I’ve read hundreds of articles, and seen lots of discussions on forums, overheard (and sometimes participated in) semi-drunken arguments at hunting camps, and the like regarding what is the “best” bait, or attractant for wild hogs. I don’t think there is any one answer that is the perfect bait, because hogs will eat pretty much anything. They are natures trash cans. They are catfish with hooves. Picky eaters they are not. They are omnivorous, meaning that their diet consists of both both plant material, and meat. I joke with people that if you laid still long enough, they would eat you! This dietary diversity can be used to the advantage of the hunter or trapper. If they will eat it, and you have it in quantity, then you’re in business.
The choice of bait for traps, or hunting comes down to a few simple factors.
- Availability – how easy is it to get your hands on?
- Cost – If you’re feeding an animal that can and will eat pretty much anything, why brake the bank to attract them to your hunting spot, or into your trap?
- Duration – How long will the bait or attractant hold the animal? In other words, how long will it last? Will they eat it all in a few minutes, and move on? Will it last several days? a week, etc.?
- Effectiveness – Obviously, this is the most important of all of the factors to consider. If hogs don’t show up, then it is not a very good choice, right?
Okay, I want to clear up a little something about baiting hogs before we get started down the sour corn path. A hunter can’t just walk out to their hunting location, and pour a magic potion on the ground, and expect for a hog to come to come running from miles away. Hogs are as lazy as you and I. They will go through the closest drive thru they can find with the least amount of trouble. Just like you wouldn’t drive three states away to get the same cheeseburger you can get at your neighborhood burger joint. The bait needs to be placed in an area where the hogs are already frequenting. Their sniffer is truly one of the best in the animal kingdom, but it can’t preform miracles. The bait is simply used to concentrate the hogs; to cause them to frequent an area with greater regularity; to get them to stand in a particular spot (for a shot with a bullet, arrow or camera); or to stop them long enough to get a shot. For the trapper, it’s to get them to enter and/or trigger their trap. Regardless of what some marketing guru is trying to get you to believe, hogs will not spring out of the earth as soon as you lay down a particular bait or attractant. So, keep in mind you have to do a little legwork in order to locate the hogs first. For a few tips on hog sign, and what to look for, check out one of my other posts, Wild Hog Sign – What to Look For, which goes through some of the common sign to keep an eye out for when baiting wild hogs. As the article will show you, hogs don’t exactly tip-toe through an area, so finding them ain’t rocket surgery folks!
If you don’t have time to sour some corn, then strait up corn is one of the best hog getters out there. It meets all of the parameters above. To be quite honest, it’s what I use 90% of the time. So then why use soured corn? For several reasons:
- It helps to eliminate several other non-target species such as deer (this helps out a great deal in a trapping scenario.)
- It stinks a lot, so it does help to get the attention of hogs in an area over a greater distance than non-soured corn. It is good when starting a new baiting location. This is the main reason why I use it.
- It is something different if you have been pouring plain corn. It helps to get their attention, or sometimes talk a stubborn hog into a trap.
- It is cheaper than some of the other hog baits out there.
THE SIMPLE RECIPE:
The basic ingredients are CORN, WATER, and TIME. Just put roughly half a bag of corn in a bucket or container, cover the corn with a good bit of water (non chlorinated is best, such as rain water), cover the container with a lid, and place in a warm place. Wait a few days to a week (depending on how warm the weather is). When you lift the lid, you will know it is ready, because it will have a pungent smell that only a piggy could love.
However, to speed up the last ingredient (time), I add yeast, and usually some type of sugar. Plus, the hogs seem to like a little sweet treat. I like to spoil them just a bit before I mercilessly slaughter them. I’m just a nice guy like that. Some people add a can of grape or strawberry soda or the like. Others add regular white sugar, or a packet of berry flavored kool-aid powder, or jello. Some people put peanut butter, or some other kind of craziness. Use your imagination.
If you don’t have yeast, a can of beer, a couple of slices of bread (the older the better), or a plum or two (that white powdery looking stuff on the flesh of the plum is actually wild yeast) will work as well.
What is shown below is what I happened to be getting rid of out of the pantry at the time, but is not necessary. Again, use your imagination, but my basic ingredients are CORN, WATER, YEAST, SUGAR (in this instance some old preserves I found in the dark depths of the pantry), and TIME.
First fill your container about half to one-third of the way up with corn. As you can see, having the container be spotless is not a necessity.
Next, add some yeast. In this case I used some bread machine yeast that I use in my bread recipes.
They also sell them in little packets at most supermarkets for pretty cheap, which is convenient, and works the same.
Just pour some in (a little dab-l-do-ya here, so don’t go crazy with the yeast).
This step isn’t necessary, but I had some old whole wheat flour that was stale, so I threw that in.
Next, in goes two mason jars of mystery preserves. These may very well be older than I am. I don’t know where they came from, or what they are, so Mr. & Mrs. Swine get to try them out. For all I know they came out of a 1940’s bomb shelter???
Add enough water to cover your mixture with plenty of water to spare. Remember that the corn will absorb the water as it sours. This is one of the reasons not to put too much corn in the container. So, rule of thumb would be twice as much water as corn. The other reason is that I don’t want to carry a full 5 gallon bucket of this stank through the woods, because it’s heavy. Having a full 5 gallon bucked is easier to spill in my truck or on myself (my truck & I already stink enough…I don’t need any help). I aim to get 1/2 to 2/3 of a 5 gallon bucket of hog beer.
Using a stick or something that you don’t mind smelling like soured corn, stir all the ingredients together into a disgusting looking mess.
Next, cover the container, and place in a warm location. I place mine in the sun on the side of my yard common with my least favorite neighbor.
Keep in mind that the mixture will need warmth to do its souring thing, as yeast is more active in a warm, wet, dark environment. When I made this batch, temperatures were pretty warm, so it only took 3 or 4 days to get ripe. As you can see my high-tech redneck lid in the picture above is just right. It keeps animals, and light out, but still allows for the mixture to breathe.
Another consideration with regard to covering the mixture is to use a cover for your container that is not completely air tight. As part of the fermentation process, carbon dioxide is produced, creating bubbles (the same reason why beer has bubbles). If the container is air tight, it might explode, which would be hilarious to see my neighbor’s face after I painted his back porch with fermented stank, but this isn’t the desired effect.
Anyway, after the mixture is sloppy, and smells like a mixture of bread, beer, and butts, it is ready for service.
Once you get to your hunting location, you can either pour it out on the ground, or as I like to do, dig a few holes 2 to 2.5 feet deep with a post hole digger, or sharpshooter shovel, and pour this freaky sweet nasty all up in there, then kick a little dirt over the top. They will root to get every last bit of the bubbly porridge. You can also use the hole technique with regular corn making it go further than just pouring it on the ground.
In short, there is no wrong way to do this, and it’s effective.