Feral Hogs & Diseases

Douglas Mason recently gave us an update about some of the hogs he has removed from Oakridge Ranch.   Douglas says that some of these hogs exhibited symptoms of pseudorabies.

This is not rabies in the common sense, but a viral infection carried by swine in many parts of the world.   Psuedorabies is a viral infection caused by Suid herpesvirus 1 (SuHV1).   The term “pseudorabies” is not an accurate term for the virus as it has nothing at all to do with the rabies virus.

Attached is a short primer from Texas A & M University on a few diseases carried & transmitted by feral hogs.


Thank you, Mr. Mason, for all the work you do to remove feral hogs from Oakridge Ranch!   You perform a difficult and time-consuming task to keep the population of these predators under control.

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Beautiful, Yet Deadly

The Eastern Coral Snake is a beautifully colored creature; yet it is ranked as the second deadliest viper in the world.  We often think the rattle snake is more deadly, but it’s not.  Both the head and tail of the coral snake look much the same; both are small and rounded.  The coral snake chews on it’s victim, or hangs on, allowing for the snake to deposit more venom than snakes that strike.

This snake came out to warm itself in the sunshine as many cold-blooded creatures do after a cold snap followed by mild weather.   Never attempt to touch one of these or pick one up.  The following little poem is the best rule of thumb to know if it’s an actual coral snake or a less venomous look-alike; teach it to your children.
Red on black, venom lack;
Red on yellow, it will kill a fellow.

Enjoy our beautiful fall weather.  But stay aware!   Be watchful and wear boots.   Live life outdoors!

Easter Coral Snake; Photo by B.LaVergne, Nov 19, 2010.
Easter Coral Snake; Photo by B.LaVergne, Nov 19, 2014.


Scouting for Food

Beautiful female Coyote, Photo by David Mitchem, Aug 2014.
Beautiful female Coyote, Photo by David Mitchem, Aug 2014.

This healthy female coyote was scouting for food around the Mitchem’s home, including checking out their cats on the porch.   Keep your small pets and children close and be aware.   Most coyote packs send out a scout or two who then call the remainder of the pack in once he/she has found available food.   There are always coyotes following whitetail deer, as well as other small animals such as the plentiful rabbits we have here at Oakridge.  

David asked me to post these pictures and remind everyone to be cautious as these were taken just off their back porch.  It’s a good idea to not leave pet food out overnight that would attract unwanted predators.   Below is another nice picture of the same coyote.    And as always, live life outdoors!

Female Coyote, Photo by David Mitchem, August 2014.
Female Coyote looking for food near the deer feeder; Photo by David Mitchem, August 2014.


How big is this hog?

Matthew Crosby shows one of many hogs he has taken. According to his dad, Rick, the weight was 260 pounds, “this boar never had a chance!”

Who has the largest grin now?  See below.                                                                                                      20131221_214423

How big is this thing?

Wounded Warrior Hunt Upcoming

We hope you make plans to participate in ORWMA’s Annual Wounded Warrior Hunt coming up on December 14 & 15.   We host several wounded warriors from Brooke Army Medical Center for the 2-day period and give them a chance to hunt at Oakridge Ranch.  For more details on how you can participate, please click on the “Groups” tab, then “Deer”; next click on “Wounded Warrior Hunt“. 

Oakridge Ranch’s Douglas Mason gives away several wounded warrior hunts throughout the year.  Below is a nice picture of a recent successful hunt Douglas (& his dogs) had with Jeremy Spoerle and his family.  Jeremy was wounded in 2007.  Pictured are Jeremy with family members Barb, Callie & John.  Thank you, Douglas, for what you do for our wounded warriors all year long!

Spoerle Family Hunt with Douglas Mason, November 2013.
Spoerle Family Hunt with Douglas Mason, November 2013.


Have you seen these hogs?

My beautiful picture of pigs; Photo Courtesy of Larry Petter,11-08-2013.
My beautiful picture of pigs; Photo Courtesy of Larry Petter,11-08-2013.

We have all seen the black pigs. Let us know if you have seen this white and black pig. It almost looks like a Holstein calf!
Pictures taken at the Petter property, Miller Creek Loop.

Bobcats in Oakridge

Bobcat walking to water; Photo Courtesy of D.Burrows, February 2013.
Bobcat walking to water; Photo Courtesy of D.Burrows, February 2013.

Bobcats, Lynx rufus are normally elusive and nocturnal, but our game cameras are picking up more instances of their presence here.  Even in the day time.  This beautiful cat was walking toward a 40 gallon water tank we have in “the back 40”, where we have a turkey feeder near-by.  There is a water barrel continuously supplying water; therefore, it has become a regular to this spot.  We are glad to be in the  cat’s territory, representing a healthy, balanced environment; they are a vital part of our ecology.

Bobcats primarily eat rabbits, woodrats, mice, squirrels, voles, gophers, birds and reptiles.   Occasionally, they will take young deer, although most likely they take advantage of carrion.   Like most cats, they hunt by stealth and are not capable of extended chases.  Their leaping pounce from cover can be up to 10 feet.

Bobcats are territorial, with the female having a home base, excluding other females.  The male’s territorial range may include the ranges of several females.   In Texas, studies indicate some 48 cats per 62 miles.  There is a “carry capacity”, of a particular area usually determined by food and water availability.  And since kittens can sometimes be killed by adult males, a natural balance can be achieved.  The bobcats also will/can adjust their home ranges to compensate for varying factors.  Like coyotes, they are consummate adapters and survivors.

Bobcat at Deer Feeder off Trails End; Photographer Unknown, 11-07-2013.
Bobcat at Deer Feeder off Trails End; Photographer Unknown, 11-07-2013.

Did you know:  running at full speed, bobcats can have a bobbing motion similar to a rabbit; they can live up to 13 years;  their natural mortality fluctuates with the seasons;  kittens purr when pleased and play like your normal house cat; typical litters are 2-4 kittens; kitten dispersal can be from 9 months to 2 years, depending on how skilled at hunting they are; they can not expect to eat well, or mate until territory established; over time, they are loyal to their established territory, marked by scat and scrapes; they spend most of their lives alone; their natural predators are humans, domestic dogs, coyotes, foxes, owls, eagles, hawks.

There is so much more to know and appreciate about this remarkable predator.

Predator Control Ongoing at Oakridge

Dogs baying a hog as trained; Photo by D.Mason, 10-29-2013.
Dogs baying a hog as trained; Photo by D.Mason, 10-29-2013.

Douglas Mason is continually trying to keep us ahead of the game with predator control here at Oakridge Ranch.  Above is a great picture of his dogs doing what they are trained to do.   Douglas caught the hogs below off Deer Field Court this week.  He has now removed more than 500 hogs removed from Oakridge Ranch during 2013 and we still have two months left in this year!

Eleven hogs in one trap on Deer Field Court; Photo by D.Mason, 10-29-2013.
Eleven hogs in one trap on Deer Field Court; Photo by D.Mason, 10-29-2013.

Below is a picture of “The Hog Whisperer” himself, Douglas Mason, having a serious conversation with some caught feral hogs.

Feral hogs conversation time with "The Hog Whisperer"; Photo courtesy of Douglas Mason, 10-29-2013.
Conversation time with “The Hog Whisperer”; Photo courtesy of Douglas Mason, 10-29-2013.

Large Cats in Oakridge Ranch

Two young cougars were seen today at 5:40 PM on Oakridge Road between Wagon Wheel and the bend in the road just east of that (towards the stop sign at Trails End).   But the property owner couldn’t get close enough to take a photo with his mobile phone before they scattered.  These were definitely cougars with the longer tail & crook at the end.  Since these were young, we must definitely have some breeding cougars in our area.

Many property owners are feeding deer and attracting more wildlife to our properties.  Keep a watchful eye for the predators that follow those we are trying to attract, including Cougars, Bobcats and Coyote.   Do not run if you are confronted by one of these animals.  Try to look larger than you are; carry a big stick, wave your arms, yell, etc.   Consider walking or biking in groups.

And, as always, live life outdoors!

(Note:  If anyone has any pictures on their game cameras of one of these cats or other predators, please forward to ORWMA at oakridgeranchwma@gmail.com.)