3 Reasons To Hunt Hogs This Summer – Not only are feral hogs a hoot to hunt, offering a near ideal half-blind, devil-may-care attitude toward the world around them, but they generally have fewer rules attached. They are now found in more states than ever, too. Most states—California, unsurprisingly, being the only exception to come to mind—require no special licenses and no bag limits or seasons. This makes them a convenient off-season quarry. And while bowhunters welcome bowhunting opportunity, most landowner loathe them, making trespass easily gained or at least more affordable. You can also feel good about this program, helping rid the landscape of the invasive species, while securing some delicious pork for the freezer.
I have long used summertime feral hogs to achieve three important goals. In order of importance to me, let’s jump right in.
Feral hogs are an excellent test of terminal tackle I may be considering using on more important game such as deer or elk. For example, I can test a new broadhead design to see if real-world results match advertised claims for penetration, reliability and blood-letting qualities. While gaining trust in mechanical designs when that style head was brand new, for instance, I used average-sized Texas feral hogs as test subjects. I soon discovered that all the nay-sayer claims regarding failure to open, lack of penetration and lackluster durability to be much overblown. It gave me confidence when using them on more important game, including bucket-list caribou.
3 Reasons To Hunt Hogs This Summer – I might be contemplating switching arrow brands or overall approaches, say, testing a lightweight but stout arrow model in anticipation of a spot-and-stalk pronghorn hunt where I anticipate ranges being on the long side. Shooting a couple eating-sized hogs will show me if they will make a wise choice.
Aside from broadhead and arrow terminal tackle, I also use summer hog hunting to audition new bow accessories, such as arrows rests, stabilizers, sights, quivers, releases, laser rangefinders and even binoculars. There is no better place to ferret out potential bugs in unfamiliar gear than in the field. You may learn that the newest whiz-bang handheld release is impractical in the field, proving too slow to hook up or deploy when presented with a fleeting shot opportunity. A new quiver may rattle on release, or not hold arrows securely when navigating thick brush. If something is going to cause problems, I want to find out during a casual hog hunt, and not when faced with a season-making whitetail buck.
Secondly, off-season hog hunting helps me keep my hunting skills sharp. There is no way around the fact an entire summer of working for a living, surrounded by civilization and its mechanisms daily, dulls the hunting instinct. The occasional summer hog hunt helps you remain tuned in to nature, detecting a slight movement or out-of-place lump or hearing an approaching animal or a jay issuing a warning of nearby game. Summer hunting also helps me remain more attuned to instinctively keeping the wind in my face, or even anticipating how terrain or sunlight will dictate sudden wind changes.
Moving quietly in a cluttered forest while still hunting a thick river bottom, or intuitively planning and executing a successful stalk on an animal discovered with binoculars does not come without practice. Glassing effectively for that matter, requires practice. Flawless shot timing and execution—drawing without being detected, and waiting ethical right shot angles—are all acquired skills with sometimes steep learning curves. Again, best to sort these skills out on a hog than a high-scoring buck or bull elk responding to a bugle.
Finally, getting over the hump—moving to the point where bowhunting success feels purposeful instead of a matter of dumb luck—requires confidence. Confidence allows you to react to shot opportunities efficiently without second guessing yourself. Confidence means you are calmer under pressure, so even if your pulse is pounding in your ears and your hands fluttering, you are able to walk yourself through the motions of executing a deadly shot—or at least falling into some semblance of autopilot so shots seem to come off on their own.
3 Reasons To Hunt Hogs This Summer – Killing a couple hogs before season opener for deer or elk means you have already been there and done that. Self-doubt, indecision, and second-guessing lead to missing viable opportunities and flubbing slam-dunk shots. Confidence makes you a well-oiled machine who converts on shot opportunities others would miss altogether or blow outright.
Please do not get the impression I have no respect for wild hogs or view them as merely targets to send arrows through, because I have nothing but the greatest respect for this tough and challenging quarry. It’s just that there are typically many more opportunities to bowhunt hogs than deer and elk, and for that I am grateful—even if landowners and game managers hate them.
Read more on hog hunting at insidearchery.com
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