Feral hogs are opportunistic feeders and will eat almost anything if they are hungry. Many feral pig hunters swear by several different methods of baiting wild pigs including using diesel fuel to attract feral hogs.
There is enough anecdotal evidence to suggest this method works, but not for the reason you may think.
Baiting with Diesel
Hog hunters, in general, use diesel to bait hogs in several ways. Typically, the diesel is used with another bait such as cracked corn, soured grain, pecans, or acorns.
These are natural food for hogs and would probably be attractive on their own. Hunters who use diesel describe different methods.
Corn and Diesel Mix
Some hunters mix their corn with a small amount of diesel in the hopes of attracting feral pigs in large numbers. The most popular method involves mixing the corn in a five-gallon bucket with enough diesel to coat the corn thoroughly.
The diesel-coated corn is then spread around an area where hogs are known to frequent.
A variant of this method is to dig a shallow hole and put the diesel-soaked corn into the hole. A rock is placed over the hole as a cover. Reports are that the hogs will root vigorously to get to the corn and diesel mix.
Using Diesel Only
Some hunters forego the corn altogether. These hunters usually spray or scatter a small amount of diesel fuel on the ground and wait for the feral pigs to respond to the scent.
The hunters who use this method report the hogs respond well by rooting up the area where the diesel fuel is spread on the ground.
Building a Diesel-Soaked Rub
Many hog hunters know that hunting a line of wooden utility poles is often a successful method. Hogs, like many animals, seek out rubs on which to scratch.
Feral hogs are often heavily tick-infested. Rubbing vigorously against a telephone pole gives them some level of relief.
Preparing a rub that has been soaked in diesel is a technique used by some hunters. The rub is attractive to the hogs.
Combining a rub with another food bait such as corn or acorns seems to be very effective because it affords the hogs two benefits, food and a scratch post.
Why Do Hunters Bait for Hogs with Diesel?
Many hunters wonder why diesel is often used for baiting hogs. Hunters who make a practice of using diesel as hog bait cite several reasons.
There is no definitive evidence that any of these reasons hold true. However, anecdotal evidence warrants including these reasons in this article.
Keeping Other Animals Off the Bait
Hunters often add diesel to their hog bait in the belief that the diesel fuel will prevent other animals from feeding on the corn, pecans, or acorns at the bait station. The theory is to make the bait last longer on the ground.
However, many hunters who have used diesel with another bait report that they have witnessed coons and deer eating the corn despite the diesel. It would seem that the diesel isn’t as big a deterrent as might be though.
The obvious reason for adding diesel to another bait is to attract more pigs to the feed site. Diesel has a strong odor that is believed by some to attract hogs from great distances.
There is no empirical evidence that this is true. On the other hand, many hunters swear that diesel will attract hogs to a feed station when nothing else works.
The Downside to Baiting with Diesel Fuel
If you are considering using diesel fuel as a hog attractant there are some other considerations you should make.
Before you start spreading diesel-soaked corn on the ground or simply spraying diesel fuel over your hunting area you should do a little due diligence for your own protection.
Be Aware of Local Laws
Before you start baiting with diesel fuel you must be familiar with the local laws on baiting animals in general. Some states prohibit baiting animals altogether no matter what is used for bait.
Check with your local hunting and wildlife department to ensure that baiting is even legal.
The Environment is Important
Putting any hydrocarbon onto the ground or in the soil can be a questionable practice. Even small amounts of diesel can linger in the soil for a long time.
Your state may also have regulations about putting any hydrocarbon on the soil in any quantity. Don’t find yourself afoul of environmental laws in the quest for that trophy-sized feral pig.
Don’t Forget the Landowner
If you are like many of us who rent our hunting land you should not forget your landlord. Before you put anything out on their land be sure they don’t object to you using diesel as bait for feral hogs.
This is especially true of land where livestock may graze and be affected by the diesel fuel left on the ground.
Are Hogs Really Attracted to Diesel?
By all accounts, a bit of diesel fuel near a bait station will attract hogs. However, it is highly doubtful that the hogs are attracted to diesel as food.
There is a reason that makes as much sense as any for hogs to seek out a bait station with diesel.
A Clue is the Hogs Activity
Many hunters who routinely use diesel with another bait material report that in almost every instance, the hogs displayed some unusual behaviors.
For the most part, the hogs would first roll vigorously in the corn that was laced with diesel before beginning to feed.
When diesel was just spread on the ground, the hogs exhibited similar behavior. The hogs would root or roll in the ground sprayed with diesel. Many hunters reported that the hogs showed no signs of trying to eat the diesel-laced soil.
In truth, I suspect that the real reason the feral hogs are attracted to the diesel is purely physical. Hogs are known to seek out wooden utility poles that are treated with creosote on which to scratch and rub.
Creosote is known to repel ticks and fleas.
Diesel fuel offers the same protection from ticks and fleas. Coating their fur and skin with diesel acts as a flea and tick repellant adding to their comfort.
This repellant action would explain the propensity for hogs to roll in the diesel bait before eating.
Scent, Consistency, and Hogs
There is no doubt that hogs can smell diesel when it is used as part of a bait station. One reason hogs may come to a diesel-laced bait station is memory and consistency.
Feral pigs are opportunistic animals and don’t follow a consistent pattern in their movements like deer. By and large, hogs will go where they think food can be easily found.
If you consistently bait your spot with diesel fuel, hogs will learn and remember the location. When they smell fresh diesel, they will associate the odor with the food and return to the bait station.
Keeping the bait station loaded with fresh food and fresh diesel could be an important factor in bringing hogs to your bait station.
So, Does it Work?
If you take into consideration the anecdotal evidence, using diesel fuel as a feral pig bait does seem to work. I am not sure that the pics find the diesel a food choice.
I suspect that the pigs have learned to associate the diesel odor with the presence of food since baiting with corn and diesel has become a common practice.
The pigs may also have learned that the diesel is a tick and flea repellant and come for a chance to roll in the diesel to gain some relief from these insects that seem to be a plague for feral pigs.
In either case, if it works, use it is my opinion. Whether you mix corn and diesel, spray the fuel on the ground, or build a rubbing post with a burlap wrapping soaked in diesel, success at your hog hunt is the eventual goal.