Wild Pigs: Pick your shots carefully

Wild hogs are tough, and knowing where to aim is important to success.

Hogs have a just reputation for being tough. Many mature hogs, especially boars, have a gristle-like “shield” or shoulder plate that can completely stop a broad head hunting arrow.

The shield on a big hog can be 1-inch thick and can completely cover the rib cage. I once shot a 150-pound hog at 10 yards with a 70-pound compound bow. The razor-sharp, broad head-tipped arrow hit perfectly low and behind the shoulder and knocked the hog down. But the arrow didn’t penetrate its shield. We tracked the hog with dogs, caught it, and learned the arrow had no ill-effect on the animal whatsoever. I’ve heard tales of big hogs shot in the shield with high-powered rifles that produced the same result.

The best shot at a big boar hog is quartering away, so an arrow or bullet enters the chest cavity from behind, thus avoiding the shield. From a tree stand, a high-angle shot down into the chest cavity also is a good one, thus avoiding the “shield” plates over the shoulders.


Interestingly, these are the same bow shooting angles many bear hunters prefer to avoid the heavy bone structure of the shoulder. But unlike the average black bear shot perfectly with a bow or gun, an average wild hog is more likely to charge a ground-bound hunter even if hit ideally low and behind the shoulder. Frankly, mature wild pigs are so ill-tempered, a good case can be made that they are among the toughest, most aggressive, big game animals you can hunt in the lower 48 states.

A mad wild hog does have an attitude that’s intimidating. An attitude even an inner-city thug better respect. An attitude that always needs “adjustment.” An attitude your average barnyard swine could never acquire.

Those are the reasons why hunting wild hogs is not for the meek of heart, and why they’re rapidly becoming among America’s most popular big game hunting targets.

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by Bob McNally