As the long, hot days of August roll in, we all look forward to those great tailgate parties. What better meat for a tailgate party than a big, fat Georgia hog. With Squirrel season opening August 15, a bigger game season opens as well, feral hog season on Georgia’s Wildlife Management Areas. Most WMAs are open to feral hog hunting during squirrel season unless otherwise specified. Hunters may hunt hogs during squirrel season with only small-game weapons and primitive weapons including muzzleloaders, bows and crossbows. So put down the remote, and get off the couch. There’s a whole lot of bacon walking around Georgia’s WMAs.
WMA hogs experience no hunting pressure during the summer months. This is the perfect time for an early assault before pigs become scarce and move to the thick woods. Georgia is split into seven Game Management regions, and all have WMAs with pigs.
Region one is located in the northwest corner of Georgia offering many good WMAs. Cohutta WMA contains mountainous terrain for those hunters looking for a challenge. Because of this rough terrain, hogs are less pressured than other WMAs. WRD Region Supervior, Chuck Waters said, “If you’re looking for a trophy, this might be a good place to start. The hogs are well established here, and the average age is a little older. The creek drains of this area will be really good right now because of the dry weather. With 96,000 acres to choose from, you’re going to have to do some scouting to find the best places.”
For those hunters looking for a more accessible route to hog hunting, John’s Mountain WMA might be for you. WRD Wildlife Biologist Adam Hammond said, “The Hidden Creek watershed is a fairly popular hog area.”
Pine Log WMA is another accessible WMA in region one. During small-game season most of the gates will be closed. This means hunters can walk down the roads looking for signs instead of having to be distanced from the roads. Adam continued, “Sugar Hill Pond and the surrounding areas around Sugar Hill Creek and Little Log Creek are areas where hogs have been a problem.”
Region two is comprised of mostly mountains in the northeast corner of Georgia. WRD Senior Wildlife Biologist Kevin Lowery said, “Hunters need to understand the mountain hogs are a totally different animal than their southern relatives. They are mainly nomadic and stay on the move year round. During the summer they stay close to the food and close to the water. Because of the dry weather the water isn’t as abundant as usual.”
Cooper’s Creek is a good WMA to look into as well. “The hogs usually stay close to Mulkey Gap before the pressure gets bad.” said Kevin. “When the hunters move in, the pigs move out. The drainages in the thicker woods will start to look better as it cools off, and hunters start pressuring the hogs,”
Chestatee WMA also has a good hog population. “Water’s Creek and the drainages around this area are good places to start looking for signs. If you aren’t seeing any signs in the swamps, the hogs tend to root up the food plots in this area a good bit before deer season starts. These plots could be another great place to look for pigs.”
Chattahoochee WMA also lies in region two. It’s a little steeper than most people would like, but the hogs are still there. WRD Wildlife Technician David Brady said, “We’ve seen a good bit of hogs in the designated wilderness areas where there isn’t as much access. These areas are really steep.”
If you’ve taken hogs in the other WMAs and are looking for different scenery, Warwoman is a good WMA to look toward. Hogs usually roam the Sarah’s Creek drainages. The Hale Ridge Bogs and near Rabun Ball are other good places to look for pigs.
Region three is home to a WMA overflowing with hogs. If you are looking for hogs in this region, Tuckahoe WMA is the place to go. The hog population was falling here recently but is rising faster than ever now.
Tuckahoe Area Manager, Howard Pope, said,“Near the river, in the swamps is where they’ll be in early season. As the weather cools and the acorns start to fall look in the hardwood forests. If the river rises it may leave its channel and push the hogs out of the lowlands and toward the uplands. This is when the hogs become more concentrated.”
Region four is a little closer to the gnat line but still home to a lot of hogs. It might be a little more aggravating to aim and swat gnats, but you’ll definitely find hogs in this region. WRD Senior Wildlife Biologist Bobby Bond said, “Hogs like Oaky Woods and Ocmulgee WMAs. The closer to the river you look, the better you’ll be. Along with the river, the creeks and drains that flow near the river should house hogs as well. The pigs aren’t rooting up the food plots as much in these WMA as others, so hunters should stick to the thick brush.”
Clybel WMA offers many creeks and soggy fields for the hogs to roll in. If you don’t seem to have any luck there, B.F. Grant is another great place to hunt.
“Powerlines shoot right through a swamp in this WMA and create a good pig habitat,” said Bobby.
Region five is all the way down in the southwest corner of the state. With little sea breeze and high humidity, it’s going to be hot. But the hogs don’t mind at all. What region five lacks in comfort it makes up for in pork. Hannahatchee, Chickasawhatchee, and Flint River WMAs all have plenty of pigs to go around.
WRD Senior Wildlife Biologist Julie Robins said, “The hogs will be in the scattered creek drains north and east of the shooting range at Hanahatchee WMA. You’ll find a few pigs along the dove fields, but you’ll do better if you look above them in the hardwood drains. There are a few onds in this area, and the pigs like to stay close to water. The ponds and surrounding habitat might be worth a look.
Chickasawhatchee has many wetlands for the hogs to hide in and around. The wetlands near the powerlines offer great hog habitat. Some of this area is planted in brown-top millet, and the hogs love it,” said Julie.
She continued, “Flint River WMA is full of scattered wildlife openings. Many hogs have been spotted in these areas. The hogs sometimes like the dove fields but are always in the hardwood-creek areas. Look along the edges of the pines near the hardwoods as well. You might catch some pigs coming out of the thickets to root around for food, especially later as the acorns start to fall. The hogs will move to thicker cover as the season progresses and more hogs are killed.”
Region six contains more fine south Georgia hog habitat. River Bend and Beaverdam WMAs offer good hog opportunities. WRD Wildlife Biologist Chris Boman said, “Hogs can be found on both the upper and lower River Bend tracts. They are rooting up the openings and many signs have already been seen.”
Hunters will also like to know the roads on River Bend have been graded making before unaccessible passages easier to travel along. Places hunters couldn’t get to before are now easily accessible.
“Beaverdam WMA has many river swamps for hogs to roam but hunters should start looking around the boat ramp and in between the two roads which parallel the river. The hogs like to stay between these two roads,” said Chris.
Region seven lies in the southeast corner of Georgia. Altamaha is the hog WMA in this region. The Altamaha River system runs through this WMA providing swampy habitat for all wildlife, including hogs. Senior wildlife biologist and acting region supervisor David Mixon said, “Buffalo Swamp tract is full of hogs which will roam north and west of the waterfowl management area. They regularly root up the food plots and road sides at Altamaha WMA. When the river rises and pushes the hogs out of the lowlands, you can find hogs along the food plots in the morning and evenings. The ridge along Harris Creek is another place to look when the river is up. Many places along this WMA are only accessible from the river, which puts some hunters out.”
Paulk’s Pasture and Clay Hole WMAs are more accessible and also located in region seven. David continued, “Look in the swamps and low areas to start out. A cut-over swamp runs along the north end of Clay Hole and is likely home to hogs.”
Now that you know where the hogs are, get off the couch and go get one. There isn’t a better time than now. Tell the wife you’ve got to find some pig for supper and can’t cut grass today. You might even be able to get a friend out of yard work, too. Whatever you do, get out of the Lazy Boy and into the woods. August is the best time to surprise hogs which aren’t expecting pressure for another few months.