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Old October 1, 2012, 12:46 PM   #1
LordTio3
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Hog Hunt Beginner

Hello boys/gals,

My boss and a co-worker booked a 2 day- 4 man hog hunt in Missouri for early January 2013. I was lucky enough to warrant an invitation. It will be open bordered-private land, but they feed the hogs all year 'round; so in winter, the hogs frequent the feeders pretty regularly.

My question is, what do I need to know about hog hunting that squirrel hunting (basically my entire hunting experience) hasn't taught me? I know hunter safety, I know how to be quiet, but the squirrel I've hunted have been pretty easy pickings for my clumsy feet and a Revelation Single-Shot 22lr and a 4x scope (not an appropriate hog gun). And I've always hunted with my feet on the ground, never from a platform of any kind. I really don't even know which questions to ask about hunting hogs.

A few that have just come to me are:
I hear hogs have a good sense of smell. Will I need special clothes/chemicals?
I think I'll be hunting from a stand or ground blind; neither of which I have ever been in. Any tips for handling any of these methods?
There are no weapon restrictions, required lisences, bag limits, or method restrictions on these hogs. As such, I'm planning my gear to include my Glock 19 9mm on my side (the handgun I am by far most comfortable with), and my AR-15 in 5.56mm with 62 grain soft point ammunition.



I think this rifle is the most appropriate one I own. I can hold a 2-2.5" group with it at 100yds if I'm really trying. One of the other members is hunting with a compound bow and crossbow, another with a Saiga in 7.62x39, and the last with a Mosin Nagant in 7.62x54R.

Any recommendations on gear or general advice on hunting game larger than the squirrel I'm used to would be MUCH appreciated. I know there are some Serious veterans on here that have been doing this their entire lives, so I am all-ears.

I hope this finds you well.
Sincerely,
~LT
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Old October 1, 2012, 01:52 PM   #2
publius
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They do have a very good sense of smell but poor eyesight. That doesn't mean they can't see! Ask your hosts where to aim on the animal, it's easier than me trying to explain it. Their vitals are farther forward than deer. I have killed dozens with my AR in TX. The laqndowner will tell you everything you need to know about scent control, shot placement, where to set up by the feeder. Have fun!
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Old October 1, 2012, 06:25 PM   #3
Double Naught Spy
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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.
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Old October 1, 2012, 07:23 PM   #4
Mayor Al
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Lots of good info in the posts above.

Wife and I shot a couple of large hogs on a Missouri hunt last month.
She used a 44 magnum Ruger Carbine- 240 gr SJSP ammo
I had my 308 winchester, Remington Core-loc 180 gr SP ammo

One shot each.

Found this on another forum. But it helps define shot placement.

Wife paid no attention, put one round of 44 mag into the hogs ear...end of pig.

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Old October 1, 2012, 08:30 PM   #5
Double Naught Spy
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Al, I am sorry, but the pig's spine isn't actually in the location that you indicated. You show it oriented somewhat upside down and truncated relative to the head. The overlay in the image you provided shows the thoracic vertebrae and make it look like they go into the head and completely leave out the cervical vertebrae.
http://www.animalskeletons.net/_Pig-skeleton.jpg

Additionally, the heart and lungs are larger than you indicate. For more of the actual pig, see here....
http://www.texasboars.com/anatomy.html
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Old October 2, 2012, 11:11 AM   #6
603Country
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Just shoot em behind the shoulder. Works every time if you're using anything close to the right bullet. But, there are extremes to consider. A 400 pound hog shot behind the shoulder with a 40 grain varmint bullet from your 223 might not be anything more than irritated. I hear those store-bought 64 grain Winchester PP rounds are more than adequate.

As for where are the hogs...they love acorns. Can't get enough acorns. Hunting from an elevated position downwind of the acorns or even in the midst of an acorn flat is good. Hunting in a 'traffic' area is good - between where the hogs bed down and where the acorns are, in the early morning and late evening. That has worked for me real well. If they can't get acorns, they'll sure come to corn, so if the blind overlooks a corn feeder or a corn fed road you're in good shape.

Shoot one for me....and remember that even though you may have a dead hog laying next to the feeder, that doesn't mean the hunting is over. Sometimes they'll come back in a little while.

Take a thermos of coffee with you, and binocs. A snack is good if you'll be in the blind for hours. A decent sized plastic water bottle is good to have if you need to pee. I wear some old frayed camo cotton gloves so that when I use the binocs it's harder for pigs, or deer, to see those white freckled hands of mine. And, usually I'll wear some sort of camo face covering. I rarely use any sort of scent masking chemical, but prefer to just get downwind. If you're in a box blind, the scent issue isn't that big a deal, but still needs to be considered.

Last edited by 603Country; October 2, 2012 at 11:18 AM.
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Old October 2, 2012, 03:40 PM   #7
LordTio3
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Wow. Great info here from some guys who sound like they've been there and done that. The average size of a sow where we are going to hunt are around 175-200lbs, so I don't expect to be bagging Hogzilla. Even so, I'll be practicing quite a bit with my rifle between now and then. Hopefully we'll get down to 1 MOA for some headshots. I'll look into the 64 grain load you mentioned. Lord knows there's bound to be a better load than the one I've currently got.

Thanks a load to everyone so far.
~LT
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Old October 2, 2012, 07:44 PM   #8
GeauxTide
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Go to Jagerpro.com. They run a hog control company, hunting at night. They use and recommend, exclusively, 308 Win Federal Premium in 180gr Nosler Partitions. They also have instructional shooting videos that are very good. Your choice, with WW PowerPoint 64gr. bullets would be fine at close range when you can call the shot; however, you'll see on the film that the 180 Nosler puts them down from any angle immediately. My youngest son hunts with a friend and finishes the 223 shot pigs with his 280 or 308 with my 139gr and 150gr Hornady handloads.
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Old October 2, 2012, 10:12 PM   #9
603Country
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Well, a 223 was shown in the picture, so I just suggested the best round in that caliber that I knew of that a non-reloader could easily get. In the last couple of years I've shot a few pigs with the 223 and with the 220, and I managed to kill them, but what I had intended to do was to hunt coyotes, but wound up with pigs in my sights. I was shooting way more pigs than I was shooting coyotes, and I was shooting them at distance. So even though I reloaded and had good bullets for the pigs, I needed bigger pig medicine and finally parked both the 223 and the 220 and dragged the 260 out of the gun safe. When I thump a pig at any distance with that 260 and the Nosler 120 gr Ballistic Tip, down they go. So, over time I've become so pleased with the 260 that I use it for coyotes, pigs, and deer. One size fits all, and fits quite well. Of course, you could do the same thing with the 250 Savage, the 243, the 6mm, the 257, and on and on...

Anyway, if the 223 is the chosen pig medicine, that Nosler Partition would be my first choice if you can buy the rounds with that particular bullet. If you reload, then you have even more choices. The Sierra 65 grain Gameking has worked well for me, as has the Partition, and there are some Barnes bullets that are supposed to work real well (but I have no experience with them). But still, the Winchester 64 grain is available and proven to work pretty well.
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Old October 3, 2012, 03:54 AM   #10
Zorro
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Yeah, Minimum of .30-06 or a .308. 7mm Magnum will work with 175 Grain Bullets.

Only way I would try .223 Remington on a hog is with Depleted Uranium, Bullets.

And then still not, Try a second hand Remington 870 Police Shotgun from the 1970s with Slugs.
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Old October 3, 2012, 10:44 AM   #11
Double Naught Spy
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I've shot a bunch with .223/5.56. Works fine. Here is is one from a couple of weeks ago with Barnes TSX 70 gr. bullets at 125 yards. It was a 150 lb. sow. Blasted through the vertebral column just behind the head and deflected out of the front of the neck (hence the muzzle blood).

Aim small, hit small. I was about 1.5" off my intended impact point closer to the base and behind the ear, but that error in any direction would still have dropped the pig via CNS trauma. The pig was stationary at the time of the shot, apparently watching a small group of deer it (and it's sounder) had driven away from a feeder.

A smoothbore Rem 870 (as in the suggested used police gun) will be best inside 50 yards, though no doubt you can shoot them further. Depending on the ammo, you might get 4 MOA and probably more like 5 or 6 MOA at 100 yards. With poor slugs (for your gun), up to 7-8 MOA.

With a rifled bore and slugs, you should get much better accuracy.
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"If you look through your scope and see your shoe, aim higher."
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Old October 3, 2012, 05:54 PM   #12
LordTio3
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DNS,

Good looking hog. And rock thrower. From what I gather, we will almost exclusively be hunting the feeders from 50-100yds. I think I'll be posted up as close as I can get. I am very comfortable at 50yds and can almost always squeeze MOA or better out. I think I'll find the heaviest round I can and look below the ear.

With the cost of the trip, I don't think a new rifle is in the mix quite yet, so I'll have to do the best I can with what I've got. I hadn't considered the small quantity blood trail from a .223 wound. If I interpret that correctly, I'm guessing that ethically that means almost exclusively headshots. So time to get out the rifle and practice till I'm confident.

Any tips on dressing, butchering, etc...? Apparently we'll be going about
that solo as well.

Thanks a ton all.
Sincerely,
~LT
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Old October 4, 2012, 08:18 PM   #13
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Winchester has jumped on the hog bandwagon and come out with a 64 gr. 223 Remington round called the RAZOR BACK XT made specifically for "Wild Boar" (feral hogs). Having a monolithic bullet and flash suppressed powder, it's not cheap. But, I bought a box anyway from Walmart just to check it out.
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Old October 13, 2012, 12:10 PM   #14
jakeLC
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i have only been a couple times but the times i have i got at least one hog. I used a 45 colt rossi lever action and it seemed to be quite adequate if you shoot them in the shoulder region.
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Old October 15, 2012, 09:48 AM   #15
BearBoarFever
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First Time Hog Hunting

My wonderful husband has been guiding me on my first hog hunting experience and I find all of your posts so very enlightening...THANK YOU! Previously, I was strictly bow and arrow (Matthews) but after years of not seeing any bears worth shooting (won't shoot Mommies or Cubs), I decided to up my chances and step into the world of rifles. I am starting with a .223, knowing it might be small, but I feel comfortable with it, and my husband says that is what is important for now. My ultimate will be the 7mm Lady Savage Hunter but I digress. We have been enscounced in a tree stand for the past three evenings, and saw a group of five 122 yards away. I thought it was too far for my rifle, but it seems perhaps I was wrong. Am also interested in your successes early a.m. We hunt close to our house in the woods so that is a bit o' luck. For bait, we are putting down corn and right now I hear my husband popping some popcorn which they seem to LOVE. I told him we need to set up the camera at the sight so we can see when they are coming in, before we invest mega bucks in nighttime lighting contraptions. This is my first time on a forum, and I appreciate all of your comments, or possible tips. Again, THANKS!
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Old October 15, 2012, 10:35 AM   #16
Saltydog235
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Pigs aren't hard to kill at all. That .223 will do very well, its all about shot placement anyway. Put it in the vitals = dead pig. My prefered rifle is my Savage Predator in .243, right in the ear, DRT. Their eyesight is pretty good close up but degraded more at distance, they tend to pick up movement at distance more than anything. Sense of smell is out of this world but easy to overcome if you prep like you would for deer hunting.

Our biggest issue with killing pigs is that they are more nocturnal than anything.
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Old October 15, 2012, 02:53 PM   #17
BearBoarFever
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My husband did say that I should aim right behind his ear, but it seems like a pretty darn small target! Plus I am used to shooting at bear targets, right behind the front shoulder. I looked at hog pics and they look to have their heart sort of lying on the bottom of their stomach...some say shoot low and you will get 'er done . But now here is a second opinion saying aim for right behind his ear, so that will be my goal. Two great hunters can't be wrong, right?
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Old October 16, 2012, 09:49 AM   #18
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Sorta near the head, centerline of the neck will drop them with any expanding .223. Bullet weight will only matter depending on range.

Inside of 50yds any .223 hunting ammo will lock them up. I've used fmj in a trap in a pinch, with the same result...just extra blood. Not recommending fmj, it was something that had to be done in a hurry and only fmj available. Since then, I've always kept hunting ammo in my truck.


The neck/behind the ear shots are larger target than the heart IMO. The heart shot must be really low on the chest just a hair behind the leg.
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