Hogs gone wild in Texas

Hogs gone wild in Texas

One of the great things about wild pigs is that they can be hunted year round, day and night, and you can kill as many as you can haul away. Another good thing about pigs is that they are good to eat, and there seems to be an unlimited supply of them. 

What many folks have discovered is that pigs provide an opportunity to hunt 365 days a year in Texas. And some of the best pig hunting can be found right here in Southeast Texas, and all over the Pineywoods, throughout the Hill Country and in South Texas. It’s not unusual to see pigs walking along the shoreline of Sabine Lake. The marsh from Sabine Lake and on over to Winnie is flat loaded with pigs.

It’s a fact that wild hogs can seem pretty stupid at times. A few years ago, I walked right up to a group of them feeding at high noon in a corn patch and shot three with a pistol before they could figure out what was happening. And on more than one occasion, I’ve caught them in unbaited traps.

But you can never underestimate the ability of wild pigs to outsmart the folks that hunt them. Along with a wild hog’s sense of smell comes acute hearing, as well as eyesight that proves a hog can detect a human figure over 100 yards away. The most fascinating thing about pigs, is that, unlike white-tailed deer, they are almost 100 percent nocturnal. It’s rare to see them out in the open during daylight hours, which is why a whole lot of hunters in Texas have started using expensive night-vision scopes to take on the growing number of pigs across the Lone Star State.

Cody Bell is a hunter who loves to shoot pigs. He’s got a Hill Country ranch that is infested with pigs. Not too many years ago, there wasn’t a pig to be found on that land. After hunting pigs for years, Bell has figured out one thing – for best results, he hunts them from sundown to sunup with night-vision gear.

“My best success has come with the use of game cameras,” said Bell. “I’ve got them set up around cattle tanks that pigs frequently use. I’ve also got them set up around corn feeders. I can look at those game cams and determine what time the pigs are showing up. It’s a pretty reliable tactic for taking them down at night. Something else I use is a silencer on my rifle. At times the pigs never know what’s happening as I pick them off one by one. “

It’s no secret that wild hogs can be found across the United States. Although 40 states claim the species, the highest numbers exist in Texas, followed by California and Florida.

Keeping their numbers down is almost impossible since wild hogs can live almost anywhere. Highly adaptable, they have almost no barriers when it comes to climate or habitat, and can even live over a day’s journey away from the nearest supply of water. When it comes to food, a wild hog is also an easy-to-please diner. Although they are omnivores, when they get the opportunity, they exist mainly on plant matter, as well as worms, insects and insect larvae.

The damage that wild hogs have created in the agricultural world is incalculable, not to mention the millions that land owners have paid to do their best at controlling the species.

But really, the numbers are no surprise when you look at the life expectancy of a wild hog. Check this out: A sow is able to breed at the age of only 7 or 8 months, and the average litter is four to six. One sow can be responsible for birthing almost a thousand in just five years.

 

Robert Sloan can be reached by e-mail at sloan288 [at] aol [dot] com.

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