PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

May 3, 2014

Chester Moore column: Hogs in Texas a complex issue

Chester Moore
The Port Arthur News

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”.)