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The previous article was about the three first steps to do before getting into how to hunt wild hogs. Take a few minutes to read that section if you missed it. Otherwise, let's talk about the real fun.
Hog hunting has become really popular for many reasons. One of them is because there are plenty of them and another one, is because they are complex to hunt and offer a great challenge. Especially if you stalk hunt them.
Depending on your area, you might have to wait for a specific time of the year to hunt them while in other places, it is allowed all year round. Have a look at your State regulations to know when you are allowed to hunt wild boars.
So First thing first, find yourself a place to hunt. Many landowners will allow you to hunt wild hogs on their land for free or for a small fee. Mainly because they expand quickly and damage their land. Several of you will have permission to hunt feral hogs on the wooded land adjacent to their subdivision but the use of firearms is not an option. The proximity to human make Bowhunting a better alternative to hunting hogs as it is safer for the neighborhood.
You can browse the internet for hog hunting ranches. Some landowners created an artificial hog hunting area for new or experimented hunters who would like to have a nice but certain hunting experience.
You might have the chance to hunt on a public land. With the proper license, some county allows you to hunt them on their land.
Finding a place to hunt is capital to your hunting success. After searching the law side of hog hunting, you must recognize how they behave to wase your life to track them. That being said, the next step is to learn how to scout the land to find them.
Know How to Track Hogs
The ability to detect and track hogs is critical to hog hunting. There are several signs to look for when tracking. Those signs are more like specific behaviors expressly made by the wild boars giving you the necessary hints to track them.
Look for tracks that look similar to deer tracks, but wider and rounder. Feral hog tracks are typically easy to identify, as they typically have a more rounded shape than deer tracks, and tend to be wider.
By identifying hog tracks you can detect the direction the hogs if they are coming from or going to. More importantly, you might find their beddings. Finding their beddings means multiple targets.
Hogs use their snouts to root through vegetation and find food.
Hogs have a keen sense of smell to locate food which often lies below ground level. The uprooted soil is one of the most recognizable signs of their presence in a specific area. They can devastate an area and the damage caused by feral hog’s rooting behavior is why most landowners will allow hog hunting on their land.
Feral hogs dig up land near ponds and creeks in order to “wallow” in the mud and cool themselves down.
Wild boars do not have sweat glands, so they use "wallowing" during the summer to cool their body temperature. Those shallow pools are created when the hogs dip up land near ponds or creeks.
To confirm is it a wallow from feral hogs, you have to note other hog signs like rubbings and scat.
Closely related to wallowing. After wallowing, hogs will use fixed objects, often trees or fences to remove caked-on mud, clay, and dirt, as well as parasites. Look for trees or poles coated with these fluids.
The omnivore diet of the feral hog causes trouble to identify the droppings. Because the location and the type of food available, hog’s scat take on different shapes and sizes. However, hog scats are usually cylindrical in shape and dark in coloring and can look similar to dogs droppings.
The beddings of wild boars are mostly large, circular holes dug fairly deep into the ground, and are often covered by thick vegetation. Hogs create their beds by clearing vegetation to expose dirt. Finding the beds often means that you will find many of them.
Scouting them efficiently will bring you inexorably to hunt them. Here is the most important element according to me not and not only for wild hogs but for every animal; Shot Placement.
To cleanly and ethically kill any animal, you must practice and know by heart the vital zone to kill your selected target. Hogs vitals lie much lower and further forward between the shoulder blades compared to whitetails.
Tip: The optic is of utmost importance to have a clean and ethical kill. Selecting the right optic while hog hunting is crucial to ensure your shot placement. Good optics are a must and because most of the wild boar's activity is at night a tactical light is a plus. Thermal scopes are the best but they are quite expansive.
The wild boar's shield is tough as nails. The combination of kinetic energy and momentum is crucial here. It is important to develop sufficient momentum to pass through this animal.
There are many ways to increase your arrow penetration, so please tune your arrows-bolts accordingly to your targets. I do recommend fixed blade broadheads for wild hogs but as long as you are confident with the broadhead you are using, it should be fine. That being said, broadhead selection is critical if you want to recover the hog.
Mature boars shield is basically just a layer of cartilage that builds up over the ribs which it's not found on sows or younger boars. With age, this cartilage protects its vitals from the tusks of others wild boars. A sharp cut-to-tip broadhead will slice right through the cartilage. Fortunately, this cartilaginous shield does not extend to the lower part of the chest where we recommend shooting.
To achieve the perfect shot on mature boars, you should wait until the animal is perfectly broadsided with the foreleg closest to you in a straight up and down position as shown above. You can also shoot directly above the elbow, in the bottom third of the chest. Making quartering away shots the most lethal for the bigger size hogs. Place your sight pin on the opposite shoulder and your broadhead so you will hit the chest cavity while driving toward the far leg, damaging vitals on its way. Both types of shots will bring you meat in the freezer.
On sows or boars weighing less than 125 pounds, a broadside shot will penetrate enough to kill. Follow the front leg up to the mid-point of the chest and aim there. You will not hit the heart (it is below this area) but you should penetrate both lungs, resulting in a good blood trail and quick death.
Remember to get enough penetration (kinetic + momentum) to pass through the animal so it leaves a clean and bloody exit wound with your broadhead. The feral hung can still live for a while with only one lung. Like humans when a lung collapse, they still can survive.
Good shot placement is the main factor!
To enhance your chances to hunt wild hogs, there are few characteristics you should know about the animal. The feral hogs are very territorial as a species and you should use their territorial traits against them. They love to fight other to keep their territory. It means that they will often respond to hogs calls. Either you are using the good old technique of mouth-blown device or the electronic version (Primos Hunt). The electronic version is often programmed with the sounds of piglets in distress which proved to be the most effective in most cases.
Take Safety Shots From a Distance
As an aggressive species, I still recommend shooting wild hogs from any platforms ( ground blinds, tree stands). Sometimes after being shot, instead of fleeing away, the wild boars might charge you. Being in a safe position might save you a lot of trouble.
Another hint about hunting feral hogs is always taking another shot at them once you have tracked them. They can play dead and may charge you as you approach them. In that case, make sure to give it plenty of time to expire or be as noisy as possible when getting closer. Approaching too soon will only make them run some more.
Know wind direction
This is the utmost of importance for any type of animal but especially for hogs. As they have a bad vision they developed a keen sense of smell. It means that knowing the wind direction, you might be able to sneak up on them if you are moving slow enough. Install accordingly your tree stand or blind to increase your hunting success. For even more efficiency, set them up near trail crossings.
When is the best time to hunt feral hogs?
Dawn or Dusk? Neither of them. The best time to hunt them is at night. The species has adapted to hunter behavior by becoming nocturnal. You still can hunt them at dawn and dusk but the best time is at night when they are awake and feeding.
Hunting at night brings its own set of challenges and must be discussed in a full article.
First thing first, the way you process a wild hog will determine the quality of the meat, so don't go cheap if you are doing it by a butcher.
That being said, many organs need be removed to get at the meat you want. Nothing is better than watching what to do before describing the further techniques.
To dress a hog, you must have the following material before getting started:
Once you get the basics, you are ready for processing the animal.
Dress the hog:
The steps are shown clearly in this video. Remember to never puncture the stomach or intestines. If the stomach or the intestines are shot or punctured, wash out the body cavity with water as soon as possible.
Get the meat as soon as possible in-between 4 to 7 degree to prevent spoilage.
Do not hesitate to ask questions if you are wondering about the quality of your meat. The wild hogs are known to carry diseases. If you see signs of disease or parasite infestation, discard the carcass.
When field dressing a wild hog, always wear protective clothing and take extra precaution to cook the meat thoroughly, even if there are no visible warning signs of infestation.
The more you gather information, the more you increase your chances of take them down and enjoy the taste of its meat. Hunting wild boar is growing as the population expand everywhere. Getting the right equipment to hunt them will ensure you a thrilling experience and make you come back year after year to get some.
If you have any comments or questions about how to hunt wild hogs, do not hesitate to reah out below.
Have a nice Hunt!