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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

The Hog Days of Summer

Howdy friends! Have a hankerin’ for some huntin’ yet Dove season doesn’t start for a month? Me too.  Luckily, there is a species available to hunt the whole year-round. That’s right, feral hogs.  Not only are hogs a “blast” to hunt (see what I did there?), Oklahoma farmers will thank you. There are no limits for daily hogs and many farmers will appreciate you taking as many as you can. These wild hogs live in nearly every Oklahoma County and are devastating to crops. According to the Oklahoman, state agriculture officials alone killed over 21,000 pigs last year (an increase of 40% from 2019). While many farmers are now leasing land for hog hunting, the hunting itself barely puts a dent in the population. It was reported in the High Plains Journal that on average these hogs cause $1.5 BILLION annually in the United States. Mature sows are said to reproduce twice a year and can have anywhere up to 10-12 piglets. The numbers are astounding and continue to grow faster than they can be eradicated.

There are several ways to hunt these creatures. Many hunters utilize tower blinds or tree stands like a deer hunt.  They can be trapped using a variety of different traps. Heck, you can even hire an outfitter that’ll let you shoot pigs out of a helicopter within an hour’s distance of us here in Garfield County. Me?  I like to chase them around in their natural habitat. We stalk around in the heavy brush and trees, through creeks and ponds until we spot the pigs. Many times, we will belly crawl through the briar patches and plum thickets just to get a shot (or dozens of shots) if we are lucky. It’s an intense hunt, trying to be quiet creeping through the woods hearing boars grunt in their boar’s nests, and waiting for a big mama to come barreling at you trying to protect her offspring. 

A question many of you might be asking yourself; what do you do with the nasty creatures once you shoot them? The answer is: you eat them! While not very pleasant to clean, a 30-40 lb pig on the smoker is delicious. The back strap is tender and flavorful on the grill, but we’ll typically smoke the quarters with some Lawry’s seasoning for several hours and the meat just falls off the bone.

Before you hit the woods, know that a hunting license is required for hunting hogs on public land, unless exempt. No hunting license is required on public land but check the local regulations as there are different requirements depending on what other game is currently in season. Finally, find you a local farmer who has crops being destroyed and it is relatively easy to gain access to some fine hunting experiences. Until next time, as always keep our land grand and your hunting ethical.

Dalen McVay
Dalen McVay
Dalen McVay is a lawyer and an avid outdoorsman, hunting and fishing for every species available in Oklahoma. He especially enjoys bass fishing and deer hunting. He has two sons and a daughter who also enjoy the great outdoors, especially any time spent at the lake. His lovely wife does not enjoy his muddy boots.

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