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Lake life

In search of Quasimodo

Quasimodo. Wanted Dead or … well really, just Dead!

Quasimodo is a monster. No, not the one that made the name famous in the book, “Hunchback of Notre Dame”. This Quasimodo is the monster hunchback hawg of northeastern Union Parish that somehow eludes hog hunters and trappers and leads the most destructive band of outdoor pests ever seen to modern man.

The feral hog problem has spiraled out of control in Louisiana. The state Wildlife and Fisheries have been ineffective in trying to even slow down the hog looters that are now in every parish in Louisiana.

But pay attention folks. There’s some guys — I call them the Tiger Bend Trio – that have taken notice, taken action and should be giving LDWF and hog hunters around the state a wake-up call. These high-tech hawg hunters — Peyton McKinnie, Nathan Pilgreen and Bryan Tucker — have employed the Hogg Boss system and are catching hogs left and right. Here’s how it works, according to McKinnie:

Trapping hogs is never easy, but it is pretty simple. First, you locate an area where hogs are hanging around (that isn’t hard). Second, you start baiting the area and when the come to it for a few days, you set up the Hogg Boss portable fencing system and leave the gate open. You set up the cell cameras, connect them to your cell phone and then just wait.

Here’s the high tech part. When a sounder of hogs starts coming, you get pictures texted to your phone in real time. When they get comfortable and feed in the pen, you just dial a number and the electronics drops the gates. Hogs caught. And unlike hunting hogs with dogs and getting one or two at a time, the Tiger Bend team has been getting them 15-20 at a time. They’ve taken out a ton of them this year. They removed 70 off a single 1,000 acre hunting club.

“Here’s the deal,” Peyton says. “You just set it and go about your business. When the camera activates, your phone dings just like a text message coming in. I’ve gotten dinged at 3:30 a.m. and shut the gate on them without having to get out of bed.”

The next morning, McKinnie, Tucker and Pilgreen or others will go to the pen, put down the hogs and get the meat to somebody who needs and will use it. They have a waiting list, by the way.

Peyton summarizes has some tips for using Hogg Boss, which is produced in Bastrop ( https://hoggbossgates.com/ ). First, find where the hogs are feeding. Bait them up with corn and rice bran. he also uses Delta Magic Hawg Attractant in strawberry or green apple scent to get the aroma out to the hogs further away. He also uses a strawberry scent spray on the gate and where he walks so the hogs won’t be alerted to the presence of humans. Then you just keep your phone by your side and when the whole group of hogs is in the pen, drop the gate.

There’s more high tech. They are now using a drone to fly low over hunting areas and clearcuts to look for fresh hog sign. They can cover a 600 acre clearcut and pinpoint hog activity by using the drone from the tailgate of a pickup truck.

“Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t easy,” he says. “But if we don’t do something to stop the explosion of these big nuisance hogs, not only are our outdoors going to be ruined, but they are going to start taking over yards and gardens in these small rural communities. We’ve already trapped hogs in the city limits and saved several people’s large yards from being totally destroyed by hogs rooting for worms, soured acorns and the like. They will totally destroy a garden in a single night. They are hurting farmers and livestock producers’ fields and pastures.”

Sounders of Feral hogs (that’s what you call a big bunch of them) are also eating baby fawns (it’s been caught on camera) and ruining turkey nesting habitat by rooting it up and eating the turkey eggs. Time to keep the swine in line.

NOTE TO ANYBODY LISTENING: It’s high time the state get involved in hiring folks to do this, providing them with grants to pay for the food and the system and getting this problem under control. The state pays a bounty on nutria rats. Why not hogs? We hear all the PR talk about wanting more people to hunt and fish. Well, these pig problem is making less people hunt. Let’s get something done about it. Thanks to the Tiger Bend Trio for being willing to put up the time, money and effort to show the way.

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