Patrick Meitin has degrees in journalism and range and wildlife management. He’s been an outdoor writer, specializing in bowhunting, for more than 20 years. An expert with both traditional and modern archery equipment, Meitin lives in northern Idaho with his wife, Gwyn, and their two Labrador retrievers.
Wild Hogs:Favorite Summertime Game
Hog-Wild Summertime Fun!
People normally look at me funny when I relate how the lowly wild hog is my favorite bowhunting big-game animal. This is partly exaggeration, of course, though basically true in spirit, becuase my actual favorite is anything I happen to be bowhunting at the time, which might include anything from summertime bullfrogs or carp to fall elk or white-tailed deer. I say it's true in spirit because hogs don't involve grand preludes -- granted you live in the right part of the country. There are no application deadlines to remember, no draw odds to wring your hands about while waiting to see if you'll get to hunt months from now, normally no seasons to worry about (especially on private lands), sometimes not even the need for a hunting license (or at least they're highly affordable when they are needed). In most cases, if the hankering to bowhunt hogs hits you, it's a simple matter of making a couple phone calls, grabbing your gear and hitting the road -- no matter the season.
Hogs are also a great test of a new bowhunting outfit and especially terminal gear. Firstly, because hogs are so prolific and shooting opportunities are normally abundant. If some aspect of my new equipment setup or attire causes me to miss or otherwise blow an opportunity (say a quiver rattles to cause a string jump, or my synthetic hunting duds rustle to alert a hog's attention while drawing my bow) it's not the end of the world, at least not in the sense that missing a big buck in November might be viewed. Summer hogs allow me to perfect my bowhunting setup well before more coveted events arrive with fall. Most pointed, since hogs often present sturdier targets then the average deer, arrow/broadhead deficiencies are quickly revealed, assuring I don't include imperfect terminal tackle on a long-awaited hunt for something more desirable or exotic.
Another useful facet of hog hunting is landowners normally have little love for them. They wreck fences, damage waterlines, root agricultural fields and otherwise take up space many landowners deem better reserved for game such as native deer. Because of this, gaining permission to hunt hogs on private property is generally much easier (or more affordable) than for more prized big game. This also offers the opportunity to get your foot in the door. Eliminate some pesky hogs from the equation, mind your manners, develope a relationship with a landowner and they might just decide you're worthy of bowhunting their deer or turkeys later.
I recently observed a U.S. Fish and Wildlife report stating feral hog populations have been recorded in 42 of 50 states. The report focused primarily on the depredations of these non-native animals -- costing landowners and taxpayers billions of dollars annually -- and the negative impacts they've had on native game. I guess only a hunter could see the silver lining in the form of increased hunting opportunity in this -- and as Vincent Vega (John Travolta in the movie "Pulp Fiction") says, "Bacon tastes good. Pork chops taste good."