Hog wild predator control, Jasper County style

The author helped Jasper County rancher Mark McKenna out on a recent Friday night hog hunt. (Photo courtesy Mike Giles)

As the sun disappeared below the horizon, I heard the sounds of hoofbeats coming down the hill in front of me. Suddenly, several small pigs appeared in a clearing, followed by a big sow and several other pigs. I centered the crosshairs of my Leupold scope on the big sow’s neck and squeezed the trigger of my .270 Remington.

Tic-boom! As the rifle roared, the camo-brown colored sow collapsed in a heap, never twitching, as the smaller pigs ran into the thicket.

I’d received an invitation to the McKenna Ranch to help with some hog control and met Mark McKenna earlier that afternoon. After going over the details and strategy of the afternoon/night hunt, he gave me some advice on hunting pigs.

“When the pigs come out, pick out the biggest sow and shoot her,”  McKenna said. “The smaller pigs will run off, but give them some time, and they’ll come back, and you can get some more of them. If you don’t see any by 9 p.m., we’ll ride in the UTV and use our night-vision scopes and spotting equipment and see if we can shoot some like that.”

Wild hogs are considered a nuisance by farmers, landowners, biologists and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. It’s legal to hunt them year-round, but most people do it outside of the regular deer seasons to avoid spooking deer.

I took McKenna’s advice to heart and settled back into my stand, anticipating more action and wishing I’d shot a couple more. About 8:20, two more black sows charged out of the woods into the food plot and were quickly surrounded by a sounder of pigs.

Population control

This time I was ready and centered my crosshairs on the neck of the biggest black sow.

Pow-wap! As the rifle roared, the bullet struck gold and another wild sow bit the dust, collapsing as the other pigs ran in all directions. I bolted another bullet into the chamber, found another hog in the scope and squeezed off another shot. As that one dropped, I repeated the process until I’d fired all four bullets and had four hogs on the ground. I’d shot two big sows and two smaller ones in about a minute’s time. My adrenalin was really flowing, and I was brimming with excitement, as I’d probably helped the turkey population just a bit by taking out several nest destroyers.

“The Mississippi Department of Wildlife told me that I needed to kill at least 70% of the hogs every year just to keep their population from increasing on my 5,000-acre ranch,” McKenna said. “This is the first time in 25 years that I had to close our turkey season down because we didn’t have enough birds to hunt. Since the hogs are predators and destroy many turkey nests, I figured we’d promote some hog hunts over the summer and see if we could kill a few hogs and keep their numbers down in the process.”

Piglets

Sows can have up to four litters a year, so it’s hard to control their population when they are such prolific reproducers. After skinning out one of the big sows, we rode around the ranch and scoped out the territory, spotting game and looking for hogs. Though I’d never hunting hogs like this after last light, it was very interesting and fun. By the end of the hunt, I’d shot several hogs and passed on a few more and added another exciting form of summer hunting to my repertoire.

For more information on hunting wild hogs contact Mark McKenna at 601-692-3224.

About Michael O. Giles 394 Articles
Mike Giles of Meridian has been hunting and fishing Mississippi since 1965. He is an award-winning wildlife photographer, writer, seminar speaker and guide.

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