PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Outdoors

May 3, 2014

Chester Moore column: Hogs in Texas a complex issue

PORT ARTHUR —  Hogs are essential to Texas hunting.

   Sometimes I am not sure if the hunting industry itself truly gets just how important hogs are to the state. For example, Texas’ deer harvest has hovered around 600,000 per year over the last decade. Hog harvest is currently in the 750,000 range in Texas

   Those are huge numbers.

   Here are a few thoughts about hogs and their impact on Texas and the hunting industry.

   • Trophy hog hunting has incredible growth potential. A mature boar is far superior to a whitetail deer in intelligence and is near its equal with the sense of smell. Hunters proudly display huge hogs they take but those are mainly random trophies, not seriously pursued ones. There have been a number of hog scents and calls put on the market over the last two decades but no one has really put a system for pursuing trophy boars out there.

   When someone does connect the dots and can get across to the public seasonality and life cycle events tied into hog breeding, behavior and other facets of their life they will become a hunting legend. Hunting a specific trophy boar in my opinion is harder than hunting a specific trophy whitetail. If the public figures this out, hog hunting will go into a different and unique direction.

   • We have vilified the hog to the point of it being vermin, worthy of only disdain but in reality they are magnificent game animals that have become as much a part of Texas’ hunting heritage as whitetail deer as we mentioned previously.

   According to the Texas Agrilife Extension Service, hogs cause around $52 million in damage to land and crops annually, a huge hit for farmers and ranchers around the state no doubt. I do wonder however about the hog hunting-specific economic impact of hunting. It has to be in the tens of millions at this point.            

   • Public land hog hunting opportunities are minimal. If hogs are such a huge threat to our resources as they are portrayed, then perhaps public land in Texas should be opened up to more hog hunting opportunity.

   For example, baiting is illegal in the national forests but why shouldn’t it be legal in the off-season for hogs? It is hard to kill them without it unless you are using dogs but that is prohibited in most areas as well.

   Love them or hate them, they have earned the respect of many hunters in this state and beyond.

  (To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at cmooreoutdoors@gmail.com. You can hear him on the radio Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on “Moore Outdoors” on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at www.klvi.com and watch him Saturdays on GETV.org on “God’s Outdoors with Chester Moore”.)

 

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Outdoors
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  • Chester Moore column: Bank fishing good approach on catfish

     Summer is one of the best times to seek catfish in Southeast Texas and thankfully, for local anglers without a boat, there are catfish in just about every canal, drainage ditch and bayou in the area.
      Fishing from the bank has its disadvantages but there is a way around it. This involves making the fish come to you.
      European catfish and carp anglers who typically fish exclusively from the bank use a system called “ground baiting,” which involves putting chum out with the bait. They attach a small cylindrical device above their swivel, which holds chum and dispenses it as the water rushes by. The problem is these rigs are not readily available in our marketplace.
      However, with a little ingenuity, taking a 35-millimeter film canister, punching a hole in the bottom and on the lid and then punching more holes along the side can make a similar device. This acts as a perfect chumming device and is very inexpensive.
      Not everyone has film canisters these days so the softer plastic aspirin bottles will also get the job done.
      Rig this above your swivel and weight, and then fill it with your favorite chum. Now you will not only be chumming the area you fish in but also bringing fish directly to your bait.
      Any kind of chum will work, but a mixture I have had some success with was menhaden oil (available through many mail order offshore supply catalogs) mixed with soured milo. The oil creates a huge chum slick and when it mixes with the milo, the smell is almost unbearable, which means catfish love it. The best part is that a little bit goes a long way.
     Something else to consider is using jack mackerel as bait.
     This oily fish is available in larger supermarkets in a can for less than $1, and I can attest it will bring in fish. While fishing in the Gulf of Mexico and tagging sharks for the Mote Marine Laboratory, my partners and I were able to chum in and catch nearly 40 sharks while using less than two cans of the stuff. It is oily and stinks to high heaven, so catfish should love it.
      For anglers interested in using film canisters to chum their bait, something else to consider is the use of a popping cork. Even if your bait is on the bottom, you can rig a popping cork above it and attach a baited film canister below. This will allow you to do some extra chumming and use the cork to “pop” the chum out whenever you want to release more.
     Another great tip for land bound anglers is to use braided line. In talking with several anglers who pursue brackish blues from the bank, I have learned that loosing striking fish can be a problem.
      I am not sure as to the reason but a definitely solution is using a braided line because they have no stretch. When making long casts with monofilament from the bank you have the potential for lots of line stretch when can make a poor hookset.
     Sixty yards of line might have five or six feet of stretch and that is plenty for a big blue to undo. When using a braid like Fireline, Gorilla Braid or Spiderwire you can forego these problems and greatly enhance your chances of putting some catfish in the frying pan.
     (To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at cmooreoutdoors@gmail.com. You can hear him on the radio Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on “Moore Outdoors” on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at www.klvi.com and watch him Saturdays on GETV.org on “God’s Outdoors with Chester Moore”.)
     

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