Although pigs can be aggressive and dangerous, they have somehow avoided that dirty reputation. I’ll blame it on the internet and the images floating around of piglets cuddling puppies that somehow make people believe they are sweet, gentle animals. However, this isn’t Charlotte's Web, hunters have to be on their toes. If you spend any time at all pursing hogs you’ll quickly find out that they are actually highly intelligent, incredibly adaptable and have razor sharp tusks that complement their bad attitudes. When it comes to dicey situations with hogs, Pigman says it can get dangerous really fast. He notes that the style of hunting done here in the U.S. is entirely different than that from European countries where wild boar drives are quite common. Instead, American hunters are often within closer physical proximity when stalking and baiting pigs or tracking them after they have been shot and/or wounded. As a result, encounters with hostile hogs are fairly common and something that Pigman is very familiar with. Illustrating his point, he says his body is covered with lacerations from pig teeth and says there is no disputing their dangerous nature.
Pigman hunts hogs with about every legal form of weaponry out there, including pistols. In particular, he says that the Smith & Wesson Performance Center Revolvers are what he shoots and relies on. He briefly discusses the 500 S&W Magnum, but says that he actually spends more time with the 460 S&W Magnum. Pigman explains that the recoil on the 460 is noticeably less than that of the 500 and when paired with a Hornady 200-grain FTX, it’s deadly. He highlights the capabilities of the 460 and says that for pigs, whatever it hits, it will stop. Hog hunting success is dependent upon the ability of a shooter to make a good shot. Pigman says that handguns are harder to shoot than rifles, so the shooter needs to be practiced. He also highlights the importance of a good clean trigger pull, plus the need for a solid rest like the BOG Pod he uses.
Ready to school us all with the facts, Professor Pigman pulls the curtain back on some surprising hog stats here in America. Citing studies from Texas A&M, ground zero for the hog invasion, Pigman lays out the facts. 1) In 2012 there were an estimated 2 to 3 million hogs in Texas. 2) That population expands at an estimated rate of 18-25% per year. 3) The average feral hog density in Texas is 1.3 - 2.5 per square mile. 4) In 2017 there were nearly 8.6 million hogs in Texas and in 2019 that population could soar to as high as 14 million hogs. 5) To reach a stable population of hogs, 66% of the populations would have to be removed annually on a long-term basis. Looking at those numbers, Pigman says it’s clear we aren’t even close to putting a dent in the resident population of feral hogs, and that means it’s a great time to be Pigman!
Pigman says that the sheer number of hogs not only cause millions upon millions of dollars in damage each year, but they are also a problem for wildlife, too. “When pigs move in, deer move out,” he says. Clarifying, Pigman explains that pigs aren’t actually physically running deer out of particular areas. Instead, property owners or managers who put out feeders with the intent of feeding and bettering the health of the resident deer herds quickly find that pigs will take over the feeders and the deer won’t come back. Pigman also notes the complexity of the hog issue in Texas, specifically the use of the poison “warfarin”, approved to control feral hogs. While many property owners, ranchers, lease holders and more once shot hogs regularly for the meat, Pigman says that many are too scared to eat it after the implementation of warfarin. That fear means that many have stopped shooting hogs altogether. Because the population is already so large and shows no signs of slowing down, Pigman says, realistically, the only way to effectively eradicate hogs from the landscape is to hunt them from helicopters.
Returning for another round of hog talk, Pigman dives right in and explains why he prefers to hunt over red lights at night, as opposed to green or other colors. Recalling a specific experience, he talks about hunting a ranch that hadn’t been grazed by livestock or pressured by people at all for years. After letting a feeder scatter corn for a few days, Pigman says he returned and saw hogs that had never seen a human before and had never had lights shined on them either. Setting up near a feeder at dark with hogs coming in, he shined a green light only to have the hogs scatter. Conversely, when using a red light, solid or strobing, it had no effect on them. Based on his testing, Pigman says that red lighting is his personal preference. It’s not all about sight and light though, when you’re hunting hogs you have to think about scent as well. Deer hunters have really taken scent elimination to heart and go to great lengths to reduce their odor. However, the truth is that a hog’s nose is far more sensitive than a deer. Pigman says a pig will wind you a lot quicker than a deer will. Knowing that, hog hunters have to think about their approach to scent, as well. Pigman says that his secret weapon is Dead Down Wind products. Packing all his clothes into Dead Down Wind bags to prevent scent from permeating them in transport, Pigman says that he waits to get dressed until he has arrived at his location. On top of wearing scent free clothes, he also uses a healthy dose of Dead Down Wind spray. Plus, he reminds hunters that it is still completely necessary to play the wind, that scent elimination alone isn’t enough. Because their noses are so discerning, Pigman says you’ll be able to watch the pigs and take cues from their body language to see if they are aware of your presence. Thermals, changing wind directions and other factors play a big role in how your scent travels and if a pig raises its head or grunts, they’ve sounded the alarm and Pigman says you’re busted.
Finally, Pigman looks to the future. The proliferation of hogs in America is real, and especially in the southern states. Because the terrain is so different toward the west and the vegetation is not as abundant as it is in Texas and the eastern states, Pigman says that a hog explosion in those western states isn’t as likely. However, hogs are pouring out of Texas and moving north and east. Pigman blows the whistle and says that Oklahoma will soon be facing the same issues that have been plaguing Texas for years, noting they are looking down the barrel of a major pig issue in the near future. With the number of pigs running around the American landscape, hog hunters will have plenty of bacon to chase for a long time to come! It’s time to get out your notebook and write down some tips from the pinching pro himself, Pigman.
Pop some pigs,