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Thread: VAFB hogs ..... any news ??

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    Default VAFB hogs ..... any news ??

    Any good news that a bazillion piggies have moved back onto VAFB ??

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    Haha nah the pics are slowly coming back. But folks need to stop shooting sows n only shoot the boars. Really they need to shut got hunting down for a year n see what happens.

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    I have seen a few while coyote hunting and some piglets too. There is not enough yet to maintain adequate future hunting opportunities. However, there are hunters who don't give a damn about real conservation and are killing them anyway.
    Dave Gray
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    Unofficial VAFB Rod & Gun Club

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveGray View Post
    I have seen a few while coyote hunting and some piglets too. There is not enough yet to maintain adequate future hunting opportunities. However, there are hunters who don't give a damn about real conservation and are killing them anyway.
    I understand your point, but differ in opinion about your definition of “real conservation”. If you want introduced pigs to thrive, don’t shoot them. If you want native habitat and blacktails to have a fighting chance, shoot every one you see.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dthome View Post
    I understand your point, but differ in opinion about your definition of “real conservation”. If you want introduced pigs to thrive, don’t shoot them. If you want native habitat and blacktails to have a fighting chance, shoot every one you see.
    Are you attempting to compare VAFB with others hunting areas such as in Texas where there is a gross overabundance of hogs? Is your opinion based on a published scientific study? If so, would you please provide a link to it?

    I think you would be hardpressed to find even a few VAFB hunters who have hunted on the base for the last 30 years or so would agree with your opinion. Past VAFB harvest records sure haven't indicated that the hog population on Base has made one iota of a difference to the deer herd.

    Just about the only thing that affects the deer herd at VAFB is mismanagement and too many predators.
    Dave Gray
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    My point is about your view of “real conservation”. That’s a very subjective term. To conserve wild pigs is to encourage an exotic species that tears up the environment. If it doesn’t yet at VAFB, it will if you “conserve” them.

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    By the way, here’s one publication about the damage pigs do in California. And it’s an old publication. There are many, many more. The science is there.
    https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/v...&context=vpc18

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    That's a pretty good read, not to very long either.
    I didn't see anything in there about the extinct California Grizz. I have heard pig advocates say that all those ground rooting, acorn eating, carcass eating pigs are just taking the place of the extinct grizz on central coast. Anyway, just another point of view i guess.
    There wasn't enough room in the boat.

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    Interesting perspective. I often wonder what it would be like to have grizzlies in California.

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    It is interesting. I was skeptical when i first heard it and still am without research and some data. I do believe that pigs have some similarities when it come to impacting the environment, it's the size of the impacts that has me scratching my head the most.
    If grizzlies where still in California? I hope DFW would allow us to carry a sidearm when bow hunting.
    There wasn't enough room in the boat.

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    Not sure if anyone has seen this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8pZY1FClWY

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    Quote Originally Posted by dthome View Post
    My point is about your view of “real conservation”. That’s a very subjective term. To conserve wild pigs is to encourage an exotic species that tears up the environment. If it doesn’t yet at VAFB, it will if you “conserve” them.
    I do not disagree with the assessment that wild hogs can cause damage. However, as I understand it, that is consistent when there is an elevated population not adequately controlled by means of hunting or by farmers and ranchers. That was a problem in past years at the golf course on base. That is not the case now.

    VAFB consists of nearly 100,000 acres and about 75% is huntable. Since I am frequently out in the field and based on my observations, I doubt that is more than a few dozen adult hogs on base right now. For nearly two years, I did not see any hogs. During the 2016-2017 season, only 25 hog tags were filled in Santa Barbara County.

    Like myself, there are many Base hunters who want to put wild hog meat in the freezer for consumption. And right now in order to have a healthy balance, hog hunting on VAFB should be limited for a bit more time to provide hunters a better opportunity of success.

    There are about 28,000 acres designated to contract ranching and farming activities on VAFB. However, the Sikes Act and the Base INRMP provides no indication that ranching and farming activities take president over hunting and fishing opportunities.
    Dave Gray
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    Unofficial VAFB Rod & Gun Club

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    Dave, you make my point about the term “conservation’”. Exotic pigs can cause damage in sufficient numbers. Conserve them, and damage will come. It’s all about what people want to manage for. If you want to encourage pigs, you conserve pigs. If you want to encourage native vegetation and wildlife, you will conserve those species through proper management. Your definition of “real conservation” is not absolute, and people who don’t subscribe to it may well care about conservation, but not give a damn about your view of introduced pigs in California. And don’t get me started on the DOD’s Integrated Natural Resource Management Plans.

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    The habitat and weather in CA really makes the pig population self limiting. There's just not enough food and water to go around. When you throw the MTN lion into the mix, you'll just not get the kind of population/damage as you would get in, say...Texas or Georgia.

    Personnally, I'd rather hunt hogs than deer. More of a challenge.
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    If pigs are eating and drinking the limited supply of food and water doesn't that mean there is less for the deer?
    There wasn't enough room in the boat.

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    Deer and pigs have coexisted in California for a long time. The main reason the populations are down now is because the huge drought we had. Up at FHL there have been deer, pigs and elk roaming the same areas for many years without issue. VAFB the pigs and deer were roaming the same areas for many years without issues. What changed? Increased hunting pressure combined with a huge drought. The pigs and deer will rebound and things will be fine. But if one wants the pigs to rebound faster then hunters shouldn't be shooting the sows.

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    There’s certainly some overlap in the food supply,certainly, but I maintain that the pig population here in CA, and at VAFBspecifically isn’t naturally large enough to make a significant impact in thedeer population. Deer being browsers canaccess food that pigs just can’t hope to reach.
    On VAFB, they run cattle and have some agriculture(soybeans), but not a lot. There’senough water to drink from cattle troughs, springs and catch basins etc. What they are short of is rain, which in turnlimits the food supply.
    I’d say drought is the big factor, both for the deer and thehogs.
    On VAFB, most hogs have moved off the base to surroundingagriculture due to long term drought…and hunting pressure. They’re slowly coming back, but not in enoughnumbers to make it a viable hunting population. Killing a wet sow right now is a HUGE impact in pig recovery.
    Now with the deer population, there’s a bunch of stuff goingon VAFB. There’s about 15 mountain lionsworking the base currently. A mountainlion can feed for a week on a deer. Butsince there are so few trees there, they end up covering up their kills on theground instead placing them in trees. The coyotes quickly finish of the deer carcass, causing the lion to kill2-3 a week to stay fed. The lions thathave been killed (road kill or hunter killed) have been starving.
    The base can’t do controlled burns due to air regulations,so we’re losing habitat to manzanita. The deer can eat it, but it’s not the best food.
    The base over hunted for decades, without a viablemanagement plan. For a few years there,you could hunt from July-Jan if you played your tags right. That’s a huge amount of pressure on animals,especially across the rut.
    Then there’s the deer themselves. The California Hybrid/southernmulie/blacktail deer is genetically a smaller deer and will only grow largerunder exceptional and ideal conditions. The largest I’ve ever seen was a buck at 175 lbs. They won’t breed if their weight is 88 lbs orless.
    If there’s no rain, there’s no food, no food there’s nobreeding, no breeding, population dwindles due to predation, add extendedhunting, population goes down. Repeat for 10 years, then add manzanita encroachmentand you get where we are today.
    Our native deer tend to stay within 5 miles of where theywere born. Hogs on the other hand can movegreat distance to avoid pressure or find food.
    We’ve never had hog numbers on VAFB that I felt were significantenough to warrant the amount of active depredation that’s going on. Sure they cause some damage, but most of thebase is unused, open range.

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    There’s certainly some overlap in the food supply,certainly, but I maintain that the pig population here in CA, and at VAFBspecifically isn’t naturally large enough to make a significant impact in thedeer population. Deer being browsers canaccess food that pigs just can’t hope to reach.
    On VAFB, they run cattle and have some agriculture(soybeans), but not a lot. There’senough water to drink from cattle troughs, springs and catch basins etc. What they are short of is rain, which in turnlimits the food supply.
    I’d say drought is the big factor, both for the deer and thehogs.
    On VAFB, most hogs have moved off the base to surroundingagriculture due to long term drought…and hunting pressure. They’re slowly coming back, but not in enoughnumbers to make it a viable hunting population. Killing a wet sow right now is a HUGE impact in pig recovery.
    Now with the deer population, there’s a bunch of stuff goingon VAFB. There’s about 15 mountain lionsworking the base currently. A mountainlion can feed for a week on a deer. Butsince there are so few trees there, they end up covering up their kills on theground instead placing them in trees. The coyotes quickly finish of the deer carcass, causing the lion to kill2-3 a week to stay fed. The lions thathave been killed (road kill or hunter killed) have been starving.
    The base can’t do controlled burns due to air regulations,so we’re losing habitat to manzanita. The deer can eat it, but it’s not the best food.
    The base over hunted for decades, without a viablemanagement plan. For a few years there,you could hunt from July-Jan if you played your tags right. That’s a huge amount of pressure on animals,especially across the rut.
    Then there’s the deer themselves. The California Hybrid/southernmulie/blacktail deer is genetically a smaller deer and will only grow largerunder exceptional and ideal conditions. The largest I’ve ever seen was a buck at 175 lbs. They won’t breed if their weight is 88 lbs orless.
    If there’s no rain, there’s no food, no food there’s nobreeding, no breeding, population dwindles due to predation, add extendedhunting, population goes down. Repeat for 10 years, then add manzanita encroachmentand you get where we are today.
    Our native deer tend to stay within 5 miles of where theywere born. Hogs on the other hand can movegreat distance to avoid pressure or find food.
    We’ve never had hog numbers on VAFB that I felt were significantenough to warrant the amount of active depredation that’s going on. Sure they cause some damage, but most of thebase is unused, open range.
    Life's short . . . Hunt hard

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    I can't find a "Nuke the baby gay whales for Jesus" T-shirt anywhere!

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    Sounds like you know the base well. It pains me to hear that they can't do controlled burns, with all the larger more destructive fires we've been having you'd think the powers at be would start to see that controlled burns are a good thing. And i don't think air quality control boards should be against controlled burns either, what's better for air quality, a bunch of slower burning fires in the winter or one huge wildfire that consumes chemical rich houses along with all the natural fuel during the hot summer months.
    All of what you wrote make a lot of sense and certainly pigs and deer can coexist in the same area. I do think their is more potential competition though. If there are acorn producing oak groves on the base both animals will be looking for acorns when they need them most, in the fall after the ground is hard and summer has burned out all the grasses, forbs and spring brouse.
    There also may be conflict in spring fawning areas. If their was a group of pigs moving from one riparian area to another rooting up spring grasses I would not want to lay a fawn on the ground.
    If that competition is on the base then the pigs would better off without the deer and the deer would better off without the pigs.
    Can we talk about conservation now:) That was suppose to be funny cause this post has gone in multiple directions.
    I'm going to get out of this thread now.
    There wasn't enough room in the boat.

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    Bankrunner, your posts add value! You are right to think that pigs and deer can compete for food. Possible competition is heightened when food supplies are low, habitat is poorly managed, and drought is at play.

    On another note, I know one way you can conserve words. They say a picture is with a thousand of them. Hint, hint.
    Last edited by dthome; 07-12-2018 at 09:02 PM.

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    In my experience, in the areas I have hunter pigs in (from north of the bay area, to southern Ca) it hasn't been much of a competition for food. Pigs simply win out every time by a very very long shot. Granted, the pigs are not reaching up into trees to pull acorns down, But as soon as those acorns start falling, they simply scramble from tree to tree eating pretty much every acorn there sensitive noses can detect, leaving virtually nothing behind, except for those that fall after they have moved on, only for a repeat of gluttony the following evening. Where as deer, browse on them as they move, leaving plenty behind on the ground. The is simply no comparison in the way the 2 species consume food, no ands, if's, or butts. Simply put, pigs have a significant impact on deer population. They have an even greater impact on breading viability, as the winter food of deer are in short supply where they "coexist. Bottom line is that pigs have a significant impact that reduces fawn production/survival to birth, thus significantly impacting deer herds. Add to that natural predation, and unmanaged predators (aka herd population management practices), and it's no wonder we generally see few deer where deer coexist with pigs (granted I do still see deer, and once in a while a smoker or two). The only things really limiting the pig population in general is the drought (which impacts their food supply, and their inability to sweat, thus significantly impacting their ability to effectively regulate the body temp in excessive heat condition without being able to enter or lay in water (huge hint there for you summer pig hunters).

    But to some degree, we are all biased, after all we're human, we just can't help it.

    But only thing I don't see you guys covering is the public's outlook on the two species. After all, it's just generally not acceptable to hunt Bambi, but that filthy old pig, well he, or she, well they are simply much more acceptable to kill those nasty creatures, i.e., public opinion plays a big role in so called conservationism. But hey, I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir.

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    Yep, I've hunted VAFB for almost 30 years. Back in the day, I could check in the game shack and be back in 20 minutes with a deer. My partner and I still have the record (I think), 4 days hunting, 4 bucks. In the late 90's, I'd scout for 3 days, before I even get the gun out the case. Every time I saw a deer, I'd put a tick mark on my map. Where had the most tick marks is where I'd hunt on the fourth day. Generally, I'd quit counting after I hit 300. That means I'd see 100+ deer a day.....from the truck. Fast forward to 2017...10 deer spotted in 6 days of hard hunting.

    I met a guy who hunted the first day of the first ever season at VAFB, in 1955. He told us they checked in 300 bucks before noon.

    We used to joke that Stevie Wonder could get a deer at VAFB. Not anymore, now it's hard work to even see a buck. For 20 years, my success rate was 97% and now I haven't killed a deer in 3-4 years.

    3 years of good rain, would go a long way......
    Life's short . . . Hunt hard

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