Alabama Hog Hunting Tips and Tricks For Day And Night
When it comes to wild hogs (feral pig), there is bad news and there is good news. The bad news is that hogs have become a major nuisance and their destructive rooting behavior and high reproductive rate is costing farmers and other property owners millions of dollars. The good news is that in Alabama there is no closed season or bag limits on hogs. That means if you are on private land you can literally go hog hunting every day. You can even go hog hunting at night. Armed with the proper equipment, the right firearms, the best electronic hog calls for hunting, the best hog hunting lights for a feeder, some Alabama hog hunting tips and tricks, and the proper knowledge on how to hunt hogs during the day and night; you can be clearing some feral pigs in no time.
The other silver lining in the feral pig cloud is that if the meat is prepared correctly, they are excellent to eat.
I am the owner and operator of Hog Rush LLC, located in Fitzpatrick, Alabama which is approximately 20 miles southeast of Montgomery.
What started out as a passion for Hog Hunting with suppressed weapons and Thermal Scopes, developed into a full-time Hog Eradication business.
When it comes to hunting hogs during the day or at night, here are some general insights and tips I’ve learned from harvesting over 5,000 hogs. Sort of an Alabama hog hunting tips and tricks playbook.
What Firearm is Best
The bottom line for firearm and cartridge selections can be pretty simple. If you hunt deer, your deer rifle will work just fine. It may not be the perfect fit but it will kill hogs if you place your shot correctly and stay within distance parameters specific for the caliber you’re using.
Your .30-06, .308 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor, 270 or even a 30-.30 has the velocity and power to bring down a wild hog. While I’m not a big fan of the .300 Blackout it can still take down a hog within 75 yards consistently.
The effectiveness of the cartridge is really a combination of bullet weight, density, and velocity. A good hog cartridge needs to create a Temporary Wound Cavity much larger than the bullet diameter similar to a “mini-explosion” causing trauma and excessive blood loss.
The thing to remember is that hogs are dense animals and their structure is different from a deer. The ammo that we normally use for hogs might punch right through a deer. The hide of a hog is like a firm rubber truck tire and has higher tissue density. This requires a bonded type projectile. Some mature boars can weigh upwards of 300 pounds and have a thick calcified “Shield” surrounding their shoulder and chest area.
When high volume eradication is your goal, one for your Alabama hog hunting tips and tricks playbook is selecting a semi-automatic rifle capable of using a picatinny mounting system as found on most thermal optics.
The AR15 chambered in 5.56mm is more than adequate to kill a Hog even when shot placement is less than desirable. A 55 grain 5.56mm travels over 3000 fps. And will deliver the temporary wound cavity spoke of earlier even at distances over 300 yards. The 6.5 Grendel in an AR15 is also a great choice. My hopes are it will one day become a NATO caliber so that ammunition will be more readily available.
Another auto platform, the AR10, will chamber larger case capacity calibers such as the .308 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor, .260 Remington, and .243 Winchester, but is an inherently heavier platform. Yes, they deliver more energy on target at farther distances, but they really do not add much effectiveness when high volume eradication is a concern.
Most action happens within 200 yards as the thermal scopes generally have lower resolution. Connecting on running shots also requires most marksmen to be within this range.
I zero in my rifles at 100 yards which covers close in shots out to about 150-200 yards. For daytime optics a 1-6 variable or even a 6 fixed power scope offers the ability to take close in or further out shots. A 3×9 variable is also a good choice.
I prefer the 5.56mm because I have taken shots as close as 10 yards and as far as 350 yards. I also like to have the ability to ground check a coyote if needed and the 5.56mm has a relatively flat trajectory and decent energy with low recoil out to 300 yards.
Alabama Hog Hunting Tips and Tricks
For hog hunting either during the day or at night you need to remember that hogs don’t have sharp eyesight like deer, turkeys or other wildlife.
Since hogs have monocular eyesight which means they use each eye separately resulting in an expanded field of vision and they can see movement and even shadows, which is a consideration in night hunting. Since they don’t have binocular vision, they don’t have a good depth perception and can see color but not well. Also, since their heads are low to the ground that doesn’t allow them to see over ground cover
On the other hand, one of a wild hog’s strong suits is an excellent sense of smell. That sense of smell is what helps them find underground food and far away food sources.
You always want to try to hunt with the wind in your face. Make sure to take along a wind checker. Worst case just throw up some dusty dirt in the air and see which direction it goes.
I remember once I came upon some pigs that were rooting in the most awful smelling rotten soybeans you could imagine. The only way to approach them was from upwind. They caught my scent just before I set up to shoot and I was only able to take down two of them on the run as they disappeared into the nearby crops.
As for hearing, one night I found a group of hogs with the Hog Rush thermal rone, OVERLORD, near a feeder. We made our way to the field they were in and once we were in the area found that they had moved into the high cotton plants. I had my guests get set up while I ran a test spin on the feeder. The hogs immediately heard that familiar noise from over 50 yards and came running. Two were taken.
Wild Hogs hear and see similar to humans. But never underestimate their sense of smell.
While we’re on the subject of hearing, hogs will respond to grunts, snorts and sounds that imitate a boar fight, but “here piggy, piggy” doesn’t work. I’ve added a requirement prior to hunts that simply states, if you imitate Elmer Fudd in the truck, you get put out.
You can buy a pair of inexpensive speakers and download a wild hog call app on your cell phone for a little bit of money and you’ll have one of the best electronic hog calls for hunting.
Wild boar are mostly nocturnal like raccoons and mature deer. Especially during the hotter month, they will lay up in the shady swamps during the day and try to feed at night.
Alabama hog hunting tips and tricks playbook entry, find a food source or an area where they have done damage and put up a camera and find what time they are moving and to get a general idea of where they are coming from and going. Every place is different depending on the food source, water location, where the heavy cover is and dictate hog behavior.
Baiting is a useful one to log into the Alabama hog hunting tips and tricks playbook. It is legal in Alabama to bait wild hogs on privately owned or leased land. Soured corn is a good bait but you can mix it with donuts and other things that have a scent.
Tripod feeders for hogs can be tricky because the hogs can tip them over and dump out all the corn and destroy the feeder. If you rigged it so that it is anchored in the ground you probably won’t have any trouble from the hogs but you may from racoons. They are smart and you need a cage around the bottom to keep them from getting up into the spinning wheel and eating all of the corn.
Using “directional” feeders that you can mount to a tree or a post is a good idea as well.
If you are on a budget and/or don’t have a lot of time to play with, you can set up a feeder in a known area for hogs and install a motion activated light. When the light comes on, be ready with your run of the mill deer rifle and try to take down a hog when they are feeding under the feeder. Usually a green light is the best hog hunting light for a feeder and will not spook the hogs once they are used to it.
The key with hunting hogs is finding out where they are, getting familiar with the property and developing the rights setup. As the old saying goes, ‘Luck is when preparation meets opportunity’.
For additional Alabama hog hunting tips and tricks from Hooper please see his articles, “Wild Hog Hunting: How to Hunt Hogs at Night”, “Selecting the Best Thermal Imaging for Hunting” and “Feral Pig Hunting – Tools and Tactics of the Trade” in past issues of Great Days Outdoors.