STEPHENS COUNTY, Okla. (TNN) -Feral hogs are a real problem that cause millions of dollars in damage to farmers and landowners across the state.
Hog control is one way to slow the spread of the invasive species.
For Makenzie’s latest Outdoor Adventure, she went hog hunting with thermal imaging scopes in Stephens County.
Hogs can be found all across the state of Oklahoma. They are most active at night.
“Whenever you see the pigs and it’s dark like this, they can’t see you as well. They can smell, very well,” said Kale Murphree, owner of Murf’s Guns. “And if they’re out there, then all you have to do is play the wind, so they won’t smell you and you can usually get within 75-100 yards from them.”
There are several ways to hog hunt, some people use dogs, and some just use traps. For this hunt, we used thermal imaging scopes on rifles.
“We have a thermal that detects heat,” said Murphree. “And you’ll be able to look out there and if there’s a pig or anything that has heat to it, or if it has a heartbeat, we will be able to see it.”
It was State Senator Paul Scott’s first hog hunt too.
“I love hunting,” said Sen. Scott. “I’ve enjoyed it since I was little kid. Grew up going squirrel hunting with my dad and grandad. But this is the first time I’ve been hog hunting with my son-in-law.”
Kale Murphree is the owner of Murf’s Guns in Duncan. He says night hunting with thermal imaging scopes is fairly new technology and is becoming more popular.
“It is unique,” said Murphree. “It’s fun, It’s something that you can do year round.”
Hog hunting is allowed year-round on private property during the day or night, with permission from the landowner, and by obtaining the free night hog exemption permit if you’re hunting at night. And because there are so many pigs out there, the state does not require a hunter to clean the animal.
“The wildlife department actually says you have to kill 70% of the pigs to maintain the population,” said Murphree.
“You really can’t shoot enough pigs to eradicate them,” said Sen. Scott. “They do destroy tons of wheat fields. They’re sort of like a rotary tiller. That’s kind of what it looks like after they’ve gone through.”
If you’re interested in learning more about hog hunting, you can go to wildlifedepartment.com.