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5 Keys to Taking a Huge Florida Hog

Wild hogs in general are abundant and mostly easy to find. The big tuskers? Different game.

5 Keys to Taking a Huge Florida Hog

The writer is pictured with a 220-plus boar. Get ’em quickly skinned, quartered and chilling in an ice-filled cooler and they’re better than expected.  (Photo by Ian Nance)

We didn’t know it yet as the boar hadn’t broken stride, but Travis Futch planted a 180-grain slug from my .300 Win. Mag. into the hog’s side as it attempted to cross a pasture. The boar rapidly passed the 300-yard mark as Travis hollered for more ammo, having already cast the last two remaining in the rifle into the wide blue yonder.

Assuming he’d missed with all three, I waved off his pleas as there was no point wasting bullets with any more desperation shots. We watched the diminishing speck of swine as he approached a distant treeline, stopped and suddenly bedded down. Heck, maybe Travis did connect. We hustled across the field and glassed the black and white boar upright under a palm. One final anchor shot, and the show was over.

The boar pushed two bills with an awesome set of cutters. Upon further inspection, Travis’ first shot hit home but didn’t travel far enough behind the thick shield on the shoulder to inflict immediate mortal damage. This from a bullet designed for elk and moose.

Mature wild boars are impressive animals and harder to intentionally target than bucks or gobblers, I’ve often argued. While deer and turkey fall victim to the rituals of their respective breeding seasons, wild hogs mate year-round and aren’t compelled by a confined period to do so, abandoning their general wariness in the process.

So, what’s a still-hunter’s strategy to hang a toothy boar on the wall? Here are some thoughts.

  1. Hunt Nocturnal: Without question, the easiest means to tag the baddest boars, at least in terms of opportunities, is to hunt at night. Florida law allows this on private land, and if you have the opportunity to spotlight orange groves or use thermal imaging gear in pastures, grab a few energy drinks and mosquito dope and get cracking.
  2. Seek Overlooked Territory: Mature boars are mostly solitary beasts. Random areas where I don’t expect to see a pig is where the trophies most often appear. Scrub oaks and pine woods that don’t invite large numbers of pigs, for example, will hold the big boys, especially near a bit of water.
  3. Study the Sign: Naturally, boars root and wallow like other pigs, but focus on finding the black rubs where they scratch against trees. A few fresh rubs hip-high and you’re in the zone.
  4. Mind the Calendar: Mid-winter and late-spring are my favorite times to hunt boars. In December, they’ll root drying ponds and palmetto flats. By May, they’re munching in the relative open on fresh growth. After a summer thunderstorm is another prime time for activity.
  5. Hunt from the Stand: I love hog hunting on foot, but if you’ve located the sign from Tip 3 in an area described in Tip 2, camp out in a tree stand until you’ve bagged the boar. Wild hogs are highly mobile, but big boars will generally hang in a particular area for extended periods. Plus, the height advantage is needed to glass their trails through palmettos and along the edges of fields. Just mind the wind and the trails you use to access the stand. They will booger fast to human scent.

Mature boars are wary, adaptable, and unpredictable to boot, and purposely targeting one that sports two crescent moons of ivory smile is a tall task. But keep after it and stay adaptable yourself, and the time will arrive.

Be sure to have enough gun when it does.





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