This post comes from a reader down in Texas telling us about the tradition of Wild Hog hunting. It is something I have never experienced myself but sounds like a very exciting adventure. Thanks for taking the time to share with our readers and we look forward to hearing more from Kevin!
Name: Kevin Nevil
Location: Northern Texas
I know this is a Hunting Blog that will focus primarily on stories involving Hunters and Hunts which involve game being harvested by conventional means. Whether its a Black Powder Rifle, Center Fire Rifle, Shotgun, Long Bow, Recurve, Compound, or crossbow, firearms and Archery equipment are the tools of choice for most people. I use to fall into this category but over the years I have developed a love for a different means of achieving the same goal. My stories will focus on only one game animal, the Feral Hog or Wild Boar.
There are a group of people who use the same tools I do to harvest the game we hunt. In the United States our sport is primarily practiced in the Southern and South Eastern part of the Country. You will also find hunters who enjoy my particular style of Hunting in other parts of the world, like Australia, Europe, and South America. Our way of hunting like everyone else’s is part of our American Heritage.
For Hundreds of years our fathers, grandfathers, great grandfathers…etc. have practiced these techniques not as sport but as a way of survival. As a normal way of life. Now days it is more of a hobby than a way to survive but it is still a “lifestyle” for those who are serious about the sport. If you haven’t guessed already, I’m talking about hunting hogs with dogs.
I will warn you now…read these stories and enjoy them, tell your friends about them but please don’t decide you would like to give it a try. I would hate to think I was responsible for being the reason you were “inflicted” with the disease so many of us have contracted. It IS a contagion. There is no inoculation that will protect you. Once you put yourself in close proximity to others who are carriers you will be infected with the virus. I went on my first hog hunt with dogs in 1998.
I IMMEDIATELY fell in love with the sport and started researching the dogs that were used. For 6 months I researched and made phone calls. I finally decided on a breed of dog to start with and found someone local that I could squire a puppy from. The gentleman I speak of was kind enough to let me tag along on some hunts and was very patient. He answered any questions I had and was a great mentor. Even today when I run into something new or I am not confident about a decision that needs to be made I will look to him for advice.
I’ve been running dogs off and on for the past 10 years + and I have tried a few different Breeds. I currently own only two full blooded dogs, a Yellow Black Mouth Cur – Male – Jasper, and a 12 week old Blue Tick Hound – Male – Preacher. My other dogs are all mixed breed. Alice and Bella are sisters – 1/2 Catahoula 1/4 Red Bone 1/4 American Pitt Bull Terrior, J.P. and Jinx are Brother and Sister – 3/4 Cur 1/4 Catahoula, Zeuse is 3/4 American Pitt Bull Terrior 1/4 Catahoula, and Emett is 1/2 Ameican Bulldog 1/2 American Pitt Bull Terrior.
When hunting hogs with dogs there are many different ways to build a pack. Some folks run dogs that are bred to Strike (find the hog) and catch. That is to say, the dogs they have on the ground will find the hog and catch it without any involvement from the Hunter.
Some folks run a Strike dog and a couple to a few Running Catch Dogs (RCD’s). They rely on a single dog or maybe a couple of dogs to find and Bay (bark at the hog, attempting to make it stay in one spot) the hog until the RCD’s get there and catch the hog. Other folks (I fall into this category) like to run a Strike dog or two, maybe a Bay/Help ( usually a young dog just learning or a dog that doesn’t quite have the hunt in them that the strike dog has) dog or two and then on a lead/leash a Catch Dog (called a “lead in”). Some people feel a “help dog” isn’t worth feeding but I disagree. I won’t get into details but my dogs that aren’t necessarily Strike dogs still perform a valuable function in support.
I will Hunt anywhere i have legal access that holds a population of hogs. The land could be public, it could be private. It could be creek bottoms, ranch, or agricultural land. The way a hunt usually works with my dogs and the dogs of my hunting partners is something like this: We will park the trucks and walk the dogs in the direction we want to hunt. Our lead, older dogs will immediately start hunting. The younger or less experienced dogs may take 5-10 minutes to get out their pent up, “excited” energy and settle down to hunting. Hopefully sooner rather than later one of our lead dogs will strike (find a hog or group of hogs). When the dog starts barking, every hunting dog on the ground will honor (go to) his Bay. This usually takes only a few seconds to a maximum of 10 to 15.
Once we feel the hog is Bayed Solid (all the dogs are there and working the hog) we will head towards the Bay with the CD’s. If we are lucky the hog doesn’t break (get out of the Bay). If the hog does break we hope the dogs will stop him within a short distance. If/when we close the distance to around 20-40 yards with the CD’s we will cut them loose, listen for the squeal ( when the CD grabs an ear the hog usually doesn’t like it much) and then get into the Bay as quick as w e can. Circumstances will dictate, but sometimes we kill (stick with a knife) the hog on the spot and sometimes we hobble (tie) the hog and take it out alive.
At this point the adrenaline has been flowing and we can start to relax, check out the dogs and slap backs. It’s really an experience. Ill post some stories of hunts and pictures at a later date. Here are some pictures of my dogs.