7 Secrets for Better Hog Hunting

Want to find and kill more feral hogs? Use these tips to improve your success rate.

7 Secrets for Better Hog Hunting

The author dropped this tough boar in Texas with a Savage chambered in .223 after a spirited pursuit. The .223 is an effective caliber with an accurate shot and a great round for young or first-time hunters. (Photo: Alan Clemons)

Unless you're really dialed in where you hunt, going after feral pigs and being successful can be a challenge. 

Despite their appearance as lazy, oafish, mud-covered slobs, pigs are anything but. They have a great sense of smell and hearing. Eyesight? Not so much. They're intelligent, learning about dangerous situations or traps with corn feeders and when to migrate in their area seeking the best food and water sources.

Hunting hogs in the woods of the Southeast is different from Texas and Oklahoma, too. There you're more apt to have open vistas and great sightlines for shots or stalking. Or driving, if you're mobile. In the woods, fields, swamps and hills of the Southeast you'll be likely to have shots of 150 yards or less and possibly within shotgun range.

To put more hogs on the ground, try these suggestions:

Think Like a Hog 

In summer what would a hog want to do? Stay cool and comfortable, since their thin and relatively hairless skin doesn't sweat. They seek shady areas, creeks and muddy areas for wallows. Thick vegetation may be tough for you to get into but not for them. If you're stalking, seek these locations. They'll be looking for food so don't overlook agricultural fields. Farmers may give you carte blanche if they're having issues

Use Game Cameras

Most hunters think about game cameras for whitetail deer but they're super scouting tools for hogs and predators. If you've scouted and found tracks, poop or rooting, place your cameras where you can get images of the porkers. Whether you're using cellular cameras that send images to your phone or need to check SD cards, you can get a good idea of when and where hogs are moving around.

Hunt Water Sources

Years ago on a super-hot summer hunt one of the areas of the tract I was on had a creek winding through it. The creek was dried up other than a few big puddles and some muddy areas. Instead of trying to bust through the thick vegetation along the banks, I stalked quietly in the creekbed. I found two wallows that reeked of hogs and knew I was on the right track. On another hunt I worked my way toward a small pond in the back of the property. I bumped a couple sows and small pigs. In summer, find the water and you'll probably find pigs. 

Use Hog Dogs

I can't make it any more simple: hunting hogs with dogs is exciting, fun, will get your blood pumping, can be muddy in swamps and is a super way to hunt. If you have friends with hog dogs ask if you can join them. If not, perhaps contact your local outdoors store, ag-feed store or state wildlife agency office to see if they know someone.

Bait and Attractants

With their super snouts, feral pigs can get a whiff of everything from truffles to soured corn laced with Kool-Aid or diesel fuel. Supposedly, for the latter, strawberry Kool-Aid is the real deal. I haven't tried it but darn sure would if my hunting spots had hogs. Baiting with corn is perhaps the easiest thing for hogs but also attracts raccoons (bonus hunting!) and birds. Some commercial attractants such as Hog Heaven or Tusk Taker, among others, are quite effective. Check your state regulations before using or hunting over bait or attractants.

Night-Vision, Thermal Optics

Under the cover of darkness feral pigs will roam, root, eat, fight and breed. If you can legally hunt at night, using night-vision or thermal optics to enhance your outing definitely adds an extra spark. There's a learning curve with both but it's fairly easy to figure out. Both are a blast to use and add to the hunt. You can slip up to a field or opening, scan it with night-vision or thermal and figure out a plan or move on. 

Bring the Big Guns

I've hunted hogs with bows, crossbows, handguns, shotguns (slug and buckshot) and rifles (traditional and AR). I love them all. Each presents challenges and tests your skills in some way. They all kill hogs, too, with accurate shots. You can kill a hog with a .22 Mag with a shot to the ear, but for now I'm a fan of the 30-caliber family. With the .308 ammo is easy to find almost anywhere and it gets the job done well. Overkill? Perhaps, but with big hogs I want to make sure.

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