I’ve always wanted to go hog hunting and jumped at the opportunity when I found out a buddy was attending the “Hill Gang” hunt the weekend of January 24. I knew nothing of wild pigs prior to the trip and I was a bit apprehensive at first. All my non-bowhunting friends told me that hogs were dangerous and I should have a pistol. Looking up “Hog Charge” on YouTube didn’t help any either.
NOTE: If you YouTube “Hog Charge” you are going to get videos of people being charged by hogs and that is all.
My buddy Thom imparted what he knew on the way down (15 hours worth of information actually) and sharing the woods and campfire with veterans did the rest. After three hard days of hunting the Ocmulgee WMA (just outside of Cochrane, GA) my perspective had changed entirely. I felt I knew all about pigs.
Here are a few things I picked up:
- Hogs can smell really well but are nearly blind. Playing the wind is paramount.
- If a hog charges you, simply use the tip of your bow as a rudder to change their course. When they are spooked, they are simply trying to escape and will only charge you if you are in the way (unless you really piss them off).
- For predictable animals, hogs are fairly unpredictable. They do what they want, when they want and aren’t confined to one area.
- You don’t have to wake up before first light to hunt hogs. They typically get up and move around when the sun is warm, like sane people do.
- When it gets cold, hogs like to hang out in fields during the day to escape the wind and congregate for warmth.
- They are nocturnal by nature and feed at night in most instances. They like water oaks.
- Hog sign is easy to spot. Their tracks resemble deer tracks but are more parallel near the toe. Hogs root when they feed and prefer soft soil so they don’t tear their noses up.
- On hot days, hogs prefer to wallow in damp places with a lot of shade.
- Full grown male hogs are called “boars”, female hogs are called “sows”. Baby hogs are “sucklings” and everything in between is called a “sounder”.
- Hogs look like stumps from a distance, until they move. If you spook one it will run a ways and forget. You won’t fool them a second time.
- Move slow, glass often, play the wind.
- Choose a quiver that is easy to maneuver through the brush without making noise.
As it turns out, only one guy in camp was able to take a pig, but several guys had shots. I saw hog sign the entire trip, but didn’t encounter a single pig the entire time I was there. My group spooked a few up, but I was on the other side of the field and did not get to see them. It was sobering to drive 30 hours round trip, freeze every night in a pup tent, and not see a hog, but I have absolutely ZERO regrets. I had a great time camping, hunting, and talking bows with the guys and would do the whole thing again in a heartbeat.
Hopefully, I’ll get a pig next time!
For more of the story, check out the Hill Gang Hog Hunt 2014 thread on Traditional Archery Society. Sign up if you haven’t! You’ll love it there.