I head back down to Puerto Rico to hunt iguana with Hatsan airguns. Part of my interest is field work with the Hatsan Bullboss .25, the FlashPup .25, and the AirMax .22….. But a bigger question was if steady airgun hunting pressure was reducing the number of the out of control pest.
I really like Puerto Rico a lot, and it was a shock too me how much damage had been done by the hurricane Maria, which was the worst natural disaster on record. A year later and they are still struggling to recover and get back to normal.
When we arrived at the farm, we found there were many iguanas, but far less than the truly pestilential numbers of three years ago. Over the course of two days shooting I shot 55 iguanas, and had to work for them. On the previous trip I shot more than that on one morning. The reduced numbers were a combination of shooting and the effects of the hurricane. I have been told by guys that hunt different areas, that many farms that were badly hit, but did not shoot iguanas, saw a less marked dip in the population.
It sounds harsh, but the goal is to fully eliminate these lizards, however I don’t believe it is possible. If only a handful survive they will build up another unmanageable population in a decade or so. Continued hunting is the best method of keeping these animals in check. and as a side benefits that outfitters now offering iguana hunts are bringing money back into the community.
The biggest risk to biological diversity is the introduction of non-native species, and airgun are a viable option for sport or commercial hunting.