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Hog Hunting: Everything You Need to Know

Wild hogs present a huge problem and a great hunting opportunity in the U.S. They account for over $1.5 billion in annual damage to crops, livestock, and infrastructure. 

However, this provides hunters plentiful, affordable, and exciting hunting opportunities. 

The best way to hunt feral hogs is with a suppressed rifle, and Silencer Shop has you covered!  

What Does Hog Hunting Involve?

Feral hogs are one of the best animals to hunt for so many reasons: 

  • They're heavily populated; 
  • They're pests in need of population control;  
  • They're delicious; 
  • They're affordable to hunt;  
  • They're available for hunting year-round in most jurisdictions with very few other restrictions; and  
  • They provide hunting opportunities that range from novice to expert. 

There are many ways to hunt hogs, and you can make the hunt as physically demanding or as simple as you prefer. 

Hog hunting may involve hanging out in a comfortable deer blind that's more like a luxury tree house until the hogs visit a feeder at a known distance in front of your blind. 

You might choose to chase down feral pigs. You'll walk miles while tracking signs, staying downwind, and listening intently until you hear snorting in the cedar brush. Then, you'll spook a sounder of feral hogs who tear across the trees ten yards in front of you, followed by a sprint to keep up with them as you fire on the move any time a pig is exposed in a clearing for the briefest of moments. 

In any case, hog hunting requires a good plot of land with a plentiful amount of hogs, a trusty hunting rifle, good hunting ammo, and, of course, we also recommend a silencer to complete your loadout. 

Recommended Hog Hunting Gear

For daytime hog hunting, little specialized gear is required. 

Getting started is easy, thanks to the low barrier of entry. We recommend the following: 

  • Good footwear is appropriate for trekking in the terrain and conditions you'll be hunting.  
  • Good socks like Darn Tough are also necessary. Assume you'll be out there longer than you thought, and the weather will be worse than anticipated. 
  • Clothes appropriate for the conditions in which you'll be hunting, with layers to accommodate changing weather. Hogs are good at picking up motion but don't have particularly good eyesight, so fancy camouflage gear is optional. 
  • Reliable firearm with an optic and ammunition that you've sighted in and have D.O.P.E. (Data On Previous Engagements) for. Knowing your holdovers at different ranges significantly increases your odds of a successful hog-hunting trip. 
  • 6mm or larger projectile is recommended due to how tough hogs are. 6mm ARC has proven itself on hogs but requires a better shot placement than larger 30 caliber rounds or more powerful, heavier calibers. Common choices for hog hunting calibers like .223 and 5.56 can work, but better options are available. 
  • A suppressor! We'll get into the advantages of suppressed hog hunting later, but the TL:DR reasons are more dead hogs and making your gun wear hearing protection. Ditch the hot ear pro and enjoy the outdoors! 
  • Nitrile gloves and a sharp knife if you plan to butcher your hogs. Feral hogs often have pathogens and parasites inside and out – things that can enter your bloodstream – and it's recommended that you wear nitrile gloves if you harvest your hog. Posing it for photos or throwing it in the back of a side-by-side isn't as critical, but if you're field dressing or butchering it, glove up first. 

Where to Hog Hunt

There are well over 6 million feral hogs in the U.S., with nearly all of them located in the Southern half of the country. More specifically, Oklahoma and Texas and all the states to the East of them, plus much of California. 

Note: some states and areas have different amounts of public vs. private hunting land, and different amounts of available resources for hunting on public lands. 

Texas 

Texas has a massive wild hog population – about half the nation's total – and extremely permissive laws designed to encourage the eradication of these pests. There are effectively no restrictions on when, where, or how you hunt them. 

Texas is a top hog-hunting destination. Although the vast majority of land in Texas is privately owned, it's a darn big country. There is at least one million acres of public hunting land.  

Texas has more private ranches, properties, and guides who offer hog hunting than anywhere else. You can do almost anything in Texas, from spot-and-stalk to feeder hunting to shooting machine guns at sounders of hogs from a moving helicopter! 

The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department offers solid resources for public hunting, including interactive maps of hunting areas that you can refine by animal species and more.  

Florida 

Florida's hog population is second only to Texas's, and there are lots of public land and other hog hunting areas all over the state. 

Legal restrictions aren't quite as permissive as in Texas, but hog hunting is still available most of the calendar year. 

There are lots of excellent hunting guides (we did a hunt with Tropical Trophies, and it was awesome) and properties set up to facilitate hog hunts.  

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission offers some pretty awesome resources 

Georgia 

Georgia is rife with wild pigs and opportunities to hunt them. 

Dozens of guide services and outfitters will take you on hunts at reasonable rates, and there's as much public hunting land in Georgia as there is in the vastly larger state of Texas. With a year-round season and legal night hunting, it's hog heaven for hunters in Georgia. 

Georgia Department of Natural Resources has lots of great information.  

Shooting Suppressed While Hog Hunting

A gunshot will instantly send a sounder of hogs sprinting away from you. 

A suppressed gunshot – especially with a subsonic projectile – not so much. 

If you're making clean shots, not only will the hogs often not spook. 

If they do spook, whether from a hog that squeals when hit or from the sound of your suppressed gunshot(s), they're more likely to return to where they were if you're shooting suppressed vs. unsuppressed. 

We've had many experiences where the sounder bounds off into the tree line only to return five or ten minutes later. This is highly unlikely to happen if you're shooting unsuppressed. 

It's far more comfortable and pleasant to make your gun wear the hearing protection instead of you. In a hog hunting situation, however, it can also be critical to your hunt. These critters are noisy, grunting, snorting, and oinking as they move. Whether you're stalking along trying to walk up on hogs or stationary in a blind, hearing hogs is often your first indication that they're close.  

You can chat quietly with your hunting mates when you're not wearing clunky hearing protection. While wild hogs don't have excellent hearing compared to other game animals, you'll still spook 'em if you're talking loud enough to hear each other over muffs or plugs. Take advantage of feral hogs' sub-par hearing by hunting suppressed so you can strategize and chat with your hunting companions! 

Finally, hunting suppressed offers one particularly great advantage: you know immediately whether you've made a solid shot or not. Without the report of a gunshot and without hearing protection, the sound of the bullet impacting the animal is clear and obvious. Do it enough, and you can hear the difference between a shoulder hit, a gut shot, a glancing hit, and a miss. 

Depending on the shot range, this feedback often comes during the rifle's recoil. Right away, the loud "whop!" sound means your shot landed solidly, or a lighter "smack" tone may let you know – even before you've recovered from the recoil! – that a follow-up shot is needed. 

Hunting Pigs From Helicopter

In 2011, Texas passed a bill to allow the management of feral hogs and coyotes from the air. 

Responsible for over $400 million in annual damages, it's no wonder the state makes it as easy to eliminate as many hogs as possible. 

A quick search will net you lots of helicopter hog hunting options all over Texas, with the majority located in greater Central Texas. 

Keep in mind that the law allowing aerial hog (and coyote) hunting has one primary restriction: this isn't for recreational or traditional hunting purposes. It's strictly for pest eradication. This means no trophies and no dinners. The animals you cull are to be disposed of or left to the natural process. 

The most important piece of kit for helicopter hunting is a brass catcher. Stray cases flying into the rotors and/or intakes isn't exactly ideal. 

Though helicopters are loud on their own and everyone inside will be wearing headphones that provide both sound suppression and communications, most hog hunting outfits highly prefer – possibly even require – shooting suppressed. A silencer not only reduces sound volume down to hearing-safe levels, but it also effectively eliminates all of the blast and concussion from a gunshot. 

Even when flying around in a helicopter, doors open, firing machine guns toward running sounders of hogs on the ground, with headphones on, the benefits of shooting suppressed are so meaningful to communications and the experiences of everyone on board that it's strongly suggested. 

Other Hunting Considerations

Feral hogs don't have particularly great eyesight or hearing, but they have amazing noses! Whether you're stalking them or posted up in a blind, stay downwind. 

As a general rule, we recommend heavy-for-caliber bullets that penetrate straight and deep. This is typically the recipe for subsonic loads, and these are the quietest options when shooting suppressed. 

If you're hunting for a trophy or meat, we recommend using high-quality, subsonic ammunition designed for hunting, which means the projectile has been specially designed to expand and perform reliably at subsonic velocities. 

For high-volume pest eradication, you'll want to get a more budget-friendly supersonic ammo choice. 

Finally, we recommend an LPVO, or low-power variable optic, at least for most Texas hog hunting. It isn't uncommon to be presented with everything from point-blank to 200-yard shots on the same hunt. An optic that can be run at no or low magnification with both eyes open for rapid, up-close work and easily zoomed up to higher magnification for longer ranges is extremely handy and versatile. 

Can You Eat Feral Hog Meat?

Yes! Wild hogs can be delicious, but the meat's flavor will vary depending on variables such as age, size, and the hog's diet. Smaller, younger pigs will usually taste better. The meat won't be as tough. 

Most hunters hunting for pest eradication and meat won't harvest hogs larger than 80 pounds. However, a higher "cutoff" at about 150 pounds can be warranted depending on the environment and the pig's diet. 

Sows taste better and won't be as tough as boars, even if they're large and fairly mature. 

Treat feral hog meat like we used to treat farm-raised pork by assuming it has trichinosis and other potential pathogens. Cook it to the FDA-recommended internal temperatures and/or use it for slow-cooking recipes like pulled pork, carnitas, etc., where it's braised or otherwise cooked for long periods of time. It's going to have a more pronounced flavor than farm-raised pork, so if that isn't your thing then we suggest flavorful recipes with spices, sauces, broths, toppings, and/or condiments that bring a lot to the table. 

One of the best, ways to enjoy eating feral hog is to have a talented butcher turn it into sausage and other finished products.  

Yes, this costs you money, but it should still be less than store-bought products, and you'll be eating a wild animal that grew up free of added hormones, vaccines, antibiotics, etc. 

A good butcher will turn your wild hog into products effectively indistinguishable in taste from the best of what you'd find in a fancy grocery store made from factory-farmed meat. 

Republic Butcher Company is an Austin-based butcher who has turned some of our hogs – including some massive ones people would say are basically inedible! – into absolutely amazing sausages: 

  • Jalapeno cheese 
  • Italian 
  • Garlic smoked 
  • Ground breakfast 

 It's as good as anything you'll find at any store. 

Hog Hunting FAQs

What is the best state for hog hunting?  

Texas is the best place to hunt feral hogs. Texas has nearly half the hog population, and it's the easiest and most fun to hunt them thanks to the state law that encourages it: No seasons, no restrictions on method or time of day, no hunting license necessary for private land, and you can use helicopters to hog hunt. 

How much is a Texas hog hunt? 

Hog hunts in Texas range from free up to $3,000 or so for helicopter hunts. 

Free? Yes, public land hunting is free, and, in many cases, ranch owners have uninvited hogs that need killing. Most private property owners either hunt themselves, invite their friends and family to hunt, or sell the hunting rights due to the demand. Get to know the right person and you may find yourself helping property owners control their feral hog problem and getting some free hunting in return. 

If you're paying for access to private property and/or hiring a hunting guide, expect to pay $200 to $500 per day. They may also include per-animal or per-pound fees and other services like butchering. 

Conclusion

Hunting feral hogs is a ton of fun and offers hunting opportunities from mild to wild all year round! 

They cause billions of dollars of damage each year and they're tasty, so get out there and do your part to control the population of this invasive pest species while also bringing home the bacon! 

With a decent rifle and a good suppressor from Silencer Shop, you'll be an effective, safe, and efficient hog-hunting machine in no time.