Bayly Sippel Safaris in South Africa offers many species of animals to hunt on dozens of concessions. One thing South Africa has plenty of are Warthogs. Having had the pleasure to recently hunt with Bayly Sippel, I know they have plenty of warthogs, along with just about all the plains and dangerous game animals hunters are after. But, there is just something about a warthog.
Before continuing with this article to learn more about warthogs, check out this video as Gibby Gibson smokes a giant Warthog with a crossbow. If you like what you see, get in contact with Bayly Sippel Safaris to learn how affordable it is to book your own hunt.
Many people have only seen photos of warthogs, and don’t know a lot about them.
Out To Africa has some information to help you learn a little more about these critters.
Neither graceful nor beautiful, warthogs are nonetheless remarkable animals. They are found in most of Africa south of the Sahara and are widely distributed in East Africa. They are the only pigs able to live in areas without water for several months of the year. By tolerating a higher-than-normal body temperature, the warthog is perhaps able to conserve moisture inside its body that might otherwise be used for cooling. (Camels and desert gazelles have developed a similar mechanism for survival in hot, arid environments.
Males weigh 20 to 50 pounds more than females, but both are distinguished by disproportionately large heads and the warts-thick protective-pads that appear on both sides of the head. Two large pairs of warts occur below the eyes, and between the eyes and the tusks, and a very small pair is found near the jaw (usually just in males).
The face is fairly flat and the snout elongated. Eyes set high on the head enables the warthog to keep a lookout for predators even when it lowers its head to feed on short grass. The warthog’s large tusks are unusual: The two upper ones emerge from the sides of the snout to form a semicircle; the lower tusks at the base of the uppers are worn to a sharp cutting edge.
Sparse bristles cover the warthog’s body, although longer bristles form a mane from the top of the head down the spine to the middle of the back. The skin is gray or black (or yellowish or reddish, if the warthog has been wallowing in mud). The long tail ends with a tuft of bristles. The warthog characteristically carries its tail upright when it runs, the tuft waving like a tiny flag. As the young run in single file, the tail position may serve as a signal to keep them all together. Warthogs trot with a springy gait but they are known to run surprisingly fast.
Warthogs are found in moist and arid savannas. They avoid rainforest, deserts and high mountains.
When water is available, warthogs drink regularly and enjoy wallowing in muddy places. As part of their grooming they also take sand baths, rub against trees and termite mounds and let tick birds pick insects off their bodies.
Warthogs live in family groups of a female and her young. Sometimes another female will join the group. Males normally live by themselves, only joining the groups to mate. Warthogs engage in ritual fights in which they charge straight on, clashing heads when they meet. Fights between males can be violent and bloody.
Warthogs sleep and rest in holes, which at times they line with grass, perhaps to make them warmer. Although they can excavate, warthogs normally do not dig holes but use those dug by other animals, preferably aardvarks.
The warthog is mainly a grazer and has adapted an interesting practice of kneeling on its calloused, hairy, padded knees to eat short grass. Using its snout and tusks, it also digs for bulbs, tubers and roots during the dry season.
Caring for the Young
Before giving birth to a new litter, the female chases away the litter she has been raising and secludes herself. These juveniles may join up with another solitary female for a short time before they go on their own.
Female warthogs only have four teats, so litter sizes usually are confined to four young. Each piglet has its “own” teat and suckles exclusively from it. Even if one piglet dies, the others do not suckle from the available teat. Although the young are suckled for about 4 months, after 2 months they get most of their nourishment from grazing.
Lions and leopards are the warthog’s chief enemies. Warthogs protect themselves from predators by fleeing or sliding backwards into a hole, thus being in a position to use their formidable tusks in an attack.
Did you know?
The warthog has poor vision (though better than most other African wild pigs), but its senses of smell and hearing are good.
When alarmed, the warthog grunts or snorts, lowers its mane, flattens its ears and bolts for underground cover.
Unfortunately not every deer shot by hunters will be easy to recover. Maybe the hit was too far back or too high. Maybe, there is not much blood sign to follow. I learnt many years ago that there is still a very good opportunity to recover your shot deer by letting your dog follow the sign to your prize. Yes, this might sound weird, but a properly trained dog just might be the extra help you need.
Why can’t a dog be trained to follow the scent of deer blood? The answer is that he can. With just a few minutes each day in as little as one month, any dog, no matter the breed or size, can be trained to be a “blood-hound”. The trick is to train your dog to follow the scent of blood, not the scent of a deer. You do not want your dog chasing every deer it smells.
A dog wants nothing more than to make his owner happy. There is no question that a dog that is well cared for and treated with respect 365 days a year is more likely to perform well for his handler the few times you might actually need him. Compared to a dog that is not treated well.
Start the training by teaching the dog basic commands like stop, stay and slow. It is good to be able to control the dog while in the woods. After your dog has mastered these commands, it is time to start training your dog to trail blood.
I start working with my dog a couple of months before deer season begins. I use blood from a deer that was killed the previous year that has been kept in the freezer*. A couple of days before you are ready to start training take the blood out of the freezer to thaw. By the time season roles around two months later, the dog will be more than ready to trail the scent of blood.
A hunter has two ways to obtain the blood for training. Either from a previous kill, or blood obtained from a butcher shop. Drop the blood for a couple hundred yards or so along a trail in a zigzag fashion. Use more blood when you first start training your dog, than what you will use as the dog advances in his training. At first, you might have to use as much as two pints. As your dog gets better as a blood-hound a few drops every 7 to 8 yards is enough.
When starting out, use a short lead that is no more than 10 feet long to control your dog while on the trail. Keep your dog calm by rubbing him and talking to him in a gentle voice.
Allow your dog to smell the blood. If you have to put the dog’s nose down to the blood, do it. But be gentle. Repeat the command “search” a few times. Eventually he will be able to associate the word search with the smell of blood. Let your dog follow the blood trail while you control the pace. Do not let him run. A slow walk is best until the dog has trailing understood. Continue to follow the blood trail until the dog has a grasp of what it is suppose to be doing.
Just like when you take a young child hunting, do not let your dog get bored with the experience. If the dog is no longer having fun, he will not want to go back out and try it again. As soon as the dog shows that he is tired, stop for the day.
The dog has to know when he has reached the end of the trail during the training. Saturate a rag with deer blood to simulate a dead deer. Place the blood soaked rag at the end of the blood trail. When your dog finds the rag, reward him. Pleasing you pleases your dog. When he knows how to make you happy he will want to do it again and again.
Work with your dog 15 minutes a day for a month. By the end of the month your dog will be pretty darn good at the art of trailing deer. Two months of this and he will be as close to perfect as you can hope for. After your dog has been out of action between seasons, remind him of what to do by having him run a couple mock blood trails.
While on the blood trail, if your dog starts moving erratically, his tail is still and he stops smelling the ground, chances are that he lost the trail. Take your dog back to where you know there is blood and let him go at it again. When he begins to bark and growl, your deer is close by. Keep in mind that the deer still might be alive so be ready for a follow up shot.
While you are hunting, make sure your dog is well cared for. Supply your dog with a bed and blanket for comfort. Keep this in the floor of your truck while you are hunting. Your beloved dog is sure to be thirsty after spending time on the trail. Have water available for your dog when you return to your vehicle so he can quench his thirst. A dog that is warm and well rested will perform better when the time comes, than one that has been left in the cold.
This is a new approach to find a wounded deer. Other hunters may think you are little nuts at first. This will quickly change when they begin to see the results. It will not take long for your dog to be the most popular amongst your hunting buddies. Do not be surprised if your friends unexpectedly want to baby sit your dog one night shortly after sun set.
* Blood can be kept in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for several weeks or in the freezer up to a year.
Check out how this 14 year old dog finds a gut shot deer in just a few minutes.
Ticks are one of the nastiest animals in the woods. Some are barely the size of a pin head. So how are you supposed to spot them? Well, you can’t. Whether you sneak through thick brush or just take a casual walk, you’re at risk for invasion if you’re not using some kind of tick repellant.
This Realtree video shows just how easy it is to make ticks bug off.
It’s that time of year again! Poison Ivy is out in full force. Do you have a remedy?
If you spend any time outdoors in the woods, or even in your own back yard, you may encounter poison ivy.
Some people are lucky and aren’t disturbed by it. Me, I get poison ivy, and I get it bad. I’m always looking for new ways to take the itch away and dry it up. This might very well be the remedy I am looking for.
Check out this video. You’ll learn to make your own poison ivy remedy, and save some money at the store on that expensive medicine that doesn’t always work.
Do you suffer the itchiness and rash that come with coming in contact with poison ivy? Unless you are one of the lucky ones, you probably do.
Wouldn’t it be nice to never have a serious case of poison ivy again? Dr. Jim Brauker, a retired scientist who studied skin inflammation for 25 years, has the information you need to avoid the itch. See his solution in this video.