Manic, property-destroying machines, wild hogs wreak havoc throughout the United States. Voracious eaters, wild hogs are known by many names, including wild boars, feral hogs, feral pigs, Eurasian wild boars, and Eurasian wild hogs, they show aggression towards humans and other animals and can take out millions of dollars' worth of agriculture overnight.
What's worse, the hog population has exploded since this invasive species was introduced to the U.S. by Spanish explorers in the 1500s. Once fairly localized, the range of wild boar has expanded dramatically due to prolific breeding, supplemented by hogs that escaped from farms and by those introduced specifically for hunting. There could be as many as 7.6 million feral hogs living across 40 U.S. states, according to current statistics.
While undeniably this is bad news for farmers, property owners, and wildlife biologists, it's great news for hunters that want to try their hand at wild pig hunting.
Where Should You Hunt Wild Hogs?
Wild hogs are spread so widely throughout the country that you can find good hog hunting within a days' drive of where you live. However, not all states are equal from a hog-hunting perspective, and the best places to hunt hogs tend to be the warmer southern states and places that get lots of rain.
In making our list of the 10 best hog-hunting states, we considered the overall estimated hog population, the amount of hog hunting opportunities available—both public land hunts and outfitted hunts—and how permissive the restrictions and regulations for hunting hogs.
Hawaii has a long and rich tradition of hog hunting. (Where do you think they get the pigs cooked at luaus?) Precise hog numbers are unknown, but there are enough feral hogs on the islands to be causing significant damage to the natural habitat and just be a general nuisance. Hogs may be hunted on Maui, Molokai, Oahu, Kauai, and the island of Hawaii.
Unfortunately, the state has some of the most strict hunting and firearm regulations among all the best states to hunt hogs. Not only is there a bag limit of one hog per day, each island has its own hunting season and specific regulations. Hunting is generally not allowed at night, and while some public land opportunities exisit, the hunting is tough if you don't have someone to show you the ropes.
For this reason, hunting with a guide is your best bet in Hawaii. Fortunately, you'll find number of good guides for hire and hunting with dogs is legal, so your odds of success are very good if you're willing and able to put in the money and effort on what can potentially be a pricey, tough hunt.
Hogs are present in 56 of 58 California counties in a wide variety of habitats. Unlike some of the other states on the list, baiting is prohibited in California and the state requires hunters to possess both a hunting license and a hog tag.
However, if you can look past the hoops of hunting in the Golden State, California has a lot to offer as a hunting destination and few other places can offer the opportunity to hunt wild pigs in such breathtaking scenery.
With an estimated 200,000 feral hogs living in Arkansa's 75 counties, the state's farmers are under assault from these destructive creatures. Though things seem to be heading in the right direction, hog hunting restrictions in Arkansas (primarily on public land) still aren't as permissive as most of the other states on this list.
However, the state is still an outstanding place to hunt hogs if you've got access to private land, so keep Arkansas in mind if you're looking for an under-the-radar destination for a feral hog hunt.
7. South Carolina
Biologists estimate that approximately 150,000 to 200,000 feral hogs call South Carolina home, with the majority of them residing along watersheds and near the coast. The state has very few regulations for hunting hogs, and hunters do not need a license when hunting on private land.
Hunting hogs at night is permitted but is subject to some very specific regulations. For hunters with access to some of the prime land in the state with a high concentration of feral hogs, South Carolina offers some outstanding opportunities to hunt hogs.
A minimum of 430,000 feral hogs live in 74 of 77 counties of Oklahoma. And when you consider that the hogs tend to be concentrated heaviest in the southern and eastern parts of the state close to the border with Texas and where water is the most plentiful, some areas in Oklahoma have extremely dense feral hog populations.
If you manage to find a place to hunt hogs in one of these areas, you could really end up hitting the jackpot. Regulations vary but are generally permissive with no bag limit, very long (or no) hog hunting seasons, and few restrictions on acceptable hog hunting methods.
There aren't any officially published numbers for the feral hog population in Alabama, but trust us: There are plenty in the state, and they are found in all 67 counties.
Regulations are very permissive, and you only need a small game license to hunt hogs. Plenty of outfitters offer guided hog hunts in Alabama, such as the controversial 2007 "hunt" for the massive pig named Fred that tipped the scales at over 1,000 pounds.
Louisiana is home to an estimated 700,000 feral hogs, and wildlife officials have responded to this concerning number by loosening the restrictions on hog hunting in the state. Not only is there no closed season and no bag limit when hunting hogs, but they may be hunted at night on private property as well, and guys like Jody Greene of Double G Hog Control have turned night hunting of feral hogs into a deadly science.
Like most of the other states in the southeastern United States, Georgia has a warm, wet climate that hogs absolutely thrive in. For this reason, not only are there large numbers of hogs in Georgia, but some grow to massive proportions, like the famous Hogzilla, which was killed near Alapaha, Georgia in 2004.
There are no official published statistics for the hog population in the state, but there are so many that Georgia has virtually no regulations on hunting hogs. When hunting on private land, there are no bag limits, no closed season, and it's legal to hunt at night, which the folks at Jager Pro have demonstrated as an extremely effective way to shoot a bunch of hogs in a short period of time.
There are a few restrictions on hunting hogs on public land, but the overall attitude of the state is very friendly towards hog hunters. All told, it's easy to see why Georgia is such a great place to hunt hogs.
Florida may not be a premier deer hunting destination, but the Sunshine State is one of the top states to hunt hogs in the United States. Historians think that Florida was the first place hogs were introduced in North America, and for this reason, it's no surprise that the state has one of the largest populations of feral hogs in the country. Though it's tough to say for sure, biologists think that Florida is home to over 500,000 hogs.
There are ample opportunities to hunt hogs on both public and private land in the state, and regulations are very permissive, especially on private land where hunters do not even need a hunting license. While there are hogs in every county in the state, they're the most concentrated in areas with lots of water. Heavy rains that cause a quick rise in water levels tend to further concentrate the hog population on patches of high ground and hunters who find those places can have an absolute field day.
It shouldn't be a surprise, but Texas by far tops this list of the best states to hunt hogs in the United States. It's open season down there because with a hog population conservatively estimated at upwards of 1.5 million hogs, the Lone Star State has by far the largest hog population. In fact, Texas is experiencing such a dramatic increase in feral hog populations (an average of 20 percent per year) that some think Texas is losing the war on feral hogs.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Department of Agriculture want you to hunt feral hogs here. Take as many as you would like! And you can do it any time of year, too. Hog hunting is open to residents and non-residents alike 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. There are no bag limits and minimal restrictions. Hogs may be hunted at night, hunted with suppressed firearms, shot from a helicopter, and hunted over bait.
On drawback: There aren't a lot of public land opportunities to hunt hogs in Texas, with a serious lack of wildlife management areas and national forests to pursue swine in compared to other states.
However, there are tons of reasonably priced guided hog hunts in the state. For those ready to get in on the action, Ox Hunting Ranch has some of the best hog hunting packages you can find.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best way to hunt hogs?
There are plenty of different ways to hunt wild pigs. In many states, hogs are fair game via almost any method and during any time of year, especially if hunting on private land. They can be pursued by bow, rifle, crossbow, handgun, and even spear or knives in some places. And often, hogs can be hunted either day or night, although many hog hunters have luck during the hours right after dawn and right before dusk. That's because hogs often feed at night and snooze and relax during the day.
Are wild hogs good to eat?
Like most wild game, some wild hogs are delicious table fare, while occasionally some are not. It depends on a few factors, including what they are eating, where they were living, how the meat was handled, and so on. When properly handled and prepared, wild hog tastes remarkably similar to pork.
Are wild hogs hard to hunt?
Wild hogs aren't necessarily difficult to hunt. That's not to say it's a piece of cake! The best bet of a successful harvest is to enlist the help of a guide or outfitter skilled at hog hunting and knowledgeable of the area.
Why do people shoot feral hogs?
Feral hogs cause substantial damage to farms, ranches, residential neighborhoods, and infrastructure. They also kill and compete with native wildlife for food sources. It is estimated that 70 to 80 percent of wild hogs must be killed every year just to maintain the wild population where it is.
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