Wild Sheep Of the World (Podcast)

Did you know bighorn sheep are slowly moving back into Oklahoma?

Yep, Oklahoma.

How cool is that?

Have you ever heard of Asia’s Marco Polo Sheep-a massive mountain dweller that lives exclusively in elevations of 12-15,000 feet?

Oh and by the way , the rams sport horns upwards of 60 inches in length.

Learn about this and much, much more in the podcast of my radio program “Moore Outdoors” (May 25 edition) as I interview Gray Thornton, President & CEO of The Wild Sheep Foundation.

Wild sheep have a deep personal meaning in my life dating back to early childhood when I would sit with my Dad and cut out photos of wildlife from Sports Afield, Field & Stream and Outdoor Life and place them in a scrapbook.

Wild sheep and wild turkeys were my favorites.

This photo of a Stone sheep is one of many wild sheep photos in the author’s recently rediscovered childhood scrapbook. Since he cant this photo out of a Sports Afield Stone sheep have been his favorite wild sheep.

Dad passed away of natural causes on a hunting trip with me five years ago but the memories of sitting in his lap and clipping out those photos will never fade.

A recent discovery of one of these scrapbooks in a storage vault brought back a flood of emotions and reminded me that a love of wild sheep has been with me my whole life.

The interview is just one of what will be many broadcasts, articles and investigations on wild sheep and their conservation moving forward.

This includes a forthcoming major feature story on desert bighorn in Texas Fish & Game magazine in the August 2019 issue.

For now check out the podcast. It’s one of the best interviews I have had in 20 years of radio.

Listen to learn about wild sheep of the world and to be inspired by their amazing conservation story.

Chester Moore, Jr.

Northern Invasion-Feral Hogs Taking New Territory

Seeing a feral hog in thick snow was surreal to me.

I had seen thousands in swamps, cactus thickets and rocky canyons in  Texas, Tennessee, Louisiana and Florida but seeing one bust out from behind a tree on a snow-covered hill in Michigan was wild.

The author photographed this big feral hog in Michigan in 2001.

This was back in 2001, just 20 years after the first feral hogs were spotted in Michigan. Now they are in virtually every county in the state.

The feral hog issue is definitely most pronounced in the South but hogs are becoming increasingly common in the North.

A decade ago I did an interview with a radio station in New Jersey because they had just opened a hog hunting season and the host wanted advice of dealing with these invasive exotics.

If states on the northern tier of their range in America do not take action then hogs will gain a permanent foothold above the Mason-Dixon line.

Some states have taken an unusual stance on dealing with hogs. They have made hunting them illegal.

It seems counterintuitive to eliminate a potential method of removing many hogs from the landscape.

The reasoning in states like New York, Minnesota and Kansas is the spread of feral hogs has had much to do with ranches that put them behind high fences for hunting. Hogs of course escape and the population outside fences spreads.

I have no doubt this has contributed greatly to the spread of hogs in my native Texas and have written on this in Texas Fish & Game.

It’s a bizarre idea to prohibit a hunter who is out to seek deer for example from killing one when at the end of the day state officials will have to kill hogs to stop their spread.

Perhaps simply banning importing them or transporting live pigs would be better.

It will be interesting to see how management of hogs changes as they multiply.

Will states that ban hunting them see success in their fight against this foreign invader? Or will they have to change their tactics?

I predicted the urban areas of the country would see a huge increase in hogs including gigantic ones and we are seeing that unfold at this very moment.

I am now predicting within a decade every state in the North will have growing hog populations perhaps with the exception of Maine.

These highly adaptive animals have proven they can thrive in the face of great pressure from hunters, professional hog trappers and even growing urbanization.

The feral hog invasion of the north continues and it will take intensive action and focused management to stop their forward momentum.

Chester Moore, Jr.