I have hunted both boar hogs and boar bears.
Being opportunistic feeders each will feed on what is most easily available. Hogs favorite food is corn from under deer feeders. They will run the deer off from feeders. Hogs will also eat plant roots, berries, different grains, vegetable matter, insects, grubs, and young animals such as fawns and calves.
Bear will eat about the same thing. They will also eat grass, sweet honey and bees. In addition corn, oats, sweets, old cooking oil, and beaver put out on bait sites is on the menu. Bear will not only eat the corn from deer feeder, they often will tear up the deer feeders.
Bears and Hogs can be seen roaming around in daylight and dark. Hogs have a tendency to be more nocturnal than bears. (Hogs are legal to hunt at night in most states and bear are only hunted in daylight.) A feral hogs sense of smell is outstanding. One sniff of something out of place and they are gone. Trophy Hogs are trap wise and have the ability to recall when a hunter change anything.
Boar hogs’ hearing is also supper sensitive to any metallic or foreign noise that does not belong in the woods (or so he thinks). They will make a hasty exit.
Bears on the other hand are the top predator in the woods. They are a lot less afraid at bait stations. About the only thing they fear is larger bears. If the bear can’t hear you or smell you they usually ignore you. They may think you’re just dessert. This was fascinating for me to watch. If I did not make any sudden moves or brush tree limbs, I could set up my shot on the bear and take my time to get the kill shot.
My brother-in-law, Jessie Doyle, and I drove 2000 miles from Orange, TX to Minitonas, Manitoba Canada, to bear hunt with Scott Smith (Canadian Wilderness Outfitters). This was my second trip and first spring hunt. This was Jessie’s first Bear hunt. He said it was great to see a bear coming to bait. You don’t see that in Texas. He was happy to shoot his first bear. The first trip I shot a bear after one and half hours on stand. I was not in any hurry this trip. I hunted for about five days just enjoying watching the bears and looking for the bear I wanted to shoot. The game warden said there is a bear every square mile in that area.
I hunted with a TenPoint Crossbow Titian Extreme and was ready to shoot a second crossbow bear.
We saw numerous bears each day. There are different color phases of black bears from blond to chocolate to black. There was a wide variety of wildlife. You never knew what might cross your path wolves, deer, moose, beaver, or red squirrels.
Our guides would take us out about 3 p.m. and pick us up around 10:30.
One evening just before dark I shot a bear. Craig soon suggested that we return early the next morning to track it under safer conditions.
Mark and Graig Groner, guides for Canadian Wilderness Outfitters, started tracking the bear the next morning. We were not out of site of the bait station when a 200 plus pound bear walked right up to the bait just 40 yd. away. Craig stayed and watched the feeding bear with shotgun while we continue to track my bear. We had only gone about fifty yards though the brush when we found my bear. After a few photos we got him loaded on the four-wheeler. But, we still had the big bear feeding at the bait station. He finally walked away as the four-wheeler got closer. I have never experienced this unsettling feeling while hog hunting. Not saying a boar hog or sow with little pigs won’t come after you but they just don’t have a pronounced ability to eat you.
Hunting boar hogs with a crossbow is also great sport. You will need a basket full of patience for hogs. Keep in mind they didn’t get old by being stupid. I hunted a 305 lb. hog on Michael’s Cattle Ranch off and on for about three months both day and night.
I finally get setup on the right night and time. He moved in and out of my feeder light several times before I get my shot. He ran 75 yards to a thicket and died. The boar weighed 305 pounds and was the biggest I took with the crossbow. There are challenges to hunting Texas boars and Canadian bears and both have an element of danger. That makes it exciting and draws me back to the wilds of my home state and the Great North.
For more information on Canadian Wilderness Outfitters call 204-525-2121.
—by Gerald Burleigh