Same thing happens every year. I spend an enormous amount of time preparing for deer season. From my late summer scouting trips, getting accurate with my bow, sighting in my rifle and another couple dozen must-dos, I am consumed with being prepared.
And then, when we get too much dry weather, wildfires, too much heat and whatever else tosses a few monkey wrenches in to goof up the season, I have reoccurring nightmares that include an empty freezer. I completely forget about pig hunting.
As great as it is to do the whole traditional deer hunting thing, when there ain’t no game, well, there ain’t no game. Some seasons are like that. Most of us put our tails between our legs and, after a few hundred or so beers, we get over it. And then, as we’re watching the snow come down, we realize that we could have spent the last month or so going after some wild hogs.
Venison is delicious whether it’s elk, moose, deer or caribou. But until you’ve experienced a wild hog cooked in the ground or Uncle Leroy’s secret recipe, you haven’t tasted good game meat—it’s absolutely mouth wateringly delicious and healthy. And, they’re a blast to hunt too!
A couple other reasons for hunting wild pigs in the fall are the flavor, which many old timers swear is best in the fall, and the increased activity (like other predators, they’re trying to fatten up for the winter). So, the odds are pretty good that you’ll get one in the freezer.
A few more reasons why pigs are a good choice is that the tag is dirt cheap ($22.42) considering how much meat you’ll end up with and the fact that they’re incredibly invasive and need to be regulated. You’ll feel good about helping to control the ever increasing population. And, while most other game animals are all about getting a trophy, that’s not a factor in pig hunting. The little guys taste best!
Best of all is that the season never closes so you can get out there whenever you want (the only restriction being that you can’t hunt them at night). If you are skilled at hunting, you will find that there are few things to learn and that, just like deer hunting, if you put in the time, you will probably be successful.
Depending on the state you hunt, you will often find that locals will be glad to help you find wild pigs. As invasive as they are, I bet if you walk into the local diner, you’ll probably meet a farmer who will let you hunt his land. I met a guy who had an almond orchard who was having a heck of a time with wild pigs. He was more than happy to lead me right to them. I now have a place to hunt whenever I want.
In California, there are several guides who will take you out. Most of these guys are legitimate and the good ones will guarantee you a pig. I found an outfit that charged 800 bucks, guaranteed me a boar and even did the gutting and packaging. I went out and had a blast and came home with my big cooler stuffed with meat. I think it lasted all year. That’s not a bad way to spend a weekend.
No matter how you go about it, you will find pig hunting challenging and fun. And, more than likely, you’ll avoid those awful “empty freezer” nightmares.
Photo credit: Dreamstime