Hog Hunting in North Mississippi
Dr. John Woods 10.20.14
Some say there is a wild hog epidemic in Mississippi. Others try to downplay it as just another nuisance species that needs a little more control and eradication effort. Either way you choose to look at it, the facts are that free ranging packs of wild pigs are rooting their way around the state, destroying valuable croplands and digging up essential wildlife habitats on both private and public lands.
Hunters can elect to take out a wild hog during other hunting seasons, or they can choose to hunt them as a targeted species. Either mode should help with some control of a species that is getting out of hand in many areas of the state, including North Mississippi.
But let’s use some common sense here. There are plenty of hog hunting opportunities in Mississippi now without the need to trap and relocate hogs to new sites. Once they become established, you cannot control their expansion with regular hunting efforts. Trust me, you do not want wild pigs on your private lands.
“I just bought a new piece of hunting ground for deer and turkey. Once I acquired the place I quickly learned I had a hog problem. The land has several hay fields that I lease out. This past spring I was informed they could not get across the fields with their equipment for the ruts and furrows turned up by the hogs. That’s revenue right out of my pocket,” says Jimmy Gouras of Warren County.
I have heard this from several different sources from the central and northern sections of the state and up in the Delta. I have witnessed this type of hog damage firsthand, too.
In Northern Holmes County I walked a piece of hunting ground with the owner to see food plots literally torn up with big wallowed out spots ruining the food plots. I also saw this destruction in the forestland wildlife habitat. Hunters cannot deny that this landscape damage caused by an over population of hogs is taking place.
A quick study of the 2014-2015 issue of the Mississippi Outdoor Digest reveals on their statewide WMA map that there are 18 state-operated WMAs in the Northern District of the state. If you study those WMAs via the state wildlife website, you will discover most if not all of them mention hog hunting.
According to Rick Dillard the Fish and Wildlife Program Manager for the National Forests in Mississippi, “The main hog population that I am aware of on the Holly Springs National Forest is on the Upper Sardis WMA near the Tallahatchie River.” Some of these lands in the Holly Springs NF are controlled by the Corps of Engineers.
Tommy Hoff is very familiar with hunting on Corps of Engineer lands in North Mississippi. “I believe there are wild hogs to hunt on all four of the Corps reservoirs up here. It is pretty well known that the Holly Springs National Forest has pigs as well. Enid has a few pigs now, but the biggest problem is at Grenada Lake.” It appears warranted that all of these public lands in the northern region can be investigated as places to hunt wild hogs.
Hog hunting is mostly a random happenstance event. Hogs are constantly on the move, roaming about their territory scavenging for food stuffs and water resources. Probably the majority of hog kills in this state are incidental to deer hunting or hunters hiking the woods in pursuit of other game.
“Whenever I am out in the woods for deer or squirrel or whatever, I am always listening for hogs. You can often hear them squealing and moving through the woods. I also keep an eye out for the damage they create. Once you see a hog wallow or a strip of woods they have plowed up, you’ll know it from then forward,” says Jason Pope of Madison.
Pope continued, “I also take a fair number of pigs while I am deer hunting from a tree stand. Usually wherever the hogs hang out, there will be deer, too. I like to hunt near wetland areas, creeks, tributaries, and funnels that include a water resource aspect that deer and hogs favor.”
Basically any suitable deer rifle can sub for a hog gun. Certainly the 270-30-06-308 class of deer cartridges will handle a pig. As per usual, shot placement is paramount. Remember the hog has a tough gristle plate up front so aim just behind the front shoulder.
Hog hunting can be a really exciting addendum to other types of hunting pursuits. There are plenty of public lands in North Mississippi to pursue a wild pig, so get out there and try your luck. If you’re looking for a hot spot to hog hunt besides Texas, then come on over to Mississippi.