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The right tool for the job

2013-01-15T06:51:44+00:00

A friend of mine went hog-hunting the other day with a friend of his. The jungle has about 3 million wild hogs, all descendants of a few that Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto brought with him in 1539.

They cause a lot of destruction. If you wake up in the morning and your yard looks like someone in a monster truck has been turning doughnuts in your flower beds, that’s evidence that you have hogs. They’re little hairy 80-kilo bulldozers, rooting and wallowing. They eat almost anything, and can breed up to a dozen piglets twice a year.

They’re fast, intelligent, and dangerous with their tusks. This makes them good prey, and they’re good eating. But you have to use the right ammunition.

My friend had a .30-o6 rifle. His friend had a shotgun loaded with #00 buckshot. Unfortunately, his friend didn’t consider that pigs are basically muscular cylinders of fast-moving meat. It’s not easy to wound them to the point of slowing them down or killing them. You have to deal catastrophic damage in one blow. And buckshot will not do that.

They found a “sounder,” a large group of sub-adult males and adult females with piglets, in an old orange grove. The underbrush was thick with pigs. They found one that didn’t seem that concerned about running away. Six rounds of buckshot at 10 meters didn’t do much (although at that range, not many pellets hit the pig, I would bet). The pig simply kept eating. So my friend fired his rifle once and knocked the pig down permanently.

To be an ethical hunter, you have to kill the prey quickly and as painlessly as possible. To do that, you have to bring the right tool for the job. Shotguns with sabot slugs are fine for deer (buckshot is only good at very close range), but to hunt hogs, you need a proper rifle in a major caliber.

Now his friend knows better.

2 Comments
  1. 2013-01-16T13:45:47+00:00 13:45

    “Ethical hunter” is an oxymoron.

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    • 2013-01-16T19:03:01+00:00 19:03

      LOL – an unethical hunter would be one who waits for someone else to make the kill, then swoop in and take it. Like the bald eagle, for example. ;-) But they’re animals, they don’t have ethics. Sort of like journalists.

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