Pigs are among the most difficult animals to shoot. There are two reasons for this: first, the target area is very small and this problem can be exacerbated by the ‘dish’ (concave) face shape of certain breeds and in aged pigs; second, the brain lies quite deep in the head, relative to other species, with a mass of sinuses lying between the frontal bone and the brain cavity. The ideal site for shooting pigs is one finger’s width above eye level, on the mid-line of the forehead, aiming towards the tail (Figures 11 and 12).

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Figure 11 Pig shot position


Figure 12 Bacon pig (6 months)

Older pigs and exotic breeds, such as the Vietnamese Pot Bellied Pig, often have foreheads of thick bone and this can cause problems when using free-bullet humane killers, especially older .22 or .310 models. The bullet may become lodged in the sinuses and fail to penetrate the brain (Figures 13 and 14). Some older pigs, especially boars, may have a bony ridge running down the centre of the forehead; in such cases the muzzle of the humane killer should be placed slightly to one side of the ridge, aiming into the centre of the head. Because of the problems which might arise with adult pigs and exotics, it is recommended that where possible, they are destroyed by use of a shotgun (12, 16 or 20 bore). If a shotgun is used, the target area is the same as that for the humane killer; alternatively the animal can be shot through an eye, or from behind an ear, aiming toward the middle of the head. When using a shotgun, the muzzle should always be held from 5-25cm away from the animal’s head. 

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Figure 13 Adult sow (5 years)


Figure 14 Vietnamese Pot Bellied (3 years)


Next: Sheep and Goats

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