I ran into a gentleman yesterday at the WalMart in Brooksville, who stopped to ask a few questions about last week’s column and hunting in the heat. One point he made and followed with a question, was that it’s much cooler at night, so why not just hunt hogs after the sun goes down. I assured him, that I have spent many a night in pursuit of fresh pork and that he’d brought up a great topic for this week’s Column. Thank you, Brian C., of Spring Hill for the inspiration.
Night hunting for hogs is not limited by the sun going down and with the use of trail cameras the hunter can literally pattern what time hogs are coming to bait stations. Wild hogs are always on the hunt, searching for food, scavengers of the first order, they are literally slaves to their hunger. Put up a trail camera near a bait station and you will soon know exactly what time the hogs are coming in and you can plan your hunt accordingly. During all seasons of the year, you can count on the greatest hog activity being after dark. It’s cooler and they count on the concealment of the night to mask their movements from potential predators…. like us. The only disadvantage here is you might lose a couple hours of sleep, but if fresh pork in your freezer and sausage on your breakfast table is the goal, then take advantage of these times of heightened activity.
With equipment available to hog hunters today, there’s no reason not to stay in the game after nightfall. Hunting hogs that are nocturnal with the use of dogs is likely the most effective way to approach the feeding sounders. But, for those of us who haven’t quite the commitment to raise, train, board and gear up a good hog dog, an investment of any thousands of dollars, there are still options. The market is flooded with all kinds of lights that enable the hunter to stay out all through the night. The use of color-filtered lenses enables the hunter to be able to see the hogs standing at a bait station as well as to take a good, solid, ethical shot without spooking the feeding pigs. My favorite is a green filter which illuminates just enough to see the pig clearly, but not so much as that they grow wary of the exposure.
There are hog lights designed to mount right into your bow’s stabilizer hole, like the NAP Apache Predator Hog Hunting Light, or clamp onto your rifle barrel, just in front of the forestock. As well, there are stationary lights designed to light up the entire bait station area including some with motion sensors. While some might frown on the use of lights at night for hogs, keep in mind, this is a very efficient and effective way of not only procuring fresh, organic meat for your family, while avoiding the heat of the day, but of managing a nuisance animal capable of doing some major destruction on the properties they trespass upon.
Keep in mind, when hunting in warmer months, you’ve got to be ready to get your meat cooled down as quickly as possible. I started carrying two coolers in my truck, one filled with ice and the other empty, so that as I begin cleaning and portioning up the carcass, I can begin layering the meat with ice. Be mindful of the need to get it clean and cool and your pork will make for excellent table fare. There’s no greater reward for the hunter who’s willing to spend a few hours after dark to provide some great eating for his or her family. As I’m writing this article, I have a couple of wild hog backstraps in the slow cooker ready for pulled pork barbecue tonight. If you haven’t experienced night hunting for wild hogs you owe it to yourself to give it a try. For any questions or comments on today’s column, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected]. God bless and good hunting!