Fresh pears equal fresh pork

Luke Clayton
Luke Clayton

For many years, I had access to hunt and fish on a couple hundred acres situated about three-quarters of a mile from my home. The place is an outdoor paradise, rough country with plenty of water and always an ample supply of wild hogs that I dearly love to hunt, butcher and turn into tasty meals. I lost access to my hog hunting paradise a year ago but fortunately one of my great friends has a place with even more porkers where I now hunt. I figured I had hunted my last ‘close to home’ porkers but recent developments might just prove otherwise!

This past week, while mowing on the few acres where we live, I noticed some serious wild hog rooting along the edge of a 50 yard wide strip of woods and brush that I leave for wildlife habitat. On closer inspection, I discovered where hogs had ‘roto tilled’ the ground inside the wooded area, their rootings extended outside the heavy cover on to the edge of the yard.

Being a serious hog hunter and having a working knowledge of wild hog patterns, I knew there was some reason the wild porkers had traveled from the remote area they called home, to my place. We have neighbors within a few hundred yards of our small acreage and it’s just not ‘wild’ enough for wild porkers. At least that’s what I’ve though the two decades we’ve lived here. When I pulled our area up on Google Earth, I discovered the wet weather creek that traverses the boundary of our place leads through heavy cover and ultimately to a couple of stock tanks that I never knew existed. From the stock tanks to the woods I used to hunt is a heavily wooded area and only a few hundred yards away. Obviously, the hogs had found something that drew them to my strip of ‘habitat’ and a safe route to get there. But what?

After much head scratching and following hog sign, I found the answer to the riddle! We have a pear tree not far from the edge of the woods and squirrels have been dislodging the pears, leaving many on the ground. I’m sure the smell of a rotting pear can be detected a long way by hogs. In the fall, I am amazed at how hogs instantly locate isolated persimmon trees when they begin to drop their fruit. They will come from a great distance to eat the fruit, immediately after it hits the ground. On close inspection, I noticed not one rotting pear was on the ground. A closer look divulged hog tracks, tracks that appear to have been made by ‘eater’ size hogs weighing somewhere around 75 pounds. Hogs are smart, they wait till the squirrels pick the pears during the daylight hours and them drop by in the cool of the evening to scarf them up! More on this topic later, after a couple days monitoring that trail camera!

Changes in catfish regulations on the table

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is considering changes in the catfish regulations that will not only benefit the individual fisheries but also streamline and simplify the currently somewhat complex regulations. Hopefully, this will make it easier for the angler keep track of his catch during the course of a fishing trip and for the wardens whose job it is to enforce the fish and game laws. Fishing for trophy class blue catfish has become very popular in recent years on lakes such as Tawakoni, Texoma and others. Proposals being considered will insure the brood fish are protected but also allow those of us that are more interested in a fish fry will continue to have the opportunity to catch plenty of ‘eater’ size catfish.

In June a group of catfish anglers were invited to participate in a series of online webinars and hear presentations from TPWD staff regarding possible changes to the state’s catfish management plan. The fishermen were given the opportunity to ask questions and offer feedback to TPWD. Several proposals are being considered and in a couple weeks, TPWD will offer an online YouTube presentation focusing on the proposals. To stay on top of developments, visit the TPWD website. The public will have opportunities to voice opinions and the final decision will not be made until early next year.

Fish the salmon run in Colorado

Many folks think that in order to fish a major salmon run, a trip to Alaska is in order but not so. One of the largest Kokanee salmon (landlocked Sockeye) occurs each year around Gunnison Colorado when 4 year old salmon make the 24 mile run from Blue Mesa Reservoir back to the Roaring Judy Fish Hatchery in the East River where they were hatched. The fish hatchery stocks around 3.5 million Kokanee salmon each year, which travel downstream to Blue Mesa, the largest lake in Colorado, to spend most of their lives. Fishing is very good in the river from about mid August through October the peak of the run usually occurs around mid September. The Gunnison area has for many years been my favorite destination in Colorado. Fishing guide Andy Cochran ( says trolling for Kokanee is very good right now in Blue Mesa and good numbers of eater size lake trout are being landed as well. For more information, visit the website. To learn more about what the Gunnison area has to offer, visit the Gunnison Crested Butte Association website

Contact outdoors writer Luke Clayton via his website