HUNTING BUSHPIG IN SOUTH AFRICA
Bushpig is the smaller and more colorful African equivalent of the European wild boar. The bushpig is closely related to the red river hog of Central and West Africa. Bushpigs are found throughout Africa wherever there is adequate water and cover available.
Bushpig coloration varies from blonde to reddish to dark brown and black. The head is typically light colored and the males have long bony heads with visible warts or pads on the snout. The upper tusks project minimally and serve to hone the bottom 3” tusks. Bushpigs squeal and bristle their mane when cornered. As with all members of the wild swine family, bushpigs can be dangerous in close quarters and caution should be exercised when approaching a cornered or wounded bushpig.
Bushpig are hunted by leopards, hyenas and lion where present. The bushpig thrives in varied ecosystems such as wooded habitat, marshes and even swamps. Bushpigs are omniovores and eat carrion, roots, bulbs and fallen fruit. Bushpigs are serious agricultural pests and do significant damage to crops in Southern Africa each year. Hunting bushpigs in Africa is used as a population control measure to mitigate damage done by these animals.
Bushpigs are mainly nocturnal, but when not pressured will sometimes be seen foraging in thickets during the daytime. Bushpig families consist of 1 boar and between 1 to 4 sows and their associated sounders. Home ranges vary from 50 acres to 2,500 acres. Offspring may remain with the family for up to 1 year. The male offspring are usually driven out by the father and may form bachelor groups.
Hunting bushpig in South Africa is mainly as an add-on to a plains game safari. As the bushpig is found over a wide range in South Africa, many outfitters have formed relationships with area farmers to help rid them of this pest. There is no special license or permit required, and bushpig trophies are importable into the US.
When hunting bushpig in South Africa, several methods are used. One of the best but least likely methods of taking a trophy male bushpig is by sheer luck. Although bushpigs are mostly active at night, one does happen upon them occasionally during the daytime and succumb to a hunter’s bullet.
Other than sheer luck, there are three primary methods of taking trophy bushpigs. The first and most popular method of taking bushpigs is by baiting and then waiting in a blind at night until a bushpig arrives to feed. Trail cameras and solar powered red lights are growing in usage and eliminate many wasted nights in a blind hoping and waiting. One must remain absolutely still, as bushpig have excellent hearing and eyesight, as well as the ability to smell an up-wind hunter.
The second most popular method of hunting bushpigs in South Africa is by using a spotlight at night while searching the areas fields and open areas for s foraging boar. Many bushpigs are taken each year while using this method.
Finally, hunting bushpig in South Africa may be done by using a hound pack to chase and corner the bushpig. Then the hunter moves in to dispatch the bushpig, while being careful not to injure the dogs. Care must be exercised to only release the dog pack on a large track, as most times you will need to dispatch the pig to get the hounds off of the bushpig. Using a pack of hounds to hunt bushpig in South Africa is an effective way of getting a shot at a trophy bushpig, and ups the hunter’s odds of success considerably.
When hunting bushpig in South Africa, a rifle with a minimum caliber of .270 or larger is recommended. Shotguns with slugs are also an appropriate forearm.