PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Outdoors

June 10, 2009

Javelina: The pig that is not a pig

No animal is more symbolic of the arid regions of Texas than the collared peccary more commonly known as javelina. An animal enshrouded in mystery, these medium-sized mammals have a reputation that precedes them.

    For starters, they have an identity crisis. Lumped in with feral hogs as a species of swine, they are not pigs in the sense we think of pigs.

    According to biologists with Texas A&M; University at Kingsville, a “javelina is not a pig, a feral hog or a wild boar. Although similar in appearance to a pig, it is a collared peccary.”

    Both javelinas and pigs are members of the order artiodactyla and the suborder suiformes and share a common ancestry.  Due to key anatomical and genetic differences, however taxonomists placed them in separate families: javelina in tayassuidae and pigs in suidae.

    Texas A&M; Kingsville biologists said the confusion probably started as soon as European explorers arrived in the New World.

    “The javelina is native to the Western Hemisphere, while true pigs developed in the Eastern Hemisphere. Distinguishing characteristics include size. Javelinas are small and compact, weighing from 30 to 55 pounds, while adult feral hogs can reach 100 pounds or more.

    Javelinas are a grizzled brown and black with a white band of coarse hair, its ‘collar,’ around the neck. Feral hogs come in a variety of colors and combinations of colors. Less obvious differences include that the javelina has four-hoofed toes on its front feet, but only three-hoofed toes on the hind feet, where the outer dewclaw present on a pig is absent in javelinas. Javelinas also have shorter tails and their canine teeth or ‘tusks’ grow vertically rather than away from the face.”

    For years there has been a popular rumor going around that javelinas are actually rodents and there is another they are kin to raccoons but as you can see that is not true.

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Outdoors
  • Chester Moore column: Give summer crappie a chance

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    May 31, 2014

  • 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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  • Chester Moore column: Bank hot spots have great value

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  • Chester Moore column: Go deep, fish jigs to catch truly big bass

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