John's Journal...

Guide to Overlooked February Hunting

Day 5: Wild Hog Hunting and a Recipe for Wild Pig Parmesan

Editor’s Note: No, hunting season isn’t over in many states, and real hunting may have just begun. Although deer is the glamour species of the fall and the winter, there are many-more game animals and birds that may deserve your attention this month. More states are having small-game seasons during the month of February, because small-game animals have taken a backseat to deer, turkey and waterfowl. However, before this country saw the rebuilding of deer herds, turkey flocks and elk herds, small-game hunting was the most popular of all hunting sports, with rabbits and squirrels not only drawing the most attention, but also taking-out the most space on the dinner plate. So, let’s take a look at the overlooked hunting in February.

Click for Larger ViewFolks from across the country get a kick out of hunting hogs, which have spread to just about every state, and especially hunting big hogs with large tusks. But although big boar hogs, when hemmed-up, can cut you with their sharp tusks and/or bite you, most of the time you’ll never even see them. I’m not hunting a big boar hog that weighs 200 pounds or more. Rather, I’m searching for a hog that weighs 50 pounds or less – preferably a young sow. I’d rather not take a sow that weighs more than 150 to 175 pounds, because these small ones are the most-delicious and tender hogs to eat. Speaking of eating, hogs will eat everything. They’ll root-up your green fields, get into your gardens, eat your pecans and destroy any type of crop you plant, including watermelon and sweet corn crops. Hogs have created real problems for most landowners and especially for farmers. You can hunt ‘em, shoot ‘em, trap ‘em and they just keep coming back. Click for Larger ViewA sow can produce up to two litters in 14 months, and these litters can be from six to 10 pigs each. Their ability to reproduce is close to the reproductive potential of a rabbit, and because they’re a non-game species, you can hunt them year around and take as many as you want. You even can pick your weapon – black powder, bow and arrow, rifle, shotgun and even spears are legal for taking hogs.

Young hogs are really delicious to eat. I prefer them barbequed, but you can prepare wild hog just about any way you prepare domestic hog. However, the wild hog meat is much leaner than the domestic hog. The wild hog isn’t fed steroids or kept in a pen to be fattened. As a matter of fact, it’s one of the best sources for organic meat at the lowest price you’ll find anywhere in the country. One big misconception about hogs is that the hogs we hunt today are Russian boars. Unless you find a tag in the hog’s ear that says, ‘From Russia with love,” most of the hogs taken in the United States are actually feral pigs whose history goes back first to the early days of the European explorers and the early colonists of the United States, and even more recently, up until the time the fence laws were enacted. Before livestock had to be kept behind fences, hogs and cattle roamed free. Rounding up all the free-roaming cattle wasn’t nearly the problem that landowners had when they tried to round-up all the free-roaming hogs. Hogs like briar patches, river and creek drainages, cane thickets and all types of places that made rounding them all up impossible. So, when the fence laws were enacted, farmers did all they could to round-up all the feral hogs on their land, but they never caught them all. These escapees are the hogs we have today.

Click for Larger ViewMany environmentalists believe that hogs may be the next environmental disaster, especially as large numbers of hogs are beginning to appear in the Midwest (America’s bread basket). But the good news for many hunters in many states – make that most states – is that you may have a year-round hog season. If you like pork chops, barbequed pork, bacon and spareribs, there’s plenty of wild hogs for the taking. Most landowners welcome hog hunters, especially after deer season and before and after turkey season. Therefore, if you want more meat to eat and want to provide a service to landowners, now’s the time to go hog hunting.

Wild Pig Parmesan

This delicious dish that’s also low fat will convince your friends and family to eat wild pork, and there’s no way they can know your pork hasn’t been raised on a farm.
1/2-cup Italian bread crumbs
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
3/4-teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2-teaspoon paprika
3 egg whites
4 pork chops (about 4-ounces each)
Click for Larger ViewPreheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil, and spray the foil with vegetable cooking spray. On waxed paper, combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, rosemary and paprika. Mix well. In a shallow bowl, lightly beat egg whites. Dip each pork chop into the egg whites, draining off excess. Dredge in bread-crumb/spice mixture, turning to coat. Place pork chops on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn pork chops, and bake until crisp and golden, about 10 minutes. While the pork chops are baking, prepare the following sauce:
Tomato Sauce
1 can (14-ounces) low-sodium tomato sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4-cup chopped fresh parsley


In a small saucepan, cook tomato juice, garlic and basil over medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in parsley. Place some sauce on serving plates, and top with pork chops. Drizzle the chops with the remaining sauce.


Check back each day this week for more about "Guide to Overlooked February Hunting "

Day 1: February Snipe Hunting and Recipe for Snipes Country Style
Day 2: Chasing Rabbits and a Recipe for Honeyed Rabbit
Day 3: February’s Woodcock and Quail Hunting and Recipes for Both
Day 4: Hunting Raccoons and Opossums and Recipes for Roasted Raccoon and Possum and Sweet Potatoes
Day 5: Wild Hog Hunting and a Recipe for Wild Pig Parmesan


Entry 599, Day 5