Javelina Hunting: Beginner’s Guide

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One thing Texas and Arizona are famous for is their vast wild population. There are too many hunting opportunities for the different game all year round. One species that is common for hunting also is the infamous javelinas. For the avid hunter, javelinas make a great beginner’s experience during the off-season. In Texas, the season runs from January until February and extends from September to August.

Before booking your next javelina hunt, first, you have to understand your prey, both its weaknesses and strengths. Here are the most crucial things you need to know about hunting javelinas with success. 

Understanding Javelinas 

A Javelina is Not a Pig

Although Javelinas bear some little resemblance to feral pigs, they are neither pigs nor hogs. A bit confused now? Check this article on the difference between pigs and hogs.  

Similar to hogs they have a massive head, muscular bodies, and tusks, in actuality, they are collared peccary. The similarity does not end in their appearance only as they also have the same characteristics and behavior. 

Javelinas may sometimes live in packs, as many as 100 but you will always find them in groups of four to fifteen.

They Have a Better Sense of Smell than Eyesight

Hunting Javelinas is a fun experience because they offer you a decent chance at shooting at them compared to other big game. But it is not a walk in the park either. Though they have poor eyesight beyond 50-yards, they have an acute sense of smell and catch your scent from miles away.

When stalking javelinas, it is vital to mask your scent because if they catch your whiff, they are gone. Javelinas also have a short memory, and if you keep on their trail, they will forget you had spooked them and offer you another shooting opportunity. 

Thin Coat

Javelinas have thin skin and coats of fur. And this means that it is easy to tell where they will most likely be. When spotting javelinas look for the lee side of hills and bushes as they always take cover in those places. When the sun is up during the morning cold, you can search for them in the open as they seek to warm their bodies. 

Small Range

There is a small range you have to cover when hunting javelinas. Usually, a pack will just roam an estimated square a mile. And since they need lots of water, hunting near water sources can make you track them down quickly. 

Scent Glands

Javelinas have earned their name as the skunk pig. It will not come as a surprise when you smell them before they smell you.  It has scent glands on their backs and under their eyes, and they use it to mark their territories and fellow members of the pack.

Peccary meat is much like pork, but unlike pork, it is much tougher. Javelinas are quite smelly, and you may not feel like eating meat that smells like that. But when preparing peccary meat, you must keep these two things in mind. Keep it cool and clean always.  

When skinning javelina, take extra care not to let the scent glands get in contact with the meat. 

Camouflaged

The javelinas have the perfect blend of color with their natural habitat just like many other wild animals. At 60 pounds and their diminutive stature that makes them low to the ground, it becomes a challenge to spot them. Most good hunters know this and it is why I strongly suggest a scoping glass for a javelina hunt

How to make a Javelina Hunt Successful

Know the Terrain

The first rule of all successful hunting is knowing the terrain before going for a hunt. Scout the places and vegetation then read the disturbance on javelina hotspots. Hunting on a ground that has a vantage point allows you to spot and stalk. It is an effective method as it gives you more hunting action. 

Pay attention to the weather as well. Because javelinas have a poor coat, they are poorly insulated and they would want to stay hidden.  

When hunting javelinas in a cold-weather close to the freezing point, it is difficult to spot any movement. Usually they will be bundled together to get warm. If they manage to emerge, it will be in spots that get direct sunlight, usually in the open. 

On the other hand, in extremely hot days, they will only turn up in open places very early in the morning and the last few hours before nightfall. On hot days javelinas also avoid the heat by sheltering under canyons. Hunting from a vantage point becomes impossible then. 

The good thing about hunting javelinas is that they are predictable in their movements and patterns. If the area has less disturbance, they may spend weeks in a limited area. It makes them easy to glass from a single position. When you catch a glimpse of javelina, it is not a fluke. 

Glassing Javelinas

When you spot single javelina, there is a high likelihood that there are others in the area as well. If you stick to an area for too long, you will notice multiple bodies. Always remember that javelinas are low to the ground, dark and small. It can be a challenge to glass them; that is why you need to look keenly on areas with prickly pear. 

Almost always when you spot a herd, it will be because you detected movement. However, it is also common to find javelinas standing still or bedded. Therefore when glassing lookout for dark patches and wait to sense movement before determining what animal it is. 

Javelinas offer a good hunting opportunity because they are always fidgeting and moving around. They are also never alone as they move in groups. 

Stalking Javelinas

As long as you keep downwind, you can run at a group of javelinas hard to within a hundred yards before you stalk them. Because of their poor vision, they will not see you coming, but you should be as stealthy as you can. Javelinas are not stupid animals, and at the slightest spook, they will clear. 

When hunting javelinas, it is impossible to tell the males from the females. They are low in sexual dimorphism as males tend to have the same body shape and size as the females. 

 One hunting practice I use is to look out for javelinas that have offspring around it. The mothers are always close to their young ones and often travel directly in front.  As an inexperienced hunter, it was still difficult to pick the males from the herd. Sometimes I just narrowed down my selection to the biggest animal in the back, and they are usually males.

Tips to stalking Javelinas Successfully

Before I perfected my stalking skills, I tried a variety of methods. However, I have since developed one, and it is as follows. 

In a flat desert country where there is thick vegetation, it becomes difficult to spot and stock javelinas in that area. The reason is simple, and you cannot see much of the terrain to make a certain decision. 

What works for me is to track javelinas on foot and look out for signs of their presence. I look out for canyon bottoms and other common preference spots for javelinas. Once you spot javelina tracks, you can now work on a limited area and eliminate locations by selecting only the most probable sites. I discovered that hunting in the rain is also good as there are only fresh tracks to follow. 

Smell First

To be a complete hunter, you need to rely on your nose, ear and eyesight. When hunting javelinas pay close attention to their unique odor because sometimes you can smell them before you spot them and be ready for the shot. 

Javelinas also are vocal and in areas where they herd as a group is filled with grunts and snorts. Sometimes they chew so hard, and if you are keen, you can pinpoint the direction of the sound. When javelinas are in a group of even four or five, you can expect them to cause a racket when rippling into the prickly pears of the desert.  

When hunting in thick vegetation, binoculars are a hunter’s friend. You may want to check out our selection of the best binoculars to carry for the hunt. When creeping along in thick vegetation cover, you must be vigilant to detect the slightest movement of dark patches. 

Sometimes when you spook javelina, it freezes as it tries to locate the source. If you see it before it sees you, there is a narrow window of opportunity to make a quick shot. If it takes off, you can still track it, keeping in mind the wind direction. Before shooting at javelina, ensure that you have only one on sight. 

Hunting Javelinas with Calls

Javelinas are most likely to react dramatically to calls compared to other big game. If you can mimic the appropriate call for distressed or struggling javelinas, they might respond to your call and come rushing in. There are lots of good javelina calls available in the market today. 

If you want to make the best use of a javelina call, try stalking the herd to within 75 yards but try not to spook the animals by your presence. Get your firearm ready and blow the call then watch out for their reaction. 

Sometimes when you are out of luck, you might blow your call, and the herd runs in the other direction. Stop making the call immediately as they might have been spooked by the same call with a different hunter. When the herd is calm, you can attempt to stalk them again. 

Calls can also change your fortune in case you spook a herd, and they scatter. Not necessarily full proof but sometimes quick calls after alarming the javelinas may make them stop if they do not know the source of trouble. But this is a big gamble.

The Best Guide for Javelina Hunting in Texas

When hunting javelinas, I prefer to book with the best guide in town who lets me have a range and options of hunting areas. The tours are good and educative, and it is why I prefer the All Seasons Guide Service

When in Texas you can hunt for javelinas in 93 counties and most of them are found in West Texas, South Texas and some parts of the Edwards Plateau. Even though I conduct most of my hunts in the West Texas region, I sometimes hunt in the Edwards Plateau and South Texas.   

One great thing about hunting javelinas is they are fun to hunt whether you are a skilled hunter or a beginner. They also offer a unique experience when you hunt in groups as there is a competitive spirit and many lessons to pass around. 

Texas Javelina Hunting

Javelina is a Texas Game Animal and its hunting is regulated. In most places, the hunting limit is restricted to only two javelinas each year for every hunter. All Seasons Guide Service hunts take place from South Texas Brush Country to The Glass Mountains of West Texas. 

The greatest part of the hunting expedition is that there are both rifle and bow hunts for most properties. The common methods of hunting include stalking, safari style, and shooting using blind spots. 

South Texas Javelina Hunts

When hunting in South Texas the most popular method is hunting from tower blind spots similar to the traditional hunting of whitetail deer. The blind spots often overlook corn feeders. For hunters that wish to stalk and spot javelinas, there is the opportunity to use bait. 

West Texas Javelina Hunts

Hunting in West Texas is more fun as the hunt covers a wide area and therefore, the possibility of more javelina targets. The hunts normally take place in the Glass Mountains of West Texas somewhere between Ft. Stockton and Marathon. 

The elevation of the ranch in the Glass Mountains Range varies. There is also the use of the specially designed Mountain Buggies which take you to the highest vantage points and you can easily glass before you spot and stalk.  

When hunting for javelinas, it is equally important to consider the appropriate hunting gear. Always dress for the weather and carry light gear as you need to maneuver through tight spaces. 

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