To the farmer, they may be the most ugly, vile animal to set foot on this planet as they tend to destroy much of the land used for agriculture, but to the hunter they are a wonderful and tasty treat that can be harvested year round in many areas. A hunt never lacks excitement and amazement. Of course I’m speaking of wild boar. I first got into hunting wild boar (or feral pigs as they are called by some, but are actually different) when I began trying to find some dry land excitement between my days of offshore fishing near my home in South Florida. In many places, you can hunt wild hogs on private land year round, but there are usually some restrictions or quota systems that must be adhered to on public grounds and wildlife management areas.
Many of the techniques that are used to hunt hogs are the same as for whitetail deer, as are the weapons. Depending upon the area of the country or the specific land you are hunting you need to determine what distance you may be shooting when gun hunting. These hogs and feral pigs are really tough animals, so I would suggest a .30-06 if shooting from any distance, I prefer to use my .44 magnum Ruger Super Red Hawk revolver from 25 yds and in. An injured wild pig can be quite dangerous, given their sharp tusks and teeth that can inflict serious damage.
Take the time to thoroughly scout the areas you wish to hunt. It is especially useful to set up trail cams along well used game trails to not only see what kind of game is passing through but at what time of day or night. Hog tracks and rubs are always a good sign. A good friend once reminded me that it is not only about where you plan on setting up, but more importantly, when. Be aware of water and food sources and scout for wallows as well. I have seen huge numbers of wild pigs come back time and again at the same time of day to enjoy a mud bath. If you are hunting on private land, you may want to set up a feeder to entice the animals to come to a particular location and set up a feeding pattern, allowing you to sit in a tree stand and wait for them to come to you. I won’t go into the ethical points of view on feeders, but for some, it is a very useful method of increasing their chances of success.This is best started during the off season.
I live in the Southern Part of Florida where it can get extremely hot during the day. Most game activity takes place in the early morning or late afternoon and twilight hours; this is especially true for wild hogs since their skin is prone to sunburn, similar to ours. Wild boar, much like deer, will venture from their bedding areas to forage for food early in the morning and return from foraging at night utilizing the same game trails the majority of the time. As I said earlier, once you know their patterns it becomes more of a question of “when”.
Wild hogs and boar are very tough animals, so be sure to place your shot correctly or you will have a very angry animal to track down. The boar does not have the same shape and placement of the vital organs as the deer so you need to adjust your shot accordingly. Most agree that the best shot placement is low in the shoulder region, but take care not to shoot so low that your shot is under the animal. A broadside shot should end up between the shoulders. Choice of bullet is important to ensure sufficient penetration. If you are hunting with a bow the shot placement is the same but since you are much closer to the animal, and there is a very good chance that a hog may charge and attack the hunter. Always keep in mind that this can be a very dangerous animal and be prepared to shoot a second or third arrow if the animal charges. When bow hunting for wild boar get ready for a lot of excitement and noise after the shot; the squeals and running around can really get your adrenaline pumping.
Now that you have made the shot and hopefully tracked down the animal, approach with extreme caution! Quite often this hearty animal is not dead and you should dispatch it with a swift slitting of the throat to ensure the kill is quick and humane.
Now that you have field dressed your wild hog you should take it to a local butcher or meat processor that is adept at turning your prize into wonderful sausages and pork roasts, steaks, etc. Many places will also have affiliations with taxidermists in order to make a head mount for you. This is just another way for a successful hunter to truly bring home the bacon!