Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Is It Really Hunting If You Don't Have To Get Out Of Your Lincoln Navigator?

We're not big outdoor types here in the marbled halls of IM Central. A fact you may have deduced form the fact that our halls are marble and not the more rustic dark walnut paneling, or, say canvas. Having grown up in the depths of the Windy City we just never were inculcated into that culture of Field and Stream, unless by field you mean empty lot and by stream you mean hydrant run off. In fact, we were 12 years old before we saw a real tree.

Well, we tell you all of this not to demonstrate our lack of outdoor manly credentials, but to emphasize that even though we are to masculine outdoor activities as feather boas are to Pastor Giles, as diplomacy is to John Bolton, as white is to John Boehner, as the sanctity of marriage is to Newt Gingrich, as Rice is to Krispies. What?

OK forget that last one. The point is even with our lack of pioneer skills we find this situation a bit odd.
By most accounts, free-ranging feral swine are as much of an ecological threat as Asian carp. Leading agricultural and natural resources organizations in Michigan are worried enough to want them eradicated and banned from the state, but that would shut down at least 40 game ranches whose owners collect as much as $2,000 apiece from hunters eager to stalk and shoot them on the ranches.
Now, at first we thought "free ranging feral swine" was some sort of heavy metal group, but it turns out they're just pigs. Big, mean, unsociable pigs. Hence the writer's dilemma. One the one hand, 200 pound wild pigs with a personality part barbed wire, part hand grenade are tearing through the flora looking for trouble. On the other hand are 40 guys who own "ranches" for hunters too fat to walk through the woods and shoot something without having a heart attack. What to do, what to do?
A balanced approach that avoids putting these entrepreneurs out of business seems like a better option, provided the owners are willing and able to keep the critters contained.
Umm...Mr. or Ms. Editorial writer? We're sorry to tell you that ship has already sailed, or perhaps more in the spirit of the day, that pig has already run off. Perhaps these 40 slaughter camp "ranch" owners are willing, but it's pretty obvious they aren't able.
Taxpayers shouldn't have to subsidize private hunts or pay for the disease and damage caused by feral hogs that escape.
Now that's a pretty reasonable position with which we heartily concur Mr. or Ms. Editorial writer. Thank you for pointing that out.
Michigan residents already have been saddled with a $415,000 tab for actions to protect local pork production facilities when 19 wild hogs were diagnosed with Pseudo rabies (PRV) at a private hunting facility in Saginaw County in 2008, according to Michigan United Conservation Clubs. appears another pig has already run off. So what's plan B?
The United Conservation Clubs are among organizations pushing to have feral hogs listed as invasive species.
Yeah, well, see here's the problem with that. We're not sure you can call them "invasive species" when you invited them up here in the first place. Now, here are all these 200 pound pork bulldozers running around their native habitat and you're like, "Hey pigs. Come on up to Michigan and let us put you in a yard so rich guys can pay $2000 to sit on the lodge porch and shoot you then go back to watching their stocks on Scottrade." 

So the pigs are probably like, "Thanks dude, but we'd rather stay down here where we at least have a chance that the bubbas who come looking for us are too drunk to hit what they're shooting at." Well, they're pigs, right, so what choice do they have? Now they're running all over up here so the manly men can get their manly on without getting their Predators all muddy. So what's plan C?

Republican House lawmakers are proposing legislation to keep the ranches in business with increased state oversight. The bill would require ranch owners to pay a $1,000 fee every three years, install tougher enclosures, test all of their boars for diseases and keep detailed records of each animal.
OK, we're not hunters or anything, but it seems to us if you have to catch the animals every so often to give them full medicals before you shoot them, it sort of takes away from that whole stalk your prey thing hunters seems to like. But that's just our opinion. We could be wrong, and as we wrote before, we're all for not subsidizing your need to go out in the yard and shoot things.

The problem is that stronger enforcement proposed in the bill would cost $2.3 million a year, according to DNR estimates -- far more than the $40,000 or so the proposed fees would raise over a three-year period. With the state budget more than $1 billion out of whack, taxpayers can't afford to make up the difference. If the disparity can't be resolved through higher fees, invasive species listing might be the only alternative.
The United Conservation Clubs are among organizations pushing to have feral hogs listed as invasive species, which would simply outlaw them.

Oh. Well, why didn't you say so before? Problem solved. Just remember, when you outlaw them give them about thirty days or so to leave the state.


Pearl said...

Now why do I all of a sudden have a Ted Nugent-like guitar riff running through my head?


Ironicus Maximus said...

Thanks for reminding us that we used to live about forty miles from the Whackmaster and see him not infrequently driving around in his SUV with various deceased animals strapped to the roof. A fond memory right up there with the time we rode our bicycle off the porch on a dare, although unlike Mr. Nugent we seem to have recovered form our head injury.