Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Will California Stop Seeing Feral Pigs as Game Animals?

For years, the cost of a wild/feral pig tag through the CA DFW has gone up on a regular basis. Back in the day, a feral pig wasn't even considered a game animal and you could hunt them at will. Then, when CA figured they could make some money, they start charging the hunters for a book of tags, and now they charge for single tags. A new bill, AB 2268, has been introduced that proposes a study by the DFW on the wild pig population and what can be done to reduce numbers. Thank you to Phillip at The Hog Blog for making me aware if this bill.

The down and dirty of it is that Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) wants a study conducted by the CA DFW that provide 'recommendations on solutions to mitigate the wild pig population.' As I read more into it, it sounds like the bill hints at removing the feral pig from game animal status because (as I interpret the bill) the process to get a tag takes too long, is difficult, and prohibits reducing the population. I am all for that, but also remember that Anthony Rendon was the Assemblyman who spearheaded AB-711, the bill to ban the use of lead ammunition in CA. Does he have an ulterior motive here? I am not saying he does, but there is some trepidation on my part.

I do agree that the CA DFW is doing nothing to help curb the population by raising the fees each year and charging so much for a single pig tag. Seriously, a pig tag costs $22.17 for a resident hunter. Personally, I think they should open up some of the limited access areas to hunters, even for a limited time without charging them more fees to be there. Some of us have yet to kill a pig on public land, but it will happen.

I will be keeping a close eye on this as I like to hunt pigs, but also because all California hunters should watch as this unfolds and show your support for it. Share your ideas, thoughts, concerns and get the word out. Can you imagine if we could hunt them at will? I think it having a hunting license should still be required, but that's it. Take as many as you can with any legal weapon possible.

How do you guys weigh in? How do you feel about this bill?


  1. Amazing...on private land here in FL, it's any time, any how on swine...and you don't need a license, tags, etc. They are opening up public land hunting opportunities all of the time. The $22 for resident licenses won't make up the difference in the damage they do.

  2. Tags required for hunting feral pigs. How ridiculous! I cant believe that considering the damage this FERAL animal does.

  3. Hey, Al.

    Thanks for the link-back. Not to be too nitpicky, but it is worth pointing out a couple of facts, re: CA wild hogs. First of all, they were listed as "game animals" all the way back in the 1950s, before they had spread nearly as far as they have today.

    The first pig tags were required in the 1980s I believe (the correct year eludes me), and I believe they were about $2 for a book of five tags. The justification for the tags was to fund research on the spread of the wild pig population and their impacts on the state's environmental and agricultural interests. Not sure how far that actual research went, but there are obviously large gaps in knowledge today.

    Currently, a resident wild hog tag will run about $22 for a single tag (not a book of five). Non-residents pay a little over triple that amount (close to $75). That, in my honest opinion, is absolutely ridiculous. But the reality is that the State will make money off of the popularity of wild hog hunting.

    If this bill passes, with the appropriate language, it will open the hog hunting field significantly by making it more affordable for both residents and visitors. That should provide a boon to outfitters, as it drops the expense of a hog hunt and enables hunters to take more than one animal on a visit. Theoretically, it will help landowners as well by enabling hunters to shoot more animals in a visit. However, the landowners have capitalized on hog hunting as a money-maker, so I doubt you'll see a return to the days of the "please come shoot them" mentality.

    As far as Rendon's involvement... well, that's hard to say. Maybe it's some form of atonement to make up to hunters for pushing AB711, or maybe there's something less benevolent. Maybe an active CA sportsman and blogger should reach out to him for an interview and see what that reveals (hint hint).

  4. Hey Phillip! Thank you for the comments. I have come to welcome (and expect) a bit of nitpickiness from you. It's appreciated.

    As far s the 'research' you speak of, who knows exactly what was done. My biggest problem with it is there seems to be plenty of talk coming from the DFW and parties involved, but nothing is done on a consistent basis...except raising the prices of pig tags.

    It's funny you mention the interview... I sat down last night jotting down questions and hope I am objective enough with them to score an interview with Mr. Reardon. Here's to hoping!

  5. If I didn't have to buy a tag, I'd more than likely make them more of a hunting priority. After all, we as hunters spend a great amount of money on our quarry. But that money is designed to help those animals, ducks, deer, bear etc. But the money paid for hog goes where? Also gaining in price puts it on the chop block for me, as I have to make decisions on what animals Will get my full attention, how much time I can dedicate to hunting that season, and flat out bottom line COST. I don't make the most, and tossing a hog tag in the cart at $20+ not knowing if I'll have the time to hunt them? I don't know, but I think with the concerns of over population, the simple solution is to deregulate the hog. Still unsure about any bill that promises the world. So we shall see... I may become a full time hog hunter.

    1. I hear ya brother. Spending money on a piece of paper that may never see ink is tough. That's why I am not going to buy a bear tag right now. Not going to waste $$ if I am not going after them.

      With the overpopulation of pigs, they should at least open the season up and let us go after them with any weapon (firearm, bow, crossbow0 and bag as many as we can. Even then it won't put much of a dent into the population, but it'll be a start. And it'll be fun to get out there!