Hog Hunting on Public Lands

by Zach Lazzari
Wild hogs are aggressive and dangerous animals.

Wild hogs are aggressive and dangerous animals.

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Hog hunting on public lands is challenging and different from hunting hogs on private lands because permanent blinds and stands are not an option. Hunting the public lands is also difficult because hogs move each night and you must be prepared to follow their tracks until you cross paths.

Regions

Hog hunting is possible in a handful of states, with the highest concentrations existing in the south. Texas is a leader in hog populations and overpopulation is an issue in fertile parts of the state. Georgia and South Carolina are also regions whose strong hog populations dictate hunting opportunities on National Forest and state-owned lands. In Northern California and Oregon populations are lower than the southern states, but hog-hunting opportunities on public lands are numerous. Hog hunting is also available in Hawaii, but public lands are limited.

Hunting Methods

Hogs are hunted with rifles, bow and arrows, shotguns and knives. Rifle hunters have the best advantage with the ability to shoot from a distance. Rifle hunters scan the landscape with binoculars and wait until a hog is spotted. Archery and shotgun hunters must close the distance by searching the landscape for sign. Hog sign is not difficult to recognize as the animals tear at the earth and dig large holes for wallowing. Short-range hunters will either set baits and wait in a portable blind or follow the sign until a hog is located. Hunting with dogs is also a popular technique and the hog is either shot or killed with a knife after being cornered by the dogs.

Baits

Baiting hogs on public lands is one of the more effective techniques in hog hunting. Baiting, however, requires a thorough inspection of the hunting regulations and may be banned in low-population years. Baiting is more common in the southern states with high populations. Sour mash is an effective bait and hogs will follow raccoon scents to locate food. Baiting in a hog-rich area and waiting in a blind is effective on public lands.

Laws

Hunters enjoy targeting hogs because the regulations in many regions are not strict. Texas allows hog hunting by almost any means as a measure of population control. Hunting hogs is intense because the animals are stout, difficult to kill and highly aggressive. Hunting at close range is dangerous and hunt dogs are often injured or killed during a hog hunt. The laws associated with hog hunting vary based on the state but are typically loose when compared to more sensitive game populations like deer.

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