Peter Theobald advises
Wild boar (Sus scrofa) are becoming increasingly prevalent in the UK. The species thrives in our mild and damp weather and the woodland and scrubland that abounds here gives wild boar plentiful cover and the chance to breed successfully.
The highest population is found in the Forest of Dean which now numbers over 1500. Their ancestors escaped from a farm in Herefordshire in the 1990s and a dumped herd left on the edge of the Forest.
Hunting wild boar
Q: Which calibre is best for shooting wild boar? I intend to go wild boar shooting soon.
A: First of all, before raising a rifle to a wild boar, you must ensure your firearms certificate specifies you are allowed to shoot these animals. If your certificate says (as it should) that you may shoot “any lawful quarry” you can shoot boar. If it does not, ask the local police licensing department to have this condition added. There is no charge for this.
Best calibre for wild boar
- Wild boar are powerful, strong and potentially dangerous animals.
A 200lb boar has an extremely tough, thick skin and powerful bones, and demands a calibre which will ensure a killing shot.
- BASC recommends that rifles chambered for the .270 cartridge are the minimum that should be used for hunting boar.
- Proper hunting ammunition loaded with expanding bullets should be used on the grounds of safety and humanity.
- The minimum calibre to be used against wild boar is the .270 Win, delivering a muzzle energy of 2,700ft/lb, but it is recommended that a calibre of no less than 7mm with a bullet of 160 grains-plus and muzzle energy of no less than 2,800ft/lb should be used.
- A specialised Continental calibre such as a 9.3x74R with a 270-grain bullet travelling at 2,300fps and delivering 3,172ft/lb energy can be effective, though a .30-06 with a 200-grain bullet would also work well.
- If you only want a dedicated boar gun, a 9.3x62mm is excellent, shooting a 285-grain bullet at 2,200fps and giving 3,063ft/lb energy, or even a .35 Whelen, a necked-up .30-06 case to .35 calibre, is one that makes a good red deer cartridge.
- A rifle in .308 or .30-06 can be excellent for these animals but as with any other game you must place the bullet in the right place for a humane shot.If you have a .308 then this can double as a deer rifle.
- If you are using a high seat rather than driving, you can take a better, well-aimed shot and even a 6.5x 55mm with a 156-grain bullet will do the job.
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More advice on hunting wild boar
- Wild boar are now establishing themselves in viable populations in several parts of southern England, so providing you are shooting with the permission of the landowner, it is quite legal.
- Boar do not have any close season but should be treated with the same respect that you would any quarry.
- Do not shoot wild boar with young.
- Wild boar are fearless and can be ferocious, especially females with young.
- If you shoot a boar, treat the carcass in the same way as deer
- It is always a good idea to have an eye on a potential escape route when you are hunting in case a boar becomes aggressive.