The Week Of The Hog

NAH Staff Writer Luke Clayton's gone Hog Wild!

“The week of the hog”, what a title for an outdoor column! The truth is, this has been a week that I have devoted much time to hunting, discussing and writing about wild hogs.

The week started off with a night hog hunt close to home this past Monday evening. I harvested a good eating young boar. The meat is now in the freezer with the exception of about 8 pounds of ham that is curing in the refrigerator, awaiting the smoker after the prescribed 7 days it will take for the meat to cure.

A couple of months ago, I accepted the invitation of Brownwood, Texas library director Becky Isbell to come down for a seminar/book signing on wild hog hunting. This past Saturday morning, I was greeted warmly by Becky and the folks around Brownwood that attended the seminar.

I am continually amazed at the interest in hunting wild hogs and often by the lack of information on the subject. The attendees at the seminar were a diverse group that included hunters, grandmothers of hunters that attended in proxy of their grandsons (who were out hog hunting) and a few folks that came with a mild interest in wild hogs but left making plans to actually hunt hogs. We discussed baiting hogs, trapping, hunting them with dogs and, what proved to be the hot topic, shooting them from helicopters.

One gentleman that owned land nearby was adamant that there were enough laws in place to govern these helicopter hog “shoots”. My point was that there has been many infractions of the current law with chopper pilots flying low over lands adjacent those they are permitted to shot hogs, disrupting not only hogs but all wildlife on the property. I even pointed out a pending court case in Hill County that will take place later this month. A chopper pilot and his mechanic flew over a farm where they didn’t have permission to kill hogs and actually opened fire, killing a few. The landowners filed charges and the case is finally going to court. It will be interested to hear the outcome. From what I’ve learned, there is more than enough evidence for a conviction. I plan to present to observe what I believe to be the first such case actually brought to trial. Hopefully it will shed light on an ongoing problem and cause the regulations in place to be better enforced or possibly the addition of some new restrictions. 

When discussing about my recent hog hunt, I mentioned that I passed up several sows with small pigs and waited for a young boar to harvest. I was challenged on my method of hunting hogs on this account also. “Hogs are a great problem, why did you pass up the sows and wait for boar”, I was asked. “Because, I answered, I did not wish to leave a bunch of starving little pigs in the woods”. I am obviously all about killing and eating wild hogs but I always have and will continue to treat the animals with the same respect as I would a whitetail deer, elk or other game animal.

I pointed out that hunting will never sufficiently reduce or keep in check wild hog numbers. While these much taunted “chopper hunts” do produce a few hogs, they also disperse the animals onto other properties. Trapping is a much more efficient method of removing hogs. As I’ve mentioned many times in past columns, trapped hogs can be sold for a profit and the meat put to good use. 

I’ve also found time for a bit of research and development the past few days. Eric Dixon down in Georgia markets an attractant for deer that has become very popular and, effective. It’s called “Persimonilla” and it obviously has persimmons as one of its primary ingredient. Every wild critter in the woods loves persimmons which is evidenced by the short time the ripe fruits are left on the ground. There is something about the smell of ripe persimmons that pulls wildlife in like a magnet. There are two persimmon trees that I know of in the woods I hunt near my home and each fall when the ripe fruits fall, deer and hogs somehow know and clean them up on a daily or, nightly basis.

While visiting with Dixon a couple of weeks ago, I asked if he had used the concentrated persimmon paste as a hog attractant. Before I knew it, I had become his primary field tester. Just yesterday, I saturated a rag with the scent and tacked it about 3 feet up on an oak tree. I also used a paint brush to “paint” the bark on the tree with the scent. My trail camera is situated on a sapling about 10 feet from my test site. More on this topic as my research continues! If the wild hogs can smell the ripe persimmons on those two isolated trees that I’ve checked for years, I am betting they will be attracted to the persimmon smell, even I the dead of winter. We shall see!
After reading this week’s column, I think you can now understand why I’ve entitled it as “Week of the Hog”. In next week’s column, I promise to devote more time to fishing, I’m hearing some good reports of good catches of crappie and catfish!

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