4 Mar 2006
So you’ve found a place to hog hunt. If not ,now may be a good time to ask. After deer season closes is a good time to talk to farmers about thinning out any crop eating hogs they may have. Show respect for their land, and be generous with your pork, and you may have a place to hunt for years to come.
After gaining access to “hog inhabited land” what are you going to do next? You could simply throw a climbing stand across your back grab the old “06” and climb a tree over the first rooted up spot you come to. Good luck! If lady luck isn’t on your side there are several things you can do to get her back. Hunters that are willing to invest some extra time and money into setting up a well thought out bait site, can expect an explosion in the hog population in front of their stand. Proper stand placement and a consistent baiting program, will greatly improve your freezer’s inventory of pork!
To set it up right you’ll need to start with four bait sites per hunter. Bait sites should be located close to the hogs bedding area. Talking to the land owner, and any farm hands about where they see the most hog movement is a good place to start. Typically they will show you a feeding area in the back of a field or two. If your land doesn’t come with local advice you’ll need to start scouting. Look for fresh hog signs around any available food sources.
Glassing fields and power lines late in the evening can tell you a great deal about your hog population, and their movement’s. Once you have located fresh sign try to back track the hogs to a likely bedding area. Dry ground in thick cover that’s a stones throw from water is what your looking for. In cold months, I look for old growth pines in low lying areas. Hogs love to bed in the straw under such trees. You shouldn’t disturb a bedding area, just locate it. That’s easier said than done, so move along quietly and be very observant!
Locating your bait sites close to bedding areas will increase the odds that you’ll see hog activity before dark. Your basically hunting hogs that are going out to feed all night. They feel more secure “down in the wood’s” during daylight hours, so concentrate on these areas. I prefer small openings over big fields any day. Why? Because hogs do too! Select stand’s/ bait sites you can access quietly without having to walk thru your bait site to get to your stand location. Your four baited areas should be set up to hunt different winds. This is important because you can’t beat a hog’s nose. Cover scent may help but your best bet is to keep the wind in your favor. (Blowing from the bedding area & bait site toward your stand).
Once you have located four bait sites that show potential you should start a baiting routine. Automatic feeders are useful, especially if your free time is limited. There are many quality brands on the market. I use On-Time feeders for one main reason and that’s the lifetime warranty offered with their units. I set my feeders to run around an hour before sunset. If you set them too early you stand a chance of running hogs off of the bait when your walking in for an evening hunt.
My method of choice is to bait by hand. This should be done during the middle of the day, when hog movement is at a minimum. You can get by with baiting every other day especially if you use cracked corn. The small pieces of corn get mixed into the topsoil and become hard to consume. Hog’s will return the next day, and root up any pieces that are left. Baiting every other day does require more corn per site. Fifty to one hundred lbs. per site is what you can expect to use. That’s a lot of bait. You can get the same results with 10 lbs. of corn if you have the time to bait on a daily basis. The number one benefit of hand baiting is that it gets you in the woods. The more time you spend in the woods the more you’ll learn about hog’s and their movements. Observing hog sign while on a bait run will eventually make you a better hog hunter. Bait should be spread out thin over a broad area of 20 square yards or more. If you pile the bait in one spot, hogs will bunch up to feed, making it difficult to take an ethical shot. They will also wipe out your bait in a matter of minutes and be gone! Spread the bait out and make them “work” for it.
Initially it may take up to a week to get hogs working a new bait site. Once they discover it’s there, activity should steadily increase every day. It’s important that you stick to your baiting routine, if you don’t maintain your bait sites the hogs will move elsewhere for food. An old hog hunter I know once told me, “All ones got to do is go back to lay up in the thicket with corn on their breath and they’ll all follow him out the next evening!” After baiting for two weeks or so you should be able to tell what sites are doing the best. Abandon the two least productive sites. Now you can focus your time and money on what’s going to pay off.
Put your stands in place, while causing as little disturbance as possible. Stands should be fifty yards or so from your bait (closer for bow hunting). Any further will make it difficult to identify your target in low light. It’s a good investment to buy quality optics considering you’ll see most hog movement just before dark. Just remember you need to see what’s on the bait at dusk without getting so close you blow your cover. I seldom hunt climbing stands close to bedding areas because of the noise factor. Lock-ons and ladder stands are easier to enter quietly. Ground blinds are very effective if you take the time and effort to conceal them properly. Use natural vegetation to blend them into the surrounding area. Ground blinds are a good choice when two or more people will be sitting together. After your blind is in place, it is a good idea to wait a few days before hunting from it.
These are just some good basic guidelines that I hope will help you select productive stand/bait sites. Every tract of dirt is unique in its own way. Don’t hesitate to incorporate your ideas to make this system work for you. Make sure you check your local game laws before hunting over bait. You may also be allowed to hunt hogs at night ,if so, pack some extra batteries!!! Safe hunting and God bless.