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  • Wild Hog Hunting

  • Selecting Your Weapon

    If you're using a bow then this section doesn't pertain to you, since you'll obviously be using a bow and an arrow or maybe multiple arrows. However, if you're wanting to use a firearm and don't know what to choose then read on.

    "What's the best gun to use when hog hunting?"

    That's a common question from new hog hunters that has been debated over and over again and that debate will probably continue until the end of time. The reason is, this question has a different answer for different people. It is a fact that a .22 short, with proper shot placement, has the ability to kill any hog on the face of the earth. A .22 in the ear is better than a .22 in the rear and that's true for any caliber so shot placement rules all, but it's not the only rule. Hogs are big, strong, tough animals and even a fatally wounded hog can run a long enough distance that it becomes lost and unrecoverable. It's not unheard of for hogs to be killed and for the hunter, when cleaning the animal, to find previous gunshot wounds or bullets embedded in wounds that are long healed over . Also, wounded hogs can be extremely dangerous and often times a track after a wounded hog will have to be abandoned simply because it becomes too dangerous for the hunter to continue on a trail that can become so thick that he would have to crawl around on his hands and knees. So choosing the gun best suited to the hunting conditions and your shooting ability are key to both bringing home that prized boar and making sure that you make a clean kill to minimize any suffering of the animal.

    In most cases, bigger is always better. A larger caliber will create more damage and will somewhat compensate for a slightly misplaced shot. This isn't to say a gut shot hog will drop dead on the spot if you shoot it with a big enough gun but hopefully it will do enough damage that it won't travel as far and it will bleed out quickly so as to be easy to find. For new hunters, we wouldn't recommend anything smaller than a 30 caliber with 30-06, .308 and 7.62x39mm being the most common in this range. Any of these will knock a big boar in the dirt with a single well placed shot. There are downsides to using larger calibers such as the recoil which may be too much for recoil sensitive people or women and children, slower follow up shots and larger bullets cause more damage to meat.

    It's not uncommon for smaller calibers to be used to hunt hogs, such as .223/5.56mm, 22-250 or .220 Swift. In fact AR15 style weapons, which are chambered for the .223 & 5.56 cartridges, are quickly becoming a favorite among many hunters due to their light weight, semi-automatic action and large ammunition capacity which can be useful when encountering large groups of hogs. The downside to using a smaller caliber is that obviously, shots must be chosen more carefully and must be more precise. A broadside heart/lung shot on a huge boar that could be taken with a 30-06 might have to be passed over for a tougher head or neck shot if using a 22-250. You may also be limited in range and smaller bullets are more easily deflected when traveling through brush where hogs are often encountered.

    Some people may choose or may be restricted by regulations to shotguns when hunting for hogs. If using a shotgun we recommend using a 12ga with a rifled barrel shooting sabots or rifled slugs as these two combinations will produce the tightest groups. If using a smooth bore barrel we suggest using rifled slugs at a minimum. All other shotgun/ammunition combinations are too inaccurate for any long range shooting but can serve it's purpose if shots are limited to close range. If you must use buckshot then try to stick with 00 or 000 and only at very close ranges but it's best if you avoid buckshot altogether.

    The type of terrain and cover and type of hunting you will be doing can also play a part in the firearm that you choose. The gun that may be best for spotlighting out of the back of a truck or sitting in a blind might not be the best choice for walking around all day during a stalk hunt and the best gun to use in far South Texas might not be the best gun to use in far East Texas. For example, when spotlighting from a truck or sitting in a blind I will normally use a Remington 700 Sendero in .220 Swift that is extremely accurate and will provide me a completely flat trajectory, for all intents and purposes, out to 300 yards so I can easily take the longer shots that are presented. However, once you add in the sling, bipod, scope and ammo this setup is pushing 12 pounds. It's definitely not the rifle I choose when going on a stalk hunt through a brushy area where I would probably pick a lever action 30-30 due to it being drastically lighter and handier, better suited for close up work and it fires a bigger, heavier bullet that is better suited to go through brush without being as easily deflected. So keep in mind what you will be doing and where you will be going when making your decision.

    So now that you're completely confused and have even less of an idea about what gun to use let's talk briefly about ammunition. Ammo can be as important as the firearm you choose to use but there are so many different kinds for different guns I'm just going to quickly touch on the main points and let you make your own decision. Heavier bullets pack more of a punch, deliver more energy on target and handle brush much better. Smaller bullets are flatter shooting and faster but decelerate quicker, lack the penetration of a heavier bullet and are more easily deflected by twigs and brush. In most cases the big game, soft point, hunting ammunition that is widely available from several manufacturers will serve you just fine.

    For guys wanting to use handguns to hunt hogs, all I can tell you is to take a big one. Don't think you can take your 9mm out an knock down a hog with a single shot. I've seen a big boar take multiple head shots from a 9mm finally to be taken down with a 12ga. The bigger the better is definitely true when it comes to handgun hunting for wild hogs.
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