It's finally done. You have just completed a hunting lease agreement on a sizeable piece of land that is known to be teeming with wild hogs. During the initial tour of the land you witnessed multiple hog signs that furthered your excitement of what possibilities lay ahead. Now that all the paperwork and details are behind you, it is time to get to the important task of selecting where and how you are going to position your stands.
Stand location is a crucial part of the entire hunting process. If proper time is taken to scout and learn your hunting area, you will be able to pin-point hot spots that have the best possibilities for high-hog traffic. Devote a day or even a weekend to exploring the layout of the land.
As you search the area, keep your eyes open for hog signs such as tracks, wallows, rubs, and well-traveled trails. Carry a notepad and draw a rough sketch of the aerial view of your hunting area. Include things like creeks, tanks, food sources, large clearings, and heavily wooded areas that could be used for bedding. Once this basic drawing is completed, add the locations of the hog signs that you found. At the end of your excursion you should have a pretty good visual idea of what you have to work with.
Before you decide on where you should locate your stand, you need to determine what time of the year most of your hunting will be taking place. A large majority of boar hunters choose the fall and winter months to pursue hogs. Therefore, let us first focus on a stand location for this time of year.
During the fall wild boars will attain a great percentage of their nutrition from mast such as acorns, walnuts, and pecans. They will begin to stray further from water as the temperature drops due to the fact that they do not have to cool themselves from the blazing heat. As long as the food supplies last, pecan bottoms and oak groves are excellent stand locations. This natural food source is quickly diminished, and once it is gone it leaves the hogs in search of other meals.
If you hunt in a state that allows baiting, it is a great idea to set up a timed feeder on or near a hog trail that is between a bedding area and a natural food source. When the pigs are on their way to the acorns, they will certainly stop off and dine on the corn first. Once the natural food runs out, the pigs will already be addicted to the corn and will show up daily for chow.
In places where baiting is not allowed, you need to identify what wild hogs will utilize as natural food sources throughout the winter. Different parts of the country will offer different nutritional sources. In my area, hogs will turn to grubs and roots. Every rotten log and stump will be overturned and searched for whatever high-protein snack it might contain. I have seen hogs graze on winter grass when food supplies are at seasonal lows. Check with your local game biologist and county extension agent to identify what plants wild swine might utilize in your area during hard times.
You can also plan ahead and discuss food plot possibilities that you can have growing and ready to benefit the sounders on your lease. Good stand locations in this scenario are in view of these feeding areas or in locations that are perched over heavily used trails that lead to them.
Hot weather hunting dramatically narrows the travel capabilities of wild boars. I would recommend that all summer stands be in direct view of a cool water source. I have hunted feeders during high temperatures, but hogs usually do not show themselves until after nightfall. Setting up on a stock tank offers a central point of focus. However a creek or river bank might prove to be more of a challenge when deciding exactly where to place your stand.
I recommend you follow the hog sign and locate a place where pigs access the water that offers a clear field of view without any blind spots. Always avoid looking over steep banks that block your view of the entire creek bed. By placing an elevated stand as close as possible to the creek, you will be able to look down into the draw and have access to shot opportunities on game that is traveling in the floor of the water-way.
There is great debate in how far a stand should be set away from a target area. Of course, weapon selection plays a big factor in the decision. When rifle hunting I prefer a 75-100 yard range at minimum. I've hunted blinds that ranches placed 20 yards from feeders. This is ridiculously close and compromises your position due to human scent and noise. The further away you sit from the game, the less likely you will be noticed by a wise old tusker.
Stand selection is an important part of hunting that can make the difference between failure and success during your quest for wild boars. If proper time is taken to learn the terrain, you will be able to put yourself face-to-face with even the most careful of hogs. Adequate preparation will definitely lead to success.