Video and Interview with Chad Wiebe of Oak Stone Outfitters
Forget all the stereotypes that come to mind when you think of the West Coast. California has some hardcore pig hunters. You could even call it something of a hog-hunting subculture. I learned this on a spring turkey hunt with Chad Wiebe, owner and operator of Oak Stone Outfitters, and a talented taxidermist as well.
We caught up with him recently. The interview follows here.
Steve Hickoff: Any tips for scouting wild pigs?
Chad Wiebe: We look for sign where pigs have been and set up trail cameras. They feed at night and early in the morning. Typically they move from feeding to bedding areas. Depending on the season, they eat grass, acorns, spending time in grainfields as well. On public land, we check out their wallows.
SH: What are some challenges to hunting them?
CW: Trying to catch them in daylight. Unlike deer, pigs are extremely nomadic. Deer like a home range. Pigs tend to wander. The toughest part, like deer, is their ability to smell. If they wind you, and that's their greatest attribute, it's a challenge. Since pigs can't see well, an open stalk is possible - if you keep the wind right.
SH: What time of the year do you hunt pigs?
CW: Year-round, really. From the middle of March until the end of July is good. This is the time with the growth of food. We don't get much water out here, so pigs congregate as water sources dry up.
SH: What hunting tactics do you use?
CW: In summertime, we wait at waterholes. On rifle hunts, we spot-and-stalk as pigs graze early. We ambush them on trails. Again, on public or private land, they tend to migrate for food, back and forth. We see a huge influx of pigs in summer. In winter, they spread out.
SH: What do your hunters do with the pigs they kill?
CW: Most have them processed. The quality of meat seems good. It's natural pork. They feed on grass and grain. Big boars are usually turned into sausage. Hunters also opt for taxidermy and skull mounts.
SH: What's your favorite pig recipe?
CW: Sausage, or cooking the shoulders or hindquarters in a crockpot for pulled pork sandwiches.
SH: Got any dangerous encounters to share?
CW: Seems like a lot of times when you're approaching a pig you think is dead or crippled, well, you need to do this carefully. They're extremely tough. We're pretty careful, and have never really had any real close encounters.
My Jack Russell terriers help with blood tracking. I love seeing the dogs work.
(And yep, that's some old-school Realtree Hardwoods at work in this video.)
Editor's note: This Realtree.com post was first published July 14, 2016.