Hunting Warthog in Africa

Hunting Warthog in Africa

The warthog (Phacochoerus africanus) is an African member of the pig family found in sub-Sahara Africa.  It gets its name from the four wart-like protrusions on the boar’s head (two on the female).  Its habitats include grasslands, savannah and open woodlands.  Hunting warthog in Africa is very popular with hunters because the warthog’s tusks make excellent trophies.  The boar’s tusks are longer than the sow’s and can exceed ten inches in length.  Lower tusks are shorter than the upper and both are kept razor sharp by constant meshing when the mouth is opened and closed.

African warthog boars weigh 130 to 340 pounds and stand 25 inches to 37 inches at the shoulder.  Sows are a bit smaller and usually top out at 170 pounds and up to five inches shorter at the shoulder.  African warthogs have an omnivorous diet.  They will graze on grasses, roots, berries and most other plants.  It will eat eggs, carrion, and injured animals.  Like common farm pigs, African warthogs are strong diggers.  They use their snout and front hooves to dig up tubers and roots.  Anywhere an African warthog has been feeding resembles a freshly-plowed field.  They can do massive damage to cultivated land.

African warthogs are capable of digging their own burrows, but prefer to occupy existing ones.  They tend to favor aardvark burrows, but will use others.  Common warthog practice is to back down into the burrow with its head facing the opening so they can jump out instantly.  They are well equipped to fight, but prefer to sprint away from danger.  The boars will fight each other during mating season.  Lions, leopards, crocodiles and hyenas prey on African warthogs, as do humans.  Eagles and some owls will hunt African warthog piglets.  The sow will defend her brood very aggressively; charging and goring much larger predators. 

Hunting warthog in Africa can be extremely enjoyable.  They are constantly on the move and shooting one is a bit of a challenge.  When they run or trot they hold their tail straight up.  Seeing that tail fly through the grass with a pig attached underneath can make it hard to keep a straight face and a steady sight picture.  African warthogs are tough animals.  An adult boar can soak up a lot of lead and not go down.  One of the best ways is to search for tracks leading to water.  African warthogs like to wallow in the mud and spend a lot of time at waterholes.  When hunting African warthogs the hunter must stay downwind from the animal because, even though its eyesight isn’t good, its sense of smell and hearing are both excellent.

Hunting African warthogs for tusk size is fairly easy as the upper tusks stick out sideways from the jaw and are easily seen.  They curve upwards and up to one third of their length is buried in the jaw.  With the wind coming from the African warthog and towards the hunter, the hog can be approached quite closely - up to 20-30 yards.  Most any rifle in the 7mm - 30 caliber with 170-180 grain bullets will handle hunting an African warthog of average size.  Should a big trophy boar be on the menu, a larger caliber with heavier bullets is preferred.  A shoulder shot with a Remington .416 was recently used on one large boar who promptly ran off.   Granted, the bullet was a solid, but it still gives one an idea as to just how tough an African warthog is.

If hunting warthog in Africa gives the hunter a chance at a straight on shot, be sure the hog doesn’t have its head down.  A side shot through the body behind the foreleg one third of the way up its body will drop it rapidly.  Approach a downed African warthog carefully.  Remember, ammo is cheap, reconstructive leg surgery isn’t.