Texas Hog Hunting
Throughout the many states that experience feral hog issues, hunters are often asked to help keep the feral hog population in check through hunting. Hog hunting presents hunters with a unique opportunity to enjoy liberal bag limits, extended seasons, and relaxed rules regarding the method of harvest. In fact, states that experience feral hog issues often allow the pursuit of feral hogs to occur year round, and even allow the use of night vision or thermal imaging hardware to help harvest these animals. Despite the liberal bag limits and methods, there is still a level of skill and technique involved in pursuing and harvesting feral hogs, and success is far from guaranteed.
Feral Hogs in Texas
Feral hog populations continue to grow across the country, with the southern states being those most affected by these invasive animals. Feral hogs are mostly decedent from domestic pigs, and can be extremely detrimental to the environments in which they live. Through both their foraging and wallowing behaviors, feral hogs can have huge effects on both agricultural production and native wildlife populations. It is estimated that feral hogs are responsible for over $52 million dollars with of crop damage annually within the state of Texas alone, according to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension!
Hunting Tactics for Feral Hogs
Getting right down to it, hog hunting is a rather simple concept. Much like hunting white-tailed deer or elk, hunters can deploy the “sit and wait” or the “spot and stalk” approach to putting a hog on the ground. Both can be very effective, but only if done correctly. Scouting for hogs ahead of time, either by sign (tracks, damage, scat) or with the aid of game cameras, can ensure that you are in the right place at the right time. From this intel gathered, you can often make a better decision on which hunting method may work best for the situation.
Spot and Stalk
Hog hunting via the spot and stalk method can be extremely effective, although, it is certainly not easy. Feral hogs are often thought of as un-wary and simple animals. Do not assume this going into your first hog hunt. Feral hogs possess keen senses of smell and hearing. They are extremely wild and spook easily, especially if they have young in tow. Carrying out a successful spot and stalk requires the hunter to ensure that they have the wind in the favor and are approaching from an angle that works to their advantage when the shooting starts. Take your time, go slow, and put your optics to work. If they see you before you see them, chances are it will be game over.
Blinds and Feeders
The sit and wait approach, much like hunting white-tailed deer, is predicated on the ability to utilize tools such as trail cameras and attractants to your advantage. Having a plethora of information from which you can build your game plan is the foundation of this approach, and is critical for success.
Calls for Hog Hunting
Calls for hunting hogs are not a guaranteed tactic, but investing in an electronic game call system that includes hog sounds is a good way to go. FOXPRO allows you to add electronic sound files into the game caller you might already have such as the Shockwave. Besides the regular game and coyote calls already in the game call’s system, you can add your own selection of wild hog calls. Take a look at some of the options below!
Going Dark for Hogs
Aside from the social aspect of the sport, hog hunting also provides you with an opportunity to try out some hunting gear that you would perhaps not have the opportunity to use elsewhere. Thermal or night vision scopes and goggles are becoming more common and are certainly popular among the hog hunting community. These devices can be mounted on the rail of your favorite firearm and are extremely accurate and effective in long yardage situations. With most hog activity occurring during the overnight hours, thermal devices can help you extend your time in the field and likely help you increase your success rate. With the addition of a small DVR connected to the Thermal Imaging scope, you have the option to record your hunt through the scope at night.
Right Tool for the Job
As you might imagine, there is much debate in regards to the best caliber to use when hog hunting. Although each hunter likely has his or her personal preference, most hog hunters prefer a medium to heavy caliber rifle. Most hog hunters prefer the .308 with no less than 150-grain bullet, and often opting for a semi-automatic platform.
At the end of the day, what really matters is accuracy and shot-ability. Having a rifle that is built to handle the wear and tear of hog hunting along with being accurate is important.
Hog hunting in the southern United States is an activity that everyone should experience. It is extremely challenging, and will test your skills and abilities as a hunter. However, the time spent in camp with friends and family along with the one of a kind experience can make hog hunting a bucket list hunt for any hunter! If you are successful in the field, I encourage you to make use of the meat. I’ve had some wonderful pork loin, pork chops and sausage from some of these hunts.
Hog Hunting Gear List
This is my personal hog hunting gear list. This setup works for me!
- Browning Hell’s Canyon clothing
- Thorogood boots or If in snake country, use their 17” “Snake Bite” boots.
- Tenzing TZ 1250 pack
- Browning Ammo BXR .308 in 168 grain
- Browning .308 Hogstalker on the BAR platform
- FoxPro “Shockwave” e-caller
- Bottled water with Wilderness Athlete Hydrate and Recovery
- Vortex binoculars and rifle scope
- Armasight Zeus Pro Thermal Imaging scope
- Gators for over your boots. Everything in Texas bites, stings, or pokes you!
- Headlamp with red or green light and good flashlight for getting to spots and recovering hogs.
- Electronic Shooters Protection hearing protection. Helps amplify sounds yet protects hearing when shooting.
- Outdoor Edge Razor Lite knife
- Shooting sticks in blind or spot and stalk hunts.
Add Coyote Hunting to the Mix
You’re not just limited to hogs! Often when you are traveling to Texas, or any other state to hunt hogs, you can also hunt coyotes. This works great as you can hunt hogs with thermal or night vision gear during the night, and hunt coyotes during the day!