By Corky Decker
If you have a taste for pork and access to private lands, Florida’s hunting season never ends.
In Florida we can legally hunt wild hogs on private land year-round, and like anything we do, the more time spent doing it the better skills we will develop. This holds true in shooting skeet or killing hogs.
I’m a still hunter and spend a lot of my time sitting in a tree, and if I’m targeting pigs I’m sitting over corn. Corn is king when it comes to hogs. When presented in a way that Florida wild pigs simply cannot ignore (they will die for that corn) this makes a really effective way to harvest a lot of hogs.
Pigs like to dig. In fact, I’m certain they would rather dig up their dinner than eat it off a plate. Somewhere I read about this guy using a post hole digger, and pouring corn into the hole for the pigs, so my hunting buddy who happens to also be a diesel mechanic took this idea to the next level. We borrowed the idea of using a post hole digger (great one!), but packed along six piston liners from a 671, two sacks of corn and a couple of gallons of molasses.
We dug the 4-foot holes, dropped the liners in, poured the corn into the liners then topped the whole thing off with the molasses. The next three days we got some of the craziest game photos I have ever seen. Those hogs tore the place up; it looked like a mining operation. They went crazy trying to get those last few kernels out of the mud. Oh yeah the piston liners: Five of the six were lying on top of the ground, simply dug up and kicked aside. The last one I have no idea, maybe it got eaten, so we abandoned that idea about using engine parts, and just dug new holes each time.
Be forewarned: Encouraging pigs to dig might not be a good idea to some land owners. They can really destroy a lot of ground very quickly, but if you have a place where they can be, well, pigs, oh boy. Baiting hog holes just drives them crazy; they will show up earlier and stay later, providing you with excellent daytime shooting opportunities and full freezers.
Note, too, that this practice is not permitted on public lands. FS
The Other White Meat
Wild hog is excellent tablefare. Quality depends on how you handle your game meat from field to freezer. Get your pig dressed and cooled down as much as possible. In the summer this means ice, lots of it (we always pack at least 100 pounds of ice with us while pig hunting). On the way home, stop at a car wash and hose the pig; this can get rid of a lot of ticks and just makes them smell better. At night, we ice them down again at home until the morning, or if it is daylight, we dress and de-bone the meat right away. The pork goes into a huge cooler with at least 50 pounds of ice, a dozen fresh lemons and a small bottle of vinegar. Slush the ice into a brine with the garden hose and change the water and vinegar each day with ice as needed. In three days your now brined pork will be ready for the freezer.
Florida wild pig hunting provides a lot of year-round fun; they are amazing and adaptive animals and make the best barbecue in the South.
First published Florida Sportsman April 2014