Wild hogs are destructive to habitat
It’s always hog hunting season on private land in the Carolinas. Hog hunting regulations are among the least restrictive of any hunting regulations you’ll find. Night hunting for hogs on private land is legal, electronic calls are legal, baiting is legal, and hunters can use any legal firearm or archery equipment when hunting hogs. It sounds like the perfect scenario for all big game hunters!
But the truth is, far fewer people hunt wild hogs than hunt deer. Even among those who won’t hesitate to shoot a wild hog that happens to show up during a deer hunt, the vast majority stow their firearms away once deer season ends. And they leave them stowed until it’s time to get ready for the next deer season.
Hogs compete directly with deer for space and for food. They cause widespread damage to crops and natural food sources that deer rely on. And they’ll eat anything. Hogs are omnivores and are known to eat everything from small game animals to turkey eggs. And they will decimate food plots in short order.
To top it off, wild hogs are prolific breeders. The females typically produce their first litter at six months of age, and generally continue to breed every six months after that. By the time they’re having their second litter, all the females in their first litter are squirting out their own offspring. They can overpopulate an area in quick fashion, displacing deer and other animals.
Here’s the good of it
That all sounds like bad news. But there is some good in it. Bacon. Pork chops. Sausage. Wild hogs are delicious when prepared properly. And many wild game processors across the state now handle wild hogs year-round.
It’s also good that hunters can use their same weapon of choice to hunt hogs that they use for deer. So hunting hogs throughout the offseason for deer can keep them sharp on the trigger. That will cut down on “first deer of the year” jitters, because shooting the same gun will become second nature.
Wild hogs is also challenging. These animals are much smarter than most people give them credit for, and quickly become educated to the movements and actions of hunters. Hunting hogs will make anyone a better woodsman, and it will help improve the habitat for other game animals.
And let’s face it, one of the biggest reasons any of us hunt is because it’s just plain fun. And when it comes to hunting hogs, the options are endless. Hunting with dogs is a totally different game than hunting from a tree stand. And hunting with a shotgun from a ground blind is another option. Night-vision optics for night hunting adds another element that is not legal when deer hunting. Archery options are endless. Trapping is another method.
Extend your hunting season
It’s also a great way to extend the hunting season. Many deer hunters get everything from mild cases of cabin fever to outright depression once deer season ends. But hunters have the option of continuing to hunt the same land with the same firearms and archery gear that they use for deer hunting. And they can switch it up if they so choose to add more variety.
Aside from being able to shoot hogs year-round, hunting these animals also gives hunters the chance to scout deer all year long. That, coupled with keeping their shooting skills sharp will have any hunter in tip-top shape once deer season opens again.
In South Carolina, hunters are not bound by any bag limit. It’s the same in North Carolina. And while all the information above is true for private land, some public game lands also offer hog hunting.
So the question of the day is, why aren’t you hunting wild hogs?