5 Winter Hog Hunting Tips and Tricks

wild feral hogs snow winter

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By Travis Smola

Deer season has mostly ended across the country. We can already hear some of you sighing that your best chances at that big whitetail buck are probably gone for the year. Or maybe you already tagged out like I did. But maybe you feel like you still didn’t get your full hunting season fix.

There is still and endless supply of wild pigs out there and in most places the season is open year-round. Why not take advantage of this additional hunting opportunity? Here are our best tips for success once the cold weather starts to set in.

Don’t just focus on nighttime hunting

 

In most places in the United States, you can hunt feral hogs in the dead of night, when they’re very active, using thermal or night scopes. That’s how many hunters choose to pursue wild hogs. It’s a proven method of successful harvest, but most veteran hog hunters agree, late winter is a time to be looking at midday hunting, too.

Look for feral pigs to begin moving into feeding areas in daylight more often in the winter months. Some of them get desperate for nutrition this time of year and will break daylight hours when they normally would not.

Most seasoned hunters will agree winter is a good time to pursue a trophy-sized wild boar as they are more likely to throw caution to the wind in search of food, giving you a better chance at bagging a big one.

Zero in on those food sources

 

It’s true that most big hog hunting states like Texas and Oklahoma don’t get much snow, but the premise of hog hunting in winter is much the same as going after whitetails in a state with heavy snow cover; focus on the food.

Remember that hogs are eating machines and not much is going to stop them from rooting out their next meal. Even in snow, if you live in an area where feral hog populations encounter it. While they will root out natural food items like acorns that are buried if they must, hogs are also lazy.

Again, regarding states like Texas and Oklahoma, where deer baiting is common, those walking slabs of bacon are going to be much more vulnerable to bait the later in the year it is. Especially if your neighbors quit filling their deer feeders once the season ends.

If that’s the case, it makes it easier to hunt hogs, as they will tend to concentrate on the feeders that are still being filled. Just make sure it’s legal to bait them in your state before you do it.

Pattern them on your game camera

 

Sometimes, hogs will range over huge areas in the winter months and can be a bit harder to find than normal. The good news is their movements are usually fairly predictable. This means you can use a trail camera to figure out their patterns and set up a perfect ambush for that big boar or a sow and her piglets.

Just remember to watch your scent when checking the cameras. Hogs have a keen sense of smell that may be greater than even that of a whitetail. That means you must be extra careful not to overly-contaminate the area before your hunt. We recommend wearing gloves and spraying a little bit of cover scent to mask your presence.

Go in after them (spot and stalk)

 

Wild hogs love to hang out in dense, brushy areas. Going into these areas in the warmer spring and summer months can be tricky and potentially dangerous because the vegetation conceals the hogs. This is especially true in states like Florida or Louisiana where hogs often have dense, swampy areas to hide.

But in the winter, most of the leaves are off the trees and brush and it makes it harder for any swine to hide from you. That means it’s easier to do a spot and stalk or to even sneak a shot into heavy cover.

Also, sometimes the hogs are ranging over a huge area in search of food in the winter months and the only way to find them is to start walking and look for them. A lack of leaves is going to make that a lot easier.

Alternatively, you could use a quad or UTV to ride around and glass for them. Either way can work. Winter or not, many times you’ve just got to go in and get the hogs instead of waiting for them to come to you.

Watch for changing weather conditions

 

There are many parallels between deer hunting and hog hunting. Oone of them is that a sudden shift in weather conditions can cause a surge in hog activity at any time of year, not just winter. But if you’ve got an incoming snowstorm, rain or cold front, you’d best be hitting the woods, because they’re more likely to be up and active.

Keep a close eye on the weather forecast through the winter. Time your hunts to coincide with these shifts and you’ll likely be putting some meat in the freezer nearly every time you head out.

comments

  1. avatar Rubiconcrossed says:

    How does the wild meat compare to pork in the grocery store?????

    1. avatar OmnivorousBeorn says:

      Depends on the pig. If it smells like someone peed in a fire, pass it up. If it has a musky-sweet smell, it’s good to go.

      If prepared right it’s great eating, especially those tenderloins.

      1. avatar Truckman says:

        the best thing is to try and get a kill shot before they know you are thereafter that if you are wanting meat go for gilts and me I like to cut them up enough to put in a cooler on ice for about 4 days constantly draining helps get a lot of strong wild game taste out of the meat makes good meat and great sausage out of it
        .

    2. avatar Anonymous says:

      How does the wild meat compare to pork in the grocery store?????

      Somewhere between vomit and dog s**t. Bit of both really. But grind it up with enough spices and it will be okay. Or use it with soup, stew, or chili. Don’t expect pork chops out of it.

      1. avatar OmnivorousBeorn says:

        In my experience, there are three reasons for why you say this: You don’t like any gamey taste, you’ve only tried boars that shouldn’t have been eaten, or the meat was not prepared properly. Or maybe all of the above.

        It’s not the same as a domestic pig, but if done right it’s good meat. Especially a nice fat sow. It’s not for everyone, though.

      2. avatar Philthegardner says:

        I agree with OB above. Any boar is never good for eating in my book. I will only target sows and their piglets. Dry rubbed, salted and slow cooked, and you’re good to go!
        The youngsters still sucking on their mommies are good enough for bbq. I just brine them for a day or so and get the coals fired up. Tastes better than anything from a grocery.

  2. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

    Missed the obvious suggestion, use those shoe sole warmers and pocket warmers…

  3. avatar Joleolsen says:

    Does anyone have a recommendation for a reasonably priced outfitter for HOG hunting in Missouri, Oklahoma or the surrounding states? I am not a hunter, but I would like to try and feral hogs might be a start.

    1. avatar possum, and the "Coons of Doom" says:

      Nothings Free in Waterworld. it’s pay to play,.purple Haze and Purple fence post purple rain and purple fence post , sign sign ever where a sign, blocking up the scenery, blowing my mind You Ain’t Supposed To Be Here.,,, No I know of no cheap places to shoottzen swine.

    2. avatar jimbthepilot says:

      Check out No Mercy outfitter in OK. Good setup. Lots of pigs. Reasonable prices.

  4. avatar possum says:

    The other night I was hanging out down in the bottoms and along comes this Pig. I say” Word up my Oinker?” He say, “Man I don’t know why everybody be hating on us Pigs, I think it’s a religion racciss thing,. They got that wrong too, the devil didn’t turn into a pig and jump off a cliff, God said sic em and We surrounded the bastard and we all went down. Hero’s we are, youd think Dog heaven, Cat heaven, even a gold fish heaven, But No , there ain’t no heavn for PIGS. ” >> Support Your Local Law Enforcement <<

  5. avatar JAMI says:

    This might come across stupid or naive to many of you hunters. I totally understand your right to hunt and to kill animals. I also understand that wild boar do destroy property. I’m writing this to ask. When you are hunting. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE make sure its not a person’s pig. This is a huge problem in the pig community. Yes there is a pig community. Most pig owners live in the country and have large fenced areas for them to roam. I live in a subdivision with a small woods behind me. My bright pink pig was shot dead with the excuse they thought he was a feral hog. He was a service animal and detects my seizures. All I’m asking is please be 100 % sure its not a pet before you shoot. Thank you.

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