I have been hearing a lot of reports of the wild hogs moving into different areas around Madras, now that the weather is getting colder. I did some research and it seems that the hogs move into the forested areas in winter to get shelter in the trees.
So I went to those areas on the edge of the forest to check it out. The areas where the reports came from were along the edge of the National Forest near Prineville Oregon. This is a beautiful area with many creeks and habitat ranging from sage to pines and firs.
The day I went was the morning after a snowfall so I could look for tracks crossing the road. I was hoping in this way to identify the areas the hogs were using before setting out on foot. This is a fairly large area and would take months to cover on foot, so I worked my way along the boundary between private and public land. Moving from water to water checking for activity along the creeks and in the draws, and for tracks crossing or running the roads.
Much to my dismay most of the tracks I found were from hunters using hounds. Running them down the roads to pick up the scent of whatever they were hunting. There are very few things that can be legally hunted with hounds in Oregon, so I will not speculate here on what they were after. With the hounds running the roadways along the boundary at night. (fresh tracks in the snow that fell the night before) I was not expecting to see much.
I moved further toward the area of another sighting, but the access to that area is closed in winter as the roads are too bad, and the animals winter there and need a safe place. I will have to pick up the chase another day.
What I did find was a lot of beautiful snowy country and a few Elk, Deer, Grouse and Rabbit. I know from reports that the hogs are in this area. ODFW has listed this as an area they are known to inhabit as well, so I will not give up. I think hunting hogs in a forested area would be quite an experience, and one that is definitely on my list.
Man, I’ve said it before, I love hunting exotics. I dig our native game, but hogs are a blast to hunt. Sure they might snatch a fawn or two. Yes they damage farmers fields, but they are a fabulous game animal. Good to eat, strong, and can get big! For your sake, I hope they establish a nice huntable population.