The all-new season of “Wild Boar Fever” kicked off in July on Outdoor Channel and airs every Saturday at 6:00 pm ET. Joining the cast this season is Mitch Petrie, the VP of Programming for Outdoor Sportsman Group. Listen in as Mitch joins us this week on The Revolution to talk about his experiences hunting wild boars in France.
Hog hunting in Europe is very different from hog hunting in the United States, Mitch says. In Europe there is a great respect for wild boars and they are highly managed, much like many dedicated whitetail hunters in the U.S manage the deer on their property. European land managers set quotas on the size, sex and number of animals they want removed from their property, and then hunters must keep those management goals in mind while in the field.
Before ever heading into the field and shooting at hogs, the “Wild Boar Fever” team took to the range to train and test their skill set. Mitch says they shot at balloons and a moving hog target that simulates the size and speed of an average boar. While many viewers may sit back and opine about their ability to do it better, Mitch says it’s actually very difficult to make these shots and many people would be humbled by the experience. A lot of practice goes into shooting wild boars with precision and accuracy. Mitch says that it was difficult and one of the most challenging parts may have been establishing the right lead in order to make a quick, clean, ethical shot. Leading by as much as 6 to 12 inches in front of the boar’s nose, Mitch says that the ideal shot hits behind the ear leading to the animal dropping immediately. When aiming at a spot the size of a grapefruit on an animal that could be running up to 20 miles per hour, accuracy and shot placement can be difficult.
The hunts aren’t about shooting a trophy, but rather about management on the property they are hunting. It’s not just about shooting big boars, Mitch says. Instead, hunters are given daily quotas that limit the number of boars or sows a hunter can take of a certain size. One of the biggest challenges of driven wild boar hunting is being able to size, sex and shoot an animal all in a very short time frame. It’s just not something that most Americans could pull off without help, Mitch says.
In driven boar hunts, hunters step into elevated ground blinds and wait for beaters and dogs to push animals toward them. Although the wild boars are pushed toward them, there are no guarantees of success. Because these animals are being driven, there are not a lot of broadside shots where the animal is standing perfectly still. Instead, the hogs often come in hot, running at a fast pace and weaving through the vegetation to avoid taking a bullet. Hunters aren’t just out for any hog, remember. They have to keep in mind the management goals of the property owner and select hogs that meet the size and sex requirements. Because they are so quick and evasive, wild boars can make sizing and sexing quickly very difficult. Mitch says the ability to look for physical signs that help you determine sex, analyze the size of the boar, decide whether or not to shoot and then ultimately to aim and pull the trigger, all in a matter of seconds before the boar gets away, is very tough. To offset this challenge as someone new to driven boar hunting he had a skilled pro join him in the stand to help him make those determinations quickly. Armed with a Sauer rifle chambered in .308 and an Aimpoint red dot sight on top, Mitch says the equipment was a crucial part of the hunt. Driven boar hunters need a fast cycling rifle and the Aimpoint allowed him to keep both eyes open which, Mitch notes, made it easier for him to acquire his targets and make quick shots.
The cast on “Wild Boar Fever” includes some of the world’s finest driven-boar shooters like Franz-Albrecht, a highly skilled marksman that makes hog hunting and the very challenging shots look easy. Mitch says that Franz is like the Michael Jordan of driven hog hunting and that his skill set really puts him in an entirely new league. Franz’s ability to pick out multiple boars in a group, shoot, cycle, repeat and make good shots every time is an incredible skill, Mitch says. The rest of the cast is very impressive as well and they shine a light on the strong hunting cultures that can be found in Europe. In particular, Mitch highlights Désirée Lantz, and discusses how she went to school from an early age to become a hunter learning hunting, shooting and dog handling skills. While that isn’t something that you see available to kids in American schools, it does highlight the rich hunting culture that exists elsewhere in the world.
Be sure to watch the all-new season of “Wild Boar Fever” on Outdoor Channel, every Saturday at 6:00 pm ET. You can also binge watch past seasons and episodes and behind the scenes footage of “Wild Boar Fever” anytime you want with the MyOutdoorTV app.