They’re a menace. They’re smart, wiley, and considerably more dangerous than most other North American medium game animals. They also make tasty tasty bacon.
For an avid hunter, the spring and summer months are prime hog hunting opportunities. It keeps skills sharp, and keeps us out in the field scouting and learning the patterns of various prey. So, every year after cleaning and storing my goose and turkey equipment I start to put together my hog hunting setup.
In many areas, including Texas where I do most of my hunting, it’s legal to hunt hogs at night. A call to the local game warden to let him know is usually considered the polite thing to do however. Night hunting presents numerous challenges that we don’t normally deal with in the daylight.I’ve hunted numerous times with military grade PVS-14s. They are no longer top of the line, but the nice thing about technology continually marching forward is that the costs keep coming down. The PVS-14 for example is no longer an $8,000 piece of optics and electronics. It’s now down to around $3,900 and the price keeps falling. There are other optics such as FLIR along with other thermal sights, which are now priced around what the PVS-14 was just a few years ago.
These are pricey accessories, but horribly effective and fun as well. Still, you don’t need to break the bank in order to have fun pursuing porkers. The large sow pictured above was one I shot with a dirt cheap Howa 1500 topped off with a Leupold VX-3. Now, I know what you’re going to say: “You’ve got a piece of glass that costs more than the gun it’s sitting on!” and you would be correct. But the thing is that when hunting in low-light conditions the quality of your glass is immensely important.
We’re not talking about 600 yard shots here either, and the Howa 1500 is more than competent at making those more common 75-250 yard shots. With quality ammunition it’ll easily make “minute of pig” at those ranges. Having the ability to see your target is of much greater importance. Trying to discern the target area of a black boar at night is no easy task.
The other thing I do at this time of year is service any feeders or bait stations and change out the batteries in my hog lights. These lights are key if you’re able to hunt over a feeder at night. They don’t disturb the hogs and the LEDs give you plenty of battery life. I’ll also start adding more bait on the ground in the form of corn mixed with Tang or Kool-Aid. Any sugary powdered drink mix works pretty well I think.
Once all my gear is ready, the feeders set up, the really difficult part begins. Finding time to take off from work! The point is, if you’re like me and find the amount of time that you can spend in the woods to be limited, you need to spend that much more time ensuring you have quality gear that is set up correctly. It’s time well spent.