If there is one thing serious hog hunters know, it is that they have a lot stacked against them.
Sure, you can ride in a helicopter and shoot a bunch if you have the money or maybe go out into an agricultural field at night with thermal imaging scopes and shoot a bunch.
But for most hunters taking hogs, particularly trophy-sized boars is a challenge. Combating a hog’s nose, which is far more sensitive than ours, is problem enough, much less hunting pressure, general human awkwardness and little time to spend in the field.
Using hog decoys is one way to work around this problem. I was first introduced to serious deer (not hog) decoying while hunting with TF&G Bowhunting Editor Lou Marullo some 15 years ago. He is a master at using decoys to score on deer and got me to considering employing them in my own hunting ventures, including with hogs.
Hog decoys tend to work best in areas with a large concentration of hogs where they can spark the sexual and territorial instincts of boars. Boars will come out and fight a hog decoy. For hunters, that means you have the hog distracted and can make your move without it noticing.
The proper use of a decoy begins with scent elimination. Use gloves when you are carrying and setting up the decoy and spray it with a good cover scent or sexual attractant. The nose is a hog’s first line of defense so you have to get past that to get into the visual realm.
Decoys are best employed in high use areas such as food plots, fields nearby woods, scrapes and travel funnels. Make sure not to set up the decoy in a direct path to you. You do not want to give them a chance to see or smell you if they cross your line of scent. Set it up off to the side of your stand positioned to focus their attention on the decoys, not on you.
Elevation is also important as it definitely keeps you out of the line of sight if you’re up above 15 feet or so, and it is a safety factor as well. If someone creeps up and shoots your decoys for a real hog, your chances of getting shot decrease the farther up you get.
Also, try a bit of grunting or a recorded hog feeding sound to make the setting more realistic.
I recommend having decoys covered in blaze orange when transporting by foot or four-wheeler for safety.
If you exercise proper caution, decoys can open up a lot of opportunity for you and perhaps get that super boar to drop its guard and check out your decoy long enough to get a shot.
—story by TF&G STAFF