Hunting season has once again departed; at least until turkey season comes into full swing. The fishing is trying to heat up a bit, but the weather continues to keep it from its prime. With that in mind, there are some ‘community services’ that one can partake and have a blast doing.
Predation from invasive species is not only a nuisance, but is growing in the effects it leaves on our wildlife and the habitat. In particular, coyotes and feral hogs do not appear to be going away; in fact their numbers are growing rapidly.
Now hunters and outdoorsmen are beginning to understand the significance and the increased opportunities in the process.
The fawns being born over the next weeks and months will become prime targets for a hungry coyote population following a cold winter and early spring. In areas where the coyotes exhibit high numbers, the deer populations will obviously be affected the heaviest.
With the mating season for turkey fast approaching, the same concerns for our turkey populations exist. Again, the poults are especially vulnerable. Not only do nesting birds have to worry about scavenging hunters such as opossum, raccoons, and foxes with their eggs, but they have to protect their young birds from aggressive packs of coyotes.
Then there are the feral hogs. They have multiple litters each year and can overpopulate an area in a very short amount of time. They can obliterate crops, driving away turkey, deer, quail, and other game animals that are drawn to the lands for both food and cover.
A couple of years ago I was invited on a cull hunt for feral hogs on a deer hunting lease. The hogs were consuming all of the baiting areas making it more difficult to hunt the whitetail. Our job was simple, take out as many hogs as possible.
The first evening, just a half hour after arriving and throwing on some camo and climbing the stand, I saw my first hogs come into the open area. Two different groups came in from different sides about 15 minutes apart. I was bowhunting and had four about 27 yards away standing beside each other in twos. I texted to my hunting partner that the way they were lined up I did not have a clear shot at just one. But after assessing the situation, I concluded I did have a clear shot at two. Shoot high in the lungs at the first and on a pass-thru I should be able to connect with the one beside it in the lower lungs or heart.
I drew back the 70 pound bow and waited. After approximately 30 seconds, the shot presented itself. A soft touch of my trigger finger to the release and the 100 grain broadhead found the mark. I saw the fletching of the arrow stay in the closest hog so I texted my partner again that I had one, but I don’t think I was able to hit the second. The arrow must have struck the massive shoulder blade.
After coming down from the stand and starting the blood trail, the trail split about 15 yards away from impact. There was one part of my arrow as well. The arrow had passed through the first hog, and when it struck the second, their reaction broke the arrow in flight. Another 15 yards in a briar patch lay one of the hogs. Ten yards away from the first lay the second.
Sausage and cubed ham filled the freezer. I had a wonderful hunt, had some great food for the family, and helped with the population control of the feral hogs. Overall, I saw a dozen hogs for every one deer during the weekend. And this was on land where good money was spent on leasing and managing the deer herd.
That is a community service with some awesome benefits for both myself and the one’s I helped.