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Learning about the Ozarks of my childhood: Cabins, slavery, pawpaw & wineries

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3 hours ago, andiesenji said:

I have also had javelina, the much smaller Mexican wild pigs. They are even more dangerous because they run in packs and will attack anything, even horses or cows.  

In the fall they feed on pine nuts - a preferred food - and the meat is rather sweet when they are killed in early winter.  For years my next door neighbors would go back to the ranch they owned in Durango, Mexico and bring back javelina in 55 gallon drums filled with brine and have big barbecues where they would barbecue the whole pigs, for about 24 hours.  Delicious.  

This is what I hunted in New Mexico. Really vicious animals but also blind as can be.

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Our wild hogs here are a mix of domestic hogs and European wild boars.  Ozarks farmers used to free range their hogs, and round them up once a year.  They notched ears to show ownership.  Of course, some of those hogs escaped.  It doesn't take many generations for a domestic hog to revert to the wild type--hairier, leaner, and with striped babies.  The European hogs came in as escapees or purposeful releases, by hunters looking to 'improve' their prospects.


It is illegal now to release any hogs, but it is still happening, much to the detriment of our native species.  A Fish and Wildlife guy told me that the hogs breed early, have litters twice a year, and "out of 10 pigs born, 15 survive."


It is quite difficult to hunt them, because they are very smart, and because they don't have real territories, they just follow the food.  Hunting for wild hogs on state/federal property has been banned.  It takes a long time to set up a trap--they erect part of the trap, feed the hogs, put a few more panels up, feed them, finish the trap, keep feeding them, and then they spring the trap when the animals are all inside.  If a hunter comes upon a group feeding and shoots one, the hogs will scatter and all that work is for nothing.  In the winter, the state guys shoot them from helicopters--a couple winters ago, they got 700 that way.  Meat is left in the woods--the state agencies will not give it away, due to liability issues.  


On private lands, it is open season, kill all you can.

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This is the California law. Open season all year. And it is allowed in National forests, some state parks, etc.  Many are hunted on private land, farms, vineyards, cattle and sheep ranches to minimize crop damage and injury to domestic animals.


"Tag return for successful pig hunters is mandatory and provides the data comprising this report. In the 2015 – 2016 hunting season, tag sales decreased 8.3percent from the 58,288 tags sold in 2014. Furthermore, 3,927 wild pigs were reported taken, representing a 2.2 percent increase in the number of successful tags returned from the 2014 season of 3,844. A total of 53,430 wild pig tags were issued making overall successful tag return 7.3 percent. The top six counties for pig harvest were: Monterey (21.7%), San Luis Obispo (12.3%), Kern (11.8%), Mendocino (8.7%), Sonoma (7.5%) and Tehama (7.5%). These six counties accounted for more than 69 percent of reported take. Of the reported take, 52.9 percent (2,079) indicated a male was taken, 45.6 percent (1,792) indicated a female was taken, and (1.4 percent (56) left the gender portion of the tag blank). Dogs were reported being used on 4.1 percent (160) of returned tags. Finally, 86.4 percent (3,394) of all returned tags indicated that they hunted wild pigs on private land."

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