Who’s ready to hunt down some wild hog?
I bet you are. But before you go, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got all your gear lined up and ready to go. Here’s what you’re going to need…
Like all hunting, you’ll need a license if you want to collect your pork chops for the season. Each state’s requirements and fees for hog hunting licenses vary. So be sure to check out the laws in your state.
If you’re hunting on someone’s private land, you’ll still need a hunting license. Make sure you stay on land that you’ve been permitted to hunt. Wandering onto private property where you do not have permission to hunt could result in fines.
The Right Gear
Choosing the right gear for your hog hunt will make or break your time in the wild. The inappropriate ammo or weapon will not only leave you without a kill, but could also place you in danger.
Feral hogs are incredibly territorial and will attack if provoked. Small and ineffective ammunition won’t down your hog. Instead, it will provoke a wild animal and cause it to do what wild animals often do — attack.
Hogs are hearty animals and will often need more than one shot to down them. Semi-automatic high-powered rifles are best for sighting and shooting. If you’re going to use a rifle, make sure to attach an optic like a 6.5 Creedmoor scope. It’ll help a lot with accuracy. Shotguns that offer a tight shot pattern are also a good choice. High-powered handguns are essential for personal protection in case a hog gets close. For ammunition, your best option is high-velocity, high-caliber hollow-point rounds.
The Right Clothes
If you’ve ever gone hunting, you know the right clothing is just as important as the right gear. If you live in a state that allows hog hunting year-round, your clothing should adjust to the weather.
Generally, hogs are going to be in wild and brushy areas. You’ll be moving, tracking, and following your prey so you’ll want clothing that allows ease of movement, good camouflaging, and protection against the elements. Canvas pants or jeans with chaps are your best option. Hiking boots will ensure adequate protection against ground brush, rocks, and debris. For cold weather, wear layers to protect against icy temperatures.
Note: Many states require a certain amount of hunter’s orange to be worn at all times. Check with your state’s guidelines for how much you should sport. Typical requirements are coverage of chest, back, and head.
The Right Accessories
Hunting feral hogs can be highly rewarding when using the right gear. As territorial animals, hogs will charge when perceived predators or other animals invade their territory. Use a hog caller to draw them out of brush or nesting cover. Using recorded sounds of piglets will play on the protective nature of sows and draw them out into the open.
Keep in mind when using hog or other animal calls that hogs will come charging to meet their perceived enemy. Place plenty of space between you and the hog you want to take down. These are animals you do not want to meet up close if they are alive and uninjured.
How to Hunt
Feral hog hunting is best done at a safe distance from your prey. After you shoot your quarry, approach noisily and shoot again at a distance of 15-20 yards. Hogs are excellent actors and can play dead if threatened. If hogs aren’t completely downed, they will play dead until you approach and will then attack when you get close. Always use caution when approaching wild downed hogs and be sure your shot is accurate.
When to Hunt
Hogs are nocturnal creatures and will come out to eat at night. When hunting at night, be sure to take flashlights and extra batteries. You don’t want to get caught in the forest at night in hog territory. Hogs are incredibly territorial and will attack if they view you as an enemy encroaching on their land. Be prepared if hunting at night. A lack of preparation can lead to injury or death.
Know Where to Hunt
Signs of feral hogs are fairly straightforward. Look for areas in the soil that are rooted up. Hogs root through dirt for vegetation to eat and will root through large areas with their nose to the ground. Finding patches of land near ponds or rivers that look dug up is a sure sign of hogs in the area. Hogs use muddy areas to wallow and cool off. Finally, check for tracks and follow at a distance to remain undetected and ensure safety.
Know Where to Shoot
Don’t expect to down a hog like you would a pig. The vital organs on a pig are lower and farther forward than a deer or elk. Aim to shoot through the front of both shoulders, behind the ears, or broadside. These are your humane kill areas that will bring down a hog quickly.
Prepare for Field Dressing
Feral hogs carry many diseases that can spread to humans. Be prepared to field dress your hog with sharp knives and wear latex gloves to protect yourself from fluids. You’ll also need a method for transporting your hog from the field back home. Use a cooler if cutting your hog into pieces, or use hunting bags if transporting it whole.
Happy Hog Hunting
If done right, hog hunting is exciting and rewarding. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the anatomy of a hog for a clean kill. Check your weapon and sight in your riflescope before you go, and make sure you have a flashlight with extra batteries if hunting at night. Use animal calls to flush out your prey easily and have everything necessary to dress your kill in the field. Follow these tips, stay safe, and have a good time!