Hog Hunting Tips: How to Hunt Wild Pigs at Night

Greg Ray, president of NRA Outdoors, a hunting and fishing trip agency, keeps getting calls from folks who own AR rifles but want to take them beyond the shooting range. Does Ray have a hunt for them?

“Tactical hog hunting,” Ray advises. “The AR platform gives you lots of options–like night hunts–and there’s usually no closed season or bag limits.”

The “tactical” angle starts with an AR, good optics, and accessories, such as lights, lasers, and (where legal) suppressors. But it also applies to the tactics you’ll need to use to kill pigs. Like the aforementioned night hunting.

Hogs turn nocturnal as summer’s heat approaches or as hunting pressure intensifies. The most effective nighttime hunting technique is to use a feeder to focus the pigs, and hide nearby in a blind. When you hear feeding hogs, snap on the red or green light attached to your AR, aim, and prepare to collect your pork chops.

More adventurous hunters walk dirt roads, trails, and the edges of fields, into the wind (hogs have excellent noses), with ears open and fingers on light switches. A night-vision or thermal optic can help you locate hogs after dark, too.

Hogs will establish definite trails leading to and from their bedding areas. The trails often look like tunnels into thick vegetation. Once you locate these, you have another tactic to employ: the ambush.

Nocturnal hogs will head back to bedding areas sometime after sunup. Before dawn, position yourself on these trails, and you may get a chance at a line of hogs trotting back to bed. Target hogs at the rear of the group. They’ll scatter at the sound of gunfire, but a hog dropping at the back of the line, out of sight of the other hogs, might give you an extra second or two for a follow-up shot before the others react. It’s in this type of quick, close shooting that the AR platform excels.