How to Locate Hogs in Escambia?
(Pensacola, FL )
November 5, 2010, QUESTION: For years I have boated up an down the Escambia River, never seeing anything other than turtles, snakes and gators. I just don't get how to locate the hogs. I am uncertain of where to stop due to the fact of the proximity of homes or private land, etc. Does anyone have an idea of a direction to head in? I need just a little help. I can take it from there. Do I tie up to a tree and trudge off into the woods, find a delta or medium island, east side or west? North of Quintette or south? I'm not from here and don't wish to tangle up in some private land. But I can't stand the idea of all the pigs I keep hearing about. Thanks for any help at all. Mark
Thanks for your question and interest in hog hunting in the panhandle of Florida. Since you’ve been boating on the Escambia River, you may already be aware of the Log Jam north of Cotton Creek just a couple of bends in the river and south of Chumuckla Springs Road. You can use this as a boundary and conduct your search for wild hogs south of the Log Jam one trip. Then on another occasion, you can hunt north of the Log Jam. Hogs have been reported to me to have been seen in two areas. The first area is easily accessible by paved roads except for the last couple of miles to the boat ramp, as these will be dirt roads which constantly change their character. Wild hogs were reported to be on the east side, both north and south of the boat ramp at Chumuckla Springs. But be aware as you head north past Bogia Landing, the forest area is in pretty bad shape for walking due to both Hurricanes Dennis and Ivan having come through that area a few years ago.
The second area is between two ramps with well paved roads, depending on which side of the river you’re coming from. If you’re on the west side of the river, you can put in at Cotton Creek, and concentrate your search south. Again, the wild hogs have been reported to be on the east side between Keyser Landing and Webb Landing. But due to low water levels, hogs may be found on both sides of the river. And if you’re coming from the south and east, the landing off Highway 184 (Quintette Landing) is a paved road all the way to the boat ramp.
Well, Mark, I don’t know where you’ve been putting in your boat in the past. But I can understand your concern about possibly inadvertently hunting on private land. One thing you may want to do to distinguish public land from private land is to familiarize yourself with the locations of the Management Area or Water Management Area signs as you travel up and down the river. These signs should be posted above the high water mark. Note that the Management Area is always located on the back side of the sign. This has always worked for me in the past.
If you keep your eye on the bank and the sandbars in the river, hog sign should be evident as the ground will be turned up and in disarray. And the sandbars will be disturbed at the waterline. Because of the carnivorous nature of wild hogs, they will root out mussels and crawdads along the bank for food. This is where you’ll want to beach your boat and head inland. If you’re not comfortable leaving the river far behind, you can travel along the first or second ridge along the banks of the river. And if you see no further hog sign, go the other way.
And don’t hesitate, Mark, to dig a little deeper into the locations of these pigs you keep hearing about from whoever you’re hearing about it from. Just remember, hunting’s like fishing, sometimes it’s just a tale. But if you listen close enough, you should be able to tell if it’s the truth or not. Also, check with your local sporting goods stores and taxidermists. They may be able to help you locate good hog hunting areas.
Here is a link to the Florida Wildlife Commission’s brochure for the Escambia River Wildlife Management Area.
I hope this helps, and be sure and send us some pictures and maybe even a story after you get your hog!