Down And Dirty With The Bushpig

In my last few articles I’ve profiled the nyala, waterbuck, eland, kudu, the cape buffalo, the impala, the warthog, the zebra, and the blue wildebeest. Today, I’m writing about one of overlooked and under appreciated animals in Africa: the bushpig. Far from being a magnificent looking animal, bushpigs are pretty ugly. However, they are extremely challenging and fulfilling to hunt.

Bushpig Description & Distribution

Scientific Name: Potamochoerus larvatus

Bushpig are a medium sized species of the pig family and are similar to feral hogs. Male bushpig (boars) are significantly larger than females (sows). Big males can weigh up to 350 pounds and stand over three feet tall at the shoulder.

They have long heads, flat snouts, and long, pointed ears. Their coats are long, shaggy, and vary in color. Boars have growths on their face along with tusks on both their upper and lower jaw. While bushpigs are not normally aggressive towards humans, one that is wounded or cornered is capable of causing severe injury with these tusks.

bushpig closeBushpig Hunting Methods

Since they are normally nocturnal animals, bushpigs can be difficult to hunt. For this reason, the vast majority of bushpig hunts are conducted over bait at night or using hounds.

When hunting over bait, it’s imperative to sit for as long as possible without making any extra noise. Unfortunately, the bugs can be pretty bad when hunting at night in many parts of Africa. Obviously, swatting a bugs is not ideal in this situation. To minimize the negative impacts of bugs, wear insect repellent or use a device like a Thermacell (the Thermacell Radius is airline friendly).

Hunting bushpigs with hounds can get pretty interesting. Basically, it involves sending a pack of hounds into an area where there is a good chance that the bushpigs will be sleeping during the day. The hounds then flush them out of the thick brush into the sights of hunters waiting along likely routes of escape. Not surprisingly, hunting bushpigs with hounds can be very exciting.

bushpig hounds

Recommended Bushpig Cartridges

While they are not extremely large animals, pound for pound, bushpigs are very tough. While cartridges like the .270 Winchester and .280 Remington will certainly work, the .308 Winchester (using premium, 180gr bullets) is a better choice as a minimum cartridge for hunting bushpig in order to minimize your chances of having to follow up a wounded bushpig.

For all intents and purposes, the .308 Winchester and the .30-06 Springfield are both outstanding for hunting bushpig, so don’t worry too much about the differences between the 308 vs 30-06. Additionally, the .300 Winchester Magnum, 300 WSM, .338 Winchester Magnum, 9.3x62mm Mauser, and .375 H&H Magnum are all great choices for hunting bushpigs as well.

When hunting in a situation where a shot at close range is likely (like when hunting with hounds), a .30-30 Winchester or even a 12 gauge shotgun with buckshot or a slug is also an acceptable choice for hunting bushpig. Make sure you use premium .30-30 ammo if you go that route though!

Bushpig Shot Placement

Even though they are relatively tough animals, a bushpig will not run very far if it is hit in the vitals. Fortunately, shot placement is simple: when the animal is standing broadside, aim at the center of the shoulder, about one third of the way up the body.

bushpig shot placement

The Perfect Shot by Kevin Robertson (which is an excellent hunting book by the way) was used as a reference for shot placement.

Thanks to Big Game Hunting Adventures for the bushpig hunting photos.

Learn more about the South Africa hunting safaris Big Game Hunting Adventures offers on their web site or follow them on Facebook, YouTube, & Instagram.

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Posted in: Pro Staff Blog, Scrolls
Big Game Hunter

About the Author:

I was born and raised in Texas where I started hunting white-tailed deer and hogs at an early age with my father and grandfather. Under their tutelage, I developed a strong respect for wildlife and the outdoors, as well as an appreciation and interest in firearms. Since then, I've hunted big game all over the United States as well as in Namibia and Zimbabwe. As a strong supporter of conservation as well as gun rights, I'm a member of Safari Club International, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and the National Rifle Association. I live in Washington state with my wife where we both enjoy taking advantage of all the outdoor opportunities available in the Pacific Northwest. I currently serve in the United States Army and have served combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as a mortar platoon leader and cavalry troop commander. I was born in Texas and have hunted big game all over the United States as well as in Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. I served served on active duty in the United States Army for over 7 years and served combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as a mortar platoon leader and cavalry troop commander. I live in Washington with my wife and I am currently serving in the Washington Army National Guard. My passion for the outdoors led me to create The Big Game Hunting Blog and Big Game Hunting Adventures in order to share my hunting experiences with others and to help them fulfill their hunting dreams.
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