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General information on hunting wild boar

Hunting wild boar is becoming more important every year. In the 2017/18 season, over 820,000 wild boars were shot, reports the German Hunting Association. The background to the rising shooting figures is the growing wild boar population. They are increasingly causing damage to game in agriculture and forestry. The risk of epidemics also increases with higher population densities.

Wild boar hunting in practice

Typically, wild boar are hunted in two ways: either on the move or on the move.

The largest share of the wild boar population in Germany is achieved with the Ansitzjagd . When you are hunting wild boar, you need a lot of patience. They remain quietly on a raised hide for hours. Until you get to the shot, many stalks go by without a sight. But it is not the hunter's sitting ability that is decisive.

The following are decisive for a successful boar hunt

  • the right place
  • a well chosen time
  • a steady wind from the right direction
  • sufficient visibility

Wild boar are also successfully hunted during movement hunts . Movement hunting can take various forms. In driven hunts a group of hunters drives the animals out of the thicket and towards the shooters. The shooters stand ready on their stand or driven hunt buck to take the shot at the right moment. Handlers with experienced hunting dogs play an important role. Social hunts are particularly successful if they are coordinated with the neighbouring hunt. Well planned, driven hunts can reduce the hunting pressure in contrast to frequent individual stalks.

The stalk on sows is another possibility for hunting wild boar. It is a demanding type of hunting. This is because sows often catch the wind and quickly scent the stalking hunter.

Why is hunting wild boar important?

Wild boars are extremely adaptable. They also reproduce strongly. A litter can contain up to eight young boars. A wild boar can be sexually mature at the age of eight months. The good nutritional situation and the mild winters contribute to the strong reproduction of wild boar. The reproduction rate is about 250 percent: Where there were 100 wild boars last year, there are almost 350 animals the following year.

Wild boar cause great damage to agriculture and forestry: Broken up meadows and dug up fields, flattened maize fields and damaged sowings cost farmers millions.

The threat of African swine fever (ASF) makes the high population density even more worrying. This is because the wild boar is an ancestor of our domestic pig. An outbreak of the disease would have devastating consequences. However, if there are fewer pigs in the area, the virus spreads more slowly.

What makes wild boar hunting attractive?

Wild boar provide excellent game. But it is not only the meat that attracts hunters to wild boar. It is rather a question of facing one of the most demanding game species. Wild boars are among the most cunning animals. They are extremely cautious and have an excellent sense of smell. Bringing down an older animal requires great skill and a bit of luck. Because the animals become smarter and more experienced with age.

Hunting these intelligent animals is not only difficult, but also time-consuming. On average, a hunter needs at least 20 hours to kill a wild sow. (Source: University of Veterinary Medicine Hanover)

Successful wild boar hunters sometimes use elaborate hunting strategies. Kirrungen or diversionary feeding are used to trick the black boars and keep them away from agricultural areas. Painting trees painted with beechwood tar also serve to attract them. Cooperation with farmers has also proved successful. If they leave a path between the field and the forest or in the maize field, this makes hunting easier.

Is hunting wild boar dangerous?

Wild boars are considered to be defensive. In Germany, a fully-grown boar can weigh up to 200 kilograms. The weight and size alone are not the most dangerous thing about the wild boar.

The concern is its strong canine teeth. They are used by the wild boar to break up forest floors and meadows in order to obtain food. But they can also be used as a weapon. This has led to many a serious injury among hunters and hunting dogs. In males, the canine teeth are particularly pronounced. Even a young defector can cause great damage with his weapons.

Where can wild boar be hunted?

The wild boar has spread to many parts of Europe, so you can go wild boar hunting everywhere. In some countries, the hunting quality stands out clearly. Either because of their boar populations or the size of their boars. The wild boar hunting in Poland and Hungary should be highlighted here. A hunting trip to these areas is a worthwhile adventure.

In Poland, the boar hunt is popular. Croatia is also worth a look. The largest wild boars belong to the subspecies "Attila", the largest killed specimen was a capital 500-kilo boar. Their occurrence is estimated to be in Bulgaria, Spain, Romania and Turkey.

In Germany, the largest wild boar populations exist in Brandenburg, Thuringia, Saxony and Bavaria.

When may wild boar be hunted?

According to the Federal Hunting Act, hunting wild boar is permitted from 16 June to 30 January. Due to the rapidly increasing wild boar population, the regulations have been relaxed in the federal states. In Bavaria, for example, the closed season has been lifted. The parent animal regulation applies: Leading males with striped young boars may not be shot. Night hunting of wild boar is also permitted in Bavaria. Hunting wild boar at night is a good idea. This is because the animals live secretly and stay in safe hiding places during the day.

The general prerequisite for hunting wild boar is, of course, a valid hunting licence.

What do you have to look out for when hunting wild boar?

Hunting equipment and clothing

High-quality equipment is an important key to successful hunting. Sows have a fine sense of hearing. You should choose low-noise materials for your hunting clothing. Hunting jackets and trousers made of loden, fleece and fibre fur have proved their worth. The same applies to hunting rucksacks and cartridge cases: they should also have closures that are as quiet as possible. Clothing with odour-blocking properties is advantageous for hunting sows. This is because wild boar have a good sense of smell and are very good scenters. For driven hunts and tracking, stab-proof sow protection trousers are recommended.

Large calibre rifle

Wild boars and especially large boars are hard to shoot. Therefore, large calibres are traditionally used, at least a calibre of 7 mm. Popular calibres are 7x62, .30-06, .308 Win, 8x57 and 9.3x74 R. At short distances, shotgun shells are also suitable. Whether you choose a double rifle, a bolt action rifle or a self-loading rifle is a matter of taste. It is advantageous to be able to fire an additional shot quickly.

Light and visibility conditions

Since wild boars usually retreat to their hiding places during the day, they are often hunted at night. When hunting sows at night, you should carry proper binoculars. A high-intensity rifle scope with a red dot is also advantageous.

Bright full moon nights are popular for hunting wild boar at night. The moonlight facilitates the response and often leads to greater hunting success. A stalk in the snowy winter night also offers improved visibility.

Hunting with artificial light sources is actually prohibited. Some federal states have now lifted the ban in view of the ASP danger. This is intended to make it easier for hunters to hunt sows. However, the torch must not be permanently attached to the weapon.

Thermal imaging camera and night vision technology

Helpful tools for wild sow hunting are thermal imaging cameras. A thermal monocular is referred to by many as a "handheld" device. Good thermal imagers provide usable images at longer distances and facilitate perimeter observation and approach. 

Since the price of night vision technology is falling, night vision devices are on the rise. They provide much better images than the thermal alternatives. This ensures a safe response.

The following applies to both thermal imaging cameras and night vision devices: by law, they may not be used as an attachment. Some federal states are working on draft laws that provide for a temporary exemption permit. Perhaps this will soon make it possible to legally use night vision attachments.