Misguided Sportsmen Or Is This The Good Fight?
May 30, 2014
I ran across an interesting sort of conundrum today on Facebook.
Apparently, there’s a “sportsmen’s organization” pushing back against the CA proposal to remove the feral hogs’ status as Game Animals. I wrote, briefly, about AB2268 a couple of weeks ago. As I did then, I still support the intent of this bill.
But why would someone oppose changing these regulations?
The Outdoor Sportsmen’s Coalition of California (OSCC) has posted a handful of “action alerts”, urging CA hunters to oppose AB2268. In the position statement on their website, the organization states the following:
OSCC believes the repeal of its game mammal status would lead to the wanton destruction and wasting of wild pig populations in California with no Department of Fish and Wildlife oversight and no accountability relative to such important things as how many pigs are killed, the methods used to kill them, where they are being killed, who is killing them, or the disposition of their carcasses.
Pretty chilling stuff, huh? “Wanton” destruction and waste of wild pigs.
What this statement, and its author, fail to take into consideration is that CA landowners already have means at their disposal to eradicate hogs on their properties through depredation permits. The process to get a depredation permit for wild hogs is pretty simple, and the permits are pretty flexible as to methods. I know, for a fact, that many CA landowners are killing hundreds of hogs each year under depredation permits. Nothing in the proposed legislation will really change any of that, despite some fear-mongering suggestions from the OSCC in regards to indiscriminate use of poisons (already tightly regulated in CA… even for vermin).
Based on my reading of the position statement, and subsequent “action alerts”, as well as the chatter on Facebook, the best argument the OSCC has is that de-listing the feral hog will result in a reduction of hunting opportunities. I find this almost laughable, considering that CA is the only state that currently lists feral hogs as “game animals” in the first place, while states like TX, LA, FL, GA, and many others are still citing major hog problems despite a no-holds-barred approach toward their eradication.
In my opinion, and in the opinions of many hunters from CA and beyond, the biggest impediment to hog hunting opportunity in CA is the fact that a single tag has come to cost as much as a deer tag. A private land hunt, for a single animal, ranges from $500 to over $1000. Rather than enabling sport hunters to take an active role in managing the burgeoning hog population, the CA system limits hunter opportunity through financial restraint. Even worse, this system removes any incentive for hunters to actively manage hog populations by killing smaller animals. or by taking multiple animals in a single outing.
But I put this to you, Hog Blog readers (all both of you)… what do you think? Am I just reading the OSCC all wrong here? Or is this a short-sighted (and misguided) effort by a small group of hunters to override wildlife management considerations in favor of enhanced “hunting opportunities”?