The Complete Guide to Hunting Wild Boar and Javelina

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Walk with me for a moment.

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Part of my fascination is the animal itself, which is every bit as unique in North America as is the enigmatic pronghorn. I felt in my bones that this was cowboy snootiness derived from the fact that the little piggies rub themselves all over with a scent gland on their backs to make sure everyone in the herd smells just right. It was only in Texas where they held an unsavory reputation. I am happy to report that the myth of the inedible javelina is indeed just that: a myth. The javie I shot in the rain that day tasted fantastic slow cooked as cochinita pibil , a Yucatecan dish with lots of achiote and citrus; recipe is in that hotlink.

Complete Book of Wild Boar Hunting

Epic , I tell you. As in, screw venison, I want this every day. To put that in perspective, higher primates like us were just getting started back then. So yeah, javies are related to pigs, but only in a galactic sense. Eighty pounds is a monster, and mine was closer to 45 pounds. Their hearing is OK, but ours is better. Where they excel is their nose; javelina have an excellent sense of smell. They like to wander around in family groups of between 10 and 50, and are more or less mellow unless provoked.

If threatened, they will let you know why the Spanish named them for their javelin-like canine teeth, which are truly ferocious. The clack them together loudly. Humans in general prefer to eat herbivores first, omnivores — like true pigs — second, and carnivores, third. So this fact alone would suggest that a javelina will taste at least as good as pork, if not better. What sort of plants does Gregory Peccary like?

They also love to eat mesquite beans, as well as those of palo verde, lupines and ironwood. They like other cacti, too, and use those teeth to hammer underground tubers, rhizomes and bulbs. Note that nothing in this list can possibly lend itself to a bad-tasting animal, especially considering that pretty much everything javelina eat humans do, too. The javie I shot had absolutely no odor.

Yes, it was a sow, but still. Everyone told me to watch out for the scent gland on the small of the back. So I did.

Wild Wonderings: February

When I got around there with my skinning knife, I was very, very careful… for no reason. The scent gland is basically in the skin. Skinning the animal as you would any other was perfectly fine. If you are extra worried about the odor on the hair getting on the meat, wear a pair of gloves while skinning, then toss those gloves when you gut and butcher — or wear a second pair.

A second pair of gloves may not be a bad idea, as javelina are known to carry salmonella. According to this study , javelina can also carry E. Even though we have received about normal rainfall this year, most of the moisture was absorbed into the parched ground and there wasn't much in the way of significant runoff to recharge aquifers, stock ponds, streams and lakes. Rivers are still mostly dry arroyos as witnessed by a recent trip over to check out the Salinas River near Bradley, which showed very little in the way of any flow," said Tognazzini.


The terrain is often steep and there is a lot of native cover on hill sides and ridges making for difficult hunting. Most hogs in this forest stay pretty close to private ranches where there is more food and water, but there are transitional zones where a group of hogs might be spotted moving through. One area that seems to offer up some potential for spotting or harvesting a hog would be off Red Hill Road, accessed off Hwy. Western Outdoor News also thought it appropriate to ask this veteran warden about the odds of shooting a wild hog on public land versus hiring a guide or opting to hunt on one of the military bases in this region.

When conditions are ideal and there are lots of hogs around these three counties of Monterey, San Luis Obispo and San Benito that percentage could jump up to as high as 5 percent. Tognazzini went on to add, "Hunting on Fort Hunter Liggett can and does produce hogs and Camp Roberts also is home to a pretty huntable population of wild pigs.

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The main problem with hunting on Camp Roberts, since it reopened, is that rules, regulations and hunting days are pretty restricted, this base now requires attendance at a safety class prior to hunting and an annual permit fee is in place. Taking into consideration that less than 5 percent of hunters who choose to hunt hogs on public land shoot an animal, that leaves over 90 percent of wild pigs harvested as a result of using a local guide or outfitter and hunting on private land.

It has been this hunting editor's observation, based on many successful hog hunts, that ranches offer up excellent potential for harvesting a trophy tusker, meat pig or dry sow. Over the years some success of public land wild pig hunts have been reported in Kern, San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego counties, but the numbers are not all that impressive.

go In fact, only Kern County is listed in the DFW Big Game hunting guide as having any kind of significant harvest over a 3 year period of these four counties just mentioned. When asked about the acorn crop Tognazzini had the following to report, "Based on my 35 years of being in the field here in San Luis Obispo County the live oak acorn crop is bad due to the drought, but there are some acorns on blue oaks at higher elevations.

With more rain we could see leaves on a lot more oaks, which oaks will hopefully produce more acorns. Looking ahead to spring time we are hopeful of good conditions to allow valley quail to get off double clutches. The choice of hunting rifle, pistol or archery equipment is kind of wide open on most any wild hog hunt. Hogs cannot hear or see very well, but they have an excellent nose that can pick up scent of any human, which likely will send them on their way with a cloud of dust rising in their tracks. Just about any caliber of ammo will knock down a hog at close range, but when opting for a long distance shot, say in excess of yards, it would be this hunting editor's choice to shoot my Weatherby 7mm WBY Mag loaded with a grain Barnes Triple Shock copper bullet ammo.

Winchester 's, 's and even heavier ammo will all bring down a big tusker, while most pistol hunters choose a or 44Mag, equipped with a scope when hunting for a trophy class hog. A hunting accessory that is almost mandatory when shooting long distances at a hog is to carry along a good shooting stick, most guides have one available.

If you are thinking about booking a hog hunt in the near future and are going to attend the Fred Hall Long Beach show, there will be a number of wild pig hunting outfitters at this great outdoorsman's show.