The best hog hunting happens at night due to the wild pig’s (now) nocturnal nature. (Human activity and hunting practices drove these dastardly pests into the dark.) Hogs and other predators that feed at night give us humans a disadvantage at eradicating these destructive beasts because of our poor eyesight in the dark.
Feral and wild hogs are an invasive species not native to America. Early Spanish settlers introduced domestic pigs into the Southeast United States in the 1500s. Throughout the years, escaped domesticated pigs led to our current overran population of feral hogs. Wild boar now live in 45 states with population numbers the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates to be more than 5 million. Most of these pigs live in Texas and Florida. In fact, 75% of the entire wild pig population live in Texas.
Hogs will eat just about anything and are extremely determined when it comes to food. They can root as far down as three feet when scavenging and will even eat each other. Wild pigs can destroy an entire field of crops overnight. Smithsonian Magazine journalist John Marthland, on a hunt with “Pig Man” Brain Quaca writes, “Wild hogs are among the most destructive invasive species in the United States today. Two million to six million of the animals are wreaking havoc in at least 39 states and four Canadian provinces; half are in Texas, where they do some $400 million in damages annually. They tear up recreational areas, occasionally even terrorizing tourists in state and national parks, and squeeze out other wildlife.”
Not only does feral hog make good sausage, many landowners appreciate hog hunters due to the overpopulated problem and destructive nature of feral pigs. Fortunately, hog hunting has few restrictions. Because wild boar are classified as an exotic species, you can hunt hogs all year round with no equipment restrictions or bag limits. Companies that specialize in hog hunting gear capitalize on developing products that make hog hunting easier and a lot more fun! It’s game on with full auto, suppressors, thermal imaging, lights with IR illuminators and advanced digital night vision devices.
If you’re a deer or turkey hunter, you will find that hog hunting is usually a much more fast-paced, exciting hunt. You don’t need as much traditional hunting gear like camo, calls and elaborate scent attractions and you don’t necessarily have as much downtime. While deer hunting involves sitting in a stand or blind for hours, hog hunters spend a lot of time spotting from Mules/ATVs and then stalking. Instead of one or two deer, it’s possible you’ll spot a plethora of porkers! In fact, avid hog hunters are known to shoot hundreds…yes, hundreds…of hogs in one night!
To have a successful hog hunting trip, you will want to go out at night, and you will need lights and specialized optics to navigate, scan, spot and shoot hogs in the dark. Gearing up is part of the fun!
Things to Bring Hog Hunting
Pigs are very focused when feeding, so their food plot is the perfect spot to find them, giving you the chance to get up close—as close as 50 to 30 yards for the perfect shot. Set your feeder to throw at least two times at the same time every night—about the time you suspect you’ll be hunting. Don’t space your feeding times too far between, so that the hogs keep coming back—about an hour between feedings is good. Hogs have a keen sense of smell and will smell food from miles away. The perfect place for your feeder is in a clearing close to a water source, brush and cover.
The Moultrie Standard feeder is made of durable UV-resistant plastic and holds 30 gallons of feed. It is programmable up to 4 times a day, from 1 to 20 seconds each time. It stands 5.5-feet tall and has a durable metal spin plate. Set up is extremely easy and the display conveniently alerts you of battery life, feed weight and when it is time to refill. It runs off four AA batteries and has a port to connect a solar panel.
Editors’ favorite features: display, easy setup and refill, stability
Whether you hunt from a blind, stand or walking, you need a stable platform to take your shot. Some blinds have built-in rifle rests, however, if you’re spot-and-stalk hunting, you will want shooting sticks, so you don’t miss an unexpected opportunity. The right shooting stick, monopod or bipod needs to have legs adjustable to your shooting position, lightweight enough to carry long distances and provide rock solid stability. The Bog Pod shooting tripod doesn’t leave one feature out. The rubber covered shooting rest swivels 360 degrees, the legs have multiple adjustment points for length and angle—extending 22 to 68 inches. Measurement marks on the upper portion of the legs quickly let you adjust after moving. The rubber feet have a steel tip for added stability in any terrain, even ice. Operation is quiet and the tripod is lightweight at 40 ounces.
Editors’ favorite features: Quick to set up correctly after moving positions, versatility, incredible stability
Hogs have a very keen sense of smell, so it is important to make sure you stay downwind of them in order not to spook them. There is not much you can do about the wind, but you can do something about controlling your scent. Scent masking is more important than attractants when hog hunting. This set includes everything you need to cover your scent from laundry detergent and deodorant to scent wafers. Whatever level of scent elimination you feel comfortable with for a successful hog hunt, the Hunter’s Specialties Fresh Earth Scent 10-piece includes laundry detergent, bar soap, field spray, antiperspirant, towelettes and scent wafers.
Editors’ favorite features: value, towelettes for field use, effectiveness
This light is purposely designed for hog and predator hunters in order to spot and recover without spooking game. The 3-in1 design uses white, green and red LEDs. A knurled side knob switches between colors smoothly, keeping each LED perfectly aligned in the center, so your target is never out of focus. An intensity control knob allows you to adjust the brightness of the light before turning it on, so you and animals get used to the light. The spot to flood zoom focus is enhanced with the rubber halo shield, which gives you a better directional beam. The Wicked Lights 3-in-1 ScanPro operates on rechargeable batteries with a 4-hour run time. It is constructed of aircraft-grade aluminum with a Type III hard anodized finish. A soft, comfortable adjustable headband is included. The eye reflection range is up to 500 yards.
Editors’ favorite features: perfectly aligned LEDs with smooth transitions, brightness, versatility
Thermal imaging technology has been a game changer for night hunters. Thermal imagers detect heat signatures and translate them into images we can interpret. You can use them both day and night. Warmer objects appear in stark, bright contrast to cooler objects. Thermal is used to scan, spot, recover and shoot game. With a 640×48 sensor, the Accolade XP binoculars will detect heat signatures from 2,000 yards away in crisp, clear detail. A high refresh rate and pixel pitch make images appear fluid and crystal clear. The Accolade also has onboard video recording and is Wi-Fi compatible with the free Stream Vision app. There are eight different colors to choose from and the contrast and brightness are adjustable. The Accolade is fully waterproof. The IPS5 rechargeable battery pack lasts up to eight hours and is quickly interchangeable in the field. Binoculars with interpupillary distance adjustments and individual eyecup adjustments are perfect for your entire hunting party, as they fit all users and are comfortable to use all day.
Editors’ favorite features: clarity, range of detection, video recording and sharing capabilities
The Sightmark Photon RT digital night vision riflescope is what you use after spotting with your binoculars to take the perfect shot. The Sightmark Photon is one of the best scopes for hog hunting at night. Able to be used day and night, you get over 220 yards of clear visibility in total darkness with the Photon. It has an upgraded 768×576 CMOS sensor with a high resolution and features a 640×480 LCD display and integrated video recording with sound. There is a 2x digital zoom and built-in 850nm LED IR (infrared) illuminator. There are 6 reticle options in 4 different color modes.
Editors’ favorite features: quality of glass, visibility, range
From beginners to experts—everyone has a good time hog hunting, plus you can’t complain about bringing home the bacon!