What About That Shield?

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Wild boars are like many other (male) wild animals in that they will tangle over the affections of the fairer sex. Nature has however given them some additional padding over the fairer sex to prevent them from tearing each other to shreds. This bony cartiledge is most commonly referred to as the boar's shield. This armor helps prevent the tusks of mature males from penetrating into the vitals of their rivals (usually). I'd heard of such a thing before going on my first wild hog hunt in Georgia about 5 yrs ago, but didn't really think much of it after shooting a meat hog with my M88/.308 and seeing the shot had given full penetration and dropped the less than 100 pound hog in it's tracks. Tough shield, what tough shield?

Fast forward a couple of years and my first opportunity at a truly large boar. This day found me sitting in my ladder stand and holding a Marlin M1894 in .44 mag which was stoked with 270gr Gold Dots at about 1700 FPS. Plenty of hog medicine I'd figured in this thick Georgia swamp. The hog presented himself at about 45 -50 yds and I took careful aim at a spot just behind his right ear as he stood broadside. Down he went, up he got. I aimed quickly now at the middle of his shoulder. Down he went, up he tried to get, now facing a full 180* out from his initial position.

As he tried to regain his feet, I continued to fire two more 270gr SPs into his exposed underside. Now, finally he was quiet and had stopped his struggling. Likely all four shots were fired in under 15 seconds, perhaps even 10 seconds. I reloaded, got down to walk over to my big boar and just before I was about to poke him with my gun barrel, I decided instead to throw a small stick at him. Now, I'd already whistled a few times trying to illicit a response, but had seen nothing to indicate he might still be alive. That little 8" stick sure got a response, however as he immediately tried to regain his feet again.

I quickly added a 5th 270gr, fired through mid neck, at a range of 10' or less. Within about 15 seconds or so, he became quiet and I figured he'd finally given it up. It was way after full dark by the time he was loaded and driven back to camp in the guide's P/U. The next day we set about to cape him out and discovered a few very interesting things. First, the initial shot had indeed hit him squarely about 4" behind the ear and that bullet lie against his neck vertebra, but had quite obviously not broken his neck.

Shot #2 was tough to find and we did not know it's true whereabouts until we "un-shielded" his right shoulder and found that bullet lying tight against his right shoulder bone. This wound had not even bled. Not one drop. It did, however, spin him around and allow me two more quick shots to his underside, at least one of which took out one or both lungs apparently. Those shots seemed to kill him, but shot #5 was still needed as he thrashed around again as I walked up, and he tried once again to regain his feet.

The shield on this large boar was well over 2" thick in it's thinnest sections and over 3" thick in some areas. The shield will barely dimple if hit with a hammer. The head and cape of this boar weighed over 100 pounds, due in part, to this thick shield of gristle plating.

If you are going after large boars simply one word of caution; be sure to pack enough gun and also to use proper loads. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it! 

See the recovered bullets below.


Definitely Need to Be Prepared for a Boar

That story definitely caught my attention. To realize that the boar did not tank after one shot with a rifle like that is quite impressive, especially when you root it in the historical aspect of why a boar would need such as large and thick protective covering (eg in order to prevent other male boars from shredding them to parts). Thanks for the article. Here in Alpharetta, we enjoy seeing the people practice their skills in the beauty of the forest of Georgia, especially in Alpharetta.

James - Tree Service Alpharetta

niceshot_smitty's picture

Wow, the pig took a licking

Wow, the pig took a licking and keep on ticking.  I never know the shield was that thick.  i always heard about the shield but didn't think it was like that.  i will be picky when i shoot at when i go next winter.  I hope i have fun.

groovy mike's picture

A wild hog is undoubtedly tougher than a domestic pig.

There is no doubt that pigs can be tough.  This sure makes you appreciate those old boys of 100+ years ago who would spear hunt wild boars!  Some folks still do!  A wild hog is undoubtedly tougher than a domestic pig, but I have more experience with domestic hogs.  I have had a hand in butchering dozens of them.  The toughest swine that I ever tried to kill was domestic sow of about three hundred pounds.  I was using my grand dads 32-20 rifle.  It was a pump action carbine.  I shot that sow behind the ear from about two feet from the muzzle.  She just shook her head and walked off.  Walking up next to her I repeated the process on the other side with the exact same effect.  I then put a bullet into the side of her head between the eye and ear.  It knocked her down but she got up and trotted off.  At that I decided that the cartridge was inadequate to penetrate her skull and retrieved my AKM chambered in 7.62x39 and put a bullet between her eyes.  THAT finally knocked her down and kept her there!

ManOfTheFall's picture

Thanks for the tip. I have

Thanks for the tip. I have heard all kind of horror stories about hog hunters who have been attacked after they shot the hog and they carelessly walked upon the hog too quickly. I really would love to take one out with my bow. 

hunter25's picture

This is a great story with

This is a great story with very interesting results. I would hsve not believed the shield was actually tough enough to stop .44 magnum bullets. The only rifle I have used so far for hogs is my 7mm remington magnum deer rifle with barnes 160gr triple shock bullets.

This is good information if I decide to give it a try with one of my handguns. As always proper shot placement will be the key thing to being successful.

I have an old Virginian Dragoon .44 magnum or a Taurus .454 Casull I hsve been thinking about trying.