It's no secret that the wild hog population in Oklahoma causes a huge amount of damage to property and food crops every year. Wild hogs have become a menace in almost all of the southern states.
One of our goals at Hog Wild is to help farmers and land owners alleviate the problems that hogs are causing on their land.
Local hogs, local problems
We work with professional trappers and land owners around the central Oklahoma area to pull hogs off land where they have been causing problems. This commercial wildlife management serves to augment the work done by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife to control and contain wild hog populations.
Because predator populations have declined, hunting serves as a last gap measure to manage hog over-population. Even with hunting and government culling efforts, hog populations are still not under control.
Sows can begin breeding at 6 months old and can have up to 3 litters a year. In just a few years time, two hogs can turn into several hundred. This makes wildlife management critical to prevent damage to other animal populations and commercial crops.
Ethical hunting and trapping
We pay fair market rates for the hogs we purchase to help land owners recover some of the cost of repairing hog damage on their property.
Additionally, when a hog is killed on our reserve and the hunter doesn't want to take the hog with them, we make sure no meat goes to waste by donating hog meat to local organizations focused on feeding those in need.
We also have limitations on what animals we purchase and only buy from trappers who use cages – in our opinion, the safest and most humane way to trap wild hogs.
We do not purchase animals that have been trapped using snares or dogs. While we don't feel there's really an ethical issue with using dogs to hunt, dogs tend to damage hog ears, ruining trophy opportunities for those looking to have their kill mounted.
So if you're a land owner looking to have hogs removed from your land or a trapper who'd like to help, get in touch to see if there's an opportunity for us to work together.
July 15, 2014 No Comments
For those who have visited Hog Wild, Matt Wetzel is a familiar face. As our lead guide, he's responsible for coordinating every hunt and making sure that our visitors have a fun and safe experience.
He shares his in-depth knowledge to help our guests become better hunters on and off the reserve.
Hunting from the start
Matt was born and raised in Wisconsin. He began hunting when he was eight years old and went on frequent hunting trips with his family – bringing down his first deer on a trip to the wilds of Montana.
Those early trips sparked a lifelong love of the sport and he's chased new and exciting opportunities to hunt ever since.
Towards the end of high school Matt visited a friend whose family owned a hunting outfitter in northern Idaho. This trip kickstarted his career as a guide and he returned at every breaking in his high school and college schedule to build his skills an eventually began leading hunts.
Big game expert
While working at Russell Pond Outfitters in Idaho, Matt became an expert at hunting big game including elk and mountain lion. Deep snowfall, high elevations, and rough terrain helped him quickly develop and impressive set of stalking and tracking skills.
He met hunters from all over the world and was invited to lead exotic hunts for many of those visitors. In fact, that's how we met Matt – while hunting with him in Idaho.
When it was time to start our reserve, we knew who to call.
Matt's said that the favorite part of his job is meeting new people.
Fans of hunting have an instant connection. Even if they're complete strangers, people who visit the reserve can find that in common. There's no searching or straining for small talk.
If you haven't met Matt yet, booking a hunt with us may be worth it just for his stories alone.
We're happy to have him as our guide and if you come out to the reserve, we think you'll be happy with him too.
July 1, 2014 No Comments
Most people don't think of summer as a good season for hunting. Turns out, it's actually a great time to hunt wild hogs. As the days warm up, our tactics do change a little from what we do in cooler months, but for those who prefer being warm to being cold, summer is sometimes the perfect time to hunt.
Adapting to summer
Wild hogs (and most other animals you might hunt) move around the most when the day is cool – early in the morning and when the sun goes down in the evening. During summer, hunting times shift a little earlier and a little later to match when the hogs are moving.
We also move our stands closer to the water sources on our reserve. While pigs will eat less in the summer because they're not moving as much during the day, they still have to drink. And because they don't sweat, they tend to stay close to water sources to wallow and cool off in the water and mud.
In some cases, it can be easier to hunt hogs in the summer than it is in the winter. There's obviously more ground coverage because of leaves, but the hogs tend to concentrate and group together more. It's a time when the monster hog you’ve been looking for might finally come out of hiding.
Reserving your spot
Because there are many people who don't like hunting when it's warm outside, there is less competition for scheduling summer hunts and less chance of bad weather. If you can only hunt on the weekends and are worried about getting a hunt booked, booking in the summer is a great opportunity to schedule a time that works best for you.
So come on out for an early morning hunt, spend the day relaxing at the lodge – maybe grill up some hamburgers and take a siesta, and end the day with an evening hunt. There are worse ways to spend a lazy summer day.
June 17, 2014 No Comments
No hunt is a good hunt if someone gets hurt. We take safety very seriously at Hog Wild and make sure none of our hunters start a hunt without being well informed about how to stay safe. In fact, one of the first things we do when hunters arrive is walk them through our five major safety rules.
1. Treat every weapon as if it's loaded.
Even though this rule is primarily aimed at new hunters, experienced hunters sometimes need to be reminded of this as well.
We reinforce with younger hunters that rifles aren’t toys and shouldn't be aimed at other people, even if you think the chamber is empty. It's much better to assume a gun is loaded than that it's not, especially when you’re in a group and could potentially hurt other people as well as yourself.
2. Don’t load your weapon until you're in your stand or blind.
Unless you're in place and waiting on hogs, your gun should be unloaded. We don’t allow loaded guns at the lodge or anywhere between the lodge and the hunt site.
Regardless of how careful you are, it's far too easy for a gun to accidentally discharge when riding on a four wheeler or getting jostled while walking. And having loaded guns around a big group of people being trained or getting ready to hunt is just a bad idea.
3. Stay in your stand or blind until a guide comes to you.
This rule is to keep you, our guides, and other hunters safe, both from gunfire and angry hogs. Unless you stay in your stand, our guides have no way of knowing where you’re at and where they should place other hunters.
If you're wondering around in the woods without your guide, it's possible you want fall into the path of another hunter and accidentally shot. If you wing a hog with a poor shot, you’ll also be better protected in your stand. Wounded hogs aren't generally very friendly.
4. No tracking without a guide.
The reasons for this rule are similar to rule # 3. If you're out wondering around, we can’t steer you out of the path of other hunters or help protect you from wounded, angry animals. Be patient and stay where you’re at until we come to you.
5. Understand shot placement – make clean shots.
There are several reasons that making clean shots is important, one of which is safety. If you aim too high or low and miss, who knows where your bullet will end up.
Landing a clean shot on a hog is important from an ethical standpoint as well as safety. Again, hogs generally don't like being shot at. You should be safe in your stand or blind, but making a clean kill shot reduces your risk even further.
All that being said, hog hunting is a lot of fun and can be a great time for the entire family. Part of our focus on safety is to make sure that those fun hunting experiences stay fun.
June 3, 2014 No Comments
Not every shot is going to be perfect and because wild hogs are so tough, even great shots may not bring them down immediately. Because of that we use a standard procedure for recovering wild hogs that keeps our hunters safe and helps ensure they get to take their trophy home with them.
It also helps us maintain our commitment to responsible hunting and wildlife management.
The importance of a clean shot
We've written before about the importance of making a quick kill as a matter of hunting ethics. In the case of wild hogs, it's also critically important from a practical perspective.
Because wild pigs fight each other with sharp tusks, they've developed a number of characteristics that help them survive these fights. Their skulls are thick and the skin on the front of their bodies is incredibly tough.
Their wounds also clot much quicker than other animals. This makes them very hard to track by blood trail. In just a couple of minutes after being hit by a non-fatal shot, even serious wounds will clot and stop bleeding.
If a major organ like a lung is punctured, they may eventually die, but that might take several hours, giving the hog plenty of time to hide where you might never find it.
Rather than pushing them, it's better to wait them out and hope they don't venture far from where they were shot.
We have our hunters wait an hour before attempting to recover a hog they've shot. Together, we'll follow at a safe distance (again, not pushing) to make sure we keep track of the animal and, depending on the situation, potentially give the opportunity for another shot.
An hour is normally enough time to ensure that the wild hog has actually expired and you'll be safe approaching it. A live, but wounded hog is not an animal you want to get close to. They're generally not very happy about getting shot and can use their sharp tusks to demonstrate just how unhappy they are.
This is another reason we maintain a safe distance while following wounded pigs and do our best to keep them in sight. Crawling on your hands and knees looking for a blood trail is not the best place to be if there's an angry animal nearby.
That being said, it's always better to shoot for a quick kill for everyone involved. But in the cases where we do need to track a hog, we do our best to help you recover the animal you've shot, keeping everyone as safe as possible in the process.
May 20, 2014 No Comments
Hog hunting is a lot of fun and we love seeing our hunters have a good time on the reserve. We want to make sure we do everything we can to make hunting convenient and stress-free for the folks who come out.
Part of making hunting trips work for many people is being able to schedule a date and time that's convenient for them. To make sure we're able to provide a convenient booking for as many customers as possible, we need your help.
Ensuring your spot
This year's hunting schedule is filling up fast. Many hunters, especially those from out-of-state have already booked hunts well into the fall season. And while we do our best to accommodate last minutes bookings, we also want to make sure everyone who wants to hunt has a chance to on a schedule that works for them.
If you're planning a hunt for a special event like a birthday party, it's best to book as far in advance as you can to make sure your group has a place on the schedule.
Booking early is also the only way to make certain you're able to hunt at the time of day that you like best. Since wild hogs don't move around much at midday, especially when it's hot out, we schedule our hunts at dawn and dusk and have found that many of our hunters prefer one time over the other.
We've heard rumors that night hunting regulations are in the works for Oklahoma, so that may lead to more options in the future.
We're open all week
Weekends are obviously a busy time for us since that's when most people are off work. However we've found that some visitors assume we're only open on the weekends and that's why they booked their hunt during that time.
We're actually open all week long, so if you've got a non-standard work schedule or hunting during the week just works better for you, it may be worth considering a weekday booking. There will be less competition for these dates so you'll be at less risk of not getting a time that's convenient for you.
Coming from out-of-state?
If you're traveling to our reserve from out-of-state it's always a good idea to book in advance. Not only will this ensure your spot on the schedule, it will also help you budget for the trip and a chance to ask questions about our hunts so you can plan. After finding out Oklahoma doesn't require hog tags or licenses that cost $50+ in many states, your group may decide to bring along another hunter or stick around a little longer.
May 6, 2014 No Comments
After bringing down a wild pig during a morning hunt, many of our visitors decide to stick around until dusk to go hunting again. Knowing how exciting hog hunting can be, we knew early on that we wanted to give our visitors a comfortable place to hang out between hunts.
So we're excited to announce that The Lodge is open for business.
It can be uncomfortable sitting around all day covered in mud and sweat from a hunt, so when we came up with the design for The Lodge, we included a changing area with lockers and restrooms with showers so our visitors can clean up between hunts or before they head back home.
Prep your pig
Next to The Lodge, we've built an animal cleaning facility with all the equipment needed to clean and skin your wild hog. You can clean and skin the animal yourself or we can do it for you for a nominal fee.
There is also a freezer available to store your meat if you've decided you're going out for another hunt later in the day.
The Lodge is a great place to relax while you're visiting us. We've installed a 75-inch big screen TV, a pool table, and plenty of comfortable sofas and recliners so you can unwind after the excitement of hunting.
Where else can you go to hunt and watch the big game in the same afternoon?
We're not going to let you go hungry while you're hanging out with your friends and family. The Lodge has its own kitchen and outdoor grill. So you can either grill up something from home, or take part in one of our cookouts. Our lead hunting guide, Matt, can grill up a mean hamburger.
We're proud of The Lodge and are excited to give our visitors a comfortable place to chill out and relax while they're with us on the reserve. Spending time with friends and family is one of our favorite parts of hunting and The Lodge gives us a great way make the Hog Wild experience even better.
April 15, 2014 No Comments
If you've never hunted wild hogs before, you may have some questions about where to aim your shot, especially if you've never been hunting before. Even hunters with prior experience hunting deer or similar animals often try to aim for the same areas they would on those animals, not realize how different wild hogs are built.
So to give you a better idea of where to target your shot and not risk having to trail a wounded animal, here's a guide to help you bring down your pig with the first shot.
Wild Hog Anatomy 101
Wild hogs have more compact bodies than most big game animals and many of their vital organs are pushed much lower and further to the front than hunters expect.
The thick skin and bony armor at the front of the hog's body protects their organs from being wounded when the animals stab at each other with their sharp tusks. This protection is so effective you also need to take into account when you're aiming your rifle or bow.
It's not uncommon for light caliber rounds and arrows coming from the wrong angle to hit hogs without penetrating.
Compared to a deer, hog vitals are much farther forward and their shoulders are shorter. A lung shot on a deer would be a gut shot for a wild hog. The lungs on a hog are directly above where the hog's front legs meet it's body.
Hog hearts are low and sit below and towards the front of the lungs. Because the heart sits so low, hunters sometime shoot under pigs.
Wounded animals, missed opportunities
Without knowing the right place to aim, it's easy to hit the wrong area and end up having to chase down a wounded hog. This is obviously not fun for the hunter or the hog.
In some cases you may never be able to track down your target, either because you didn't wound it severely enough to cause death, or it managed to successfully hide from you.
Whatever the case, a quick, clean kill is the ethical responsibility of a hunter so it's important to educate yourself about wild hog anatomy for practical purposes and because it's simply the right thing to do.
April 1, 2014 2 Comments
Maybe you've been hunting for a while now and have started to get bored. Or maybe you're just looking for a new hunting experience. If you've been a life-long hunter, it's likely you've hunted all the game animals native to Oklahoma.
If you're ready for something different, an exotic hunt may be the answer. We're working on offering exotic hunts in addition to the wild hog hunts we're known for.
Corsican rams are a breed of horned sheep that have become a popular exotic hunt. In fact, over the last several decades they've become the most hunted exotic animal in the US.
One of the reasons for their popularity is their value as trophy game. Corsican ram horns continually grow and reach massive sizes, sometimes weighing as much as 30 pounds. They're an impressive addition and "must-have" for trophy hunters.
Many hunters also appreciate the taste of wild mutton and slow cook Corsican rams.
Fallow deer are another popular option and a great trophy animal for collectors. Originally from central Asia, fallow deer can grow as big as 225lbs with massive antlers on mature bucks.
They offer a introduction into bigger game and many hunters hunt fallow deer on the path to animals like moose.
Fallow deer are also a good meat hunt similar to deer.
Ready or looking for something else?
If you're interested in hunting Corsican rams or fallow deer, definitely let us know and we'll work on getting your hunt scheduled.
Or maybe you're interested in hunting other exotics? Give us a call with your idea and we'll do our best to make it happen. If we can ethically and cost-effectively source the animals it's likely your hunt is doable. We're always looking for new hunt ideas, so bring them on.
March 18, 2014 No Comments
People who love bow hunting usually love the challenge it offers. In addition to bow seasons offering extended opportunities to hunt, bow hunting is just a different sport than rifle hunting. You have to get closer, you have to be quieter, and you have to have better aim.
We've discovered that hunting wild hogs with a bow offers a great challenge and a chance to hone bow skills in the offseason to make sure you're on top of your game when you're chasing after whitetail.
The challenge of wild hogs
Regardless of whether you're hunting with a bow or rifle, wild hogs are fun to hunt. They're smart and have a powerful sense of smell, making it hard to close in on them. Hunting wild hogs feels like hunting should – fast-paced, challenging, and fun.
But they also offer a specific set of challenges for bow hunters.
They fidget and move in herds. Wild hogs are always moving. They don't stand still like deer and shuffle around in groups so it's harder to separate the outline of one pig from the others in the group.
Their kill area is much smaller than other large game. Not only that, but the thick skin and bone placement on the front of their bodies serves as armor. This comes in handy when wild boars are fighting (otherwise they'd kill each other with their tusks). Catch a hog from the wrong angle and your broadhead won't penetrate at all or won't go deep enough to make the kill.
That being said, it takes skill to take down a wild hog with a bow. If you want to develop your bow skills, they're a great option. You can hunt wild hogs all year, regardless of season, so they offer a good way to stay active with bow hunting and make sure you're ready to go in the fall.
We've had hunters out on the reserve who've hunted all sorts of animals and they are continually surprised with the amount of fun they have hunting hogs. Many come in thinking that it's going to be boring or "too easy" and have their expectations blown away.
If you're interested in scheduling a hunt, give us a call. The next few months are booking up fast and we'd love to see you out at the reserve.
March 4, 2014 No Comments