Every hunter knows that wild hogs are a scourge on Texas landscapes, even if you don’t live near the Lone Star State. Because Texas gets so much attention for wild hogs and hog hunting, many people overlook the problems caused by these pests in many other southern states. Georgia is often overlooked in conversation. The Peach State is home to between 200,000 and 600,000 feral hogs, according to the University of Georgia. And those numbers are likely to be growing rapidly. This means that hunters must do their part to help keep populations in check. That’s as much to protect farmers’ livelihoods as it is to protect native game species. Pigs have a bad habit of killing fawns and raiding the nests of ground-nesting birds such as turkeys and quail for their eggs.
Almost everyone has some kind of interest in the problems posed by wild boars. That means it’s up to the hunters to do their part to help with the problem. The good news is that the Georgia Department of Natural Resources has very loose regulations that make getting rid of these pests quick and easy. Today we will go over in detail what you need to know about boar hunting in Georgia.
Where are the wild pigs in Georgia? And where can I hunt them?
According to the Georgia Association of Conservation Districts, feral pigs are present in all 159 counties in the state. Although the largest concentrations seem to be in the central and southeastern parts of the state. That’s not too surprising considering that Florida was probably ground zero for the entire US invasion. The first animals were introduced there by European explorers in the 1500s and 1600s. There wasn’t much stopping them from crossing the border into Georgia. Wild boar are well adapted to the myriad of food sources available in coastal areas, which likely explains why these Georgia counties seem to contain more than others. Wild boars will probably continue to spread as well. Mainly because they have no natural predators in Georgia. One can be killed by an alligator from time to time, but it’s not enough to make a dent in a population that reproduces as fast as pigs.
As for areas to consider, Georgia allows the taking of feral hogs on public lands. This includes National Forest and Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). Consider areas like the 866,000+ acre Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, the Ocmulgee WMA, the Pine Island and Cuddo Units of the Santee National Wildlife Refuge, and the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge as just a few options. Georgia may be one of the best hog hunting opportunities on public lands simply because there is a lot of public hunting land in the state rather than somewhere like Texas.
Georgia Hog Hunting Regulations
The great thing about Georgia is that they have pretty liberal regulations when it comes to pigs. This state isn’t exactly the Wild West style of “anything goes” like Texas is right now, but they are slowly coming along as regulations continue to loosen. There are no limits, and technically, there are no closed seasons. Hog hunters should be careful when hunting on public lands, as hog hunting legalities can vary in these areas depending on weapons and seasons. Hunters may take wild boar during the small and large hunting seasons using weapons that are legal at that time. For example, if you are hunting a national forest during deer archery season, that means only archery equipment is legal for hog hunting. If you are hunting squirrels in season, you can only use firearms used for that purpose, and so on during the rest of the seasons. There are too many individual regulations for us to list them all here. Just be sure to check the regulations of the National Forest or WMA you plan to hunt ahead of time for additional restrictions. The WMA also restricts the use of pig bait and does not allow night hunting.
Hunters planning to use private land have fewer restrictions to worry about. They have the option of hunting pigs at night with artificial lights, and the possibility of hunting with bait. One big difference from Texas is that Georgia does not allow hunting from a vehicle. We must also be aware of the Georgia hunting license requirements regarding wild boar. If you are hunting on public land or are a non-resident, you will need to get one if you are over 16 years old. Resident owners make a nice profit here. They are allowed to hunt hogs on their land without a license, as is their immediate family residing in the same household.
One last thing to keep in mind. You can hunt wild pigs with hunting dogs, but only on private land. Most WMAs won’t allow it. Check the fine print in the rules to see if the WMA you’re considering is one of them. Another option is to call a local conservation officer to confirm. Rules can change season after season in these areas, so don’t indulge in the thought that nothing has changed. That’s how people get tickets.
How big are the pigs in Georgia?
According to the Georgia DNR, hogs found in Georgia include the smaller variety that have a domestic appearance and Eurasian warthogs. There are also some hybrids between the two running in some areas. The best example was a huge warthog killed in 2004 called “Hogzilla”. The huge pig weighed approximately 800 pounds and was between seven and eight feet long. It was later revealed that he was a hybrid animal. This pig was so famous that it was the subject of a National Geographic documentary and was one of the first real viral hunting images to spread far and wide on the internet. This pig was not alone either. Georgia Outdoor News reported that a nine-foot, 1,100-pound monster died just three years later, in 2007. So there’s a chance there are some real giants in the Peach State! Although we must bear in mind that most pigs never grow that much. In truth, most adult pigs are in the 100 to 200 pound range max. When an especially large pig is shot, they are usually shown to be hybrids. It really all depends on the age and nutrition of the pig.
Georgia’s hog population may not get as much attention as Florida or Texas, but opportunities to bring home bacon abound in this beautiful state. It’s worth considering if you’re looking for an easily accessible spot to chase pigs on public land.
For more outdoor content from travis smolamake sure to follow him on Twitter Y Instagram For original videos, check out his geocaching Y Outdoors with Travis YouTube Channels.