Wild Hog Hunting in the USA

After whitetail deer, the American wild boar is the most popular game animal in the US. Many names but only one animal. Either you call it a feral (which simply means 'wild') hog, a feral swine, a wild swine, a wild hog or a wild boar (male) or wild sow (female), we are all talking about hogs. You can consult our glossary at the bottom of this page. This domesticated species escaped from ranches and became this wild boar or wild hog that we know today.

There are 23 subspecies of hogs worldwide. The Sus Scrofa was brought to this continent by explorers and the population grew in-between 5 to 6 million to this day. The distribution in the US contributes greatly to the love of wild hog hunting in Florida, wild hog hunting in Texas and wild hog hunting in California because they have the largest populations of wild boar. The species is spreading in more northern States of Colorado, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, South Carolina, North Carolina, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Georgia, and Ohio. Wild hog hunting in the USA is growing every year and to know the basics about this animal might change the way you hunt them.

I must insist that you should look into your State or Province regulations towards hog hunting. Each place has their specific laws concerning hog hunting. Some places ask different Hunting Licences (for Resident and Non-Resident), allow different hunting periods depending on the season, allow, or not, night hog hunting, which baiting is allowed for hog hunting and the limit of hog per person. Most regulations are easy to find on your government websites (Departments of Natural Ressources, Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks).


Spreading Species over the USA

wild hog hunting in the usa

Wild hog hunting in the USA


The population tripled or so in the last 5 years as we can compare with the two images. This animal is not dangerous for humans but can generate massive destruction for landowners. Some States open hunting season to control the population of their State.  

We have to understand that hogs are really adaptative species and with the fact that wild hogs will breed year-round with a gestation period of 114 days, a sow will give birth to anywhere from 1 to 12 piglets. This means she can have 2 litters a year making exponential the number of hogs in your area. On top of that, wild boars don't have many natural predators in North America enhancing the spread of the species.

The hogs are then considered as an invasive species because of their lack of natural predators, impressive fertility, and adaptability to a variety of climates and conditions. 

The numbers are growing and its beginning to threaten the health of other wild and domestic species and more importantly agricultural landowners. A study said that the rate of northward expansion accelerated from 6.5 km/yr to 12.6 km/yr. The cost of damages caused by wild hogs is growing as fast as the population is growing.

It is then important to enhanced efforts to limit the spread of invasive wild pigs. The good news is wild boars meat worth the hunt. If properly choose and clean, hog meat is really tasty. 


The habitat of the Hog

Knowing as much as possible about their habitat is most likely the best way to hunt wild hogs. Understanding their habitat will lead you inevitably to find their shelters. A fact about hogs, these animal rest in shelters so by identifying their shelters, you are making the process of hunting them much easier.

Shelters contain insulating material like spruce branches and dry hay. These resting places are occupied by whole families (though males lie separately) and are often located in the vicinity of streams, in swamp forests, in tall grass or shrub thickets.

An important fact about the boars is that they never defecate in their shelters and will cover themselves with soil and pine needles when irritated by insects. Locating these elements means that you are getting closer to their shelters.

Wilds boars have specific habitat but are a very adaptative species. They will favor swamp with dense cover but they can adapt themselves to almost any type of conditions. The slow down of there expansion is where there is too much snow. This scenario complexifies his food searching but doesn't necessarily stop him from spreading over snowy areas.


That said, one thing their habitats have in common is the water. The terrain most favored by wild boars is moist with dense cover, and preferably near water. Of course, water is necessary for all species but since hogs don't sweat, it is crucial for them to have water around their shelters to cool themselves. They love to wallow both to cool off and to help control tics and lice so protecting themselves from insects is also another purpose of having water close to them. 

They do not select a specific essence of a tree to rub themselves. These rubbings are part of their behaviors found in their habitat.


Signs of Hog Presence

wild Hog Hunting in the USA

To confirm that you discovered their habitat and shelters, you can identify clear signs that belong to hogs. As mentioned above, they love to wallow and after a good wallow, they like to rub their bodies on nearby trees. These "hog rubs" are a clear sign of the presence of boars in the area. The rubs include urinating and defecating in the area.

Hogs are not a subtle species. After they established their shelters and beside the wallows and the rubs, you will see rooting signs. They can root up acres of land flipping up the entire mats of the forest floor. It is also possible to see large roots chopped through with their tusks. This species like to chew dead wood to get the worms, insects or any living things inside the dead wood. Unmistakable ground, when you see it, there is no hesitation about the presence of hogs in the area. These behaviors are what farmers complain about. They can literally destroy their crops in no time.

As a sign that you found their shelter, you will see a distinctive sign of their beddings. Large bowl-shaped craters under some type of cover to keep them cool in summer and warm in the winter. Some alternatives are possible, especially if the sow is ready to give birth. The beddings will look more comfortable for the piglets.

The boars are smelly animals, you don't need the sensitive nose to smell some hogs. The odor is unmistakable and as you get closer to a hen, you might be knocked over by the smell.

Back bristles of hogs, usually trapped on the bottom wire of the fences, is one more sign to look upon when you want to locate wild boars.

The hog scat is variable in appearance depending upon the animal's diet, and sometimes hogs will eat the droppings of other hogs.

All in all,  many signs are there for you to discover and confirm that you are close to hog shelters. Knowing the signs of the presence of hogs will give you a clear advantage to hunt them. To complete the elements helping you to know if you are in a presence of hogs is their distinctive tracks.


Hog Track and Trail

wild Hog Hunting in the USA

The hog track is distinguishable from deer tracks in three ways:

  1. The hog hoof has rounded tips compared to the sharply pointed deer hooves. 
  2. The foot shape of a hog is more a square shape while deer are more in a triangle shape.
  3. Hog toes can spread (more striking impact) when they walk because of the weight of the animal, unlike the deer toes that stay together when they walk.

These distinctions are the best signs to see the direction he came and went to. These tracks will be found most likely into hog trails. Like most animals, they developed habits and pattern concerning their movements. Animals like to use the same trails to get to their destinations making them clear and distinguishable. Tunnels that you might miss seeing in the daytime, can stand out like distinct, shadowy doorways at night in your lights. Therefore, hog hunting lights are crucial to see their trails and tunnels. Some State allows night hog hunting, so tunnels will be a valuable sign to hunt them. It is really important to verify your regulation area.


Hog Hunting Tips 

There are some specific hunt facts concerning the hogs and might help you to hunt them. Few interesting facts are expressly for hogs and might help you on how to hunt wild hogs.

First, you have to know that wild hogs "can't see". The fact that their heads are low to the ground decrease greatly how they can see the world around them. Moreover, the density of their habitat brings brushes and bramble to block their view lowering once more their vision. They mainly see movement over forms and colors and will use other senses to notice what is around them. 

The fact the hog does not have many natural predators make sense that they did not develop a 10-10 vision. There is no need for them since everything they need is on the ground and not above.

Hunting above the ground in an elevated blind or a tree stand will be deadly to them knowing this valuable fact about hogs. More importantly, a wild boar that knows you are in the area or even after impact might demonstrate aggressive behaviors and run directly at and nosing or even hooking his target. It this case, it might be you so hunting above the ground might save you the hassle of running away because the hog charges you.

Secondly, another interesting fact about hogs is that you won't find blood trails at first. You might start to see blood trails after 30 to 50 yards after impact. The fact that you don't have blood at first doesn't mean you have not killed, it means that it takes a longer time of pumping the blood to seep through a wild boars layer of fat and his hide. These two elements ask as a sponge for the blood. Blood will be more likely on brushes at the beginning so you might have to keep a good eye on where he ran off.

Any broadheads that will enlarge the wound channel and cut-on-contact will enhance blood lost from the hogs and greatly increase the harvest of the animal.


Hog Nomenclature

  • Hog: covers any age, status or gender of the animal
  • Boar: is a mature male hog
  • Barrow: is a castrated boar (also known as Bar)
  • Sow: is a female that has reproduced
  • Gilt: is a female that has not reproduced
  • Shoat: (shote) is any young hog that has been weaned
  • Pig: is any unweaned baby hog
  • Piglets: is a very young baby hog



Wild hog hunting in the USA is growing as the population of hogs is spreading across the country.

Fortunately for farmers, the number of hog hunters is growing to help control their population.

More importantly, when properly processed, wild boar meat is close to a delicatessen.

Rifles and guns are the main way to hunt wild boars but bowhunting hogs are also growing in popularity and having the right equipment will assure you success while hunting. 

Stay tuned for how to hunt wild hogs to gather the best tips about hog hunting. There are more efficient ways to hunt hogs. 

Thank you for reading us and do not hesitate to leave any comments or questions below.

Have a nice Hunt! 

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