programs.  At the end of the Pigman show, they said that they flew the helicopter for 8 hours and shot 272 feral hogs. 

Seriously?  272 hogs?  Okay, the problem is as bad as they say if they can shoot that many hogs in just 8 hours.  What you may not see in the trailer is that they are hunting strickly over farmland that has been taken over and destroyed by wild hogs. 

I was telling my Dad about this, and wouldn't it be great for him to get back in a helicopter, and take out a few hogs?  He just gave me "the look."  The background story on this is that, he flew in a helicopter once in Vietnam, and swore he would never get in one again.  You couldn't drag him kicking and screaming into a helicopter ever. 

So if I had the chance to shoot down hogs with an AR-15 rifle out of a helicopter would I do it?  You bet I would.  But Dad would take a pass.   

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