Feral Hogs: Gateway of Hunting Opportunity
Hunting in America may be more identified with the cooler weather of autumn and winter, but despite the soaring mercury of summer, for many serious outdoorsman, thoughts of this great tradition are never far away. Fortunately, for sportsmen looking to satisfy that in-the-woods itch behind their favorite firearm, hog hunting provides some serious year-round opportunity.
With current feral hog numbers estimated to be at more than 5 million animals and the destructive population anticipated to eventually expand into virtually every state in the continental U.S., one man’s bane is most definitely another man’s hunting opportunity. In Texas alone, these wild porkers are responsible for causing more than $400 million in crop damage and in other places such as Florida, South Carolina, Alabama and Georgia they are despised for the destruction they cause to not just crops, but yards, food plots and nearly anywhere they can root for food. In the hunter, the frustrated landowner has a valuable ally, and this can definitely open doors to hunting grounds often otherwise closed to the public.
Let’s face it, for most types of hunting, the days of walking up to a farmer’s door and getting permission to hunt are long gone. With the popularity of hunt leases, not to mention the economic benefits it provides the landowner, most land where hunting is allowed is spoken for, particularly where the more popular pursuits of deer, turkey, waterfowl and other game birds are involved. But for destructive critters such as hogs—and even predators—many landowners are only too happy to have someone willing to remove the animals for free in order to protect their crops, livestock or to simply help better balance the habitat for other game species. Hog hunting—and again, predator hunting—can be valuable in opening the door of these new opportunities.
Find a landowner who will allow you to hunt hogs and be respectful of his land by closing gates, picking up litter, only driving where he says and even offering to help with a chore or two. Offer him or her a share of the tasty meat you secure. Gaining such permission can be the toehold you’ve been looking for into a new place to hunt. Follow the rules, and you just may make a friend who will invite you back to hunt other species or at the very least, if they lease the land, may let you know first when theirs or a friend’s land is available. What’s even better, you can hunt these destructive porkers year round in most areas and often without bag limits making it a great summer hunting opportunity. So when you go, be sure to take plenty of ammo and get ready to satisfy that hunting itch.
Photo courtesy of USDA.
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