Calls And Scents To Make Wild Hogs Hunt You

You can attract hogs to come to you, if you dare...

Bo Russell | August 1, 2004

About 25 years ago the hunting-accessories industry was still in its infancy, and in most parts of Georgia wild hogs were not a problem, or a pleasure, and were seldom if ever mentioned where hunters gathered. The flourishing deer populations had only recently rejuvenated the sport of big-game hunting in the state, and the only place hogs were found was along the coast, in a few river swamps, and in the Appalachian-mountain “Hunt Wild Boar” ads in the back of Outdoor Life. Incidentally many of those Appalachian hogs were being bought along the coast of Georgia from trappers, and then released into the hunting preserves.

Enticing to many hunters and prolific once introduced into an area, wild hogs are now widespread in Georgia, as are the tools being used to hunt these tasty critters.

Flashback to November of 1978: I am 16 years old and have invited a city slicker and his dad to come hunting at our place in Camden County. They showed up in a brand new Cadillac Seville loaded with outlandish things such as a climbing treestand, and battery-operated heating socks, and their guns even had 3×9 scopes! They dressed in matching Browning woodland camo, from their curious-looking hats to their boots, which we found funny. To us, a camo hat, jeans and a dark jacket were all that was needed to hide from deer. Me and my relatives soon began to snicker behind their backs, calling them names like “Little Lord Fauntlʼroy” (which we had borrowed from a Jerry Clower story.)

My father, who grew up during the Depression hunting for the family table, was always very critical of anyone I invited along, as he should have been. He wasnʼt given the luxury of pre-screening them for ethics and safety, just a short, polite phone conversation taken up mostly with how to find us once you turned off the highway. The BAR .270 with a 3×9 Redfield Widefield made him worry a little, the climbing treestand with all its blades and wing-nuts made him nervous, the electric socks made him grin…..but that bottle of doe-in-heat pee caught my dad plum off guard. He said nothing until we were back in the ʼ67 Ford pickup.

“Son, these friends of yours are strange. Folks like that worry me. I can understand the new hunting clothes, and that Browning is a nice rifle, but do you really think he is going to squirt that bottle of pee on those brand new hundred dollar Browning boots? That guy at the hardware store sure saw him coming…. He probably fills those bottles up in the back of the store himself!”

“Do you really think thatʼs pee?” I asked.

“Oh thatʼs pee alright,” my father laughed, “but I just canʼt believe it came out of a deer.”

Well, times change and we all learn from each other. My 81-year-old father now occasionally allows me to put the latest scents on his $29 boots, but he still wonʼt buy them himself.

Hog hunting has changed, too. Hogs are now spread through all parts of the state. Some outdoorsmen see them as a pest, and some as a value-added resource, but all agree, especially wildlife managers, that they should be hunted hard.

Both scents and calls are now on the market that add a whole new, active element to hog hunting.

Pigs have marginal eyesight and are fun to stalk, but they tend to feed on the move and roam from place to place. A hog can be a difficult animal to pattern unless something is holding him in a general location, like a ripe swamp-chestnut tree. To make up for poor eyesight, hogs have a famous snout. The French have used them for years to find underground truffles, and pigs have also been trained to find drugs and missing people. Growing up on the coast, I have never had a time that I didnʼt share the woods with the porcine critters, and I have witnessed first-hand how sensitive a hogʼs sniffer can be. Countless times I have had deer almost close enough, only to have a hog make my scent and ruin the party. I have watched as a deer fed across my trail, not noticing a thing, then have a pig casually walk until hitting the path and stop as if it was made of brick.

The first cool snap of fall usually hits after the acorns have been on the ground a good month or two down here on the coast, and this triggers the healthy sows to cycle. Unlike deer, hogs make noisy lovers! Different boars will catch the scent of the same sow and race to her. There they will fight it out amongst themselves, viciously cutting into each other with their tusks, and shoving each other around with their snouts, which produces squeals and assorted guttural noises that can be heard for over a mile. The squeals will attract the attention of more boars, which come charging in to join the fracas, working their jaws repeatedly until they are foamed up, slashing and pushing every other pig in sight. In my neck of the woods it is common to see two or three big mature boars courting one sow, and at times many more.

I remember once before I was old enough to drive, riding through the woods in that old Ford with my dad, we slammed on the brakes as a big reddish-brown boar darted out in front of the truck, across the road and down a trail in the palmettos on the other side. Before dad could let back out on the clutch another hog just as big did the same thing. We just sat there and counted over a dozen big trophy-sized boars run in the exact direction. None of them ever noticed the truck, or ever stopped moving. With the windows down we could hear the battle blazing down in the swamp. Daddy explained that those were all “Gentleman Hogs” and that they were busy romancing a sow. I kindʼa understood what he was talking about at the time, and never forgot the experience.

By the mid-80s I was having good results using doe-in-heat products and fox cover scent with deer. I often wondered what it would be like to have some hog-in-heat scent. It could make for some fast action if it was the real stuff, and it could help considerably in locating big boars. One thing is for sure, I wouldnʼt put it on my boots, maybe my future brother-in-lawʼs but not mine!

Move up to the new Millennium: there are wild hogs everywhere. They have gone from being an infrequent novelty to a nuisance in just a decade or so. I was at the Perry Buckarama in August of 2000 with my son, and there it was, a booth dedicated to hog-hunting products — videos, cover scents, attractants and a clear bottle of blue liquid labeled “Razor Back Crak.”

It smelled a little like sour mash, and it sported a warning label that read something like: Caution — Use of this product on your person may result in serious injury or death from attack!!!

Boy I couldnʼt wait to put some of that on my brother-in-law. (Just kidding!)

At first I used it sparingly, putting a little on a bush and then checking back in a day to see if there were any fresh tracks. At first I didnʼt get any results. Then on a Thanksgiving afternoon I was walking a deer-hunting guest to a tripod stand, and once he was safely in I pulled out the Crak and squirted it liberally on my back trail for several yards as I left the stand site. When I checked back on the hunter, he said a small boar came out shortly after I left and just hung around his stand the whole time, a good 2 1/2 hours, sniffing. I was very excited, and knew I was on to something.

The next weekend I took my son Jamie on an afternoon hog hunt. It was breezy, the wind swirling. We walked into an oak hammock surrounded by 10-year-old pines. It was full of fresh hog sign. We didnʼt have a double stand in that area so I found a large water oak with a somewhat comfortable-looking trunk, and we set up on the ground. I walked 30 yards forward and totally soaked a small wax myrtle bush with the Razor Back Crak. The solution ran down the sides of the bottle as I doused the bush, then I put the top on it and dropped the bottle in the mesh pocket of my Bug Tamer jacket. I walked back to the water oak, and we set up. I sat against the tree and my son sat between my knees, so I could control his every move. We had Jamieʼs little single-shot .223 on a bipod out in front pointed at the wax myrtle, and I had my trusty .357 laid out beside me just in case his single shot wasnʼt enough. We were set up perfect for what I thought would be a close and easy broadside shot.

Iʼm sure my son will never forget the events of that afternoon, but I do sincerely hope that one day when he is older he will hunt from the ground again! We had been set up no more that 10 minutes when two 60-pounders, a shoat and a guilt, came running up our back trail. I could see them out of the corner of my eye. They were perfect eating size, and fat. Jamie could only hear them, that is, until they tried to get in my lap! They ran right up to me and if we hadnʼt moved, would have stolen the bottle of RBC right out of my pocket! When I attempted to spin our set-up 90 degrees to the right, Jamie saw them and squirmed the other way, the pigs let out a loud OINK and flushed like a couple of very fat quail. It was a little unnerving for me and it took a good 30 minutes to assure Jamie that it wasnʼt time to go back to the truck yet. I finally convinced him that it was a fluke and the hogs were on their way to the myrtle bush and just didnʼt see us. I had just taken a deep breath of clean fall air when I heard a very loud crashing coming toward us from the pines to the left. Suddenly, a 200-lb. class, nasty-looking boar with a head full of teeth and ripped up, laid back ears came charging in and stopped right at my boots! The ugly boar glared at us like he wanted our livers, and I whispered “just pull the trigger,” but the little rifle wasnʼt cocked and the would-be shooter was frozen in horror. I grabbed the revolver, and the hog bolted. Jamie was right, it was time to go back to the truck!

Unfortunately the inventor of Razor Back Crak has passed away, and it is no longer in production. I never figured out what was in it, but it did attract both sexes. I believe it was something that smelled like an easy meal, or maybe it had food attractants and sexual attractant qualities, we will never know for sure. When I found out my supply of Razor Back Crak had dried up, I was despondent, like a junkie who couldnʼt get a fix. I began searching on the web and discovered that several manufacturers are catching on to this trend in the big-game hunting market. I predict that this is only the beginning. With their famous sense of scenting, hogs will respond very excitedly. I know from experience that excited hogs create excited hunters, and excited hunters spend money.

Right now there are three different groups of items being marketed; Sexual attractants; food-type attractants, and calls. Be careful that you donʼt break the law. As when deer hunting, foods and powders that havenʼt completely dissolved are illegal and considered bait when hog hunting.

A company called Cajun Slick ( offers seven different products dedicated to hog hunting that cover all three groups, plus they have a book. They are one of two sources I have found for sow-in-estrus liquid, which they say “will bring boars running within minutes.” Other products are a liquid that attracts both sexes which they call Hog Attract, and powdered Hog Dynamite and Hog Jambalaya which are food/mineral type attractants to be mixed with water in a dirt hole (donʼt hunt within 200 yards of these unless they are long ago dissolved or you could be considered baiting). They also have a Hog Drip in a foil pouch that is supposed to attract both sexes for 10-12 months. You tie it to a limb and poke a hole in the bottom. The shiny silver pouch reflects light like a fishing spoon as it slowly drips out a scent. According to the makers, hogs are attracted to that kind of thing.

A company called Texas Boars also has a line of estrous scents and drippers to dispense them. Another method of using their product is to make a “mock wallow” mixing two or more bottles of Hog In Heat with five gallons of water and pouring it in a hog-sized hole that you dig, about 3-feet x 2-feet and six-inches deep. They say this is the best way to bring in a big boar fast.

The folks who developed Deer co-Cain years ago, Evolved Habitats, now have two hog products on the market, Pig Out which is a syrupy sort of liquid that they recommend pouring in a wallow, and Hog Wild Beast Feast Wildlife Attractant, which is a solid granular mineral-type product. With these make sure youʼre following baiting laws — 200 yards and out of sight, or the products are completely dissolved.

As a teenager I trapped hogs extensively and discovered that they will quickly learn to respond to certain sounds. Before trapping hogs, it helps to “gentle them up” by feeding them corn in the same place every day. I once had a band of probably 20 to 30 hogs, (mostly sows and pigs, with the boars not quite as quick to participate), that would come running out of the bushes when I beat on a bucket. This happened by accident, I was feeding them in the same place every day and when I got to the last corn in the bucket I would turn it upside down and beat the bottom like a drum once or twice to knock the dust out. Hogs are naturally competitive for food, and they easily figured out that the bucket sound meant corn on the ground.

When preparing to trap an area for the first time, I was taught by my father to drive slowly through the woods trickling corn out of my fist a few grains at a time. This made a single-file trail which the pigs moved down q­uickly, often passing each other to find the next grain. After a week or so the hogs in the area would hear the truck bumping down the road and wait for it to pass, then step right out behind it. These experiences taught me that hogs can be attracted to sounds.

I have, many times in the past, called hogs into a spot when I was blowing on a buck grunter, so I know hogs are callable. Cajun Slick has two calls — a piglet-in-distress simply named “The Hog Call” which is compact and makes distress calls of a piglet, and another call aptly named “Hog Grunt Call” which makes deep, throaty hog grunts, as well as squeals. They say this call is great while stalking, but be careful, you can get a surprise charge when you donʼt expect it by randomly walking around the woods yelling curse words in Pig Latin! If you think this sounds like fun I recommend trying it in relatively open woods, or if you are planning on hunting a thick area, leave your rifle at home and bring a short barreled, open-choked 12 gauge loaded with 00 buck. If a mature boar knocks you down, he can disembowel you quickly using his tusks like scissors and will instinctively go for your mid-section. Donʼt want to read about that in a future GON.

I believe all of these products will work to some extent, given proper application and conditions. As it states on the Texas Boar Website: “I ainʼt saying this In Heat Scent will pull a hog out of a hat or perform any other kind of miracle OK. If you do not have hogs in your area, this product wonʼt create them or make them appear. Realistically speaking, if there are hogs in the area this product can attract or lure wild hogs who smell it.”

Like ʼem or not, hogs have moved into all reaches of our state. If you donʼt have them, you probably will sooner or later. Whitetail deer will always be the No. 1 game animal in the state, but itʼs fun to have an alternative quarry to learn from and pursue. For years wildlife managers have told us to hunt the hogs hard, but they didnʼt explain how. By using these new products we might be able to develop hog-specific strategies that are both fun and exciting, and result in a much higher harvest of pork, which in turn is good for the habitat.

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