Hog hunting is considered by many to be one of the best forms of big game hunting available in the United States for a number of reasons. For one, many parts of the country place almost no restriction on hunting wild hogs as these invasive species are ransacking much of the southern portion of the country and doing millions of dollars in damage in the process.
Another reason hog hunting is gaining popularity is that hunters have no restrictions on how these animals are hunted. Many states allow nocturnal hunting, which opens the door to using a wide variety of interesting thermal imaging and night vision technology. There is also usually no limit on the amount of hogs one can kill per day, which attracts those looking to employ the use of high magazine capacity rifles in an effort to take down more than one hog during a hunt.
Having so many options raises the question of just what exactly is the best hog hunting guns available today. While some provide more advantages over others, we’ve combed through the details and spoken to multiple experts on hog hunting to provide you with this list of the best hog hunting guns on the market.
Guides Agree—Go Big
The consensus across the board from every guide we spoke with agreed that the larger and heavier the cartridge, the better chance you’ll have of bringing down a wild boar. Hogs are unusually tough animals and many hunters find out too late that using small caliber handguns or other weapons just won’t do the job.
“We always recommend using a high-powered rifle for hog hunting to all our clients—the same thing you’d use for deer hunting,” says Hayward Simmons, owner of Cedar Knoll Hunting Lodge. “The smaller rounds will not be nearly as effective and you’re really doing yourself a disservice by using something smaller than a .243.”
Consider Your Terrain
Danny Santangelo, owner of Okeechobee Outfitters, says that hunters must take into account the type of terrain they will be hunting before selecting among our list of the best hog hunting guns to use.
“If you’re going to be hunting in thick brush, you want something you can easily aim with and also shoot through brush with as well,” says Danny. “I always go with something heavy that’s going to bring them down. Using these smaller .223 rounds will really put you at risk of losing a hog—especially in thick underbrush around swamps.”
Danny has three guns on his list of best hog hunting guns.
-.30-30 iron-sights rifle. Danny says this allows hunters to quickly draw a bead on the kill zone and get off a good shot in the dense brush of the Florida swamplands. This is near the top of our list of the best hog hunting guns available and will do the job just about anywhere in the country.
-12 gauge shotgun slug. This one is easily among any serious hunters’s list of the best hog hunting guns as it will put down the biggest of wild boar.
-Lever-action .308. As stated earlier, the bigger the caliber, the better. This high-powered rifle is perfect for those one-shot opportunities in thick brush.
“These are all guns that are great for thick brush, but of course if you’re hunting in an open field, you’ll want a high powered rifle with a good long-range scope on it,” says Danny. “I never recommend anyone use a .223 caliber rifle as there are many disadvantages to it.”
Smaller Rounds for Smaller Folks
According to Lisa Sinclair of Ron’s Guide Service, located in south-central Florida, using a .223 round rifle is sometimes a smart choice for novice hunters and kids, which is why we still include them on our list of the best hog hunting guns.
“Sometimes it’s better to use something with a .223 caliber as there would be little recoil and will be more comfortable for someone that’s not used to hunting,” says Lisa. “That can make the experience much more enjoyable for them.”
Among Lisa’s picks for the best hog hunting guns are .243, .30-06, .44 rifles. These are going to pack enough punch to do the job and will be perfect for those hunts from Ron’s Guide Service’s popular Swamp Buggy.
Shotguns Also Make the List
Lisa says that novice hunters may benefit more from using a shotgun as opposed to a rifle, and that she would add both 12 and 20 gauge shotguns to her list of the best hog hunting guns.
“The experience differs based on ammo types. Deer slugs are recommended for experienced hunters looking to harvest the most usable meat,” says Lisa. “Buckshot is helpful for beginners who will rely on the spray of the ammo to take down the wild hog.”
For a Greater Challenge, Use Handguns
Lisa says that, for her more experienced clients, she encourages employing a handgun as a rifle is sometimes too easy for seasoned veterans. Selecting the right caliber is key and Lisa recommends adding a .44 or .45 caliber handgun to the list of best hog hunting guns.
“A steady hand and aim isn’t as easy as one would think when you’re trying to hit a fast moving wild hog that can turn and charge at you. a .41 mag/10 mm is the minimum effective caliber,” says Lisa. “As in all shooting situations, shot placement is critical. You must be daring and willing to get close to the dangerous hog, otherwise you will not be able to pierce the wild hog’s skin.”
Any of these guns will do the trick for hog hunting, but new technology is emerging that makes using high-powered rifles more appealing for nocturnal hog hunts. We hope you enjoy this list of the best hog hunting guns available and select one of our picks for your next hog hunting adventure.