Hunt a Wild Hog

Head to the Land of Enchantment, with a gun

Before the barbecue

Before the barbecue via Shutterstock     Photo: FotoVeto

Hunters in Texas call it the poor-man’s grizzly for a reason. A 250-pound razorback will charge with little warning, and needs just seconds to shred human calves into matching tassles. Kill one, and you'll find yourself with 80 pounds of good eatin’—nice, lean pork, best mixed with venison and made into brats for an authentic southern cook-out. But if anyone asks, that’s not why you’re out hunting. It’s for the environment. These non-native omnivores vacuum up vegetation, small mammals, and ground-nesting birds, then wallow in the destruction, leaving pockmarked earth in their wake. Because they’re nomadic and nocturnal, it’s hard to determine just how many feral pigs there are in the U.S., but in Texas alone, an estimated population of 2.6 million wreaks $52 million in agricultural damage annually. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that in most southern states there are few or no restrictions on hunting the beasts. There’s no bag limit, no season, and in New Mexico, you don’t even need a hunting license. That’s the first reason to head to the 47th state in our union. The second reason is Richard Burton, a New Mexico state wildlife specialist. Call and he’ll go off on the best locations for hunting, and maybe even contact a few private land-holders for you.

To do it right: Burton says head to the higher elevations in the Capitan Mountains and look for hogs on East-facing mountain slopes in the early morning or late afternoon, when they're most active. Drive in on the BLM road until you see the signs: pinyon pines tilled at the base, smashed underbrush, and muddy rubs around wallows. Since hogs don’t sweat, they have to have water nearby, so follow rivers and check around pools. Bring a good skinning knife, thick clothes for tramping through undergrowth, a hog-caller, and dogs. You’ll also need at least a 30-calibre. If this is your first time, visit the guys at WildHogHunters.com for tips—unless you’re OK with getting treed. 

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