I remember the first time the destructive nature of wild hogs was driven home in my mind. It was some years back, and I was riding a four-wheeler down an old gravel road on Cat Island NWR when I came across some rootings.
I might have been running that old Kawasaki a little too fast, and when I said I “came across” those rootings, what I mean is that I hit them wide open and almost flipped the bike.
Man, it was like running across a rowed field at 30 mph.
The thing that amazed me is that this wasn’t just a dirt road. Nor was it a loosely graveled path. No, the road was hard-packed shell. It was like concrete, seemingly impervious to damage. The hogs didn’t seem to notice.
I’ve never seen a pig from a deer stand, but I’ve come across other examples of the animals’ destructive behavior. I’ve had them find corn piles meant for deer and leave nothing but rootings, and I’ve seen how spiteful they can be when corn is in feeders.
I’ve also spent time with some die-hard hog hunters, who just love the creatures. Now, to be fair, these guys can’t be all there: I mean, they slip in behind pissed-off hogs and grab their back legs after dogs bay them up against bluffs. Some of the craziest stuff I’ve every seen — especially since the pigs were slicing and dicing dogs when the hunters grabbed them.
The fact is that hogs and deer don’t mix well. When hogs move onto a piece of property, deer at the very least become more difficult to hunt. At worst, they just find other locales.
The plague that once was a curiosity for many hunters has become a pandemic across the South. So it’s always been perplexing that there are any regulations on shooting them, even during open hunting seasons. Well, I understand concerns that some nefarious folks would use nighttime hunting opportunities during the fall to spotlight deer, but those poachers aren’t waiting until the state OKs after-dark pursuit of hogs — they already headlight deer. So the current restriction just doesn’t make sense.
And the fact is that hogs don’t walk around a lot during the daytime; they normally can be found right around sunrise, and then disappear until the sun sets. They also are a LOT smarter than deer and quickly go completely nocturnal. So the only real way to control the population is to allow nighttime hunting.
That’s why it is so encouraging to see a Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission proposal to allow us to stay in the woods after the sunset to shoot hogs during hunting seasons.
I know there are plenty of deer hunters hoping this proposal receives final approval. Then hogs won’t have any time during which they can operate with impunity.