Legislators consider allowing hunters to use aerial hunting to control damages made by increasing numbers of wild pigs in the state. Wildlife authorities are turning to aerial hunting as the panacea of wild boar control.
Oklahoma is experiencing, as so many other states, a rapid growth of wild pig populations.
Growth rates accelerated in recent years in a big way. With the expansion of wild boar populations in the state comes, of course, a significant increase in the damages the animals do to their habitat, agricultural land, and the environment. Ranchers and farmers claim damages to their crops in the millions annually.
In addition, wildlife experts and biologists point out that the feral pigs carry diseases that can affect domestic swine. Some of the viral and bacterial diseases can even be transmitted to humans.
Oklahoma is already using aerial hunting for wild hog control. However, only government agencies and licensed contractors could hunt wild hogs from a helicopter. This is about to change with the proposal that legislators allow landowners and hunters to hunt from helicopters. This new legislation would allow licensed hunters to use the services of helicopter companies for boar-hunting. More importantly, landowners could now let hunters hunt feral pigs on their property from the air.
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As we all know, hunting wild boar from the air is an effective method of killing pigs. The animals are easier to spot from the air, they may take flight when they hear a helicopter, and, last but not least, they are not able to look up because of their anatomy. Therefore, chances are very good that at least initially more hogs will meet their destiny by turning into meat for ham and pork chops.
Texas already allows aerial hunting of feral pigs. Yet, despite the onslaught from the air by thrill-seeking hunters and money-grabbing helicopter operators, I have not yet heard that feral pig populations in Texas are shrinking.
How could they? Landowners continue the use of automatic feeders for their “pig nutrition” programs. As a result, the well-fed sows in areas exposed to aerial hunting are simply increasing their production of new pigs. Kind of a supply and demand chain of sorts.
In response, and as a final solution and an all-out merciless feral pig holocaust, one Texan county allows the use an anticoagulant as poison to get a handle on the uncontrolled growth of feral pig populations? But that is an entirely different story. It has the potential for serious unintended consequences that will take some time to manifest.
Perusing the website of a Texas hunting ranch, offering hunts for deer, boar, and exotics, I came across a picture showing at least several dozens, maybe even a hundred, feral pigs.
Feral pigs on the Independence Ranch, Texas.
Most noteworthy is their orientation. The feral pigs all face the same direction. Why? The animals are all facing an automatic feeder.
And here is another picture from a different ranch.
Feral hogs at an automatic feeder (USfreereads.com)
Now, if someone introduced anticoagulants into the feeder food, you would get hundreds of dead pigs littering the landscape. And dozens of scavengers feeding on the carcasses.
Do scavengers know that the blue fat signifies death from poisoning?
Certainly not. Do they care? I don’t think so.
As a result, we have a strong poison spreading unpredictably in the food chain. By the time the promoters of poisoned food realize their foolish mistake irreparable damage may have been done. Just wait.
May I suggest yet another use for “Kaput Hog Bait”? How about using the anticoagulant on another invasive species?
This python burst open after eating an alligator (National Geographic.com)
Florida suffers from and struggles with an invasion of pythons. Yes, snakes. Set free in Florida swamps and national parks by pet owners tired of dealing with an ever longer and more dangerous snake in their home, they are decimating native wildlife.
The number of native deer and other mammals are dropping at an alarming rate. The culprit? Reticulated pythons. Man-eating reticulated Burmese pythons.
Burmese reticulated pythons are the longest snake. They can grow up to 30 feet or so in length. Pythons are constrictors. They crush and suffocate their prey before swallowing it whole. Since they can “unhinge” their jaws, pythons can swallow prey that is much wider and bigger than the size of their head.
How about feeding them feral pigs that have been poisoned by anticoagulants? That would kill lots of pythons – and even more ‘innocent’ wildlife.
But who cares. A few invasive, deadly snakes will be gone. And with them native deer, birds of prey, alligators, and other wildlife. On the other hand, the makers of “Kaput Hog Bait” will have opened up an entirely new market to supply.
What a unique chance to destroy more wildlife and damage the environment for profit.
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