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Hunters reduce Catoosa’s hog population
Jan 29, 2013 4:15 pm
Thirty-six wild hogs were bagged on the Catoosa Wildlife Management Area during a recent 10-day hunt, and hunters say that proves how effective hunting can be as a means of controlling the animals.
The TWRA last year launched a wild hog “eradication” program designed to thin the pig population. From June 2011 through Aug. 2012, TWRA staffers removed a total of 370 wild hogs from Catoosa, mostly by trapping.
At the same time, the TWRA ended its annual wild hog hunting season -- the theory being that if there was no hog-hunting season, hog hunters would have no incentive to keep stocking wild hogs in new areas for hunting.
The TWRA move created an uproar among hog hunters. They said it made no sense to ban hunting hogs as part of a “hog-control” program.
Although the number of hogs killed during the recent Catoosa hunt was only 10% of the number killed last year by the TWRA, hunters point out that their total was compiled in a fraction of the time, and at no cost to the Agency.
They say that with a longer season they could take a lot more hogs. That would not only save the Agency money and resources, but would generate revenue through the sale of hog-hunting permits.
Last year’s decision to do away with a hog-hunting season caused problems for the TWRA, from boisterous public meetings to acts of vandalism at Catoosa blamed on peeved hog hunters.
In the wake of the uproar, the Agency compromised by restoring the recent 10-day hog hunt on Catoosa. The hunt attracted 1,565 hunters, an average of 157 a day.
Proponents of hog hunting say that turnout shows how popular the sport is, and the revenue potential of a TWRA-regulated wild hog season.
Hunters who consider the wild boar a prize game animal pay as much as $800 to kill a wild hog on one of the numerous hunting preserves around the state. Proponents of a state-wide hog season say hog hunting could generate considerable revenue for the TWRA.
One of the Agency’s concerns about wild hogs is the spread of diseases carried by some of the animals. Hunters are advised to take precautions when field-dressing hogs and processing the meat. Some hunters claim the disease concerns are exaggerated and that wild pork is as safe to eat as domestic pork if property cooked.
The debate is sure to continue, especially in light of what many hunters see as a successful hog hunt on Catoosa.
A report on the Catoosa hunt was made during the Tennessee Fish & Wildlife Commission’s monthly meeting. There was no discussion about approving more hog hunts in the future. That decision will be made in later meetings.
Meanwhile hunters can make their opinion known to the TWRA, which is soliciting input through next month. Comments and suggestions can be mailed to: TWRA Wildlife & Forestry Division, Hunting Season Comments, P.O. Box 40747, Nashville, Tn., 37204 or e-mailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Include “hunting season comments” on the subject line of e-mailed submissions.