Friday, April 4, 2014

Bill aims for open season on Louisiana wild hogs

Posted By on Fri, Apr 4, 2014 at 12:40 PM

Desoto Parish State Rep. Richard "Richie" Burford, R-Stonewall (motto: "A great place to live"), introduced House Bill 353, which declares open season on wild hogs — the pigs, not the Tim Allen dad-buddy masterpiece. Under the bill, hunters can go after wild hogs, day or night, on private property. Under present law, hunting wild hogs is restricted to daylight hours from February through August. The bill passed the House 85-10 on Wednesday and was introduced in the Senate Thursday.

A House amendment also includes authorization to hunt coyotes at night on private property, also at any time of the year. (Present law already includes permission to hunt nutria and beaver.)

The bill follows the state's exploding wild animal populations — which in recent years have crept into more urban and suburban areas of New Orleans beyond surrounding bayous and parks. Recent sightings include a coyote (which has a Twitter account) stalking Uptown, and several adorable hog families hanging out on the neutral ground on Almonaster Road in New Orleans East.

According to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, feral hogs (Sus scrofa) came to North America via Spanish explorers who planned to use them as livestock, but through escape and release, the pigs adapted to the wild. They can reach 400 pounds — they're protective, and kind of mean, and you don't want one charging at you. While the piglets are cute, the animals cause millions of dollars in damage to farms, forests and other property. Hog rooting can impact crops, golf courses, hayfields and backyards. The LSU AgCenter estimates there are more than 500,000 wild hogs in the state.

("But how does it taste, Alex?") Great. It's lean and not too game-y.

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