Hogs are not a native species to the United States. They were first brought into this country by European explorers as a source of meat. Then, when early frontiersmen pushed the boundaries of the United States to the West Coast, they took hogs with them. Hogs were allowed to roam free and usually were rounded-up when the settlers needed meat to eat or wanted to take pork to the market. When the Industrial Revolution came along, some of the more-affluent industrialists here in the U.S. set-up fenced-in exotic-hunting sanctuaries and imported wild boar from Russia as a new game species to hunt. The boar found ways to get out of enclosures and bred with feral swine. But the biggest reason for the drastic increase in the number of hogs in this country was due to sportsmen trapping hogs in one location and turning them loose on their own lands to have another game species to hunt. Texas and the Deep South have had the biggest explosion of feral hogs, along with California and some of the western states.
There are several ways to hunt hogs. You can hunt them along trails, and in some states you can bait them. You can take a hog with almost any type of weapon, from knives and spears to pistols, rifles and even shotguns. One of the most-fun ways to take a hog is to hunt with dogs, with two types used. Bay dogs are generally hound breeds, and catch dogs are almost always bulldogs. A catch dog is used when a hunter wants to take a hog with a knife or spear or bring the hog out alive. If you’re a blackpowder hunter and hunting with dogs, you can get in fairly-close with a blackpowder rifle and take the hog at close range, or you can use the new CVA .50 caliber pistol with a red dot sight and take an accurate shot at 20 or 30 yards. You also can use the .50 caliber rifle or pistol to hunt hogs from tree stands or ground blinds.
In some states you can bait the hogs into your hunting site. In many states, you can hunt hogs all-year-long or at night, as well as during the day. Hogs have become the year-round, number-one game animal in the U.S. If you live in a state with a feral hog season, you can hunt these critters when the season arrives, but when your local season goes out, you can choose from any number of southern states with feral hog seasons all year long. Often finding property to hunt isn’t difficult, especially in an agricultural area. Because feral hogs cause millions of dollars’ worth of crop damage each year, most farmers welcome hog hunters. So, owning a blackpowder rifle or pistol will allow you to use these guns not only during blackpowder season for deer, but all year for hogs.
By John E. Phillips