How to Hunt Hogs at Night
If you have never hunted at night and you would like to start there are several things you will need to know and a few products that will help make you hunt more successful as well as enjoyable. Before or after you decide on a feeder light we recommend that you go ahead and set your feeder timer to throw corn at whatever time of the night that you will be hunting to get the hogs acclimated to show up during that time. Set the feeder to throw corn a second time somewhere between 30 minutes to an hour later to keep them used to eating at that feeder every night. This way if you get to your stand late or bump some hogs coming in you have a better chance when you feeder is throwing a second time or two an hour later. Whether you hunt with a rifle or a bow you must 1st invest in a good feeder light to get started. We also highly recommend a good remote control for your feeder if you don't already have one such as THE-REMOTE. By utilizing a good remote on your feeder you will be able to draw spooked hogs back in for a shot, sometimes several times. Some hogs once spooked by shifting winds can be charmed back in immediately and sometimes 30 minutes to an hour later by sounding the dinner bell of golden nuggets once again. This time they might come from a totally different location and wind direction or a whole new group could move in on you while you lie in wait! Having a remote in hand will greatly increase your success rate! When hunting any animal proper stand placement with consideration to the direction the wind will be blowing your scent is critical to a successful hunt but especially when it comes to hogs! As a rule of thumb, always try and keep the wind in your face whenever possible to up your odds. Hogs are probably one of the hardest animals to hunt if you are not careful about your scent and wind direction. Camo is not a must at night and you can wear whatever you are comfortable in. Since we bowhunt we just set up some tripods in an open field 20 yards or less from a feeder and wear dark colored clothing with great success. When hunting with a rifle we recommend trying to get about 75 yards or more away to increase your chances of success since a hog’s snout is very good at detecting human odor.
If you hunt with a rifle we recommend a good rifle scope or possibly even one with an illuminated recticle so you can make out the black cross-hairs against a dark colored background such as a black hog. If you hunt with a bow and don't have a bow sight light you will need get one to be able to see your pins on your sight once you get drawn. You might also want to make sure you have a medium to large peep sight to insure you have enough light and a good sight picture when you get ready to shoot. A 1/4 inch or larger peep sight will work best and a lot of bowhunters will use a string splitter type peep sight to insure they can see through their peep when the time is right. Sometimes very small peep sights make it harder to hunt at night or in low light. One thing that we have found to be very helpful when bow hunting at night is to use some high quality glow paint and paint your peep sight with it. Before you start hunting just shine a bright light on it for a couple of minutes and the paint will take a charge and glow brightly for hours. When bowhunting it is very helpful to use a lighted arrow nock to view you shot placement of your arrow. If you really want to increase your odds of success it wouldn't hurt to have the aid of a momentary target illuminator on your rifle or bow in case an animal is out of range and not visible under or around the feeder light. Utilizing a good momentary target illuminator you can get ready for the shot with a rifle by simply pressing the pressure sensitive switch to light the animal up once you get your rifle scope settled on them. If using a bow you can get to full draw on the animal and then press the pressure sensitive switch to illuminate your target. In areas with extra elusive boars or wary hogs and varmints you may want to aim your target illuminator up in the sky and turn your light on and very slowly come back down on the animal to avoid spooking them with a sudden blast of light in their face regardless of the color of light or LED you are using. We carry quality but affordable bow mounted lights and rifle mounted momentary target illuminators for rifles and archery equipment. Before setting out on your first night hunt you may want to step outside one night a few days before your hunt to make sure all of your equipment and gear is working properly.
Once you have shot a hog at night it is very helpful to put up a Shot Spot-R which is an after the shot laser pointer that you can clip on a tree or stand to mark the last place you saw the hog or point to the place the hog was standing last when you took your shot. After waiting the proper amount of time you can go straight to the where that big red laser spot is on the ground and start looking for signs of a hit. Use a good blood tracking light such as The Kill Light Adjustable Beam Blood Track-R, old gas lantern, strong bright flashlight or spotlight to look for signs of a hit. Once you find any sign of a hit it is very helpful to use some illumitacks (LED Tacks) to mark the spot on a tree, leaf, cactus, fence, fencepost or grass with an illumitack and start trailing. As you progress further down the trail you can put out more illumitacks till you recover your quarry and you can stay on the trail and not get easily turned around. Once you have found your game, simply mark the spot or something above your animal with an illumitack and easily go back to retrieve your gear and or come back with help to load your animal. You obviously don't need all of the above items to start night hunting but we have found after several years of night hunting ourselves that doing so they will certainly make it a lot more enjoyable as well as help us fellow night owls get more rest!
If you don't already have some of these helpful products described above and outlined below you can easily purchase them all from this website in our online product catalog or simply click on the item you are interested in learning more about.
Night hunting is our specialty!
Kill Light Feeder Light (hog light that mounts under your feeder)
THE-REMOTE (remote control to activate your corn feeder)
illumitacks Bow Sight Illuminator (an illuminator for your fiber optic sight pins on your bow sight )Lumenoks (lighted arrow nocks)
Kill Light XLR100 (momentary target illuminator or bowlight)
Shot Spot-R (laser pointer for marking animals exit path)
Glow Paint (Luminous paint fort sight pins and peep sights)
Adjustable Beam Blood Track-R (Best tracking and blood trailing light ever!)
illumitacks Game Recovery Kit for marking blood trails and locating your animal (LED trail tacks)
Thanks for reading and we hope this article has been helpful to you. If you have any questions about anything in this article or just comments or tips you may want to add that we left out feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and if we use your e-mail or tips we will send you some free hunting stuff!
EWT - Staff
Where to shoot a hog 101
Hogs are not the easiest beast to kill and successfully recover. Shot placement is very important! Most hunters try and shoot a hog in the same area they would a deer but the kill zone is much smaller and more critical. Always better to aim low and forward then high and back. Take a good look at this drawing of a hogs anatomy so you will remember next time you’re in the field hunting hogs you will have the confidence you need to make the right shot. Most hunters shoot a hog a little further back as if it were a deer and they end up gut shooting the hog. The hog will die but will usually be pushed far away as the hunter searches for his hog. If at all possible smell the blood you find and if it has a terrible pungent odor then you went through some guts and it might be best to pull out and give the hog time to lay down and expire before tracking any further. Hogs don't usually bleed very well also which makes them a tough critter to recover which is even more reason to make your shot count. Good luck and shoot straight!
Can Hogs See Lights at night?
What color light do hogs see? Can hogs see red light? Do hogs see green light? Is red light better than green light for hunting hogs at night? The simple answer to this age old question is yes and no. Let me explain, most all animals can see white light and colored light at night. Most of the time the source of the light is more visible then the light itself. In other words the actual emitter, bulb or LED light source is seen but not the actual light cast from the light emitter or flashlight. Pigs will react or respond to a white light more negatively than a colored light such as green, blue or red. When a light of any color is aimed up in the air and turned on, then slowly brought down on the hogs properly, 9 times out of 10 they will not spook and you can easily get your shot off in time. Even when a white light is used properly it can be a very effective tool at eliminating most of your hogs from an over populated hawg area. When a true green light such as a clear LED that actually emits a true green light such as the Kill Light is used the hogs are usually not spooked by it even on the 1st night it is hung under a hog feeder. A red LED is another good choice for hunting hogs at night but you cannot see as well with a red LED as opposed to a green LED. A blue LED is not a bad choice either but the most common colored light used when hunting hogs at night is green or red. With technology evolving every day in the hunting world several great lights have been brought to market just recently that are very cheap and affordable but are quality lights that will get the job done of eliminating and thinning the ever growing hog population substantially! One of the most effective tools for removing problem hogs from your property is to set a deer feeder up with a timed feed to dispense corn a couple of times at night when someone can be available to hunt. Use a Kill Light or other feeder light mounted under the feeder to illuminate the hogs that come in for a shot. By utilizing a good feeder remote control you can almost always up your odds for success and lure them back in over and over for more opportunities. The-Remote will work up to 175 yards away and will not use hardly any feeder battery power in standby mode. Another highly effective hog remover tool is a super high powered bow light or high powered tactical light mounted to your scope or gun barrel. Elusive Wildlife Technologies has several options here. We offer a super high current and powerful 4.5 Watt LED flashlight that mounts to a gun or a bows stabilizer. It comes with a pressure switch or and on and off switch. This light with a red LED will put out over 180 lumen’s of light out to 90-100 yards. Our green LED version will shine a little further. Our white light will put out over 350 lumen's and shine over 100 yards! Several rifle, scope and barrel mounts are available for these lights as well as mounts to put the light on your bow via your stabilizer or your bows stabilizer mounting hole. These lights can be purchased with 10 year lithium ion rechargeable batteries and a dual station lithium ion charger as well that is highly recommended. Next to using the methods we have described above about the only other effective tool for hog removal would be implementing several hog traps on your property in your most hog infested areas. Some people will build a very large pen in almost a circle and then leave it open on one end and start putting lots of corn in the middle of the pen for the hawgs. Once the pigs are acclimated and used to feeding there they will pull one of the hog panels closed where the hogs have to push their way in but once they are in they can't push their way out. This method usually will catch several pigs at one time. For advice or questions on any of the above techniques simply e-mail us at email@example.com and we will be happy to assist you.
.Below is some helpful information provided by Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. Feral hogs are unprotected, exotic, non-game animals. Therefore, they may be taken by any means or methods at any time of year. There are no seasons or bag limits, however a hunting license and landowner permission are usually required to hunt them in Texas. Check with the laws of your state to find out when, where and how to hunt them in your local area and if a hunting license is a requirement.
Feral hogs may appear basically the same as domestic hogs and will vary in color and coat pattern. A mature feral hog may reach a shoulder height of 36 inches and weigh from 100 to over 400 pounds. The extreme larger hogs are generally not far removed from domestication. Males are generally larger than females. European wild hogs are about the same size; however, their legs and snouts are usually longer and they have a larger head in proportion to the body. Their body is covered with long, stiff, grizzled colored hairs, long side whiskers, a longer straighter tail, and a nape on the neck giving the European hog a razorback, sloped appearance. The crossing of European and feral hogs often produces an offspring with some European characteristics. Feral hogs are more muscular than domestic hogs, and have very little fat.
Additionally, the hairs of European appearing hogs and their hybrids frequently have multiple split ends. The young are born a reddish color with black longitudinal stripes. As they mature, the coat color becomes predominantly dark brown or black.
Hogs have four continuously growing tusks (two on top, two on bottom) and their contact causes a continuous sharpening of the lower tusks. They have relatively poor eyesight but have keen senses of hearing and smell.
Feral hogs are distributed throughout much of Texas, generally inhabiting the white-tailed deer range, with the highest population densities occurring in East, South and Central Texas. North and West Texas have very low or no populations. However, reports indicate that populations are beginning to expand and increase in these areas. There is currently an estimated population in excess of 1.5 million feral hogs in Texas.
The increase in population and distribution is due in part to intentional releases, improved habitat, increased wildlife management, and improved animal husbandry such as disease eradication, limited natural predators, and high reproductive potential. There seem to be very few inhibiting factors to curtail this population growth and distribution although extreme arid conditions may impede it.
Feral hogs are capable of breeding at six months of age but eight to ten months is normal, provided there is good nutrition. Under poor habitat conditions, sows have been known to eat their young. Gestation is around 115 days with an average litter size of four to six, but under good conditions may have ten to twelve young. While capable of producing two litters per year, research has shown the majority of sows have only one per year. Young may be born throughout the year with peak production in the early spring. The young are born with a 1:1 male to female sex ratio. Feral hogs generally travel in family groups called sounders, comprised normally of two sows and their young. Mature boars are usually solitary, only joining a herd to breed.
Feral hogs are omnivorous, meaning they eat both plant and animal matter. They are very opportunistic feeders and much of their diet is based on seasonal availability. Foods include grasses, forbs, roots and tubers, browse, mast (acorns), fruits, bulbs and mushrooms. Animal matter includes invertebrates (insects, snails, earthworms, etc.), reptiles, amphibians, and carrion (dead animals), as well as live mammals and birds if given the opportunity. Feral hogs are especially fond of acorns and domestic agricultural crops such as corn, milo, rice, wheat, soybeans, peanuts, potatoes, watermelons and cantaloupe. Feral hogs feed primarily at night and during twilight hours, but will also feed during daylight in cold or wet weather.
Feral hogs are found in a variety of habitats from moist pine forests in East Texas to the brush country of South Texas. They prefer bottomlands such as rivers, creeks, and drainages when available. Hogs are generally found in dense vegetation cover often associated with water, but also do well in drought prone environments. During hot weather, feral hogs enjoy wallowing in wet, muddy areas and are never far from dense protective cover. They will concentrate in areas of food availability, especially where there are nut producing trees or agricultural crops.
Their home range is based mainly on food availability and cover. It is usually less than 5,000 acres, but can range up to 70,000 acres. In general, boars have a larger home range and will also travel greater distances.
Feral hogs compete directly with livestock as well as game and nongame wildlife species for food. However, the main damage caused to livestock and wildlife is indirect destruction of habitat and agriculture commodities. Rooting and trampling activity for food can damage agricultural crops, fields, and livestock feeding and watering facilities. Often wildlife feeders are damaged or destroyed. They also destabilize wetland areas, springs, creeks and tanks by excessive rooting and wallowing. In addition to habitat destruction and alteration, hogs can destroy forestry plantings and damage trees. While not active predators, wild hogs may prey on fawns, young lambs, and kid goats. If the opportunity arises, they may also destroy and consume eggs of ground nesting birds, such as turkeys and quail.
The average life expectancy, under good conditions, in a wild hog population is about four to five years; however, they may live up to eight years.
Mortality in feral hog populations is greatest in the young less than three months of age, mainly due to accident, starvation and predation. Adult mortality is largely due to hunting, parasites, disease and tooth deterioration. Predation by mountain lions, coyotes and bobcats is only a minor limiting factor.
In general, diseases from wild hogs do not pose a significant threat to humans; however, some diseases can be transmitted to livestock and wildlife. It is important to keep all livestock vaccinated, especially where large feral hog populations are concentrated.
Various diseases of wild hogs include pseudorabies, swine brucellosis, tuberculosis, bubonic plague, tularemia, hog cholera, foot and mouth disease, and anthrax. Internal parasites include kidney worms, stomach worms, round worms and whipworms. Liver flukes and trichinosis are also found in hogs. External parasites include dog ticks, fleas and hog lice.
Pseudorabies, also known as "mad itch" is a swine herpes virus that may affect the respiratory, nervous and reproductive systems. Despite its name, it is not a rabies type disease but derives its name from the symptoms similar to a rabid animal. It is transmitted primarily through breeding but may also to be transmitted through respiratory secretions of the infected animal. Infected adult swine typically develop flu-like symptoms whereas young pigs can have severe respiratory and digestive symptoms and ultimately die. Pseudorabies poses no threat to humans but may be fatal to domestic livestock and pets.
Swine Brucellosis is an infectious, bacterial, reproductive disease that can cause abortion, low conception rates and other problems. It is transmittable to humans, known as undulant fever, and causes flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, aches and pains. It is treatable with specific antibiotics.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department recommends all hunters use disposable plastic or rubber gloves when field dressing or cleaning wild swine. Bury or burn the gloves and entrails and then wash your hands with soap and hot water. And finally, make sure the meat is thoroughly cooked.
Yes, meat from feral hogs is extremely tasty and much leaner than penraised pork. The meat from older boars may be tougher and rank tasting if not prepared adequately. As with all pork, care should be taken and the meat well cooked. Otherwise, it should be prepared just like market hogs. The slower the meat is cooked, the more tender and tasty it becomes.
Although somewhat similar in appearance and habits, feral hogs and javelinas are not related. While feral hogs are indeed true pigs, javelinas belong to a totally separate family of mammals. Javelinas are smaller, have an unnoticeable tail, only one dew claw on the hind foot, a scent gland near the base of the tail, a grizzled-grayish coat with a white band of hair around the shoulder or "collar," and are more social or herd-like animals. Although feral hogs and javelinas inhabit the same range in South and Central Texas, they are not compatible.
Feral hogs are equipped with a tough shoulder hide, which is made of a tough scar tissue. This is formed through continuous fighting and it hardens as the animal ages and survives more fights.
Because feral hogs are largely nocturnal, the visible signs they leave behind are often all there is to indicate their presence. These signs include wallowing, rooting, rubs, crossings, trails and scat (droppings). Wallows are found in muddy areas and are made where hogs root and roll in the mud. They do this to cool off and also the mud protects their skin from the sun and insects. Rubs are then made when hogs scratch or rub themselves on tree trunks, telephone poles, fence posts, and rocks leaving a noticeable sign with mud and hair often left clinging. The height of the rub often indicates the size of the hog.
Rooting is easily recognized because it looks as if the soil has been plowed. Most often rooting takes place over a large area. Some rooting holes can be as much as three feet deep, which possibly could cause vehicle damage. A hog track is similar to a deer track except the toes are more rounded and wider in comparison to length. Hog hair is easily distinguished from other mammals and may be found at fence crossings and rubs. Scat appears very much like that of a small calf, being dropped in several small piles, which is very distinct from deer pellets or predator cord-like droppings.
All wild animals have the potential of being dangerous, especially when wounded or cornered. In a natural state, feral hogs will prefer to run and escape danger, and are not considered dangerous. Extreme caution should be maintained when tracking wounded animals, trapping animals or encountering females with young. Their razor sharp tusks combined with their lightning speed can cause serious injury.
Although feral hogs are not classified as game animals, a hunting license is required to hunt them. Feral hogs are very intelligent and considered to be challenging quarry. Many hunters consider the long tusks and mean appearance a genuine trophy, in addition to the quality of meat. They also provide a great off-season challenge and opportunities to hone hunting skills and spend time in the field.
There are many hunting techniques used, including stand hunting over a baited area, quite often incidental to white-tailed deer hunting. Stalking or still hunting over baited areas and areas indicating recent hog activity, such as wallows, are commonly used techniques. Corn or milo, often soaked in water and allowed to sour and then buried underground is good bait.
Night hunting with a spotlight is often used; however, the local game warden must be notified beforehand. Hunting with well-trained dogs is another hunting method utilized and can be very exciting. Because the feral hog has such a tough hide the best rifle calibers to use should be a .243 or greater to prevent wounding and loss of the animal. Bowhunting, muzzleloading, and handguns are also popular among sportsmen to hunt feral hogs.
Trapping is a common method utilized by sportsmen and landowners. Live trapping enables the individual to harvest the animal, fatten it up, or sell it. It also allows numerous individuals to be caught at once without an active participant. Several types and designs of live traps can be utilized. The most common design is a 4 foot by 8 foot heavy duty cage with a spring door, root door (see diagram, p. 19), or drop door. Snares can also be used effectively when placed under fences in travelways that surround active areas; however nontarget animals may also be captured. In some areas of Texas, aerial gunning from a helicopter is an efficient technique. There are currently no birth control, toxicants or repellents registered for the control of feral hogs.
The feral hog has managed to survive, adapt, and increase their numbers despite attempts at population control. While it is possible to keep the population in check with continuous control, it is highly unlikely to eradicate a hog population within an established range.
No, feral hogs are prolific breeders and can cause considerable damage. They can destroy habitat, and compete directly or indirectly with all other species of wildlife. While many hunters might like hogs as part of the lease, the adverse effects often counter any potential economic incentives. TPWD considers feral hogs nuisance animals and does not support the introduction of feral hogs. Feral hogs are considered an under-utilized resource on many Texas ranges.
The Texas Animal Health Commission has enacted regulations requiring all feral hogs in Texas to be tested and certified to be disease free before being released into the wild for whatever purposes. They may however, be legally transported to slaughter or livestock sale for slaughter. If stocking is desired, only castrated males (barrows) should be considered. Because they cannot reproduce, they will grow larger, fatter and often produce larger tusks.