While much of the South laments the exploding feral hog population, Northern hunters see the burgeoning pig population as an opportunity to sneak away for a few days, get a hunt in during the off-season, and put some free-range pork in the freezer. What not enough hunters (North and South) are asking, is if a thermal rifle scope can make that trip a little more fun, and a lot more productive.
Hog populations in the South continue to grow, even with increased hunting pressure, some might even say the pressure is driving the population growth. Hogs are smart animals, some cognitive tests show them almost as smart as chimps, and when the daytime hunting pressure gets turned up, hogs rely on the cover of darkness to move and feed.
While nocturnal movement for deer hunters can spell doom for a successful season, hogs are a different story. Because hogs are, in most places, considered non-native or invasive species, fair chase game laws aren’t applied in the same fashion as they are for deer or other big game. In most states, night time hunting for hogs is legal.
So, what is the best way to go about hunting hogs at night?
Setting out feeders is one of the most effective ways to take a feral hog. Hogs have an extremely well-developed, keen sense of smell, which they rely on heavily to seek out food. Because hogs can smell some odors from up to 5-7 miles away, loading up feeders with their natural food sources is a great way to lure them out in the open. Bait to use in hog feeders includes: acorns, corn, fruit/nuts, and oak mast. Automatic feeders can be set to go off after dark and frequent baiting in an area where there is optimal visibility, like a field, will serve to train the hogs. Once the hogs start associating that feeder with a meal, you’ll have them coming to you. (Source: Hogman)
Spotlighting is also an obvious choice. For hog hunters, who often have to be mobile, spotlights can be cumbersome and heavy. Small gun-mounted lights limit the range of the light, and large hand-held spotlights almost require a second person just to run the light for the shooter.
This is where thermal night vision can really show its value. Gun mounted and not adding much more weight or size than a traditional scope; thermal scopes bring the woods or prairie to life with thermal signatures of the creatures taking advantage of the cover of darkness. There’s no hiding from a thermal scope.
Traditionally, a thermal rifle scope has been a product out of the reach of the Average Joe. Units running into the multiple thousands of dollars are the rule, not the exception. For the occasional hog hunt or night time plinking, that just isn’t feasible for most hunters.
Enter the Intelliscope. The Intelliscope uses the camera in your smartphone to view thermal signatures of the external thermal imaging device. By pairing the smartphone you already have, with the Inteliscope mount, SEEK thermal imaging camera, and the free Intelliscope app, users can have a functional thermal rifle scope for under $500. There’s even a scope mount adapter available allowing the Intelliscope to be used without removing your standard riflescope from your rifle.
If you’re planning a hog hunt this year, talk to your outfitter about night hunting. I’d bet they would be more than happy to let you put a thermal rifle scope to use on some late-night hunts, and if a four thousand scope is out of range, with Inteliscope, you can take advantage of thermal rifle scope technology without breaking the bank.
Download the free app or buy Inteliscope with SEEK® Thermal to take down more hogs today!