When people release exotic pets into an environment there are often severe repercussions. If a population is established, the native species always lose. Texas Parks and Wildlife Inland Fisheries Senior Scientist for Aquatic Invasive Species Monica McGarrity joins the show this week to discuss non native armored catfish taking up residence in various fresh water systems in the Lone Star State. Commonly referred to as ‘plecostomus’, the South American natives are a popular aquarium fish. However, they grow quickly and often end up too large for the tank they’re in resulting in the owner releasing the fish into the wild.

Interestingly enough, Monica’s department is experimenting with some groundbreaking gene altering technology that they ultimately hope will stop plecos from continuing to thrive in Texas waters. By altering the chromosomes of male plecos and releasing them into existing invasive populations, the plan is to have them breed themselves out of existence. Monica breaks it down detail for us.

(Armored Catfish tournaments are also a popular way to help remove some of the population although it’s not a permanent solution)

Our good friend Michael Hunter (the Hunter Chef) then makes his return to the show. We had the chance to catch up at the recent SCI Convention in Nashville. Michael reflects on the highlight of this past hunting season in the form of a successful Artic Musk Ox hunt. Experiencing the Inuit culture and food sounds like it made for one heck of an adventure. We also find out that a new cook book is in the works for 2025!

(Michael’s Musk Ox on a wooden sled)