Q:I’ve hunted wild hogs here in Florida for several years, and now I would like to try for javelina, which I assume are a type of hog. I know they are found in the Southwest but would like your opinion on where to hunt them. Would a javelina hunt most likely have to be a guided proposition, or could a do-it-yourselfer have a fair chance?
A: Scientists believe javelinas are a distant relative of wild boar and domestic pigs, but because the linkage has not been substantiated, these western hemisphere natives are accorded separate family status. Though once it roamed across much of the territory that is now the southern U.S., the javelina's present range generally extends just north of the border region of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. All three states held hunting seasons last year.
Many big-game outfitters in the Southwest take javelina hunters, though frequently the animal is hunted as a sideline or in conjunction with other game. The little (50- to 60-pound maximum) desert pigs are present in good numbers on ranches in south and west Texas, but sportsmen who want to hunt them on their own should investigate public-land possibilities in Arizona or New Mexico. Initial inquiries should be directed to the Arizona Game and Fish Department or the New Mexico Department of Game & Fish.
Javelina hunting can be a very sporting proposition, and even where they occur in good numbers it often takes an experienced eye to spot them in their desert habitat. The pigs normally travel in groups—as many as two or three dozen together—and because they remain quite wary and have an excellent sense of smell, stalking can be difficult.