Steve H. talks about hunting hogs today, and said this:
You don't need much of a rifle to hunt pigs, anyway. The Cubans rely on the .22 LR. I think it would be a little weird, showing up with a heavy-barreled .243 with a scope.
Some of you who found me from Jeff Soyer's People of the Gun page might find this picture a bit familiar.
First, some background. As most of you correctly assume, the header pic is a Google Earth save of my little corner of paradise. The trees under the words "Hedonistic Musings" are a shelterbelt bordering the north edge of the farmstead. To the lower right of the shelterbelt are strings of round bales laid end to end. At the far right is the cow lot of which the north end is basically abandoned and closed off. To the middle left is a round galvanized granary, where my neighbors store seed wheat.
One fine afternoon, I stepped out on the front porch to "get some air" as is my wont - I do live out in the country and could generally run around naked and no one would know or notice. Now that I've put that picture in your mind, imagine my surprise when I heard a metallic bang to the north. I looked thataway, and saw a huge hog lifting the end of a grain auger with his snout and then dropping it to shake loose wheat grains still inside. In retrospect - that was pretty clever. This hog was more than likely one of Ziggy's that he hadn't properly fenced in and turned out depending on the generosity of others. It had gone feral - it's hairs had grown long and a kind of ashy brown.
I got on the horn to my buddy B to see if anyone other than Ziggy had hogs in the neighborhood. He informed me there were not - this was one of the survivors of the old recluse's stock. He said he'd be right there, and to wait for me. So, I loaded up my Savage Model 10 in .243 Winchester. I also have my Glock 22 (that's foutty to teh gangbangers) handy in the console of my pickup. B arrived, and we went scoutin'.
We could hear the big devil in the strings of round bales. They were placed close enough together that there was no way to mow a path, but weeds had grown up and tumbleweeds had settled between them. Now, I dunno about you, but I'm not particularly wild about chasing a six hundred pound animal with long tusks through an area I'm not gonna be particularly handy in - not that my fat ass is handy in the open, but there you have it. B positioned himself at the east end of the bales, and I was on the west side. The hog ended up in the abandoned part of the cow lot, so I waded through the waist high dry weed barrier and looked over the fence. Sure enough, there he was. About twenty yards away. So, I waited to line up a shot. Cattle were in the south end of the lot coming and going from the stock tanks. B would not have been in a very gracious mood were I to ventilate some of his cattle. Can't say that I'd blame him.
So, I finally got a shot, and put one in his brisket from the side. It didn't kill him, so I held off until I had another good shot and tried for the head. Man, that had a reaction. The hogster went into the big electric dance. Micheal Jackson would have been proud - this dude was spinning on his nose. I had him dead to rights.
So, I knew we didn't want him in the lot, stinking it up close to the house and drawing coyotes or whatever. I walked back to my pickup and put away the Savage. I had told B of my plans to tow the carcass out of the lot, and he started to walk into the southern edge of the corral. Suddenly, B hollered at me that the hog was still alive! Well, he can't be long for this world, I'm thinking. So, I grab the plastic fantastic to finish him off. I crawled over the fence and started trotting (remember, I'm 6'3" and 350 pds, so trotting is a major undertaking) to where B was reporting the hogster was. He had strategically placed himself on top of the fence to see better. This fence is fairly tall, and has tin siding nailed to it, so climbing it is a bit of a task. B had a pretty severe wreck in his youth, and is about half crippled, so his perch on that fence was damn impressive. I was the only armed party in this hunt.
The hogster had taken off for the east side of the lot in the pasture. I continued trotting after him. He circled around the north edge of the bales, and headed across the plowed ground for the road to the west. I got to the pasture fence and climbed over it. I was at this point desirous of an oxygen mask. Since none were available, it seemed best to soldier on. It had rained recently, and the worked ground was rather muddy. We have some fairly cleachy soil that really sticks, so I was gathering a pretty good sample of the homestead on my boots. Highly trained athletes add ankle weights to become stronger. This sort of thing just winds fat boys, particularly if they were pretty blown to begin with.
I was being severely beaten in this footrace, so I decided to try to use technology to my advantage. I had been carrying the infamous foutty caliber plastic fantastic, so it seemed to me that I should use my superior tool skills on Mr. Hogster. The range was about fifty yards. I shot five times. I could tell I'd hit him because I heard a "bang" followed closely by a "splat." The hogster even flinched. I could see it. The second time I hit him, I heard the same sound sequence. By then, he'd learned to take the pain. It never even slowed him down. I felt pretty good shooting forty percent hits, really. I hear people train for this sort of tactical situation, where they are winded and tired. I certainly qualified there.
It occurred to my superior intellect that by the time I finished running across the muddy field to the road that the hogster would be long gone. I figured to use modern technology again by trotting to my pickup, still sitting at the corral gate. I had the "big" gun there, too.
So, B had dropped from his position of safety and met me there, and off we went. The hogster was about a half mile north of the home place, and still going strong.
I knew I'd planted a good shot in his lungs, and that he would expire without my intervention, but I couldn't just let him go. I had to finish the job. So, when we got close, I broke out the rifle and shot him a couple more times. He finally toppled over on his side with a huge sigh. He was still alive after all that.
I broke out the Super Gang Banging Pistola and finished him off with a couple of close, well placed head shots.
It is B and my considered opinion that a .243 might work for some people. A .22 might work for some people. We are not those people. We, with our love of technology and tools, feel that perhaps something in a .30 caliber might be a bit more apropos, or something a lot faster. Or both. As far as the .40 S&W's effectiveness at fifty yards? I'd say Tiger Woods with a driver and a bunch of teed up golf balls would be harder on the hog. He might hit him in the eye or in the balls - this critter had a huge set.
We figured this bad boy to be in the neighborhood of six hundred pounds, plus or minus whatever significant number we need to cover our asses. Keep in mind, though, that B makes a living judging weights of cattle in various stages of life, and is pretty sharp at that sort of thing. Personally - me - not so much. Like I said, I'm fairly tall and big, and that sucker dwarfed me as far as stockiness goes. You'll also notice the pack of Marlboro Light 100s in my shirt pocket. I don't get winded carrying those bastards around any more.
And yes, that is a Members Only jacket. It still fits, it ain't worn out, and it's comfortable. I'm built for comfort, not for speed, so whether something is still in style or not means nothing to me. When I buy a pair of jeans, I prefer them to be stiff and blue and new, not with worn out knees and "distressed." That is what bums used to wear.
I've dispatched two others of Ziggy's wandering herd with a VEPR in .308, and finished them off with a 1911 in .45. More gun was more gooder, in my humble opinion. If y'all wanna hunt hogs with five inch tusks stripped naked with a .22 and a Rambo survival knife in yer teeth, feel free and have fun, sport! I'm for getting it over quick with less bother is all. Your mileage may vary.