Join Date: January 8, 2001
Location: Forestburg, Montague County, Texas
Pigs see just fine. It is something of a myth that they don't see well. Strangely, they can run full speed in the dark and still find the hole in the fence, which would be amazing for an animal with poor eyesight. I think people feel that pigs can't see well because sometimes they can walk up on them. That isn't becuase the pigs can't see. It is because the person walking up is not perceived as a threat.
Their vitals are farther forward, but if you are shooting in the shoulder region, it works like on a deer. As you approach the midsection of the body, however, you run out of vitals sooner on pigs than deer, and on most pigs, the difference is an inch or two. You should not be shooting that far back unless the animal is quartering away from you such that the rearward shot has a trajectory that carries the round forward into the vitals.
Their sense of smell is good, no doubt, but pigs like other animals, don't always care what they smell. You don't need special chemicals, but play the wind. If the pig's sense of smell is as good as rumored, then all those chemicals will just mean that the pig smells LordTio3 covered in chemicals. After all, a pig can find an acorn buried in the ground, covered by leaf litter and dirt that is filled with worms, bugs, animal urine and feces, etc., but smells the acorn amongst all the other stuff. It will smell you amongst all your chemicals.
Hunting from the ground makes you more apt for detection by sight, smell, and sound. The higher up you are, the better. The more enclosed you are, the better. Hungry pigs will come out regardless of whether you are there, that they can smell you, or even if you are BBQing one of their brothers.
The one thing about using a smaller caliber like your AR15 is that your target zones are smaller. People like to say to bring enough gun. Enough gun is pretty meaningless if you can't hit the vitals. If you are only getting 2.5 MOA out of your gun with your ammo, you might want to avoid trying CNS head shots beyond 50-75 yards. Your potential to miss becomes too great. Center of the neck behind the head would be your next best shot, then the heart/lungs. If not a CNS shot, count on tracking and your caliber often produces poor blood trails.
So choose your shot wisely. If you can, wait until the pig comes to a complete stop before you fire, but be ready to fire as soon as the pig does. One of the behaviors I like to use is to wait until the pig stops to make what I call a "security check." This often takes place with the pig stopping, standing perfectly still for 2-5 seconds with its nose raised in the air. If the nose isn't raised, a pig will do the same thing in response to an unknown sound sometimes. You can catch the pig staring off in the distance, then you have a good time to shoot if the pig is in position. The other time when they are moving least is when their noses are in/on the ground, either snarfing up corn or after a buried acorn. If the latter, sometimes they will actually stop moving like with their security check, apparently resniffing/sampling the soil, before continuing. That is a good time to shoot as well.
If you shoot high on the hog and hit a major blood vessel or organ (regardless of caliber) without the shot being through and through and the vessel near the surface, you may get no blood trail as the animal bleeds out internally...until it falls over and drains. That probably is not an issue with squirrels.
I was taught to give the hog 15 minutes after being shot to die, be it where it feel or to run and bleed out. It is a decent rule of thumb. Even then, once located, it is good to watch for signs of life and if none, approach with caution, ideally from the rear, and as a final test, you can touch the muzzle of your rifle to the hog's eye. If the animal flinches, it is still alive. Stay away from the mouth until you are sure it is dead.
These precautions are because too many "dead" hogs get up after being shot and sometimes after hunters have moved them.
More than likely, you will be hunting at night, yes? If so and if not using night vision, depending on the distance, you probably will want supplemental light, either a light under a feeder or a light on your rifle. It is reported that hogs cannot see red. While true, they do see red light, though they may just see it as red. Hitting a hog with any color of bright light certainly may spook it, but lowering the light down on the hog slowly is more apt not to spook it. Green and white lights will spook the hog more so than red, but you can make the run with red as well. Don't get impatient.
Loan hogs are much more cautious than groups of hogs. A sounder of hogs often makes considerable noise, pays little attention to surroundings, and is probably most ideal for hunting. If you hunt a single hog and shoot at it and miss, it likely will not be back that night. If you shoot a hog out of a sounder and it drops in place, there is a good chance that the sounder may not run very far and that it will return even if it does manage to run out of your immediate field of view. In short, the bigger the sounder, the less threatened the members feel.
Sounders often have scouts. This may not be a planned or intentional activity, but it is not unusual to have a sounder appear only after one or two smaller pigs appear for a while and then return from where they came, or they may just come out first, 30 seconds to a few minutes ahead of the main body of the group including being ahead of the larger pigs. You may be much better rewarded by being patient and awaiting the rest of the group than trying to kill off shoats. Generally speaking, shoats (bigger than piglets, but not of reproductive size) don't travel by themselves. If you have a shoat appear, there is probably a sounder close by. The shoat very well may be your scout for the group.
As with most other species, shooting males is pretty worthless for population control. There are no shortage of males to mate with females so while shooting males may take those individuals from the population, it won't hamper the next generation from being created.
Pigs are omnivores and in their own right, pretty good carnivores. They are also somewhat curious. If you can't actually bait where you are, you might be able to legally use an electronic call. The wounded rabbit sound seems to attract their attention sometimes here in my area. Actually the wounded rabbit seems to attract deer and raccoons as well, not to mention the normal predators. Lots of critters are curious.
"If you look through your scope and see your shoe, aim higher."
-- said to me by my 11 year old daughter before going out for hogs 8/13/2011