Texas is hog hunting heaven.
Blame or thank, depending on your point of view, our ancestors for introducing hogs into the Texas landscape. Things started innocently enough, first with Spanish explorers bringing in hogs as sources of meat and lard for settlers. Of course a good number of hogs escaped and turned feral. Then, in the 1930s, Russian Boars were introduced by ranchers for sport hunting. The same thing occurred: some escaped, and they began breeding with the feral hogs.
Now, Texas has got a legitimate wild hog dilemma on its hands. It is estimated that the state contains approximately four million feral hogs. They are so numerous and do so much damage to the landscape that they are considered an unprotected, non-game species. As such, they can be hunted year-round with no bag limits and by any method feasible.
They still provide outstanding sport and meat, and a cottage industry has sprung up around the hunting of feral hogs. Ox Ranch is certainly one such operation where you can enjoy hunting wild hogs using any method you prefer, including spot and stalk, bowhunting, rifle hunting, handgun hunting, safari style or blind hunting.
Wild hogs are tough, intelligent and very challenging to hunt and kill. They are omnivorous and will eat just about anything, but have a special fondness for domestic crops like soybeans, corn, peanuts, melons and so on. Their tendency to root and dig up farmland has made them a scourge to farmers. Approximately three quarters of a million wild hogs are harvested in Texas every year, with that number doing nary a thing to stem the onslaught of the porcine problem.
Hogs frequent thick cover and prefer bottomlands with wet or swampy environments, but never far from a food source. This predilection for dense vegetation makes them challenging to hunt, and hunting from a blind is a preferred method in such environments. But feral hogs are also highly adaptable, and can be found just about anywhere.
In Texas you can hunt hogs with a suppressor (silencer), which can be an advantage. Hogs generally travel in large packs called sounders or passels. The muffled sound of a suppressed firearm will not scare a sounder of swine like an unsuppressed firearm will.
Wild hogs are extremely fast and carry sets of continuously growing tusks. These tusks, two in the bottom jaw and two in the top, constantly rub against or “sharpen” one another, creating a set of sabers that can do a great deal of damage. A fast moving wild pig armed with a set of razors in its snout is nothing to take lightly.
They do have somewhat poor eyesight but their sense of smell and hearing are exceptional. A hunter needs to pay attention to the wind and move with stealth when hunting wild hogs.
Shot placement is critical with the animal, as the hide is tough and wild hogs are built like compact four-legged, tusked, fast moving tanks. A hit in the vitals is imperative although many hog hunters swear that an ear shot – an even smaller target – will drop a hog where it stands. If you’re bowhunting choose a heart/lung shot, and make sure that you’re drawing enough poundage to get the job done.
The meat of the wild hog is considered to be exceptional, like farm raised pork only better. It is leaner than pen raised pork, and if the pigs have been feeding on acorns or other nut crops it takes on a flavor that is very desirable. Have coolers at the ready, because it’s a fairly safe bet that you will have a successful hunt if you pay attention, move quietly and deliberately, and keep your wits about you.