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Cleaning and Cooking Wild Hogs


E-mail Author with good eating sized hog.
A good "eating-sized" hog ready for processing. It is now 7:00 PM and skinning and cutting up the animal will go on until about midnight.

 Wild hogs, or boars, are rapidly becoming the second most common species of big game animal taken in many U.S. states. High populations are found throughout the Southeast, Eastern seaboard, Texas, California and in Hawaii. Butchers and game processors will often not take these animals, leaving their processing to the hunters. Here is how to do it.

E-mail Smoked wild hog with blackeyed peas
What your wild hog can be. Roasted, smoked backstraps and black eyed peas seasoned with smoked hog meat.
E-mail Hog dressing with Case XX changer knife
Initial skinning cuts on a wild hog. Once the skin is removed, the excess fat is also trimmed away.

  Very often wild hogs do not come out until just about dark. If you hog hunt more than a few times, you will find yourself with a dead hog and darkness rapidly approaching. Rig a place where you can hang a hog , cut it up and have sufficient light to see what you are doing.

  Process hogs as quickly as possible. At least get the animal gutted, the hide off and the meat in the fridge within a few hours if you do not have a walk-in cooler big enough to hang a gutted carcass. Hogs, and bears, should always be cleaned when wearing rubber gloves. They can carry some very bad diseases that may cause debilitating illnesses if introduced into the blood through a cut on the hand.

E-mail Removing the entrals 2. A few cuts along the backbone and they will fall free
Getting ready to "dump" the entrals of a small hog. Unless the animal is gut shot, there is little smell or mess.

  “Deer processed” hogs are skinned and cut up just like deer. I make sausage, take roast, the backstraps, ribs, liver and heart for my use. I sometimes skin and smoke the head to make Brunswick stew. The best-eating hogs are the young ones and sows. I shoot whatever hog happens to be in front of me, and they have ranged in size from 12 pounds to over 400.

  The keys to having good hog meat are to cool it quickly, always use gloves when cleaning or handling the meat, cooking it slowly, serving it well done and applying a little smoke to some meat to use for seasoning vegetables. Much wild hog is bar-b-qued, but roasting, sausage making or even using ground meat in chilies all turn out well.

E-mail Flame flipped wild hog ribs 2
Flame tipped wild hog ribs on the grill.

  Recipes may be found in my books, Backyard Deer Hunting: Converting deer to dinner for pennies per pound and  Crossbow Hunting. 

E-mail Sausage from wild hog
Sausage making from shoulders and cut meat from other parts of the hog.
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Ossabaw Island hunt with Crossbow and Flintlock

E-mail palm tree and golden marsh Ossabaw Is.
A view of the marsh off Ossabaw Island, one of Georgia's "Golden Isles"

  Hunts on Georgia’s coastal islands are a different kind of deer hunting experience, particularly when done with a RMC flintlock rifle and Horton 175 lb. Super Max crossbow. Ossabaw Island is an almost magical place in the fall with huge oaks and palm trees dripping with Spanish Moss and good hunting to be had if you are willing to walk far and drag back.

E-mail Typical tent camps Ossabaw Is
Tent camps are needed for the 3-day hunts. A charter boat brings hunters to the island.

  The island is part of a GA WMA and the quota hunt is open to out-of -state and in-state applicants. There are gun hunts for deer and hogs and primitive weapons combination hunts (early Nov.) during which two deer may be taken along with an unlimited number of hogs.

  This year I chose a Rightnour .50-caliber flintlock rifle and the Horton Super Max crossbow. For the hog I set up over a wallow at an abandoned water-well head and took a pig at 35 yards. For the deer I walked in about 1 1/2-miles and took it adjacent to the marsh. The shot here was at about 8-yards. The Grim Reaper head with its extra-long blades took out the animal nicely leaving a good blood trail about 100-yards long.

E-mail Deer sled with gear and deer
A handy plastic sled (L.L. Bean Catalogue) for dragging out deer.

  On these hunts you are taken out on trailers (take a cushion with you), put out  before daylight, picked up to come in for lunch (and to bring your game in) and put out again for an evening hunt. Before hogs could be shot, success rates on deer were often about 100 percent. Now that hunters are also fooling with hogs, deer success rates have declined to around 50%.

E-mail Detail of small Ossabaw hog and RMC flintlock
Roasting pig taken with RMC flintlock.

  If you are willing to walk to the best areas away from your drop-off point, hunt all day and drag your game back some distance; your probability of success on this hunt is very good. If you sit in one spot and expect to be overrun by bunches of deer and hogs you are likely to be disappointed.

E-mail Pieball Ossabaw doe taken with Horton Super Max 175 Crossbow
A crossbow deer taken from GA's Ossabaw Island. Although limited to about 40 yards, crossbows are very effective for island hunting.

 Ossabaw hunts are among the state’s most popular hunts and it generally takes two or three attempts to be drawn. There are also archery hunts, parent-child hunts, cartridge gun hunts and hog-only quota hunts. The archery hunts are held first. These are often in hot, very bugy weather and are the easiest ones to draw.  

Rifle, crossbow and point furnished by manufacturers.