The bushpig is a medium-sized species of pig found in forested areas of Africa that get lots of rain. Read on to learn all about bushpig hunting in Africa.
Other than Antarctica, it is possible to hunt hogs on every continent and Africa is no exception. Bushpigs are widespread, plentiful in numbers, and can be extremely exciting to hunt.
Due to the difficulty involved in hunting them, they aren’t as popular among visiting hunters as other animals, such as impala or kudu. However, bushpig can be an extremely satisfying animal to hunt for those who are willing to put forth the necessary effort.
Read on to find out more about these interesting creatures.
Scientific Name: Potamochoerus larvatus
Bushpigs are a medium- to large-sized animal of the pig family that inhabits much of Africa. They are very similar to the red river hog and live in virtually every country in southern and eastern Africa.
A fully grown boar can weigh up to 350 pounds and stand over three feet tall at the shoulder. Though they vary in color across their range, most bushpigs have red- or brown-colored hair.
With their long heads, flat snouts, coats of long and shaggy hair, and pointy ears, bushpigs aren’t very attractive animals. As you can see in the photo below, they also have tusks on both their upper and lower jaw, which can be incredibly sharp. Unsurprisingly, bushpigs are capable of causing severe injury with their tusks, so exercise caution when hunting them.
Like their distant cousin the warthog, boars have growths on their faces that resemble warts. However, they seem to lack the charm that warthogs possess.
Bushpigs are usually found in heavily forested areas with plenty of water. Like pigs all over the world, bushpigs will eat virtually anything that they can find. This, along with their penchant for “rooting” around in the ground for roots and bugs, makes them the scourge of farmers all over their range. Unsurprisingly, they will often be found in agricultural crops.
Recommended Calibers for Hunting Bushpig
Bushpigs are very tough animals. Their toughness, combined with the fact that they can be extremely dangerous when cornered, makes it essential to use a rifle-appropriate power when hunting bushpig. When placed properly, using a powerful cartridge will make your follow up of the bushpig both shorter and less dangerous.
As a result, I recommend the .30-06 Springfield as the minimum cartridge for bushpig hunting. There’s nothing wrong with using something larger, like the .375 H&H or something even more powerful if you feel like it’s necessary.
While I don’t recommend hunting bushpig with a bow, you should use an arrow weighting at least 500 grains with an extremely sharp blade broad head shot from a bow with at least a 65-pound draw weight.
Bushpig Shot Placement
Yes, bushpig are very tough. However, they aren’t bulletproof. If you hit them hard, they won’t go very far. Luckily, shot placement is relatively simple: aim at the center of the shoulder, approximately one third of the way up the body (this goes for both rifle and bowhunters) on a broadside presentation.
Bushpig Hunting Methods
Since they are usually nocturnal animals, they can be extremely difficult to hunt. It is possible to encounter them by accident during the day, but that is a rare event. If you really want to hunt bushpig, you have two options: hunt them over bait (usually at night) or hunt them with dogs.
Baiting bushpigs works best June through October, when most of the farmers have harvested the crops from their fields. Since there aren’t as many food sources during that time, they are much easier to bait. A number of different things can be used to bait them, but corn and sugar are especially effective. Place the bait site near an area where bushpig like to hang out and has plenty of bushpig signs, such as near a river bed.
Once the bait site is set up, set up a well-concealed blind a short distance away, then wait for them to appear. They are very wary animals, so absolute silence and a minimum of movement are absolutely essential to your odds of success when hunting bushpig. This can make the hunt extremely tedious.
Additionally, they will usually not hit the bait until nightfall. Some hunters set up motion activated lights around the bait, while others use some sort of night vision equipment to take the shot. Fortunately, shots taken when hunting over bait are usually on a stationary animal that is at a known distance.
When hunting from November through May, it is best to hunt them with hound. Not surprisingly, this type of hunting can be very exciting. Typically, the hounds will be sent into an area where the bushpigs are likely to sleep during the day with shooters posted downwind along likely routes of escape. As you can see in the photo below, this sort of hunting can get very interesting.
Cost to Hunt Bushpig
Because they aren’t super popular among visiting hunters, bushpig aren’t very expensive to hunt. Though the cost varies slightly between different countries and outfitters, the trophy fee usually ranges from $400-$600, with an average of around $500. However, some outfitters charge additional fees for baiting or to use hounds, so make sure you ask about those costs before the hunt.
Ready to go bushpig hunting?
All images, unless specified, courtesy of Big Game Hunting Adventures
Like what you see here? You can read more great hunting articles by John McAdams at The Big Game Hunting Blog. Follow him on Twitter @TheBigGameHunt.