The Shotem' and Caughtem' Blog is the place to find the latest reviews and commentary on gear, destinations, conditions, events, and general knowledge to inform our readers and give our opinions to anyone listening.

blog subhead pic

Changing Feral Hog Population Control Tactics

We at Shotem and Caughtem have not been quiet when it comes to our distaste of the feral hog species.  Our willingness to go to great lengths to help others hunt, kill and pursue their entire population.  However, the Missouri Department of Wildlife is changing its stance on their see all....kill them all policy potentially on all their federal lands.  They are starting to think that trapping might have a greater effect on the hog populations.  They are hoping that private properties also follow suit.

Here is the article should you wish to read more on the development.

 

Wednesday, 30 April 2014 19:49

New York DEC takes over Wild Pig Hunting

We at Shotem and Caughtem have talked many times about wild boar hunting and the problems associated with this nuisance animal.  However, we have also said that it takes a united front when it comes to the elimination of animals of this caliber.  As many states already know many programs have been enacted on a government level to control populations of boa, wild hogs, lizards, snake head, carp, etc.  The list is long and the government man power and budget is scarce.  Just in our state alone we might have 1 Wildlife and Parks official that covers hundreds of thousands of acres.  These short staffed individuals are not provided the resources needed to keep an invasive species at bay.  That is why we feel New York might be making a huge mistake while populations remain small and manageable but making this decision.  Let us know your thought in the comment section below.

A new state regulation prohibits hunting or trapping of free-ranging Eurasian boars in New York State.

The ban was announced by state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens. He said the regulation is designed to ensure maximum effectiveness of DEC's statewide eradication efforts.

"Enacting a statewide regulation was important to support DEC's ongoing work to remove this invasive species from the state and to ensure that it does not become established in the wild anywhere in New York," said Commissioner Martens. "Eurasian boars are a great threat to natural resources, agricultural interests, and private property and public safety wherever they occur and DEC will continue to work to protect these resources and remove wild boars from the state."

Eurasian boars were brought to North America centuries ago and wild populations numbering in the millions are now present across much of the southern U.S. In recent years, wild boar populations have been appearing in more northern states too, often as a result of escapes from enclosed shooting facilities that offer "wild boar hunts," the DEC said.

Governor Cuomo signed legislation on Oct. 21 that immediately prohibited the importation, breeding or introduction to the wild of any Eurasian boars.

Furthermore, the law prohibits possession, sale, transport or marketing of live Eurasian boars as of Sept. 1, 2015. The new law was an essential step in the state's efforts to prevent Eurasian boars from becoming established in the wild, the DEC said.

However, there are already small numbers of Eurasian boars on the landscape in New York. Since 2000, wild boars have been reported in many counties across the state, and breeding in the wild has been confirmed in at least six counties (Tioga, Cortland, Onondaga, Clinton, Sullivan and Delaware) in recent years.

The DEC is working closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services program to remove any Eurasian boars that are reported in New York. To date, more than 150 animals have been captured and destroyed, the DEC said.

These efforts appeared to have made a difference. Officials said late last year that there wasn't a single report of a wild boar seen or taken locally. However, they are not willing to say that they've been completely taken off the local landscape. The feeling is that some folks, for whatever reason, are keeping quiet about what animals remain out there.

Meanwhile, the eradication efforts are expensive, time consuming and requires a great deal of manpower,according to the DEC.

"Hunters have offered to assist our efforts by hunting for boars wherever they occur, but experience has shown this to be counter-productive," Martens said. "As long as swine may be pursued by hunters, there is a potential conflict with our eradication efforts. Eurasian boars often join together to form a 'sounder,' the name for a group of pigs that can number 20 or more individuals. Shooting individual boars as opportunities arise is ineffective as an eradication method often causes the remaining animals to disperse and be more difficult to remove."

Hunters pursuing wild boars in locations where baited traps have been established by DEC or USDA can also undermine these costly and labor-intensive capture efforts.

Shooting may remove one or two animals, but the rest of the sounder scatters and rarely comes back together as a group, thereby hampering eradication efforts, the DEC said.

The new regulations also prohibits anyone from disturbing traps set for wild boars or otherwise interfering with Eurasian boar eradication activities. Hunting wild boar is still allowed at enclosed hunting preserves until Sept. 1, 2015.

The regulation does provide necessary exceptions for state and federal wildlife agencies, law enforcement agencies, and others who are authorized by DEC to take Eurasian boar to alleviate nuisance, property damage, or threats to public health or welfare, the DEC said.

If you've seen a Russian wild boar or any other type of feral pig, call the DEC's Cortland office at 1-607-753-3095, Extension 247, or email the DEC at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and include "Eurasian boar" in the subject line.. Photographs of the animals are especially helpful, so try to get a picture and include it with your report.

 

We at Shotem and Caughtem heard the news that Tennessee residents are pressuring the state to open a feral pig hunting season.  We thought this would make a great debate for all to way in on the subject.  Here are some details and our thoughts.  Let us know what you think in the comment section below.

An official with the Tennessee Wildlife Commission met with concerned hunters Tuesday who want to open a new hunting season.  Their goal is to open a feral hog hunting season and allow them to use dogs when they track them. They say the animals have caused significant damage on private and public land.  Right now, hunters can kill feral hogs, but only if they get an exemption from the state.  The five counties asking for the changes are Polk, Monroe, White, Bradley and McMinn.

Though we think that feral hogs are more than a pain, there are some things we have noticed in surrounding states that we feel have worked best for this invasive species.  Wild Boar have covered much of the southern states since Christopher Columbus released the first pigs from his boat.  As many know pigs are not natural to North America.  If you travel to Texas to hunt wild pigs they will give you a stack of tags for a nominal fee.  In Oklahoma however, they decided to also create a hunting season for pigs and charge a pretty high price to do so for revenues sake.  It has backfired.  Many hunting properties began trapping pigs in Texas and importing them into the state in order to make a buck.  As such the number of pigs has doubled in the state in a relatively short amount of time.  Missouri has taken a different approach.  Kill them all.  No tags, no license, just get rid of them.  They have been able to keep the population fairly in check.  They are an impressive animal with even more impressive breeding capabilities.  They can survive in almost any climate and can double their numbers in months.

Which side of the debate and what are your thoughts on the subject?   

 
Thursday, 06 June 2013 14:22

Feral Hog Hunting at Night

We at Shotem and Caughtem noticed that with the rising temperatures that many would be wild boar hunters will have to switch tactics to appropriately hunt these animals by going nocturnal.  We can say that hunting at night is a whole different ball game.  Many deer hunters get only a glimpse of the rush of being in the great outdoors at night as they make their way to their stands in the pitch black.  Night is when the Wild Things come out.  A hunters senses find a whole new acuity.   Hunting at night can be both an exhilarating rush and an unnerving sense that there is more going on than one realizes.  Leaves russel as  different predators and prey move around, weird noises as animals communicate, all while you try and not give away your position.  Some hunters will find refuge in a stand, some will have some since of comfort as the retreat to their blinds and others will brave the elements by hunkering down by a tree near a creek, river or wallering spot.  

There are a whole host of products available to the would be night hunter.  Different night vision options, lights for feeders and rifles and even specialty scopes.  With the rising wild boar populations more and more options are becoming available to the average hunter.  As technology becomes smaller and more capable we feel this industry will continue to add newer technology to help advance a hunters capabilities.  Here are some of the equipment we have had the opportunity to use and our thoughts.  

When hunting feral hogs at night the least expensive option to aid in your hunt is a light mounted to your rifle.  We tried the whole light in our hand thing and it is not only awkward but ineffective.  Not one of us shining a light by hand next to our rifle were happy with the results it provided.  We found that the color of light also made a huge impact on our success.  Though many say that either green or red lights are effective, we found that red light is the only way to go.  This too comes with its challenges as red light intensity can be stifled due to it's color which effects the range capabilities.  We were impressed by the lights offered by a company called Elusive Wildlife.  Their lights come with all the necessary adaptations to mount to a rail or scope and offer great intensity for low light sensitive scopes at 150-200 yards.  They also make a red circular feeder light that has motion detection should you have the benefit of hunting a baited area.  Tip:  When using lights mounted to scopes or rifles it is best to illuminate your light high in the sky and then dropping down to sight in your animal.

Should you have a lot more cash at your disposal the night vision options are endless and pretty darn cool.  We were using an old cheaper version of an infrared monocular and they can be quite a useful tool.  Even better are some of the night vision and infrared scopes available that not only allow you to see your animal but also take your shot.  Their only down fall is the energy needs.  Tip: Many of these devices need multiple power sources to allow you to stay in your position for long periods.  On one of our nights hunts we had to change the batteries out twice so bring extras.  This technology is ever advancing so there are some useful used options that might get you a good view of your surroundings allowing you to switch to cheaper alternatives prior to taking your shot.

If you have some tips or tricks to hunting at night or what to share your experience leave your comments below or share your photos in the Shotem Gallery and tell your story.

 

Published in On Location

Yes we at Shotem and Caughtem have been doing a lot of blogs on the invasive feral hog problem.  Luckily so far they have stayed clear of Kansas but this article started to raise even our eyebrows.  We have hunted hogs in Oklahoma and Texas and have witnessed this animals destructive power and ability to out wit and out breed even the most dedicated hunters.  But know they are starting to have problems in even the far Northern States and we felt we would add our two cents on the subject.  If like with any invasive species the Wildlife and Parks for each state would adopt the Missouri rule of thumb I doubt we would have the problems of illegal transport of these horrible wild animals.  Missouri has waged an all out war on the animal and we praise their efforts in this fight.  No license, no permits we don't care just help us get rid of the animals is Missouri's stance.  Day or Night.  We at Shotem and Caughtem do not want to see armed men and women roaming people's properties or state parks shooting at everything they see but we also know that no farmer or rancher want these animals anywhere near their properties.  Candace, one of our members, of the Queens of Camo has plenty of experience with hogs should you need a second good resource to ask questions about hog hunting.  Send her a message on their discussion forum http://www.shotemandcaughtem.com/groups-main/viewdiscussion/5-ask-the-queens-of-camo.html?groupid=2

But the pig wars are moving north. In Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon and Pennsylvania — states where not long ago the only pigs were of the “Charlotte’s Web” variety — state officials are scrambling to deal with an invasion of roaming behemoths that rototill fields, dig up lawns, decimate wetlands, kill livestock, spread diseases like pseudo-rabies and, occasionally, attack humans.


In 1990, fewer than two million wild pigs inhabited 20 states, according to John J. Mayer, the manager of the environmental science group at the Savannah River National Laboratory in Aiken, S.C., who tracked the state populations. That number has now risen to six million, with sightings in 47 states and established populations in 38 — “a national explosion of pigs,” as Dr. Mayer put it.

The swine are thought to have spread largely after escaping from private shooting preserves and during illegal transport by hunters across state lines. Experts on invasive species estimate that they are responsible for more than $1.5 billion in annual agricultural damage alone, amounting in 2007 to $300 per pig. The Agriculture Department is so concerned that it has requested an additional $20 million in 2014 for its Wildlife Services program to address the issue.

There is wide agreement that the pigs are undesirable — like the Asian carp that is threatening to invade the Great Lakes, but far bigger, meaner and mounted on four legs. But efforts to eradicate or at least contain them have been hampered by the lack of a national policy to deal with invasive species as a whole, the slowness of states to recognize the problem and the bickering between agencies about who is responsible for dealing with them.

“As a nation, we have not thought through this invasive species problem, and we just have disaster after disaster after disaster,” said Patrick Rusz, the director of wildlife services at the Michigan Wildlife Conservancy. Dr. Rusz, who travels around the state educating farmers about the menace posed by the wild pigs and encouraging them to set traps on their land, is so avid a hog-hater that in the early stages of Michigan’s invasion, he went to bars to eavesdrop on hunters who might have spotted the porcine invaders.

At least in Michigan, Dr. Rusz said, the pigs appear to be winning — their numbers are estimated at 3,000 to 5,000 and growing. Wild pigs are virtual Houdinis, able to dig or climb over almost any barrier; pig experts are fond of saying that “if a fence won’t hold water, it won’t hold a wild pig.”

Allowing hunters to shoot them in the wild all year round, as Michigan and other states do, is not in itself enough to limit the population, Dr. Rusz said. So trapping is an important component of wild pig control, as are bans on owning or breeding the animals.

But state bans like an invasive species order issued by Michigan in 2011, which prohibited ownership of Russian wild boar and other feral swine, have been opposed by shooting preserves and other businesses with a stake in keeping them.  We at Shotem and Caughtem hope all states change their minds and let us hunters start to post more photos of our kills as long as we have permission and a hunters license from any state.  Let us know your feelings on the subject in the comment section below and as always we will be bragging about our Wild Hog kills in the Shotem Gallery.

 

We at Shotem and Caughtem reported on the possible bill a couple of months ago.  Now it is official.  Oklahoma landowners can now take to the skies to hunt feral wild pigs and coyotes.  Let us know your thoughts on the subject in the comment section below or post photos of your hunt to the Shotem gallery. 

Oklahoma landowners would be able to take to the skies to hunt feral hogs and other “depredating animals” under a bill signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin.

Fallin signed the bill Wednesday that’s intended to help landowners control growing populations of wild hogs that have become a problem in many rural parts of the state. The wild animals are known to tear up cropland, destroy fences and spread diseases.

State law already allows the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture to authorize people with a big-game commercial hunting area license to hunt wild hogs and other depredating animals— like coyotes — from aircraft. The bill signed by Fallin expands the law to include landowners and those hired by landowners.

 

Just yesterday we at Shotem and Caughtem talked about the Wild Hog hunting pros and cons.  To back up our point Oklahoma passed a new law that will be both benefitial to helping curb the population of wild boar in the state and potentially hurt it all in one bill.  Though we would like to take only the positive aspects of what this bill could help do for local land owners, we fear it could also spur a whole new hunting outfitting industry.  Let us know your thoughts on the subject in the comment section below or show us your photos in the Shotem gallery and tell us your story.  FYI it would be a really cool experience and we consider ourselves lucky that we know some people that would jump on us taking the opportunity to rid them of these veracious animals.  It takes Shotem and Caughtem to a whole new height than just from a tree stand.  

A bill that would allow landowners to hire bush pilots to fly marksmen who would shoot feral hogs won unanimous approval Wednesday from a legislative committee, despite one lawmaker raising questions about safety.  Feral hogs continue to be a growing problem in southern Oklahoma as they root through crops and grasslands. They reproduce quickly and are a health risk because they carry diseases humans can catch, and they're not easily frightened. Some feral hogs recently came up to his house and rooted through the front lawn, he said.

Despite his concerns, Lockhart ended up voting for SB 919, which passed 15-0. It now goes to the House Calendar Committee, which will determine if it gets a hearing in the House.

Lawmakers in 2009 passed legislation that lets landowners who operate big game commercial hunting areas to hire a sharpshooter to kill feral hogs from a helicopter.

SB 919 removes the requirement that someone has to have a big game commercial hunting area license to use aircraft and gets rid of language that the aircraft be used only above land listed in the commercial hunting area license

 

We at Shotem and Caughtem have had many opportunities to witness first hand the destructive capabilities of wild pigs.  We have hunted them in Texas and Oklahoma at different locations and can say that ones first impression of domesticated pigs does not correlate to what you find in the wild.  When we were growing up you thought of pigs as big, pink, fat, slow, dumb animals that wallered around in their own filth.  Once they get out of their domesticated element they do a complete 180 except for the filth part.  They are fit, camo, lean, mean, aggressive and smart animals that waller every where they want.  They tear up fields, dessimate crops and breed like rabbits.  They are capable of surviving any climate range and have been found in varying numbers all over the United States.  

The sport of wild boar hunting has been both a blessing and a curse.  It has been a blessing in the fact that like most hunting it helps to keep populations low.  However, many have found that they can make money from having boar on hunting leases and have transported them to different areas to increase their profits.  What they fail to remember is that the sport is called hunting not shooting and due to the breeding capabilities their populations do not take long to get out of hand.  About a year ago we were made aware that some people decided to start transporting wild pigs onto their property and set them loose to increase the popularity of their hunts.  We warned and pleaded that things would get out of hand quickly and they would become more of a problem than a profit.  Just this last weekend we were made aware that sightings of wild boar have increased from never for the last 20 years to now frequently by our property which is over 20 miles away.  In one year their population has exploded.  What do you expect their only predator left is man.  

Here is a little history to get you up to speed on the habits and signs of wild boar.  Wild pigs (also known as wild hogs, wild boar, or feral swine) are an are not native to the Americas. The first wild pigs in the United States originated solely from domestic stock brought to North America by early European explorers and settlers. Many years later, Eurasian wild boar were introduced into parts of the United States for hunting purposes. In areas where domestic pigs and Eurasian wild boar were found together in the wild, interbreeding occurred. Today, many hybrid populations exist throughout the wild pig’s range.

Pigs were first introduced in the 1500’s to what is now the southeastern U.S. by Spanish Explorer, Hernando DeSoto. In the centuries following European exploration and colonization of the eastern U.S., free-range livestock management practices and escapes from enclosures resulted in the establishment of wild pig populations and promoted their spread.  
Introduction of the Eurasion Wild Boar

In the early 1900’s, Eurasian or Russian wild boar were introduced into portions of the United States.  Additional introductions and escapes of Eurasian wild boar from privately owned, “game-proof” fenced hunting preserves have continued through the present.

  • Wild pigs have been reported in at least 45 states
  • Populations now exist as far north as Michigan, North Dakota, and Oregon
  • Range expansion over the last 20 years is mostly a result of illegal translocation of pigs by humans
Distribution of Wild Pigs in 1988

Distribution of Feral Pigs in the United States in 1988 (Courtesy of Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, University of Georgia).

 

Distribution of Wild Pigs in 2009

Distribution of Feral Pigs in the United States in 2009 (Courtesy of Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, University of Georgia).
 
The Human Factor 
 
The popularity of wild pigs as a game species has played a major role in the expansion of their range throughout the United States. The sudden presence of wild pigs in new areas is most often a result ofescapes of stocked animals from privately owned, “game-proof” fenced hunting preserves illegal translocation: the practice of capturing wild pigs, transporting them to new locations, and releasing them into the wild
 
 
Let us know your thoughts on the subject of Wild Boar Hunting and as always post your photos of your outdoor adventures to the galleries and tell us your story.