Where Are the Biggest Hogs?

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As hog hunting gains popularity across much of the U.S. more and more hunters are asking where they should go to find the biggest hogs and trophies. I recently read an interesting article in "Boar Hunter Magazine", perhaps the preeminent hog hunting journal out there now. This very informative article was penned by Mr Jim Smith, a very accomplished hunter over a very wide range of areas and game. I am simply providing some information that should interest serious hog hunters among us. Mr Smith deserves all the credit.

Well, the first bit of information that jumps out at you in this article is the fact that records show that a hunter is three times more apt to shoot a big hog on fenced or strictly private lands than on public hunting grounds. That makes perfect sense to me as I don't believe many hunters spend the time, money and energy to feed hogs on public lands and to grow really big hogs a lot of food is needed. Certainly hogs living in very close proximity to lush farm fields will have a very significant food source, but not all hogs live there (obviously).

Here are some numbers compiled from records kept by SCI (Safari Club Intl). They reflect the input to their records on the largest hogs taken on hunting preserves or strictly private hunting grounds. In descending order here they are:

1.  Missouri  34
2.  Texas  11
3.  Ohio  6
4.  NY/Pa  4 ea
6.  Ok/Mi  3 ea
7.  NC, Tn, Ms, Nova Scotia 2 ea

Perhaps some surprises there! It certainly looks like Missouri is a hot bed for big hogs however!

When it comes to free roaming hogs (be aware that a hunter can still expect to pay some significant fees to hunt these free roaming areas) The list looks a bit different:

1.  California  33
2.  Hawaii  31
3.  Texas  10
4.  Florida  8
5.  Georgia  6
6.  Washington  3
7.  Alberta, Ca  2
8.  Mexico, New Mexico, Arkansas, S.C., Vermont, Nevada  1 ea

For the record, the highest populations of wild hogs within the lower 48 are as follows:

1. Texas
2.  Florida
3.  California

Note, of course, that all three are pretty big sized states as well. Makes sense they hold some of the highest numbers of hogs and big hogs. Also their weather is pretty moderate as well. 

Now, a couple of observations from me and my point of view. Some hunters have mixed feelings about whether or not to hunt on fenced preserves, ranches or plantations. It's my experience that hunters that chose a quality fenced operation had excellent hunting experiences and great success. Bluntly, they were very satisfied with their trips, trophies and experiences. I have, on the flip side, seen hunters who paid a fee and hunted hard for free ranging hogs in excellent areas that due to any number of different circumstances did not harvest a "trophy" and were disappointed.

The fees paid to hunt these quite different circumstances are not as different as you might guess, in some cases. Also, if a hunter is wanting to harvest a really big hog two other things should be addressed: 1.) Are they also wanting to fill their freezer with fresh pork? and 2.) Are they interested in perhaps harvesting more than one animal i.e. a meat hog plus a possible trophy.

Many hunters believe that the largest male hogs (those over say 250 pounds) are not always suitable for meat. Perhaps grinding the best cuts for sausage works for many, but from my experience, they are simply NOT the best meat hogs.

It is also my experience that most people will assume you killed a big boar on a fenced preserve, since these type wild boar hunts have been around for many years. The average hunter and certainly the average non-hunter will simply figure your free ranging hog was shot in an enclosure. Perhaps that's not a huge concern for most, but my comments are meant to warn some who may have chosen to hunt non fenced hogs that the perception that they "hunted" those trophies might not be held by all. Enough said.

If you think you might enjoy the new experience of a hog hunt, my opinion is that you absolutely will. It's up to the individual hunter as to whether you want a preserve hunt for a trophy hog, or maybe prefer to try some free-ranging hunts for a meat hog or possible trophy. There are hogs there to fit both those bills, both fenced and non fenced out there, so good luck with whichever you choose!

This picture shows that there are certainly still some big boars to be found free roaming.

Comments

ManOfTheFall's picture

Thanks for the tip, it was

Thanks for the tip, it was greatly appreciated. Ahog hunt is something I definitely want to do some day. I am not necessarily after a trophy hog, but if one came along I would be more than happy to take one. I am just looking for the experience of shooting a hog with my bow. I want some pork for the freezer and a hog head mount on my wall would look pretty sweet. 

hunter25's picture

The statistics you posted

The statistics you posted were very interesting and informative with a few surprises for sure. Hog hunting has gotten to be a favorite of mine to get away from the cold and do an offseason hunt. I have hunted both freerange and once in a high fence operation. The first time we ever went was in fact a high fence but were led to believe otherwise until we got there, after 21 hours of driving we went through with it and were succesful just not very happy with the overall experience. I'm sure there are some great ones out there but 4 of us were squeezed into 300 acres with 10 other guys and told to walk circles around the property so as not to bump into each other.

All the free range hunts have been much more rewarding with just as many hogs taken, the average size has not been as large but the satisfaction has been much greater.

I did a hunt with dogs in Florida and it is amazing how well these dogs know there job and do it very well.

If you have not hunted them yet you owe it to yourself to give it a try as the cost is far less than anything else but just as much fun as any other hunt.