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Why Do We Hunt Wild Hogs?
Did you know that hogs are the most reproductively efficient of all the large mammals on Earth? That has allowed its population to rise rapidly. For instance, in just 30 years, their population has more than tripled from over 2 million in 1990 to between 6-7 million in 2020. Scientists reveal that there is a need to harvest 70-75% of their population yearly to control it.
Two main reasons exist for why we hunt hogs. First, it is to control the expansion in their populace in the US. Hogs are a threat to both agriculture where the root lands destroying crops and to other wildlife where they compete for food resources. A USDA study shows that wild boars result in up to $1.5 billion of damage in agriculture and wildlife habitats. That’s the reason for their classification as invasive non-native species in the US.
They can likewise harbor around 30 distinct diseases that can be transmitted to domestic swine and considerably other wildlife – and even us people. So they are a significant nuisance and are spreading like the plague over the US and Europe. Hunting hog is, therefore, essential to combat the hog problem.
Why Is It Awesome Hunting Wild Hogs?
That was the fundamental explanation, and obviously, the more politically right one, and the subsequent explanation is because it’s extremely fun and exhilarating. Wild hogs are difficult prey; they are brutes and as tough as nails and more astute than any wild creatures I have ever come across.
I can recount to you such vast numbers of accounts of when wild boars have deceived me throughout the years, and it’s not in any manner as simple to get them as some YouTube-recordings or masters are flaunting. In some cases, it tends to be nearly impossible to get them to a feeder when you are close. Additionally, at other times they can conceal themselves better than a chameleon. You honestly wouldn’t imagine that a 250lbs hog can cover up just as they do. I have been on driven chases where we were unable to find a wild pig that we knew was in a little heap of branches, and the dogs were going insane, yet we, despite everything, couldn’t find the boar for over an hour.
Wild hogs are perilous, I have encountered some genuinely near calamities where wounded hogs have charged at both my hunting dogs and me and trust me you have to have respect and be cautious when you are out chasing for feral swine. They usually are not dangerous until you wound them.
I’m going to include a third point here even though I said I just had two primary reasons; however, a decent third one is the delicious meat from wild hogs! You will be astounded at how these not-so-great-looking creatures still taste fantastic on the off chance that you haven’t had a taste of it. That is in reality, sort of evident with angling too; the ugliest fish are generally the best ones. At least in ocean angling!
Here is an awesome video with a guy making bacon from wild hog, its actually better than the “real” thing.
What Are the Basics We Need to Know about Wild Hogs?
How to determine the gender and age of a wild hog
A male wild hog is thicker in the front part of the body and has an aggressive shape, with a steep forehead and sturdier snout. A female wild boar (sow) is more slender but, at the same time, looks more like a barrel in shape and gives a friendly impression.
Male wild hogs have tusks, but so do sows. It’s only when the male hogs get over four years old that you see that the tusks are longer on the male than on the sow.
A sure sign of a male boar is the “brush” under the belly. A sure sign of a sow is that during suckling, the udders of the sow are very visible.
Why do we need to know the difference?
Of course, we always want to know what we’re shooting, so before you ever fire a shot or release an arrow, you need to make sure what type of animal it is and make sure you are correct in selecting that specific animal to shoot. Killing a sow can be devastating for the reproduction of wild hogs in the area. It is, of course, useful when trying to lower the number of feral hogs in the area and lower the damage they do.
In other parts of the country and other countries, this is not the case; there we are trying to maintain a balance, so we still get the excellent meat and keep the damages at a minimum. We would never shoot a sow that we see having visible udders or small baby boars with her.
From the meat perspective, wild hogs over 1-2 years aren’t brilliant, to be honest, the absolute perfect age to kill a wild boar is around 10 – 12 months when they are about 150 pounds. That meat is fantastic, and there’s enough to make it worth it while taking care of it.
They have a fantastic sense of smell!
Wild boars have a great sense of smell and also quite good hearing. I would say from personal experience that the smell is far greater than the hearing, though. We don’t need to talk anything about how their seeing is terrible compared to other game we hunt; you don’t have to worry about that.
The direction of the wind is key to success with any kind of hog hunt just because of this fact. They catch the smell immediately and will never show up at the feeder if you have the wind from blowing from your direction. It’s the reason why a totally covered wind tight blind is your best solution.
There are also a lot of solutions with tree stands that seem to work just fine, as you get higher up the wind carries the smell over the hogs so its also an elegant solution to the problem.
What do wild hogs prefer to eat?
Acorns are by far the big favorite for wild hogs; otherwise, grass, tubers, bulbs, and fungi are also things they like. But wild hogs are omnivorous; this means that they eat both meats and plants. Feral hogs are seasonal and opportunistic eaters; they will eat whatever is available to them, and they are not picky.
But when hunting wild hogs, we don’t want to offer them what they can get just anywhere as that’s not as effective as bringing something really neat to the table. So almost all hunters I know use corn in different recipes to feed the hogs. They love everything sweet!
Where do wild hogs sleep?
Wild hogs are nocturnal animals, which means that they will scavenge and be active during the night. The other half of the day, they sleep hidden in a den or ‘pigloos’ as scientists refer to them.
This behavior makes it almost impossible to spot them during the daytime, and I know many people who have never seen a wild hog even though they live in one of the most densely populated wild hog areas in the US.
Which Methods Do We Use When Hunting Wild Hogs?
Calling wild hogs
Calling is the method I have the least experience with, as from what I have heard, the results are somewhat varied. But there is an excellent guide on how to call for hogs on WikiHow. Primarily hogs respond to distress calls from piglets and other hogs, and it’s most effective in the late winter to springtime when there are a lot of piglets around. You need to be downwind from the hogs because, as you know from earlier, they smell you immediately otherwise. I am not a big supporter of this method, but maybe it will work wonders for you if it does, please let me know!
This method is extremely fun and intense, and this usually begins with you riding in a car or hearing from someone that there are hogs out on the fields eating crops. Then your goal is to sneak up on them without them noticing your presence.
Stalking benefits a lot from having a night vision scope or thermal scope, then you can see them out on the fields even if its night time. There are times when they go out into the fields even though it’s not pitch dark, and then you don’t need thermal or night vision. Here you need to be very cautious about the direction of the wind, to be stealthy and utterly silent if you want to have success.
This method is where I would begin as a novice hunter, and this is the perfect kind of hunting for a beginner. Here you will have a ton of time to pick the right target for your shot. What I call Stand hunting here is hunting using a feeder. The first step is to select a location where you know there are hogs in the vicinity. Find a proper spot where you can put a tree stand or blind (preferably windtight as mentioned before).
You need to have minimum 30-50m visibility to where you want the feeder will be located. That is a great distance to have a really easy and clean opportunity to take a shot while also maintaining a distance so that the hogs won’t notice you easily. I would start with a roll barrel as a feeder. This type is a straightforward construction created by a barrel with holes in it and a rope or chain connecting it to a rock, tree, stick, or whatever else you can find that is steady enough to withstand the powerful hog attacks.
The hogs will attack the barrel and try to move it around as soon as they notice that it smells corn. The long term problem with this solution is that the hogs will most likely empty that barrel in one evening, so you will have to refill it quite often. In the long run, you will want an automatic feeder on solar panels, but as a start, the rolling barrel is perfect to see if you can get some hogs interested.
If you have a set location where you know you want to build your hideout/blind/stand I would start with a ‘corn bomb’ which is a mixture of yeast, sugar, corn, and water that you let sit for a week in a barrel and then dig down where you want the hogs to go. It is like plutonium for the hogs; they will come from miles away just to taste. As this hunting is mostly done by night, it’s essential to have to correct lighting set up at the feeder.
You can either go for a traditional feeder lighting where you have a green light shining on the feeder so you can see the hogs in your normal scope. Otherwise, you go for night vision or thermal as we discussed before. Then you just sit and wait, usually, you can hear the hogs coming from a fair distance
Hunting hogs with a bay dog
This method is a dog hunter’s wet dream; the companionship you feel with your bay dog when hunting for hogs is not easy to explain. Its a partnership at its best, and you catch and kill the boar as a team. The idea is that you start somewhere where you know there were hogs recently, or you know that there usually are.
You let your bay dog lose and let him track the dog and start running after it, and after a while, it will get the hog to stop, and the dog will run circles and bark around it and wait for your arrival. When you sneak up on the hog, you need to be careful not to shoot your dog, and its usually very intense and thick brush around the place where the hog stops. It won’t stop in a clearing; it will stop in the middle of the worst possible vegetation you can imagine. This method for hunting hog is the most rewarding for the dog and the master. We need to remember that an injured hog is a dangerous hog – read more in our article here about how dangerous hogs are.
Driven hunts for wild hogs
If hunting with a bay dog is a dog master’s wet dream, driven hunts are the shooter’s wet dream. It is where excellent shooting skills shine, and everyone will see it. If you have never watched the show Boar Fever you need to go and do that right now. It’s an excellent show that demonstrates how driven hunts are done in Europe.
The idea is to place shooters on one side of the ‘drive’, and you push with beaters from the opposite side to drive the hogs towards the shooters. It makes for some super intense shooting and swift action. Without a doubt, this is the most fun hog hunting you can do in the entire world. So if you ever have the chance, I strongly recommend that you try it.
Where Do You Aim at a Wild Hog?
It’s a beautiful morning with no wind to float your scent to the hogs so that they can be spooked. You have the right and comfortable position in your tree stand, and before long, wild hogs appear around the feeder. You select the animal that you are sure will be on your dinner plate that evening. You squeeze the trigger, and the bullet hits the hog squarely in the chest. You smile in the tense moment as you wait for it to drop to the ground. But then it runs off! That is a tale that is relatable to many hunters. So, where do you shoot a hog to drop it?
This is probably the most asked question I get from new hunters who come with us to go hog hunting. I want you to make this easy for yourself. Never fire at a hog when its from the front or from the back. You want a full broadside towards you before you even think about shooting it. Then you start by aiming at the front feet and just squeeze the shot when you reach the top of the front legs.
This is by far the easiest and safest way to shoot a hog. If you miss slightly to the front you will hit the cervical spine and the hog won’t even breathe before hitting the ground. If you hit where you are aiming you will hit the heart and lungs – which is a perfect hit. So don’t worry too much about this just aim directly over the front legs in the beginning.
Hog Hunting Anatomy
The best way to know where to shoot a hog is to understand its anatomy. With the arrangement of their organs, unlike other big- game, most hunters find it hard to kill them. That is the genesis of the myth that hogs are beasts that are super-armored and are almost impossible to kill. So here is the hog hunting anatomy you need to know. Don’t worry; it isn’t that boring anatomy class but the basics of what you need to know as a hog hunter.
Kill Zone Areas
Our focus is on the areas where placing a shot assures you of a kill. These kill zone areas are arranged in descending order based on how effective they are at dropping the hog. You are to aim for the following areas:
A hog’s vital organ that is the most effective target is the heart. A shot in the heart will compromise its blood circulation and drop it on the spot. The hog’s heart is located at the very bottom of its chest. Viewing the hog from the side, it lies under the shoulder blades, and a direct shot has to go through the front leg at the point where it joins the body.
Although it is the best shot, it is very challenging to hit. The shoulder plate and muscles shield over 85% of the heart. It is also a very small target relative to the size of the hog. Additionally, the ribs have layers of calcified fat strong enough to stop a projectile that is not powerful at the time of impact.
On the broadside, place your shot inside what looks like armpit when the hog’s front leg is put forward. If quartering to or away, aim for the area between the shoulders. Be ready to fire additional shots in case you miss the heart, and the hog wants to sprint off or charge at you.
Right above the heart area lies the other vital organ to target- the lungs. These organs are located in the rib cage like other animals; however, the difference is that they are pushed far forward by the liver, stomach, and intestines, which extend all the way to the hog’s lower shoulder. That is why if you shot it like you would a deer, it will run like nothing happened because that is a gutshot.
Although the lungs present a larger target than the heart, the hog may end up running for a couple of hundred yards before dropping down. You may, therefore, need to bring along your hunting dog or be ready to track the wounded animal.
If you are one of those hunters who swear by the headshot, you may find it a little different when it comes to hogs. The brain may be the perfect target for an instant kill, but in hogs, it is small and encased in a thick skull. It is, therefore, a small target that is well protected. Stories are told of hunters who placed the ultimate headshot and still had the hogs charging at them. Chances of missing the brain are high, and if the projectile is not strong enough at impact, it may never penetrate all the thick bones shielding the brain.
A headshot should be placed slightly above the center of a line joining the two eyes of the wild hog from the front. While standing on the side of the boar, a shot through the ear opening will hit the brain.
Make sure you read our full guide on Wild Hog Anatomy
Spine and Neck Vertebra
The final kill zone is the spine. Movements of the hog’s body rely on the transmission of signals from the brain through the spine. A shot through the vertebra on the hogs back will result in the paralysis of the back legs. An even better place to shoot is the neck vertebra, which immediately paralyzes the whole body. It’s like an instant switch that shits down the hog. The neck vertebra runs way lower through the shoulder region, unlike in other big animals.
Aim a little lower in the neck to hit this kill zone when on the hog’s broadside. You can also get a great shot when quartering away or quartering to as long as the angle is not too severe.
The information above is as simple as it gets, but in case you want it broken further down for you, here is a summary of where to shoot the hog. Never fire at a hog from the front or the back. You need a full broadside towards you before you even consider shooting it. Once you have the right position, you start by focusing on the front feet and simply press the shot when you arrive at the highest point of the front legs.
It is the easiest and safest approach to shooting a wild hog by far. If you miss somewhat to the front, you will hit the cervical spine, and the wild boar won’t take a second before hitting the ground. If you hit where you are targeting, you will hit the heart and lungs – which is an ideal hit. So don’t stress a lot over this, simply point straightforwardly over the front legs.
In case your marksmanship is impeccable, and you have the right weapon, then a headshot can also be a great way to drop the hog right where it stands. Choose the option that suits you best.
What Kind of Gear Do I Need to Get Started Hunting Wild Hogs?
A hunting license, weapon, ammo, and knife are all you need to start hunting wild hogs. All though you will be all set to begin your venture, there are some modifications. Doubtlessly you will likewise require some comfortable hunting garments, camo, a great blind that is sizeable, snacks, water, first aid kit, binoculars, night vision scope, thermal scope, and even coffee.
Well, we could make this list endless, and it is incredibly thrilling to purchase things, and this is one of those exciting hobbies where its easy to burn through a great deal of cash! In any case, attempt to begin humble and simply go for the outright necessities until you are sure this is something you want to invest in.
I began with my granddad’s old rifle with a rifle scope that was 30 years of age, yet it worked nearly as excellent! I must admit that night vision, and thermal vision have genuinely changed the game for us, wild hog hunters. Therefore, your very first investment after getting the basics should be in a night vision or thermal scope.
Hog Hunting Equipment
Now its time to dive into the specifics of the hunting equipment mentioned above. Most beginners find it hard to select the right equipment from the countless products available on the market today. Here is an in-depth analysis of everything you may need while hog hunting, including recommendations of what you can buy.
Hog Hunting Weapons
A weapon is the most basic hog hunting equipment. The gun needs to deliver a projectile strong enough to inflict fatal injury to the wild hog as a bare minimum. It also needs to be a legal hunting weapon according to the laws of your state. You have an array of options when it comes to weapons that fit these characteristics.
The options you have for hog hunting are:
Most hog hunters use firearms because of their convenience and efficiency. You can use a shotgun, rifle, muzzleloader, or handgun. Again, your choice will only be limited by the state laws and regulations on the use of firearms in hunting. Luckily most states allow the use of shotguns, muzzleloaders, and even handguns. Some states do allow the use of rifles for wildlife hunting.
As a beginner, a shotgun is your best bet when it comes to making sure you head back home with the bacon. They are easier to use and consistently deliver impressive results. The hog hunting standard when it comes to shotguns is the 12guage one. It has the necessary penetration and knockdown power to ensure the hog drops down right where it stands. The semi-auto shotgun is the ultimate option because it allows you to fire some follow-up shots in case the hog tries to run off, charges at you, or if you want to drop more than one hog from the sounder.
Although there is so much to talk about when it comes to shotguns and hog hunting, I will keep it brief here. You can head on the in-depth article on hog hunting with a shotgun for more details.
Currently, a total of 18 states allow hunting with a rifle. Among these states, Texas, Georgia and Arkansas have high hog populations and are therefore the best for rifle hog hunting. The rifle hunting seasons vary from state to state, so ensure you comply with the regulations before heading out. With legal matters out of the way, the big question becomes what type of rifle is the best for hog hunting. Simply put, any rifle with the ability to kill a deer or a coyote is effective at hunting wild hogs.
When shopping for such a rifle, base your decision on accuracy, handling, and weight. It needs to be accurate, easy to handle, and lightweight. Some of the best rifles you can use for hog hunting include:
Savage Arms 110 Storm Bolt-Action
One of the most reliable bolt-action hunting rifles is the Savage Arms 110 Storm Bolt Action. It is a sturdy, rugged and robust .308 hog hunting rifle with incredible accuracy. The rifle has a detachable magazine for ease of reloading and a stainless steel barrel. Its safety is also impressive.
- High safety which prevents tragic accidents
- Implementation injection mold stock
- Damage resistant
- The cartridge capacity is low
- Slightly expensive
Winchester XPR Hunter Bolt-Action
The XPR Hunter Bolt-Action made by the industry leaders when it comes to firearms is a versatile rifle that you can use for hunting both hogs and deer. It has a TruTimber Strata camo that enables it to blend into the outdoor surroundings. It comes with a scope.
- Withstands falls and impact well
- Extremely accurate
- Great camo finish
- Low round capacity
- Slightly expensive
Smith & Wesson M&P10 Semi-Automatic
Being an assault rifle, the Smith and Wesson M&P10 will enable you to clear an entire sounder of hogs. It lets you quickly fire many rounds as it is semi-automatic. This hunting rifle is accurate, reliable and has an excellent finish which is resistant to wear and corrosion.
- Quick firing rate
- Resistant to weather and other intense conditions
- 6 point adjustable stock plus Picatinny rail
- Heavy when loaded
Other Great Hunting Rifles
- Browning BAR ShorTrac Hog Stata
- Remington AR-25
- Ruger American Rifle
- Browning BAR Match .308
Almost every state permits the use of muzzleloaders for hunting. Getting a .58 caliber gun for your round balls can be a great place to start when opting for muzzleloaders. I have found it better to get muzzleloaders from a custom shop. You can get it customized to suit the hunting of hogs in your area specifically.
Believe it or not, handguns can be used for hunting game as large as wild hogs. Although they are not so popular, they still deliver results, and if you are comfortable with them, you will get better results than a hunter using other firearms. Some of the best handguns for hog hunting include:
- Remington R1 10mm Hunter Hog Slide- accurate, 8-round capacity
- Glock 20 Gen 4- semi-automatic
- Remington R1 Tomasie Custom- uses .40 S&W cartridges, 18-round capacity
A great alternative to firearms is the use of archery equipment. There are two aspects to successful hog hunting using archery which is selecting the right bow and the right arrow. You opt for a recurve, compound, traditional, or crossbow. However, the compound bow and the crossbow are the best options for you. When it comes to arrows, the broadheads are your best choice. You can find more details about bows and arrows in the hunting hogs with a bow article.
You can even make the hog hunting experience even more thrilling by using a spear. The adrenaline rush when you are up close and personal with the hog is an unforgettable experience. Alabama, Hawaii, Nebraska, and Oklahoma are the states that expressly permit hunting with a spear. The other states are silent about it, which means you can use a spear if you meet the other legal requirements.
In case you are wondering, it is not the good old spear that you will be heading out with when chasing some feral swine. There are currently specially designed spears for hog hunting. A stronger and sharper spearhead, wings on the spear socket, and a short and thick shaft are what makes this spear perfect for hog hunting. In case you fancy hunting the wild hogs with a spear, then why not check out this article on hog hunting with a spear.
A firearm is not complete without the right ammo. The high demand for products tailored to help control the wild hog problem has led to the design of specialized ammunition for hog hunting. It is as truly fascinating for us hunters who need results while on the hunt. But is it really necessary to get special hog hunting ammo? Is it just another gimmick by the firearm industry to squeeze extra cash from unsuspecting hog hunters and farmers with hog problems? The answer is yes, you need special hog hunting ammo and no, its not just another gimmick by the firearm industry.
A projectile needs to overcome several challenges while penetrating and still have enough energy to cause damage once it hits the vital organs. First, the thick skin of the hog which has calcified fat deposits in some cases initiates the deformation of the bullet. If you hit anywhere on the shoulder region, the thick shield found in mature males will further reduce the energy of the bullet. Next, the muscles further degrade the bullet. Afterward, the bones further weather down the force of the bullet. In the head, it’s the thick skull bones while in the chest, it is the ribs with layers of fat. Finally, the soft tissues around the vital organs absorb a lot of energy. Therefore the ammo needs to be specialized to overcome these challenges.
The best three hog hunting ammo that you can buy are:
Remington Hog Hunting Featuring Barnes TSX
At the core of this ammo is the Barnes TSX bullet. The unique feature of this ammo is its rapid expansion once it reaches the target. Being all copper, it has 100% weight retention and more penetration than most of the other ammo. It also uses a low flash propellant. You will therefore not blinded by the muzzle flash when you use it in low light or at night, the conditions in which it was designed to be used.
The Federal Fusion ammo gives you impressive performance and accuracy. You can use it in your AR-15s and AR-10s. For instance, it will work well with an AR-15 that is chambered in the standard .223 Remington caliber. It delivers an incredible blow when used on hogs courtesy of its molecularity fused jacket and the pressure-formed core.
Allegiance Ammunition’s Hog Strike
Another great option is the Allegiance Ammunition’s Hog Strike with its revolutionary design. Their bullets, which do have a dense frangible core, penetrate the hog’s thick hide and bones where they reach the vital organs before fragmenting. That feature ensures that a bullet’s energy is released within the soft tissues of the wild hog, which is fatal.
Other Great Hog Hunting Ammo
- Hornady Full Boar
- Norma Bondstrike
- Norma TipStrike
Make sure you read our in-depth guide to 6.5 Grendel Hunting
One of the most effective hog population control methods is the use of traps. They are not particularly a beginner type of hog hunting equipment but will give you quick results if you want to catch some hogs. The use of traps is particularly suitable for you if you are a farmer with a hog problem. You can also use them when hunting for food. You can read on about the best traps for hog hunting and how to effectively use traps in this hog trapping article.
You may have come across the saying that hogs think through their stomach. You will come to appreciate how true it is when you see how much these animals love eating. They eat about 5% of their body weight daily and will eat just about anything. This eating habit is their path to doom. That’s why feeders are essential when hunting from a stand, blind or even on plain grounds. You can also use feeders to get the hogs into traps. Currently, you can choose between electric feeders which are controlled through a signal and manual feeders which are gravitational.
Use proper bait and let the feeder dispense at specific times for the best results. When shopping for a feeder, base your decision on unique features and your budget. The top 3 wild hog feeders you can buy include:
Wildgame Innovations Treehugger Mossy Oak Camo Tree Game Feeder
The compact and highly portable feeder is only five pounds but can hold up to eighty pounds of feed. PVC material is used in the construction of this feeder to make it more durable. You can effortlessly set it up on any tree, take cover, and wait for some hogs to come your way. Here is a link to the cheapest one I could find right now on Amazon.
American Hunter Tripod Feeder with RDE Digital Timer Kit
The American Hunter Tripod Feeder has a maximum capacity of 225 pounds of feed. It receives steady support from metallic leg mounts. This feeder has an RDE kit that has a digital clock timer. The feed rate of this feeder can be adjusted from one to thirty seconds. Here is the cheapest one right now on Amazon.
Moultrie 15 Gallon Directional Hanging
This feeder delivers exclusive size and performance that you need while hunting for while hogs. It has a straight feed pattern that is best for narrow trails or feeding paths. The feeder can hold up to a hundred pounds of feed in one go. Here you have a link to the cheapest one right now on Amazon.
Make sure you read our post on the top 10 best feeders for hog hunting.
A feeder light is mounted on a feeder to give a perimeter of light that is invisible to the hogs. Night hunting using a feeder is never complete without either a feeder light or a hog hunting light. There are many models available for you so here are the features to look out for when shopping:”
- Brightness- how many LEDs it has
- Range and visibility
- Cost versus features
- Activation method- sensors, remote, etc
- Power source- rechargeable batteries, solar and other options
Basing on these criteria, the following are the best hog feeder lights:
Moutrie Feeder Light
With 35 LEDs and long-lasting batteries, Moultrie Feeder Light is one of the best options. It has motion, photocells, and manual activation, which makes it convenient and easy to use.
Wildgame Innovation Light
A budget-friendly option is the 16 LED, waterproof, and durable Wildgame Innovation Light. It has a PIR sensor, and a solar panel to keep the batteries full which coupled to the ease of installation makes it the best feeder light for a beginner. Here is the cheapest one I could find on Amazon: Wildgame Innovations Moonshine
Kill Light Extreme
The most powerful feeder light in this list is the Kill Light Extreme which has 35 LEDs and a range of 40yards. It has both motion and timer modes besides the 360-degree motion sensor. Its non-scare feature gives excellent results. However, it is quite expensive. Here is the cheapest I could find on Amazon.
With 24 LEDs powered by a long-lasting battery, the Elusive Wildlife feeder light is also an excellent option for hog hunting. It is easy to install and has a variety of attachment options. Here is the cheapest one on Amazon right now.
For more in-depth buyers guide to feeder lights I suggest you read our top 10 best feeder lights article where all of the above hog feeder lights are featured.
UTV (Utility Task Vehicle)
Even though hunting hogs is an exciting activity, it is exhausting, especially when you have to track the hogs through impossible terrains. Here is where the UTV, whose popular name is “side-by-side” comes in offering you convenience and safety. It also gives you a better hunting experience. Their price range is, however, not for the beginner hog hunter. However, if you can afford one, it will come in handy in the following ways:
- Carrying hunting equipment like tree stands, blinds, weapons, gear, and others
- Space for passengers so that one of you can scan the area for hogs while the other drives
- Comfortable ride through tough terrains
- Keep warm during rides in chilly mornings or at night
- Carry your hogs home after hunting
There are many great options available for you on the market today. Some of the aspects to consider while buying a UTV include:
- Weight capacity- consider both cargo and towing capacity
- Cost of the UTV
- Durability as you will be conquering tough terrains
- Level of innovativeness
- Number of passengers it can carry
- Maintenance costs
You can head on to the UTV for hog hunting articles to find more details and the best UTV for hog hunting.
The Best States for Hunting Hogs
Now that you have all the details about hogs and the equipment you need, it’s now time to choose a hunting location. Lucky for you, hogs are found about 38 states which makes it highly likely that you will find a hunting ground nearby. Most states allow all-year-round hog hunting and have no bag limits. However, for better chances, you will need to head to states that have high hog populations and convenient regulations.
You will be surprised to know that ten states have 99% of the US wild hog population. These states are:
- South Carolina
Out of these ten, the four best states for hog hunting are the following.
With the hog population between 1.9m and 3.4m, which is over 30% of the US wild hog population and hunter-friendly regulations, Texas is by far the best state to go hog hunting. Their annual agricultural damage being $52m means you are more than welcome to kill as many hogs as you want.
Most hunting methods are allowed, including hunting from a helicopter and using a suppressor on your guns. You can hunt both during the day and at night on both public and private lands. Even more impressive is the fact that you can hunt without a license if you are hunting on private property. If you live in Texas or are planning to go hunting in this state, ensure you check out the article on hog hunting in Texas.
Hogs in this state date back to as early as 1539 when they were introduced by Hernando De Soto, a Spanish explorer. It has the second-highest hog population, and you can find them in all the 67 counties of the state. Hunting dogs, shotguns, legal rifles, bows, crossbows, air guns, and pistols are allowed for hunting in Florida. You also don’t need a hunting license to hunt on private land; however, you will need one to hunt on public land. There is no size or bag limit, and you can also hunt all year round.
The high hog population, which caused a $150m economic impact in 2019 makes the state one of the best places to go hog hunting. You will find hogs in all the 159 counties of the state, and all you need is a hunting license if you are going to hunt on public land. A landowner’s permission is the only thing you need when going hunting on private property. A non-resident hunting license is necessary if you are from outside the state.
What’s the Best Time to Hunt Wild Hogs?
You have two options when it comes to the best time to hunt hogs; hunt at night or during the day. Here’s what you need to know before you plan your hunting trip.
Hog Hunting at Night
The best time to hunt hogs is at night. As mentioned earlier, the hogs are most active at night. They do most of their feeding at night, and that is when you can easily find them. The reason behind this habit is the lack of sweat glands in their skin. That means that they can only be comfortable enough to feed at night when temperatures are lower.
Although hunting at night allows you access to a large number of hogs, it presents several challenges. First, their activeness means there will be more tracking and chasing if you use the stalking method. Secondly and importantly, your vision at night is reduced, and therefore moving around the hunting area will be challenging. Night vision scopes and thermal scopes can help you see your target well without spooking them with light.
You choose between night vision spotting scopes and regular night vision scopes. The best night vision scopes available on the market today include the following:
- ATN X-sight & Night Scope
- Pulsar Phantom Gen3 4*60mm Night Vision Riflescope
- Firefield NVRS 3*42 Gen 1 Night Vision Riflescope
Make sure you read our buyers guide for the ATN X-sight here.
Alternatively, you can use thermal scopes. They may be more expensive but will make it easier for you to zero in on your prey. Some additionally have a rangefinder and can record video, which makes their high price worth it. Some of the best thermal scopes for hog hunting include:
- Pulsar Core RXQ30V
- FLIR ThermoSight
- ATN ThOR HD
You can hunt for hogs at night in any state on private land and most states except a few on public lands. Find out from your state’s department of wildlife or natural resources whether you can hunt at night on public land. Ensure you, scout, the hunting area during the day before you head over there at night. Additionally, ensure you know your location at all times using devices with GPS, for instance, a smartphone.
Hog Hunting During the Day
Hunting during the day may not allow as many advantages as the night does, but it is safer and more convenient. It is also allowed in every state with hogs. All you need is the right weapon, and you are all set. Hogs mostly rest during the day and therefore finding them may be a bit of a challenge.
The best times to hunt are early morning hours and the last few evening hours when it is cooler. They will be found around watering sources playing in wallows which help them keep cool during the day. Covering their bodies with mud also prevents insect bites besides protecting them from direct sunlight. In winter, however, they will be active throughout the day as it is cold all through. You can, therefore, look for them around water areas in other seasons and feeding areas during winter.
How to Track Wild Hogs
Once you are in the hunting area, the next thing you will need to do is to track the hogs. Learning how to track the animals will help you shorten your hunting time so that you don’t end up tired and exhausted. You can track them while hunting while looking for the right hunting spot and while scouting the area for night hunting.
One thing to know is that hogs are animals of habit, and that means their feeding, bedding, and watering areas will remain quite constant. All you have to do is track their paths to and fro these places, and you have the right hunting spot. They will create specific routes that connect these three places. You can also look for crossings which are the gaps through the fence on private lands. As shown earlier, they will also be found in wallows and so finding wallows will be strong evidence of their presence. Food sources are also places to track the hogs. They will root the land, which is clear evidence that they are somewhere close.
Some of the things to look out for while tracking them are:
- Muddied up holes
- Fresh excrement
- Tracks in the wet soil
Their footprints may look like those of the deer, but they will be more rounded. Once you get close to them, listen keenly and you are likely to hear their movement. You can also smell their scent which is like that of cattle.
You can attract a hogs tour position using bait. You need to select the proper hog bait and place it strategically in the hunting area. It needs to lead the hogs into your shooting range or a trap. Remember to use an ascent killer to disguise your presence in your hunting spot because the hogs have a great sense of smell.
Some of the best hog baits include:
- Shelled corn
- Overripe fruits
- Sweet potatoes
To make the bait more attractive to the hogs and unappealing to other wildlife, sour the bait, for instance, soaking the corn and letting it sour for a couple of days. You can read much more about how to bait for hogs in this article we wrote.
My Top 20 Tips for Beginner Hog Hunters
- Use the right weapon which has adequate firepower, and you are comfortable using it
- Always put your safety first because hog hunting can get ugly fast
- Learn and practice the tracking of hogs until you master the art
- Head to areas with good hog populations while starting hog hunting
- Practice your shots on a 3D model if possible to improve your accuracy in case a hog does charge at you
- Minimize costs by hiring equipment where possible
- Scout the area during the day before hunting at night
- Make scent killing sprays your best friend to make you undetectable by the hogs
- Always ensure your killing is humane which keeps your hunt ethical
- The heart and lungs are the best places to shoot and so aiming in the lower chest where the front leg joins the body gives you better chances of killing the hog
- If you are to go for a headshot, have a good hunting rifle with the right cartridge and make sure you have practiced enough.
- Always stay downwind from the hogs because of their excellent sense of smell
- Use the proper bait for instance sour corn
- Hogs are habitual and so tracking them should be based on their routes, crossings, watering and bedding areas
- Ask around for farmers with the hog problem as they will be more than happy to welcome you
- Hogs drink water in the morning before they head off to bedding areas and therefore water areas are great morning hunting places
- The laws of hog hunting vary from state, ensure you confirm the regulations in place in your state.
- It’s best to hunt at night as hogs are most active at night
- You will find hogs around water areas during the days as they try to keep cool.
- Bring your hunting dog along to help you track the hogs.
What are the hog hunting essentials?
A hunting license and a hunting weapon are the essentials of hog hunting. At night, you may need a flashlight and hog hunting lights.
How do you hunt hogs during the day?
You can do still hunting from a stand or blind, stalking where you stealthily track the animals, use hunting dogs or driven hunts.
What is still hunting hogs?
Still hunting is where you hunt the hogs from a fixed position like a stand or blind.
Hog hunters needed?
Hog hunters are needed in many states where farmers have a hog problem. The hogs destroy farms, and therefore farmers seek out hunters to help control the hog population.
What’s day hunting from a stand?
You can hunt hogs while staying on a raised platform usually attached to a tree that gives you a good vantage point for shooting the hogs.
Now you know everything there is to know about hog hunting. At this point, you can head out and do it just as well as an expert will do. Remember to fuel your passion with practice, and you will get better over time. Happy hunting my friend!
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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.