Outdoor Articles

Javelina – Little Pig with a Big Fight

by Pursue The Outdoors on December 5th, 2005 in Big Game Hunting

Hunting Collared Peccary in the Western States

While hunting for wild boar is at a slower pace during rainy winter months in California, a ‘little pig’ offers good hunting opportunities in neighboring States. The Javelina or Collared Peccary is the pig hunter’s “big” game in Arizona. Javelina also occur in Texas where they are quite numerous and in New Mexico. They are South American natives that have slowly migrated north.

Javelina occur widely in Arizona but are not found statewide. They are most numerous in the southeastern corner of the State, southeast of Tucson. You need to apply for a hunting permit in December, drawings will take place in January and hunting takes place in February. Applications must specify hunt numbers. Permits are classified as HAM (handgun, archery and muzzle loader) and permit-hunting. Non-residents pay about $ 114.00 for a non-resident license and a $ 68.00 Javelina permit fee. Deadlines for permit/tag applications close generally in late of the year. Good news is that two Apache Tribes sell Javelina permits over the counter on a first come first served basis. The San Carlos Apache Tribe has some of the best Javelina hunting in Arizona. Javelina hunting on reservation lands is available in mid — February.

Texas has a long Javelina hunting season, generally from October to the end of February in 43 counties and from September 1 to August 31 in 50 counties. The problem with hunting in Texas is that there is virtually no hunting on public land in Texas and hunting rights for private lands are generally leased to guide services and clubs. Information on hunting on public lands in Texas is available on from the State of Texas via the Net. If you cannot find the information, you may contact the author for details.

Why would anyone want to hunt the ‘little pig’ that looks like a wild pig but is indeed not a pig at all? Well, Javelina share with boar not only looks but also some of the temperament. While generally peaceful, they can become very aggressive and combative when cornered or in defense of their offspring — just like their big look-alikes.


By the way, there smaller size and weight makes them easier to get back to camp and to process. That can be a significant advantage in difficult terrain.

Here is some general information on the Javelina as published by the Arizona Game and Fish Service:

The collared peccary, or Javelina, evolved in South America and migrated north, only recently arriving in Arizona. The collared peccary, which occurs in the United States only in Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico, currently occupies approximately 34 percent of Arizona with an estimated population of 60,000 animals.

Life History

Adult Javelina generally weigh 35 to 60 lbs, the male being slightly heavier than the female. New born Javelina weigh about one pound. They are tan to brownish in color with a reddish dorsal stripe. They acquire adult coloration at three months. The salt and pepper appearance of adults is due to whitish bands on the black hairs. These hairs are up to six inches long, with the mane being blackest, longest, and erectile. In the winter, the coat is very dense and dark and the “collar” is visible. In summer, the Javelina sheds hair. The shorter hairs are lighter and the collar frequently is not visible.

Javelina continue to grow until they reach adult height in about 10 months. At this age, the Javelina are sexually mature. Being of tropical origin, peccaries are capable of breeding throughout the year, the only wild ungulate in the western hemisphere with a year long breeding season. This long breeding season, early maturity, and the ability to have two litters in one year gives them the greatest reproductive potential of North American big game.

Breeding peaks in January, February, and March. After a 145-day gestation period, most births occur in June, July, and August. This peak corresponds with the maximum rainfall period. Two is the most common number of young. Unlike other animals, the Javelina does not lick the offspring at birth, but rolls or tumbles it. The young are precocial, following their mothers shortly after birth and are usually weaned at six weeks.

While Javelina have lived to 24 years in captivity, the average life span is closer to seven or eight. Predation on Javelina is common from mountain lions and bobcats. Coyotes and golden eagles are effective predators of juvenile Javelina.

Since Javelina are found in so many habitats, its natural that their foods should vary. Javelina are opportunistic feeders. Eating flowers, fruits, nuts, berries, bulbs, and most succulent plants. Prickly pear cactus makes up the major portion of the diet. Behavior Javelina are herd animals with herd sizes averaging 8 to 9 animals. Territories are set up using droppings and the dorsal scent gland to mark these areas. Aggressive displays will be made to intruding javelina. Territory size varies with the productivity of the habitat, but averages about 750 acres.

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