Our Guide to Nocturnal Hunting for Feral Hogs
Any experienced feral hog hunter will tell you that pigs are VERY smart animals and thus, they are elusive to hunt during the daytime. In fact, if the pig population in your area has experienced any hunting pressure at all, they will tend to become very wary and will restrict their feeding activities to the early morning and late evening hours just like the local deer population. However, if the hunting pressure becomes too intense, they will become completely nocturnal feeders and spend the entire day in the thickest cover that they can find (which is commonly called a “pig hut”). Consequently, the answer to hunting feral hogs in this situation is to become a nocturnal predator yourself by purchasing a quality bow or gun light with a VERY bright red or green LED and a rechargeable battery pack and then, hunt them exactly as you would during the day. So get your hog skinning knife ready, as we list our top tips and recommendations for getting that big kill at night!
Scout the Hunting Area During the Day
This means that you can them either hunt from a tree stand or a ground blind or, you can use the Spot & Stalk method. However, rather than stumble around in the dark, you should first thoroughly scout the area you will be hunting in during the day in order to locate the bedding cover, the wallows, the drinking water, and their source of food so that you can hunt the area at night with some measure of confidence. Also, it is very important that you take a really good mental picture of the area during the day and pay special attention to even small landmarks like a fallen log or an oddly shaped tree because the same terrain will look very different after dark and you will need those small landmarks to navigate.
Regardless of which method you choose to employ, nighttime hunting does require a couple of specialized hunting accessories. For instance, a headlamp with a red or green LED is extremely helpful because it allows you to see where you are going and thus, refrain from making too much noise either getting to and from your stand or blind or when stalking. In addition, there are a couple of other specialized items that are very handy for you to have when hog hunting at night. For instance, a properly constructed bow or gun mounted hunting light such as the Sniper Hog Lights 30LR, 50LR, or 66LR or the Elusive Wildlife XLR100 or the XLR 250 (both of which use very powerful, red or green, LED’s) is extremely helpful because they emit a very bright red or green light.
Color of Light
Also, the reason for specifying red or green light is that, for reasons unknown, pigs are not nearly as alarmed by a red or green light as they are by a white light. We would, however, typically recommend a green light for hog hunting and a red for predator hunting, though it all comes down to preference. It is important to note that pigs can see these colored lights and thus, the best method of employing one is to sweep it slowly from side to side. If you do locate either a single pig or a sounder of pigs, then shine the light to one side or allow it to hover over them for a minute and then move it slowly onto the animal you have chosen to shoot before settling in to take a shot.
However, before purchasing either a bow or gun mounted hunting light, be sure to check the number of Lumens the light emits because some of them are not bright enough to provide you with a really good sight picture.
Radio and GPS
Also, if you are spot & stalk hunting at night with one or more hunting buddies, it is a good idea for each of you to carry a small walky-talky and, for at least one of you carry a GPS unit with the location of your vehicle programmed into it. Or, if you have the budget then a GPS radio is a great solution.
Plus, if you are hunting with a bow, then you will need an arrow rest that fully contains your arrow while it is knocked on the string such as the Trophy Ridge Whisker Biscuit. However, please note that there are several other excellent arrow rests of this type on the market that would serve you just as well and thus, the choice is up to you. But, regardless of which brand of arrow rest you do choose, it needs to be designed in such a way that the arrow will remain within in the rest when the bow is held at any angle because, when you are stalking pigs at night, your headlight has a limited range and thus, you can sneak up on a sounder rather unexpectedly and, when that happens, you will need to make your shot very quickly.
But, if your arrow is not in your arrow rest, then you have to waste precious time to put it there. In addition, the very same thing can happen to you in a tree stand or ground blind too and thus, a fully contained arrow rest is helpful with that type of hunting as well.
Another handy item to have when bow hunting pigs at night is a set of lighted sight pins. Of course, the reason for using a sight with lighted sight pins instead of simply mounting a light in the pin guard is that a guard mounted light only illuminates the tips of the fibers whereas, a sight that injects the light directly into the optic fibers is much brighter and thus, it is far easier to see your sight pins. Last, if you use a peep sight, then you will need a peep sight with a large hole in it because the larger the hole is, the light it lets through and thus, it makes it easier to see your pins and your target at night.
Therefore, between a very bright, red or green, bow hunting light and brightly lighted sight pins, you will have a perfect sight picture even on the darkest nights and thus, you will be able to place your arrow precisely where you want it.
Extra Things to Consider
Hunting on cloudless nights with the Moon at half to full light (depending on how good your night vision is) is also an excellent idea because a pig’s vision is not particularly acute to begin with and thus, they require the Moon’s light to see at night just like humans do.
In addition, it is very important that you listen closely while hunting at night because you will likely hear a sounder of pigs long before you see them.
Ready To Go Hunt Some Hogs?
Although nocturnal hunting for pigs is both extremely challenging and extremely exciting, it does require some special equipment. Therefore, although this type of pig hunting can be one of the most effective methods in existence, you will have to have the right gear. If you intend to spot & stalk them at night, then it will require a special set of skills and an intimate knowledge of the terrain as well.
Good luck on your nocturnal hog hunting adventure!