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Wild hog hunting in Missouri is a necessity brought on by a booming population of feral hogs. The Missouri Department of Conservation classifies any hog not having identification or ear-tags, roaming freely on public or private land, a feral hog. Feral hogs are prolific breeders and possess voracious appetites; they consume large tracts of roots, bulbs and crops, and are widely associated with habitat destruction throughout the state of Missouri.
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Missouri is home to hogs ranging in size from 4 to 6 feet long, 160 to 500 lbs., standing 3 feet tall. Their fur varies in color but is usually long and shaggy. Wild hogs are dangerous when confronted and even more so when with their young. The tusks on a wild hog are long with the upper tusks curling up and out of the mouth as much as 6 inches. They have a powerful sense of smell so be aware of your odors and treat this like a bow-hunting trip; no human odor is the best practice for hunting wild hog.
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Wild hogs are transient in nature, making wild hog hunting in Missouri a challenge. While they have a preference for marshy areas, wild hogs are constantly on the move to evade hunting pressures and find new food sources. For this reason the state of Missouri does not offer scouting reports on sightings. Their food ranges from berries and nuts, to roots and grasses, as well as eggs from ground nesting birds like quail and turkey.
When hunting wild hog in Missouri a guided hunt is highly recommended. Hogs are very dangerous and difficult to kill. Therefore, wild hogs should only be hunted with high-powered, multi-shot rifles. There are no restrictions on what you can hunt wild hogs with, but the Missouri Department of Conservation makes it clear: if you are hunting from a ground position with a bow, a single-shot rifle or a muzzle loader, it is highly recommended you have a backup firearm. Hunting with anything less than a high powered multi-shot rifle puts you at risk and is far too dangerous with this ferocious animal.
Wild hog hunting in Missouri requires no license and, best of all, can be done year-round. There are no limits on the number of wild hogs that can be taken and any method including the use of dogs and baiting is allowed. Special restrictions apply for the fall deer and turkey hunting season. According to the Missouri Department of Conservation's feral-hog control effort, the wild hogs are over-populated, the control effort understaffed and the feral-hog control effort is in need of assistance to manage wild hogs.
The state of Missouri does not recommend out-of-state trips specifically for hog hunting due to populations that cannot be tracked by state game officials. Guided tours are offered all over Missouri with the most promising results reported in southern Missouri. Because feral (wild) hogs have an expansive home range, specific locations are not commonly known. However, the good news is that experienced wild hog hunting guides know the backcountry, how to read game trails and how to interpret signs that lead to finding wild hogs.
Vladimir Sarlat has been a content and search marketing writer in the biomedical field since 2005. He also served as executive director of a small, private biomedical start-up.