Big money to hunt feral pigs... I don't get it!


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TheWarhammer
June 2, 2009, 08:21 PM
I've read a few threads here about hog (feral pig) hunting. I've read several articles about the population explosion of wild pigs in the US, particularly in the South. I've watched "Pig Bomb" on the Discovery Channel as well as a few other shows on the topic. Here's what I've learned:


Feral pigs are extremely destructive to both agricultural land and to habitats for desirable game animals.
Feral pigs breed at alarming rates and the populations are both rising in numbers and spreading all over the US.
Feral pigs are aggressive and have been known to attack other animals as well as humans.
Even with all of the trapping and hunting going on right now, the feral pig population is growing more or less unchecked. One statistic I read is that 7 out of every 10 wild pigs would have to be killed just to keep the population stable!


So would someone please explain to me why it's so damned expensive to go hunt these destructive pests!?!?

Here in Texas, "Game Ranches" are charging $150-$200 per day to hunt "hogs." They also typically charge either a "per pig" fee or even a "per pound" fee! Some of these outfits even charge a "trophy fee" if you shoot a particularly big pig!!! (This is regardless of whether you intend to take the meat home or just leave it for the buzzards.) On top of this, many of them charge a "processing fee" for field dressing your hogs, but won't allow you to do it yourself on the property!

$400-$600 to go help a land owner rid himself of a nuisance animal that is destroying his land and driving off desirable game animals! What gives?!?!

I've been wanting to try my hand at hog hunting for a while, but the cost just seems completely out of line! Anyone here in Texas have tips for hunting hogs without breaking the bank?

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MCgunner
June 2, 2009, 08:47 PM
Look around, you can find a good deal. I hunted south of San Antonio a few years back, 3 hogs 2 days, 180 bucks and included a night in the camp house.

The reason they charge what they charge is because they can. Lots of folks lined up to pay 'em, no laws against setting your own rates. Free country, put up or shut up. It's called capitalism. It's supply and demand, essentially. Can't blame a land owner for getting what he can for a resource, destructive or not. Gotta pay the taxes on that land, ya know, and God, but do I know. :rolleyes: They get a bit thicker on my place, I might just start day leasing. If it can pay my taxes, it's an idea. If it could provide spending cash, it's an even better idea. :D

alsaqr
June 2, 2009, 08:55 PM
Most landowners here are reluctant to allow folks they do not know well to hunt on their farms/ranches. There is the problem of liability if the hunter falls out of his own stand or gets shot by accident. Careless hunters leave gates open and cattle stray. A few cattle are shot by hunters or spotlighters every year on one of the places I hunt.

TheWarhammer
June 2, 2009, 10:04 PM
I guess part of my disgust/amazement over the whole thing is due to the fact that I learned to hunt in the Pacific Northwest. They don't even know what a "deer lease" is up there! The most I ever paid to hunt private land in Oregon was a fifth of Jim Beam. For the most part, all you have to do is ask politely and act responsibly, and farmers will let you hunt their land without a blink. I guess since a much larger percentage of the population hunts up there, they are more aware of the basic rules of hunting etiquette. (I DON'T mean that to be a slam on Texans, so please don't read it as an insult.) Of course, there is so much BLM land up there that the need to hunt private land really isn't an issue.

It just seems crazy to me to pay upwards of $500 to shoot vermin, even if they are edible. I'll have to keep looking to find the more reasonably priced hunts like the one MCgunner mentioned. Any suggestions of where to start to find the good deals?

MCgunner
June 2, 2009, 10:10 PM
There are online sources. I found the place I hunted in the Houston Chronicle's "hunting and fishing" section in the classifieds. Hard to run across the bargains at online outfitter listings. Gotta dig through the papers and be patient.

A guy posted the following some time back and I saved the info. I'll get up there some day to try this place if it's reasonable. He seemed to think it was. It's only about 2.5 hours from me.

here is the info on the ranch up 290, near Houston.
Mr. schulz.
Rock Island(I'm not kidding) Ranch, 281.744.5228.
A great guy to deal with.

hunter25
June 2, 2009, 10:15 PM
I just hunted pigs for the first time south of San Antonio as mentioned. Although I had a good time we got totally hosed by a ton of hidden fees such as those stated. Ask a lot of questions to make sure of what you are getting. Ended up costing about 1000 apiece for 2 pigs before we got away.

MCgunner
June 2, 2009, 10:18 PM
I just hunted pigs for the first time south of San Antonio as mentioned. Although I had a good time we got totally hosed by a ton of hidden fees such as those stated. Ask a lot of questions to make sure of what you are getting. Ended up costing about 1000 apiece for 2 pigs before we got away.

Wow, that's nuts. Place I hunted was just south of 1604 between I37 and I35. This was a few years ago. Was for meat hogs, under 100 lbs. They got more for big pigs two of which I passed on that looked like over 300 lbs. There were some big pigs there, but they were over-run with meat hogs. I wasn't out for a trophy.

hunter25
June 2, 2009, 10:26 PM
We shot 2 over 500 pounds and got hit with huge mandatory skinning and de-boning fees, over 200 for each of those. cooler use fee extra also.

TheWarhammer
June 2, 2009, 11:14 PM
That's the kind of thing that I'm seeing in most of the "outfitters" websites. $200 a day (always a 2-day AND 2-person minimum) just to walk onto the property, then they nickle and dime you to death. I honestly couldn't look at a hog and tell you it's weight. I don't want to get hosed because I shot a pig that was too big. Besides, "trophy feral pigs"?!?! Are you freakin' serious? :scrutiny: They're domestic pigs that got loose and are running amok and breeding like rabbits. We're not talking about a record-breaking elk here. Maybe I should have had that "trophy crawfish" I caught when I was 12 mounted.;)

MCgunner
June 3, 2009, 08:18 AM
We shot 2 over 500 pounds and got hit with huge mandatory skinning and de-boning fees, over 200 for each of those. cooler use fee extra also.

Unless they figured out how to skin the customer, it ain't the same place. I had to do my own skinning and quartering and use my own cooler.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
June 3, 2009, 10:18 AM
Well, it's just simple supply & demand.

If you struck oil on your property, and the market is $100 per barrel, would you just give it away, since it cost you nothing? No, you will take what the market will pay. The market is driven to an artifically high level due to the huge population vs. the lack of public hunting lands, as is being discussed in a concurrent thread. The market price should and will in fact come down over time as the pig population increases and more and more farmers/ranchers allow hunting.

drgrenthum
June 3, 2009, 10:43 AM
Myself and a friend just paid $220 each at razor ranch (www.razzorranch.com) While it does seem expensive to me for an animal that breeds like a rabbit, i paid it. We did so because we dont have hunting land of our own and before approaching local farmers or ranchers we wanted to make sure that we would even enjoy hunting them.

The guys at the ranch were more then hospitalbe and made us feel like we were kings. They have a $500 trophy fee which saps the fun out of the hunt. Anything with over a 1.5inch tusk is considered a trophy and i am fine with that, but when looking through glass in the woods at a black hog with dark tusks at 50 yards it is hard to tell how large their tusks are. So ended up out there for 4 hours worried i would shoot something i couldnt afford to take. In the end I shot a 80# sow, which should taste great but the stress of hitting a more expensive animal took alot of the fun out of the hunt. They didnt nickel and dime us though all fees were explained on the site and were the same ones when we got there.

I saw about 20-30 hogs while i was there.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
June 3, 2009, 02:25 PM
They have a $500 trophy fee which saps the fun out of the hunt. Anything with over a 1.5inch tusk is considered a trophy and i am fine with that, but when looking through glass in the woods at a black hog with dark tusks at 50 yards it is hard to tell how large their tusks are. So ended up out there for 4 hours worried i would shoot something i couldnt afford to take.

Surefire way to avoid that nasty trophy fee, if you find that you accidentally misjudged after approaching the down game:

http://homeschooljourney.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/shovel.jpg

"Yeah, I shot - musta missed, though." :evil:

MCgunner
June 3, 2009, 03:03 PM
End nippers could trim those teeth, too. :D

41 Mag
June 3, 2009, 11:45 PM
I can certainly respect your interest and attitude. I have been extremely lucky through my life to have a small place to hunt on and know folks who allow me to come hunt with them on their's through friendship's or work to hunt type deals.

If we were as eat up with them as some of the other folks I know I would not have any issues with helping folks like yourself out. One of the biggest issues is once you start with one or two folks, then before you know it everybody is contacting you for a similar type deal. Or like in the case of a friend of mine, we end up catching several folks a year on their place who say, well so and so said we could come out and hunt hogs here. Funny thing is so and so never mentioned it to the owners, and when contacted knows nothing or makes out to know nothing about it. Or the best one is, well we lost one of our dogs, and we're just over here looking for it.

Anyway, I know a couple of folks who post on this board, and have see it recommended for similar type hunts that you looking for. I cannot say either way how much better they would be if any over another operation.
http://www.texasboars.com/

I do know that if you look up The Big Woods up around Athens, your going to spend WAY more than you need to in order to get what your looking for. Another place you might look, is through the TP&W and their Annual Public Hunting (APH) Permit. It allows access to a lot of privite places that have leased their land to the state for regulated public hunting access. I also know that they do a LOT of hunts through the Wildlife areas found at this link,
http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/huntwild/hunt/wma/find_a_wma/list/

Might be on a limited basis, but most of them do hog hunts through out the year to try and keep them from ruining the areas.

Todd1700
June 4, 2009, 08:22 AM
Man, I've been sitting on a goldmine for years and have been completely unaware of it. LOL! We are eat up with them here in Alabama. My family owns a lot of land along the Alabama river in the southern half of Alabama. Too bad that you guys don't live near me. I'd gladly take you out on our land to shoot one absolutely free on one of my off days at any time outside of deer or turkey season. It might not be the slam dunk kill that you can probably find at the pay hunt places but they are out there, trust me. I saw 27 in one group back during last Turkey season one morning.

And I agree that it is outrageous what you guys are being charged to shoot hogs. If these same ranches also sell whitetail hunts then you are doing them a valuable service by killing feral hogs. Hell, they should pay you.

Here is one I walked up on and shot with one of my old military surplus rifles one morning.

http://usera.imagecave.com/Todd1700/Big%20Hog.jpg

3pairs12
June 4, 2009, 08:33 AM
There are a lot of public lands with hogs out here just pay $48 get the map buck and find them. Most are closed during the summer months but I don't want to be dragging a 100-300 pound hog through the forest when the temp is up. As a side note the lease I was last on used to run a day hunting deal for hogs after deer season. He would get a bunch of different yahoos that just wanted to mud bog out to "a good" spot and end up tearing his land up more than the hogs. They would leave trash and forget to close gates. Also had some things stolen so maybe thats why some uys charge a lot. A little money to cover the big head ache.

dullh
June 6, 2009, 10:30 PM
Geez am I glad I found this thread! I have never been hog hunting either but was considering taking the .44 Marlin lever gun up to Alexander County where there's a guided hunt - that's only about a 2.5 hour drive for me - but they want $600 !!! I'm seeing now that's pretty steep. I'll wait until the price goes down or I find a cheaper way to do it. Even though $600 is no big deal I'd feel like a sucker paying that, especially if I got there and got bent over for more in hidden fees, etc.

jim in Anchorage
June 7, 2009, 12:15 AM
OK dumb question from Alaska. Do those pigs you guys shoot taste like the pork chops I buy at the store?

usmc1371
June 7, 2009, 06:45 AM
I can't speek for evey wild hog but when I was staitioned in Yuma a friend of mine went home on leave to south texas and shot a small pig and it was awsome. Way better tasting than the pigs we raised back home in oregon. BUT this was a young sow not some nasty old "trophy" boar.

Nathanael_Greene
June 7, 2009, 07:35 AM
OK dumb question from Alaska. Do those pigs you guys shoot taste like the pork chops I buy at the store?


Nope. They're better. Fresher, natural diet...though I try to shoot smaller pigs, under 100 pounds. The bigger boars can be pretty nasty.

MCgunner
June 7, 2009, 09:59 AM
They're much, much leaner than farm pork, but still cook tender. No marbling, very little fat at all on 'em, yet they will grill/BBQ tender. Try grilling venison ribs. LOL! I have to go buy bacon ends and bits at the store to mix with it for sausage just like I do with venison. Just not enough fat for sausage.

Water-Man
June 7, 2009, 10:05 AM
It's called greed! It has infected everything in our society.

MCgunner
June 7, 2009, 11:02 AM
So, it's greedy to want to make a buck off YOUR land, the land you pay taxes on? This is the ol' class warfare thing, again. :rolleyes: That land does not belong to you. If you wanna play on it, you gotta pay for it, or find something elsewhere. That's just the way it is. Some states have a lot of public, federal owned (all of us tax payer's) land. Texas does not. We gave all our land out after the revolution to pay folks for fighting in and surviving that war. It's the only resource Texas had at the time, bunches of land. Western states who were won and paid for by the blood of Texas patriots, and the Mexican/American war that followed, had no people and the land was federal territory by proxy. So, you see, it was the blood of Texas patriots that gave Aridzona and New Mexico all that BLM land. Actually, most of New Mexico was Texas until the Mexican war. But, it hadn't all been spent, yet.

Now, then, Montana/Wyoming? Well, they were owned by the French. The French weren't about to fight a war over it, wouldn't be real Frenchly would it? Besides, they knew they would lose, ain't won one yet! So, they sold out for cash. :D

41 Mag
June 7, 2009, 03:50 PM
Now, then, Montana/Wyoming? Well, they were owned by the French. The French weren't about to fight a war over it, wouldn't be real Frenchly would it? Besides, they knew they would lose, ain't won one yet! So, they sold out for cash.
:D:D:D
Now that's funny right there, I don't care who ya are.

shiftyer1
June 7, 2009, 04:11 PM
I'm from Minnesota and as was previously stated we just knocked on someones door, asked permission and if we got something we brought a couple steaks or whatever back as a thank you. I remember hearing about a group that paid over 1000 to hunt geese in someones field and everyone just couldn't believe it. I have seen adds on craigslist begging for someone to come clear out hogs this spring.

hogmanahoo.com
June 7, 2009, 04:43 PM
i cant believe it.theres a place that charges 1000.00 a point for elk.pay to hunt?ridiculus

TheWarhammer
June 7, 2009, 05:41 PM
i cant believe it.theres a place that charges 1000.00 a point for elk.pay to hunt?ridiculus

Spoken like a true Oregonian! I really miss the PNW sometimes!

As for paying big bucks to hunt hogs in Texas, as MCGunner said, it's supply and demand. However, it is also greed. The same land owners who whine about the destruction caused by the pigs want to bend over a hunter for helping them out. I'm sure that there can be an equitable agreement, but the going rates I'm seeing are just preposterous. Anyone who would pay that much to shoot pigs probably deserves to be parted from their money (I think PT Barnum said something about these types being born every minute). It's not greedy to want to make a buck, but it IS greedy to want to make an unfair profit.

As for people tearing up other people's land, all I can say is, "Wow!" I guess Texans (and I am one) in general are just not taught basic hunting etiquette. You would NEVER hear of somebody tearing up private land with their 4X4 or leaving trash around up in the PNW. My 6 years up in Oregon really opened my eyes to how generally dirty our state is and how little the average Texan gives a rat's ass about anyone but himself. It really was a rude awakening when I came "home." For all the things I love about Texas, there are some things that really suck down here!

shiftyer1
June 8, 2009, 02:06 AM
I totally agree with warhammer on his opinion of the condition of texas right now compared to elsewhere.

Todd1700
June 8, 2009, 05:48 AM
Well my father stopped by the house and said that some hogs are tearing up the ground down in the middle field where he planted corn so I'm gonna break out one of the smoke poles and do a little stalking around in the area for the next few days that I'm off. Hopefully I'll cull a few of them. Anyone have any idea what I should charge myself for 3 days of hog hunting? LOL!

Double Naught Spy
June 8, 2009, 09:14 AM
It's called greed! It has infected everything in our society.

Funny thing. It is called greed by those who don't have the resources to do it, capitalism by those who do.

TX Hog Hunter
June 10, 2009, 11:20 AM
I've been just watching this thread and finally I just have to put my 2 cents worth in from a hunting ranch owners viewpoint..............

As the owner of a TX hunting ranch that caters to hog hunting I'd like to make a few points.

On a farm or cattle ranch yes hogs are a problem and a pest. But even on a cattle ranch or agri farm they can suppliment the cash flow and most ranchers and farmers need all the cash flow help they can get! On a hunting ranch hogs are not necessarily a negative. They can be our primary cash crop just like soybeans to a farmer or cattle to a rancher.

However to maintain a good huntable population of hogs year round it takes food and lots of it. They simply don't hang around a property that doesn't have plenty of food, especially if there is hunting pressure on them. Guess what? Food cost money and a LOT of it when your feeding the wildlife on several thousand acres.

It takes spring and fall food plots (have you priced seed and fertilizer lately?), corn feeders running year round (at one point in 08 corn was over $11 per 50# bag), mineral blocks, etc.. Well food plots don't get planted without tractors and impliments. Access roads don't get built and stay in shape without dozers and graders. Tractors, dozers, etc. burn a lot of fuel. You can't hunt successfully without comfortable lodging, hunting vehicles, good safe stands and efficient skinning areas. All this cost money and we haven't even added in labor costs yet!!!!

It costs a lot to run a ranch and the hogs have to pay their fair share of the expenses. Compared to the costs of a trophy whitetail deer or elk hunt hog hunt is the bargain of the hunting world.............

I hope you get the picture from the other side of the fence?

psyopspec
June 10, 2009, 11:49 AM
RE markets, if the hog population continues to explode, the market will correct itself. When I lived in ND, the coyote population blew up, became diseased and starved, and started attacking small livestock and dogs/cats on farms. I hunted through all different parts of that state, and like other parts of the country, land owners were (and are) tired of having their property trashed by disrespectful bubbas who wreck the fun for the rest of us. However, if you look halfway respectable when you pull up, and you're driving a truck with in-state plates, and you specifically ask for permission to hunt coyotes only, well, a lot of eyes would light up when you mentioned it. Buddies and I were only denied one such hunt by Californicators who had moved to the badlands area to be closer to nature. By the time I left ND, it even got to the point where people were taking out classified ads and posting on craigslist asking for hunters to come out and exterminate the 4-legged nuisances on their land. AZ was similiar - lots of property out there where you just sign the book at the approach, close every gate behind you, and don't act like a dingbat.

Give it enough time, and I have a sneaking suspicion feral hogs will be the new coyotes.

MCgunner
June 10, 2009, 11:55 AM
11 bucks a bag? Wow, I'm glad I don't have to buy corn up there! I recall it being 8 or 9 at one point, though, down here. Hopefully, the ethanol thing is winding down. :rolleyes:

You can get hog hunting access for a lot less than deer or exotics. Farmers or ranchers that are eaten up with hogs and just wanna make a little extra off 'em don't plant for the hogs, have a skinning house, have a bunk house. They'll lease to someone who'll day lease it for them for a lot less due to less overhead and, the way hogs take over and multiply, you can have good hunting even if the hogs aren't particularly catered to or managed for. Some of the hunting can be real good, too.

If you want a catered hunt and can afford it, you can go with all the amenities. If you're just looking for a place with hogs to hunt, you can find that, too. That's why I say shop around. Most of the catered places have web sites and come up in search engines. Many of the lesser managed places just advertise in the local papers or maybe a near by big city paper. Some of them can be really good hunting, too, due to hog population dynamics and especially if there are grain fields about. You can find good hog hunting for 50-100 a day if you look real hard, no kill fees, no limits, take all ya want and can. Still not free, but the taxes on that land and the cost of farming it necessitate it being a business, as any ranch or farm is. You capitalize on any resource if you wanna make money on a farm. Heck, I've paid 400 a year just to shoot doves and geese on a 700 acre farm, before. Leasing is a way of life here, just the way it is, and as demand rises, so to prices because there is a limited supply. I might not like it, being a consumer of hunting, not a provider, but I understand it. It was, for a time, a lot cheaper to drive to New Mexico and hunt mulies in the mountains than get a less than stellar whitetail lease around here. Costs of both have gone up and my income has gone down, but I will do New Mexico again in the future. I'm not dead, yet. :D

DammitBoy
June 10, 2009, 12:00 PM
Todd - I know what you mean man! I've been hunting hawgs for free on the family farm in Butler, Alabama for years.

It has almost spoiled me for any other kind of hunting in the South. What else can you hunt that hunts you right back?

Note on eating the meat: We never eat males over 100lbs but the sows are still tasty no matter how big they get.

~z
June 10, 2009, 12:59 PM
Cultivate a relationship with a landowner. You would not believe how much free access I have gained by letting someone know they had a calf out on the road or a goat with its head stuck in a fence.
~z

MCgunner
June 10, 2009, 01:11 PM
Let a cow out, then give him a call? Nah. :D Goats with heads in fences. I've heard jokes along those lines. Usually involves sheep, though. :D

~z
June 10, 2009, 02:03 PM
Goats work too
~z

TheWarhammer
June 10, 2009, 03:31 PM
Let a cow out, then give him a call? Nah. Goats with heads in fences. I've heard jokes along those lines. Usually involves sheep, though.

Now that's funny... I don't care who you are!

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