Yamaha Outdoors Tips — Makin' Bacon
By Bob Humphrey
It’s mid-winter and much of the country is buried in snow. Avid hunters are heading south to get away from the cold, but deer seasons are over and turkey seasons won’t come in for at least another month. What’s a hunter to do?
In most states, feral hogs are considered a nuisance. Even where they’re listed as a game species, seasons and bag limits are extremely liberal, and often unlimited. A mid-winter hog hunt might be just the thing to keep your hunting gear and instincts sharp, not to mention adding some lean pork to the freezer.
There are so many positives to hog hunting. Where they occur, hogs are usually abundant, and not particularly welcome by land owners and managers. Public land hunts can be done for next to nothing, and even trespass fees and guided hunts on private land are a fraction of the cost of those for other big game species. You don’t need to be out there at the crack of dawn; and in many cases you can hunt anytime, even at night.
Perhaps best of all, the methods and equipment required are often determined by how serious you want to get. You can sit in a shooting house, still-hunt, spot-and-stalk. Hogs will even come to a call. You can literally hunt hogs in jeans, sneakers and a T-shirt - if you’re using long-range weapons and/or hunting from a shooting house. Hogs don’t see well, but they’re sense of smell is phenomenal. Bowhunters, who need to get close, are well advised to take extra steps toward concealment. This means camo clothing as well as odor suppression.
Where permitted, ATVs allow you to cover a lot more ground. In open areas like the southwest you can motor from high point to high point to glass. Once game is spotted you can then close the distance on foot. The extra cargo space of a Side-by-Side makes getting your game back to camp a snap, and because you can bring more gear, allows you to stay afield longer.
Though they may seem dense and sluggish, don’t underestimate them. Wild hogs are just that - wild. If they catch the slightest whiff of human odor they’ll be gone in a flash. And they can be downright mean. If injured or cornered, they turn on you. Larger males especially have razor sharp teeth that can slice through leather like paper. Caution is always advised.