A Hog Hunter’s Rant
OK. That’s it! I can’t take it anymore. I have to say something. Since when did people get the idea that hunting hogs was easy? Watching too much TV? Making gross assumptions? Being completely ignorant and having unrealistic expectations? Well, I gather it’s a combination of all of those.
Let me set the record straight – Wild hogs, especially free-range hogs (Feral, Eurasian), are very smart animals and should be treated as such. For starters, read this. The bottom of that page has scientific data to support what I am about to tell you.
I have ran into many posts as well as had conversations with people who call themselves hunters who get frustrated when they go on a hog hunt and don’t see anything or only see small ones. I can say this, if you sit in a stand for hours and don’t see anything…not even a deer – then you are doing something wrong. You smell, make too much noise or walk around the area. Hogs probably came in close to you, sensed something was amiss and then bolted without you ever knowing they were there. And damn, if a deer didn’t come in, you really screwed up.
OK, ok – it is possible the herd or boar moved on, they do that, but at the very least if you are at a stand with a feeder or near a water source, you should see at least something. All too often people think they are going to show up for a hunt, get in a stand and shoot a grip of hogs before midnight. Nope! That ain’t the case. In some high-fence areas and outfits you might be in that situation but if you are hunting free range, that will almost NEVER be the case. You need to be prepared to sit…for a long, long time. And I don’t mean sit and fidget or play on your phone or sleep…I mean sitting perfectly still and being vigilant. Listening to every noise, watching every shadow… If you don’t, you’ll miss them and more than likely, scare them away. So, if you are hunting hogs, let me give you some tips:
1) GET IN THE STAND AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE – you don’t want to be walking up and making noise when the hogs are moving in
2) BE QUIET – this means when you arrive don’t slam the truck door, walk carefully, put your gear down softly and get set up quietly.
3) DO NOT WALK AROUND THE BLIND/FEEDER/HUNTING AREA – just don’t do it. You will be disturbing the area and adding your scent.
4) SPRAY DOWN WITH SCENT KILLER – Head to toe. Bottoms of boots. Gun, pack, etc. Everything. Then, spray down every 30-45 minutes.
5) USE A THERMACELL – don’t use OFF or other smelly insect repellants. Use a thermacell. It doesn’t bother the hogs and works way better than spray on stuff.
6) DO NOT USE YOUR PHONE – You do not want any light or glow while you’re hunting. Besides, if you’re sitting there playing a game, you’ll miss something. If you must text (either the guide asked you to or you have a really good reason to), put it under your shirt and pull the collar over your face to block the light. Turn the screen brightness all the way down and put the phone in Do Not Disturb mode – you don’t want any vibrations coming through. The vibrating phone reverberates through wooden/plastic blinds and spooks everything.
7) DO NOT SCAN THE AREA WITH OR USE A FLASHLIGHT – The only time you should ever shine a light is if you are lighting up a hog to shoot it. Otherwise, leave it off.
8) HUNT ONE PERSON TO A BLIND/STAND IF POSSIBLE – the less people, the less noise, the better the chances. Exception of course is a parent/kid hunt but even then, you need to be sure that a free range hog hunt is right for you vs. a high-fence hunt.
9) TIP YOUR GUIDE – If they are a good guide, they would have put many hours into setting you up with an opportunity. Labor, corn, fuel, etc. all go into setting up a hunter – don’t be an asshole.
10) BE PATIENT – this is perhaps the #1 rule. You will sit…for a long time. I have had hunts end in 2 hours and others went for 8 or 10. You never know. The key is to be quiet, sit still and be vigilant. Most times the hogs just “appear”. They don’t come busting in making a bunch of noise. Especially true for the bog boars…they are very cautious and will proceed very slowly so you better bring your A-Game! Check this video for a glimpse as to how wary a large boar is as it comes into a feeder area.
11) HAVE FUN – most people who complain about not shooting a pig are the ones doing it for the wrong reasons. Hunting is an experience and shooting the animal is just a very small piece of it. You meet new people, see new places, learn things about wildlife and most importantly, get the hell away from it all. If you aren’t having a good time unless you kill something, maybe you should take up trout farm fishing or just go to the store and buy some pork.
Remember, even after all of this, you need to be a good shot and actually get your gun/bow into position quietly. Lots of things can go wrong so improve your chances and follow the tips above.
So, if you think you can follow these rules and still think you have what it takes to hunt hogs – saddle up, Pony boy and get out there. Otherwise, quit your bitchin’ and go hunt deer.