Something major happened yesterday regarding feral hogs and hunting seasons for our state. State Representative Sherman Mack from Albany, LA created HCR83 on May 1st and on May 14th it was received by the Senate for consideration. It is set to be read a second time by title only on Tuesday, May 15th. After reading the House Concurrence Resolution ourselves, we’re leery of its intentions and we plan to clarify what we are in support of as well as what we are against.
First, let's cover what an HCR is. "Like a bill, a joint resolution requires the approval of both Chambers in identical form and the president's signature to become law. There is no real difference between a joint resolution and a bill. Joint resolutions and bills are presented to the President and, once signed or approved over a veto, are enacted and have the force of law. Concurrent resolutions are generally used to address the sentiments of both chambers or to deal with issues or matters affecting both houses."
If you'd like to read this proposal you can follow this link and click "text".
But we'll save you the trouble and post the last 4 sections for you here:
WHEREAS, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission establishes, maintains, and manages wildlife management areas and is charged with establishing all rules and regulations pertaining to the propagation, protection, and harvest of all species of wildlife on wildlife management areas; and
WHEREAS, many owners of farm and hunting land are using the tools created by recent changes to hunting laws aimed at reducing feral hog infestations, including taking feral hogs any day of the year, on certain nights of the year, with firearms equipped with sounds suppressers, and by aircraft; and
WHEREAS, these landowners' efforts have been stymied by the refuge for feral hogs created on wildlife management areas due to decreased hunting pressure as feral hogs can only be taken on wildlife management areas on days during an open hunting season with the method of take for that particular open season.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislature of Louisiana does hereby urge and request the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to increase the opportunities to take feral hogs from wildlife management areas and to make any recommendations to the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission necessary to accomplish that goal.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a suitable copy of this Resolution be transmitted to the secretary of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
Do you notice anything? How about the complete absence of intention or detail? This proposal, simply put, does not offer any value other than asking that LDWF listen to recommendations for hog eradication on WMAs which leaves the door wide open for conversations regarding running dogs and night hunting - which we feel is the true intention of this bill. If this happens our deer population would never have any reprieve on public land.
As bowhunters, our first priority is stealth and our second is to be non-disruptive. It is the absolute essence of bowhunting and our success as bowhunters depends on the combination of those things. Quite frankly, this proposed HCR threatens that.
Do not confuse this with our stance being against hog hunting as that could not be further from the truth. The difference is that we want all hogs dead - not just some of them so we can go back and hunt more later. Hogs are the #1 threat to Louisiana's deer population and therefore anyone that values the deer herd should be for eradication of all hogs as well. But at the same time, we are not so naive to believe this legislature could eradicate hogs. More stringent measures are necessary, but we simply cannot entertain options that could potentially do more harm than good.
What we are in favor of is a much more conservative option such as being allowed to hunt hogs during any open season with appropriate weapons such as shotguns, rifles and bows. In addition, we would fully support a bounty program similar to the state's nutria bounty program. Of course this would have to be carefully regulated and would need to provide proof of the hog's death to mitigate a new population of tailless hogs roaming the woods...
Finally, before you come for our heads with pitch forks and torches, ask yourself this: If manual methods of hog removal were so effective, why do they still run rampant on private land? Are they really taking refuge on public land, the most heavily hunted property in the state? Or is this simply an attempt to pass new legislation under the guise of good intentions just to open the flood gates for hog hunters to hunt new, easily accessed land?
Until we get some clarity on this we are highly skeptical. No one wants to see a hog die more than we do. But that doesn't mean our deer herd should suffer more because of it.