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Hog Hunting 101 - Don't Get Caught Playing Checkers

Updated: Jun 4

Hog hunting is a thrilling pursuit that combines the excitement of the chase with the satisfaction of outsmarting one of nature’s most cunning creatures. It’s a game of strategy, akin to chess, where every move counts and the hunter must think several steps ahead.

The thrill of the hunt is heightened by the element of danger. Many seasoned hunters recommend staying within reach of climbable trees for safety, especially when dealing with an aggressive boar or a protective sow with her piglets. Hogs are nocturnal, giving them a natural advantage over hunters as they roam under the cover of darkness. To level the playing field, hunters must devise strategies to spot them as the sun sets.

While hogs’ eyesight is often considered a weakness, with reports suggesting they can see up to 100 yards, it’s their olfactory prowess that truly stands out. They’re believed to be able to detect scents from as far as 25 feet underground and 5 to 7 miles away. However, the most formidable aspect of a hog’s nature is undoubtedly their intelligence.

I’ve witnessed hogs use their keen sense of smell and the wind to detect unfamiliar scents in their territory. On one occasion, a hog picked up my scent from over 100 yards away, abruptly stopped as if hitting an invisible wall, and then turned and fled in panic. The most memorable encounter for me was with a particular sow and her sounder, which I met on three separate hunts.

The first time, during a turkey hunt, the sow and another pig stumbled upon my location. They froze as they detected my presence/scent, and as I raised my shotgun, the sow caught sight of my movement and they both dashed away.

On the second occasion, I was on a tripod stand, camouflaged by tree leaves, about 12 feet off the ground. I heard rustling behind me and soon the sow appeared. She traced my scent to its source and spotting me, they retreated once more.

The third encounter was the most astonishing. By then, the sow was aware I was pursuing her. I set up in a different location, concealed by brush and camouflage netting. As the sounder approached, all 12 to 15 pigs halted at the treeline’s edge. Only the sow ventured into the clearing, methodically checking each spot where we had previously crossed paths with me, while the others stayed back, out of harm’s way. It was amazing to see such intelligence on display.

According to Sentient Media, pigs are:

  • Ranked as the fifth-most intelligent animal.

  • Capable of long and short-term memory.

  • Emotionally intelligent.

  • Communicators. They use over 20 distinct sounds to communicate.

  • Comparable in cognitive abilities to a 3-year-old child.

There’s a wealth of information available about the intelligence of pigs and their senses. For those interested, it’s worth exploring further. And while discussing their remarkable traits, it’s hard not to mention their culinary appeal—they are indeed a tasty treat! If you’re planning a hog hunt, remember to respect these intelligent creatures and the challenge they present. Contact us now, to schedule your hunt!

To the Hunt!!!

Graham, R. (2023, October 4). Pigs Are Intelligent and Clean Animals, Actually. Sentient Media.

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