The Guide to Hog Hunting in Florida
There is no place that can replicate the experience of hog hunting in Florida. Florida has an astounding wild hog population, second only to Texas. There are an estimated 500,000 hogs in the state, and they have been found in all 67 Florida counties. In terms of population density, Florida has a higher hog population density than Texas, at an estimated 7.6 hogs per square mile compared to Texas' 5.58 hogs per square mile. Areas with dense vegetation and a nearby water source seem to have the highest hog population densities in Florida.
The staple method of hog hunting in Florida, which is not common in other states, is with a swamp buggy. A swamp buggy is an all-terrain motorized vehicle capable of driving through water pockets that are several feet deep. Hog populations are most dense in vegetated areas with a lot of water, which is why swamp buggies are the go-to method Florida is most well-known for.
Florida Hog Hunting Rules and Regulations
Private Land Hog Hunting
Based on the latest FWC guidelines, wild hog hunting may be conducted year-round on private land, with landowner permission. A hunting license is not required to hunt hogs and a permit is not required to take hogs at night with a gun and hog hunting light as long as the hunter has landowner permission.
If you plan to hog hunt with dogs on private land, the dogs must wear a collar or tag which indicates the owner's name and address. Written permission for hog hunting with dog is required from the landowner and must be presented for inspection should an FWC or law enforcement officer ask for it.
Public Land Hog Hunting
If you plan to hunt public land, a hunting license is still not required but a management permit may be required. The public hog hunting season is open during the majority of the year with the exception of Turkey season.
Florida Hog Hunting Methods
The most common methods of taking hogs in Florida are by tree stand, ground blind, spot and stalk, hog hunting with dogs or prowling the swamps with a swamp buggy. Regardless of the method of take you choose, hogs are most active during the nighttime. Due to this, a quality hog hunting light is a necessity. There is a lot to consider when choosing a hog hunting light, so here is our guide on buying the best hog hunting lights.
Tree Stand Hog Hunting
Hunting hogs from a tree stand is one of the most common methods across all hog hunting states. Most hunters use corn as their wild hog bait attractant, and then sit and wait for the wild hogs to show up. We've found that apple-scented corn seems to be one of a hogs favorite commercially available mixes.
Tree stands are out of the line of sight of hogs, which make them a great method for hunting when you combine them with some good hog hunting lights.
Hunting Hogs from Ground Blind
Hog hunting from a ground blind is another common method, and it is chosen over the tree stand method often due to the ease of setting up pop-up ground blinds. When hunters find a fresh hog trail, a pop-up ground blind is the easiest method to hunt the trail quickly. Hogs come out during the day and night time, but are more prevalent during the nighttime in pressured areas. Due to this, it is best to use a hog hunting light to illuminate the pigs for the perfect shot without spooking them.
Spot and Stalk Hog Hunting
The method of spotting and stalking hogs can offer the most rewarding hunting experience. It requires having a strong understanding of the wind, your background, maintaining silence, and ultimately predicting hog behavior. Spot and stalk hog hunting can also be dangerous because the hunter is vulnerable to a retaliatory hog who may charge after them, so knowing where to aim for a quick kill is very important. Spot and stalk hunting is best if done during the day time, but nighttime hunter must have the best hog hunting lights they can find for their own safety.
Hog Hunting with Dogs
Hunting hogs with dogs is common across many southern states, and Florida is no exception. Dogs are a great option for hog hunting in areas that have dense brush and are difficult to find hogs in. Bay dogs are capable of sniffing the hogs out, surrounding them and baying the dogs up for the hunter to come. Once the hunter gets there, a catch dog is released which is typically a stalkier breed such as a Dogo Argentino or Pitbull, which pins the hog down for the hunter to come in and tie the hog up or exterminate the hog.
Hog Hunting from a Swamp Buggy
In comparison to the other methods, hunting from a swamp buggy is action-packed and unique to the Florida swamps. Most swamp buggies will outfit their rigs with hog hunting light bars so they can illuminate the swamps at night. When hog hunting from a swamp buggy, the areas are not accessible by other hunters which means the hogs are very rarely pressured. The purpose of using a swamp buggy is to travel roads that are underwater or just don't exist. If you're visiting Florida to go hog hunting, we recommend you give hog hunting from a swamp buggy a shot.
Day Time Hog Hunting in Florida
If you choose to hunt hogs during the day time, they are most active during the early morning and late evening just before sundown. Day time hog hunting can be successful if done on land that is not pressured. As soon as the property is pressured with hunters, the hogs will go nocturnal almost immediately. The first time you hunt a piece of land, you may have great success during the day. If you plan to hunt the land again soon thereafter, it may be best to opt for hunting them at night.
Nighttime Hog Hunting in Florida
In the winter months hogs are searching for food harder than ever before, which leaves them far more active at night. If the hogs are pressured by hunters, then they are more likely to come out at night than during the daytime. The key to a successful hog hunt at night is to have the right color hog hunting lights. You can learn more about choosing the right color lights for hog hunting in the science behind choosing a red or green light for night hunting.
Bow Light for Hog Hunting
If you plan on hunting hogs with a bow, then hunting them at night not only gives you better opportunities but with the right bow light you can illuminate the hogs without them knowing you're even there. To be effective at this, you must have a bow hunting light designed for the color blindness in hogs.
Hog Hunting Light Bar
If you plan on running a swamp buggy, ATV/UTV, high rack or even hunting from your deer blind, a light bar for hog hunting can help you have more successful hog hunting trips. Similar to the bow light, the hog hunting light bar must be designed for the optimal wavelength for color blindness in hogs.
Gun Light for Hog Hunting
A quality bow light or light bar can also be used as a gun light for hog hunting. The major requirement in gun lights is the ability to shine at longer distances, surpassing 300 yards. Most quality bow lights and light bars are capable of this performance.