Monday, September 17, 2012

Wild Hogs and Hog Guns

Run an internet search for wild hogs and you’re just as likely to get sites on motorcycles as you are on feral pigs.  Run a search for axes and a brand of deodorant will appear.  It gets exasperating.  Even so, when I think of hogs I think of the malevolent creatures that roam by night and wreak havoc on the countryside.  They kill fawns, wipe out quail populations, pollute ponds, demolish farm crops and generally raise hell wherever they’re found.  More hype has been written about hogs than truth and people clamor to hunt them.  Some people have even released hogs onto private and public land in order to build a herd to hunt.  As nutty and irresponsible as that might be it seems we’ve developed a population of bored-to-death-dudes who hunger for some sort of adventure in their lives.  But live in a place where wild hogs wander into your “backyard” almost every night and scare the bejesus out of your dogs and turn the ground into something that looks like it’s been strafed by .50 caliber machinegun fire and you’ll tire quickly of the critters.  In Texas hogs are now—regardless of what anyone might say—indigenous and getting more so by the hour.  I have no idea what the population of wild hogs in the state is now and neither does anyone else despite what “data” you might have read.  Heck, tell me there are X number of hogs in the morning and by supper time that number will have risen a few thousand more.  Shoot the hogs, trap the hogs, and pray the hogs away and you will accomplish little.  Facts are that the hog is prolific having a fecundity rivaling….well, enough said.

I’ve shot hogs with everything you can imagine from .25/20s to .357 magnums to .44 magnums and .30/30s and ought-sixes, two-seventies, seven mags…the list goes on and on.  Size is proportionate to killing power and a little piggy can be easily put down with a .22 Hornet.  But the mega-monsters had better be hit right or you’ve got a few problems to contend with.  But here’s the good news: Hogs will run into the deeper woods if given half a chance.  Sows with young ones can be temperamental but if you don’t mess with them they won’t mess with you.  Really, it boils down to how badly you are in need to have your shoulder bruised, your neck cracked, your jaw slammed and your vision blurred.  I know a guy who bought a .416 Rigby to hunt hogs.  He shot the rifle a few times, got a retinal detachment, almost went blind, and now has to limit his shooting to pistols and .22 long rifles.  It was decidedly not worth it.  I’ve shot lots of hogs of all sizes with a .30/30 using both 150 grain and 170 grain bullets.  One of the biggest hogs I ever took was shot with a Thompson Contender single shot rifle in .357 magnum caliber.  The secret is, of course, proper bullet placement.

You’ll read more trash about hog guns that anything else.  To hear some people talk you’d think anything shy of a Winchester .338 Magnum is too little.  Well, excuse the pun but that’s hogwash.  A .30/06 will poleaxe any hog alive and soon to be dead.  Sounds morbid but Great Scott (I say that a lot) it’s not like you’re shooting elephants or grizzly bear.

Do hogs need to be controlled?  Of course, absolutely, no question about it.  What is the most popular hog gun caliber?  I tell you what: Fill a hat full of pieces of paper and on each piece of paper write a caliber and then toss that hat into the air and pick up one of the pieces of paper and you’ll have a hog gun.  Sounds silly?  I know an old timer who hunts hogs on his corner of the earth with a Brno .22 magnum rifle.  He’s shot hundreds of hogs nearly all of them with one shot each using that puny little .22 mag.  But he’s a wrinkled old codger who hides out in the woods, ain’t too friendly and seldom comes out into the world.  He’s part bobcat and part coyote and probably a little bit of a wild hog himself and he doesn’t get rattled at the sight of hogs nor does he shoot poorly.  But then you might want to use something with a bit more punch if you don’t have them in your yard on a nightly basis.