I’m not exactly sure what force drives each man to hunt wild pig the way they do, but for most hunters, it is a primal urge that beckons them to their first kill, seeking a lifetime thrill, and providing table fare for their family. As for the method of take… that all differs greatly by each individual man and their risk tolerance for danger. Each method is exciting in its own way, and have very different challenge factors. You will have to decide which are best for your current situation and environment.
A trophy boar gets ready for a nice wallow
Below are the methods for taking wild boar:
Large bore rifles are the preferred method for dropping wild pig effectively
Rifle Hunting Boar- By far the most popular choice for hunting wild boar is with the rifle. The long-range of the rifle make it a highly succesful method of take. The hog hunting rifle should be a .270 caliber or higher to ensure the wild hog goes down quickly, yet a popular caliber is the .223 round used in tactical rifles. Shot placement on a hog needs to be low in the shoulder region, with a preferable shot being a quartering away shot low just behind “The Hog Shield”( thick scar tissue built up to protect the hog vitals). Rifle range can be 300 yards or more to take down a pig.
Bow Hunting Boar – A more challenging method with low success rate is taking the wild pig with bow and arrow. While bow hunting is my prefered method of take, there are factors which need to be taken into consideration before attempting this hunt. You will need to have an unwavering supply of patience, as an easy shot with a rifle could be nearly impossible with a bow. The range is reduced to about 45 yards tops, with the best archery skills. Scent detection is another factor that needs to be considered, as you need to be right up on the wild boar to take them. Shot placement almost always needs to be a quartering away shot low into the chest cavity behind the shoulder. Your bow needs to have at least a 50# draw, using a 7/8” broad head or larger.
There are many breeds that make great "catch" and "bay" dogs
Dogs and Knife – One of the most common methods used in the southern states and Hawaii are using dogs to track and bay the wild boar, and then holding the boar while the hunter dispatches the pig with their knife. The knife needs to be at least 6” long, very sharp, with the ability to punch in deep into the pig. Proper knife placement needs to be behind the leg in the arm pit region at an angle into the vitals. Some hunters “hog tie” the boar to take alive to dispatch or release into another area. There are many breeds that make great “Catch” and “Bay” dogs. Both dogs work together with their strengths of speed and tracking(Bay dog) and size and control (Catch dog). Common hog dogs are Lacy’s, Pitbulls, Black Mouth Cur, German Terrier, American Bulldog, and Argentinian Mastiff. Training needs to be started early for pups to be good hog dogs. There are cut vests and collars used to protect the dogs from the boars razor-sharp tusks, but often still take wounds that hunters need to fix right away or get veterinarian attention quickly.
Pistol Hunting Wild Pig – Personally I can’t ever see myself hunting hogs with a pistol, yet I know people do. My only use for a handgun would be a backup “just in case”. Fellow blogger Phillip Loughlin has a great article “Handguns For Hog Hunting?” that can go into full detail. The amount of handgun needed to take down a hog would cost more than an excellent bow or rifle, and I just have no intention of ever hunting that way as my primary method in the field.
A manufactured hog trap ready to be sprung.
Trapping Feral Hogs – Trapping wild pigs are a passive way for hunting and controlling wild pig populations. Traps have varied success, as wild pigs have no real home territory. A wild pig’s range can be 40 miles or more and depend on the food, cover and water sources. There are many different trap designs, and most plans can be found for free on the internet. A really cool hog trap that was just brought to my attention was one of my followers site www.wirelesstraps.com which uses your cellphone, game camera, and a mechanical trap to catch your wild pig. There are different licenses you need to trap wild pig, so check with your state guidelines first. After you have your license, and trap set, you need to find an area that has heavy pig traffic, as well as bait that trap well.
Spear Hunting Boar- Man has been hunting wild boar with a spear since the dawn of time. While the term “Pig Sticker” is known as a knife when hunting today, in the middle ages a “Pig Sticker” was a spear often used by royalty to hunt boar by horseback. The spear was a long blade with a cross member at the hilt so when they drove the spear into the beast, it would stop when the boar charged angrily. Today, more hunters are ditching the technological weapons, in exchange for more primitive hunting tools, with the spear as a logical choice for the challenge. The spear actually has a very good advantage when hunting wild pig in corn fields where visibility is limited, and the chance encounter of a wild boar when armed with a spear could save you from attack. Check State regulations first before spearing a wild boar.
A helicopter patrols the sky, looking for feral hogs that are destroying property
Helicopter Hunting - A new and growing way to hunt feral hogs is by firing from a helicopter. The only state that I know you can do this is in Texas, and there are YouTube videos out there to see how it’s done. The helicopter hunt starts at about $750.00 for just the air time, not including processing and trophy fees. Most hunters use an assault rifle with an extended magazine to take down the boar. The problem I have is that the shots are never clean, and there is no real intention of consuming that wild pig, just the thrill of hunting from a Heli. Helicopters are often used to control hog populations destroying property, and by state governments to eradicate populations out of control.
Bait/Stand Hunting – Just like hog trapping, bait/stand hunting can have varied success. The skill really comes down to knowing where the hogs will come to, having a tree high enough with good shooting avenues, proper bait, scent control, and a ton of patience. Choose a tree that is downwind of where you expect the hogs will come from, and don’t set up right at their destination. You will want to keep that destination(feeder, wallow, etc.) free of hunting pressure to be able to use for another time. Set your stand near a pig “highway” to the destination. Do not rely on scent control clothing and blockers while stand hunting. Wild Boar have excellent noses, and may never come if you are upwind.