Every time we do a hog hunting episode we get tons of feedback from folks asking “Where can I go to do a hog hunt?” A wild hog is a bucket list hunt!” Being from Oklahoma we are blessed and cursed with this evasive species. The first pigs are believed to have been brought into Florida in 1539 by explorer Hernando de Soto. They brought pigs with them as a traveling food source. As they traveled throughout the southeastern part of the United States and as far west as Texas the hogs got loose from time to time and the numbers slowly grew. Today we have an estimated 5.5 million hogs in the continental US. With 36 states having an established wild hog problem today and more and more hogs moving north the problem means more hunting opportunities for outdoorsman. So, if hunting hogs is on your list, here are 5 things you need to know.
1) THEY ARE SMART: Hogs are as smart as a dog. Matter of fact Purdue University did a study showing pigs could do the same cognitive tasks that chimpanzees could do. So that means that hogs don’t handle hunting pressure, they remember well, and learn fast. When they feel pressured they either move on or worse, become nocturnal. It’s not an easy hunt, they are smart, they are quick to learn, and are one of the best survivors on the planet.
2) ALWAYS ON THE MOVE: When hogs are on their feet, they are moving. It’s just who they are. When feeding in a field or standing at a feeder they are always moving. When they are grouped up many times they are also making lots of noise. A hunting property I used to hunt had lots of hogs. When I sat in my deer stand along the creek it was a pattern, just after first light the hogs would begin squealing as they fed which made the turkeys roosted above them gobble. It happened literally every time! With that being said when a hog gives you a shot, be ready to take it because more than likely they won’t be in that position long.
3) NEVER FOOL THE NOSE: Hogs don’t have the best eye sight, that is why you see lots of spot and stalk kills. They do have solid hearing but the best defense a hog has is the nose. 99.9999999% of the time you will not fool the nose of a hog. If the wind is wrong, it’s not going to happen. According to researchers at Texas A&M hogs can sense some odors from as far away as 5-7 miles and detect odors underground as far as 25ft. You can fool the eyes, but rarely the nose!
4) BOARS vs. SOWS: Boars and sows have many differences besides sex. For instance, when you see a hog alone 9 times of of 10 it’s a boar. Unlike whitetail or other game animals, hogs don’t have a “rut”. A sow can reach sexual maturity as young as 6 months and cycle all year long. That means hogs are breeding 24/7/365. Because of the constant rut boars are fighting for breeding rights all year long. When a boar is alone it means he is either looking for new sows or has been whooped off and is searching for new sows to breed. Boars typically develop larger teeth or “cutters” that they use to fight for breeding rights. The larger boars develop an “armor plate” made up of fat and scar tissue along the shoulders. The scar tissue develops from the boars fighting. This armor can also be an issue for hunters who need to make sure they are using proper equipment that is capable of penetrating the shoulder. The sows stay in small family groups and spend most of the time pregnant and raising piglets. The sows do have cutters but rarely are they as large as the male counterparts.
5) HUNT THE WEATHER: Hogs do not have sweat glands which means that they have to take measures to keep cool in heat. Many dog hunters know that hunting hogs in the heat leads to the hogs dying in the process as they can’t handle the stress and heat. When it’s hot, hogs tend to stay along water in the thickest cover possible. They lay and cover themselves in mud and tend to move at last light or only at night when the temperatures drop. The best times to hunt hogs is in the colder months. They are not spending near the amount of effort to stay cool. They move more frequent during the day and the cover is less since the leaves are gone.
Several of our sponsors make some great products for hog hunting! Check them out!
If you are looking to book a hog hunt check out these outfitters!
Stuart Ranch Outfitters (www.stuartranchoutfitters.com)
Miller Brothers Outfitters (www.millerbrothersoutfitters.com)
Pennington Creek Hunting Club (www.penningtoncreekhuntingclub.com)