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How to Hunt the Mountains? A selection of information taken off the Boardogs Forums.

Posted By Ian Colley:

Obviously mountain hunting will vary slightly depending on the areas you hunt. Pigsí habits and movements are governed by climate, seasons, available food etc. If you hunt an area long enough you get to the stage where you can start to accurately predict where youíre greatest chance of success will be. On a property I hunt regularly there is a spring that holds water all year round. It is nearly at the top of a significant hill/mountain (depending on where you live) and is well hidden by a huge blackberry bush. During the summer pigs camp in this bush and wallow in this well shaded area during the heat of the day, and a visit there most times will produce pork.

If you hunt mountains and want to have success a good finding dog is a must. Most mountainous country is well timbered and very rarely will you see the pigs out and about unless there is low hunting pressure. The most productive for me is using ute finders, this allows me to cover more country at the optimum hunting times of early morning, late afternoon and night thus increasing my chances of finding pigs. But, it also pays to walk the tried and proven areas, checking on all the nooks and crannies that may conceal a pig that bedded down hours ago.

If the country doesnít allow driving, try to walk into the wind at all times. Also try and keep up reasonably high, if there are any pigs below you they are much easier to see and the dogs have a better chance of picking up any windborne scent. Another advantage of staying high is you may cut the scent trail of pigs moving back onto the higher ridges to spend the day.

In my area carrion is also a big drawcard. Always ask the cocky to keep you updated on where dead beasts etc are as this will save you a lot of time. If no pigs are in attendance when you make your visits itís easy to tell if they have been there. They love beef and the smellier it gets the better, it must be something to do with the tenderising process, or maybe they just prefer it marinated slightly. On one particular property I hunt I will always drag a dead beast to a more productive area, but leave some distance between it and cover to give you a better chance of getting them out in the open.

If unable to hunt at night, my preferred time for hunting is early morning. I find this to be more productive as there is a lot more scent around as the pigs move back into cover from feeding during the night. However in really cold areas they tend to bed down around midnight when the frost starts to get heavy. Itís not unusual to come across them piled up against each other trying to keep warm. On these really cold mornings I often get success around 9 to 10am when they are out seeking the warmth of the sun.

Always be observant, look for frequently used wallows, camps, rooting etc. Take special note of the direction of any tracks and try and work out where they may going. Tracks going in both directions will increase your chances of striking them as they are using the same pad to and from their day time camps. Pop holes in fence lines are also a good indication of pig activity and if the soil is soft enough you will get an idea on how big the pigs are by the size of their tracks.

Another thing I have noticed is that pigs will return to an area year after year if it yields food at a particular time, eg ripe fruit on blackberry. Another favourite in my area is nut grass, it tends to grow in sandy soil and they will dig up acres to find the bulbs it produces. I donít know how they know but they will be back in the same area nearly to the week each year when they know its there. The older pigs must pass this information on to the younger generations. I have seen this happen in a particular area for over 20 years.

We always inspect the stomach contents of all pigs we catch to try and work out what they are feeding on unless the food source is obvious. Eg, a rotting carcase. An example of this was a mob we busted one morning, a gut inspection revealed sorghum. The only crop country was over 7ks away but it was obvious these pigs were travelling that far and back each night. Guess where we looked the next night.

Posted by Shaggs:

First, with mountain hunting you have to know the tracks and if you don't find out, get a map and go searching. You have to know the area well or have a GPS to ensure you don't get lost. Driving at night makes it that much harder if you don't know the areas you are hunting. And have some recovery gear!
Second, I at most times wind scent the dogs from the vehicle. However, if willing, I reckon the more remote the area then a walk in hunt can be successful. Sometimes the way the wind blows, there could be hogs in the neighbouring valley! I like to check topo maps and find those remote places. It takes extra effort and if you like bushwalking then you get the benefit of both.

There was a stage a few yrs ago that myself and others seemed to be catching lone boars from the vehicles late at night around 3-4am if lucky to be out that late. That lasted for about 6 months during winter but haven't come across anything like it since.
I like the winter hunting like rdamore. The snow can be fun for 4wding and also you can see the tracks in the snow. Generally, they seem to find the warmer spots in timber, tea tree or gullies. Chains are handy for the snow and mud too as a precaution.

Posted by Chris:

In the mountains I hunt you definitely need trackers or a real loud bailing dog, and I reckon you have to drive down all the little side tracks even if they are just dead ends to get the pigs moving around, it is definitely a lot harder than hunting on the flats out west but more rewarding when you get one in the mountains.

Posted by Shanedog from New Zealand:

Mountain hunting is about all we have to offer over here (New Zealand), and you don't get to drive anywhere in search of pigs. The only way to catch them is to drag your ass up and down gullies, until you get your dogs onto a fresh sent. Working the ridges gives a bit of a breeze and hearing advantage, and hunting the bush benches often produces a pig. But at the end of the day, the only way to get your pig out of the bush is on your back.

Posted by Ned:

We hunt in the hills and prefer winter. We've found that in the New England during summer, rain and thunderstorms keep feed and water holes back in the bush fresh. In the winter, usually dry in this region, the feed dies off and the smaller water holes dry up. During winter we just target the green pick or nearby crops. Again, only my experience but we tend to find the good boars about two-thirds to three quarters of the way up the big rises, possibly where they can see what's going on.

Other factors to take into account include air temperature and air movement. In the evenings, scent falls from the hills with the cooling of the air. So we hunt the hollows and gullies. At dawn the opposite is the case. As the air heats up, the scent rises so we walk the ridges if we can. On particularly cold mornings we look for sheltered eastern faces where cold pigs can warm up. The same goes for the break after periods of winter showers. Mostly we'll drive at night in the hills to cross scent left by wandering pigs but there is never a substitute for getting out on foot. There are always gullies and ledges you can't see and they can hold pigs or information about pigs. If possible too, we'll split up to walk around different sides of a hill about three quarters of the way up. We keep in touch with little GMC hand helds and we use Titley and Wildlife Materials tracking collars to find the dogs and one another.

Above is a shot of some of the foothill country we've been in lately. We've taken 16 of this block in the past month or so but nothing in the way of decent boars. The hills empty down onto a glacial valley which is farmed. The slopes look fairly open and they are, but the grass is tall and thick and there are patches of bush in the folds of the hills. We're still in the early stages of hunting this area so it's important to walk the hills to know what's there. Walking hilly country tells you what the pigs are doing and helps a lot at night when you run into the bush after a pig. Knowing where the pigs are likely to run and all the relevant short cuts matters a lot in the hills.

Posted By RDamore:

l hunt in the pines around the mountains a fair bit as I'm only an hour away from some great spots. l choose to hunt in the winter as the cold snow brings them down into the basins in the area l hunt, makes it easier hunting to, they seem to dig along the tracks were they have been graded, which makes it heaps easier to know the area they are in. I only ever wind scent my dogs off the ute in the hills as l like to cover as much ground as possible to increase my chances as the amount of land out ways the amount of pigs. Also they seem to jump for hot scent on the ute were as on the ground they follow up on
everything that looks old and work way to far out for my liking (fitness don't catch pigs every time but it's seems when l do they are reasonable pigs always solid in the front and lean in the rear. I seem to catch a lot more lone boars in the hills than sows.

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