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Feral Swine in National Forests

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Feral Swine in National Forests

Old 01-17-2014, 02:50 PM
  #1  
Spike
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Winston County, AL
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Default Feral Swine in National Forests

This is going to be a long post. I'm sorry; I'll try to be as concise as possible.

I'm fairly new to hunting in general, and especially to hog hunting. However, I am a backpacker, and Bankhead National Forest (Alabama) where I spend most of my time is pretty well overrun with them -- particularly in the Sipsey Wilderness area. I've never seen them, but then I've never tried to sneak up on them. But I have heard them and have seen the mess they leave behind, and I've heard others talking about them.

It's a large forest. Black Warrior WMA alone is over 94,000 acres, and that is surrounded by more forest, both NFS and private land. The hogs seem to be concentrated in the northwestern corner. Outside of the national forest, down in the valley, are small farms with trees and brush interspersed. Inside the forest are various places that have been logged, some as recently as last year, and some several years ago. There are also parcels of private land, even in the middle of the WMA.

It is very broken land, with many creeks running down toward a central drain point in the south (the Sipsey Fork of the Warrior River). After a rain, the whole forest is alive with the sounds of water falls. Nothing is flat, and even if the topo map shows a wider pattern, it's still on a slope of some sort. Getting from the creek bank to the ridge line almost always means following the canyon wall (typically 20-30 feet, often more), looking for a gap. On rare occasion you can follow a stream up toward the source, but be prepared to be turned around by a dead end, a waterfall, and sheer cliffs 20 feet high. The canyons are usually quite wet, while the ridges are dry, especially in summer.

The area is mostly wooded in hardwoods. There are several varieties of oaks, including white, black, red, and water. The understory is generally thick inside the wilderness area, with brush and small trees filling every available patch of sunlight. Outside of the wilderness area (but still within the WMA and the wider national forest), the NFS periodically burns sections to help prevent forest fires and to help promote forest health. Here the underbrush is much less, although it can be thick in patches.

There are stands of pines interspersed seemingly at random. One particular large stand was hit rather hard by Japanese pine beetles several years ago, and then a later storm felled the dead trees. I've not really explored that part of the wilderness, since there is so much underbrush and blowdowns.

Where do I even begin to look? Should I concentrate on the canyons along the creeks? With the country being so broken, I'm assuming there will be a lot of pinch points. How much luck would I have finding and ambushing those areas, particularly on days following a new moon?
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Old 01-18-2014, 04:45 AM
  #2  
Boone & Crockett
 
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How much luck would I have finding and ambushing those areas, particularly on days following a new moon?
That might work.

It's hard to hunt territory like that. Hunt well used trails along the water courses. In dry weather watch the hog wallows and water holes.
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Old 01-18-2014, 05:16 PM
  #3  
Nontypical Buck
 
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Originally Posted by falcon View Post
That might work.

It's hard to hunt territory like that. Hunt well used trails along the water courses. In dry weather watch the hog wallows and water holes.
That is a good start. I would also go to those farms that border the area and check with them and see if they are having problems and go in from there also. Help them out and gain a future hunting spot to boot!!!!
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Old 01-18-2014, 05:48 PM
  #4  
Spike
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Originally Posted by SecondChance View Post
That is a good start. I would also go to those farms that border the area and check with them and see if they are having problems and go in from there also. Help them out and gain a future hunting spot to boot!!!!
Thanks for the replies!

I might do that, but a lot of the folks around here can be quite clannish, and if you're not from here (and in many cases, if your grandparents aren't from here), you'll get nowhere with them. We're all Scotch-Irish descent and it shows! ;-) Still, a few well-placed phone calls and name drops might be just the ticket.
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