This Week In The Outdoors

NAF Staff Writer Luke Clayton talks about wild hogs and hawg size pike up in Saskatchewan

There is much going on in the outdoors in Texas this week.  On the “fun” side of things, turkey season is going strong and anglers, both those in freshwater and salt, are enjoying the excellent fishing that accompanies the spring warm up. It’s also time to plan that summer fishing vacation up in Canada. I’ll have more on this topic in this week’s column but first, let me introduce you to an awesome organization devoted to hog hunting and give an update on the battle against the use of Kaput to poison wild hogs.

But the battle against the use of Kaput to poison wild hogs, wages on. I’m sure that by now, most readers of this column are aware of the edict back in February by the Texas Agricultural Commission to use warfarin, under the label name of KAPUT, to poison wild hogs. During the course of the past couple months, many, many reasons that are scientific fact have been presented that show precisely why using this rat poison to kill hogs is a bad idea.

The Texas Hog Hunter’s Association (THHA), working closely with the folks at Wild Boar Meats, met the challenge head on and has worked diligently to get the facts out not only to the public but the law makers in Austin as well. There are currently more than 17,000 members on the organization’s Facebook page and since the battle against KAPUT began, there has been a tremendous spike in membership through www.texashha.com.  For many years, I’ve know that we hog hunters in Texas needed an organization that would serve as a clearing house of information for everything related to hog hunting.

A couple years ago THHA president Scott Dover saw the need and began THHA as a grass roots group of guys and gals interested in helping reduce the number of wild hogs in Texas and in the process, putting all the excellent meat to good use, thus THHA was born. The idea of introducing poison into our ecosystem by the Texas Agricultural commissioner Sid Miller actually acted as the catalyst that caused a great deal of interest and growth of THHA. Dover says that since the poisoning of hogs became a hot topic in Texas, his organization has had great support from both hunter and non hunters that simply think it a bad idea to poison our woods and waters with a plan that ultimately is designed to fail. Studies have shown the cost of purchasing the poison and buying the bait stations that cost between $200 and $500 each will be cost prohibitive for most landowners, not to mention the two or weeks of feeding corn to get the wild porkers conditioned to coming to the feeding stations nor the time required to accomplish all of this. Test has proven the bait to be ineffective in actually killing hogs in significant numbers. In a control test with over 300 hogs, only twenty something were actually killed.   Just about anyone that understands wild hogs understands that conditioning them to a new food source can be iffy at best. Contrary to what many people believe, hogs will not run to a feeder and gobbler up whatever is inside. From years of baiting and hunting hogs, I can almost guarantee that a sounder of hogs coming to a bait station to eat corn for a couple weeks will more than likely shy away when corn is replaces with the poison.  

Dr. Tyler Campbell who from 2004 through 2013 was the Feral Swine Project Leader for the United States Dept. of Agriculture Wildlife Services National Wildlife Research Centers in Kingsville, Texas and Gainesville, Flordia is THE authority on feral hogs and is opposed to the use of KAPUT. Here’s part of a lengthy bullet point he recently wrote on the subject.

“In my opinion, Kaput should not be used in Texas for feral-hog control until further studies are conducted. I believe that more study and investigation are needed before such use occurs in Texas, including study of the effects and possible effects of warfarin on non-target species in Texas, study of the delivery system for warfarin and similar toxins, and study of methods to ensure the safety of humans, wildlife, and livestock. At present, I do not believe that Kaput feral hog bait should be used as a method to control feral hogs in Texas.”

To become a member of Texas Hog Hunter’s Association, visit the website at www.texashha.com.  Or, “like” the origination’s Facebook page. 

A  FISHING TRIP TO CANADA- Since I was a youngster, I’ve longed to head north and fish the remote and pristine waters of northern Saskatchewan for monster pike, walleye and Arctic Grayling. A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to spend 5 glorious days fishing a vast wilderness lake not far from the Northwest Territories. A few friends and I are eagerly awaiting a return trip in early June to Iskwatikan Lake Lodge www.iskwatikanlake.com .  For anyone that loves nature and catching lots and lots of fish in a wilderness setting, a trip to Saskatchewan is a “must do”.  Cost is always a factor for most of us when planning vacations. At Iskwatikan Lake Lodge, cost for a five day fishing trip is currently $1,060. This includes a cabin, fishing boat with motor and fuel and float plane to and from Otter Lake.  Air fare is about $650 dollars.  We will fly into Saskatoon and will share the cost of a rental car that we drive up to Otter Lake, the drive is about 4 hours. All total, the cost of the entire trip will be less than $2,000 which I think is extremely reasonable for the fishing trip of a lifetime. We will be there June 5 through June 9 at the start of the fishing season and you are welcome to join our group but dates are available throughout the summer. Contact Bryce Lydell, the lodge owner for more details via the web site. For more information on vacationing in Saskatchewan, visit  www.tourismsaskachewan.com .

Listen to “Outdoors with Luke Clayton and Friends” on radio stations from Nebraska to Texas on weekends or anytime online at www.catfishradio.com