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Understanding the Anatomy of Feral Hogs for Optimal Shot Placement

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Mammals differ from species to species, but their chest anatomy is remarkably similar. To achieve effective and humane kills, hunters need to understand the anatomy of their game. This article provides a detailed look at the anatomy of feral hogs to better understand where shots will have the most impact. While focusing specifically on hogs, it offers sportsmen guidelines for precise target selection on other game animals as well. Key considerations include the position of the heart and the level of the spine in the forward section of the chest.

Anatomy Insights for Precision

In the provided image, the shoulder has been lifted and the near lung removed to expose the internal anatomy. The heart is situated directly above the rear edge of the leg when the animal is broadside. Main blood vessels enter and exit the top of the heart, making this area a crucial target for a swift kill.

Spine and Chest Considerations

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The drop of the spine from the back to the front of the chest is significant. The yellow lines in the image mark the top of the back and the bottom of the chest, showing that in the region of the shoulder, the spine is about halfway between them. The bones of the leg angle forward at a level corresponding to the bottom of the chest, ensuring they don’t block access to the heart.

Weapon Choice and Shot Placement

The hunter’s choice of weapon greatly influences shot placement strategies. A bullet or arrow through the heart causes quick death, but adrenaline release can cause the animal to cover a significant distance in its final moments. Therefore, some rifle hunters prefer to aim for the shoulder blade and spine to anchor the animal on the spot. However, this approach is not recommended for bow hunters.

Targeting the Lungs

The lungs occupy most of the chest cavity back to the diaphragm. Shots that pierce both lungs are quickly fatal. The diaphragm arches forward into the animal’s chest out from where it attaches to the ribcage, and its paunch extends into the same area. The lungs become very thin where the diaphragm meets the ribs, making heart or lung shots ideal for bow hunters.

Precise Shot Placement

The heart sits about a third of the way from the bottom chest’s top, located right above the rear edge of the front leg when the animal is exactly broadside. For a quartering animal, the hunter must judge a spot midway between the backs of the two legs—slightly behind the back edge of the nearest leg for quartering away and in front for quartering toward. 

Anatomical Targets for Effective Shots

During the dissection, the skin on the top of the back was left intact so the shoulder could be laid back into its natural position, allowing a view similar to what a hunter would see. The heart and anterior spine locations are marked, emphasizing the significance of aiming for these areas.

Shots impacting above the spine are unlikely to result in a recovered animal. The heart remains the most reliable target. However, a rifle hunter may aim for the front location marked “spine” to anchor the animal on the spot. The spine is near the top of the back in the abdomen and the rearmost region of the chest. While the back appears to progress forward toward the head in a straight line, this illusion is due to longer and longer fins sticking up from the vertebrae in the forward part of the chest. The spine itself drops low in the chest, typically about halfway down from the top of the back to the bottom of the chest.

Choosing the Right Aimpoint

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Choosing the precise aimpoint depends on the hunter’s ability, the weapon, the steadiness of the rest, whether the game is stationary or moving, and the distance to the animal. It is always best to choose targets that inspire the utmost confidence. If conditions diminish the probability of a perfect shot, consider aiming for lethal areas with bigger margins of error. For instance, the heart/lung shot offers more room for error than a spine shot.

Knowing your chest anatomy is helpful for both bow and gun hunters alike when it comes to delivering quick, lethal shots consistently. 

Do you have any tips or insights into shot placement for feral hogs? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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Don’t Want “Snowflake” Kids? Get Them Outside

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Americans should prioritize encouraging their kids to get off social media and head outdoors, where they can learn valuable life lessons, according to John Radzwilla, the editor-in-chief and CEO of Hook & Barrel Magazine.

Radzwilla, who runs the popular outdoor publication he describes as “a redneck GQ,” believes parents need to focus on spending time with their children away from screens that are dominating the lives of many youngsters. As an avid hunter and fisherman, Radzwilla firmly believes that kids “need” to be outdoors to develop essential life skills.

Spending time outdoors builds the skill sets that children will carry into their adult lives. Radzwilla emphasizes the importance of children learning to deal with various situations, such as changing a light bulb, which they won’t learn by spending time on TikTok.

Radzwilla highlights that there are many “feel-good reasons” to get kids outdoors, such as capturing photos of their first experiences that make parents feel “warm and fuzzy.” However, he also stresses more significant reasons, including teaching children to adapt and overcome uncomfortable situations, which are valuable skills in adult life.

Being crafty with their hands is another lesson learned outdoors. Whether building a treehouse or a fort in the woods, these activities teach children how to use tools and fix things, skills that remain useful throughout life.

Radzwilla believes that being outdoors also teaches children about overcoming adversity, avoiding danger, being aware of their surroundings, camaraderie, and “playing by the rules.” He notes that getting children outside doesn’t require elaborate trips; simple activities like fishing in the neighborhood pond can be just as enjoyable as more epic adventures.

Parents should understand that children often care more about spending time with them than the specific activity. Radzwilla shares his routine of taking his son, Jack, on a half-mile walk to school each morning, during which Jack picks up trash along the way. This simple activity teaches responsibility and the value of taking care of nature, all while spending quality time together.

Radzwilla’s passion for nature, which led to co-founding Hook & Barrel, demonstrates how the simplest outdoor tasks can impart valuable lessons. Children learn by observing their parents working hard, using tools, and completing tasks. The outdoors not only offers activities and stimulation but also an environment where children can learn about hard work and gain a sense of accomplishment.

By encouraging children to embrace the outdoors, parents can help them develop crucial life skills that will serve them well throughout their lives. The experience of being outside, away from screens, can teach children responsibility, adaptability, and the value of hard work.

What do you do to make sure your kids get plenty of time outside? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

 

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Louisiana Hunters Arrested for Fraud in State-Run Contests

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Louisiana wildlife officials have arrested six men accused of committing fraud in two state-run hunting contests by submitting wild hogs caught in Texas. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) law enforcement agents have taken action against these individuals for their alleged misconduct.

The individuals arrested include Trace Davis of Longville, Hunter Webb, Davy Haymon, and Don Pollard Jr., all of Pitkin, Coby Bushnell of Dry Creek, and Nathan Granger of Vinton. They face severe charges reflecting the serious nature of their alleged actions. All six men are charged with hunting contest fraud and criminal conspiracy. Additionally, Davis, Webb, Bushnell, Haymon, and Pollard Jr. face an additional charge of violating interstate commerce, while Davis is also charged with obstruction of justice. Webb faces a separate charge for hunting under a suspended license.

The LDWF investigation revealed that the suspects captured wild hogs in Texas and then submitted these hogs for two Louisiana hunting contests. The contests in question, the Dingler Wild Hog Roundup in Bienville Parish (Feb. 9-10) and the Swamp Time Hog Hunt in Caldwell Parish (March 14-16), both had rules stating that the hogs must be caught within Louisiana during the event dates.

Nathan Granger, who did not participate in the Caldwell hunting contest, turned himself in at the Bienville Parish Jail on June 4. The other hunters surrendered themselves at the Bienville Parish and Caldwell Parish jails on June 7.

The charges carry significant penalties. Hunting contest fraud and criminal conspiracy can result in up to a year in jail and a $3,000 fine. Violating interstate commerce could lead to a $950 fine and 120 days in jail. Obstruction of justice carries a potential fine of up to $10,000 and five years in jail. Hunting under a suspended license could result in up to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine.

The investigation by LDWF officials is ongoing, with the potential for further developments. This case highlights the importance of adhering to hunting regulations and the consequences of fraudulent activities in state-run contests. As wildlife officials continue their efforts to maintain the integrity of hunting competitions, hunters and participants are reminded of the critical importance of following all rules and regulations to ensure fair and lawful practices.

What are your thoughts about the fraud down in Louisiana? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

 

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Grizzly Bear Attack in British Columbia Highlights Need for Vigilance

In a remote area approximately 80 miles southwest of Calgary, a 36-year-old man and his father faced a harrowing encounter with an adult grizzly bear. The attack took place on May 16 near Elkford, British Columbia, as the pair was tracking a different bear with the aid of dogs. The incident left the man with “significant injuries,” according to CBS News.

Response and Rescue

Elk Valley Regional Royal Canadian Mounted Police quickly responded to the scene after the father called for assistance. They found the victim suffering from several broken bones and deep lacerations. Fortunately, during the attack, the man managed to defend himself using a firearm, causing the bear to flee. He was subsequently airlifted to a hospital in Calgary and reported to be in stable condition.

Conservation officers conducted an extensive search and located the grizzly bear, which was found dead. The bear had multiple gunshot wounds, leading officers to confirm it was the same bear involved in the attack.

Although grizzly bear attacks are relatively rare, their frequency has been increasing as bear populations grow and their territories expand. This incident underscores the importance of remaining vigilant when in known grizzly habitats. For personal safety, it is advised to carry bear spray or a firearm as a precaution.

Safety Measures

When venturing into bear country, it is crucial to take preventive measures to avoid such dangerous encounters:

  • Stay Alert: Always be aware of your surroundings and look for signs of bear activity, such as tracks or scat.
  • Carry Protection: Bring bear spray or a firearm for defense, and know how to use them effectively.
  • Make Noise: To avoid surprising a bear, make noise while hiking or moving through dense brush.
  • Travel in Groups: There is safety in numbers; bears are less likely to approach larger groups.
  • Secure Food: Store food properly and dispose of waste to avoid attracting bears to your campsite or hiking area.

This unfortunate incident near Elkford serves as a stark reminder of the unpredictable nature of wildlife encounters and the importance of preparedness. By taking the right precautions and respecting the presence of wildlife, outdoor enthusiasts can help ensure their safety while enjoying the beauty of grizzly country.

 

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