Feral Hog Anatomy

Via TacticalGunReview.com I found this TexasBoars.com forum thread. Because of that and some other things I’ve had well… I wanted to make one good posting about feral hog anatomy and kill zones, so I could have a good “one-stop” reference on the topic. So whenever I need a refresh on the topic, I can just pull up this article and have all resources in one spot.

I’ve spoken about feral hog anatomy before. That article included one of the better hog anatomy pictures I’ve seen:

Feral hog anatomy

TexasBoars.com has a great article on feral hog anatomy. They provide a nice shot placement picture:

Feral hog kill zone (from TexasBoars.com)
Feral hog kill zone (from TexasBoars.com)

Speaking of shot placement, the California Hog Blog talks about shot placement. They have great graphics showing the neck shot:

Feral hog kill zone - neck shot (from California Hunting Today's Hog Blog)
Feral hog kill zone - neck shot (from California Hunting Today's Hog Blog)

and the more traditional kill zone:

Feral hog kill zone - traditional zone (from California Hunting Today's Hog Blog)
Feral hog kill zone - traditional zone (from California Hunting Today's Hog Blog)

But while all of these are good, the TexasBoars.com forum thread has something that brings it home better than any other thing I’ve seen.

Is it this picture and description of the kill zone?

Feral hog - spine highlight (from TexasBoars.com)
Feral hog - spine highlight (from TexasBoars.com)

Here it is. A simple highlight of the “drop a hog in its tracks zone” DRT.
Don’t make the shot any further FORWARD or by NO MEANS any further BACK into the rib cage.

If the head is NOT DOWN the line would be horizontal.
The IMPORTANT FACTOR is don’t shoot high! If you shoot high the hog will likely hit the ground,, and then get back up once the “stinger” in the spine subsides as addressed in the video. If you hit a little low, thats OK.
A sign that a shot is HIGH is a SQUEAL. If the pig hits the ground and SQUEALS you should shoot it again to be safe. If the lungs or trachia are damaged and completely bruised the hog will not be able to squeal generally speaking.

No… it’s something else in the thread:

This video.

While the topic of the thread and video is more about bullet construction and performance, Kevin Ryer (TexasBoars.com’s admin) takes a freshly killed feral hog and dissects it. While doing so, it becomes very obvious where the kill zone is and why that’s the important kill zone.

Why does this matter? Because for people used to hunting deer or other such animals, the kill zone on a feral hog is slightly different. The chest cavity is a small target. It’s very low and forward. While the animal presents a large side to you, if you divide the animal in half horizontally, the lower half is really all you have to work with because of how the spine slopes as it approaches the head.

Here are a screen shots from the video that show what I’m talking about.

First, here’s where the 250# hog was shot in the shoulder. Entry wound. The knives are pointing to the hole, square in the shoulder.

Feral hog dissection - entry wound, square in the shoulder.
Feral hog dissection - entry wound, square in the shoulder.

He then cuts through the shield, removes the front leg, then gets into the chest cavity.

Feral hog dissection - location of spine
Feral hog dissection - location of spine

Kevin is holding the knife blade along the spine, and his left index finger is also pointing to it. Notice how the spine is about half-way through the animal… that is, about half their body is above it and half below it. This is lower than on a lot of other animals. Notice the bullet wound is below the spine. You have to aim lower than you may be used to.

And while the screen shots are nice, you really need to watch the entire video. There are a lot of comments Kevin makes, a lot of things he goes through. And again, while he’s focused on discussing the use of a fragmenting bullet, there’s a lot of importance placed on understanding anatomy and ensuring you get the bullet into the proper kill zone. It’s a well done video, and Kevin deserves much credit and thanks for making it.

The key thing is you have to shoot a little lower and a little more forward on a feral hog than you would on a deer. Think midline or a little below midline, and forward since the chest cavity isn’t that big. The target area is small, and, as Kevin points out in the thread discussion (read it!), depending what firearm you’re using it may be smaller. Shots have to be good and you have to know the anatomy clearly so you can ensure a good shot.

Thank you, Kevin, for all your work. It dispels a lot of myths and helps out a lot of hunters.

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