You may be a deer hunter, but deer hunting only happens at certain times of the year. So, you get bored as you have to wait for several months before the deer hunting season starts. As a devoted hunter, you long for the sound of the wind whistling in the woods or seeing the sun shining through the trees. You don’t have to wait for the fall or winter season to hunt; you can go wild boar hunting as you wait. Texas is among the places you can find wild pigs in plenty. Here is all you need to know to go wild boar hunting in Texas.
Wild boars also known as Wild Pigs, Wild Hogs, or Feral Hogs have become a massive concern in Texas, even more so than in other parts of the the United States. While wild pig control is a big deal in other states, like California and Florida, here in Texas the population has grown to the point where it is a major problem.
These hogs destroy crops and land and threaten the wildlife as they breed at shocking rates. It is approximated that more than five million wild pigs live in the United States. Texas has over 1.5 million in almost all of its 254 counties. There are so many here because wild pigs are an invasive species that is not native to Texas. Just like with California and Florida, they were initially brought here during the Spanish colonial expeditions starting in 1539 when Hernando de Soto began exploring Florida. As those settlers and later homesteaders using free-range farming practices with domestic pigs spread across the frontier - so did pigs (scientifically known as Sus scrofa).
As a result of how they were introduced to the United States, they have few natural predators. This means that there is no natural way to control their numbers except by introducing other animals. In Texas though, one predator they do have is the American Alligator, which is well documented to attack hogs on the edge of waterways. Other land-based predators include wild dogs, wolves, coyotes, bears, and mountain lions. For obvious reasons Texas Parks & Wildlife would prefer to not introduce more of those species to control wild boar populations.
Instead, it is up to us ... the apex predator to help control the population both as part of protecting farms and property as well as for sport. This is one of the main reasons that wild boar hunting is not just legal in Texas but rightly commercialized. Humans are essential in the fight to manage their rapidly growing population.
Where is the Ideal Wild Boar Hunting in Texas?
Wild boars are in plenty across Texas; 253 out of 254 counties have recorded wild boars. However, there are particular parts of Texas with higher pig populations than others. The North and West parts of Texas have lower pig populations, while the Eastern, Central, and South regions of Texas have higher wild pig populations.
Wild pigs like to live in areas with water. Therefore, it is not surprising that areas with more rainfall have higher pig populations while the driest areas of Texas have lower populations of wild pigs. They are more abundant near streams and rivers than on dry land. If you combine these streams and rivers with a farm full of harvest, it is understandable why wild boar hunting in Texas is famous. Texas has the ideal environment for wild boars, which explains why it has the highest population of wild boars in the United States.
How to Get Tags in Texas
To ensure that the hog menace is dealt with, Texas went a step further to allow an open season and an unlimited bag limit. You are not required to obtain a hunting license to hunt wild boars in Texas. On May 31, 2019, Governor Abbot signed Senate Bill 317, which allows a lessee, landowner’s agent, or landowner to hunt wild boars without a hunting license. However, when hunting on public land for trophies or food, you’ll require to obtain a permit. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) summarizes license requirements and particular legal hunting methods through its annual fishing and hunting regulations publication.
When is Hunting Season?
The ideal time to hunt wild boars in Texas is between November and March. These months are the coldest year as they push boars to be more active than the hot summer months. The lax laws on wild boar hunting in Texas are essential in managing their growing population. It is estimated that about 30% of the hog population in Texas is killed by hunters each year, but this is not sufficient as experts say that the numbers should reach at least 70%. So, it is up to you to hunt as much as you want as you’ll be doing the state of Texas a favor.
Trapping Wild Pigs
While this is not a method that most true sportsmen would employ, it is by far the most popular method of lethal population control for wild pigs, hogs, and boar in Texas. Typically the format used here is a corral trap made from panels otherwise used for cattle and then the animals can be lethally dispatched from a concentrated area.
Aerial Gunning - Hunting Wild Boar from a Helicopter
Hunting wild boars from a helicopter have effectively managed their Texas population, although it is expensive. Wild boars can be difficult to catch from the ground as they run fast, spook easily, and penetrate vegetation that is difficult to get through. The vantage point and speed of a helicopter provide hunters with a chance to kill a more considerable number than they would on the ground. But, unlike regular hunting, you will need a license when hunting from a helicopter.
Ground Shooting Tactics and Weapons for Taking Boars
A Texas wild pig hunting license allows the use of firearms, trapping, and snaring. There is no bag limit or closed season. When hunting wild hogs, it is legal to use silencers (suppressors) on guns, but you have to fill an Alcohol Tobacco Firearms Form 4 to purchase a suppressor. You may hunt wild hogs at night using night vision or a spotlight, but it would be best to inform your local game warden of your intention to hunt feral hogs.
Understanding Feral Hogs vs Javelina
While they can sometimes be confused, Javelina are a smaller, native species that depends on the prickly pear cactus for food. To a novice hog hunter they may appear similar but the two species are actually not related and Javelinas belong to a totally different family of mammals.
Hunters can tell the difference first by the significant size difference but also more notably they have a smaller tail, more conical head, and also typically have a white or lighter band of hair around the shoulders.
Regulations are clearly different for Javelina Hunting as they are not the same as wild hogs. Make sure to check Texas's Parks and Wildlife for specific hunting dates and regulations.