One of the best strategies for hunting hogs in the Southeast, and is a common practice for most private landowners and lease holders, is Baiting Wild Hogs. Baiting works well and is an especially effective method for hog hunters and trappers. As a past Nuisance Control Manager and owner of a Hog Hunting Preserve and Outfitting business I found there is a surefire rule for success. The number one rule I live by is to only hunt a natural food source or hog bait pile in the afternoon and evening; and a bedding, travel area, or hog hunting feeder in the morning.
Hogs are very smart and very trainable without them ever realizing what you have done until it is too late for them. A hog’s stomach will always get the best of them. What I am about to explain is simply what has worked best for me in Florida, South Carolina, and Alabama. After 20 years of baiting, on a professional level, for both deer and hogs, I have found the below mentioned hog baiting methods create the highest success rates for hunting wild hogs. I am here to make this easy and not too difficult. So, keep it simple, create a pattern of a good feeding cycle, and you will manage a successful baiting area for years of good hog hunting.
To start, it is important that you understand the difference of baiting Wild Hogs from other animals and what to look for. Or what I really mean is what are the hogs looking for? There is a big difference in feeding game animals, and the main difference is deer and turkey like to browse and hogs like a meal. After these animals are done eating, you can usually tell who has been dining on your bait pile or feeder even without a trail camera. When deer and turkey have left your bait pile, they always seem to leave crumbs behind, it is going to look a lot like cracked corn. When hogs leave a bait pile or feeder, there is generally nothing left, and I mean nothing. Therein lays the difference in my preference for creating a “bait pile” versus using a “feeder”. A Wild Hog will always go to where the meal is the easiest and they can eat the most in a short amount of time.
Searching out a good Hog Baiting Location for Hog Hunting is your priority. If you cannot find good sign, then they probably are not there. When scouting look for water. Water is the one thing a hog cannot survive without and will leave an area if your water supply dries up almost immediately prior to the water being gone. It is best to set up within 50-100 yards of a water source. A good source of water is a river, lake, pond, creek, stream, or even a natural spring.
You are looking for muddy trees adjacent to the water source and that will show were they exit, or dry tree rubs where they are entering the water. Wallows are depressions in the mud where a hog has rolled and cooled themselves. Fresh wallows will normally be found only in warm weather, temperatures above 59 degrees. Rooting is always good to find as that means a food source is already present. The fresher the better as hogs come and go in different feeding areas unless you are baiting hogs and then all the signs will be fresh.
Now that you have located good hog sign, it is time to look around for good stand placement in relation to your possible hog baiting location. This is critical as you probably do not want to realize that there is not a tree within 300 yards to place a stand or climber after you have started a hog baiting location. As for stands everyone has their own preference. For me climbers are preferred because you can pick 2-3 different trees to sit in no matter the wind direction so you can hog hunt anytime you want. My recommended distance from a baiting sight is 50-75 yards for rifle. That is within the average shot distance for most big game animals harvested in North America. It is also a good distance for crossbow so you can use both from the same stand distance.
One recommendation for ladder, ground blinds, or box stands is to put these in place before you start baiting. Hogs are dang smart, and deer are not too far behind. They will notice the new giant objects you just put up within eyesight of the food they have been eating and go nocturnal immediately for 2-3 weeks and some may never come back with the disturbance. This is critical, there are no short cuts to success and if any of this is not done in the order it was presented then your success rates will be far less than you will desire.
There are some Tools Needed for Baiting Wild Hogs and getting a bait pile started, first off, I get either a shovel or post hole digger, 50-100lbs of whole corn, and a jug of a strong sweat scented product that has a base ingredient of molasses or fruity like persimmons (a dry product seems to last longer). As far as Cool Aid goes you will possibly hear that that works well. I will not say it does not, but it is bitter without adding sugar and it is the cheap way to bait but not the best way to bait in my opinion. A strong cup and a 5-gallon bucket work well to mix your bait. If using a dry scent with the corn they are place at separate times and a liquid is mixed in the 5-gallon bucket in the field.
Your Hog Hunting Hole starts with a post hole digger preferably. The reason for digging a Hog Hunting Hole, is Wild Hogs like a meal and they like to work for their food. Although they are the 4th smartest animal on the planet, it seems they think the corn is coming up from the ground when you dig a hole. This is a natural feeding pattern for them. They are rooting animals. The method of allowing them to root up the corn from the hole replicates how they normally eat.
What I do first is I dig a 2–3-foot-deep hole about 12 or so inches wide, pour a couple cups of a dry hog bait attractant in the bottom of the hole. By doing this it puts a base scent at the bottom of your bait hole to keep the hogs looking for more food. This method has produced trail camera pictures of hogs coming to a hog hole for up to three weeks without rebating and an empty hole. When using a liquid scent, mix about a 5-gallon bucket full of corn with about 2 cups of a hog bait liquid and mix completely and then fill the hole. For a dry mixture next fill the hole halfway to the top with corn, then add one more cup of dry scent, fill to almost the top with corn and then cover it back up with dirt but do not pack it down. Repeat, do not pack the dirt down over the hog hole simply kick some dirt over the hole. Sprinkle some corn around the hole say in a 20-foot circle and then just a dash of dried scent to get the hogs to check the site out. One hole is generally sufficient for wild hogs though after a few times baiting the same site you may need to dig a fresh hole close to the one that is now virtually a pit from the hogs digging. The reason for laying the corn in a circle and not a straight line like for deer is wild hogs do not like to stand still while eating in a pack and you need enough corn in a large enough area to accommodate several hogs at one time with minimal fighting until the biggest hogs find the food source.
Then, when the pile is ready to be hunted, I make sure I come again the day before my hog hunt and freshen up the pile. I do this for two reasons. The first reason is by the time your Hog Hunting Hole is ready to be hunted you will have quit a few hogs coming in each day and the bait will be eaten faster as each week goes by. By giving them an extra weekly amount, you are assured to have some left for the next day’s hunt. The second is that hogs are now checking this location every day for a meal. The bigger boars will generally come in much earlier to a bait pile than they will to a feeder. They know they are getting a good meal and this tactic produces a trophy about 50% of the time on your first sit.
Follow this simple Wild Hog Baiting Schedule for best results. If this is the first time, I am starting a bait pile, say I start it on a Saturday, I come back and check it the next Saturday (leave it alone for a week). That is 7 days even if I have a cellular trail camera monitoring the site, I leave it for 7 days. You then return and continue the previous mention hog baiting technique. If hogs have not found your spot in the first 7 days that tells you, they are living farther away than the sign showed. At this time, you should re-bait with the understanding this area may not have a high enough population to consistently harvest a hog on each hunting sit.
I do this for three to four weeks consistently, until I am sure a good number of hogs are coming in and they have developed a feeding pattern for this location. A level of dominance should have started already for this food source. One particular sounder is claiming the area and generally by week four your dominant wild boar should start to make some daylight trips. Unlike a feeder, if the hungriest hog in the woods does not show up first each day they miss out on a big meal and by now they realize this. So bigger hogs will come earlier and earlier each day checking for food.
I once baited a remote area and could not get back for three weeks after the first baiting. Our trail cameras showed that wild hogs show up every day for three weeks after a first hog baiting because the sweet smell at the bottom of the hole just does not go away even though the corn is long gone. The best scenario for a dried mixture is rain after you have set your hole. The water will run down through the corn and gather the dried hog bait scent and soak it into the dirt at the very bottom of the hole. The scent then remains for weeks even after all the corn is gone.
Should you be still Baiting Hogs After a Harvest on a bait pile? Yes, I make sure I freshen it up with some corn, and continue placing 1-2 bags of corn a week, creating a baiting cycle for 2-4 weeks before hunting it again. If possible, you can set up several hog baiting sites no closer than 300 yards from each other and four is a great number. That gives you a new site per week to hog hunt and you never hunt a single site more than once every four weeks so it does not get over pressured.
Something I want you to keep in mind, a feeder on a 15-20 second timer once a day will disperse about 50 lbs. of corn a week. Again, the idea with a bait pile is you are simply giving them a meal, not a snack. You are spending about the same amount of money creating a bate pile instead of filling a feeder, except you do not need to buy a feeder. You will save some money in that regard, and you are mimicking a natural feeding pattern to how the hogs actually feed.
Be very careful as the dominant boar around a food source will generally come in and bed down very close and feed all night and fight of other less dominant boars. Which means he will be there in the morning as well and hear your approach to your stand, possibly out as far as 100 yards away. I know you will want to sit in the morning, but it is just not worth the risk because every animal bumped is potentially one less animal harvested.
What I rarely use any more is a Hog Hunting Feeder. Again, they want a meal, not a snack, and hog feeders just do not produce enough corn for the results I am looking for. Not to say that feeders never work because they do, they just do not work as well as a bait pile works for me especially when you want a trophy wild boar in daylight hours. But and I say but they do come in handy. When I outfitted for Free Range Hogs, we always used hog hunting feeders and combined them with the hog holes. This was done to simply assure that any hog that showed up at any time would have something to snack on every day. I did this for you guys and gals to increase your success rate, but it also increases the amount you spend each week.
When setting up a hog hunting feeder you need to increase the spin times so more goes on the ground. 15-20 seconds is minimum for hogs each spin. You should also only spin the hog feeder two times per day, once in the morning just after sunrise and in the evening about 1 hour before sunset. Be sure you use your watch with the solar table and not visually. Sunrise is generally 15 minutes after first shooting light, and you have about 15-20 minutes of shooting light after sunset. Now if you are that hardcore hog hunter who wants perhaps a third sit each day then a spin at 11 am or 1 pm will get hogs to bed closer to the baiting site, generally within ear shot of the hog hunting feeder. You must have the setup close to dense cover for a mid-day spin to be effective. In the middle of a pine stand will not work unless it is young growth.
We had a stand location called the Triple Play where we had a feeder directly in front at 65 yards. To the left we had a bait pile at 50 yards and to the right of the feeder we had a bait pile in a small valley 75 yards away. Clients would harvest animals continuously from this stand from September early whitetail and hog season through June. Hunters harvested mostly whitetail from the feeder with the occasional hog. Left of the feeder was always hogs and the valley to the right was always deer. It is weird sometimes how things work out where not one hog in 3.5 years was harvested on the right bait pile and only one doe, the rest were all bucks, and it was always during the peak of the rut. The right was just a pile and we put down cobb corn only, hint, hint.
Now the left Hog Hole yielded some monster hogs and plenty of sows to go around. The setup was stand high funneling down into a giant swamp where the feeder was just on the edge, a transition line you might call it. Plenty of water and thick cover with separate shooting lanes in all three directions.
There is so much you can do with this Wild Hog Baiting method, so please improve on what I have described for your hog hunting stand locations and let me know how you do. Like us on Facebook and share your success’s because it is all about creating a successful hog hunting strategy.