By Bob Jamison

          Actually, the hog invasion of which we have heard much about is nothing new. The Spanish brought hogs with them over three hundred years ago. Some escaped or released and in recent years feral hogs have become a major menace.

          Rural country clubs with beautiful golf courses have noticed increased damage due to rooting and sometimes wallowing around water traps. Though rarely seen in daylight hours, free ranging hogs are not considered dangerous to golfers. However, pets such as dogs can be vulnerable to the older hogs that often are equipped with rather vicious tusk. These protruding teeth are extremely sharp and a glancing charge can leave a severe wound.

          Over the years, stock laws required keeping hogs from free ranging. However, it was the case of too little, too late. They have taken over wooded bottom lands especially. Damage in remote areas might be limited to rooting up crops such as improved pasture, growing crops and even some types of wildlife. They have been known to eat baby livestock and deer plus hogs can be quite disruptive to ground nesting birds such as quail and wild turkeys.

          The city limit signs mean little to feral hogs. Beautiful flower beds, lawns and watering systems are like ringing the playground dinner bell for feral hogs. When they leave there is little doubt of what their intent created.

          Hunting wild hogs has been quite popular for outdoorsmen. Hunting concessions such as leases and guided hunts has created much interest in bow hunters as well as hand gun experts, rifle shooters and some fearless types that corner the hogs with dogs and bare handed catch and tie them. This includes exotics such as European or Russian Boars.

          Some hunters stalked the wooded areas and fields with spotlights because the wild feral hogs are generally nocturnal. But one of the problems is they are seldom discovered by the shining of their eyes and the lights seem to give them itchy feet toward escape. Other animals such as deer, rabbits, cats and many others will likely stop still when blinded.

          Should it be your pleasure to hunt feral hogs at night with artificial light, it is very advisable to notify the game warden through the responsible dispatcher of your intent and location especially if you are in an area where deer are known to roam. This could result in a very expensive pastime.

          There is no season or limit for taking feral hogs. Again, be careful of private property as trespassing is also an expensive crime. Also, there are no method restrictions of harvesting feral hogs. They can be caught and ‘hog-tied’, shot, trapped and, I guess, poisoned though their physical makeup makes this practice rather impractical.

          Traps might be the easiest way to harvest feral hogs. An ample amount of corn in the trap often does the trick. Other animals also enjoy the corn contribution such as squirrels and raccoons. A little diesel oil on the bait helps this problem. Heavy welded wire panels work well as do boards used to build a strong pen. The trap gate should be seriously considered. A spring held gate allows other hogs to enter while the gate closes behind. A trip string also is used while attached to a post holding the gate open until the hog hits the string.

          Bait for traps ranges from meat scraps, fish, garbage and other grains. Commercial preparations such as the aromatic mixture called “Hog Wild” seem quite effective.

          The final benefit of harvesting wild feral hogs other than needed riddance is the barbecue pit. They make very good barbecue and other uses such as smoked sausage and other parts properly cooked slowly and thoroughly.

          Hog scramble was once a leading part of rodeo entertainment. Pigs amply covered with grease were placed in the arena as anxious youngsters tried to catch (and hold) the slippery oinkers. Their prize would be the pig itself. Wow!