When it comes to the subject of hunting and patterning wild hogs, there is much conjecture as to what is fact and what is fiction. The sport of hog hunting has grown much during the past decade, and to those of us deeply involved with the sport, it is evident that the sport’s popularity will continue to grow as the hog population booms.
With all the new blood that has recently joined the ranks of hog hunters, there are obviously scores of questions, truths and mistruths surrounding the sport. Here are a few things that are true.
Truth No. 1: Food Is King
There are many factors that influence hogs’ day-to-day movements. Hunting pressure and food sources are two of the most important. When I have clients coming out for a hog hunt, we always spend time in the woods beforehand scouting and setting feeders in the areas with the most hog sign.
One of the best tools we’ve found to attract hogs is a 6-gallon bucket with electric feeder, the kind you suspend from a tree limb via a rope or wire. These little feeders are lightweight and hold about 40 pounds of corn. They are easy to get back into the backcountry and heavy cover that hogs call home. Once we locate a spot that attracts and holds hogs for an extended period, we move in a 55-gallon barrel and replace the portable feeder. When set to feed about 1-pound of corn twice a day, the little feeders will keep corn on the ground for about two weeks. We usually let them feed for a week undisturbed, then check them for hog sign. If they are being hit well, we refill them, set a ladder stand and are set for the next hunt.
Truth No. 2: Hogs Love Oil
Do you ever look at power poles in areas with excellent wild hog populations? It’s a good bet the poles will be well-rubbed by hogs. Hogs love to scrape their sides and ears on these poles because of the creosote that serves as an insect repellant. Hogs also love to rub in motor oil for the same reason, especially used oil that has been drained from the engine.
We cut small green saplings, usually cedars about 6 feet long, and wire them between two trees about 20 inches above the ground. We wrap burlap bags around the poles and secure them with wire, then saturate the burlap with used motor oil. I have sat on stand and watched hogs pass up corn on the ground under the feeder to hit these artificial “rubs.” They are an absolute lethal way to attract and hold hogs to your hunting area, just make sure and check with the game department in your area to ensure this practice is legal.
Truth No. 3: You Can Call Hogs
Years ago, I spotted a group of hogs moving through some heavy brush. It would have been impossible to stalk within bow range, so I set up behind a big tree and waited. The hogs had no reason to leave the matted vegetation. Rather than spooking them, I used my boar grunter call. It sounds like a big boar fighting another hog, or tender grunts boars make when after a hot sow. I gave a short chorus of the tender grunt and within seconds was staring at one big, black boar about 30 yards away. I have used pig squealers and found them to work well on sows and gilts, too.
Truth No. 4: Shot Placement Is Everything
Like with any game animal, it’s shot placement that puts hogs on the meat pole. Granted, a big boar weighing 300 pounds or better is one tough adversary. If you hunt it with a bow, you better put that arrow BEHIND that thick, grizzled shoulder into the heart-lung region. In truth, any bow that will effectively harvest whitetails is quite adequate for the hog woods. You just have to make the shot.
I have personally guided young bow hunters that knew “where” and “how” to place their arrow and made killing shots with bows that pulled as little as 45 pounds. I keep my bow set at 62 pounds and shoot mechanical broadheads.
Truth No. 5: Mechanical Broadheads Work
Mechanical heads for hogs? Yes. My mechanical broadhead of choice opens to a full 2 inches. It is well-designed and is constructed of the finest steel. On many occasions, I have made less-than-perfect shots, often only clipping the hog’s liver with the outside edge of the gigantic 2-inch cutting swath. With a standard broadhead, these shots would have cut only muscle and left a very sparse blood trail.
What would happen if my mechanical centered the leg bone on a big hog, you might ask? The answer is it probably wouldn’t penetrate more than 2 or 3 inches and do very little damage. But the sharpest, thinnest broadhead centered on the front shoulder leg bone of a big hog will also be inadequate in making a quick, killing shot. Again, it’s arrow placement that kills hogs. So don’t sacrifice practice and accuracy just because you use a mechanical.
Editor's Note: This was originally published in 2009.
Bonus Read: The History of the Broadhead
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