NBS Outdoor Fall Issue 2020

spot or vantage point offering cover.) Once the cautious critters pop their heads out and no longer see you, they’ll emerge fully. They’ll hesitate for a final look around. You’ll be well-rested and ready. As they scamper away toward a feeding area, you’ll have your ideal shot opportunity! As with hunting anything, the more you know about your target the more success you’ll have. Groundhogs are diurnal, meaning they’re active during the day. Additionally, they don’t require a reliable water source for survival. Instead, their moisture comes from the plants they eat: that’s one reason why they’re particularly fond of succulents. You can hunt groundhogs any time of day, but plants are at their “juiciest” early and late in the day. This is especially true in the blazing hot days of late summer into early fall. Because coyotes, foxes, and most other predators aren’t as active during the first three or four hours after sunrise and the last few hours before sunset, groundhogs feel more confident feeding during

particularly active on overcast days or right after it has rained because the sun is less intense. Groundhogs may be pint-sized pests, but they pack a full load of fun. In these final days of summer, why not grab your gun and partake in some real-live target practice? Choose the right area, and you’ll be doing a public service to boot! On the other side of the “hog” hunting spectrum… Besides being classified in most states as an invasive species, and lacking any specific hunting season or limits, wild hogs are about as different from groundhogs as night and day. So is hunting them. For starters, hogs are huge; they weigh up to 600 pounds! They’re considered intelligent, are butt ugly, mean, aggressive, and potentially dangerous — particularly the boars whose tusks can run several inches long. This variety of “hog” doesn’t scare easily like its groundhog counterpart. Because wild hogs have few natural predators, they’re often the dominant species within their realm and they act accordingly, rampaging about at will and lacking the stealth of deer and other big game animals. Wild hogs plant themselves firmly at the top of the food chain and seem to dare anyone to challenge their position. Unlike groundhogs, wild hogs can be quite elusive. They’re primarily active at night, very early and late in the day, and on overcast days (particularly in warm climates). Typically, wild hogs spend the daylight hours resting in cool, shaded areas. Like their domestic relatives, wild hogs lack sweat glands. Besides wallowing in muddy and wet areas, traveling at night is the only way to cool off. They’ve also discovered, especially in areas with high hunting pressure, that darkness is a good defense against a bullet. Unlike groundhog hunting,

“ They’re considered intelligent, are butt ugly, mean, aggressive, and potentially dangerous... ”

these times. And, of course, it’s cooler then. Groundhogs hate the heat! On hot days, they take refuge in the coolness of their burrows making early morning and late afternoon prime hours to be out there looking for action. Many avid groundhog hunters like hunting the spring season. I prefer targeting them in late summer and early fall. Groundhogs are true hibernators and need to put on fat to survive the winter. In late summer, their feeding activity peaks. They venture out of their burrows more frequently. They’re

Fall 2020 • NBS OUTDOOR • 19

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