Although hog hunting is open year-round in Florida, a good number of hunters in the state feel that the winter months provide the best opportunity to hunt Florida’s feral swine. According to hog hunting experts, within this period of the year, hogs in the sunshine state tend to invade oak hammocks to devour the easy stashes of acorns they vacuum from the forest floor.
No place can compare with the experience of hog hunting in Florida. Florida has a mind-blowing wild hog population, second only to Texas. Reports have it that there are at least 500,000 hogs in the state, and they have been found in all 67 Florida counties.
When it comes to population density, Florida has a higher hog population density than Texas, at an estimated 7.6 hogs per square mile compared to Texas’ 5.58 hogs per square mile. Areas with dense vegetation and a nearby water source are known to have the highest hog population densities.
Once the availability of acorns in Florida forest floors starts to reduce, hogs start to move toward creek bottoms, depression marshes, and palmetto flats to root. At this point, they plow the soils for any digestible plant or animal matter they can find.
Since the weather in Florida is cooler in the late winter and early spring, hogs tend to eat more and for a longer period of time. Note that this accords the hunter a better chance to locate a sounder. They are also more likely to visit feeder sites in the morning to keep their energy level up during the cool days.
Winter is without doubt the dry season in Florida and this entails you are less likely to deal with muddy lowlands and swampy areas. There is less vegetation at this time and you will have better visibility. When looking to hunt hogs in Florida, you need to also consider the time of day.
During the winter months, hogs are searching for food harder than ever before, and this leaves them far more active at night.
According to experts, the key to a successful hog hunt in Florida at night is to have the right color hog hunting lights. If you’re not properly equipped for a night hunt, early morning and early evening are suitable times to come upon hogs feeding. Indeed, daytime hog hunting can be successful if done on land that is not pressured.
Once the property is pressured by hunters, the hogs will go nocturnal almost immediately. Truth be told, you may find great success hunting hogs during the day, but if you plan to hunt the land again soon thereafter, it may be ideal to opt for night hunt.
Hunters Guide to Hog Hunting in Florida
Hog hunting has become extremely popular in the sunshine state in recent years owing to alarming growing rates of the feral hog population in the state. However, if you are looking to hunt hogs in the State of Florida, here are basic things to note;
Understand Florida Hog Hunting Rules and Regulations
In Florida, wild hog hunting can be carried out year-round on private land, as long as you have the landowner’s permission. Note that you don’t need a hunting license or a permit to hunt hogs at night as long as you have the landowner’s permission.
If you intend to hog hunt with dogs on private land, the dogs will need to wear a collar or tag which states the owner’s name and address.Have it in mind that written permission for hog hunting with dogs will have to be obtained from the landowner and should be expressly presented for inspection should an FWC or law enforcement officer ask for it.
If you are looking to hunt on public land, a hunting license may not be required but a management permit may become a necessity. The public hog hunting season is open during the majority of the year with the exception of turkey season.
Know How to Track Hogs
Your ability to find and track hogs is very important when it comes to hog hunting. According to experts, there are numerous signs to look for when tracking a feral hog, including:
- Hogs leverage their snouts to root through vegetation and find food. Owing to that, uprooted soil remains one of the most notable signs of a hog’s presence.
- Feral hogs also dig up land near ponds and creeks primarily to “wallow” in the mud and cool themselves down.
- Ensure to search for tracks that look like deer tracks, but are wider and rounder.
Hunt at Night
Since hog hunting has become a more popular method of population control, hogs have also adapted to hunter behavior by becoming nocturnal. Note that this nocturnal behavior means that the best time to hunt hogs is when they’re feeding at night. The key to a successful hog hunt in Florida at night is to have the right color hog hunting lights. These lights include;
- Bow light for hog hunting: If you intend to hunt hogs with a bow, then you should consider hunting them at night because aside from the fact that it provides better opportunities, with the right bow light, you can illuminate the hogs without them even knowing you’re there. To be effective at this, you need to get a bow hunting light designed for color blindness in hogs.
- Hog hunting light bar: A light bar for hog hunting can ensure that you have more successful hog hunting trips if you plan on using a swamp buggy, ATV/UTV, high rack, or even hunting from your deer blind. Just like with the bow light, the hog hunting light bar will have to be designed for the optimal wavelength for color blindness in hogs.
- Gun light for hog hunting: A properly designed bow light or light bar can also be used as a gun light for hog hunting. Note that the primary requirement in gun lights is the ability to shine at longer distances, surpassing 300 yards. A good number of quality bow lights and light bars are capable of this performance.
With swampy marshes and dense pine forests covering much of the natural landscape away from the coast, Florida has the second highest population of wild boar in the United States. Aside from the fact that winter remains the best time to hunt hogs in the State, the beauty of winter hog hunting in Florida is in those acorns.
Ideally, the animals have fattened up and make for alluring eats. Even with all of that fat, they’re quite leaner than domestic swine. Another bonus of cool weather hunting is the meat will be less likely to spoil. Within the hot months, you need to process and cool the meat very quickly to avoid spoilage and bug infestation.