Look out feral hogs of Texas. Here come Dekoda and DeMarcus.
According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the current population of the feral hogs in its state is in excess of 1.5 million.
Two Denver Broncos players, Dekoda Watson and DeMarcus Ware, are going to do their part in helping to balance the Texas wildlife environment by hunting for the wild hogs this weekend in an area about 45 minutes southeast of Dallas.
We learned of Ware’s passion for hunting last year when the star pass rusher and his star receiver teammate Demaryius Thomas went on a South African safari.
Watson, who was unquestionably the most active table tennis and pop-a-shot participant in the Broncos’ game room during the season, is also passionate about hunting.
“It’s the beauty of nature,’’ said Watson, who is going to hook up a Go Pro to record much of his activity. “There’s nothing like being in the woods and hearing the wind whistling through the trees. And then the sheer strength and majestic features of an animal. There’s a lot of stuff that animals do that are simply amazing to me. The one thing about hunting is if I get something, great, if not, I’m still having a great time. The majority of animals I do shoot, I eat because I do respect nature.’’
Watson has posted photos on his Twitter account posing with his recently captured hogs and holding a high-powered rifle. The meat of feral hogs is considered tasty and leaner than pen-raised hogs.
Still, Watson understands there are people who have problems with the hunting of any kind of animal. Feral hogs, though, do damage other wildlife animals and their agricultural habitat. They trample crops and destroy water feeders. They can also destabilize wetland areas, springs and creeks and prey on fawns, young lambs, and kid goats, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife.
Put it this way, while a license is required to hunt feral hogs, Texas allows for them to be hunted year-round.
“They’re having a big problem with hogs in Texas, Florida, all along the East Coast,’’ Watson said. “They’re really starting to take over. You have to look at the ecosystem. I don’t think you should shoot a lion, or a giraffe, or a rhinoceros or any majestic animal like that. But if you see something like deer, or an animal very plentiful that is messing up the ecosystem like a feral hog or coyote, that’s where hunting can help control.’’
While they’re walking through the woods with their eyes open, Watson and Ware might lapse into a football conversation. Both are near the end of their careers, but they also would like to keep playing, preferably with the Broncos. Both are about to become free agents.
After four seasons in Tampa Bay and two injury plagued seasons with Dallas, Jacksonville and New England, Watson was contemplating retirement at this time last year. But his two surgically groin muscles finally healed and he had a rejuvenating season with the Broncos in 2016, playing in all 16 games and leading the team with 11 special teams tackles. He also had a sack and five tackles while playing about three defensive snaps a game at outside linebacker.
He’d now like to play for two or three more seasons, although the idea this weekend is to get the mind away from business.
“If we talk football it’s real brief,’’ Watson said. “We mostly talk about life besides football. We do things outside of football and have fun.’’