Over the last couple of decades, deer populations have declined significantly. Hog hunting has therefore come to the fore as a new source of valuable animal protein. Hogs were first introduced by Spanish explorers as a source of meat. Having no natural predators, their population exploded when they were let free and became wild. This made them become a nuisance to many farmers, and many of them will often allow anyone to hunt them down for free.
It is estimated that there are around five million wild hogs, also called feral pigs, spread across 39 states. Most of them are found in the southern gulf states of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. They are also found in neighboring states such as Arkansas. Hogs are a challenging game, and require a lot of skill and courage to hunt down. Here are several hog hunting tips that will ensure that you bring the bacon home with minimum fuss.
Understand your quarry
Every hunter is required to know his or her quarry well. You need to understand the environment that hogs prefer to live in and the best ways of trailing them, for example using signs like rooting and hog wallows. Rooting is when the hog uses their snouts to dig for food. As a hunter, you will be on the lookout for telltale signs of this, such as the presence of uprooted soil. Hogs wallow in the muddy to cool their bodies. You also need to recognize the wide and round hog tracks.
Going on trips with experienced hog hunters can provide you with the confidence and experience that will be useful when you go hunting on your own later. It is also important to know the anatomy of your target, especially the ‘kill zone’. This ensures that the animal suffers less and dies quickly and silently when you shoot it. It is also safer for you when you kill it with the first shot.
Take advantage of hogs’ territorial tendencies
Hogs are pretty good fighters and this makes hunting them dangerous. However, this also means that they respond better to calls than many other animals, especially since they are territorial. Therefore, when you see a hog that you would like to take down, call it strongly and it will not hesitate to come to you. But you need to be prepared since they may charge you.
Having the proper firearms and ammunition is crucial
When you go hog hunting, it is imperative that you use multi-shot revolvers, high-power rifles, and pistols. This will ensure that you have maximum protection as you go against this tough and aggressive animal. Remember that unless you place your shot perfectly in the heart, one bullet may be insufficient to kill a wild hog. Also, unlike a deer or an elk, a hog is likely to attack you when shot and wounded.
You can also carry a shotgun that has a choke which gives a tight pattern that will assist you to kill the hog. You also need to use high-velocity ammunition such as hollow-point hard cast bullets that have a good impact.
Be cautious and use safety shots from a distance
It is always advisable to take an extra shot at a hog when you have tracked it. Hogs can sometimes play dead and attack you when you get too close. You, therefore, need to noisily approach the hog and shoot it again when you are 15 to 20 yards away, even if it appears to be dead.
Try to hunt at night
As hog hunting has increased in popularity, hogs have adapted and become nocturnal. This means that the best time to hunt them is when they are feeding at night. There are a number of states which permit such hunting on public or private land, whether one uses artificial light or not. Using game hunting lights attached to feeder bottoms makes night hog hunting easier.