Hunting pigs with night vision

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I have to admit that I have long fantasied about going hunting with high vision goggles and scopes. The idea probably fills most hunters with disgust, and rightly so. There cannot be even be a pretense of fair chase. AR Guns & Hunting has published a brief article about their nigh-time hunting experience with a crew called Tactical Hog Control. The feral pig population is out of control and they do much damage to landowners properties and the use of nigh-vision gear allows quicker culling.

From THC’s website

Since we began hunting together in April 2008, our talley on hogs is just over 260 as of December 1, 2009. Of these hogs, only 3 were not processed and made use of by ourselves, our guests, or someone in need. Well over 90% are neck/head shots so loss of use due to less than perfect bullet placement is minimal. We work to maintain this record by getting in close for the kill and by being patient while waiting for the right shot presentation. The typical shot is at 3o to 40 yards standing off of shooting sticks. We are a one shot-one kill style of hunting.

Hunts can be booked by calling Randy at 210-884-7311 or Gerald at 210-884-7462 or by email at [email protected] We are located in Seguin, Texas which is 35 miles east of San Antonio on IH10 and 160 miles west of Houston. Hunting locations are within a 30 minute drive of Seguin. We have reduced our price for 2009 to $300 per person for up to 4 people. There is no trophy fee and no cleaning fee. If you book for two consecutive nights it is $550 per person. We are so confident in getting you a shot at a hog, we will offer this guarantee. If we can’t put you within 75 yards of a hog with a shot opportunity, we will invite you back for a free hunt.

Click on calendar under “links” for available hunting dates.

I wonder if cavemen spent nights around the camp fire discussing whether or not the newly invented spear was fair on the wooly mammoths and saber toothed tigers that they hunted ;) In all seriousness, when it comes to culling animals, anything humane goes. Night vision probably gives less of advantage than the helicopters do in the parts of the world where they are used for hunting.

[ Just a warning: any anti-hunting comments, “these guys are idiots” comments and other unhelpful comments will be deleted ]




Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • CinSC

    “In all seriousness, when it comes to culling animals, anything humane goes.”

    No objections here. It looks like excellent training and – dare I say it? – fun. Those guns appeared to be suppressed; I’m guessing they supply them?

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

      CinSC, I guess they do to ensure the neighbours (and landowners) get some sleep and/or do not call the cops because they think that there is a war on ;)

  • http://www.predatorwild.com Heath

    Hogs are a huge problem in Texas now. This looks like a great method to try and keep those destructive animals in check. I’d do it!

  • Old Windways

    Where I grew up in Connecticut they have a serious White-tailed Deer over population issue. Many communities have gone the route of hiring “professional sharpshooters” (authorized by the state) to come in at night with thermal imaging and night vision to thin the herd. Since they are being brought in to rapidly reduce the size of the herd, they are not subject to many of the restrictions that permitted hunter are such as limitations on bating, restricted seasons, hunting at night, and the use of silencers. While I have not heard of any of these outfits allowing private individuals to book a hunt, if the legal hurdles could be overcome it would promise to make a lucrative business even more so.

  • http://tslrf.blogspot.com/ theotherryan

    I think there is sort of a division between hunting for a purpose (meat, culling, depopulation, etc) and hunting for sport/enjoyment with some grey in the middle. This is just as practical as spotlighting a deer and shooting it in the eye with a .22. In some places that is legal and in others it isn’t but it puts a lot of meat in a lot of freezers.

    Practically useful night vision setups for rifles are very expensive but also very useful.

  • Erik

    Pretty cool- not really ‘hunting’ more culling out of necessity. I would LOVE to do it. I’ve hunted hogs conventionally in Florida a few times and it’s a blast. Wiping out those pests in agricultural areas with NV optics would be awesome. I’ve also seen a vid or 2 of night shoots with thermal imaging.

  • http://www.frankwjames.blogspot.com Frank W. James

    There is a need for clarification and the use of proper semantics. This activity is properly categorized as “Evasive Animal Population Control”. This is necessary so it isn’t confused with traditional “hunting”. Agricultural enterprises throughout the south are experiencing untold damage from these animals and other than man, they have no natural or effective enemies or form of population control.

    Althought it’s nice these particular hunters have been able to ‘harvest’ the meat from their animals, a real health concern are those animals infected with brucelosis. Brucelosis is a bacterial disease that is treatable with various antibotics in humans, but it is incurable and once infected the person will be afflicted with this disease for the remainder of their days. It is advisable to investigate whether or not the feral hogs in a certain area have undergone recent testing for the disease by the local DNR or Health authorities before processing or even touching the downed animal or its blood. Many areas are now ‘live-trapping’ groups of these evasive animals for just this purpose because the threat of this disease to normal agricultural livestock operations could prove catastrophic.

    Over the past two years I have been actively engaged in ‘Evasive Animal Population Control’ in Oklahoma, Texas and Georgia. It is NOT traditional hunting and should not be confused with it. The tools are the same used today by any high speed military unit or SWAT team and the tactics are similar as well.

    In short, the spread and increase in population of these animals represent a looming ecological disaster both to agriculture and some rural water supplies.

    All The Best,
    Frank W. James

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

      Frank, good point regarding disease.

  • AP

    Outstanding! I really enjoy learning about such a fine conservation effort. Feral hog is an excellent food source, here harvested by ethical marksmen helping to control a highly destructive, non-native species who are having fun at the same time. It’s a win/win, all-round. Well done!

  • SpudGun

    I’m all for the humane culling of wild animals and if it’s more effective to hunt them at night using the latest technology, then that can only be a good thing.

    Now, I don’t want my post deleted but I do find it a bit strange that they’re using the words ‘tactical’ and ‘we own the night’ to describe what is basically shooting some pigs in the dark.

    I’m not calling these guys idiots, I’m just questioning their semantics. I’m also not saying that anyone should appease the anti-hunting lobby, but I think the message about how this is a more humane way of culling animals has been kind of lost in the video.

    Maybe I’m wrong and this is the future. Next time there is a wasps nest in my backyard, I’ll use a smoke grenade to take them out and call it Tactical Pest Control. :)

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

      SpudGun, its all about marketing. They are calling it tactical because they are using tacti-cool gear (thermal scopes, night vision, AR-15s, suppressors … etc)

  • dan12580

    awesome. one of the coolest things ive ever done was hunt pigs at night with night vision just 150 miles or so south of where these guys are with my wifes cousin. the only difference was we were using ar15s so there werent a lot of “one shot one kills”. we shot somewhere around 15 hogs that night. 2 or 3 around 250lbs. having nothing to do with the people in the video i would say if you get the chance or are in the area- do it.

  • Jim

    I’m fine with the dead pigs and elated to hear that they eat them, but I’d prefer it if they weren’t killing coyotes too. Pigs are a foreign and invasive species, but coyotes are natural and don’t deserve the stigma they get.

  • Bandito762

    I never understood the idea of fair chase. If you are using a gun, is it really fair? If that is fair then is it fair to use a semi auto? If that is fair then is it fair to use a rifle with a magazine? I think this is just the next advance in technology that has made humans stand out from other hunting animals for thousands of years.

  • Wolf

    Really? no negative or anti-hunting comments? I have nothing against hunting but I think you may be going a bit too far with the comment moderation. What’s the point of having a discussion if you censor all the dissent?

    You should really just keep it to removing comments that are excessively rude.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

      Wolf, I did not say I was censoring posts with people who disagree with this type of hunting. What I do want to avoid is comments like “anyone who kills animals is compensating for their small … “. After putting the notice at the bottom of the post, this is the first comment where I avoided getting these comments.

      Still, as soon as it hits the greenie forums, I will be getting these comments.

      Constructive discussions is fine. I do not expect everyone to agree with this type of culling/hunting, and they can say so.

  • Jeff Wright

    I live down the road and have seen firsthand the destruction a large e pack of pigs can do on freshly plowed and planted fields.
    It literally look like the aftereffects of a 80mm mortar barrage.
    Fences uprooted,huge wallow holes etc.
    And they are damn smart and adaptable.
    The reason you have to do that at night is once they are hunted a few times the become nocturnal.
    We even have had to alter the use of dogs.
    They have learned that to stop and fight is a death sentence,so they will run halfway across the county once the dogs are on the scent.
    Its a huge problem.

  • Mad Saint Jack

    Frank didn’t plug his own posts on the topic so I will do it for him.

    Here is his night vision tag:

    http://frankwjames.blogspot.com/search/label/Night%20Vision

  • Dom

    I agree with the comments that this is not hunting but rather invasive pest population control. Defining fair chase is a “I know it when I see it” kind of thing, but I’m pretty sure most people wouldn’t call this fair chase. I like to think of it as more about being fair to your fellow chasers than the chased. It’s still kinda salty to get thermal rifle optics, out of the reach of most. But in any case, feral hogs (and all invasive species) are not something to be hunted – their presence in these lands is a man-made mistake, and we probably ought to correct that mistake. Otherwise, hogs are gonna be like bunnies in Australia.

    Now, not to nitpick, but they say they are one-shot-one-kill…but I only went back and reviewed the last hog killed there, and it appeared to involve five shots. Not that I’d shoot any better, but let’s call a spade a spade…

  • slntax

    goes to show that expensive gear is no replacement for basic rifle shooting skills.

  • Blackwater

    Yeah they do. Coyotes are monsters that should be hunted to extinction. They kill people and domestic pets all the time. I feel that way about all dangerous species including bears, mountain lions, sharks, alligators, snakes and wolves. It’s especially important to take care of sooner rather than later because these damn anti-gun leftist fascists won’t let us carry guns. Have fun trying to defend yourself and your loved ones from a hungry 1000+ lb brown bear with just your hands and some pepper spray.

  • Carl

    If technology makes reasonable population control measures easier, that’s fine by me.

    But the whole idea of a “fair” hunt seems rather ludicrous. A guy fairly hunting a wild pig should use something like a knife, tops.

    And Blackwater, defending yourself against an attacking animal is a bit different than making entire species’ extinct.

    If lefties are screwing with your RKBA it seems you should address that problem rather than taking your aggressions out on the coyotes.

  • d

    It is estimated theres about 3-4 million wild hogs in Texas alone. These bastards tear up farmers crops and ranches. They mate 5x a year and spawn 4-5 per litter. I think someone estimated a hog can do $1400 of crop damage during its lifetime.

  • d

    heck they do the same to kangaroos in Australia, same with hogs there, they keep ripping stuff up. South Dakota has prairie dog bounties.

  • Jim

    Blackwater I deeply hope you’re a troll. Coyote attacks on humans are exceedingly rare, and your precious imported dog certainly has less right to be here than a native coyote. Keep your animals locked up and leave what is natural to itself.

  • Bandito762

    Wouldn’t killing coyotes only make the hog problem worse. I mean, it is probably one of the only natural predators the hogs are going to go up against so thinning their numbers will just make it easier for the hogs to flourish.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

      Bandito762, I suppose it depends on the ratio of hogs:coyotes needed to control the hog population. The ratio needed to keep hogs under control may mean just as much, or more, landowner damage from coyotes.

  • http://www.frankwjames.blogspot.com Frank W. James

    d: The gestation period for any swine is 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days. Normally a female will have two litters per year and they become sexually active at 6 months of age. In the wild, estimates on litter size for these feral hogs have run anywhere from 1 pig to as many as 8. A determining factor for both litter size and overall size is the availability of food and most importantly for swine; high quality digestible protein. Areas where peanuts are grown will have far bigger and larger feral hogs in terms of average size than those areas like Oklahoma where all they have to eat during winter months is winter wheat. (They can devastate a peanut field in a relatively short period of time.)

    However, their population growth is always exponential. Run the numbers and figure if you start with ten adults; 5 male and 5 female and each female has a 4 pig average twice a year. Of those offspring, half are male and half are female. You will have 20 breeding females by the end of the first year. By the end of the 2nd year you will have 80. By the end of the third year you will have 320.

    From the fourth year on if you are a farmer or even someone who lives in the area you can safely say you have too damn many pigs running free.

    All The Best,
    Frank W. James

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

      Frank, thanks for info (and don’t be afraid to mention relevant posts you have written in the comments of The Firearm Blog)

  • Tom

    Just curious as to why you would post Blackwaters garbage post and not those that feel these hog hunters are a bunch of hillbillies that need to be hunted to extinction themselves? Please….you used to run a respectable blog.

  • http://hsoiblog.wordpress.com hsoi

    Steve, there’s some mix-up here.

    The “AR Guns and Hunting” article is about a group called Tactical Hog Control. The video you posted is from them, but their website is:

    http://www.tacticalhogcontrol.com/

    The website you linked to, http://nighthogs.com/ and the snippet you quoted… that’s a totally different outfit. You’ll need to correct your posting to reflect this.

    However I would like to add that I’ve actually been out on a night hunt with the “night hogs” guys, Randy and Gerald. It was a great experience. A lot of fun, meat in the freezer, and some happy land-owners. Read about it here:

    http://hsoiblog.wordpress.com/2009/07/26/night-hunt/

  • subby

    Sounds pretty dodgy that their charging you to shoot at these pigs. Why can’t I just rock up myself with my own rifle and have a go at shooting them? (With the landowner permission of course) I assume there isn’t a need to be licensed in any way.

    And kudos to the adaptable smart pigs. This is probably the only way to successfully kill them, from which they have no defence.

    And I guess I wouldn’t call it killing but quite simply mass animal killing, or mass animal culling. Doesn’t sound romantic or technical but that’s what it is. Also I think its a terribly inefficient and ineffective means of killing these animals. I suspect it only drives them away from the locations for a certain period of time?

    Also there is a plague and overpopulation of Kangaroos and camels in Australia too. Its a shame we are so antigun because there is no chance they can be controlled with professional shooters. As for rabbits, there is an island in Australia where we have dropped poisonous pellets and trained special dogs to flush the remaining living rabbits out so they can be killed. Thermal imaging gear is also used. This process by 18 dogs is expected to take 5 years. And this is a small ISLAND!, imagine the difficulty of killing them on the mainland

    I think in the states it would be awesome if you had ‘pig killing season’ or something and everyone and their grandma can come out with a rifle and have a go at shooting some pigs. Sort of like that Simpson episode where everyone goes out to wack snakes. They should put a bounty on their head and we should be able to sell their body’s as fertilizer. I think its about time we take our natural habitat and environment seriously, these animals don’t belong and are nothing more than rabbits in another form. We need to take back our land before its too late.

  • http://hsoiblog.wordpress.com hsoi

    Subby – here in Texas, feral hogs get classified by the Texas Park & Wildlife department as exotic animals. There’s no state bag or possession limits or closed seasons on exotic animals on private property. You still need a valid hunting license, you still need landowner permission, and of course other general laws and rules apply (e.g. can’t hunt on a public road).

    Bottom line: you can hunt them 24/7/365 and shoot all you want. Most of the landowners around here are happy to do so, lest the buggers tear up your land, crops, eat all the food for more desirable animals (e.g. whitetail deer).

    So can you rock up with your own rifle and shoot them? Sure.

    What do these guys offer? Well, you are paying them for their time. Speaking at least for the outfit I went with, they have agreements with I think 10 or so landowners in the area to cull the boogers from their land. So these guys have to take the time to scout out and know where the pigs are running. They know the lay of the land, they know where the food and water supplies are. They’ve done work. Sure you could go out and hunt on your own, but you know how that goes…. you may or may not bag something. Guided hunts tend to increase your chances of success. And that’s what they get.

    The other thing you’re paying for is the experience. Not everyone has nor can afford night vision equipment and suppressed rifles. It’s just a different experience. Fun at that. :-)

    So of course you don’t have to pay these guys and can go it alone. But they offer something that may be tough to get any other way.

  • http://www.predatorwild.com Heath

    hsoi beat me to it. You’re paying for their time (wear and tear on vehicles, gas, etc) as well as access to private property to hunt.

    Here in CA up on the north end they have a real problem with ground squirrels. Some communities have an annual event where for a weekend they open their property to licensed hunters to blast the ground squirrels.