Winning The Hog Wars
The "Rolling-Bucket Method" is just one technique Blaine Burley uses to kill hogs during the summer.
Deer season had only been out 10 days. Many hunters were taking advantage of the two-month break between chasing whitetails and calling turkeys, but not Blaine Burley, of Wrightsville. On this cool January afternoon, he had a post-hole digger in his hands, slamming it 2 feet deep in the Johnson County soil, where he had plans of pouring in some sour corn. Blaine was looking to lure wild hogs to the bait, as a management effort to rid as many of the destructive critters from his hunting property as he could.
“On our managed hunting properties, we primarily manage for trophy deer and turkey. Therefore, we try to harvest as many wild hogs as possible in order to keep the populations under control,” said Blaine.
Blaine is the president of Woods-N-Water and has a serious interest in keeping hogs under control. He’s in the business of selling hunting trips and wants his deer and turkeys to have all the food they want.
“If you don’t keep your wild-hog populations under control, they will destroy your crops, food plots, natural habitats and compete for food with other wild-game animals,” said Blaine.
In a pro-active effort to control hogs, Woods-N-Water sells hog hunts year-round. Along with his clients, Blaine spends plenty of hot summer nights with a gun in his hand.
“The summer months, especially at night, are a great time of year to harvest wild hogs on your property,” said Blaine.
Killing hogs over bait, at night and with a light is something you can do on your private hunting land. However, before you fill up your truck bed with corn, you’ll first need to get a “Feral Hog Control Permit” from the local WRD Game Management office where the property is located. Those phone numbers are in the front of the hunting-regulations booklet or online at <www.gohuntgeorgia.com>.
The permit allows hunters to hunt hogs over bait, from a vehicle and with the aid of a light. There are no voltage restrictions on lights, but they must be portable, one that can be carried on the person, like a rechargeable Q-beam you buy at Wal-Mart. Along with the permit, hunters need landowner permission.
Permits are not valid March 11 through May 15 and from Sept. 1 through the end of firearms deer season. As you read this, you’ve got two months to get a permit and start hunting hogs. Now go fill the truck bed with corn, and Blaine recommends you throw in a post-hole digger, too, so you can activate the “Post-hole Method” for killing hogs.
“To attract wild hogs and limit the amount of corn I need to use, I like to dig a small hole about 6 inches in diameter and about 2 to 3 feet deep with a post-hole digger,” said Blaine. “I then fill the hole with sour corn.”
To sour corn, Blaine will soak the corn for a week or so in water in some type of sealed container. A plastic bucket works great for this.
“Wild hogs absolutely love sour corn,” said Blaine. “When a wild hog tries to eat the sour corn (in the post hole), he can not open his mouth to eat it, so he is forced to dig a larger hole to get access to the corn. This method limits the amount of corn the wild hogs can eat at any given time, and a small amount of corn will usually last for many days with the hogs coming back regularly to dig for the buried corn. I usually re-dig the holes and replace the sour corn every week or so. The buried corn also keeps most other animals such as deer, turkey, birds and raccoons from eating all of your corn.”
Be careful where you dig these holes. For example, you wouldn’t want to place them in one of your hunt-club roads.
“Wild hogs, especially big hogs, will create extremely large holes over time if you don’t periodically change or relocate these feeding holes,” said Blaine. “You may have to fill in these holes completely if they become too large. I have found small pigs trapped in some of my larger holes.”
In addition to his “Post-hole Method,” Blaine has also perfected his “Rolling-Bucket Method” as an additional way to hold hogs in one area for up to a week. This makes hogs predictable and easiser to kill.
“This is another great feeding method that limits the amount of corn wild hogs can eat at any given time,” said Blaine. “Simply take a 5-gallon plastic bucket with a screw-on or snap-on lid. Drill eight or 10 small, 1/2-inch holes in the side of the bucket. Holes should be just big enough to allow several kernels of corn to come out when you roll the bucket on its side. Drill a hole in the bottom of the bucket, and attach a small I-bolt with a chain to the bottom of the bucket. Attach one end of the chain to the I-bolt and other end to a piece of rebar, which is driven into the ground about 2 feet deep. Place sour corn in the bucket, replace the lid, and turn the bucket on its side. Wild hogs will roll the bucket around and return periodically until all the corn comes out of the ‘rolling bucket,’ which may take a week or more depending on hog usage.”
Whether you implement the “Rolling Bucket” or “Post-hole” method, pay extra attention where you create these bait sites.
“Wild hogs usually spend most of their time sleeping and/or foraging in very thick cover and/or swampy areas during daylight hours,” said Blaine. “Therefore, I like to put my corn as close to the hogs’ natural bedding areas as possible. This will increase your chances of harvesting a hog, especially during daylight hours.”
The best time to hunt hogs in the summer is late in the afternoon or at night.
“We normally concentrate our wild-hog hunting during these times at or near these buried corn holes and rolling-bucket feeders,” said Blaine. “Since wild hogs love water, we also hunt watering holes and hog wallows during this time of year.”
Even if you’re hunting in a hog hotspot, pin-pointing when they feed can be time consuming.
“We use trail cameras extensively on our properties to determine when, where, and what type of hogs are visiting our baited sites, which helps us to determine when and where we hunt these wild hogs,” said Blaine.
Once you’ve figured out when the hogs are showing up, stand selection is just as important as putting out the bait.
“I have had very little luck with scent-lock suits and cover-up scents in hunting wild hogs,” said Blaine. “I think wild hogs have a better sense of smell than deer. Anything that can smell a few kernels of corn buried several feet under the ground has a pretty darn good sense of smell.
“You simply cannot fool a wild hog’s sense of smell. Therefore, it is very, very important that you keep the wind in your favor when hunting. If they catch your scent, they will be gone in a flash and sometimes will not return to that area for a very long time. To keep the wind in our favor, we normally have multiple stands near our baited sites so we can move as the wind dictates. We also use a lot of ground or portable blinds, so we can move to keep the wind in our favor.”
Any deer, bear, turkey or small-game firearm is legal for hogs. Blaine’s favorite long-range caliber is a 7mm mag. For short shots, he likes a .308 or 12-gauge slug gun.
“For shooting wild hogs, I recommend shooting some type of heavy-caliber rifle with ammunition designed to harvest thick-skinned game, such as bear, moose or elk,” said Blaine. “If possible, try to shoot wild hogs in the head or preferably in the ear. That way you can normally take them down in a single shot, and you won’t be forced to track down a wounded and/or ill-tempered hog. I don’t recommend using ballistic-tipped bullets or any bullets that explode on impact, because they will not penetrate or kill wild hogs effectively.”
Take Blaine’s advice on baiting and hunting wild hogs. Along with a better landscape for deer and turkeys, it can be some of the most exciting hunting you’ll get to do.
“Hunting wild hogs is a blast,” said Blaine. “Not only does it sharpen your hunting skills during the off-season, they are great to eat.”
Woods-N-Water offers trophy deer and turkey hunting and year-round hog hunts. They also have bass-fishing trips and will offer combo trips as well.
To book a trip with Woods-N-Water, call Blaine at (478) 864-9108. Also, check them out online at <www.woodsnwaterinc.com>.