"It's hard to imagine better habitat for wild boar than you find in northern California. The temperatures don't drop too low and there is plenty of water and food to sustain a large population of wild hogs. While there are hogs on public land, the best hunting is found on large private cattle ranches.
"I hunted for two days the first week in January near Red Bluff (on I-5 south of Redding) with Rocky Ridge Hunting Club (530-200-1925; www.rockyridgehunting club.com), which has access to 30,000 acres of hog-rich ranch land. My enthusiastic guide was 20-year-old Derek Wise, who grew up hunting the ranch with his father and knows the roads and boundaries well. When game is hard to find, he knows where to look, which canyons to watch. Wise says that on an average day you should be able to see a herd of hogs in the morning and another herd in the evening.
"Any pig is legal here, but hunters usually arrive with the idea of taking either a meat hog or a trophy boar. Crystal Burrill, the owner of Rocky Ridge Hunting Club, encourages hunters to target boars that are at least a year old and spare sows. Most hunters here tag boars weighing 175 to 300 pounds and ranging from blondes and brindles to razor-backed blacks.
"Big boars are usually found in singles and pairs apart from the herds of sows and young piglets. This often means spotting boars at long distances and then stalking. Hunters glass from ridge tops for boars feeding in the open or in stands of oak. A Jack Russell terrier may help locate game in heavy cover. ATVs are used to move between locations and to retrieve game.
"An hour into our hunt, a........(continued)