I’ve been on my first hunt of the year and it wasn’t for doves. I reached past my shotguns, not because it was what I wanted to do, but because it was what had to be done.
I grabbed my old .300 Winchester magnum. There was business that needed to be addressed.
So far the highlight, or lowlight, of testing out cellular trail cameras was knowing within hours that two large wild boars had been posing for glamour shots. I had a good idea they would be spreading into my part of north-central Oklahoma, but this confirms that the presence of wild hogs is going to be the new normal.
This was the first time that I had captured them repeatedly on trail camera, and I felt that because it was two boars I could have a chance at hunting them that night. I came to the conclusion that I would regret not trying to immediate remove them, so away I went.
The spread of wild hogs to where I deer hunt has been slow. I found one dead on an adjacent county road a few years ago. Last fall I had one buzz by me like submarine blasting through the prairie while I was deer hunting. Other than that, my hunting grounds have remained insulted from the invaders.
I have a friend from southern Oklahoma that doesn’t seem to know what it’s like to not have hogs around. It’s nothing out of the ordinary to hunt and trap them down south. The more he explained to me about hogs, the more I wished they could just go away.
For me that hot, sweaty evening was my first hunt for something new at a place I have been hunting for more than 25 years. My hunting grounds almost felt tainted as I climbed the few steps into the box blind that has been host to some of my best hunting memories. I cannot recall dreaming of anything but deer coming out of the deep creek bottom, and for the first time in my life than evening I expected it to be a big, ugly boar.
They didn’t show up that night. Thankfully, they haven’t since then, but I’m not naïve. Two large boars should indicate that there are sows nearby. That means lots of babies.
I have no intention of letting any pig I see walk away without getting shot at. The more they can be kept under control the better off everyone will be. This is different than say, shooting a coyote to help out fawn survival rates. This is an invasive species that does nothing to find a place in the food chain and ecosystem. They just cause damage.
It’s going to be a different deer season this year. It seems like “bringing home the bacon,” may become more literal than I hoped for. It would be nice if the boars on my trail cam were just passing by, but the truth is more hogs are not far away.
Jon Kocan is the Stillwater News Press outdoors writer and a longtime hunter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.