How to: Bowhunting for Hogs
July 13, 2020
Bowhunting wild hogs is a great way to feed your family, get some fresh air and, surprisingly, help your community. Indeed, the opportunistic wild swine is a destructive, invasive species. Wild hogs cause as much as $400 million in damages annually. Ecologists, farmers and parks services don’t want them on their land because they edge out other wildlife, erode the soil and disrupt native vegetation. So what do we do? We go hunting!
You can use a firearm to hunt hogs, but nothing quite compares to stalking a sly pig with a bow in hand. Hunters love bowhunting wild hogs because they’re abundant, elusive and always put up a good fight. And then, of course, there’s the meat. When properly butchered and processed (more on that below), feral hogs produce tasty sausages, pork chops, ribs and bacon. Ready to go? Pelican is here to help you pack up your bow case and hit the mud for a thrilling hog hunt.
How to Hunt Wild Hogs
If you're new to hog hunting, make sure to read these tips before heading out:
- Scouting — To nab a big pork bounty, you need to know where to look. Scout from afar, perhaps from your tree stand, with your binoculars. Hogs love water and tend to make a muddy mess near creeks and streams (hey, they have a reputation for being dirty, after all). Feral hogs prefer thick brush and muddy wallows alike, so keep your eyes peeled for pig tracks, rooting holes, scat and hair. Hogs tend to rub themselves on trees, fences and boulders, so look out for mud streaks and hair to track your prey.
- Stalking — One of the great advantages of hog hunting is that these animals have very poor eyesight. Unfortunately, that also means their hearing and sense of smell are exceptional, which can be a disadvantage. As a result, you may not need the most intense camo, but you're going to want the quietest gear you can find. You also want to trek slowly. Remember, don't make any sudden movements.
- Shooting — Shot placement differs greatly when comparing hogs and deer. Hogs have more fat, which blocks entry and exit lesions. Their vitals are also lower and more anterior compared to whitetail deer. For a clean shot, try the quartering-away method (ideal for larger boars) and aim low to target the heart. The broadside method is another good option and works best for smaller hogs. Aim at the midpoint of the chest, right behind the front shoulder.
The Pelican Air 1745 Bow Case is an excellent companion for bowhunting hogs.
A Word About Brucellosis
To prevent the flu-like illness known as brucellosis, it is crucial to dress and cook feral hogs appropriately. This illness is caused by germs that spread among hogs through birthing fluids and semen. Infected hogs carry these germs for life. Be aware of brucellosis symptoms — fever, chills, sweating, low appetite, fatigue, etc. —and follow safe field dressing guidelines very carefully to avoid spreading germs.
How to Dress Wild Hogs
Always use clean, sharp knives to butcher and dress wild hogs. Only handle them when wearing eye protection and gloves. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends burning or burying gloves and unused carcass parts after butchering feral pigs to prevent the spread of brucellosis. We recommend using this wild hog harvesting and dressing guide from Mississippi State University for safe field dressing procedures.
Know Your Laws
It's crucial to abide by laws set forth by your state's department of natural resources or fish and wildlife departments. In many states where hog hunting is legal and viable, you will need to obtain a hunting license and wild pig tags. Most states allow hog hunting year-round. Because they are so abundant, many states do not have a bag limit on feral hogs.
Grab a Bow Case
Want to try hog hunting this year? We can help you find the right compound bow case to keep your weapon safe and clean out in hog heaven.
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