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Hog Hunting Heaven
Hog hunting can be one of the most exciting hunting adventures you may ever go on. Many hunters tend to overlook this thrilling, fast-paced hog hunting adventure in favor of other hunts such as deer hunting, elk hunting, and other big game without realizing how much fun wild boar hunting can really be. With liberal bag limits, affordable hunting guides and hunting outfitters, and seasons that in some places do not close, hog hunting is the perfect off-season hunting adventure to keep your skills sharp and provide some excellent meat for the table. Continue reading to find out more about hog hunting’s exciting opportunities!
Hog Hunting History
The European wild boar is the undisputed number one big game exotic in this country. But, its origin in this country is somewhat debatable. Although many believe that wild boars, feral hogs and domestic swine are indigenous to this country all are exotics from Europe or eastern Russia. The "true" European or as some call them "Russian boars" entered this country in 1912. The first shipment of hogs (three boars and 11 sows) arrived in Hooper's Bald, North Carolina to a Mr. George Moore.
As far as historical documents can ascertain, this original stocking turned out to be the first introduction of wild boars in the country. Records also indicate that the boars Moore purchased were from an agent in Berlin, Germany who claimed his source was the Ural Mountains of Russia. This breed was the supposed home of the largest and most ferocious of the species. More current research has indicated this is very unlikely since the Ural Mountains are largely outside the range of wild boar and transportation would have been very difficult. The dealer probably used more local animals, from either Germany or Poland.
Either or, one hog hunter decided to build a 1,500 acre hog preserve to entertain and persuade some of this wealthy friends to invest in businesses organized by himself. For ten years the hogs in the preserve went unmolested and were allowed to reproduce. In the early 1920's this hog hunter deeded the entire preserve over to his foreman and the foreman was unable to maintain the area as a private or commercial game preserve and invited a lot of his friends over for a hog hunt. During the first hunt only two hogs were harvested, with many escaping through the fence during the resultant excitement. Subsequently, the wild hogs increased in numbers and extended their range throughout North Carolina and Tennessee. Since this time, thousands of introductions have involved stocking true European wild boars and domestic swine that went feral throughout this area and the nation.
Today, wild hogs (domestic, feral and European wild boar) occur in four major locations in the United States. They encompass over 42,120 square miles of land in the southeast, 67 percent in Texas and Florida, throughout California, on eight major islands of Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Other small populations occur in West Virginia and New Hampshire. Although pure strains of European wild hogs do exist, most have interbred with feral stock. Since there are so many color variations among hogs, it is often difficult to determine if you have actually shot a true European wild boar without blood or muscle samples. From a hunter's point of view, if you shoot an all black color phase with a long-haired mane, chances are you have a true European wild boar.
Research has found that most of the present domestic breeds of swine descended from the European wild hog. Researchers have found that the normal chromosomal complement of European wild hogs is in fact, different from domestic swine. The difference being that European wild hogs have 36 chromosomes as compared to 38 for the domestic hogs. What's interesting is European and domestic crosses produce fertile offspring with a chromosome number of 37. Although classified as the same genus and species, true European wild hogs should not be confused with its domestic and feral counterparts.
All hogs have elongated canines which act as whetstones keeping their tusks razor sharp. Their food habits are indicative of an omnivore (meat and plant eaters). Research has shown that its use of certain habitats is strongly related to hard and soft mast producing trees. Competition with deer is only significant in poor to fair mast years. Obviously, food availability and population densities probably plays a significant role in home range distribution. A hog's home range is very similar to a deer's one to two square mile area. However, research in the mountains of West Virginia indicated a home range of nearly four square miles.
Hog Hunting Excitement!
Noted bowhunter Chuck Adams was giving a seminar at a sportsman show. During his question and answer segment a hunter asked what type of hunt he would suggest for an average guy on a modest budget. Chuck Adams suggested three hunts: a caribou hunt, black bear hunt or antelope hunt. Although, these are some good hunts with somewhat high success rates, and the most exciting hunt of them all... hog hutning! In fact, for the money hog hunts are probably the most thrilling, spine-tingling hunts you will ever experience. As anyone who has ever hunted these critters will tell you, hog hunts can be action packed.