Hog hunting with dogs, wait what did you say?
When I tell people I hog hunt with dogs I normally get one of two reactions. Wow that is cool, or oh really that is so cruel. No matter the reaction though, at some point the question of why I hunt this way is always asked. For some it’s the thrill, and it gets the blood pumping, and the sound of a bay is music to an adrenaline junky’s ears. Personally, though it comes down to a deeper purpose. Here in southwest Ga hunting hogs is necessary to not only preserve the quail population that provides a way of life for so many in this area but also to prevent the destruction of crops. Typically, there are 3 main ways of hunting hogs, trapping, thermal, or running dogs, with a combination of all being the most effective.
Running dogs is not only thrilling but it also serves a purpose to pick up where the other ways fall short. Imagine if you will a crop field full of chest high corn. If you are relying solely on traps around the perimeter of the fields, at some point your bait in the trap loses its effectiveness, and you’re back to square one. Hogs even at their biggest tend to not be taller that waist high, so in chest high corn, you’re not going to be able to spot them through the scope, and at night using thermal the corn itself will give off enough heat, making the night vision/thermals ineffective from the edge of the fields. What you need at that point is a way to draw them out of the field. Running dogs you have that option, in the simplest of terms the dogs will push/drive the hogs out of the crop field without damaging the crop further.
Hogs in general are very smart. They learn and adapt to the multiple ways of hunting, making it a challenge to stay one step ahead of them, in fact most times we as hunters are doing good to stay a step behind them to keep them running. Hunting hogs with dogs is a tool that along with trapping and thermal hunting is key to keeping the population under control. An unchecked feral hog population is not only destructive but also carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans, as well as other animals. It definitely isn’t for everyone, but it has proven to be an effective way to hunt, especially when used in conjunction with the other ways.
So, the next time you’re driving through “quail country” and happen to see pick-up trucks loaded down with side by sides, 4wheelers, dog boxes, and coolers, remember they serve a purpose. No matter how you feel on the subject it’s another tool in the belt, to control the rapidly growing population of an extremely destructive predator, that not only cause untold amounts of damage to crops but also impacts populations of quail and other native species.
Just good ol’ boys who love getting suited up and going to work.
This is what you would call a major hog problem.
Just a glimpse of what a sounder can accomplish overnight.
Thank you for joining me, until next time from the seat of the Gator
– Aby Paul & Psy