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Most landowners would ask for payment before they allow you to help them control the wild hogs menace in their farms. Perplexing, right? But it makes sense; they wouldn’t want to have a random armed stranger running around their property. That’s unless they express commitment. The payments also cover part of the damage the hogs have caused. Luckily, there are millions of acres of public land across the US where you can hunt for hogs cheaply. Here is everything you need to know about hog hunting on public lands.
Where to Hunt
With over 600 million acres of public land under different federal management agencies, the US is considered a hunters paradise. Although they spread across all the states, notable hog populations are mostly in the states towards the south. Here are some of the places to go for hog hunting that are open to the public:
The state of Texas has the highest hog population and gives you the best chances of being successful. What is even more exciting is that there are no closed seasons and bag limits, which offers you all the freedom. Matador WMA in Cottle county and the Laddo Lakes WMA in Marion and Harrison counties are some of the best places to hunt for hogs. We have an entire guide written on hunting in Texas – so go check it out!
All the 17 wildlife management areas (WMAs) in Alabama have hogs that you can hunt. Upper Delta in the southwest, Holland in the west, Blue Springs in the southeast, and Lowndes in the north are some of the WMAs where you can hunt for hogs in Alabama.
Florida is the other state with millions of public land acres. Hog hunting is restricted to certain dates and seasons in most wildlife management areas. The best place to start is the Apalachicola WMA that covers 564,000 acres in Leon, Franklin, Wakulla, and Liberty counties.
Hog hunting in Georgia is one of the popular activities that you have to try if you live within the state or nearby. Populations of hogs are found mostly towards the south, especially around major river beds like Chattahoochee, Flint, Oconee, and Ocmulgee.
The Honobia-Three Rivers WMA that covers 930,000 acres is the place to head to when you want to enjoy hog hunting in Oklahoma. If you aren’t a resident, you will need to obtain a permit that costs $85.
Now that hogs are no longer classified as a game in the state of Tennessee, you are more than welcome to hunt them down. They are present in 80 of the 95 counties of the state. Public lands are abundant in this state, covering swamplands around Reelfootlake, bottomlands of Missippi, and many other areas.
Pretty much every county in South Carolina has hog populations. Wildlife Management Areas adjacent to the Low Country counties are great for public land hog hunting.
Other states where you can hunt for hogs on public lands are California, Louisiana, Missouri, and many others. Contact your local public lands management office to establish which areas are available near you.
How to Hunt for Hogs on Public Land
If you thought now that its public land, you will walk in and shoot down hogs, think again because it also has its procedures. However, don’t worry; it is straightforward as follows:
- Contact the local public lands management office for location and regulations.
- Obtain a state license for hunting
- You may need to get a permit and pay some fees in some areas.
- Check through the specific rules and regulations, including safety measures.
- Start your hog hunting trip.
The amount of money you may need to spend, especially on the license and permits, is only a fraction of what you would have spent on private land hog hunting.
When to Hunt for Hogs on Public Lands
Unlike private lands where hog hunting is allowed day and night all year round, there may be a limitation on time in some public lands. Now that the hogs are a nuisance in most of the states like Texas, there is no closed season. Florida, on the other hand, has dates and seasons for hog hunting.
Confirm from your local authority or the management of the public land you intend to go to on hog hunting seasons. But be assured, no matter the time of the year, there is always a place that you can go hunting for hogs.
The type of hunting method allowed varies from state to state, depending on their laws. Some of the popular hunting methods include the following.
Archery is one of the most popular methods among hunters because of its environmental friendliness, ease of use, and other factors. There are bow hunting seasons in some public lands, which limit the use of other hunting methods.
The use of shotguns, air guns, rifles, and pistols with centerfire ammunition and muzzleloading firearms are also prevalent in hog hunting. Refer to the regulations of the public land to find out which firearms are allowed.
Hunting from a helicopter with aerial guns is one of the most convenient when it comes to regions with challenging terrains. You will need to obtain a permit in most states for you to use this method.
You can also use traps or snares in some areas to catch hogs. It is allowed in most public lands apart from a few.
Regulations when Hog Hunting on Public Land
Every state has its regulations in regards to hog hunting in the public lands within their boundaries. These regulations cover the following aspects:
- Classification of hogs which varies between game, non-game or exotic livestock depending on the state
- Hunting licenses for residents and non-residents that may be annual or for a short period
- Hog hunting seasons and methods of hunting that are legal
- Night hunting which necessitates red or green lights or night vision
- Bag limits where luckily no state has a bag limit
Like any other outdoor activity, you will need to equip yourself with the right gear. Read through the safety measures or attend safety lessons to bring yourself up to speed. Understand your location and let some of your friends and family know where you are in case of emergencies. Always remember that retrieving your catch comes second to your own life and safety.
Most Popular Wild Hog Hunting Gear
If you don’t want to pay for private land access, public land is the best place to go for hog hunting. You get access to high hog populations in addition to the adventure and thrill of hunting. If you pick the right place and use the proper method, there is no chance you will end up empty-handed. All the best as you conquer the wild and get yourself some meat for the freezer.
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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.