Shooting a pig (bad day) and a warning

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by Laura Workman, Nov 13, 2006.

  1. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

    Messages:
    2,479
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Lynnwood, Washington
    OK, I'm finally ready to talk about it. The first time I ever shot a pig, which was a few weeks ago. I had a 38 pistol. I've always been a pretty good shot, so I put a pile of corn on the ground, and while he was eating, stood about 6 feet away and pulled the trigger. To my dismay, the pig squealed and ran off, limping badly on his left foreleg and bleeding from his nose. I don't need to go through the whole, long, horrifying ordeal minute by minute (and it DID take several minutes). In short, I would wait until he was perfectly still, take aim and shoot, and he would squeal and run off again. I would then follow for another shot. We tried three different kinds of .38 ammo, including hollow points, and finally, after I think SEVEN shots, I hit the mark and the poor thing died pretty much instantly. I thought I was going to be ill.

    The catch is that the hole I made when I finally fired the killing shot was no more than ONE-QUARTER OF AN INCH from the hole I made in his head the first time I shot him. The rest of the shots were grouped less than an inch away from those two holes. People always say, draw a line from one eye to the opposite ear, do it again on the other side, shoot where the lines cross. Fine and dandy, but nobody ever talks about the angle of entry, and I think that's what gave my pig a horrible, terrifying death and myself probably my worst butchering experience ever. I can't express how awful it was. Especially the part when he went over to the fence where his parents were standing and tried to get in with them, for protection I suppose.

    So can anybody tell me, what is the proper angle of entry? Where exactly does the pig's brain lie? Is it the size of a thimble? What the H--- happened? I was going to open up his head and find the bullets, but just didn't have the stomach for it, so I buried it instead.

    I'm also sharing this with you folks so that anybody who does take on the job of shooting a pig realizes, as I did not, that even if you shoot at just the right spot, it can go terribly, terribly wrong. I personally will not do it again until I see a picture of a pig's skull, with an outline of flesh, so I know EXACTLY, FROM EVERY ANGLE, what I'm supposed to be shooting at.
     
  2. BobK

    BobK Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,230
    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2004
    sorry for your horrid experience......from all I've read and my experience is that you draw a line from base of each ear to corner of the opposite eye and where the lines cross you shot them about 1/2 to 3/4 inch above that crossing point....and the bullet entry should be at a 90 degree angle to the slope of the skull....it is very easy...as you found out....to miss this mark......I use a small bowl with a bit of milk, egg (hey it is the last meal), and some sweet grain.....as they are sucking up this treat I pop them from about 6 inches away with a 22 long rifle delivered with my pistol...their head remains rock solid and outside of one bad experience using a 22 short the last 20+ years have been incident free.

    I do have a neighbor who once shot his pig 6 times with a 22....came and got my 357 and shot him six more times....then shot him 3 more times with the 22 since he had run out of ammo for the 357 (38 loads)...the pig finally died but it made a very poor carcass due to a almost total lack of bleed out....you do have my sympathy.....
     

  3. Ed Norman

    Ed Norman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,332
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2002
    Location:
    Idaho
    He wasn't against the fence to get his parent's help, so don't let that thought worry you.

    We were given an old 850 pound sow and I climbed up on the shed because the boar that weighed 1000 wasn't friendly. I usuallt use a 22 magnum rifle or a 22 pistol, this time I wanted to try a 357 revolver. I made a perfect shot and she walked off unconcerned. When she came back by, there was a trickle of blood from the hole, which was in exactly the right spot. I gave her another, touching the first hole, and she dropped like they are supposed to. I had never shot one so big before.

    Maybe you could find a butcher to give you a head and you could saw it in half and remember the layout. A nice butcher might even saw it in half for you.
     
  4. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,844
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2004
    Location:
    New Zealand
    A slaughter's worst nightmare and you have my heartfelt sympathy. I am pretty confident about most aspects of my animals life but I don't do the killing because my huge fear is that I would make a cock-up of it and the last moments of life would be of fear and pain. Stupid I know but I just can't get my head around it - so Kevin deals with it.

    He uses a .22 rifle at a point between, and slightly above, the eyes with the barrel about 1" from the head - so virtually point blank range - and the pig quite literally falls into the feeding dish. To date (touch wood) there hasn't been a disaster.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  5. tyusclan

    tyusclan Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,484
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2005
    Location:
    Florida
    Very sorry that you had such a bad experience. I think you're right about the angle of entry being a little off because of his head being down. The tilt of his head will position the brain completely differently. If the hog is looking directly at you, you want to aim just slightly above where the x crosses. With his head down, you would need to aim just a little below the ears.

    I also agree with Ronney. I wait until I can get no more than 6 inches away. It's just too easy to miss otherwise.

    Try not to let it shake you too much. You'll learn the technique, and it'll go much better next time.
     
  6. Mr. Dot

    Mr. Dot Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    415
    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2002
    Location:
    Rocky Topo
    I know just how you feel:

    http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/showthread.php?t=102733

    I raised just one this year and she dropped like a rock with the single .22 in the sweet spot between eyes and ears delivered by rifle. I fired from "pig level" while she was enjoying fresh milk and ripe pears. Don't let one bad experience put you off for good.
     
  7. unioncreek

    unioncreek Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,441
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2002
    Location:
    SE Washington
    We always shoot them one inch about where everyone else is shooting them. We only had one that didn't drop immediately. I think that is more of how far the bullet goes in. I wouldn't use a 38 special since I've seen them bounce off of wood. We always use a .22.

    Bobg
     
  8. 2story

    2story Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    110
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2005
    Location:
    IN
    i too had a very similar experience, that is why I use a 12ga. slug i walk beside the animal, aim behind the ear and forward into the head, I have never had a problem with this method, I believe it can be done with a lot less fire power, i do not have the skill nor the heart to experiment.
     
  9. scorpian5

    scorpian5 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    235
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2004
    Location:
    Southwest Wisconsin
    we always slit the pigs neck and let them bleed out. its a little messy and takes some help but works great.
     
  10. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,844
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2004
    Location:
    New Zealand
    We do too Scorpian - after it's dead!

    I rather hope that your not telling us that you use the sticking method of killing. Unnecessary and cruel in this day and age of fire power and stun guns.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  11. John Schneider

    John Schneider Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    445
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2005
    Location:
    Spruce Grove, Alberta
    I have to second the idea of the 12gauge with a slug. Even if you miss the exact spot, the concussion renders the pig unconsious and you can slit. Obviously, the .22 and .38 work, but the 12ga never DOESN'T work! I too have had a bad experience with a small calibre and lack the confidence to ever try again.
     
  12. Rockin'B

    Rockin'B Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,447
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2006
    Location:
    No. Illinois
    As has been mentioned, I think there are two issues here. The angle of penetration and the distance. I use a 22 rifle and it's almost touching when I pull the trigger.

    I'm sorry you had to experience that, but it does happen. Killing our food is the least pleasant of all the chores.

    On another note, I grew up in Lynnwood and was in the first graduating class of Lynnwood high. Class of '73. Did you go there?
     
  13. Mr. Dot

    Mr. Dot Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    415
    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2002
    Location:
    Rocky Topo
    Yup, ain't that the truth. The upside is that our girl was having a fine meal when killed rather than being trundled off to the butcher or (forbid the thought, factory raised & processed).

    As for sticking to kill being "cruel" - some fellers smarter than I am in the pig department consider that method the quickest and most humane. I tend to grow mine on the rather heavy side or I'd try it myself. As it is I'm glad I get to eat them before they eat me.

    :1pig:
     
  14. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,844
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2004
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Mr Dot, have you ever seen a pig being stuck? You don't say that you have and I presume your going on what has been told to you. I have seen them stuck and it is neither quick or humane. Think about it.

    This morning the slaughterer came to kill our freezer beast. As it happened, when he arrived the beast in question was facing the gate with ears pricked forward in curiosity. The chap got out of his ute, asked if that was the beast, I said yes and within seconds the beast was on the ground as dead as a doornail. THAT is quick and humane and it's what I want for my pigs.
    I don't want my pigs stressed out by several people having to hold it down while another cuts it's throat, or more properly, goes into the heart, and then leaves it there to bleed to death. Don't tell me that the animal does'nt feel fear and pain for the last minutes of it's life. And we have the cheek to call ourselves civilised - I don't think.

    As small as this country is, we have some of the highest animal welfare codes in the world and it's been brought about by countries we export to who demand a high standard. The fact that these same countries could do with looking at their own animal welfare codes seems to have escaped them.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  15. John Schneider

    John Schneider Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    445
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2005
    Location:
    Spruce Grove, Alberta
    Yes Ronnie...I agree with you completely. With domesticated animals, we have the option of rendering them unconscious prior to killing (bleeding). Why someone wouldn't excercise that option is baffling.

    What experience does anyone have with the hammer gun/stun gun? That seems to be a viable option without any mess or fuss. As long as the animal is in a chute etc. it would be easy enough I would think. Thoughts?
     
  16. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm Hello, hello....is there anybody in there.....? Supporter

    Messages:
    55,552
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2006
    Location:
    Eastern North Carolina
    I would never use a 12 ga and slug to kill a pig. Theres a huge danger of overpenetration. The trick is to get close enough to hit the spot you want. That means inches and not feet
     
  17. TedH71

    TedH71 Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    3,714
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Location:
    Bel Aire, KS
    I used to hunt wild hogs and the catch dogs would grab the hog by the ear then you stab the hog in the heart. They die real fast..no grunting or movements then after that...we ice them and bring them home and have them hung by their feet then go around gutting the said pig after bleeding the throat area. Works good for us. Stab in the heart is guranteed quick death.
     
  18. Mr. Dot

    Mr. Dot Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    415
    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2002
    Location:
    Rocky Topo
  19. Rockin'B

    Rockin'B Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,447
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2006
    Location:
    No. Illinois
  20. mink

    mink Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    425
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2005
    Location:
    ny
    no need in cutting the throat after its been dead, the heart isnt pumping the only blood your draing is in the chest cavity...mink