There is something about hog hunting that intrigues hunters and non-hunters alike. Is it because these beasts hunker down in the woods and swamps and are not seen as often as deer and other forest animals? I remember the first time I saw hogs in the daytime. I could not believe how striking their coloration was. There were about eight or ten in that group of animals, with colors from bright reddish rust, to shiny black, silver-gray, white, and many combinations of spots. What surprised me the most was that the hogs were clean and surprisingly captivating, not muddy and nasty! Since then, I have written several stories about hog hunting, and to this day, hogs still fascinate me. Check your state’s department of natural resources or fish and game agency for information about hog hunting. This article is about hunting on private land in South Carolina.
Top Ten Hog Hunting Topics
1. What is the best time to hunt hogs?
Since hogs are primarily nocturnal, hunting is best at first light or toward dusk, as they feel safer under cover of darkness. Wild hogs are not considered game animals, and therefore, the use of artificial lights is allowed. Night hunting is also allowed, but in my state, the property must be registered online with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR).
2. Hog Behavior
Typically the younger pigs come out first to feed; then, when everything looks safe, the biggest hogs come out—sort of a self-preservation measure in the hog world. I have observed the sows coming out next and last, the boars; sort of “male chauvinist pig” behavior! They have excellent memories and will often return about the same time to where they previously found a food source. This helps with planning hunts.
3. What is the most important hunt preparation?
Scent control is your biggest concern since hogs possess among the most acute senses of smell in the animal kingdom. Beyond avoiding any scented personal products, here are my top ways to control scent.
One of the best offers out there is the Pro Hunter Scent Elimination Value Pack by Dead Down Wind, which includes everything you might need for personal scent control, including Field Spray, antiperspirant, laundry packs, dryer sheets, and bar soap, to name a few. (deaddownwind.com/trophy-hunter)
In addition, I use a small ozone device called the BoneView Max Ozone Can before hunts to neutralize odors in my hunting clothes closet, and then I throw it in my Jeep for a couple of hours to clean up the gear. Of course, this is not to be used in the presence of people or pets. (boneview.com/products/maxozone)
Besides providing the best cold weather protection, Próis offers a full line of the best Merino wool hunting garments on the market for female hunters that feature natural antimicrobial odor protection. The Próis Olann Merino line is my favorite winter hunting line, offering thermoregulating, midweight Merino wool, making it our most versatile next-to-the-skin or layering option. During the coldest weather, I wear the base layers and the hooded jacket under my topcoat layer. (proishunting.com/collections/olann)
4. Box Stands A box stand is a perfect setup for hunting hogs, as it offers protection against both scent and movement. While hogs have a fantastic sense of smell, their eyesight is poor. Also, hogs cannot look up, so they probably won’t see you if you are in an elevated stand. My double stand is set up approximately 100 yards from the feeding area, and my single stand is approximately 70 yards away, which gives you a good range to avoid scent detection.
5. Shot placement I prefer hunting hogs with a rifle since this is the most effective way to secure a clean kill. I use a .270-caliber Remington rifle with a 130-grain bullet. I aim for the ear, but any headshot will bring down a hog immediately. Besides my desire to kill hogs as humanely as possible, excess stress on an animal can cause the meat to be of poorer quality because of the stored glycogen (sugar) released into the bloodstream. It is also recommended to bleed out the animal as soon as possible.
6. Baiting The hogs helped themselves to the whole corncobs I put out during deer season, and now that deer season is over, I am putting out cracked corn since it requires the hogs to root for the corn in the ground, which takes a lot longer. In this manner, I don’t have to bait as often. We have also used corn soaked with grape juice, with some beer added for fermentation. It will get them excited for sure!
7. What dangers are present when hog hunting? Along with your rifle or shotgun, I always recommend carrying a handgun as well when walking in the woods, in case you come upon an aggressive hog. Typically hogs will run as soon as they smell or hear you, but if the hogs feel threatened or have piglets with them, they may become aggressive and dangerous. The closest I ever got to dangerous pigs was on a hunt in the low country.
8. Pig, hog, boar—are they all the same? Wild pigs, hogs, boars, feral pigs, and swine are all the same! Feral refers to an animal that was once domesticated and escaped to the wild. Female hogs are called sows if they have reproduced and male pigs are most often called boars.
9. Why is hunting hogs so important? There are many reasons why hogs need to be controlled, but the top reasons are destroying crops and habitats by rooting in the ground, eating crops, and trampling everything in their path. Wild hogs are omnivores that prey on reptiles, smaller animals, dead or alive, bird eggs and have been known to eat practically anything they find; sometimes killing their own piglets. The destruction of crops and habitats is a primary reason hogs have to be controlled. According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) study, wild hogs are responsible for $1.5 billion in damage and crop losses each year in the United States! According to the most recent study published by the Journal of Applied Ecology, more than 6 million feral pigs are spread across 35 states, primarily in the Southern half of the country. It is only a matter of time until they will be found in every state.
10. Best Tip Composure and concentration are vital since hogs move around so much when feeding. My trick? Peppermints! Yes, it is true—peppermint helps you focus, and since accuracy is essential, I think they help me stay relaxed and shoot straight! I keep plenty of peppermint candies handy in my stands.
How about some recipes!!! (link)
Wild Hog Pozole Verde
I love making pozole from leftover pork or turkey. So easy and comforting
- 1 Tbsp avocado oil
- 1 diced small sweet onion
- 3 minced garlic cloves
- 3 (4oz) cans of diced green chilis
- 5 cups of chicken stock
- 1 can tomatillos
- 1 jar of chili Verde salsa
- 2 (14 oz) cans of hominy
- 3 C of pulled pork or diced pork
- Salt and pepper to taste
Sautee your sweet onion in your stockpot until translucent, add the garlic and green chilis and cook together a few more minutes. Add the chicken stock, tomatillos, and salsa to the mixture. Heat to a simmer for 15 minutes. Then use an immersion blender and blend things to a smooth consistency. You can also blend in your blender being careful to do a couple of small batches since it is hot.
Add the hominy and the pork continuing to simmer for 15 more minutes and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Garnish with sliced avocado, matchstick of radish, sour cream, lime-cilantro, and serve with a warm flour tortilla.
Thanks to Margie Nelson- Margie’s a self-taught wild-game gourmet chef, and you will be amazed at her creative skills, from butchering game to preparing a feast before your eyes. She learned how to cook on a wood-burning stove and enjoys cooking on an open fire. She is the creator of the WyldGourmet.com blog, and if that is not enough, she is working with the She Hunts group, teaching wild-game cooking, and are co-producing the Skills to Skilletcookbook. She also works as the Montana Próis state coordinator, and you can follow her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/margie.nelson1 ,blog,https://wyldgourmet.com and Instagram: #kampkubuk.
Written for Waccamaw Outdoor Magazine, February 2022 Issue