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Backpacking in the Smokies and wild boar scare

Last week I went out for a short trip in the Smokies. It was hit or miss with the weather. Sunshine some moments and torrential rains in the next. On the first day I saw a group of wild boar. Not the first time I've seen them in the park. I yelled at them and they took off. No biggie.

The next day as I was hiking back to the trailhead on another trail, I must have startled a boar... I heard rustling, turned my head and yelled HEY!! A young boar was charging at me. It stopped and I started hitting my trekking poles together and yelling deeply at it. It, along with another one, took off running. I have never hiked so fast in my life to get out of there. I've never been charged at by one before and it freaked me out to the core. 

Be aware out there folks. For those that listen to music, be sure you only have 1 ear bud in and the volume low. Could you imagine if I hadn't heard it coming?? 




6 Replies

We have had several run ins with wild hogs, especially in the Eagle Creek area. Trails torn up, hog skat everywhere. They will charge in the blink of an eye and are extremely fast.   We both have our Bear Spray ready when we see the signs. IMO I don’t think I would be hiking in that area with earbuds, I want to be 100% aware of my surroundings when these critters are around. 

Agree that earbuds are one of the last things you need to distract you on a least till you're back to civ.and ready for Jimi Hendrix. Seriously,I have learned to live with the occas. black bear, hog, moose, etc encounter by whistling/singing, waving a fly rod vigorously, travelling in groups when poss.and always packing bearspray on my belt.

Incidentally, wild hogs hate noise made by a portable marine airhorn.These are available in several sizes. I have yet to test a green laser pointer at something with teeth, tho suspect these too will prove to deter critters.


That's why I use bone conductive headphones 🙂 

Recommend them to all hikers

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Bear spray is iffy against a wild boar, wild boar have a very high tolerance to pain, the only one that might work is high potency, high delivery, high capacity OC pepper bear spray.  But a pig will run very fast, and would penetrate the cloud of spray without giving it a second thought.

You have to train with pepper spray as you would with a gun, otherwise you could screw up real bad.  If the hog, or bear, is coming toward you with the wind to it's back and you spray, well that stuff will blow back onto you disabling you while the animal catches you and mauls you.

I've read from some place some time back that wasp and hornet spray works, I can't vouch for that, maybe someone here can look into it.  If it does work it's cheaper than pepper spray.

The good news is that wild boar is rarely seen by humans, in addition they're skittish of humans so if you did see one they will 99 times out of 100 walk away from you because they have no interest in humans.  But they might take an interest if you spray them and it pisses them off.  I knew people who hunted boar up in the mountains above Santa Barbara, and those boar would come up to 15 or feet of them and do nothing, but if you shot one you better kill it on the first shot because if you don't they get quite agitated at being shot and will tear you apart if you can't shoot a second time.  The guys I knew carried high powered rifles, but they also carried 44 mag revolvers just in case.  As you see they can take a rifle shot if it misses the kill zone and not be phased by it but instead become enraged, so pepper spray is intended to inflict pain, which they may not be bothered by or get highly agitated and you don't want that.

Most people recommend if you don't want to be attacked by a boar is to simply leave it alone and they'll leave once they become bored of you, no pun intended.  

The question of bear spray effectiveness against wild hogs was posted a few months back. No one had an answer so I contacted the leading manufacturer which responded right away which really told me about their customer service. They stated it would work. I have personally come eye to eye with with one hog that probably weighed in around 150# at about 20’ in mangroves so basically no where to run or climb. I really thought this was going to be quite the showdown. We looked at each other several seconds, it grunted, turned and went back into the brush. If you plan on shooting one you better be a really, really good shot with some luck to throw in the mix. I personally carry both but after talking to the mfg. I am going for the spray first. These things aren’t cute little porky pig type of hogs, these bad boys are weighing in at over 200#5FBD79CB-B1A8-44E1-9A59-F6D86D12E41A.jpeg






Pepper spray will work, if the boar isnt already coming at you, and if he isnt, why spray him/her?

They tend to go down hard. Unless you hit a bone that is directly involved in locomotion, they will move.