Man has been hunting as a source of sustenance since our earliest existence, making it one of the oldest activities on the face of the planet.
As noted about Our Family, "We eat wild game and rarely buy store bought meat. Just as warning, as
there may occasionally be hunting & fishing photos."
This is one of those occasions.
Part of our travel to Texas a few weeks ago involved bringing along three hard-sided archery cases and a quiver full of arrows.
The goal was hog hunting, something Mitch has wanted to return to Texas to do for a long time, and Mason & Eric were eager to join him.
Here are some things I've gathered about wild hogs:
Early Spanish explorers were probably the first to introduce hogs
in Texas over 300 years ago.
The feral hog has managed to survive, adapt, and increase their numbers
despite attempts at population control.
Wild hogs are among the most destructive invasive species in the
United States today. Two million to six million of the animals are
wreaking havoc in at least 39 states and four Canadian provinces; half
are in Texas, where they do some $400 million in damages annually.
They tear up recreational areas, destroy crops, occasionally even terrorize tourists
in state and national parks, and squeeze out other wildlife.
Hogs erode the soil and muddy streams and other water sources, possibly
causing fish kills. They disrupt native vegetation and make it easier
for invasive plants to take hold. The hogs claim any food set out for
livestock, and occasionally eat the livestock as well, especially lambs,
kids and calves. They also eat such wildlife as deer and quail and
feast on the eggs of endangered sea turtles.
And those are just the problems wild hogs cause in rural areas.
suburban and even urban parts of Texas, they’re making themselves at
home in parks, on golf courses and on athletic fields. They treat lawns
and gardens like a salad bar and tangle with household pets.
Their razor sharp tusks combined
with their lightning speed can cause serious injury.
They are prolific. Even populations reduced by 70 percent return to full strength within
two or three years. Their numbers are labeled as "infestations," they are multiplying, and spreading. Quickly.
They are surprisingly intelligent mammals and evade the best efforts to
trap or kill them.
They have no natural predators.
Meat from feral hogs is extremely tasty and much leaner than pen-raised
Our goal was to get some wild pork to feed our family.
The first night hunting, Mason did harvest a young hog. It was small, but we're told those are the best eating.. Mitch cooked the meat over a wood fire and it was falling off the bone in little time. Very tender, and enough to feed everyone for a few meals.
Eric could hear hogs as dark fell, but never saw them. I was nervous for him because he was hunting from the ground.
Mitch never had a chance at, nor saw a hog either.
As mentioned in our Texas trip overview, we saw a huge variety of animals, but no hogs.
What they did have success at hunting, were rams.
Mason arrowed this one perfectly the first morning.
Eric got a nice ram, too, just after sunset his third evening of hunting.
There wasn't time to make it all the way back to where I was so I could take a photo before dark (the hunters were spread out over miles at times) so we have this image taken via cell phone. Glowing eyes, but a good smile.
Last, but not least, Mitch got his ram our final afternoon in Texas. They had been giving him some trouble. He had stalked them through scrub & stone on his belly to get within bow range for a few discouraging days. Worth the
wait, though. While I dislike the word, I believe Mitch's ram is considered a "trophy."
About a 36" spread, an interesting creature.
It sounds like there is help needed in controlling the wild hog population,
so maybe we'll go back someday when the moon is full and conditions are right.
And it should be noted that while I do have a bow, I do not hunt (I don't eat much meat.)
All this hunting gave me a good amount of solitary time to read, take pictures, & listen to the birds. (Some of those photos can be seen here.)