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A shotgun is incredible when it comes to small game, but what about the big game like hogs? Will you have the same chances of dropping a hog as you do with rabbits or birds? If you are more comfortable with shotguns or it is your only gun, and you want to hunt some hogs, here is all the information you need. Some of the crucial questions you may have include;
- Can you hunt hogs with a shotgun?
- What caliber shotgun is needed?
- Should you go for semi-auto, auto, or a normal one?
- What type of shells should be used?
- At what distance does it kill the hogs?
- Is it legal to hunt hogs with a shotgun?
- What shotguns do we recommend?
Can You Hunt Hogs with a Shotgun
The answer, simply put, is yes, you can successfully hunt hogs using a shotgun. It is a great choice when it comes to hunting in really thick conditions or even hunting from a helicopter. A shotgun is powerful enough to kill a 200-300lbs game, which is the range for the largest hogs.
Experts recommend shotguns for beginners in hog hunting using guns. They are easier to use and give better results regardless of skill.
However, there is a catch, the capability of your shotgun. The right shotgun will mean the difference between bringing the bacon home and coming home empty-handed. But don’t worry; the following sections will help you understand the qualities of the perfect shotgun for hog hunting.
What Caliber Shotgun is needed?
The recommended caliber of a shotgun when it comes to hunting hogs is 12-gauge. It can penetrate the thick skin and the heavy built of a mature hog with ease. You get adequate penetrating and knockdown power for you to take down the hog when you aim for the kill zone areas on the hog’s body. If you miss these areas but still hit it, the power of the projectile will drop it, and if it runs, it will be for a few yards. You can follow the blood trail or unleash your hunting dog on it.
Another option is the 10-gauge, which is larger than the 12-gauge; however, it is not the best for two reasons. One, the slug load offerings aren’t so proficient, and two, both shotgun weight and recoil increase dramatically. You will, therefore, stand a lower chance of hitting your target.
Should You Go for a Semi-auto or a Normal Shotgun?
You will need a shotgun that is hard-hitting and allows rapid follow-up shots, which means the semi-auto is your best bet. Here are some of the reasons why:
- The wounded hog may run after the first hit which requires a second shot in rapid succession before it disappears into the thick undergrowth or a swamp.
- You may spot a group of hogs and want to drop several of them before they runoff.
- A hog charging at you will need rapid follow-up shots if you don’t hit it in the kill zone areas.
- Running hogs are fast-moving targets, and a single shot is less likely to hit.
What Type of Shell should be used?
When it comes to shells, experienced hunters swear by slugs and buckshot. If your shotgun has a rifled barrel, slugs become your best option. Buckshot works fine in a 12-gauge, and you will enjoy hunting over a feeder when it comes to this option.
The Winchester Razorback XT that is claimed to be the world’s first ammunition line designed specifically for the hunting of wild hogs can be an excellent place to start. You can opt for either 00 Buck or 1oz segmented slug.
At What Distance Does it Kill the Hogs?
You can drop a hog at a maximum effective distance of 75yards. It may be possible to do it at 100 yards using the regular shotgun shells or even 200yards using modern shell designs but not as effective. These high figures are mainly theoretical.
Let’s take a dip into some physics to understand these numbers. Once a shell is shot, there is a rapid decay of its energy, velocity, and also accuracy beyond 75yards. At 100 yards, it has lost 60% of its energy, which from an ME of 2365ft-lbs puts it at 1000ft-lbs. The minimum energy threshold for a big game is 1000ft-lbs, and thus 100yards is the maximum distance. Newer designs like sabot jacketed bullets have 1000ft-lbs energy at 200yards, making it possible to kill a hog at that distance.
The bottom line is this; you will need to keep the maximum distance at 75yards for the best results for a regular shell. You can go further with new high-velocity sabot rounds.
Is it Legal to Hunt Hogs with Shotguns?
You will be pleased to know that shotguns are legal when hunting in most of the states in the US. What’s even better is that all the states with hog hunting like Texas allow you to use shotguns. You may, however, need to note that in some seasons, guns are not allowed. Check with your local authority to know the specific laws regarding shotguns and the seasons you are permitted to use guns to hunt. You can also refer to this breakdown.
What Shotguns Do We Recommend?
Some of the best shotguns when it comes to hog hunting are the following:
Mossberg 500 Flex
It is said to be tailor-made for wild hog hunting. You can also easily customize it by adding a scope, red dot sight, pistol grip stick, and a nicer recoil pad without using tools. Opt for the 12-gauge one for the best results.
This shotgun is the most popular when it comes to the big game as it is hard-hitting and has rapid follow-up shots. It works great for hog hunting when you use 00 or 000 buckshot.
Other honorable mentions include:
- Russian Saiga 12-gauge with a chock set
- Beretta Xtrema2
- Beretta Urika
- Mossberg 930
- Browning A5
Shotguns will serve you as well as rifles and handguns will when it comes to bringing down wild hogs. Now that you know just how well a shotgun can perform, why not give it a try. It’s often so much easier to hit with a shotgun than a rifle!
FAQ Hunting Hogs with Shotgun
Is it possible to kill hogs with a 20 gauge shotgun?
Yes it is and I know people that do hunt with a “20 bore”. Here you need to be really close for it to do adequate damage though.
How do you hunt hogs at night with a shotgun?
Here I would go for an Aimpoint with night vision capabilities and have that mounted on your shotgun of choice. It does work wonders if you can sneak up on the hogs with your UTV that has a mounted green light bar on the roof. Then you don’t even need the Aimpoint.
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36 years old, been hunting and fishing my entire life – love the outdoors, family, and all kinds of hunting and fishing! I have spent thousands of hours hunting hogs and training hunting dogs, but I’m always learning new stuff and really happy to be sharing them with you! hit me up with an email in the contact form if you have any questions.