My Outdoors Online
Picking up where the road ends!
Wild hogs are a problem because they are everywhere, they're smart, have no natural predators and they are very prolific! A single sow can have multiple litters of invincible piglets every year and each of those piglets can start having piglets within a year, so once they arrive...wild hogs stay unless of course, they are exterminated.
Feral hogs are destructive. When wild hogs eat (and they eat a lot), their diet consists of anything they can get in their mouth! Snakes, field crops and tree roots are all considered excellent table fare by wilt hogs, and unlike most animals that nibble a few leaves off of a tasty plant, wild hogs dig up the dirt (rooting) and devour everything leaving path of destruction behind them.
When hogs aren't eating or sleeping, they're wallowing in the mud to cool off and get rid of insects. When you encounter your first hog wallow in the forest you'll immediately know what it is, even if you've never seen one. The best way I know of to describe a hog wallow is a giant, barren mud puddle where nothing can grow, usually you'll see depressions in the ground where the wild hogs have "wallowed" in the mud. There will most likely be trees in the wallow with mud several feet high where the pigs have scratched themselves.
When you actually see first hand what wild pigs do to the woods, it's easy to understand why they are so despised that most states don't have a closed season and encourage you can shoot as many as you can. IMPORTANT NOTE: most states also have laws with stiff penalties against transporting them while they are still alive.
Fortunately, when the tables are turned on a wild hog and she ends up being the guest of honor at your BBQ, they are wonderful! The meat is tasty, antibiotic free and super lean. And, if you budget your hunting trip as entertainment...you can say the meat is FREE!
Depending on who you ask though, not all wild pigs are good to eat. The general consensus is that if you want good eating, shoot a sow that's no taller than knee high, get her field dressed and on ice as soon as possible.
With wild hogs taking over, tearing stuff up and increasing their range almost daily you would think landowners with hog problems would beg you to come and shoot hogs. However, most landowners don't want strangers hunting their land and most hunters don't have adequate time to scout for wild hogs and develop a relationship with a landowner which brings a guided hog hunt into focus.
I researched guided and semi-guided hunts, and each has advantages and disadvantagedness. A guided hunt, your guide will know where hogs live, will have access to hog rich land and will usually put you in shooting position. On a semi-guided hunt, your "guide" (usually the landowner), will generally give you directions to areas hogs frequent then get back to the farming business at hand.
My search for the perfect hog hunt began (of course) on the internet. After numerous emails and phone calls I booked a "hybrid guided hunt" for 4 with Alabama Hog Control. The "hybrid" hunt started about 2:00PM and went on until midnight. We used our own deer rifles for the daytime portion of the hunt, and for the nighttime portion our guide supplied DMPS 308 rifles equipped with night vision scopes. If nothing else, using the night vision scopes was extremely cool.
The first part of the hunt involved driving areas where hogs could be seen from the road. We didn't see any hogs from the truck, and we dismounted and began the stalking portion of the hunt. Soon, we saw a hog running 75 to 100 yards in front of us. I figured the hog had seen us, but our guide assured us that hogs often run from place to place and that the hog was clueless we were nearby.
We continued our stalk and soon the first boar hog was on the ground thanks to one excellent head shot. Another 100 yards and about 10 minutes after the first hog was dispatched, we heard hog noises in a thicket 10 to 20 yards away. Hog #2 was soon dispatched and dressed out.
As darkness fell, we transitioned to the guides DMPS 308 rifles with night scopes and continued the hunt both from the truck and on foot. We saw/shot/missed several more hogs and our hunt ended around midnight with us exhausted, but totally happy and a hog ready to roast!
In conclusion, if you're thinking about hunting wild hogs, a guided hunt early on will almost assure you hogs to shoot at, plus you'll learn things about hog hunting from an expert that you can take to the field anytime.