Bushpig Hunting

For many African hunters, nothing beats the excitement of bushpig hunting. They may love hunting various other African game, but hunting the bushpig is their absolute favourite sport. The bushpig is Africa's equivalent of the wild boar found in Europe but it is smaller and more colourful than wild boar.

"I could see at a glance that he was a magnificent animal, with a fine pair of tusks, which were distinctly visible, even though the mouth was closed. Before he had made up his mind as to the nature of the uncanny beast following in his rear, I fired into his great brawny neck, and he dropped with a deep groan, dead in his tracks." Frederick Vaughan Kirby, 1896.

Bushpig Trophy Minimums

Potamochoerus larvatus (Bushpig)
RW Minimum RW Record RW Measurement Method SCI Minimum SCI Record SCI Measurement Method
51/2" 117/8" 5 12" 235/16" 12

Where To Hunt Bushpig

Bushpig are found in east, central and southern African countries and can be hunted in Botswana, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In west Africa, the red river hog is the predominant 'bush pig'.

Bushpig Hunting Prices

Serious bushpig hunters would be well advised to go to South Africa where there are outfitters that specialise in bushpig hunting and are geared up to use dogs and other hunting methods to get good results. Getting a bushpig in other countries will likely be a chance encounter while hunting other priority game animals.

  • In South Africa bushpig can be a big problem for farmers because they destroy crops and they are usually pleased to have a few hunted on their land. Always check how a bushpig hunt will be conducted - size of pig population and chances of success, hunting methods, using dogs, travelling to different properties etc. Trophy fees for bushpig in South Africa vary quite a bit, from US$350 up to US$1100.
  • In the Tuli Block area of Botswana the bushpig trophy fee is around US$400.
  • In Ethiopia the trophy fee for bushpig is about US$460. You will have to tell your outfitter that you want to hunt a bushpig and pre-pay the non-refundable licence fee before hunting.
  • There is the same pre-pay licence fee arrangement in Mozambique where bushpig licence + trophy fees are about US$650 in total.
  • A bushpig from Tanzania is available to hunt on 10,16,21/28 day licences and comes with a Government trophy fee of US$700 + Community Development/Anti-poaching fee.
  • There is a pre-pay licence fee arrangement in Zambia where bushpig licence + trophy fees are in the range of US$550 to US$1000 in total.
  • In Zimbabwe, where bushpig are also a major menace for farmers, the trophy fees go from US$400 up to US$950.

Bushpig Hunting Methods

  • Bushpig are rarely seen during the day as they are strictly nocturnal feeders.
  • You might get lucky spotting and stalking the likely habitats or agricultural land which grow the bushpig's favourite crops (maize corn or sugar cane) on an overcast day. They are noisy eaters and noisy sleepers (they snore) so you may hear them before you see them. Then you need to employ your very finest stalking skills to get up to them.
  • Baiting can be done with rotten meat (bushpig love maggots) or vegetables like corn. Make a rough blind and sneak in very early, from about 3am to dawn or from dusk to about 10pm, when they are likely to feed. Expert bushpig hunting outfitters will probably have a 'feeding lot' that the pigs already regularly visit because it can take them some weeks to come to bait. Timing your bushpig hunt with a full moon maybe advantageous as they are most active at this time. You will probably need to use a red lamp which may give you an extra 2 seconds of shooting time. You will need to be able to shoot very quickly at a distance of around 50 yards. Bushpig are not known as the ghosts of darkness for no reason - the slightest whiff of humans or something 'not right' and they disappear.
  • Some outfits in South Africa use dogs to flush the bushpigs and chase them until they are brought to bay. Then you step in, trying to catch your breadth and shoot.
  • As a last resort, if you are having no luck hunting bushpig in Mozambique, you could call on these guys with their tame baboons to help out with the hunt.

A Good Bushpig Trophy

  • Upper tusk length is the measurable bushpig trophy but these are not always easily seen.
  • If you can, check that both tusks are present and that one is not broken.
  • A good old bushpig will be large in the body.

Bushpig Hunting Shot Placement

Bushpig Boar Vital Statistics

  • Shoulder Height: 25-39" / 63cm-100cm
  • Weight: 121-331lbs / 55-150kg

Bushpig Habitat and Requirements

  • Bushpigs essentially require dense cover and water, so they inhabit forests, thick bush, riverine woodland, reedbeds and long grass.
  • Bushpigs are omnivorous and they eat a variety of plant roots and tubers, fruits, carrion and insect larvae. They can't resist crops like potatoes, tomatoes, maize, sugar cane and some other vegetables.

Bushpig Social Structure

  • Bushpig like other pigs, live in groups or sounders of about 4 –10 animals. There is usually a dominant boar and sow with other subadult sows and young. Bachelor groups and solitary animals also occur.

Bushpig Gestation Period

  • After a gestation period of around 4 months, 1 to 4 offspring are born.

Bushpig Gender Identification

  • Males are bigger than females in body and tusk.
  • Both sexes are covered in long bristle like hair that is usually reddish-brown to grey in colour. Both sexes have a mane of long pale hair along the back from the neck to the shoulders. The head is long with a flattened snout and light coloured facial hair. The large ears are pointed with tufts of hair on the ends.
  • Both sexes have sharp tusks which are not very long and are not conspicuous.
  • Males have a bony ridge and warts on the snout.
Bushpig Boar
Bushpig Boar

Bushpig Trophy Permits (2015)

Potamochoerus larvatus (Bushpig)

Bushpig Trophy Taxidermy

  • A really big bushpig makes a spectacular full mount display. Otherwise they make great shoulder, skull mounts or wall tusk displays, particularly if you hunt a lot of bushpig.
  • Raw bushpig trophy products must be crated separately from other trophies for import into the US.
Click images to enlarge
Bushpig Full Mount Bushpig Full Wall Mount Bushpig Half Mount Bushpig Shoulder Mount
Taxidermy photos courtesy of Life-Form Taxidermy

So What About The Bushpig Name?

  • You may have noticed when researching a bushpig hunt that some outfitters have the scientific name as Potamochoerus larvatus and others have it as Potamochoerus porcus, which is the scientific name of the Red River Hog. At one time these pigs were thought to be one and the same animal. They are closely related but were determined to be separate subspecies in 1993.

Bushpig Hunting Recommended Reading

How Not To Hunt Pigs & Other Cautionary Tales Of Gun & Rod

How Not To Hunt Pigs & Other Cautionary Tales Of Gun & Rod by Bruce Truter (1997) are stories from the pen of a true outdoorsman. They vary from the amusing through to the serious concerns about wildlife and wilderness issues.

The Complete Book Of Wild Boar Hunting: Tips And Tactics That Will Work Anywhere

The Complete Book Of Wild Boar Hunting: Tips And Tactics That Will Work Anywhere by Todd Triplett (2004) covers hunting wild boar across North America and around the world. He hunts javelina in the southwest US and the warthog in Africa. Includes preparing wild boar for the table and the taxidermist, plus a host of hunting tips.

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African Pig Hunting

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