Wanting to get into night hunting for hogs? Here are five things that you'll need.
Hog hunting is growing in popularity, and doing so rather rapidly in the United States.
That's especially true for the last 10 years or so, and there are multiple reasons why this is the case. The feral hog population is booming, so there is ample opportunity to hunt hogs with lots of success in states like Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, and Oklahoma.
With the damage they cause, there are no limits and hardly any regulations for hunting them besides owning a hunting license. For the most part, it's "harvest as many as you want, when you want, and how you want."
For those reasons, it's obvious why so many take a liking to big boar hunting. It's a species you can hunt year round (for the most part) while you wait for deer and waterfowl season to come in.
Hunting hogs at night gives you a great advantage and increases your chances for success over your typical day hunt. So many hunters are using the night hours to help eradicate these pesky wild boars.
If you are wanting to start hunting wild pigs at night, these are the five main things that can help get you started. You can kill hogs without all of these together, and they might not be within the budget you are looking for, but you will get the point.
Any of these five things will help put more hogs on the ground, period.
1. Quality Firearm
There should be no surprise here. A quality firearm that you have full confidence in is always a big key to a successful hunt, and that doesn't differ with hog hunting.
The AR-15 and AR-10 platforms are very popular styles of firearm for hog hunting. Their flat top rails make it easy to mount a scope, whether you are using a daytime optics option or a weapon-mounted thermal unit.
The biggest advantage of an AR-style firearm is the semi-automatic capability and magazine options of 15, 20, and 30 rounds. You are able to get off multiple shots when you run into a large group of hogs, and that's critical.
At times you can come across groups of 20 or more hogs in an open field, and a semi-auto gives you the ability to take more pigs. That will make the farmers and property owners happier, trust me. Hopefully, that means they are more likely to let you come back!
There are hundreds of great gun AR manufacturers out there, and they can all vary in prices, but Palmetto State Armory is a highly-recommended option to look into. They are 100% American-made and very reasonable in price. They often run great deals that let you come away with an incredible hunting rifle without breaking the bank. If you are in the market for a new hog hunting gun, make sure to check out Palmetto State Armory's selection early in your search.
Personally, I have a few of their rifles for hunting and can't say enough good things about them. One is chambered in .224 Valkyrie and one in 6.5 Creedmoor. Run them with Hornady loads like I do, and your quarry will be hitting the dirt left and right.
Another style of firearm that is popular when hunting hogs is a bolt-action rifle. They are usually preferred when hunting at long ranges when you need precision shots, or when you will only be trying to take out a few pigs at a time over a feeder.
Custom rifle manufacturers like Horizon Firearms make for outstanding options. Horizon Firearms are an all custom gun builder, so they will be a bit more pricey than your standard over the counter bolt-action, but you get a gun that fits what you want and one that can be used for other styles of hunting besides just hogs.
You can't discount the accuracy of Horizon rifles; they are guaranteed to shoot .5 MOA with appropriate ammo and wind adjustments, so you can be picking off hogs, coyotes, and more from great distances.
If the custom rifle is not your cup of tea or out of your budget, there are tons of great bolt action options on the market today at very affordable prices.
2. Hunting Lights
There are two styles of hunting pigs at night: With lights or with thermal/night vision (which we will get into soon enough). A good set of lights will go a long way in helping you put down more bacon.
There are many different and viable night hunting light options on the market, many of which you can find and check out at Night Hunting Depot. It is always important to find lights that are bright, user friendly, and made of high quality materials.
From my experience, you really can't go wrong with anything manufactured by Wicked Lights. I have had great success with them and often recommend them to anyone who ask me what I prefer.
Wicked Lights has handheld lights, weapon mounted lights, headlamp lights, and combo hunting packages. They really give you a great variety of options that can fit exactly what you need.
It seems green lights seem to be a big hit for hog hunting, but it depends on who you talk to. I have spoken with hunters who have had success with red and hate green, and others who swear by white and won't touch red. My best advice on lights is to try different colors until you find out what works best in your area, on your animals, and what you feel most comfortable with.
3. Thermal Imaging Equipment
This section could be the game changer in your hog hunting successes.
But, you will have to pay for it. Just like any hunting equipment, there are tons of thermal options at a lot of different price ranges. You will pay for what you get, so the more technologically advanced thermal units will cost more than ones with less capabilities.
Luckily for those who want to hunt wild hogs at night, the prices on these devices have decreased in the last couple years, resulting in more hunters taking part in the fun. They're still a sizable investment, but if you are wanting to kill more hogs, it is the way to go.
Pulsar has really blown up on the scene with some great options at what now is a very reasonable price for what you are getting.
Trust me, the thermal side of hog hunting will drastically change your wild hog hunting endeavors. Thermal imagery reading the body temperatures of what you are viewing and showcasing thermal readings through the viewfinder. That allows you to pick out hogs from long distances in complete darkness.
There are two different styles of thermal imagery devices that are common to hog hunting: a thermal monocular and a thermal riflescope.
A thermal monocular is what many people refer to as a "handheld unit." They're usually less expensive than a thermal scope because they have less magnification, there's no way to mount them to guns, and they entail less software technology.
The main purpose of a monocular is to scan and spot your game without having to swing your gun everywhere. Many hunters use a handheld to find hogs and decide whether they should go after them, then continue using them to watch until it's time to make a shot.
Once the moment arrives, the thermal rifle scope is ready to go to work.
A thermal rifle scope is mounted to your firearm and is sighted in like a regular scope. That means time on the range prior to your hunt is critical. Simply put, they are amazing.
If you have never hunted with a thermal rifle scope, you will be blown away the first time you try. They're so much fun and such an advantage, especially when hunting hogs at night.
Entry level scopes can be good up to 200 yards, whereas some of the more advanced options give you a clear hunting image out to 1,000 yards.
If you watch some of the professional hunters similar to the likes of Predator Pursuit with Jeff Thomason, you'll get an idea of how this all works.
This great clip from Predator Pursuit showcases both a handheld scope as well as a thermal weapon-mounted sight from Pulsar.
What a couple of nights we had on this trip with the Pulsar Thermal & NV.We put the Pulsar scopes and handhelds to work son. No pig was safe and this footage goes to show. Can't get over how incredible these Pulsar units are. Pigs dying everywhere. Night night piggy!#RafterFOutfitters #NightHuntingDepot #PulsarTrail #PulsarHelion #RafterF #HogDown #QuickWork #CreamOfTheCrop
Posted by Predator Pursuit w/ Jeff Thomason on Tuesday, July 24, 2018
Both of the products in this video have the capability of filming what the device is seeing, allowing you to relive those hunts and experiences forever.
Within this hog hunting video, Predator Pursuit is using the Pulsar Helion handheld scope and the Pulsar Trail XP50 weapon-mounted scope.
4. Dark Clothes
Concealment is always critical when hunting, and just because it is dark out, that doesn't change your need to be hidden. Often times this isn't a big deal, but it is important for you to wear dark clothes at the very least.
Since darker colored clothes are encouraged, Rocky makes some great options in their black Venator camo line that I'd highly recommend. I use these items particularly for hunting out of ground blinds, and the black gives you complete concealment against the blind walls. In addition, I've come to find that this camo is perfect for hunting hogs and coyotes at night.
When you're night hunting hogs with lights or thermal, you are spotting groups and then making strategic moves for a stalk. Being concealed in black camo like Rocky's Black Venator line will only help your chances. Will you kill hogs without it? Probably, but it doesn't hurt to dress accordingly. And if you are dealing with pressured and educated hogs, you want every advantage possible.
5. A Plan
Last, but certainly not least, you need a well thought out plan for hunting feral pigs at night. Luckily most states don't designate a hunting season for wild hogs, meaning you can pursue them all year long. Of course, you're going to want to make sure it's legal to hunt hogs at night in your state, and it's your responsibility to know all the hunting regulations and adhere to them.
Hunting is a game of chess, and just because the sun is not out, doesn't mean all those typical determining factors go out the window.
Each hunt needs to be devised into a smart plan. You should always know which direction the wind is blowing, know where the pigs are headed, know their patterns, and know your surroundings. Many will argue that a hog's nose is even more impressive than that of a whitetail.
If you are chasing hogs without a plan, more times than not, the hogs will come out victorious. Make a game plan to get you in the best spot to make good shots and try to execute. With a plan, the good opportunities turn into great opportunities, and that results in easier and more efficient shots.
If you have a plan and use all the equipment above properly, there is a good chance you will be able to harvest hogs at night routinely.