Anatomy of a Wild Boar - Matthews Hunting Experience
Matthews Hunting Experience

Anatomy of a Wild Boar

All of you know this story all too well…

You see a wild boar, place your crosshairs, red dot or sights neatly over its rib cage, squeeze of shot which would most likely immediately knock down any roe, fallow or red deer and despite this you see the boar running. “Shit, it happened again?!”

Yes, you just executed lung shot and the boar is most likely to run couple of hundred meters before finally getting down. This might be nightmare, especially in thick undergrowth or in case that you do not have good hunting dog which will help you to quickly track down the animal.

Alternatively, you had just used too soft bullet for that tusker of your lifetime, which you did not expect to show up. Bullet passed through one shoulder blade, disintegrated. It was not rigid enough to penetrate through the other side. You are left with no blood trail

If you have ever hunted wild boar, you probably experienced exactly this or something very similar. All of us did. And why? Because we tend to apply lessons learned while deer hunting on most of the game which we take after we learn to hunt our first species.

Is there anything you can actually do?

But what is wrong with this? OK, here we go. And I am not going to invent this topic, rather point you toward some sources – e.g. Lone Star Boars – YouTube channel which I use as great source of information and pictures for this post.

But to the point. I know, you want to get that wild boar or pig down on the spot, but how to do it each time, over and over again? My answer would be very simple. Switch to brain shot or spine shot in the neck area. These two options will deliver instant shut down reliably every single time. However, in many cases such shot is not possible. The pig may be just too far and you are not feeling comfortable about getting that bullet into those tiny targets. Or you want to preserve the skull to make sure that taxidermist is not going to screw up the proportions, because you blew half of pigs head off. Or many other reasons.

One of those which you encounter most often would be, that rib cage shot gives you plenty of space to work with. If you are shooting with less precise rifle or from offhand position and you may get little bit off, you are still going to hit pretty hard, but the pig will go down, eventually. If you go for the brain and shoot the jaw off, then you screwed up terribly and the pig is most likely going to painfully die too far away for you to recover it.

So where to shoot if you decide to go for rib cage shot? Many may argue that good option is go through shoulder blades. But once again you will miss heart. What is worse, you are most likely going to screw up whole lot of tasty meat and the pig is very likely to run anyway. Unless you use cartridge like .416 Remington or .458 Lott. And even these beasts do not guarantee immediate knock down in case of shoulder blade shot. Furthermore, European boars are infamously known for their “armor” – calcified layer of fat around ribs, which is capable of stopping bullets, even from rifles chambered in something like venerable 8×57.

Anatomy class begins..

If you want the fastest possible death without going for the brain or spine, you simply need to hit the heart. Proportionally, its location is slightly different in comparison with deer and thus many shooters tend to overshoot. Please see following picture (of domestic pig) to understand basic layout of pig’s internal organs. - Anatomy of a pig

Green dot on following picture mark ideal shot placement for hitting heart in case of hunting for a pig. Red marks good spot to hit spine and knock down the pig immediately every single time.

Anatomy of pig - Lone Star Boars


To conclude, as you can see on the pictures here, heart is located at the very bottom of pig’s chest. You need to place your shot right behind or through the leg, under the shoulder blade. For most hunting soft point bullets, this is the ideal spot. Thick skin and ribs will initiate bullet’s deformation. It is then continuing through the soft tissue of internal organs where it sheds lot of energy and does it job. It is also going to have enough energy to create exit wound on the other side. This will secure nice blood trail in case that pig is able to run. And trust me, it will happen and happen a lot, but the distance will be muuuuuuch shorter in comparison with well executed lung shot. So do not hesitate and next time try this. I am pretty sure that you will be satisfied.

Thank you Lone Star Boars for your educational video!


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