Harold Monk, of Denham Springs, Louisiana, is going to be famous one of these days. Right up there with Nick Tesla and Al Einstein, and that other fellow, the one who invented the whoopie cushion. OK, maybe not him, but at least those other guys.
The reason Harold is going to become a household name is because he’s invented a machine that will allow hogs to open a hopper, but not other animals. Which is probably a lot harder than you’d think, being as how no one ever did it before. Granted, it’s possible no one ever tried before, but still.
The reason Harold has been working on this doohickey is that the hogs have gotten entirely out of hand. Feral hogs proliferate so quickly that, just to stay even with them, their ranks need to be depleted by at least 70 percent every year. And no ranks are as rank as hog ranks, let me tell you.
Even if we kill 70 percent of each year’s hog population in the 39 states where they run amuk, we’re still just treading water - or treading mud, in this case. Hogs do millions of dollars’ worth of damage each year, destroying crops, tearing up fences, uprooting shrubbery, and defacing flower beds, not to mention what they’ve done to my backyard at times. When a batch of porkers go through a field that’s been planted with corn, or whatever, it looks like it’s been replowed by a drunk farmer with a defective tractor. And who needs that?
Now, although the Pork Chopper Bill, which was passed several years ago, allows a lot more leeway for killing the hogs from the air, it’s not enough. I’ve tried to do my part, shooting as many as I could from Kyle Lange’s helicopter, but the pigs are still overwhelming us. The only answer, evidently, is poison.
Now, before I get a lot of angry letters written on flowery, recycled stationary, let me point out that I’ve never poisoned a hog, unless you count lead poisoning. And let me also point out that the poison that seems to work best for hogs, so far, is sodium nitrate. If I remember correctly from Coach Jimmy Lange’s (no relation to Kyle) science class when I was in seventh grade, sodium nitrate is basically salt. And it kills hogs. Go figure.
According to a Predator Xtreme story, sent to me in a Grand View Outdoors newsletter, soduim nitrate keeps red blood cells from absorbing oxygen in certain animals, and hogs are one of them. If a pig eats enough of it, he succumbs to something like carbon dioxide poisoning. He basically goes to sleep and dies.
The machine Harold is working on is being tested at the Kerr Wildlife Management Area near Hunt, Texas. It’s called the HAM, or Hog Annihilation Machine, and it shocks animals with 15,000 volts if they try to open it and they don’t happen to be a hog. As near as I can tell, just from scanning the story, the HAM works mostly by sound, and opens when a hog grunts or snuffles at it. If that doesn’t happen – ZAP! I’m thinking I’d like to set up a game camera at one of these HAMs.
The machine did mess up when an alligator roared at it once, but I don’t know if that happened at Kerr or someplace else. But Harold fixed it by programming it to ignore gators, so that’s done. It also won’t open for bears, although I don’t know if I want to be around when a bear gets handed 15,000 volts, and then starts looking around for who done it.
If the HAM works well, I’m thinking Harold should branch out a little, and see if he can’t come up with a SPAM (Stupid People Annihilation Machine). Those could be placed outside businesses that are frequently robbed, with a sign over a little door that said, ‘Free money inside.’ Anyone dumb enough to rob a bank would be dumb enough to stick a hand in there, and ZAP!
Such a device might’ve deterred one Victor Navarro, a 24-year-old Florida man who recently attempted to rob a pharmacy in Hialeah. The headline on the story, recently sent to me by somebody, said, ’70 Year Old Pharmacy Manager Shoots and Kills Robber Armed With BB Gun.’ Which made me wonder if the manager shot Victor with a BB gun, or if Victor tried to rob the pharmacy with a BB gun. If the former, I wanted one of those BB guns, but it turned out to be the latter.
So Victor tried to commit larceny with a toy. What makes this story interesting, at least to me, is that the 70-year-old guy, who pulled out a non-BB type gun and shot Victor DRT, was one Angel Navarro. Which is ironic, not only because of the last names, although the two weren’t related, but also because of the angel thing, with Victor shuffling off his mortal coil during the festivities.
The point, in case you’ve forgotten, is that a SPAM could’ve prevented this unfortunate incident, although Victor would probably have just found another pharmacy to rob. Still, it might be worth a try.
Ron White says you can’t fix stupid, but you could probably shock the daylights out of it . . .
Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and public speaker who avoids electric fences whenever possible. Write to him at PO Box 1600, Mason, Tx 76856 or firstname.lastname@example.org