Pig Hunt Looking Up

California's Tehama Wildlife Area Improves

Buoyed slightly by last year's improved hunting success, the Department of Fish and Game has set March 14 as the deadline for hunters to apply for the coming spring's wild pig hunts on the Tehama Wildlife Area east of Red Bluff.

Hunters must reach the DFG's Region 1 office in Redding with their post card applications by 5 p.m. on March 14 to take part in drawings for the eight weekend hunts, the DFG said. The drawing will be held March 15 and winners will be notified by mail.

Up to four hunters may apply together for one of the eight hunts by sending a post card with their names, hunting license numbers, a mailing address and a daytime phone number to the DFG at 601 Locust Street, Redding, CA 96001.

The weekend hunts start April 1-2, designated as hunt number "1," and end with hunt "8" on the weekend of May 27-28, with only April 22-23 to be a non-hunt weekend. Hunters must write one of the eight numbers on the post card to indicate which hunt they seek.

DFG said it will employ a first-come, first-served method of selection for hunters without advance reservations to take the places of any reservation hunters who do not show up, or to fill slots not filled in the drawings. No hunters will be permitted to enter the area to replace hunters who leave.

Gerald Markel, DFG wildlife habitat specialist, said hunters last year reported killing 19 wild pigs, the highest kill in 12 years. The onset of drought in the latter 1980s reduced pig numbers and, in turn, pig hunting success on the 44,000-acre wildlife area.

The reported kill ranged from 5 to 10 in the four previous seasons.

Markel said wet winters of the latter 1990s and several excellent acorn crops have improved feed — luring pigs uphill from private lands onto the wildlife area and helping improve production of young.

"Pigs are pretty nomadic and will tend to go where the feed is," Markel said. "At the same time, hunting pressure can chase them away," he added.

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