Pig Tales

Across much of America wild hogs are flourishing. This year, for example, New Jersey and Michigan deer hunters have been asked by state game departments to shoot feral hogs, because the non-native animals can be troublesome and destructive. In many states there are no closed seasons on wild pigs. And hunting hogs is growing in popularity, since sportsmen enjoy pursuing the semi-dangerous big game target of good-eating feral hogs. The following facts should be of interest to hunters chasing feral pigs, or want to.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Hogs are not native to America. They were introduced to Florida by Hernando de Soto in 1539, which is a legacy that has spread throughout much of the nation. Despite having a year-round open hunting season on feral pigs on private land, Florida wild hogs number about 400,000. Hunters harvest over 50,000 wild pigs annually in the Sunshine State, and sometimes exceed the state deer take.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Stalking is a good way to tag hogs, and skilled hunters who use the wind in their favor can get well within bow range of hogs, especially ones busy feeding or fighting.Outdoor Life Online Editor
The thick hide, fat and protective cartilage shield of a mature wild hog like this huge boar, protects an animal when it fights with other hogs-- which is common. A big hog is so well protected it can survive deep tusk wounds from rival hogs, poisonous snake bites, and even deflect broadhead hunting arrows and light-caliber rifle bullets. This one, however, dropped in its tracks to a .270 rifle slug.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Although not as agile as a deer, wild hogs are fast. Hogs can reach 20 miles per hour quickly, and have been clocked at 30 miles per hour. Some hunters use hounds for chasing and catching feral pigs, which is wild and sometimes dangerous to dog and man.Outdoor Life Online Editor
A male wild hog is a boar, a female a sow, and young ones, like these, are called shoats-- which many hunters desire most for barbecuing.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Wild hog tusks have extremely sharp edges because the upper and lower tusks overlap. The constant gnashing of teeth sharpens tusks, which make formidable weapons.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Catching wild hogs alive is a popular sport in some regions of America. It requires good dogs, lots of hard-driving effort, and skill to avoid the sharp tusks of mature feral pigs.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Wild hogs grow fast, attaining 80 to 100 pounds in one year. Most mature wild hogs average 125 pounds, but animals weighing over 600 pounds have been documented.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Wild hogs are gregarious animals, commonly found in family groups. However, large males or boars become solitary, and can be extremely difficult for hunters to bag, as they possess a keen sense of smell, hearing and are highly intelligent. Many of the biggest wild hogs live in dense boggy areas, where access is difficult, making airboats a great way to reach some remote wetland hunting areas.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Feral pigs come in all colors, from jet-black to creamy white. Many are russet or red colored, and some are multi-colored - cream-and-black, cream-and-red. All can be wild, ornery, and have respectable tusks.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Pigs are prolific. They breed year-round, and one female can have up to 10 young at a time. Wildlife managers have determined that feral hogs have the ability to double in population every four months. This is why hunting feral hogs year round is not only lawful, but necessary in many areas to keep populations in check.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Baiting wild hogs is legal in many states, and is a popular, productive and sporting way of attracting and bagging them.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Because of their intelligence and excellent sense of smell and hearing, tree-stand hunting is a great and popular way to take wild hogs.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Hogs often live in watery swamps, where hunting is difficult for man and dog.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Wild hogs love to wallow in mud, and have a habit of rubbing their wet sides against trees. Telltale signs of mud on timber is a sure sign feral pigs are using an area.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Although wild hogs favor wet, lowland terrain, they can live about anywhere, including rugged, rocky, dry mountains, and also in flat hardwoods and pines. But wherever found, they stay in the thick stuff.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Bowhunting wild hogs is a fun and productive way of collecting pigs.Outdoor Life Online Editor

Hog hunting is growing in popularity across the country leading some sportsmen to believe that they will one day surpass the whitetail deer as the country's No. 1 game animal.