Editor’s Note: Hunter’s Specialties tries to keep hunters abreast of not only the latest hunting tactics, but also the future of hunting. Currently biologists across the U.S. have seen a tremendous growth in the sport of feral-hog hunting and in the need for controlling feral hog populations.
Just how serious are the problems with wild hog populations? The U.S. isn’t the only country affected by the wild pig problems as Australia also has experienced widespread agricultural and environmental damage from feral hogs. According to Dr. Steve Ditchkoff, professor of wildlife science at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, “There are feral hog populations in 40 of the 50 states, and we will continue to see their numbers grow unless we can come up with an effective means of controlling them.”
One of the biggest reasons that feral hog populations are growing is because sportsmen who don’t have feral hogs to hunt are capturing these feral hogs and transporting them to their hunting lands, which is a terrible mistake. For instance, in South Caroline, houndsmen imported wild hogs in the 1970s to provide another sport for their dogs. In the western U.S., non-native wild pigs were established in coastal oak woodlands of California by 1850 and then expanded domestically after 1950 due to domestic swine releases and population growth. Too, the Fort Worth Texas Nature Center and Refuge, a 3,600+ acre urban green space owned by the city of Fort Worth had evidence of feral hog activity as early as 1999.
The hogs have grown so fast that today the Parks Department is conducting ongoing trapping and euthanizing control. Feral hogs destroy crops, root up roads, kill and eat newborn livestock, including calves, lambs, goats, deer fawns, poultry, turkey eggs, poults and domestic livestock. In most states, transporting them and releasing them is illegal. States from California to Texas to Florida have hog problems. In Florida, Alabama, South Carolina, Texas and some other states, you can hunt hogs all year long and there’s no limit on the number of feral hogs you can take.
To help solve the hog problem, Hunter’s Specialties has both cassettes and DVDs of hog calling available for hunters. Too, Hunter’s Specialties’ Preymaster Digital Caller offers a couple of digital memory cards, including: the Feral Hog, Volume 1, featuring the calls of young domestic pigs, wild piglets in distress, feral hog feeding frenzy, grunt ‘n feral sounds; and the Hurtin’ Hog Arsenal with its hurtin’ hog sounds, coyote growls, crow audience and lip squeaker sounds.
Hog calling can be an effective way to lure in and take feral hogs. As hog populations expand and grow, the need for hog hunters and hog callers will continue to grow at the same time. Although feral hogs may never replace the whitetail deer as the No. 1 game species in America, if the population of feral hogs grow at the proportions that Dr. Ditchkoff and other wildlife scientists believe they’ll grow, then more outdoorsmen will become hog hunters. The feral hog may one day surpass the coyote as the No. 1 predator species hunted by predator hunters.
If you’re not a hog caller and/or hog hunter now, then prepare to become one because feral hogs are coming, and Hunter’s Specialties is gearing up to help hunters take these new nuisances to livestock and wildlife. The good news about hogs is they present an awesome opportunity for a delicious Friday night barbeque for the men and women who hunt them. Hunter’s Specialties will keep hunters informed on the latest developments from the first National Conference on Feral Hogs about the future of hog hunting in America.