I am going to try to put as much of the information that I have learned over the last several years in this thread. Bear with me as I add info over the next few days. If anyone has any info to contribute please feel free. The Problem Defined
Hogs are a problem that is not going away. They reproduce at a rate that is impossible to control. The destruction they do to agricultural lands, waterways, roads, and private property costs millions of dollars annually. The also pose a significant highway hazard due to their high numbers and compact low the ground size. When you hit a deer you have a good chance of winning because they get thrown from their spindly legs. When you hit a hog you have a good chance of major damage and loss of control as they ramp under the car. The environmental impact of these opportunistic pack animals is likely not fully understood. They put pressure on native species and as omnivores (eat anything) they provide competition for food sources and often out compete native species. They decimate snake and amphibian populations, destroy nests of ground nesting birds, and can and will predate smaller weaker mammals including fawns. Although they contain a large portion of highly nutritious meat and fat, they are not targeted by many predators. Coyotes will take some of the smaller pigs, large birds will take the shoats, gators and cougars will take full grown pigs but the impact on the population is minimal.
Hogs are uniquely adapted to surviving. They have coarse hair and thick skin, a nose better than a deer, good color eyesight (despite popular belief), good hearing (despite popular belief), are able to climb steep grades, swim easily, and have the power and size to barrel through common fencing like it was made of straw. Larger hogs develop a thickened area over the shoulders often called a shield from fighting and rubbing on trees. This shield is not a mysterious impenetrable bullet proof area but it does make passing an arrow, knife, underpowered ammunition, or frangible ammunition very difficult. Hogs are smart and are considered to be one of the smartest animals on the planet behind humans, some apes, and dolphins.
Due to their intelligence, ability to learn new patterns, lack of significant predators, and omnivorous habits, hogs move at their will. In my opinion patterns are only established by the hog’s convenience. They are lead by their stomachs, need for water and mud, and human pressure. They will change patterns at random or due to human pressure. However, if there is a food source, they will be back.
Reproduction capabilities are astounding. They can begin breeding at only 6 months old but most wait until 1 yr. They will bear litters of 6-12 piglets at a time dependent on available food sources. The litters will consist of slightly more females than males normally. The gestation period allows for as many as three litters in a calendar year but most only drop two litters during that time. All of this means that the population growth is exponential. Hogs often move in groups and are often divided by sex and age
Large adult boars 200 lb plus often are solitary and can be aggressive to other hogs running them off of food sources. They have been known to come to wounded prey calls and are considered predatory on small mammals.
Bachelor groups will often consist of 4-6 males all of the same apparent age. These are normally seen in the 50-150 lb range. They are easily trapped and if you are patient you can sometimes line up a shot with a FMJ round to punch 2 or three at a time with one shot.
Solitary Sow and piglets. In this case the piglets are often "stripers" only being a week or two old and still having stripes down their backs. Sometimes two sows with piglets of the same age will group together. The sows are very protective at this stage and will charge all intruders including boars, deer, coons, humans. The piglets are very committed to mom at this age and will actually come back out and try to feed off of her after she has been shot and is dead. Although it seems contrary to the rules of an ethical hunter, exterminating the piglets if this occurs is an important part of population control. Those piglets will be 50-60 lbs in 6 months and having their own litters. At this stage sows and piglets are very attracted to mineral licks especially sweet mineral blocks. These are hard to trap as the piglets squeeze through small openings and the sows are so protective they rarely enter traps.
Large family groups are also very common. In these groups you will find a matriarch sow 150lb, 2-3 younger sows 60-100lb, 2-3 younger boars 50-100 lb, and a collection of shoats and piglets. Rarely will the piglets in these groups be less than 2-3 weeks old. These are very trappable groups until they get educated. I have seen a matriarch sow stand at the entrance to a trap and run off all pigs trying to enter. In this case the sow must die. Hog and Human Interaction
Hogs almost always will flee from humans directly trying to interact with them or when they get too close. They will get accustom to farm workers, and ranchers, and their trucks often staying in a field when they hear a similar truck but run if they hear a strange vehicle like an ATV. However, when they don't run you need to able to take evasive actions or kill the bastards.
Wounded boar can and will try to attack you. Sows with piglets can and will charge. Trapped pigs will try to attack you through the pen/trap. I have had several kill them selves by breaking their necks on T posts in our traps when charging me. I have had several traps made of 10 gauge steel cattle panels bent all out shape due to 200 lb plus hogs. This applies to a pig that feels it has not other option to escape, also. If you corner one you better is ready to fight.
Many people will describe a hog or group of hogs "trying to get them". In my experience though, a group of hogs startled will take off in every direction at once crashing through whatever is in the way. This is especially true if they are all large or adult hogs and if the encounter is in the woods versus in an open field. Piglets will usually just run back to the trail they came in on. That does not mean pigs pulling a Chinese fire drill are not dangerous especially in the dark. A 150-200 lb hog mistakenly running into you is like a college DB hitting you below the knee at full speed. Once they do run into you they may or may not attack while you are on the ground.
Hogs have large sharp tusks. Both boars and sows have tusks but boar’s tusks are usually longer. The upper and lower tusks rub against each other when the mouth is closing causing them to be self sharpening. When scared or angry they will snap the upper and lower jaws together creating a menacing sound. I have cut my jeans and thigh while loading a dead pig when the head flopped funny and hit me. I sliced my hand while scrubbing a skull for European mount (picture below) by simply sliding my finger down the wet tusk. . They have strong thick heads and bodies built for forward ramming. They seemingly feel no pain in their noses or just don't care as I have seen them repeatedly ram steel traps with their faces.
This post was edited on 10/9 at 1:26 pm