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I've been a hunter for the last 25 years. Even so, I'd never consider myself an expert in this pastime, but I have learned much about hunting over the course of my experience.
I've learned that all wildlife live in both competition and cooperation with one another. In a sense, these animals can serve as examples for mankind as to how to make common-sense decisions in preserving life and livelihood.
They seek shelter from inclement weather, rarely travel far from their pack, herd, or flock, and only take what they need, and when they need it the most.
Overall and above all, I've learned that one can never truly know what to expect when they place themselves deep into the wilderness. Many times over, personal experience has proven that it's best to prepare for the unexpected.
I've stumbled upon some of the best opportunities to harvest wild game while making too much noise or after giving up on an outing. I've accidentally made a rare pheasant sighting while on a trek to a deer blind. I've watched as a family of bobcats crossed in front of me in the woods. In this case, the little one was left behind and meowed much like a young kitten until its mother returned to lead it back to the family's path through the underbrush.
Along with poisonous snakes, I've also learned that feral hogs are arguably the most dangerous animals that can be encountered in the deep country of Central Texas. Based on personal encounters, I can attest they are virtually fearless and very territorial. When an area of secluded ground ranging on average from 20-100 feet can be observed to have its grass, and even small trees, pressed down flat against the wooded perimeter of a clearing, you've likely just found a spot where these feral hogs bed down in their native environment.
My mind often travels back to times as a young kid when I would naively run through the woods, unarmed, and without a care in the world. My experience since then has caused me to wonder how I never found myself at odds with nature and its unpredictable wildlife. I can only credit this good fortune to good timing and divine intervention.
These days, I practice what I preach. Never wander too far into the country without some sort of weaponry (knife, bow, firearm, etc.) This preparedness should not only be reserved for hunting trips, but also for self-protection in the wild.
Howdy, Copperas Cove. Several things going on downrange in Coryell County this week.
GATESVILLE — The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service offices in Hamilton and Coryell counties will conduct a feral hog workshop Friday at the Gatesville Civic Center, 301 Complex Circle, Gatesville.
LAMPASAS — Researchers from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Lampasas River Watershed Partnership and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board are joining forces to educate participants on the dangers of feral hogs at a workshop Oct. 16 in Lampasas.
GATESVILLE — After ridding Coryell County of about 1,000 feral hogs since Aug. 1, commissioners agreed Monday to put another $10,000 into the bounty fund for the Hog Out program.
HAMILTON — A steady drizzle couldn’t stop an intrepid group of wounded warriors from taking to the air Friday to shoot wild hogs from helicopters.
Five Central Texas counties, including Bell and Coryell, were awarded $25,000 in state matching grant funds to help eradicate feral hogs.
A Temple-based helicopter operator who contracts to kill feral hogs from the air was arrested in Milam County on Saturday after some landowners complained to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.
GATESVILLE — Wanted dead or alive: feral hogs in Coryell County.
GATESVILLE — The Texas Agriculture Department agreed that Coryell County can use its $15,000 Hog Out winnings to pay bounties to hunters and trappers for the feral animals.
LAMPASAS — Stakeholders in the Lampasas watershed district gave their resounding approval of the Lampasas River Watershed Protection Plan at a meeting hosted Thursday by Texas A&M AgriLife Research.
GATESVILLE — With a second-place Hog Out grant under its belt, Coryell County is teaming up with four neighboring counties to go after feral hogs with a new state program – CHAMP.
GATESVILLE — State Hog Out grant dollars are proving to be more elusive than wild pigs in Coryell County.
GATESVILLE — Coryell County took second place in the Hog Out 2012 competition, earning a $15,000 state grant for feral swine abatement efforts.
GATESVILLE — One of those pesky Coryell County feral hogs soon may be coming to a sandwich near you.
Feral hogs wreak havoc on Texas agriculture and wildlife. Coryell County commissioners will again participate in the Hog Out state grants program, and hope to improve the chances of winning a grant by inviting the public to pig out on free barbecue.
By Andy Ross
Belton Senior Activity Center’s annual Christmas party is from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Dec. 19 at 842 S. Mitchell St., Belton.