PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Sports

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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  • Bassmaster Elites are coming back

    The Bassmaster Elite Series returns to Southeast Texas in March 2015 to fish out of Orange.
    The announcement was made last week, ahead of Bassmaster’s official tournament schedule announcement and the buzz is already strong in Southeast Texas and beyond.
    I was in Orlando, Fla. attending the ICAST (fishing trade) show and talked with a number of top anglers including Kevin VanDam, Mike Iaconelli and Shaw Grigsby who said it was no surprise they would return considering the massive turnout for the weigh-ins and that the area welcomed them in a very special way.
    It’s far too early to speculate anything like who the top contenders will be or how the fishing will be but there are some things to keep in mind and to look for over the next few months and into the event itself.
    • Prefishing-There is a pre-fishing cutoff that usually extends to right before the Bassmaster Classic and I fully expect most of the anglers in the Elites to come back and prefish.
    Last go-round probably 2/3 of the field fished the area but this time I expect that to be just about everyone. Many of the anglers that did not pre-fish told me they expected to have a lot of water to fish but the sheer volume and diversity was almost overwhelming.
    Beginning probably in the early fall we will see many anglers fishing local waters to get a better idea on how to approach the area.
    • East to West Runs-The Elite anglers fished far and wide but I expect even more running next go-round. After launching from the Simmons Drive Boat Ramp in Orange angler Bill Lowen ran down the Intracoastal, across Galveston Bay and fished in the Clear Lake area and placed in the top 12. The more adventurous anglers will try super long runs, in my opinion, even longer than last time to try and score on big fish. The Intracoastal Canal system makes that possible.
    • Sabine River -Very few of the anglers actually fished in the Sabine River despite the event being called the “Sabine River Challenge”. I think that will change with more anglers running as far north as they can to find pockets of fish that receive little pressure and perhaps a four or five-pounder to push them over the top.
    • Bigger Turnout-Last year some 34,000 people attended the event which set a Bassmaster record for an Elite event.
     It was broken a couple of weeks later in New York but I fully expect the 2015 tournament to draw 40,000 plus. The reason they are coming back is not for the stellar fishing because while we have lots of bass, everyone knows our fishery cannot compare to Toledo Bend for example.
    The support from the public however was amazing and that is what is bringing the top anglers on the planet to fish our area.
    We will have the very best coverage of the event beginning now and leading up to it with exclusive interviews with all of the top pros with not only their thoughts on the big event but with unique tips on how you can catch more fish.
    It’s an exciting time and I look forward to bringing you special coverage on a special event.
    (To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at cmooreoutdoors@gmail.com. You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at www.klvi.com or watch him on “God’ Outdoors with Chester Moore” Saturdays at 10 a.m. on GETV.org)

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From the Fieldhouse blog