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”?


5 Responses to “Misguided Sportsmen Or Is This The Good Fight?”

  1. Albert Quackenbush on May 30th, 2014 10:04

    I just read the action alert they posted and it seems misguided for sure. I see where he is trying to lead people into believing that people will just start shooting the pigs and leaving them, but that is something he is creating in his mind and has no proof of. Heck, we can go shoot as many coyotes as we want, but we still take care in hunting them and take the hide. And they still fall under the jurisdiction of the DFW.

    Your landowner argument stands on it’s own merit. I am not sure that Keith sees the big picture. Pigs could still fall under the DFW as a huntable animal just not a game animal, and we wouldn’t be required to buy tags. We could take as many as we could. With as healthy as the population is right now it would take a very long time to wipe them out, if at all. They are resilient and hearty. Plus, many people just aren’t willing to put in the work to hunt them.

    I am going to head over there and reread what he sent to Sacramento. I put out an email to Anthony Rendon earlier this week asking for an interview. I have a few questions that I think if he answered would either infuriate the OSCC or humble them. Who knows.

    Thanks for the heads up on all of this, Phillip.

  2. J.R. Young on May 30th, 2014 11:46

    The devil is always in the details, but I am failing to find it here. I think you are spot on that this is misguided. Use of poison always makes me cautious, but I don’t see any changes here that warrant the concern.

  3. Phillip on May 30th, 2014 12:23

    Albert, it is worth taking a closer look at what the OSCC is advocating, and how they’re stating it. On my review of their site, I noted that the organization is also amongst those claiming the lead ammo ban extension (AB711) would equate to a ban on all hunting in CA… which, of course, is ridiculous hyperbole from the outset.

    In regards to poison, it should be pointed out that there are no registered toxicants for feral hogs in the US right now, primarily due to the risks to non-target animals. Research is on-going, including some promising results with sodium nitrate (of all things), but nothing has even been submitted for approval. Any such poison would have to be reviewed and approved by the EPA before it could be used. Considering the current outcry and CA’s recent actions to stop the use of some rodenticides (despite outbreaks of bubonic plague and hantavirus), it’s highly unlikely landowners are going to get the go-ahead to legally use poisons… game animal status or not.

    I have no doubt the OSCC intentions are good, but their efforts appear to be missing the mark.

  4. Albert Quackenbush on May 30th, 2014 15:58

    I also read that about AB711 and thought the same thing. How on earth does that lead to a hunting ban? They are straying from the facts. I am looking into it a little more.

  5. Jeff on June 4th, 2014 14:19

    I agree with you on this one, I love to hunt pigs and its the only thing I still hunt in CA. But the money you have to pay to hunt in CA is UFB. Unfortunately the majority of good pig hunting is on privet land and the owners are not going to let you hunt without paying a stiff price. The outfit I have hunted with in the past has gone from $450 for a 3 day hunt to $650 in the last few years. Add to that the price of fuel and tags and food etc. I see no advantage to de listing then pigs at all.