• Fri. Jun 7th, 2024

Smoking Hot Summertime Hog Hunting Success

ByInside Archery

May 31, 2024

By Patrick Meitin

There was a time, while attending university in Texas, when pretty much every summer weekend was dedicated to bowhunting wild boars. “Heat-stroke hog hunts” we called them, because temperatures generally topped out at 100 degrees F and humidity 80-90 percent down in the creek bottoms where hogs hung out—not to mention all the lovely ticks and chiggers to be endured.

Patrick Meitin, Co-Owner and Editor of Inside Archery & Inside Firearms

So why did we do it? Because it was uncommonly productive. We had unfettered access to a very large West Texas ranch where we could come and go as we pleased for a reasonable price. We hunted that place just about any time of the year when it struck our fancy, but hog encounters were pretty hit and miss from September through May, usually highly dependent on heavy rains to bring hogs out to root and pillage. 

Summer months, after serious heat arrived and that Texas landscape turned crispy, was a different matter. Hogs then could be reliably located near or adjacent any available water—pooled water in creek-bed bends, stock tanks and leaky windmills. Sand plums also ripened by the end of June, beginning of July, drawing every hog from miles around. 

We spent the entire day checking various watering sites and scattered plum thickets, pausing only to return to the truck and guzzle fluids while moving to the next hotspot. These were all-day affairs, dark morning to dark evening, with just as many hogs killed in the hottest portions of the day at the cooler edges of day. 

These hunts also gave us the opportunity to fine-tune new bows, and test accessories, new arrows and broadheads. Learning that a particular arrow quiver, for instance, was clattery and unreliable was better discovered while hunting hogs than elk. Once upon a time, when we had doubts about introductory mechanical broadheads, we tested them on invasive hogs instead of deer or bears. 

Here is what I learned. 

Water Is Key In Summer

Hogs do not have sweat glands like other animals and must regulate their body temperature by visiting water, dinking and wallowing to create a protective layer of mud. This mud also helps rid themselves of ticks and lice. Unless recent rains have turned every low spot into a watering site, you quickly learn where water will be available during warm/dry summer months. This was easy in West Texas, more difficult in places like swampy Florida. In areas with isolated and/or scattered water sources, hogs can be found watering at any hour. I once shot a big boar at 2 p.m. on a 100-degree day sleeping on a pond edge in the wide open. We tended to move around checking various watering sites afoot, as sitting for long periods frequently resulted in a greater volume of itchy chigger bites.   

Hogs also use the thickest cover available during summer months to shade up while resting. Still-hunting thick creek beds or patches of grabbing cover can prove quite productive during the heat of day. On at least two occasions I located hogs by the sound of their loud snoring. Again, this works best in areas with identifiable patches of cover, while, again, Florida’s endless options would make this less productive. 

Patrick Meitin, Co-Owner and Editor of Inside Archery & Inside Firearms

Food Is Also Where It’s At

In swampy or more expansive pieces of hog habitat, baiting is an obvious avenue to success. Once, while bowhunting Florida with a crew of Bear Archery engineers, Ted Jaycox (Tall Tine Outfitters) set us up on timed corn feeders. We were hunting with some of the newest Bear recurves and all of us got some shooting during those relaxing evening hunts.

Even in dry West Texas we often hunted winter wheat fields, driving around evenings, spotting feeding hogs, and knocking on the nearest farm door for access. Few farmers having their fields ravaged by a sounder of hogs refused us hunting permission, especially when harmless bows were involved. Also keep an eye open for opportunities like those sand plums we used to concentrate on, as the saying “greedy as a pig” isn’t mere stereotype.

Hog Gear & Shot Placement

Hunting is full of tired wives tales formed long ago and passed down as gospel. The entire nonsense of boar gristle shields stopping arrows (and 30-’06 Springfield bullets) is utter and complete bunk. I have literally killed hundreds of hogs, a very conservative guess at total bow kills somewhere in the 80-90-hog range, and have encountered exactly one hog where a gristle shield negatively affected arrow penetration, yet that 500-plus-pound boar still died, and with a 57-pound recurve no less. 

Internet ballyhoo aside, on average the vast majority of hogs you will encounter will weigh from 100 to 200 pounds, with only the occasional 300-pound boar witnessed. The whitetail rig you currently use is perfectly suited to slaying the mighty wild boar. If you are worried of encountering that once-in-a-lifetime 500-pounder and coming up short, simply choose a true cut-on-contact broadhead, which will kill average-sized hogs just fine, yet provide ample penetration on the largest wild hog that roams the U.S.

Stephen Mack, Co-Owner and Marketing Director of Inside Archery & Inside Firearms

It is important to remember that hogs are not native to North America, thus include the same low-and-forward vital areas of African game. The center-mass-3-inches-behind-the-shoulder shot placement that works perfectly on deer, is just a liver hit on a hog. It will kill them, but not quickly. If you want to watch them drop, aim just above the front “elbow” tight to the armpit. 

Hunting hogs during the hottest summer months can involve a lot of sweat and biting insects, but is more productive than you might believe, while offering the perfect warm-up and equipment testing for the big fall events that lay ahead. 

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