Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Hogs Part 3 - The Never Ending Hunting Season

In our final installment of the Never Ending Hunting Season - Hogs, I wanted to talk about a couple components that can mean the difference between success, failure and frustration when hunting these incredible animals.

Last week I touched on the how-to's and one element that I left out was WHEN to hunt them.  On one hand, hogs are not that picky, like in what they eat. However, they can be very picky as to when they do their eating.

Hogs enjoy cooler temperatures.  They are an excellent species to hunt just after the deer season is over while the temperatures are still rather cool to very mild.  This is a big help as to know when and even where to begin your next hunting trip for hogs.
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While the temperatures remain on the cooler side, hogs have been known to be rather active during daylight hours.  They love overcast days with a little rain in the air also.  If these components are lacking, hogs will be more active just before to dusk and also in the early morning hours.  As temperatures warm from mid-spring to early summer, water sources become excellent areas to set up a hunt because they will require the water to cool down. Hogs have very few sweat glands and cannot regulate their body temperatures by sweating.  Instead, they use wallows, small creeks and naturally occurring shallow pools to cool down.

Once summer time hot temperatures begin to be the norm, hogs have been known to go completely nocturnal, especially in the southern states. If you have special optics on your rifle with infrared or night-vision, you can really bring home the bacon by hunting them at night.  One of our board members at Handicapped Outdoors routinely takes hogs from 10pm - 2am at night.

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The other critical element in this week's article is shot placement.  Whether hunting with a crossbow or a rifle, shot placement is a major key to success for a swift kill.  As a boar hog ages, they develop an incredibly dense  area of fat and cartilage along their shoulders and neck lines known as a "shield".  This area is developed to protect them when fighting over a potential girlfriend.  The shield is designed to withstand the sharp tusks of rival hogs, let alone broad-heads or bullets.  For a great story on the strength of the shield, follow this link.

So, shot placement is critical to your success and safety. In order to make this as simple as possible, I am going to break this down by the hunting tools we like to use.  Let's first look at placement of a shot using a crossbow.

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A hog's vitals are located rather low on the animals mid-section behind the shoulder.  Both the lungs and heart are much smaller targets than deer, so practicing this type of shot would be ideal before attempting it in the field.

A shot placed in the lower third, just behind the elbow will result in a clean kill with any quality crossbow on the market today.  This shot should penetrate the heart and lungs of the animal and result in a short tracking job for pork-chops.

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With a rifle, this same shot placement will work but you have major options.  Once you have dialed in your gun and are confident, you can take more chances and go for the head shot.  These shots are very exciting and rewarding as no tracking is required when executed properly.  The yellowish area in the picture on the right is the brain area of the hog.  If you follow the yellow area to the top of the head, you can see a decent sized target above and between the eyes for a brain shot also.

An even more precise shot is the spine shot which detaches the spine from the brain and will cause an abrupt end to any hogs existence.  The shock of a high speed bullet is powerful and efficient.  Just be sure that you connect with one these areas or you may be pulling the trigger more than once or twice to down the animal.

Check out the video below for a great shot on a hog at just 10 yards.  Excellent shot placement in the brain and no tracking required!

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