GATESVILLE — When it comes to finding ways to root out feral pigs in Coryell County, Commissioner Don Jones is the unofficial hog boss.
Jones, who farms and ranches in the Leon River valley near The Mound, knows a thing or two about the destruction wild hogs wreak on crops, livestock and wildlife habitat.
He headed up the county’s participation in the state Hog Out program that paid a bounty for hogs killed or caught and earned a $15,000 grant for second place.
Jones is also the point man in CHAMP — County Hog Abatement Matching Program — a five-county joint effort to eliminate the pesky porkers through landowner education and the distribution of hog traps.
Last week, Veterans Xtreme Adventures, a nonprofit group that guides hunting and fishing trips for wounded combat veterans, hosted three wounded warriors on a hog hunt in Coryell County.
The Mound Cowboy Church, which usually meets under a pavilion near Jones’ roping pens, volunteered to treat the veterans’ hunting party to a catfish fry.
When a brief rainstorm muddied the outdoor venue, Jones and the rest of the congregation packed up fish fryers, cookies and cobbler and relocated to Leon Junction. After good food and fellowship at the church, the veterans headed for the Clawson ranch near Flat for a night of hog-dogging.
On Sunday, when a small helicopter crash-landed during an aerial hog hunt west of Moody, I figured Jones would have the facts because he coordinated the effort to bring choppers into the hog-eradication effort.
When I reached Jones on his cellphone, he was en route to the crash site. He knew the name of the helicopter company involved and the ranch where it crashed.
Fortunately, the pilot and the hunter on board were not badly hurt.
Jones offered to share the pictures he snapped at the scene, and one of his images of the tangled wreck accompanied the news story in the next morning’s edition of the Killeen Daily Herald.
Thanks to Commissioner Don Jones for providing the latest wild hog news without the need of a public information officer.