Wild Hog Hunting in North Georgia

by Nathan Fisher

Some of the largest wild hogs in North America live in the mountains of north Georgia. While wild hogs are a coveted game animal by many hunters, they are actually considered to be a nuisance by landowners, farmers and game management agencies as they compete with native species of wildlife. Most wild hog hunting in north Georgia is done with the aid of dogs.

History

Wild hogs are descendants of domesticated pigs, and there is some disagreement as to whether wild hogs were first introduced by the first European settlers, or the Spanish explorers. The domesticated pigs escaped into the wild and bred at will. As their numbers grew, the population quickly spread across much of the southern United States and into north Georgia, where their numbers have grown out of control. Now some of the largest populations of wild hogs in Georgia live in the Appalachian mountains of north Georgia.

Methods

The most popular method of hunting wild hogs in north Georgia is with a pack of dogs because of the thick cover that feral hogs inhabit. Hunters turn the dogs loose in an area where they have found fresh indications of wild hog activity and the dogs track the animals by scent. When the dogs have located a hog, they surround it to keep if from escaping until the hunter arrives to kill it. Other methods include still and stand hunting as well as spotting and stocking.

Access

There are many public wildlife management areas as well as national and state forest lands in north Georgia that are open to hunting wild hogs. However, because of the damage wild hogs do to crops such as corn, beets and potatoes, fences, and the land itself during their rooting, most private landowners will welcome you with open arms if you ask. There are also many private ranches that actively manage wild hogs as game animals and will allow you to hunt for a fee.

Season

Wild hogs in north Georgia do an unimaginable amount of damage. To help control their numbers, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources does not require landowners to have a hunting license and imposes no closed season with no limit to the number of wild hogs landowners may kill on their land. A hunting license is required for all hunters over the age of 16 that hunt on any land that is not their own, including public land.

Warnings

In north Georgia, wild hogs can grow very large--up to 500 lbs. Wild hogs have razor sharp tusks, travel in packs and can become extremely aggressive when threatened or cornered. You should always use extreme caution whenever you are hunting wild hogs from the ground because you are exposed. Every year numerous hunters are gored and many hunting dogs are killed while engaging the animals. If you down a wild hog, be absolutely certain it is dead before you approach it.