While wild pigs and wild boars are different, there are similar tactics used in the hunting of them. There is a certain excitement involved in the pig hunt, and the hunter often feels that he’s doing a great service to people in the area as the feral pigs and boars are highly adaptable and have overrun much of the landscape. In the 1920’s the European wild boar was introduced by a Monterey, California landowner. When it bred with domestic pigs a hog hybrid was developed that is now today’s wild boar. Due to excessive breeding the population of this wild pig has increased exponentially and many states offer open season year round in the hopes of controlling it. These pigs can not only be aggressive, but they damage much of the vegetation and landscape of the area ruining habitat for other, more fragile species. In 1957 the Fish and Game Commision established official seasons on them and it wasn’t until 1992 that a tag was required to hunt them. There are also special rules and regulations regarding the use of hunting dogs in the capture of these pigs.
In California wild pigs are present in 56 of the 58 counties, with a majority of them living on private land. The pig’s behavior has altered greatly to adapt to the hunting techniques often employed to catch them. While they once moved around during the day, they have morphed into a more nocturnal creature, foraging for food at night. The most popular way to hunt these pigs is with hunting dogs, and any number of breeds are used. At one of the only pig hunting dog training schools in the world, Joshua Kauta’s school looks for characteristics such as courage, stamina, intelligence, and tenacity in the training of a good pig dog. One of the most popular breeds used for hunting pig is the bull terrier, along with other breeds such as sheep and cattle dogs crossed with breeds such as the Labrador for it’s sense of smell.
Pig dog training is often in rugged and hilly landscapes and a dog needs a lot of room and open area with well-trained pigs to get proper training. It’s essential for a pig dog to begin it’s training at a young age. There are two types of dogs used when it comes to hunting pigs; those that are used for bailing, which track a pig and keep it at bay by barking at it until the hunter can arrive, and there are the holder dogs, which grab onto a pig’s ears and keep it steady. Whichever type of hunting the sportsmen prefers, wild pig hunting is both exciting and provides a service to many of the local landowners.