HUNTINGsmart! USA Knowledge Base
Module 10 - WILDLIFE
They aren’t the best looking game animal or the easiest to haul out of the woods, but hog hunters have a good time trying to bring down these big game animals. Especially now that they’ve become a serious nuisance in the U.S.
Wild hogs, also known as wild boars or feral pigs, can have either solid or mixed colors. Hog species have inconsistent coloring because they’ve been interbreeding for many years. Generally though, they can be black, reddish-brown, whitish-brown or a mixture of colors in various patterns. Even the size and weight of a hog will vary significantly. Wild hogs are generally medium-large size animals, however, some are absolutely GIANT in size, weighing up to 500 lbs. On average though, HOGS usually weigh between 150-220 lbs. They have stout bodies, short legs, long pointed heads and short necks. Some species of wild boar have slightly longer legs and larger heads.
Wild hogs are omnivores but they will eat pretty much anything that they can fit in their mouth. They go for about 80% plant life and 20% meat. When sick of salads, they’ll prey on reptiles, birds, eggs, insects and smaller animals. The plant life they look for includes acorns, fruits, seeds, nuts, mushrooms, roots, bark… and pretty much everything else.
You’ll find hogs in a variety of habitats. They live on open plains, in mountains, in low-lying swampy areas and even in dry upland areas. However, you won’t find them in desert areas, areas that receive heavy snowfall or areas that don’t provide much shelter. Your best bet is to find a swamp. They love to wallow around in the mud and a swampy location will have a buffet of food sources for them to pig out on.
Firearms, Ammo & Your Target
Hogs are big and tough. Bringing one down will require a big and tough firearm or bow. They have thick hides and dense layers of fat on their shoulders (i.e. the vital zone area). Your bullet or arrow must be able to penetrate this. A jacketed bullet with enough power behind it will get the job done. A popular rifle for hog hunting is the 30-30 Winchester—it’s both tough and accurate.
Aim for the heart and lungs. Your best shot option for hitting the vital zone of a hog (the area just below the shoulder blade) is to take a broadside shot. Take your time lining up the shot and be accurate. If it lands too high, your bullet or arrow will strike the shoulder blade and only injure the animal. If it lands too low, you'll likely miss the hog and hit the ground.
Hog Hunting Tip:
Some hog species have sharp tusks and can be very dangerous. The husks are actually canine teeth that extend out and upwards. So, what’s the lesson here? Make sure your shot is accurate or risk experiencing tusk violence from a fired up hog.