CHOOSING A TIME TO HUNT WILD HOGS
LOW COUNTRY HUNTING LODGE
When planning a hog hunting trip, one of the most important aspects of the hunt is when do you want to go?
While everyday can be a great day to hunt wild hogs, not every day is a great day to kill a wild hog. And by that, I mean, since the season is year round, it is always great to get in the stand and hog hunt. However, since hogs eat different things at different times of the year as well as move differently at different times of the year, this can make certain times of the year better than others.
Wild hogs are already super smart and tough to kill despite what some of the YouTube videos will lead you to believe. So you want to hunt at the best time of the year to give yourself the best chance at killing one - which is typically during the colder months of the year.
During the colder months of the year, there is not only less food in the woods for the hogs to eat, but due to the cold weather, they also need to consume more calories a day to survive - especially high carbohydrate foods such as corn and acorns. This combination of a lack of other natural foods in the woods combined with the hog hunters ability to bait with a high carbohydrate food such as corn will usually bring in hungry hogs if they are in the area. If they are not close by, you can often add something like hog wild from of evolved habitats to stink up your corn and help bring hogs from further away. When food is scarce, they will usually stay pretty close and eat frequently at the bait site making them easier to kill. Here in the lowcountry of South Carolina, the colder months of the year tend to be December, January, February and into early March. These months generally produce the best hog hunting in my experience.
Then as mid March arrives in the Low Country, spring green up can come at any time making hunting a little tougher. Because as the forest wakes up after a long, cold winter, little sprouts and chutes spring up everywhere giving the wild hog somewhere else to eat away from your bait site. And since the hog is not had any fresh green food in months, and being an omnivore, it wants some variety in its diet. Also, with the warming temperatures, the wild hog no longer needs the super high carbohydrates foods to keep him warm. So literally though wild hog hunting can change and just a matter of days in the spring due to the spring green up. They're always hogs still in the woods to kill, but when they have other food to eat, it makes them harder to pin down in front of your stand since they can eat anywhere.
So anywhere from mid March to mid-April typically bring spring Green up and brings tougher hog hunting conditions. However, you can mitigate these tougher conditions by hunting natural food sources along with keeping an eye on your baited sites.
Typically once the Low Country of South Carolina gets into May, the warm temperatures have arrived in the hogs are generally starting to move less and less every day due to the rising heat. This means that hogs will not move very often or very far, because in the heat they are not very hungry and can't travel very far from water/mud for food. This makes them hard to bring in from very far, but if you have hogs on your property, they will be close to the food source and water. So while it is always tougher conditions in the summer heat, if you have the right spot in the woods, you can still do well.
June, July and August typically bring the hottest weather of the year in the Low Country, and this makes some very tough hunting. , The hogs won't be very hungry and won't want to move very far, making them very tough to kill in the summer. However, with night vision and hunting late and/or early into the morning, there are still hogs to kill. And wild hog hunting can change very quickly due to changing weather conditions in the summer. Often the best wild hog hunting can come right after a late afternoon thunder shower. This brings down the temperature greatly as well as clouds up the sky, making for great afternoon hunting conditions. And that big boar that has been only moving periodically at 4:00 a.m., can now occasionally be seen before dark hitting the feeder.
As summer rolls into September, the hog hunting stays about the same due to the warm weather most of the month. But as we get into late September, typically we'll get a few cool days allowing for better hunting. Or the hogs will be moving at the coolest time of the day, which will be right at daylight. And if your deer hunting, sometimes you can add one to your bag.
Then as we move into fall in October in the Low Country, usually acorns will start to fall and this usually makes hog hunting much tougher since the hogs can eat anywhere and everywhere at any time. So I generally consider October, November and early December some of the toughest months to hog hunt; not because they're not in the woods to be killed, but they are much harder to get in front of the stand due to all the abundance of food in the woods at that time of the year. However, on years with no acorns, October and November can be some of the best months of the year to hunt as the hogs need to eat a lot to fatten up for the coming cold months ahead. And without their usual acorns as a food source, they will be traveling far and wide looking for another high carbohydrate.
So that's a rundown of the year and how it generally affects hog hunting here in the Low Country of South Carolina. However unseasonable weather can always change these normal movement patterns, for good or bad, And you must also always remember that wild hogs move very erratically, and sometimes do what you least expect. That is part of how they stay alive and keep from being shot or eaten by predators - by being unpredictable!