The Essence of Life

The Essence of Life

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Controlling Sus scrofa

Last Friday César, Ivan, Ivandro and I left a business meeting in Bento Gonçalves under torrential rain and drove to Caxias do Sul where we would collect our gear (or better speaking, their gear since I had little more than my business clothes) and then drove, mostly under the same rain, the one hundred odd miles to a farm close to Bom Jesus to join the remaining of our group in a mission to help restore ecological balance in southern Brazil.

In the last several several years Brasil was invaded by a most dangerous, prolific and destructive alien species, Sus scrofa, also known as European boar. O as is the case in most other places invaded by swine, they play havoc with crops, carry or transmit disease to domestic animals, compete with native species, and by now there is at least one case of a boar killing a person, I believe in Minas Gerais state.

Currently in Brazil there is no open hunting season for any game animals, although there is a lot of subsistence hunting in many of the less developed regions of the country and a lot of poaching everywhere, with limited and ineffective control or enforcement of regulations, so it was very difficult for the "proper authorities" to come to conclusion that one of the only practical and affordable ways to control the invasive wild boards and their offsprings was to allow volunteers to locate, pursue and eventually terminate these animals.

And of course, in order not to offend sensitive (and mostly brainless) people, this would not be called hunting or even culling, but "controlling."

But I digressed. We arrived sometime past 9:00 PM and met several friends and made new acquaintances that would soon become friends as is common among hunters...pardon me...controllers. We were greeted with some libations and in no time I found my way to the improvised grill where a proper churrasco was being prepared over hot coals by Celso. Sausage and spring chicken were the appetizers and large amounts of beef made the main course.

After dinner most of us left in two trucks going different directions spot lighting for boar. As wild boars are invasive non-game animals they can be controlled all year around, day or night, by any means, except poison. During the two or three hours that we were out we saw no boars, but we spotted and left alone seven or eight deer, several graxain, which is similar to a fox, but is grey with an almost black back, and at least three very large European hares, another invasive species, but that is not subject to control at this point in time. The temperature was quite comfortable and there was only a light drizzle.

When we came back some people while the older and wiser stayed around the fireplace telling hunting stories and associated lies, sharing drinks and eating roasted pinhões, the delicious fruit to the Araucaria, a typical southern Brazil pine tree. And the stories, drinks and pinhões lasted a long time, as it was 2:30 AM before I found the couch where I was to sleep, gently volunteered by Nicolas, one of our younger controllers, so older men (that meaning me!) could sleep more comfortably.

In here late small hours the storm that we had left behind the previous night caught up with us and besides the heavy rain it brought severe winds which brought down a lot of branches and even some trees, and shook the frame of our old wooden house.

In the morning some of the late nighters had a rough time, but by 8:00 AM the pack of clearly mixed hounds was let loose most of the controllers followed it under an annoying rain. Since I had no gear to speak off and needed dry clothes for the return trip (at least that is my story and I will stick to it) I stayed behind with Ivan and Celso and we applied ourselves to swapping stories, turn the leftover churrasco into a carreterio (rice cooked with meat), and enjoying the contents César's bottle of Johnny Walker to the very last drop.

Around noon Ivandro came in and said that Gilmar had shot a nice boar, and that they were dragging it to a point where one of the trucks could retrieve it and some of the by now very tired hunters. Oops, my fault! I meant to say controllers. Gilmar hit the hog with three of four shots from his 308 rifle. The first shot effectively castrated the hog, the second and third hit it in the shoulder and around the jaw articulation, but I don't know in which order.

After lunch, the hog was weighted (65 Kg or 143 pounds gutted), pictures were taken, and five of us made our way back to Caxias do Sul where I had to attend a beneficent banquet with other friends from Clube Caxiense de Caça e Tiro. Life can be so demanding...

No comments:

Post a Comment