Javelina mit Totenköpfen in Sedona
Description. These pig-like creatures are characterized by presence
of four-hoofed toes on the front feet, but only three on the hind feet
(outer dewclaw absent); short, pig-like snout; crushing molars; nearly
straight and dagger-like canines (tusks); harsh pelage with distinct "mane"
from crown to rump; distinct musk gland on rump; two pairs of mammae, inguinal
in position; distinct whitish collar across shoulder in adults, rest of
upperparts grizzled black and grayish, with dark dorsal stripe; young reddish
to yellowish brown, with black stripe down back. External measurements:
total length, 870 to 1,016 mm.; tail, 12mm.; hind foot, 210 mm.; height
at shoulder, 816 mm. Dental formula: I 2/3, C 1/1, Pm 3/3, M 3/3 X 2 =
38. Weight, 30 to 50 pounds (13 to 25 kg.).
Habits. In Texas, javelinas occupy the brushy semi-desert where
prickly pear is a conspicuous part of the flora. Robert Mauermann says
that they are commonly found in dense thickets of prickly pear, chaparral,
scrub oak or guajillo; also in rocky canyons where caverns and hollows
afford protection and in barren wastelands.
They travel in small bands of a half-dozen or so and seem to have a
rather limited home range. In the Big Bend of Texas, for example. they
were regularly reported from the vicinity of a certain spring where dense
vegetation offered adequate protection. They are active mainly in early
morning and late afternoon and often bed down in dense brush or prickly
pear thickets during the heat of midday. The musk gland probably functions
in keeping contact within the herd.
Regarding their supposedly vicious habits, Mauermann says that wildlife
observers, in general, consider the peccary absolutely harmless to the
range, to livestock and to other species. Legendary tales of the peccary
have caused inexperienced hunters to kill them through fear rather than
for either sport or food. It has been charged that peccaries will kill
or injure dogs and that they are a menace to deer hunters in the dense
brush. It is true that encounters between peccaries and untrained dogs
usually end with dead or crippled dogs, but it is also true that in these
battles the dog is always the aggressor, and any animal will defend its
life to the best of its ability when attacked.
Peccaries are chiefly herbivorous and feed on various cacti, especially
prickly pear, mesquite beans, sotol, lechuguilla and other succulent vegetation.
In areas where prickly pear is abundant, peccaries seldom frequent waterholes
because these plants provide both food and water. Some authors state that
they root for their food, but Mauermann reports that contrary to the habits
of the common pig, peccaries root in the ground very little but rather
push around on the surface, even where the soil is very sandy and loose,
turning up chunks of wood and cactus. Mast, fruits and terrestrial insects
also are eaten.
Peccaries appear to be promiscuous, and there seems to be no definite
breeding season. In Texas, Mauermann reports the finding of very young
peccaries in early January and of half-grown young in February; Henry Hahn
captured a young peccary about 7 days old in early May; another was captured
in early November. Edgar Mearns reported the capture of young peccaries
about the size of cottontails in late August and in January. The number
of young is usually two, but litters range in size from one to five. The
gestation period, according to Lyle Sowls, is 142 to 149 days (5 months).
At birth the young are reddish or yellowish in color, and weigh about 1
pound (500 g). They are able to follow the mother within a few days, at
which time the family joins with the rest of the herd. Young females attain
sexual maturity in 33 to 34 weeks; young males, in 46 to 47 weeks.
In Texas, the peccary was hunted commercially for its hide until 1939,
when it was given the status of a game animal. Perhaps a far greater value
is in its relationship to range vegetation. Mauermann points out that ranchmen
in western Texas are anxious to restore peccaries to their former range
because of their ability to control (by eating) certain undesirable cacti.
If taken young, peccaries make interesting pets, but they become vicious
as they get older and are especially intolerant of strangers.
Although 92 Texas counties have seasons for hunting them, javelinas
unquestionably are Texas' least-utilized game animal. Compared to white-tailed
deer, mule deer, and pronghorns - the state's glamorous big-game species
- the javelina gets about as much recognition as the fourth-string quarterback!
While glamour species are common in many states, the javelina can be found
only in arid regions of the Southwest. Only Arizona, New Mexico and Texas
have huntable populations. Of these three states, Texas has the longest
hunting seasons and the most generous bag limit, two javelinas per year.
In 42 of the state's javelina counties, hunting season ends a five-month
run on February 28; in 50 others, the season never ends. For all these
reasons, I think that it's time that Texas hunters take another look at
this unique game animal.
Also called the collared peccary, the javelina has a ring of light-colored
hair that seems to form a collar around the animal's neck. The javelina's
body, which reaches an adult weight of 40 to 60 pounds, is covered with
dark bristles except for the ring of white bristles around the neck. Just
above the tail javelinas have a small musk gland that can leave a strong
odor when the animal is frightened or spooked.
Javelinas are not classified as members of the same family as domestic
hogs or Wild boars. Features such as having only one dew claw on the hind
foot and four teats, with only two being functional, exclude the javelina
from the swine family. Javelinas are omnivorous, meaning that they eat
almost anything available. The succulent prickly pear cactus is an important
food source for javelinas throughout their range, making up more than half
their diet. This thorny plant also fulfills most of the javelina's water
requirements. This thorny diet, low in nutrients, is supplemented by green
forbs, vines and grasses. I have watched dozens of javvies munch on spiny
cactus with apparently no regard for the sharp spines. When scouting for
a spot to hunt javelinas, prickly pear cactus flats are a good place to
start looking. If the cactus pads have large bites missing or there are
torn shreds of cactus lying around the plant, you can bet that javelinas
are in the area.
Besides food, javelinas need adequate cover to survive. Dense brush
used for bedding areas and to escape predators, such as coyotes, is essential.
The most dense javelina populations invariably are found where there is
a combination of dense brush and an abundance of prickly pear cactus. Whitebrush
or bee brush thickets are favored in South Texas, but javelinas also will
use blackbrush. In the Hill Country and Trans-Pecos, cedar brakes offer
protection. In rocky terrain where there is little cover, such as some
locations in far West Texas, javelinas will use caves on the banks of creek
beds for cover and relief from the summer heat.
One of the biggest myths surrounding the javelina is that they are
very dangerous. While javelinas do have the capacity to do bodily damage
to a human being, this reputation is mostly bunk. Javelinas do have well-developed
canine teeth, used to shred their favorite cactus snacks, but also capable
of cutting and slashing. Most of the time javelinas will retreat from a
person unless cornered. Most of the tales that hunters tell of "charging"
javelinas describe the actions of a spooked herd running in every direction
to escape. Spooked javelinas make a whoof sound when alarmed and occasionally
pop their teeth.
Javelinas can be a problem when hunted with dogs or when quail hunters
happen to walk into the midst of a herd. Because of the javelina's hatred
for coyotes, which prey on its young, javelinas are very aggressive around
any dog. The two-inch canines of the javelina can inflict serious damage
to a favorite hound.
Because javelinas have poor eyesight they make a perfect challenge for
hunters with close-range, primitive weapons. Bows, pistols and muzzleloaders
make this hunt more challenging. On a trip to the mountains of West Texas
in January 1998, I had my closest encounter to date with a bristled-up
peccary. I could hear the noisy javelinas munching cactus all around me.
From a distance my hunting partner and I had counted at least four javvies
through binoculars, but there obviously were twice that many hidden in
the thick creek below me. I crouched down to crawl through the thorny brush
to try to get a close shot at one of the noisy porkers. The skunk-like
scent of several javelinas wafting through the brush indicated I was close.
When I came to a small opening in the brush I heard the sound of my
partner's bow sending an arrow crashing into the rocks perhaps 50 yards
up the creek. At the sound of the arrow ricocheting off jagged limestone
I heard the peccaries whoof and then heard the sound of tiny hooves clattering
on rocky ground as they started to scatter. With an arrow cocked on my
recurve bow I waited on the edge of the creek.
Suddenly two bristled javvies were trotting straight toward me. Instinctively,
I drew the lightweight recurve and sent a broadhead-tipped shaft into the
lead boar's chest at a scant five yards! The boar made it about 30 yards
before he tumped over into a jagged yucca plant. A second arrow ended it
quickly. The boar was my biggest yet, weighing in at 42 pounds field-dressed.
In addition, he had huge lower tusks measuring 21/4 inches long. Today,
his bleached skull sits on the corner of my desk as a reminder of that
Spot-and-stalk hunting or hunting from a blind near a feeder probably
are the most commonly used techniques for killing javelinas. Javelinas
are suckers for the sweet taste of yellow corn kernels. A well-camouflaged
ground blind built out of native vegetation near a feeder is an excellent
way for a first-time javelina hunter to get a close shot. However, stalking
is certainly more of a challenge. To locate tough-to-spot javvies I rely
on strong optics.
Expect javelinas to be most active during the early morning hours and
again just before dark. A javelina's grayish coloring blends surprisingly
well in desert terrain. A pair of 10x40 binoculars and either a 20x50 or
a variable power 15-45x60 spotting scope are my personal choices.
Javelinas often travel in herds, which can make spotting them a little
easier. I have seen as many as 10 javelinas traveling together, but I have
heard of other hunters seeing twice that many in one bunch. I usually start
my search by climbing to an elevated vantage point and sitting behind a
tripod-mounted spotting scope. I then study the surrounding desert until
I find my target. In flatter terrain, like the low mesquites of South Texas,
the slightly elevated view from a deer blind or just the bed of a pickup
will be enough to get a commanding view over the thick brush.
Once you locate a sizable tusker pay special attention to the wind as
you make your approach. A javelina's eyesight is poor, but his nose is
An exciting alternative to sitting in a blind or spot-and-stalk hunting
is employing a high-pitched call to lure your target within range.
Today some call manufacturers even offer a call specifically for javvies.
This call resembles the distress sounds of a wounded or frightened javelina.
My first experience with calling javvies into bow range took place several
years ago in the thick Brush Country of South Texas. I accidentally had
stumbled into a herd of feeding javelinas and sent the tiny tuskers scattering
into the surrounding mesquites. The herd had not winded me, but was spooked
by my footsteps. I remembered the dying rabbit call dangling around my
neck and I started to squeal on the plastic call as loudly as possible.
Seconds later several members of the herd charged through the thick brush
with their teeth popping and the hair on their backs on end. One of the
bristled peccaries stopped in a small opening and I launched an arrow from
less than 20 yards.
Whenever I happen to spook a javelina at close range, the ear-piercing
squeals from the call sometimes bring the animals back or stop them long
enough to take a shot. I would estimate that about 50 percent of the time
this tactic works. Of course, the other 50 percent of the time the javelinas
run as fast as their little legs will move! Calling blindly in open country
has never been successful for me. Spot-and-stalk hunting is a more successful
technique to use in more open terrain like the Trans-Pecos region of West
Texas' javelinas are much more than the corn-robbing nuisance that some
deer hunters might consider them. Javelinas are a unique, special game
animal found only in the Southwest that offer a challenging hunt for primitive-weapons
hunters. Texans are lucky to have these tiny tuskers in addition to their
more recognized, more popular "first-string" big game species. I think
that it's time that the javelina got the respect he deserves.
Brandon Ray lives on a ranch in the Texas Panhandle and works as
a freelance writer.
Unlike many of Texas' big game hunting opportunities, javelina hunting
is relatively inexpensive. For the last two years several friends and I
have leased a ranch in West Texas for two consecutive weekends in either
January or February for an annual get-together and self-guided hunt. The
rancher charges us $150 per hunter for each three-day weekend hunt and
provides an old bunkhouse for us to stay in. The rancher is just tickled
to make any money off his bountiful pig population and we get a chance
for a fun hunt at a time of year when other big game seasons in Texas are
Forty-two counties in Texas have a limited season on javelina during
19981999 that lasts from October 1February 28. In other counties
there is no closed season with a bag limit of two javelina, either sex,
per hunter per license year. Generally speaking, there is no closed season
in the southernmost counties in the Brush Country of South Texas and in
the Trans-Pecos region of West Texas. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Outdoor
Annual lists seasons county by county.
Javelina beißt in Tortilla Flats