If you’ve hunted feral hogs here, you know that South Carolina has more than its fair share. Population estimates begin at 150,000, and the problem has spread to all 46 counties. Without hunters to cull their numbers, wild pigs will continue to procreate, trample crops, and damage property. So, if you’re going out shooting, try these top tactics for better hog hunting. The more hogs you can stop, the more grateful your neighbors will be.
Know Where To Find Them
With so many pigs out there, there’s no time to waste wandering around blindly. Hogs may be feral, but they’re predictable. Without sweat glands, they gravitate toward water to cool them down, even in winter. If you smell urine or feces, you’ve probably stumbled upon their mud bath. They leave behind plenty of evidence from rooting around in the dirt, too. Their tusks can turn over a lot of ground; a group of wild pigs can churn up acres in just a few hours.
Don’t Forget the Bait
The rumors are true: pigs will eat anything. If you have ripe fruit or some corn, dig a narrow, deep hole to put it in. That way, it’ll take a little time for them to dig toward their reward, and their activity could attract some more of their friends. Hogs respond to feeders, too. Just make sure you’re not leaving your scent anywhere nearby.
Target Them at Night
Feral hogs have become adaptively nocturnal, and with an alarm clock, you can be too. In South Carolina, you can go after them with night vision devices anytime, and if you check in with the Department of Natural Resources a few days ahead, you should be able to use artificial lights. Pigs are more active in the pursuit of food at night, and more likely to emerge from the underbrush.
Make the Shot Count
These top tactics for better hog hunting don’t mean much if you can’t bring home the bacon. Wild pigskin is extremely tough and can withstand a lot. A quick, humane shot is just behind the ear and into the brain. If you can’t manage that angle, the heart (about four inches above the elbow) or the lungs (a few inches behind the shoulder) are your next best bets. Take your time aiming, because if your bullet misses, you’ll scare off your prey—or worse, it’ll turn and charge at you.
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