At the Ranch – Hog: Wild Pigs 101
Today we’re going to talk a little bit more about feral hogs – or wild pigs – as they’re one of the most commonly hunted animals nowadays. Let’s discuss a little bit more about how they got here and some of the reasons that they are so hated amongst landowners. Hogs were basically introduced by early settlers who brought domesticated hogs into the United States. They eventually escaped, or were let go if camp areas were abandoned, and they ultimately became feral. The term feral is basically when an animal that was previously domesticated becomes untamed, if you will. Then in the early 1900s, people started importing the Eurasian wild boars for hunting, as an exotic game animal, and then over time they cross bred with the traditional feral hog, and we’ve got the plethora of different animals that you see today.
If you’ve hunted feral hogs much, you know that they’re all kinds of colors; they could be black, white, red, brown, or anything like that. Some of them have big tusks, some don’t. That’s due to those different genetic strains that have been mixed in. There is an estimated range from 5 million to 7 million hogs in the United States. Close to half are in the state of Texas, so that’s why they’re hunted so heavily here, and their numbers have just continued to grow. Many have done studies and discovered the females are able to sexually reproduce as young as three months, so within three to five months of being born they’re already ready to have their first litter, and the gestation cycle is just under four months, so they technically in a 14 month span they could have three litters a year or within that 14 month period. This means their numbers explode quickly and that’s why they have to be controlled.
There are a lot of different ways that you can pursue wild pigs including anything from trapping, to using trained tracking dogs to track these animals down. This has become a pretty big growing sport in the state of Texas and some of the other southern states. You can also hunt feral hogs traditionally like you would, under a deer feeder or something like that. Because they are such a nuisance animal there aren’t many game laws regulating how you can pursue these animals, and in the state of Texas you can pretty much go after them any way that you would want. As a matter of fact, they recently passed the law that you don’t even have to have a hunting license to hunt feral hogs now in the state of Texas.
Another big thing to know is they are omnivorous so they’re able to eat pretty much anything. You can still use certain baits to your advantage, like corn or you can go with some molasses and things like that. Big & J is a great product that pig’s love and it works really well. The scent carries for some ways so they can smell it from a lot further off. Feral hogs are plentiful, and it’s pretty affordable in terms of comparing it to some of the other larger game animals. Check out some of our other videos where we go through specific tactics and ways that you can go after these animals.
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