Hunting Feral Hogs – What you need to know 

 April 1, 2020

By  Daniel Gray

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Last updated on July 24, 2022

Are you still sitting on the fence, undecided on whether hunting feral hogs is a good idea or not? Well, let’s help you decide. Below we’ll look at why hunting feral hogs are important and what you’ll need to do it successfully.

Among the biggest motivations for hog hunting in the United States is the disturbing breeding patterns of feral hogs. In states such as Texas and Florida, the hog population is reaching unprecedented numbers of 2.7 million & increasing rapidly. These numbers are scary when you consider the damage feral hogs do to the environment and their aggressive nature towards people.

More and more people are hunting feral hogs to help curb their population increase while enjoying the thrill of hunting. Hog hunting at night has especially become a favorite for many hunters as feral hogs are nocturnal animals and easier to hunt at night.

Here are the dos and don’ts before you go hunting.

Don’t Get Too Close

Part of the excitement of hunting hogs is stalking them and waiting for the perfect moment to get your shot, right? Be careful not to get cocky and get too close for the kill. Rather approach the animal cautiously as hogs can:

  • Pick up your scent through the air
  • Detect movement and be scared away
  • Get aggressive and attack you
  • Can see well at short distances

Do Use Thermal Scopes for Hunting at Night

Thermal scopes have become increasingly popular with many hunters. It's an effective tool that allows you to spot animals at night avoiding spotlights that easily scare them off. It’s a state of the art technology that has been made affordable and accessible to everyone. Features include:

  • Battery: Most thermal scopes have a battery life of up to 18 hours and allow you uninterrupted use while you’re hunting. The batteries are rechargeable and can also charge your phone or other devices when you’re in the field.
  • Ballistic Calculator: It takes the guesswork out of the equation. You get the perfect calculation to hit the target at the right angle. It also analyzes the range, temperature & direction of the wind for you to make the shot. You're guaranteed an on-target shot every time.
  • Thermal Sensor: You get a clear vision of your target with the dual-core thermal sensor. It takes a picture of the animal with high-resolution clarity and increased sensitivity. You have perfect vision in complete darkness making it possible to take the shot.
thermal imaging riffle scope for hunting

Don’t Assume Anything

Be careful not to base anything on assumptions when you’re hunting. If it’s your first time hunting feral hogs you might take a shot at one and expect a trail of blood after it runs off, right?

Wrong. Feral hogs have thick skin and fat which can delay blood to trickle through it. If you're looking for a blood trail that'll lead you to the hog you might not find it. That doesn't mean the animal hasn't been hit and isn't hurt. On the contrary, you might find the injured hog about 50 yards away from the initial area where it’s been shot. Scan the area carefully as you approach your target.

Do Your Research Before Hunting

It's important to know the state laws before you go hunting feral hogs. Some states are laxer than others so read up and check with your local officials to verify what’s allowed & what’s not.

  • Florida: This is the second most populated state with feral hog numbers still on the increase. You'll need a hunting license that'll allow you to hunt on public ground. You're allowed to hunt during all the hunting seasons excluding the spring turkey season.
  • Texas: Because this state has the highest number of feral hogs the laws are more lenient. You can hunt all year round provided you’ve obtained a hunting license. If you’ll be using a spotlight you need permission from the resident game warden otherwise it’s not allowed.
  • Louisiana: The rapid increase in the feral hog population in Louisiana has become alarming. Hunting of feral hogs is allowed all year-round if you have a valid hunting license. Night hunting is allowed but there are specific rules regarding it. Speak to your local game warden to find out more about the restrictions of hog hunting at night in this state.

Don’t Use a Rifle That’ll Destroy the Meat

There’s a myth that you need a high caliber firearm to successfully kill an overgrown hog. People have wrongly believed:

  • If a hog weighs more than 200lb only a heavy caliber weapon can get it down
  • The skin around the shoulder of a feral hog is impenetrable and needs a powerful weapon to pierce through
  • More firepower equates to more on target shots

In reality, using an excessively powerful weapon might destroy the meat. Rather use a gun that'll be able to kill the hog and leave the meat intact.

The myths have also been dispelled by the invention of thermal rifle scopes and smaller weapons that can hit a target more accurately with less firepower.

Final Thoughts

Hunting feral hogs is exciting and allows you to do your bit for your country. Remember feral hogs aren't native to the United States. They’re encroaching on the natural habitat of other animals and people. Millions of US dollars are spent yearly to control and repair the damage done by these predators.

Now that you’re armed with some knowledge of hunting feral hogs, are you ready to go on your first hunting expedition? Their meat is very tasty but needs to be cooked well as is the case with all wild game meat.

Get your hunting license today and observe all the laws & restrictions on night hunting in the different states. Invest in the right equipment such as a quality thermal scope for night hunting to enhance your hunting experience. Use an appropriate weapon for hunting and enjoy the thrill of the hunt.

About the author 

Daniel Gray

As a digital marketing manager, Daniel is responsible planning and managing marketing campaigns at Smart Scouter. He has a masters degree from Indiana University and over 20 years of experience in the thermal imaging industry. In his spare time he likes hiking and traveling around South America.

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