Wild hogs have a notoriously bad reputation. As such, there is never a bad time to go hog hunting. Most hunters do not need a reason to hunt and kill hogs, but here are a few good reasons that further justify removing these beasts from the land. Feral hogs are not native. They compete directly with native wildlife and can destroy agricultural fields. Feral hogs not only compete for food and space, but the prey on wildlife; eating eggs, snakes, frogs, fawns and anything else they can find. We have hogs in our area, so I am always on the lookout for hogs on our property.
While dove hunting this past weekend, I spotted some feral hogs in the distance on evening. And although I have successfully killed hogs with a shotgun before, I did not have much faith in the 7 1/2 shot dove loads. After all, they were not even “heavy” dove loads. I backed out and decided to come back hog hunting the following evening, and with some additional firepower, my 25-06. The following day, I arrived at the spot where I had seen the hogs about 45 minutes earlier than I had seen the hogs the day before.
I set up with the wind in my favor and waited. The setup looked good and I was hoping for the best. Sure enough, about 40 minutes later, three hogs showed up at about the same time that I saw them the day before. There were two black hogs and one tan one. One of the black hogs was 120 pounds and the other two were about 75 pounds. The hogs were off in the distance, about 280 yard out. The wind was calm, so I decided to take this fairly long shot, aiming for the larger pig.
I squeezed the trigger and the big hog lurched forward, but ran for the woods. I felt good about the shot, but starting to question whether or not the shot had been fatal. I made my way over to the area where the hogs were feeding and looked for some sign. I observed some blood on the ground, confirming that I had hit the hog. Then I decided to just stay put and listen. My past hog hunting experiences have taught me that it is better to be patient than just walking through the woods willy nilly.
Often times, hogs will not go far from where they were spooked, especially if they did not see any danger. They cannot see very well, so I was guessing these hogs just piled off into the nearby creek drainage. About three minutes after waiting there, I heard some rocks cracking in the creek. Something was down there, and I was willing to bet it was feral hogs. I worked my way closer and closer, inching my way towards the creek. After working about 60 yards closer I saw the big hog laying dead just inside some taller grass. Yes, one hog was down!
Then, I heard some grunting! That means at least two more hogs are down there somewhere. Sure enough, one hog started walking across the creek, but made it to the brush before I could get a shot. The topography was in my favor because the opposite creek bank was bluffed; the hogs would be unable to climb it and go directly away from me. I maneuvered a few yards to the side to get a better view, then I saw the grass moving only 30 yards in front of me!
I then decided to turn an old squirrel hunting trick into a new hog hunting tactic. I picked up a golf ball-sized rock and threw it over the hogs, or at least where I thought they were, to the far side of creek. I guessed this would scare the hogs my way, making them think the danger was on their other side. I heard the rock hit the bank and start clanking around in the brushy habitat. It worked! I heard several grunts and next thing I know two hogs are running almost at me. When they got directly broadside to me, only about 30 yards out I dropped the hammer on the closest hog, the tan one, and it started tumbling like a fallen race horse.
The other black hog picked up the pace, but was heading towards open country. Now it was just a matter of making the shot. I took my time and when the hog looked to be committed to a direction, I took the shot. The hog hit the deck, but I had hit it a little back. It started squealing and thrashing around. Finally, it stopped squirming and I made an 80 yard head shot to finish it off.
Needless to say, an evening of hog hunting turned out to be pretty productive. I saw three hogs that were long range, picked off one, and then outsmarted the other two. Unfortunately, I had three hogs to load, clean, and process, but they were all good size eating hogs, so I will not be making many trips to the grocery store in the coming months. At least not to buy meat! Maybe just some beer to go with my barbecue. That’s the great thing about hog hunting, or any kind of hunting—you just never know how it’s going to all play out.