Category Archives: Hog Hunting

Post Season Bacon

Contributed by Alex Vail of The Flying Kayak

Depending on where you are in the country, hunting season has just about wrapped up. Deer season was months ago, and turkey season has pretty much come to an end. If you’re anything like me, you’re already counting down until opening day in fall. But don’t be so quick to put away the camos just yet. There’s one animal in particular that still offers hunting opportunity far later in the year, and year round in some cases: The feral pig.

Image: Alex Vail

Image: Alex Vail

By this point in time, if you’ve never heard of the feral pig or wild pigs, you’ve probably been living under a rock. They’re extremely invasive and have spread themselves throughout almost all of the Southeastern United States. The pigs were originally brought in by the Spanish, and in conjunction with a series of farm escapes throughout the years, they’ve spread like wildfire.

Pigs pose a major problem to agriculture. They cause millions of dollars in damage to crops every year because of the way they feed. Pigs naturally root up the ground to dig for tubers and roots. Areas that’ve had a group of pigs come through honestly look like someone came in and dragged a tractor disk across the ground. They rip up everything, and when you add in their extremely fast reproductive rates, they’ve gotten out of hand.

Image: Alex Vail

Image: Alex Vail

Over the past few years, states have begun to recognize the wild pig issue. All states that have feral pigs present have incorporated harvesting them into regular hunting seasons, but many have actually taken it a step further. States like Florida have unique laws. On specific Wildlife Management Areas, there are extra wild pig seasons that are open during various times over the summer. This not only allows the public access to many of these WMA’s during non-standard hunting times, but it also allows them the opportunity to hunt outside of the regular hunting season.

And let’s not forget private land. Depending on what part of the state you’re in, many counties allow for wild pigs to be harvested with the use of spotlight, night vision, or even the help of dogs. Hunting on private land for pigs also lasts year round; there’s no defined season. This has been put in place to try and help curb not only their spread, but also the amount of damage they can do to private land owners.

As with any outdoor activity (but especially hunting), be sure to check up and familiarize yourself with the local laws and regulations regarding pigs as each state is different. Hunters should also be well-prepared as far as gear goes to hunt pigs. Many public land areas forbid the use of center-fire rifles during pig seasons. This means a hunter is restricted to either archery hunting or shotguns. Using a bow for pigs can be very effective, but it’s important to ensure a clean shot as they are extremely tough animals. With shotguns, I would avoid buckshots entirely and just stick to slugs.

Image: Alex Vail

Image: Alex Vail

On private land, you’re usually welcome to use whatever you’d like. My personal favorites are either a 7.62×39 or a 30-06 when chasing pigs. There are obviously about a hundred different options for cartridges that will work for wild pigs, but that’s a discussion for another day. Just be sure to pick something that has a decent amount of knockdown power. Even a fairly small pig can be somewhat dangerous if cornered and wounded. If you’re planning on hunting at night, be sure to outfit your firearm properly. High-powered scopes are often difficult to wield when using spotlights, and finding your target in the crosshairs can be just as challenging.

Image: Alex Vail

Image: Alex Vail

So if you’ve found yourself down in the dumps because hunting season is over, consider taking a look at wild pigs. Harvesting them isn’t just for hunting’s sake, it’s actually good for our natural environments and agricultural productivity. And let’s be honest, there are few things better than waking up on a warm summer’s day and cooking up some bacon for breakfast.

Top 5 YouTube Hunting and Outdoor Channels

Imagine if hunting was like the shows on Outdoor Channel: You get up at 8:00 a.m. (dang, that’s early!) and drive your camouflaged ATV 100 yards to a small condominium overlooking a soybean field where you can see in every direction for seven miles. After ten long minutes, the bucks start coming in, each bigger than the last and with names like Heart Attack and Linebacker because you’ve already ranked and catalogued them all on your trail camera. You pick the one you like because it has nice G4’s and a drop tine (it’s just like shopping), and then it magically appears in the back of a new Dodge Ram. Throw in some commercial breaks for Michael Waddell’s irresistible food coloring and corn syrup mineral licks, and that’s hunting. Fortunately there’s an alternative called YouTube, a democratized space where amateur videographers and outdoorsmen present alternative and more realistic depictions of hunting.

DIY Sportsman

The above video is probably the single best tutorial on public land scouting available on the web, and it’s yours for free thanks to Garrett Prahl aka DIY Sportsman. For the last three years, Garrett has built a small library of self-shot hunting and fishing videos set in Minnesota and Wisconsin that reflect his self-reliant philosophy of hunting. Garret is an extremely good hunter, but what I admire most his work is that he’s not afraid to make a video that reflects our most common experience as hunters: going home empty handed. There’s an elk hunting video on his channel where the high point is him waking up in the middle of the night to discover that his pants have frozen solid. How many of us screw things up while hunting? Yet every hunting show only depicts hunters getting it right. Garrett is able to pull this off because he knows you can learn as much from an unsuccessful hunt as a successful one. With each video, success or not, DIY Sportsman delivers an honest and informative take on hunting.

Virtuovice

I discovered Virtuovice’s channel a few years ago while looking for a tutorial on Japanese water stones. Virtuovice, also known as Wako, has since earned himself a cult following on YouTube for his expert knife reviews. Because Wako takes about 70 deer a year (the area where he lives is overrun), he’s personally field tested almost every quality hunting knife you can think of. This is real knowledge that can be useful for making your next purchase. Despite specializing in knife reviews, his self-shot sika deer hunts in the snowy mountains of Hokkaido are simply beautiful. I recommend this channel to anybody looking to buy their first hunting knife or learn the finer points of blade geometry.

Stuck N The Rut

Travis Schneider started Stuck N The Rut in 2010 to showcase his family’s free DIY hunting videos. The team’s excellent camera work, beautiful featured locales, and dedication to the concept of earning your hunt make Stuck N The Rut essential YouTube viewing. Although they’re young, these guys are absolute pros at what they do, and even the most experienced hunters can learn something new by watching them. Their Alaskan moose hunting videos are simply breathtaking.

Leatherwood Outdoors

Leatherwood Outdoors is a loose collective of truly dedicated and down-to-earth PA boys who document everything from hunting rattlesnakes and snapping turtles to using a flintlock shotgun for grouse. They’re rowdy, fun, and have no product to sell you. They simply love to hunt, and the videos capture their enthusiasm perfectly. If you’re just learning to hunt in the Northeast, this is great place to get some practical advice.

Primitive Pathways

Forget Bear Grylls: Billy Berger of Primitive Pathways is the guy you want on your side for the Apocalypse. In one video, he literally saws a branch off a tree, magically turns it into a longbow before your eyes, then proceeds to hunt with it. He’s as skilled a woodworker as he is a hunter. His videos on the use and effectiveness of stone and primitive weapons are both edifying and entertaining. This guy is the absolute real deal.

We just recently launched our Pocket Ranger® video channel where you can see even more hunting and fishing videos from contributors Bubba Rountree, Darcizzle Offshore, Fishing with Flair, Mr. Bluegill, Captain Ben Chancey from Chew on This, and more. Check it out, and make sure you download our Trophy Case mobile app before hunting season goes into full swing.

Bacon and the 7.62×39

Contributed by Alex Vail of The Flying Kayak

When it comes to hunting wild pigs, one of the first things a hunter must decide is exactly what he/she wants to hunt with. A Google search along the lines of “pig hunting rounds” will most assuredly lead to message boards with hunters arguing ad nauseam about ballistics and preferred rounds. At the end of the day, round choice comes down to personal preference, and let’s be honest—there are tons of good pig hunting rounds out there. There’s more than one way to skin a cat (or pig), and this article won’t actually delve into the different types of hunting rounds out there. Instead this will focus on my own personal favorite pig hunting round.

A dead hog and a gun atop it.

Image Credit: Alex Vail

The 7.62×39 obviously isn’t the only round that I’ve used for pig hunting, but it certainly is my favorite. It’s one of those rounds that can generally be found in surplus and is incredibly inexpensive, especially when compared to some of the other popular rounds. Many hunters praise the 7.62 because it’s generally a hard hitting, heavy round. The 7.62×39 can be found in most stores in a variety of grains ranging from the standard 123gr up to 154gr SP. There are also a few different options as far as firearms go when dealing with this round.

AK-47

An AK-47.

Image Credit: Alex Vail

Probably one of the more recognizable rifles around the world, the AK-47 fires the 7.62×39 and is a an excellent choice for a pig gun. Most carry the standard 30 round magazine, which comes in handy because a hunter rarely only gets one shot when dealing with pigs. A relatively short rifle, the AK is perfect for dragging around in the thick brush that pigs often inhabit. Its size also makes for quick target acquisition, which is helpful when firing at multiple running pigs. One of the few cons is that it isn’t the most accurate rifle when shooting over longer ranges.

SKS

An SKS.

Image Credit: Alex Vail

The SKS is what I personally carry most often when pig hunting. It has a standard 10 round non-detachable magazine and is considerably longer than its AK cousin. This means that downrange accuracy is a bit better. With enough practice, it isn’t out of the question to take shots up to 400 yards away and expect to down a pig. There are also a wide range of aftermarket stocks for the SKS that can allow a hunter to easily add scopes, foregrips, optics, and detachable magazines. The same actually holds true for the AK.

Mini-Thirty

A Mini-Thirty.

Image Credit: Alex Vail

Coming late to the scene in 1987, the Ruger Mini-Thirty is the last of the common 7.62×39 rifles that I would consider using to hunt wild pigs. An extremely short and light rifle, the Mini-Thirty commonly sports a 20 round magazine (though a five round magazine is offered for states where magazine restrictions are in place). With it being a very lightweight rifle in comparison to is counterparts, it does have a slightly greater muzzle rise when firing. However, just like the AK-47 and the SKS, there are a wide range of aftermarket parts available for the rifle that can easily turn it into exactly what a hunter wants to use.

Obviously picking out what rifle you want is an important step, but a much more important thing to consider when hunting with the 7.62×39 comes down to an actual hunting issue: shot placement. Wild pigs are extremely tough animals. Thick hide, gristle, and bones make firing an ethical kill shot quite challenging. I’ve personally seen big boars run off like nothing happened after getting hit in the chest with much bigger rounds, like the 30-06 or the .458 SOCOM. The trick to effectively hunting pigs (with ANY round) boils down to shot placement.

Their shoulders are extremely thick and essentially act as a protective shield around their vitals. A pig’s organs are also arranged slightly differently than other animals, such as a deer. Their vitals are a bit more compact and tucked away behind the shoulder when looking at a broadside profile of the animal. This means that in order to effectively harvest a pig, one must wait for a suitable shot. Quartering away shots are ideal as the round can easily get past the protective shoulder plate and into the vitals. The same goes with shots quartering toward the hunter. Just remember that shots like this tend to travel through the animal, hitting the guts and making a big (and smelly) mess. Head and neck shots are also ideal. Pigs actually have a very large skull, and once a hunter has shaken the habit of instinctively aiming at the chest, head shots are extremely effective. For shot placement, draw an imaginary line from the back of the eye toward the body then draw one straight down from the ear—where these lines intersect is where the shot needs to be placed.

So if you’re in the market for a new rifle to hunt pigs, consider picking up one that’s chambered in 7.62×39. It’s often overlooked as a sufficient hunting round, but its effectiveness cannot be denied. Just remember proper shot placement when hunting pigs, and be sure to check your local and state laws concerning magazine capacity for harvesting game animals. And as always, happy hunting!