Hunting is a way of life in the United States, and we are here to help you be as successful on the hunt as possible.
In some southern states, hog hunting has become incredibly popular due to the increase in the hog population. They’re aggressive animals. They breed incredibly quick, and they can threaten livestock and farm crops. With the high breeding rate of the animals, some states like Texas have millions of hogs threatening local farms. Feral hog hunting is a dangerous sport, but it’s become necessary to reduce the population. In some states, the sport isn’t regulated at all because of the very real need to reduce the amount of hogs.
If you’re thinking about hunting hogs, these tips should help you on your journey. Even experienced hunters will need tips for dealing with these aggressive and dangerous animals. With their sharp tusks and mean attitude, they can be deadly creatures. They’re also incredibly intelligent, which makes them even more dangerous. When they are hit, they can play dead until a hunter gets within range of attack, or they can run and hide in the woods nearby waiting for the hunter to lower his guard.
There are so many hogs that hunters are being encouraged to hunt for hogs in the overpopulated areas. When hunters in states like Texas purchase a hunting license and the annual permit, they will receive information on the local area as well as maps and legal box descriptions for hunting.
1. Texas Licensing
With an estimated 2.6 million feral hogs, this can be a great place for hunting hogs. You’ll need a general hunting license to head out into public land for these animals. You don’t have to worry about hog season since it’s year-round, but you can’t night hunt with a spotlight without the game warden’s permission.
2. Louisiana Licensing
There are approximately half a million feral hogs across the entire state, which will make it more of a challenge than Texas for hunting. This state has legal shooting hours for taking down hogs. During day, there are no restrictions on hunting, but at night, there are a few restrictions. The hunter only needs to have a general hunting license for the state.
3. Florida Licensing and Hunting
Hogs are seen in all of the counties within Florida, and it’s the second most hunted animal there. Hogs can be hunted in any season except turkey season in the spring. Like the other states listed, Florida and it’s sixty-seven counties requires a general hunting license for those who plan on heading out in the woods to track hogs.
4. Rooting Tracks
Hogs will use their noses to root through foliage and vegetation to find food. Detecting their rooting behaviors in a certain area will allow you to find them easily. You can look for uprooted soil where the hog has used its nose to dig up food. They compete with other animals to find pecans, acorns and other plant-life like corn in fields.
Hogs like to dig in the mud near lakes, ponds and water holes to wallow, which helps to keep them cool. Once they’ve wallowed in the mud cooling themselves, they’ll rub themselves on trees, fallen logs or poles to remove the mud from their bodies along with hair and parasites.
6. Tracks and Signs
Similar to deer, you’ll be able to find hogs by their tracks, which will be wider and rounder than deer. If you’re following prints, there will be a dew claw that will register the track wider than that of a deer. Hogs can leave behind feral hog rubs on trees and poles, which can be a sure sign of hogs in the area. The rubs are blackened areas on the pole from the hog rubbing itself against it.
7. Predator Sounds
You can manipulate the aggressive nature of these animals to your advantage by using calls that mimic predators. They won’t shy away from chasing a predator, and it’ll bring feral hogs out into the open. They’ll respond quickly, so be sure you’re ready when you make the call.
8. Baby Pigs in Distress
Along with being aggressive, they are incredibly protective of their young piglets. A call that uses the sound of pigs in distress will likely bring a sow running. If they think their young are in trouble, they can often charge recklessly towards the sound.
9. Begin Early
It’s best to start training hog dogs early when they’re just 3 to 4 months old. Let them see a pig from outside the pen first. When your dog becomes excited to see the pig each day, that’s when the training can begin.
10. Hogs Their Size
Once you’re ready to start training, use a hog that is smaller than the size of your dog. You don’t want the puppy to lose confidence. Tease the dog with the pig to get them excited and aggressively wanting to go after the hog.
One of the most important parts of dog training is teaching them to release. You want the dog to release as soon as you’re ready to take care of the hog yourself. Use a rope or other item and teach it a command to release.
12. Rhodesian Ridgebacks
These dogs were bred in South Africa to distract lions during hunts. If they can distract lions, they can certainly distract feral hogs. They’re very smart and have great detection skills.
This breed of dog is considered a classic catch dog, and they’ve had a history of being great hog catchers in the southern parts of the U.S. The best choices in dogs are the ones that can hold their own in a fight with a hog. While most hunters will have more than a few dogs in their pack, each dog must be able to hunt and defend themselves.
14. Pit Bulls
The pit bull has a reputation that makes people consider them unsafe around children. While this may be true or not depending on the animal, they do make great dogs for hog hunting.
15. Training Bay or Catch Dogs
You’ll need to decide what kind of dogs you want to train. Some good tracking dogs will be able to bay when they catch scent of a hog, they might not be the best dogs to chase down and capture a feral hog out in the wild. This process involves some research.
16. Dangerous Work
The work of a hunting dog is dangerous when they’re catching feral hogs. The same tusks and teeth that could hurt a human will absolutely hurt a dog. Make sure they are properly trained before bringing them hog hunting. They should never be brought out to a hunt unless they’re able to defend themselves. They can learn from an older, experienced dog too.
Getting the proper equipment for your dog is vital for their survival. Vests can perform double duty since they can be used for detection during night hunts and for protection too. Kevlar vests will protect a dog from a wild hog’s aggressive attacks.
18. Neck Protectors
A gouge to a hunting dog’s neck could nick an important artery. Protecting the dog’s neck can mean the difference between life or death for the canine, so buying a neck protector is vital for the hunt.
19. Use Food
In the summer, feral hogs will often wait until sunset to start hunting for food. You can set and stake out the food to catch them from a nearby blind. Flashing red lights on the feeding area can help you see at night without ruining your night vision.
20. Examine Tracks
Often, the route to and from a feral hogs sleeping area will exist of tunnels through the brush. If you can stay downwind of the hogs, you might be able to stake out their sleeping area. When they come back from a night hunt, you’ll be able to ambush them.
21. Night Vision
Whether it’s night-vision binoculars or a night-vision scope, hunting at night can’t be done easily without one of them. There are some restrictions to the type of light that can be used while hunting hogs at night, so make sure you’ve checked with the game warden in the area before heading out at night.
22. Light on Feeders
Along with lights on your weapon, consider a light on the bottom of a hog feeder. It’ll help illuminate the scene when there’s a hog close, which acts as an alert, so you can get ready. Lights with motion-detection don’t have to be bright blinding lights, they can help you illuminate the scene to take down the hog while you’re in shooting distance.
23. Gun Silencers
When you don’t use a silencer on your gun, you risk scattering the other hogs in the area. This is especially bad when you’ve been in your stand waiting for them to come back from night feeding. You’ll have lost the opportunity to shoot more than one hog. In some cases, you risk angering other hogs in the area who will wait and try to ambush you. Hogs are incredibly intelligent and aggressive. They might scatter only to wait for you to show yourself and attack.
24. The Right Knife
The knife that you choose to bring with you on a hog hunt should be long and able to puncture the thick hide of the hog. It should be at least 8 inches and feature a non-slip grip. The blade material should be rigid and have a sharp point.
25. Hunt with a Partner
While you don’t have to be in the same location, you should be within radio call or cell phone distance depending on service availability. A two-way radio is a reliable method of communication between you and your partner in case of emergency. You shouldn’t be having meaningless conversations to pass the time, but you might need your buddy if there’s a problem.
26. Never Approach Wounded Hogs
A wounded hog is still a serious danger, and the pain can make them unpredictable. You may think the wounded animal will retreat, and it could attack instead. Other animals might have heard the call of the wounded, which could make the area extremely dangerous too.
27. Have an Escape
When using a call or the scent of a hog to bring in a target, you should be prepared to have an escape if things get out of hand quickly. While you will be waiting for the hog’s approach, they still might catch you unaware due to their pure speed. Have a place to climb like large rocks or a tree.
Choosing between weapons is mostly a personal choice. Some hunters prefer to use a deer rifle with a scope while others like a larger caliber gun. The weapon should always have a night scope if you plan on hunting feral hogs at night.
Hunters of feral hogs should understand that they’ll need to place the bullet in a small, tight range near the shoulder as compared to a deer. They’re tough too. Many hunters compare a wild, feral hog to a large elk except in a smaller, squatter body. Make sure you have ammo that will penetrate while giving you great control.
30. Hog Urine
You’ll want to ensure that you’re not alerting the hogs to your presence. Hog urine should be used in moderation.
31. Medical Supplies
You should always have a medical first-aid kit in your pack. This should include bandages for your dogs as well as yourself. They’re risking their lives to bring down a hog, and they might need medical care out in the field.
32. Hog Hobbles
If you plan on bringing the hog out of the wild alive, you’ll need hog hobbles to ensure that you won’t be injured in the process.
33. GPS Tracking Dog Collars
Dogs and hogs are both lightning quick, so you might not always be able to follow right behind your canines. That means you’ll have to be able to find and get to them quickly before they can be in serious danger from the hogs.
34. Disposable Gloves
When butchering and cooking a hog, you should observe safe food handling procedures to ensure that you don’t end up with a serious problem. Wear disposable gloves when dealing with the blood of the hog.
Avoid contact with dead hogs since they can carry illnesses. Wild, feral hogs can also carry disease too. One of those diseases is brucelllosis. It can be passed to humans through contact with blood or tissue from the hog carrying the disease. They can also carry pseurdorabies, which is fatal to livestock and pets. Animals with the disease will scratch and bite themselves viciously. Be aware of the signs, and throw out the carcass carefully after the kill.
Another problem with hogs is that they carry parasites like roundworm. You’ll be able to see worms in the droppings of the animal where you’re hunting or tracking them.
37. Remove Synthetic Smells
Some scents are overpowering to animals including synthetic smells like those found in colognes, perfumes, dyes and detergents.
38. Washing Hunting Clothes
You’ll leave trace amounts of smells and chemicals when washing clothes in a public washer and dryer. Make sure you’re using your own washer. Run the washing machine with hot water only to remove the chemicals. Wash your hunting clothes with baking soda, which will get them clean without leaving trace scents. Avoid using the dryer. Instead, leave your gear to dry outside on the line.
A few days before your hunt, avoid using chemical deodorants. You can purchase natural alternatives in health food stores. In some areas, a sporting goods store will be able to provide natural alternatives to soaps and chemical deodorants too.
40. Watch What You Eat
Spicy and strong-smelling foods like curry and garlic should be avoided before a hunt. Hot sauce and onions as well as some processed meats can leak scent into the pores of the skin while sweating.
41. Rubbing Your Clothes with Dirt
When you head into the hunt zone, you can stick your outwear into the dirt to gather a natural scent that should help mask your more human odors.
Adding Scent to Your Body, Clothing and Supplies
42. Around the Campfire
If you spend a few days in the woods, you might smell like you belong, but you’ll still need to cook and the rest of your gear might have a trace chemical smell. You can surround your camp with the smell of hog urine or other scent substitutes.
43. Bug Repellent
You’ll need to keep ticks and mosquitoes away from you while you’re out in the woods, but you’ll need natural-smelling repellents that won’t ruin your de-scenting procedures. Check with your local sporting goods store for natural repellents.
44. Urination Pouches
One of the best ways to remove the scent of your pee is to use a pouch that has gel inside it to catch the odors as well as the urine itself. The scent of urine is pretty strong, and it’s why you’ll be using the hog’s urine to keep the hog from smelling you even after you spend time de-scenting yourself and your supplies.
Feral hog hunting can be an extreme challenge for the most experienced hunters. While beginner’s shouldn’t be discouraged to try hog hunting, they should follow these tips to be safe while hunting these aggressive, intelligent creatures.