Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Hogs Part 2 - The Never Ending Hunting Season

Welcome to Part 2 of the never ending hunting season - Hogs.  This week, we will explore some of the how to's to hog hunting.

Let's start by hitting the obvious, hogs are fun to hunt any way you choose.  people are hunting them with bows, guns and even hand thrown spears from tree stands.  For the disabled hunter, keeping a healthy distance is wise.  Hunting with a crossbow is excellent but just be sure you are in a ground blind so that the hog will not identify you as a target and will give you some measure of protection.  Those tusks are the real deal.   When a hog is injured, their already unpleasant attitude can get plum mean.  The hunter becomes the hunted in those circumstances. The video below is an example of just such a situation.  Brian "Pigman" Quaca, the renowned hog hunter, gets charged.  The handgun is a critical tool! SHANK 'EM! Fans of Pigman will get that last line.

When using a rifle, a .223/.556 Calibre is plenty of power.  Hornady makes ammunition designed for hog hunting and can be found at your local Bass Pro.

So how do you go about the task of hunting an intelligent and very ware prey?  Know your enemy first.  Hogs do not possess great eyesight but their sense of smell is extraordinary.  They also have a sick sense of impending danger and are known to be "jumpy".

I like to turn an animals strength into their weakness and that snout is amazing on a hog.  Scent cover and wind direction is critical.  Their noses can turn them away in an instant or lead them to a desired location also.  Another strength is their appetite.

This is where it gets a little weird.  A wild pig is omnivorous.  In other words, it's diet is more like a bear than a herd animal.  But, they do run in herds.  Imagine a herd of bear...No thank you, right?  A pig eats both meat and plants.  The list is so big we probably shouldn't put it here but we are, LOL!  The following two lists are from this website.

Common Meats - Feral hogs dine on a wide array of animals. Tiny mammals, snails, birds, insects, insect larvae, crayfish, reptiles, earthworms and amphibians all pop up on their menus. As far as mammals go, they occasionally consume young livestock, rabbits and deer. The livestock animals they prey on include sheep, goats and cows, notably individuals that are frail due to sickness. Feral hogs sometimes scavenge and munch on carrion -- the remains of animals killed beforehand. Eggs are typical foods for them as well, often from reptiles and birds. Although not meat, it isn't rare for feral hogs to feed on animal dung.

Plants for Dinner - Plants constitute big portions of the feral hog diet. Some of the many plants these wild pigs eat are acorns, forbs, grass, tubers, roots, bulbs and fungi. Acorns are a particular favorite for feral hogs. They also like eating a lot of herbaceous vegetation, including water hyssop.

Like I said, omnivorous.  Before I get any further, always double check laws in your area about the legalities of baiting.  having said that, here a couple recipes for you.  Always be sure to place bait close to recent hog sign like fresh rooting spots or wallows.  Near water is always a great idea too.

Everyone who has attempted to deer hunt where hogs are present will tell you that they love corn and will destroy your best feeder to get to it.  And this is where we can use the strength of that glorious snout against them.

Not only do hogs love corn they also love anything that is rotting.  So, rotting corn is like candy.  One method is to take a large bucket load it with corn and then add water and Cherry Kool-Aid to it.  Stir up the mash.  Put a lid on it and let it ferment for a week.  Careful when you take the lid off as you may need resuscitation.  You can pour it out right on the ground or dig a small hole and fill it.  The aroma will bring them in.  Deer like this recipe too, so again be careful with baiting laws.

Another popular method is to mix corn with diesel fuel.  I know, weird but true.   Deer won't touch it but the hogs will love it.  For some reason hogs adore the smell of petroleum products and have even been known to seek out telephone poles with Creosote on them just to rub the substance all over themselves.

Placing either of these recipes out a couple days before hunting can bring them into crossbow or gun range and will help you have a blast.  If you are using a crossbow, they will scatter after the shot.  But if you are patient, many times they will return to feed again.  So, it's possible to have multiple opportunities on a single hunt.

If you want a hardcore bait.  Check out this video.  Pretty cool. Pretty nasty.  Likely very effective!
In Part 3 next week, we will talk about shot placement.  Hogs have some body armor known as "the shield" and you need to know where to hit them for the humane and safe kill.

A thought to leave you with is the exact same as last week.  When hunting hogs it is better to not do it alone.  Always have a buddy and a handgun near by.