Missouri is home to hogs ranging in size from four to six feet long, 160 to 600 pounds, standing 3 feet tall. Their coat varies in color, but is usually long and shaggy. Wild Boars are dangerous when cornered and even more so when with their young. The tusks on a Wild Hog are long with the upper tusks curling up and out of the mouth as much as 6 inches. They have a powerful sense of smell so be alert of your odors; no human scent is the best practice for hunting Wild Boars.
Wild Hogs are volatile in nature, making Wild Boar hunting in Missouri a challenge. While they have a desire for marshy areas, Wild Hogs are regularly on the move to elude hunting pressures and find new food sources. Hogs are highly adaptable. They can use nearly every type of habitat, but they prefer dewy bottomland forests and areas around creeks where mud for wallowing and foods such as acorns are available. These brushy areas provide the dense vegetation that Boars need for cover.
Wild Boars food ranges from berries and nuts, to roots and grasses, as well as eggs from ground nesting birds like turkey and quail. Hogs are omnivorous, which means they will eat almost anything from grain to carrion. The largest portion of their diet includes vegetable matter. The have a strong sense of smell, which they use to locate food items. They will also consume invertebrates such as centipedes, leeches, earthworms and crayfish. In agricultural areas, they will consume cultivated crops. Wild Boars will also prey on young native wildlife, livestock and other small vertebrates.
Wild Hogs have the capacity to breed at any time of the year when abundant food supplies are available. Sows can begin breeding at six months of age and can conceivably produce up to two litters of four to ten piglets every 12 to 15 months. With this enormous breeding potential, the population can double in about four months. Wild Boars are also very social animals and tend to move in family groups consisting of several sows and their offspring. Weaned Hogs usually stay with their mother until another litter is born or until they mate. Adult Boars are usually solitary, uniting with the group only to mate or to use a food source.
The home range for Hogs varies in size and usually depends on the availability of food, water, and cover. Where food is abundant, Boars occupy a smaller area than where food is limited. Boars have been known to have a home range of more than 12 square miles when food is scarce. A sow’s home range is much smaller and may cover 2 to 4 square miles, depending on environment quality.
A large percentage of piglets will die within the first three months of age. Most hogs live four to five years on average and have been known to live up to eight years. Mortality factors include disease, hunting, and predation from coyotes and bobcats. Adult Boars have no natural predators in Missouri.