By Pete Rogers
What is the second most popular animal hunted in the US? If you guessed feral hogs, you would be correct.
If you have not hunted feral hogs, you are missing out on some of the most fun you can have while hunting.
Feral swine in many places is a nuisance animal and in all states with the exception of North Carolina, it is not classified as a game animal. This non-classification allows for liberal hunting and limits.
In my home state of South Carolina, feral hogs can be hunted year-round with no weapon restrictions or limits on private ground.
In the past two decades, a hog explosion has occurred in much of the country and the spread of feral hogs has been highly documented and, in some cases, lamented.
But for those of us who are addicted to hunting feral hogs, we salivate at the opportunities to hunt them. Contrary to many thoughts, swine are some of the most intelligent animals known to mankind.
They learn quickly and their sense of smell is second to none. Getting into shooting distance of feral hogs can be challenging.
However, they do have a big weakness and that is their stomach. Hogs can be baited in almost all states where it is legal to hunt them. Setting up feeders, or dispersing feed to hogs will all but guarantee they will visit the site to get some easy food.
Shelled corn is most frequently used. It is cheap, and effective at attracting and holding hogs on location. In places where hogs are baited regularly, it is not uncommon to see them lounging away under the feeders waiting on the next cycle to feed again.
Methods of hunting hogs vary by the sportsman or woman. If choosing a rifle, opt for the larger .30 caliber rifles. Big hogs have extremely thick hides, often measuring over one inch think near the shoulders. This will inhibit penetration for a shoulder shot.
Buckshot is often overlooked as an effective hog choice. Number one buckshot is very effective out to 40 yards or so and should not be overlooked. When stalking hogs in thick brush, the 12-gauge shotgun is an excellent choice and very effective.
Few hunts are as exciting as stalking big hogs in thick southern swamps. Even with their strong sense of smell, their eyesight is poor. Once spotted, by working the wind in your favor, stalking within shooting range of mature hogs is very doable, and is my preferred method.
Other options for hogs include archery gear. The same setup you would use for whitetail or elk is sufficient for hogs. A smaller diameter broadhead with a heavy arrow is best. The smaller head allows for deeper penetration.
A personal favorite is hunting hogs with handguns. The big revolvers are best, to include anything in the .44 Remington Magnum range or bigger. The new Raging Hunter by Taurus is an excellent hog gun and is accurate and effective.
Other calibers for handguns include the .454 Casull, .460 S&W, and the .500 Wyoming Express by Freedom Arms.
Regardless of how you hunt them, getting the sights on a big hog is exciting, and one of the best hunts in North America. If you have the chance, by all means, take it.