Use Enough Gun… Please

June 10, 2015

No irony intended, although what I’ve got to show you may seem that way.  So let’s just jump right to it, before I toss in my two cents.

Now it’s a pretty long clip, and it starts with some good information and ends with the hunter making good use of his kill.  The shot was good too, and the whole thing was well set up.  One thing stands out… .22 long-rifle.

According to our host, it’s “all you need if you know right where to put the bullet.”

Queue redundancy alert…

It is NOT all about shot placement.

Here is a list of the elements that went into that clean kill:

  • Shooting from an elevated blind
  • Shooting at close range (I don’t think he says, but it looks about 20 yards)
  • Shooting with a solid rest
  • Shooting a very accurate rifle
  • Shooting at a relaxed and (relatively) stationary animal
  • And, finally, perfect shot placement

The choice to use the .22lr is rationalized (by many people, including the host of this video) because the hogs are “just pests”.  It implies that it’s OK to eradicate them by any means.  It also implies that the risk of a poorly placed shot and crippled animal is perfectly acceptable, in the name of “pest control”.  In all honesty, I’ve come out with similar arguments in defense of eradication methods, such as shooting from helicopters.  If it’s really about killing as many as possible as efficiently as possible, you have to have the mindset of the exterminator.

But here’s the thing.  Take another look at that video.  How many hogs came to the bait?  Out of that sounder, how many did our host kill?

Is baiting and shooting one hog out of a small sounder really equivalent to control (never mind eradication)?  Or is it really just sport hunting?  And if it’s sport hunting, do the same ethics apply?

I’m going to stop short of outright, negative criticism, because it’s pretty clear that the fellow making this video knows what he’s doing, and he’s good at it.  It’s brutally obvious that the .22lr was sufficient to make the kill, albeit under ideal conditions (not just shot placement).  Similar videos demonstrate the capabilities of everything from .177 caliber air rifles to spears.

The problem is the consistently repeated claim that these marginal tools are “all you need” to kill hogs.   Unfortunately, the next thing you hear is the peanut gallery clamoring to get out there with their marginal weapons and wreak havoc of their own.  In a lot of ways, it’s like the long-range shooting craze that’s convinced scores of nimrods that 500 yards is supposed to be a “chip shot”, and the “right” gear will enable them to shoot deer-sized game at 1000 yards or more… or, in this case, they want to show up in the blind with grandpa’s old Hi-Standard, ready to pile up the pork.

I often feel a bit like Don Quixote when it comes to stuff like this, but I’d love to see a little less focus on “trick” hunting tactics and more on good, solid practices.  It shouldn’t be as much about what’s possible to do as it should be about what’s good to do.  (Of course, I also realize I’m treading awfully close on the hems of my favorite pet peeve… defining “right” and “wrong” based on arbitrary, emotion-based criteria.)

Maybe there’s nothing wrong with telling people that it’s good and fine to shoot hogs with a BB gun, if they want to try it.  Maybe there’s nothing wrong with promoting jumping out of the blind and biting their heads off either.  It’s a free country, right?





4 Responses to “Use Enough Gun… Please”

  1. hodgeman on June 10th, 2015 19:43

    Interesting video…I have to wonder why the .22? Doesn’t appear he shot repeatedly so ripping off a full power rifle round wouldn’t have changed anything.

    The .22 is a good deal more deadly than people give it credit for, but when stuff gets beyond the realm of small game, a more potent round is in order in my book.

    If the guy had used a 30-30, I’d still have liked the video as well.

  2. Phillip on June 11th, 2015 09:07

    Hodge, I think part of it is that he’s doing it to “prove” it can be done. I don’t really see any other real value, unless one wants to argue that it’s about the cost of ammo. But if you fire one shot per animal, that hardly seems a particularly sound argument.

    I also agree, by the way, that the .22lr is not a toy. Its lethality has been demonstrated many times over. But it just isn’t a big game cartridge. There’s no good reason to try to make it into one. I don’t understand the stubborn insistence that it be used that way.

  3. Robb on June 12th, 2015 20:13

    could be handy in developed areas. Relatively quiet, especially suppressed, not so much worry about ricochet after passing through animal. The only place I’ve heard of them used much for larger animals is for putting down farm animals and by indigenous villages on caribou at river crossings where they sidle up next to animal in boat and use pistol, in both cases the lack of power and close range are both factors on the plus side of things.

  4. Phillip on June 12th, 2015 20:48

    I think a suppressed .223 with frangible bullets will work even better, although I know some depredation guys who work (at very close range) with a .22wmr. But yeah, in the perfect conditions and skilled hands, the .22lr could do the trick (obviously, as we saw in the video). It’s just that I’d never recommend it.