NBS Outdoor Fall Issue 2020

wild-hog hunting is a specialized sport that requires established stands and bait sites. Where it’s allowed by law, it’s wise for hunters to enlist help from canine companions. For novice wild-hog hunters, money spent to hire an experienced guide or outfitter is money very well spent. Hunters who prefer to go it alone typically choose one of two tried-and-true approaches: hunting from blinds and elevated stands or stalking. Before choosing a tactic, it’s necessary to find areas where hogs are active by getting into the woods and wet spots and looking for fresh sign. Begin your search along oak bottoms and creek beds along the edges of boggy and swampy areas with lots of dense ground cover. These locations offer food, bedding, and cooling-off spots. As much as 90% of the wild-hog diet is vegetation, but these opportunistic omnivores are indiscriminant when it comes to food. They love agricultural crops like corn, soybeans, and strawberries. These are prime scouting and hunting locations. You’ll have no question about whether or not hogs are in an area. Wherever these beasts feed you’ll see an unmistakable path of devastation. When considering sites upon which to set stands or stalk, keep in mind that wild pigs are creatures of habit and will repeatedly return to a feeding area as long as food is available. As you scout, look for trails leading from feeding areas to wallowing holes, rooting areas, rubs, and bedding areas. You’ll know it’s a trail because it will be riddled with tracks. Wild hogs will use their major trails daily, and will beeline to wallowing spots frequently, especially in the late summer heat. Areas around mud and water holes are prime locations to set up ambush points or start a stalk. Once you identify promising hot locations,

set up digital trail cameras to learn when and how often those trails, wallows, and feedings sites are used. You’ll be able to decide where to set stands and the best time to hunt. Speaking of setting up stands, only consider sites that overlook active trails or feeding or wallowing areas where you’ve confirmed recent activity. Even when your stands are placed in the ideal location, you’ll need to exercise patience since you’ll be restricted to one spot. In my experience, stand hunting is especially productive when a cold front (this time of year that could mean a blast of air in the low-90 degrees!) is scheduled to pass through and bring rain and cooler temperatures. You can enhance your stand sites by spraying the area with commercially available wild hog attractant and creating a bait site by digging a hole and burying bait. When bait is buried, hogs have to work for their food by digging it up. This keeps them on the site longer and increases your chance for a shot. Additionally, wild hogs are greedy. When they have to root out bait, they’ll be motivated to sneak in and hit the location during daylight hours. Some hunters prefer high-set stands for better visibility and shot opportunities, less chance of arrives, caution and heightened stealth are essential to scoring a kill shot. ” “ When the moment of truth

being seen, and the reduced risk of being charged by a wild hog. Others prefer low stand placement, which requires cutting shooting lanes through low brush. I’ve had the best luck setting them up where I would when rifle-hunting deer — 50 or 60 yards back from potential target areas, making use of the best canopy cover and letting that dictate height. The most experienced wild-hog enthusiasts seem to gravitate toward the heightened thrill factor of stalking. Stalking boosts your chances of success because it allows you to cover more ground and follow hogs you see or hear. It, too, requires patience and a moderate to high level of stealth. Expect to walk silently, often for miles, stopping frequently to listen. Stalking requires you to hunt as much with your ears as your eyes. Major travel routes and wallowing and feeding sites are often surrounded by the area’s thicket cover, and sometimes the wettest habitats. It’s common to hear wild hogs before you see them. When the moment of truth arrives, caution and heightened stealth are essential to scoring a kill shot. Your shot must count. Wild hogs typically travel in groups. You will be on the ground and vulnerable. When you pull the trigger, chaos will ensue. Groundhog and wild hog … two very different beasts. Two very different hunting adventures. And that’s precisely the reason to target them! During this in-between time of year when few hunting opportunities exist, both of these animals are abundant and available for the taking with few, if any, regulations to interfere with your plans. Hunt them for the challenge, the pork, the practice, or the feeling that you’re doing a public service by making a tiny dent in the prolific number of these pests.

20 • NBS OUTDOOR • Fall 2020

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