Bowhunting wild hogs is a great way to keep your skill level high through the off-season. Many states allow you to hunt hogs year round. This can give bowhunters the extra practice necessary to bring their skills to the next level. In the south especially the populations of hogs are on the rise. The opportunity is there for any hunter who would like a year-round bowhunting challenge in most states.
Shot Placement on Wild Hogs
There are some things to consider when placing a shot on a hog.
- Hogs have smaller vitals than Whitetail deer.
- The digestive organs make up most of what you see with a broadside shot.
- The heart and lungs are located further forward and lower than a Whitetail.
- Bigger boars have thick cartilage built up protecting their vitals from other hogs, and from would be bowhunters
Where to place an arrow on a hog
On hogs weighing less than 125 pounds a broadside shot will penetrate enough to kill.
Remember, a good broadhead will penetrate deeper than a rifle round. Rifle bullets are designed to expand and transfer energy. Broadheads are designed to cut and penetrate. Just follow the front legs up to the center line of the body. Placing a shot there will hit both lungs resulting in a quick death and an easy trail.
On Boars weighing more than 125 pounds: quartering away shots are the most lethal
Mature Boars wear a buildup of thick cartilage behind their shoulders. Being patient and waiting for a quartering way shot is best. When your boar is quartered away, aim for the opposite side front shoulder. This will allow your arrow to pass behind the cartilage and through the vitals on its way through the animal.
When to Find Hogs
- Just like whitetail deer, hogs are most active in the early mornings and late evenings.
- In some states it is legal to hunt hogs at night as well.
- Most deer hunters have seen wild hogs on deer hunts, they follow the same type of daily feeding patterns
Where to Bowhunt Hogs
Find trails being used by hogs
Hogs will often use trails to travel to and from their food source. Trails often converge on a water source or a natural barrier such as a fence and this is a great place to hunt. By looking at the tracks left in these trails it is easy to spot a hog track. A hog’s track is a heart-shaped hoof with the toe being more rounded than a whitetail deer. The trails often made by hogs will travel through very thick brush. Because of their shorter stature they can navigate easily through thicker terrain.
Hogs use shallow wet areas to roll around in the mud. This provides a cool place for them and protects from insects. Finding an area where hogs are actively wallowing will provide a great hunting opportunity. Once you find some trails in an area that have hog traffic look at the area on a map or the internet. The low wetlands nearby will provide them with a place to wallow and should be a great place to set up a stand.
Where do Hogs bed
If you find well used trails they will often lead to oval-shaped areas where the vegetation is trampled down. More often than not, these areas are in thickets providing security for bedded down hogs. As hogs are mostly nocturnal, following these trails quietly in the mid day will sometimes bring you to a group. Hogs do not see very well so moving slowly and quietly will bring you within bow range.
Signs to look for when scouting
Hogs are relatively easy to scout for and are a great animal for beginner bowhunters. Areas where hogs are actively feeding and living will show areas devastated by them. It is not uncommon to find large areas where the ground is rooted up and the bases of trees are black. This is caused by hogs rubbing against them. Finding a place showing those signs will definitely produce shots on feral pigs for you to hunt.
What do wild hogs eat
Feral pigs are omnivores. There’s not much they won’t eat. Natural foods like acorns, persimmons, fruits of cactus and commercial crops are what they prefer. They’ll also eat insects and worms, as well as small mammals and eggs. Hogs search for food in the ground by digging up soil with their feet and snouts, which is called rooting. This makes it easy to find where hogs are actively feeding.
It is very important to be wary of wind direction when stalking or hunting hogs. Their sense of smell is very keen. If you want to try stalking an animal as a beginner hogs are a great option. Their eyesight is not as powerful as some other animals. Moving slowly and quietly, and scanning the woods as you move will allow you to get within bow distance from them. Most likely, if you happen upon a wild hog it will be with several others. If sitting in a stand, set up near trail crossings or an area showing large amounts of the signs I have already talked about earlier in this article.
Broadheads for hunting hogs
I prefer mechanical broadheads with any type of bowhunting. The Rage two-blade with a chisel tip has produced great results on hogs for me over the last several years. The chisel shaped tip provides better penetration on bigger hogs than a typical blade up front. I have a full article on this broadhead HERE if you would like to know more. To check the current price on Amazon click HERE.
Other useful hog hunting tips
- Tiny means tender-When a group of hogs is within bow range remember that the littlest pigs will provide the best meal. Don’t forget they are an invasive species so any one will do, but if you are looking for the best meal the trophy boar may not be the way to go.
- Big trophy boars over 200lbs with polished tusks are a great challange for any bow hunter. Shot placement is key and a quartering away shot will be your best option. Aim so your arrow connects to the opposite shoulder and aim lower than normal for whitetail.
- Wear gloves when skinning and preparing wild pig. The warmer weather and bacteria present in pork make this essential. A slip of the knife with pork covered hands creating an open wound can lead to a nasty infection for you. So just play it smart and wear gloves!
- Florida and Texas have abundant hunting oportunities for wild hogs. Florida has populations in all 62 counties and they can be hunted at night, with dogs, and even without a hunting liscence in most areas. Texas has the highest population and is even more hunter friendly when it comes to this invasive species.
The bottom line is that bowhunting is a fantastic way to challenge yourself and focus on something that can provide generations of enjoyment. Bowhunting the toughest animal possible (that being wild hogs) is an even greater challenge and should be seen as a great thing. If you don’t already bowhunt I encourage you to give it a try. You will learn more about the animals you are hunting and get closer to nature than any other activity or hobby available. Good luck and see you next time!