During the great depression of the 1930s, whitetail deer and wild turkey were almost hunted to extinction in certain areas around the USA. From what I understand, the East Texas wild turkey was hunted to extinction levels, and birds had to be imported from other parts of the nation to restore the population. The same thing happened to the whitetail deer population in East Texas. The one animal that does not seem to be affected from hunting is the wild hog. Even though the majority of the 50 states has an open season on wild hogs, their population is still thriving.
One of the big differences between wild turkeys, whitetail deer and wild hogs – is the amount of off spring that can be produced. Deer and turkeys reproduce once a year. Wild hogs are like rats, they reproduce all the time.
Wild Turkeys – If you harvest 3 wild turkeys out of a flock, they will not be replaced until the following year. Female wild turkeys can lay about 12 eggs at a time. Survival rate of the turkey poults (chicks) is determined by a lot of factors – such as, if there are fire ants close to the nest, and the raccoon population. Fire ants will attack, kill and eat the turkey chicks. Studies have shown that the higher the raccoon the population in a given area, the lower the survival rate of egg laying animals. Whether its ducks or turkeys, raccoons will raid the nest and steal the eggs.
Whitetail Deer – Whitetail deer reproduce once a year, and the doe may only drop 2 fawns at a time. Out of those 2 fawns, only 1 may survive into adulthood. Several factors help determine yawn survival rate – fire ants (yet again), wild hog population, coyote population, wolf population, bears,,,,,,. If a wild hog finds a newborn fawn, they may kill and eat the fawn. Hogs are omnivores, meaning they eat just about anything and that includes yawns. Does will not start reproducing until they are 1.5 – 2.5 years of age
Feral Hogs – Wild hogs (Feral hogs) can be bred when they reach six months old, with 10 months of age being the norm. Gestation for a wild hog is around 115 days, with an average litter size of four to six. Under good conditions, a sow (female hog) may have ten to twelve young – who can then start reproducing at 6 – 10 months of age.
Just by numbers alone, feral hogs will be able to out breed and out produce any other wild game food supply (except fish). And unlike a lot of animals, wild hogs are able to defend their offspring from predators. While a whitetail deer doe may weigh 125 pounds and has no real defensive ability except to run away, a feral hog boar may weigh a couple of hundred pounds and has tusk to dish out some lethal wounds.
On top of being able to out produce other game animals, and being able to defend their off spring, wild feral hogs are also very smart. One popular way to catch wild hogs is to trap them. But once hogs are trapped – and their released or get out on their own, hogs learn what traps are and they will stay away from them. I have seen hogs eat the bait corn right up to the mouth of a trap, but not go inside.
Where a lot of game animals move during the day light hours, wild hogs move mostly at night. One of the exceptions is if the day is overcast and there is not very much sunlight getting through the clouds. On cool days with misting rain, hogs will probably be moving looking for food.
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