Wild Boar Management and Preservation

Wild Boar Management and Preservation By: Cody Weiser

As seen in the November/December 2003 issue of
Boar Hunter Magazine.

When it comes to boar hunting, few outdoorsmen ever think about game management and preservation. Most people would say that a species like the wild boar never needs protection or management. This is mainly due to their high level of reproduction. Most hunters don't give a second thought to preserving herd sizes or even to the idea of "trophy" boar management. The fact is that the wild boar has developed such a nuisance reputation with farmers, ranchers, and some outdoorsmen that many people have developed a "kill-'em-all" attitude. This is exactly what we, as responsible future-minded hunters, need to change.

Yes, I know that a farmer's crop is his livelihood, and I do not disagree with someone protecting it. However I do feel that mass trapping in areas or shoot-and-let-lay tactics are not the way to conserve and protect the animals we love to hunt. We need to realize that these types of things happen daily. So we must act responsibly in our hunting procedures, especially if we are longing to see numerous trophy class boars every time we take to the woods.

I believe that boar hunters should adopt some of the same techniques of game management on hogs as are used on animals such as the white-tailed deer. By doing this, we, as boar hunters, will see a dramatic increase in the number of large developed boars we encounter in the field. For example, if someone is managing the deer population in a certain area, and they are focusing on producing trophy class bucks; then they are going to let young 8 or 10 point bucks walk with hopes of them growing and aging into monster bucks. This practice is a tried-and-true method of developing multiple trophy class bucks in any given area. The bucks are allowed to age and reach their full growth potential. We, as boar hunters, should practice some of the same restraints in our hunting practices to increase the numbers of large mature boars in the areas we hunt.

Think about past hog hunts and how many of them unfold. You work hard all week, spending countless moments lost in thought over the upcoming weekend hunt. When the moment finally arrives you are presented with a shot on a year old 100 pound boar or maybe a large breeding sow that has a following of about 15-20 smaller pigs. What happens next? Well, most people don't hesitate to harvest these animals I've just described. With no size or gender regulations on hogs, most hunters don't think twice before committing to the first hog that gives them the opportunity. And, why not? When it comes to hog hunting, not going home empty handed equals a good hunt in most peoples' books. Hunters take home their average hog and continue to dream of the hunt when "BIG DADDY" will show himself and become the next wall hanger and life long great hunting story.

I truly believe that if we manage the places we hunt and allow young boars to age and reach their full potential, then we will certainly see two things: An increase in the total number of hogs seen and a dramatic rise in the number of large boars seen on every hunt.

Now, I'm not talking to hunters that are on a paid weekend hunt....Ya'll harvest whatever you want. That's what you're paying for. I'm speaking to the many of you who own, lease, borrow, or use an area of land to hunt boar on year round. My theory is this. Protect the lead sows in the herds and the young boars that have not yet aged and grown sufficiently. The large sows in the herd are usually established breeders and will fight to the death to protect the smaller hogs (baby boars). These sows are essential for the protection of the young boars when they are unable to fend for themselves. They are also the lead hogs in the herd and are a key factor in the safety and closeness of the group.

If you set goals in your hog hunting, then managing the population in the areas you hunt becomes very easy. First, decide what your objective for the current hunt is going to be. Are you there to fill the freezer with meat, or are you looking to meet with the taxidermist in the next few days? If your goal is BBQ, then try and set your sights on a younger sow or gilt that has not yet established a place in the pecking order of the herd. Trust me, you will be a lot more satisfied with the tenderness and quality of the meat from a younger hog.

Now for your goals in selecting a boar. Some people try to beat the largest boar that they've taken previously. This is a good idea. However for those who have been blessed with a real brute in the past, finding something larger might not happen very often. It will if you manage your boars. What I am suggesting is that you pass on the younger, still growing boars and harvest boars that have matured sufficiently. Just ask yourself a few quick questions before you commit on a boar.
1) Is his size what I'm looking for?
2) Are tusks visible?
3) How old does he look?
If you like the answers to these questions, then you've found a keeper. If not, then release him or let him walk so he can reach his full potential. I've raised boars for the past 5 years, and I can tell you that the difference between a 2 year old boar and a 3 year old boar is shocking in some cases.
When these younger boars are passed on and allowed to age, we will see a great increase in the number of large developed boars in the areas that we are managing. If the same practice is followed with the breeding sows, the herd sizes in the area will also increase. After a few years, you will be impressed with how many mature boars you will see each time you venture to the woods. If we, as boar hunters, take a responsible approach to wild boar management, we can insure that we will have many more opportunities to come face to face with boars that deserve a place on our wall. Being selective in what you take and what you let walk will also give future generations the same opportunity.