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How to hunt crops? A selection of information taken off the Boardogs Forums.

Ian Colley posted:

Crop hunting will vary little from region to region and the same principles should be applied regardless of the types of crops. The only significant difference is pigs tend to be more inclined to camp in the higher crops such as corn, sudax etc if the hunting pressure is reasonably light. They feel secure from prying eyes, and the crops provide shade and shelter from any cold winds.

The shorter crops such as wheat, Barley, Sorghum etc offer less cover for the pigs to feel comfortable when camping, but again if the hunting pressure is light they will camp under trees, in grassy gullies etc if there are any scattered throughout the crop.

The major benefit to crop hunting is that it will concentrate numbers. Just about every pig within Cooee of the crop will visit it for a feed at some stage and most will return regularly. They just can’t resist ripening grain, therefore increasing the hunters’ chance of success substantially.

To determine if pigs are working the crop work the edges and look for sign, it will be easy to spot in most cases. Look for pads (beaten trails) leading into the crops from nearby scrub or grass country, wallows, tracks etc around nearby watering points, crop damage, or just the odd track here and there as the pigs wander through the crops.

If no sign is encountered it is a good idea to check regularly, in most cases when they do find it they will start to work it regularly from the day of discovery. Normally most of the pigs will start to arrive as the grain starts to form, but occasionally you will start to see small amounts of sign prior to this depending on the availability of other food sources.

Some points I consider when crop hunting are:
• The good old Ute hunting method, working the dogs from the back of the truck, letting them wind scent, at night mostly with the aid of a spotlight, or early morning and late afternoon. Always have a couple of dogs in reserve for the escapees; you will pick up a lot of extras this way.
• Walking is probably the most productive in my area. Late at night when the full moon is out is a prime time to catch those big old cagey boars, allowing you to hunt without the aid of a light. It is always a good idea to park the vehicle a few K’s away and walk in, thereby hitting the pigs virtually undisturbed. If hunting with a mate, someone should get out into the crop with a couple of dogs and get the other bloke/s to wait on the pads with dogs on leads, again to head off the escapees.
• Always try and work into the wind, and try and approach the crop from the direction the pigs would normally leave. If they have already left the crop you will run into them as they make their way back to cover.

• Once the crop is harvested is probably the best, you will get good results in a lot of areas if you are present when the harvesters are working. Most have UHF radios fitted and will alert you to the presence of pigs as they are doing their rounds. We used to sit in the shade of a tree and head the pigs off as the header drivers warned us of the pigs escape. This is hunting at its easiest. Some will head back into the crop, but it is only a matter of time before the crop cover is non existent. Two or three vehicles in these situations are good, but always make sure you know where the dogs etc from the other vehicles are at all times to avoid running over your mates’ dog/s.
• You will also get good results from spotlighting stubble and in some areas you can return every hour or so and get pigs each time. Once the grain is harvested the pigs need to stay out on the stubble longer to get a feed from any fallen grain. The previous easy feed while the crops were in head has disappeared. The added bonus here is the pigs are now easily spotted, however, it is always a good idea to work the paddocks thoroughly though, by crisscrossing them at regular intervals. Pigs will bed down in the stubble when they have a belly full and won’t move until you are nearly on top of them. I have been surprised to find mobs of 30 plus laying up, and we didn’t think there was a thing in the stubble.
• A point to think about though, especially in undulating country, check out the paddocks thoroughly in daylight before you start pursuing pigs at high speed in a vehicle, look for large rocks, logs, washouts, old fences etc. There is nothing more exhilarating than hitting a 2 foot deep and 4 foot wide washout, flat-out in 2nd or 3rd gear. This can end up being a very expensive exercise and someone can get seriously hurt.
• Also check out all areas of heavy cover within a couple of K’s of the crop. Out west for example, areas of lignum close to the crops. If there is water nearby you can nearly bet there will be pigs bedded down within easy walking distance of the crop. (Again this will depend on hunting pressure.)

Ned posted:

Crops help more than anything else to pattern the pigs. By pattern I mean to establish what they are doing, where they are coming from and when. We spend time during the day driving and then walking the crop to look for information. We learnt the walk-in method from PC and I can verify it's the way to find those boars that leave the big frustrating tracks...The early work is very important especially in cropping country in the hills. Around Inverell there are crops scattered about on sloping country, many bordered by decent scrub. In those crops, you had better know the lie of the land because it's not as forgiving as the flat. For instance, chasing the pigs might not be as productive as driving at an oblique angle if you know where the pop holes in the fence are or if you know the best way to get past a rough little hill to head off the pigs. We also do big loops well out from the crop to look for shit. Sometimes it can surprise you how far back the pigs are going once out of the crop. You can find pig shit full of barley a bloody long way from the nearest crop. So not only are crops good for concentrating pig numbers, they also provide more than a few clues as to where the pigs are likely to be retreating to once the cropping goes off.

Frosti Posted:

Last year at Booligal we were catching pigs in lignum country and when we gutted them they were stuffed full of a white grain sort of stuff, it turned out it was rice and they were travelling to the next property through open country for about 6-7 km and then moving back into the lignum during the day. On the last day we found them travelling single file on day break.

Bob Lee Posted:

Good tips there fellas, another thing I have found is when under lots of pressure and they are travelling a long way for relief have found suckers then sows and suckers left near the fringes but then we get mobs of what I call travellers miles back in. Their usual weakness still applies though they still need water especially with a gutful of grain.

Have found straight after header has moved out is good because it takes them a little while to learn that they can be seen. Love watching them get that sinking feeling when they realise they are busted. The first run after stripping is usually the best.

Country Posted:

If you have time recon the entry exit points periodically to gauge when the pigs are coming in or leaving the crop.
I smooth the soft soil at the fence or scrub line so it easy to ID new sign and size which is important! Coming back every couple of hours will give you the oil on when they are dining.

Corky Posted:

On stubble we try to run the mob or lone boars to knock the wind out of their sails, cutting them of before the fence and turning them back towards the middle of the block, important on mobs to keep a fair distance from them so they don't split up and keep all the dogs clipped up, then single out the biggest pigs and throw off one dog per pig while continuing to chase the mob, me mates record is 14 out of one mob with 4 dogs and his misses, if the pigs are already close to the fence when detected we try and get the dogs on the ground quick to give chase in the next paddock or scrub, when the crops are stilling growing before the harvest we just drive the outside and let the dogs sniff' em up,
Up in NT we hunted on a cashew nut plantation, the area where the cashew trees are grown is only about 25 acres. the smell of ripe cashew fruit is to much temptation and can have up to 50 pigs in there at a time, we'd keep 4 dogs on leads and let 1 handy finder/holder loose and walk no noise or light) around and through the crop, once he picked up scent and went, let all the others go and hope for the best, we also tried having a few dogs on the pads at the fence line where they were coming in and out but didn't work as well as you'd think, once the dogs hit the pigs they would head in every direction, pigs were as fat as fools, top place to hunt

YH Posted:

When hunting the stubble, if we come across a mob we usually have the 22-250 handy and shoot as many out of the mob as we can, usually starting at the biggest and work down, however shooting the biggest first isn't always possible. Then drop the dogs out one at a time to increase the numbers caught from the remainder of the mob. Like everyone else has said finding the pads and the pop holes they use helps in determining were they might escape from that particular paddock.

In my experience I have found in winter they prefer wheat over barely. But overall I would say sorghum is their favourite in the areas I hunt (around Mungindi).

I have hunted sunflowers about 5 times and I am not sure why, but the pigs caught of there seemed to have less hair the normal.


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