Where did the idea come from that wild hogs are easy to kill? You ever try on purpose to drive a nail into a steel-belted tire with a hammer? Just be careful that hammer doesn’t slap you back in the face.
This illustration gives a little insight into what happens often enough when a less-than-tough bullet hits the gristle-belted panel of a hyped-up wild pig.
Like trying to pin down any game animal, there are a number of different approaches to anchoring a nuisance pig. But you better do it right the first time.
Deer rifles work
“I had sat long enough on my deer stand so I thought it was time to get down and do a bit of still hunting,” Madison’s Jay Pope said. “It was cold, and I needed to restore some feeling to my feet, so a stroll down some of the nearby ATV trails was in order. I had not walked 100 yards when I heard the first grunt. I readied my rifle as I crept around the turn in the trail, and there stood a huge hog.
“I was using my bolt-action deer rifle in .270 Winchester and never hesitated once to consider if that round was enough gun to polish off that pig. Seemingly without even thinking,. I quickly shouldered the rifle to line up the crosshairs on the scope, flick off the safety and put pressure on the trigger. At the shot that pig dropped like a sack of flour. Then I immediately thought, ‘Now what?’
“It was the first wild hog I had ever killed, but when I got the sausage back from the meat processor, I was glad I did. During the cleaning process, which by the way is a nasty job by any description, we found the .270 bullet had taken out the lungs and a piece of the heart. I have to say, though, the shot placement was right on, too.”
There is little doubt that a deer-rifle class cartridge is fully capable of killing a wild hog. Anything in the .270, .308, or .30-06 field can get the job done. A factory or hand-loaded round using a 150-grain or heavier bullet will surely finish the task, if — and that is a big if — the bullet is sent to the so-called boiler room.
If hog hunters or deer hunters likely to encounter a pig during deer season have any doubt about where to shoot a pig, then I recommend you Goggle the topic or watch some YouTube instructional videos to see exactly what spots on a pig to target. Aiming just behind the shoulder like you would a white-tailed deer is not always the best spot.
Alternative pig guns
“I guess if I had not made the shot myself I probably would have dismissed the idea of hog hunting with a .223 via an AR-15,” said Brian McCombie. “However, as a collateral opportunity to a deer hunt, the situation presented itself, and that pig got smacked.
“But then I was using a unique type of ammo created by Dynamic Research Technologies using a 79-grain frangible-type bullet in the .223. To say it did the job would be an understatement.”
It might seem ironic or contradictory to suggest that there are 79-grain bullet loads entirely capable of killing a pig after just recommending loads of 150 grain or more, but that is the reality of hunting ammunition projectiles these days. Certainly technology can trump bullet weight in some circumstances. The DRT ammo is just one example.
For sure, the AR-15 platform has gained tremendous popularity over the past 10 years. Today there are several chamberings in the AR that make it even more suitable for pig hunting. These selections include the 6.8 SPC, 300 AAC, 6.5 Grendel and the .300 Whispers. From there, hunters can go up to the big pig-stickers like the .500 Beowulf.
If you have acquired one of the new single-shot centerfire “primitive” weapons in .444 Marlin, .35 Whelen, or the .45-70, you will be in a good position to hog hunt, as well. In particular the .35 Whelen, which is a .30-06 necked up to .35 caliber, is a keen choice for pig hunting. The 200- or 250-grain soft-point loads by Hornady and Remington can put down a big pig in a New York second.
And speaking of ammo, the ammunition manufacturers have gotten on board with ammo specifically for hog hunting. A case in point is the new Winchester Razorback XT loads for the .223, .308, .44 Magnum, 7.62x39, the .30-06 and the .270. Built just for hog hunting, the bullets are constructed to be tough on tough pig hide. Look for more factory pig loads coming down the pike in the near future.
Poking porkers can be another great hunting opportunity for Mississippi hunters, who can elect to use deer rifles they already have or build up a new model just for hog hunting. Pick an ammunition load with a bullet capable of penetrating where it counts, and then place that bullet into the pig’s drive system to shut things down for good.