Wild Feral Hog Round-Up

For many months we have shared how we were working to make our farm and ranch hog proof by changing all the fences out to hog proof woven wire. We realized that in doing this we took the chance of fencing in a few hogs. This was an acceptable risk and we only had about 10 acres of heavy bush/forest inside the fences at Rocky Branch and less at home. Since early January, when we had completed the project, all was well until the last few weeks. More and more pasture damage was happening. We had obviously trapped some hogs inside our fence.

This morning I found what I thought was a single 250 pound or so mamma pig and a hand full of piglets in the woods. We had been checking the fences to be sure there were no holes under them or wash-outs. Getting my trusty 30-30 open sight lever action rifle, I returned and did not see them. It was very hard to get through the brambles and brush (where is Brer Rabbit when you need him) , but I finally got her in sight and got off one shot. Missed! The woods were too thick to get a clear shot. That shot set off a hog stamped that sounded like a lot more than one mom and a few small pigs.

I ran as fast as I could in the thick forest, but they were ahead of me and eventually out ran my effort to catch up. I got to a clearing where I could see into a flooded bottom pasture and some black and brown hogs were in the distance running. Running as best as a 60 year old can in steel toe boots carrying a rifle, I got to where I could clearly see. I was not dealing with a mama and piglets, but 15 fully grown wild feral hogs each weighing over 250 pounds and 15 or so piglets. They were more than a quarter mile from me and had run into the east fence with no place to go. I took off southeast of them and opened a gate into a forest where they could free range if I could get them there. Back tracking and walking in foot deep water in the bottom pasture the big hogs kept made several runs toward me. I did not have enough bullets to fight them off if they kept coming and I was too far from a tree to get up on a limb.

I took several shots, yelled, waved my cap and finally they turned in the direction of the gate. It was a sight to see so many feral hogs on the run with a long string of piglets behind them going as hard as they could to keep up. My strategy worked and that herd of trouble makers went out the gate except for four piglets. I got two of them and two got away. They are small so I do not know if they will make it alone. If they do, I hope they are the same sex and not a breeding pair.

Feral hogs are destroying the rural south. I think the only thing worse than the wild hogs are our elected politicians. They have a lot of the same attributes; self indulgence, self preservation, rooting where ever they please and leaving a trail of distribution in their wake. I was lucky today that none of the hogs made a run direct at me and we were able to get them out of our pastures and outside of the hog proof wire line. We still need to deal with the two piglets that got away, but maybe mother nature will handle them. As for the politicians, nothing is going to fix that problem.

Characteristics of feral hogs
  • Adult weight
    100 to 400 pounds or more
  • Adult height
    3 feet (males are generally larger than females)
  • Color
    Varies from solid black, brown, blond, white or red to spotted or belted
  • Feet
    Similar to deer tracks, but toes are more rounded
  • Gestation period
    115 days
  • Litter size
    Six on average
  • Number of litters
    Two litters per year and young may be born any time of year
  • Social group structure
    Travel in family groups called sounders, comprising sows and their young; boars are generally solitary, only joining the group to breed.