Anybody Hunting Nutria ?
Have you folks heard of the rodent species called "nutria" ? See pic below. And here is a link that discusses them.
From what I have read, they are pests in California and Louisiana (mainly) and damage the natural rivers and creeks by undermining the banks, and eating the roots and other vegetation that stabilizes these waterways.
The good news? Very few, if any, restrictions on taking them. They were originally imported for their fur, which may or may not be of any real value. Nor can I say if their meat is of sufficient quality to consume. Certainly, and if I'm not being too crass, they could be good pet food.
From my perspective, we would be doing the world a favor by eliminating these pests. I do recommend reading the info at the link above. They talk about the rules for private land versus public lands. But we know that sort of thing fairly well anyway, in terms of where we can shoot, etc. They also mention proper identification as they could be confused easily with muskrats.
I would be interested reading what you folks may have to say regarding this pest species.
Butt deep in them here (Louisiana)...they take over (out breed/out survive the natives). Yes, you can eat them.....not it isn't the best meat you've had....but if you make a hot/old school Texas chili, could be any meat in there.
New start up here intends to try them the meat as dog treats (in a kind of jerky format)...but they're going to have to find something other than Nutria to label them (am guessing they'll go with the critter's roots and use a name based on
Won't be far from water,so you have to drop them where they are or they'll managed to get back in the bayou/stream/pond/etc. When they sink, don't think they aren't dead...but they'll bloat,float,stink.
Currently,Louisiana will pay licenced hunters/trappers $6 a tail...that still doesn't keep the population down. Return of the 'gators has helped more,but that has it's own issues.
Jefferson Parish has used them as SWAT practice for the last 20 years or so (we also don't want those vital drainage canals to slump and get plugged). Urban/Suburban area criss crossed with drainage canals in residential neighborhoods,so they roll along at night/early AM getting their practice in . Suppressed .22LR's are popular, along with night vision or IR scopes.
NAtional Geographic isn't so sensitive to local matters (a lot of the local history kind of glosses over parts of this),and does mention Avery Island (where all the Tabasco products are made...and still owned by the same family).
Here is the local outline (skipping over the connections that might bother a big local industry):
Basically they were brought over as fast breeding fur animals....but the fur kind of sucks (coarse and of uneven hair length) so it didn't sell well. Crash,the keeping of the animals was more than the worth of their fur...so either they were let out or they escaped.
Saw where they have started to be a California problem...and that area would really hate having their water supply reduced....but I suspect,like everywhere else, the Nutra are going to win.
As for airgun hunting them....it's more like an individual assassination program. I've taken individual ones out with an airgun when that particular Nutra was a local problem (like on my property type of problem), but it really wasn't hunting as I'd just not shoot that evening unless I had the perfect shot...knowing he'd be back in the next day or two.
Out in the wilds,have killed many....but with firearms.
We don't have them in Virginia but when I lived in Texas there were plenty. They only eat roots and tubers. Their meat is more like pork than like beaver even though they look a lot like a beaver with a rat tail. That is probably the thing that puts most people off of them. They look like a giant water rat. Actually I guess that is what they are but they are not a dirty animal unless their environment is dirty. I've only ever eaten one. I trapped it and brought it home. I asked my wife to cook it and she did. We ate it and it wasn't bad at all. After supper she looked at me and said, "Don't bring me another one of those to cook." So I didn't. Mind you I liked it a lot better than ground hogs and she never complained about cooking them ...