How To Successfully Hunt The Javelina

To successfully hunt the Javelina, you focus on the species, their nature, feeding and general habitat preference.  Opportunity for hunting for the Javelina comes in the general firearms hunt, archery muzzle loader categories.

Understanding The Javelina Or Peccary

Collard PeccaryA peccary or collared peccary is a medium-sized animal, with a strong resemblance to a pig. Like a pig, it has a snout ending in a cartilaginous disc, and eyes that are small relative to its head. Also like a pig, it uses only the middle two digits for walking, although, unlike pigs, the other toes may be altogether absent. Its stomach is not ruminating, although it has three chambers, and is more complex than those of pigs.

Peccaries are omnivores, and will eat insects, grubs, and occasionally small animals, although their preferred foods consist of roots, grasses, seeds, fruit, and cacti—particularly prickly pear.  Pigs and peccaries can be differentiated by the shape of the canine tooth, or tusk. In European pigs, the tusk is long and curves around on itself, whereas in peccaries, the tusk is short and straight. The jaws and tusks of peccaries are adapted for crushing hard seeds and slicing into plant roots,  and they also use their tusks for defending against predators

Javelina Nose and TusksBy rubbing the tusks together, they can make a chattering noise that warns potential predators not to get too close. So, if you’re in thick brush or cover and you hear what sounds like hands clapping beware a Javelina is close and not real happy with you. If that’s the case, then freeze, stand still and access where the pig’s located and get ready for a quick exit.

In recent years in northwestern Bolivia near Madidi National Park, large groups of peccaries have been reported to have seriously injured or killed people.   As a rule, these little guys aren’t a real threat unless you get them boxed in the rocks, cave or some type of confined area. They’re most interested escaping. Now with that said, dealing with one that has been wounded, approach with caution and dispatch the animal at the first opportunity from a safe distance. They defend themselves if they feel threatened, but otherwise tend to ignore humans. They defend themselves with their long tusks, which sharpen themselves whenever the mouth opens or closes.

Peccaries Are Social Animals

NOTICE: Javelina are normally found in the desert southwest and may not be located in your region

Javelina Social GroupsPeccaries are social animals, and often form herds. Over 100 individuals have been recorded for a single herd of white-lipped peccaries, but collared and Chacoan peccaries usually form smaller groups. Such social behavior seems to have been the situation in extinct peccaries, as well. The recently discovered giant peccary of Brazil appears to be less social, primarily living in pairs.  Peccaries rely on their social structure to defend territory, protect against predators, regulate temperature, and interact socially.   In Arizona and the southwest, collared peccaries are generally found in bands of eight to 15 animals of various ages.

Peccaries have scent glands below each eye and another on their backs, this we’ll discuss indepth later.Though these are believed to be rudimentary.  They use the scent to mark herd territories, which range from 75 to 700 acres.  They also mark other herd members with these scent glands by rubbing one against another. The pungent odor allows peccaries to recognize other members of their herd, despite their myopic vision. The odor is strong enough to be picked up by humans, which earns the peccary the nickname of “skunk pig”.

Pack of Javelina Attack WomanThey are found in all kinds of habitats, from arid scrublands to humid tropical rain forests. The collared peccary is well adapted to habitat disturbed by humans, merely requiring sufficient cover; they can be found in cities and agricultural land throughout their range and maybe ~in the region area~. Notable populations exist in the suburbs of Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona, where they feed on ornamental plants and other cultivated vegetation.  In Arizona they can also be found in elevations as high as 6500 ft. elevation, even in the early winter with snow on the ground.

One of their favorite foods is the Prickly Pear Cactus. They seem to enjoy the pads, fruit and most always root for the roots leaving a clear path of destruction notable to the hunter that they have been active in the area.

Checking the moisture content in the disturbed soils will give you an idea of the aging of recent or old rooting activity. But always check back to that area as they have a tendency to be creatures of habitat and most likely to return to the area or be close by.

The Prickly Pear also provides a significant amount of their daily moisture requirements. Javelina are a nocturnal creature have a tendency to roam during the especially if your hunt are heavily pressured. But as a rule they bed in low lying washes, drainages and small canyons. This is what I look for during my scouting trips. Once I find tracks and sign in the washes my attentions turn to their favorite sunny side of the hills or mountain that you may have scouted that offers early morning sun, foods source i.e. the Prickly Pear Cactus and some cover, usually, morning forage area are not laced with a lot of heavy cover. This will be an east or southern exposure.

Where And How To Hunt Javelina

Prickly Pear HillsideAlthough Javelina may not be found ~around region~ and you have ventured to the Southwest for a hunt, perch yourself up on a good vantage point, hillcrest or ridge that offers a good field of view to the areas. The higher you can get the better off you’ll be. The governing factor is the terrain you’re working in. Glassing and having good binoculars are a must to be successful. That doesn’t mean you can’t get lucky and stumble into a band while walking down a wash, it happens. But your best bet is to scour the hillsides looking for any dark trash can shaped object. While feeding their normal movements will be slow and won’t accelerate unless spooked. Look at every rock, twice and under every bush and in every cactus patch. Their hair coloring of gray, black, brown with a little white sometimes make the absolute best camouflage. Most of the time you’ll see a rock start to move. They’re extremely hard to pick up on a hillside if not moving. Visine helps sooth the eyes after long periods of glassing. Mid to late morning they’ll head to the North Slope or heavy brush areas for a rest and digestive period. It’s common for most hunters to return to camp and do the same thing. This however, is great time to move through these resting areas in a stealth mode and jump them out of the brush, they’ll run but not far and usually you’ll be at vantage point keep an eye until they settle down and develop a plan to put a stalk on them.

Rainy days maybe a bit uncomfortable but does offer the hunter the ability to travel more quietly over the terrain. During this period the pigs will continue their normal routines with little variation short of heavy downs pours. They’ll tend to skirt the outer perimeters of brush and cover and will tend to be more active in their movements.

Details On Stalking And Hunting The Javelina

Sedona Arizona DesertOnce you’ve located your herd, check the wind direction and plan your stalk according. Their sense of smell is keen as well as their hearing. Their eyesight not so good, so don’t worry, you won’t make eye contact but what they will see is a silhouette. So if you think they see you, stop and be still or squat, don’t move, be still until they return to doing whatever is was they were doing.

One key element for you to do is when stalking up on a herd or band of half a dozen or more, make sure you have a head count and know where they all are. They seem to come out of nowhere. Keep your nose into the wind. Choose your step very carefully.  Okay, let’s just say you’re busted and the pigs start to scatter, stay still, they won’t run far unless you stepped on one them, that would be the one that popped up out of nowhere, it happens. So remain still and resist the urge to chase them, give a few minutes to settle down and relax. What I’ve learn the hard way is to stay still and emulate their grunts, snorts and even squeals. Using a combination of the grunts and snorts will most probably stop then turn them around to see who the left behind or who just stumbled over a rock. They’ll most often come to back you. The big thing then is keep doing periodic grunts and snorts and don’t start laughing, take the shot. Be extra careful when squealing, a mother my come back looking for little junior.

Hints For A Successful Javelina Hunt

•    What works really well for the “Sneak” are carpet soles for the bottom of your hunting boots. You can make them yourself out of carpet sample and some bungee straps. Wearing the carpet pads on your stalk will help to silence your step and they don’t take up any room to speak of in your back or day pack.

•    Standard cameo pattern clothing will do the trick for concealment and even black pants or tops. If you chose a sent cover perhaps even a neutralizer both will help. Over the years there are great options on the market.  The old school two part skunk sent with a combination of pine, juniper, mesquite or juice from whatever prominent trees and brush are in your area. That your can make in camp by pulverizing the leaves and needle into a polis and sprinkler or rubbing on your outer clothes. The skunk is best put on a piece of an old sock with a safety pint on the back of your hat and the bottoms of your boots.

•    Your weapon of choice will dictate how close you need to get for the shot so that’s on you. My rifle of choice is a .30-30, 7.62 x39 or .222. Hand guns in similar velocity bullet diameter and weight will do well. The Thompson Contender with the .30-30 14” bull barrel is excellent choice. They’ll come down nicely with a .40 caliber. Then there’s always the .357 .44’s and .45 long colt and ACP’s. Similar variation of the hunt will apply to archery hunts as well; however, your scent cover and stealth mode increase by a factor of ten.

•    Once your animal is down, take care to get it gutted and prop the chest cavity open a couple 10-12” stick to cool it out.

•    Now for the tricky part, the musk gland on the back above the hips. When skinning be very careful and skillful with your blade and DO NOT puncture that gland. Two things will happen if you do, you’ll ruin the meat, you’ll lose your lunch and the stench will stay on you and your clothes for several washings, and don’t get it in your eyes.  Get back to camp, skin, hang during the night and get it in the ice chest the following morning.

Javelinas are really fun to hunt especially with buddies and the kids. Scouting trips pay off as well as gathered information from local ranchers and farmers. Have fun and be safe.