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One of the best places to hunt hogs is Texas. With up to 3.4million wild hogs in the state alone that cause an estimated $52million in agricultural damage, you are more than welcome to hunt them. But before you hit the road to drop some hogs down in Texas, there are several vital things you need to know.
- What legislation is good to know in Texas when going hog hunting?
- Where in Texas are the best places to go for hog hunting?
- What about public land hunting in Texas?
- What kind of hunting methods are there in Texas for wild hogs?
- Best hunting shops in Texas
- Best place to pick up your bait in Texas
- Best hunting guide in Texas
What Legislation is Good to Know in Texas When Going Hog Hunting
Section 1.101(4) of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code describes hogs as exotic livestock. That means they are neither game nor non-game species and are not owned by anyone. An individual can only claim ownership when they express control of the animal in regard to section 161.002 of the Texas Agricultural Code.
Okay, here is a little dive into legal stuff to help you understand this part. The section states that only through control by ownership or lease of the pen, pasture, or land in which the animal is located is one considered an owner. Another scenario is when they exercise control or care of the animal. That allows landowners or their agents to kill hogs within their property without a hunting license.
What that legislation also means is that if you agree with a landowner to help control the hogs that are causing damage to their property, you won’t need a hunting license. However, if you plan to use traps or snares, you will need a get a valid Texas hunting license. It is necessary because this method will affect other wildlife.
You are most likely going hunting for trophy or food, and for that, a hunting license is mandatory. A Texas hunting license allows you to use firearms, trapping, snaring, and aerial gunning. However, you will need an additional permit from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) for aerial gunning. You can check out the license requirements and what hunting methods are legal in the Outdoor Annual, a hunting and fishing regulations publication released annually by TPWD.
It is exciting to note that there is neither a closed season nor a bag limit when it comes to hog hunting in Texas. You can do it as much as you want, day and night. You may want to give a courtesy call to the local warden in case you are going to hunt in the night using red or green lights or night vision.
Where are the Best Places in Texas to go to Hog Hunting?
With the highest population of wild hogs in the country, Texas offers you the best opportunities, whether as a beginner or an expert hunter. According to Texas Agricultural Extension Services, there are hog populations in 74% of the 254 counties of Texas!
Hogs have no sweat glands, and so will be mostly found around water sources as they try to stay cool. Watershed areas are, therefore, the best bet when you want to spot them. For instance, areas in the major river valleys of Sabine, Canadian, and Red are some of the best places to go hog hunting.
Given that these animals wreak havoc in croplands, farmers are always seeking willing hunters to help control the hog populations in their private lands. Hogs have overrun these croplands, and farmers will be more than willing to let you kill them if you ask. Some of the counties with this problem are Briscoe, Hall, and Cottle.
If you want to know which farmers have the hog problem, just ask around animal feed stores, and you will be pointed in the right direction. You can also enquire from the local wildlife management service offices because farmers lodge complaints about hogs daily. Some farmers may ask you to pay a fee before they grant you access to their land. On the upside, you will need no hunting license on these lands, and you can hunt day and night.
In addition to these private lands and ranches, there are countless other areas that you can head to for a successful hunt. In this state, you never have to look too hard to find a place to indulge in the thrill of hunting hogs.
What About Public Land Hunting in Texas
Most hunters find it baffling to pay the farmer so that they are allowed to help them with the hog problem. What most of them don’t know is that farmers use those fees to cover the losses incurred due to the damage by the hogs. Public land is an excellent alternative if you don’t want to spend on high access fees.
You will be pleased to know that Texas has many acres of public land where you can hunt for wild pigs. All you need is your hunting license, and you are free to enjoy the hunt. Some areas may require you to pay a small fee for a permit. However, you spend way less hunting on public land.
Lake O’ the Pines in Piney Woods east of Dallas with 4500 acres of hunting ground is one such place. It presents a unique hunting opportunity with a good number of hogs and all the features that make your hunting exciting.
Another option is the Amistad National Recreation Area that is northwest of Del Rio and covers 17800 acres of hunting land. An even bigger hunting ground is Kiowa and Rita Blanca National Grasslands in the northwest part of Texas that cover an extensive 230000 acres.
Wildlife management areas (WMAs) are also an excellent option for you. You get the wholesome hunting experience without having to pay exorbitant fees. Examples of these areas include Laddo Lake WMA in Marrion and Harrison counties and Matador WMA in Cottlecounty.
What Kind of Hunting Methods are there in Texas for Wild Hogs?
Knowing where to find the hogs is not enough; you need to use the right method. Some of the popular hunting methods in Texas include:
Calling Wild Hogs
Hogs have an innate nature to respond to distress calls by piglets or other hogs. If you can imitate these noises, you will be able to call the hogs to you. Its best used when there are a lot of piglets, especially in winter and spring.
Spot and Stalk
Stalking requires you to scout the area for hogs, and once you spot them, you can shoot them down. Using a car to drive around or walking to vantage points to spot the pigs is one of the effective ways of this method. Once you find them, sneak up to them from downwind and then take your shot.
You can also use a feeder in an area with hogs in the vicinity. You will need a blind or a tree stand from where you will take your shot when the hogs show up.
Hunting hogs with dogs has been used for countless years now. Bay dogs can be used to track the hogs to their current location.
If you’re interested in how to hunt hogs you should read our beginner’s guide for hunting hogs here.
An effective technique that guarantees results is driven hunting. Beaters drive the hogs towards shooters.
In regards to the hunting equipment, the legal ones you can use are the following.
If you are good at archery, bowhunting will be great for you. It is stealth and does not disturb the other animals that are not your targets.
You can use traps like pen traps and box traps to catch hogs. The advantage is that you get to catch a higher number at a time. Snaring can also be used.
Among the firearms allowed for hunting in this state are handguns and muzzleloaders. You can get a silencer for the gun. Always remember to observe all the safety measures when using firearms for your safety and that of others.
d) Aerial gunning using a helicopter
One of the most exciting ways to hunt is aerial gunning. It will allow you to conquer challenging terrains easily. You will need a permit for aerial gunning besides the Texas hunting license.
Best Hunting Shops in Texas
Now that you know the laws and the place to hunt, where do you get the gear? Texas has a long history of hunting, and therefore, there are countless shops that you can pick from when looking for hunting gear. The best know hunting shops in Texas are:
Backwoods in Fortworth
Armadillo Gun Store and Range in Nevada
Dury’s Gun Shop in San Antonio
Cabela’s in Fortworth
Crazy Gun Dealer in Alvarado (watch out for the annoying background music on the website, kind of 1995’s style but cozy)
These shops are ranked among the top according to customer reviews. You will be sure to get what you need when you visit any of them. An exciting fact about these shops is the expertise of their staff. You will get all the guidance you need to pick the right equipment for your hunting.
You may also meet expert hunters in these shops who will be more than willing to give you the nuts and bolts of successful hunting. You may also be directed to where you are more likely to have a good catch because of the high number of experienced hunters who pass through these shops.
Best Place to Pick Up Your Bait in Texas
Opting for trapping as a method of hunting relies heavily on bait. Stand hunting can also benefit massively from the bait. Getting good bait is vital to getting the hogs right to where you want them. Luckily, hog bait is readily available throughout Texas in stores.
These attractants can be bought both from local animal feeds stores or ordered online. You can pick up your bait from Texasboars in Canton or Independence Ranch in Waelder. You are also likely to find it in your local animal feeds store. If you don’t, they will be more than willing to direct you to where you can find it.
You can also place your order online on Amazon or specialized stores like Texas Hog Bait. The attractant will be shipped to you within a short time. Check out the reviews about the product before you place the order. You can never be too sure about what you get online.
Make sure you use the bait in a place with no alternatives for the hogs like acorn trees. It is also best that you use it near places they frequent like water sources.
Best Hunting Guide in Texas
As a beginner or when you are going hunting in unfamiliar territory, a guide is critical to your success. They not only know where to find the largest populations of the hog but also have extensive knowledge of the equipment and how to be successful at hunting hogs.
There are currently several leading guide services with best-hunting guides for you. 1A Hunting in Texas Guide Service in Schartz Texas is one such group. The 4 Amigos Ranch guide service, Arrowhead outfitters, and Circle H Outfitters in Rockport are some of the other leading companies when it comes to hunting guide services.
One advantage of these services is the variety of packages you can access for your hunting trips. They have packages that suit your individual, group or cooperate needs. For instance, you can get an aerial gunning package for the breathtaking experience of shooting hogs from the sky.
There is no other place for hog hunting like Texas. It has everything you may never need to have an unforgettable hunting experience. It doesn’t matter whether you are planning for your first hunt or are an expert at hunting, Texas offers the most incredible opportunities. You can be part of the people working hard to control the exploding wild hog populations. All the best as you embark on that hunting trip in Texas. It’s time to get some meat for the freezer and while at it, enjoy the adventure! It is truly unforgettable!
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36 years old, been hunting and fishing my entire life – love the outdoors, family, and all kinds of hunting and fishing! I have spent thousands of hours hunting hogs and training hunting dogs, but I’m always learning new stuff and really happy to be sharing them with you! hit me up with an email in the contact form if you have any questions.