Can You Hunt Wild Hogs With A Shotgun?

Fact checked by Steven Lines, lifelong Hunter and OutdoorsmanOpens in a new tab..

Wild hogs are extremely fun animals to hunt, but they can be very tough to take down. You must carefully choose your weapon when deciding to go hunting for wild hogs, as you will want something that has enough power to be efficiently taken down. So can you hunt wild hogs with a shotgun?

You can hunt wild hogs with a shotgun in most places, and they are great weapons to use as they are powerful and versatile. Feral hogs are powerful animals, and it can be challenging to get precise shot placement in the kill area. With a shotgun, you can more easily hit this small area and be sure you are packing enough firepower to kill the animal efficiently. 

As you can see, it is possible to hunt wild hogs with a shotgun. But is it the best choice? What shotguns and loads should you use if you intend to use one? Let’s answer these questions and take a more detailed look at hunting wild hogs (feral hogs, feral swine, wild boar) with shotguns.

Can You Hunt Wild Hogs With A Shotgun 1

Why Shotguns for Wild Hogs?

Wild hogs have often been called the “poor man’s grizzly” because they are tough and aggressive. Whether male or female, a wild hog has a strong body that is very heavy in the shoulder area, this helps protect their vital sites, and it can be tough to get a clean shot on them because of this. This “armor” is a thick layer of cartilage on each shoulder that quickly stops a small-caliber bullet. This is why choosing the right weapon for the job is so essential before ever heading out to hunt wild hogs. 

Shotguns are great for hunting wild hogs and other big game as they are powerful weapons that can deal a lot of damage. They are an excellent choice when hunting in dense areas or at close quarters. When loaded with the right ammunition, shotguns can successfully penetrate the thick hide, muscle, and bones of a wild hog to kill it. There are a few considerations to make when taking a shotgun out to kill a wild hog, such as caliber, ammunition, and style of shotgun that you plan to use.

What Type and Caliber of Shotgun to Use

The caliber and type of shotgun that you plan to use are very important, especially when hunting wild hogs. The recommended caliber of shotgun for hogs is the popular 12-gauge. This caliber is powerful enough to punch through the thick skin and heavy muscles of mature hogs. You can rest assured that you will get plenty of penetration and knockdown power with this caliber compared to other popular options such as the 20-gauge. 

Another good option is the 10-gauge, which is larger than a 12-gauge. However, the problem with a 10-gauge shotgun is that you will be much more limited in ammunition selection. Selecting the right ammo is critical, and the 10-gauge is much less popular, which leads to fewer choices. It will also have a lot more recoil and weight when compared to a 12-gauge, without a ton more power to compensate for it. 

Having the correct type of shotgun is essential as well. Because wild hogs are so tough, they often require more than one shot to take down. The ability to have a quick follow-up shot is essential, and not all types of shotguns allow for this. Avoid single shot and double barrel shotguns, as you will not have as fast of shots. 

This could be very important, especially in situations where the hogs get aggressive and potentially charge. Semi-auto or pump-action shotguns will be your best bet, as they allow for much quicker follow-up shots in the event of a wounded wild hog. You may also find a group of wild hogs together and want to shoot several of them before they flee. Having a semi-auto or pump shotgun will allow you to shoot much more quickly and accomplish this.

Ammunition Selection and Loads

Selecting the right shotgun is important, but having the correct ammunition is just as vital. Most experienced hog hunters will tell you to use things like slugs and buckshot. This will also depend on the shotgun that you own. If the shotgun you are using has a rifled barrel, you will be better served with slugs. If not, buckshot might be a better option. Something with large pellets like 00 Buck is ideal for buckshot when used for wild hogs. 

Whether using buckshot or slugs, it is important to get close to the hogs before you shoot. Shotguns shooting slugs can reach out and kill a hog at slightly longer distances, but shots should still be limited to under 100 yards and 60 yards if possible. The closer you are to a wild hog, the more damage and penetration that you can do with your shot placement. With wild hogs being so tough, this is extremely important to get a clean kill and control local feral hog populations.

Final Thoughts

So can you hunt wild hogs with a shotgun? You definitely can, as long as you are equipped with the right type of shotgun, loaded with proper ammunition. When hunting these tough, aggressive animals, a shotgun is a great weapon to have by your side. From their power to their versatility, a shotgun is not just for small game and the occasional deer hunt. Grab your favorite shotgun and take it wild hog hunting! 

Steven Lines hunter pic 1

Steven Lines is a hunter and outdoorsman from Safford, Arizona, USA. Since he was a child, he has been hunting and fishing and has over 20 years of experience in the outdoors. Steven works as a hunting guide in Arizona during his spare time and runs a Youtube channelOpens in a new tab. dedicated to sharing his outdoor adventures with others.


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Hi, I'm Sam! I used to work as a caregiver, and now I'm in medical school. My blog is about helping people get healthier through fun activities like archery, hunting, and powerlifting. If you like one of my articles, please share it with your friends and family so they can be healthy too!

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