As many of you know (who have followed my two previous articles dealing with the feral hog problem), this adventure has had many differing points of contention that have delayed (and detoured) my plight. I have been chasing this small herd (or Sounder) for well over two weeks now. Last night (actually, early this morning), I took up my post just around the corner of the church building so as not to be seen by these problematic pests.
At about 4:05 am, I pulled out the pack containing the “FLIR” (thermoscope) and pointed it in the direction of the larger containment setup. I thought that I saw something jumping around inside of the pen, so I started up the old faithful Dodge and proceeded to check it out. When I got close to it, there was nothing (that I could see) inside of the fenced area. (Well, at least I didn’t pull on that 350 ft rope that would have closed the trap gate). The gate closing isn’t really an issue. It is that I have to contort my now nonathletic body to free up the locks. What went through my mind next was somewhat disappointing.
Not only had I started up that noisy diesel truck, but I also had those headlights on high beam and had a DeWalt flashlight on and lighting up that whole area. Well, I was determined to sit out the rest of my allotted time (or until the sun came up), so I turned down the lights and slowly motored back to where I had been. It was nearing 5:00 am, and in around an hour, the sun would soon be illuminating the grounds (and I would head the truck toward to property entrance (and exit) and call it a day. “I’ll give it another half hour,” I thought to myself as I reached for the oversized cup of coffee.
At about 5:10, I heard a familiar clang of cage metal coming from the direction of the 6 ft trap (on the western property fence). Then the thing that I was hoping to hear came ringing across the grounds (it was the 3-inch cowbell that was affixed to the trap door. There was no mistaking this sound! I got over to the trap in less than two minutes and found four pigs in the trap. Now the work was to begin. After “dispatching the varmints,’’ I had to somehow push them off of the door and then pull them out, and yes, the door opened by pushing back in on it. This should not have been an issue, but one of the porkers had gotten tangled in the wire reinforcements at the back of the trap. It took me longer to remove this one critter than it did to pull out the other three.
Once at home, I went into “recycle” mode. I quickly went through a cheap pair of nitrile gloves and then had to resort to using a pretty pair of bright pink dishwashing gloves (hey, they got the job done)! These animals may be a scourge to the agricultural and ranching community, but they are still God’s handiwork (and, therefore, needed to be treated as such). I made some calls and found some people that could really use the meat. One went to a neighbor down the street (that helped by coming out on “pig patrol” a week earlier). Two went to a relative who preaches in a neighboring community.
This was the Cowboy Church’s pastor David Hope’s brother Bob. Nothing is going to waste on this venture. I don’t know if I will be able to catch any more pigs in that trap (from that group or Sounder). It is the Lord’s property, His animals, His people trying to do the right thing by slowing down the spread of hogs, and His people being blessed by the efforts that we endeavor to complete.
In Southeast Florida, they are having a fit of large iguanas, eating up people’s fine foliage and being a nuisance. In Southwest Florida, they are fighting with the large “python type” snakes (which, by the way, a record 19-foot-long “mega-pest” was just captured outside of the Naples area). These animals have found their way into our lives (and our backyards), and if allowed total freedom to proliferate, will wreak havoc on property, pets, and people. And I have seen pictures of a python that was caught shortly after eating a shipping terminal employee down in South America!
I have appreciated all the positive input from friends, family, fellow congregants, and readers alike. This borrowed, then modified trap has caught these animals before, only to realize that they had indeed escaped (by our viewing a tool called the trail camera). The only thing I would like to add here is, FINALLY!