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7/27/17- A Very Odd Hairball

By Meaghan English, TrueSouth Properties Wildlife Specialist

 

If you have a hunting camp or own land, you are accustomed to most odd things you see in the woods. For instance, a cow pelvis leaning up against a tree or an old wheel that looks like it fell off a covered wagon just yesterday. Well, wildlife biologist Dave Edwards and fellow hunting guide Jody Smith also believed they had seen it all. Boy, were they wrong.

Cabin Bluff is a Cumberland River Retreat nestled along Georgia’s coast and is home to many alligators and feral pigs, as it borders miles of marshes and wetlands; two habitats both feral pigs and alligators thrive in. While rummaging around in the woods, hunting guide Smith stumbled upon what looked like a coconut. After attempting to slice it open with a machete and continuously failing, Smith took the large coconut like object to Edwards. It was then that they determined it was a hairball made of dense feral hog hair. They concluded that the hairball had probably been coughed up by a hog that had eaten a deceased hog. When the cannibal hog died, all that was left was the ball of hair that did not decompose with the rest of the body. Smith and Edwards were amazed, but knew that hogs commit cannibalism regularly and the surprise and shock quickly faded. Just as life returned to normal and the hairball was nearly forgotten about, a new twist to the story was unveiled. An alligator was killed in an automobile collision on a road near Cabin Bluff a few weeks later. Smith gutted the gator like any good hunting guide would do and to his surprise a large hairball was found inside the gator. Smith relayed his finding to Edwards who then researched the hairball. Edwards found some very interesting details regarding indigestible masses that form in the stomachs of all kinds of animals. It turns out that cats are not the only animals to experience fur balls!

Please visit the QDMA website to read the entire article written by Wildlife Biologist Dave Edwards. The story will make you scratch your head and wonder, could alligators be the answer to our feral pig headaches? It won’t happen overnight, but given the right sequence of events, could they reduce local feral pig populations in states that have an abundance of marshes and wetlands? It’s something to think about, that’s for sure!!

https://www.qdma.com/something-big-eating-feral-hogs-hawking-hairballs/

 

By: Meaghan English

My name is Meaghan English, a wildlife specialist with TrueSouth. I graduated from Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Ecology and Management and I have grown up with a passion for hunting. I knew from an early age that I was not only interested in the harvesting of wildlife, but I was also very interested in their biology and management. I decided that I not only wanted to be a wildlife enthusiast, I want to be an educated wildlife specialist. I will be using that grand education as the newest member of the TrueSouth team! I will be walking tracts of land with a fine tooth comb and providing clients with information regarding wildlife habitat and wildlife abundance collected from those tracts. My job is to inform the buyer of all the wildlife species he/she is inheriting! But first, let me tell you how my “buck fever” began.
My first hunting memory flashes back to when I was six or seven years old. Like any other Saturday during deer season, my dad had told my mom to get me ready because we were going hunting. Of course I was ecstatic! I was not ecstatic about the hair bow my mom made me wear with my camouflage (she wanted everyone to know I was in fact a fashionable girl). The entire way to Perdue Hill, Alabama, my dad told me that today would be the first day I would actually shoot my first deer and I knew I was ready. We pulled up to the camp, unloaded, and fed all the “camp cats”. Before we headed to our stand, I had spotted three kittens that I simply could not leave behind so I stuffed them in my jacket. After walking what seemed like five miles, we finally made it to the “Pressbox stand” (with my smuggled kittens) and sat down. Dad continuously pestered me to be quiet, but I wasn’t that worried about shooting a deer, I had kittens! Eventually, the sun began to sink behind the trees and a spike (without olfactory senses) entered the field. When it was safe to quietly move, dad handed me the gun and I handed him my three kittens. I slowly pulled the gun up and placed my cheek against the stock. Dad told me to breathe slowly and pull the trigger when I was ready. Sure enough, I pulled the trigger and the spike hit the ground. We high-fived, exchanged kittens again, and climbed down to see the kill. It certainly was not a wall hanger, but a huge chapter in my life was started that night. My dad and I still hunt together to this day and we practice quality deer management at all times.

My ultimate goal is to provide clients with a survey of flora and fauna that currently inhabit a specific tract of land and, if desired, how to properly manage that land for the species that are found there. All feedback is greatly appreciated and I look forward to working with you!

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