Surviving boar encounters a vital skill for outdoors visitors
How to avoid and survive boar encounters unscathed.
The number of hunters has been decreasing over the past years. On the other hand, the number of outdoor visitors is increasing. Experts predict that this trend will continue in the near future. In states with established boar populations this means, among others, that surviving boar encounters is a skill all visitors to the outdoors need to master if they want to stay safe and unscathed. And who would not want to do exactly that?
The wilderness and private land are not just populated with cute Bambies and happy Thumpers. No, wild animals are just that, untamed, wild, and by nature unpredictable. Caution, experience and a solid knowledge of basic animal behaviors are best to make boar hunting, wilderness camping, and extended hiking trips safe.
The basic strategy for surviving boar encounters also applies to all other wild animals. It postulates to stay calm and to back away slowly to increase the distance between the animal and yourself. Avoid cornering the animal. Always leave the scared animal a way out.
Rules for surviving boar encounters
Boar are extraordinarily powerful and intelligent animals. In fact, they are ranked the fourth most intelligent animal in the world. Don’t let their low ground clearance deceive you. Males can weigh in at over 500 pounds, females are slightly lighter. Both have powerful sharp tusks. The males use their tusks during fights for dominance and mating rights. Females bite instead with a strong, bone-crushing bite that easily rivals or is stronger than that of a large dog.
Boar can reach speeds of up to 30 miles per hour, though they travel only at 1 to three miles while undisturbed or foraging. This will change, however, in an instant when they feel threatened or in defense of piglets.
Then they may take off like a rocket and either attack or run right over a hapless human if you happen to stand in their way.
Surviving boar encounters of this kind is easy when you know what you are doing. Here are the general rules in a nutshell:
1. Surviving boar encounters is more likely when you carry a weapon for self-defense when on a hunting or other trip to the outback.
If you are ardently opposed to firearms, at least learn how to fashion a weapon out of ambient materials quickly when the need arises. Or lug some bear spray around with you.
Nevertheless, bear spray will not deter fleeing wild pigs. They will just barrel through the mist, knock you over in the process, and when really angry will attack you biting and slashing.
2. Never forget that the outdoors are home to wild, unpredictable animals, not domesticated cute pets conditioned to human presence. Nobody hands out free food to them in the wild.
Their actions are dictated by instincts passed on through generations. Instincts make them tick and survive. You really cannot out-think a fleeing wild animal. Besides, it does not matter why the beast is attacking you. The most vital skill for surviving a boar encounter is to realize that you are under attack and to be prepared to defend yourself with any defensive weapon at hand.
3. Know your attacker and its methods of attack. For example, know that wild pigs always prefer flight over fight. But, if you cut off their only way out of a dangerous situation, they will come straight at you and knock you out of the way. Take a sidestep and, instead, they will harmlessly race right past you. All a panicked wild pig wants is to get away as fast and far as it can. Do not get in its way unless you like to substitute as a bowling pin.
And, for your sanity and health, do not try to imitate YouTube heroes who grab “wild” pigs by their ears to prevent them from fleeing. You will end up in a hospital looking like several of the foolish victims of boar attacks we published in the California Hunting Post. I will not display any of the pictures here to prevent Google from citing me for violations of their Adsense policies for showing gory pictures. They will do that in the blink of an eye, leaving out that these images are displayed and offered for use by Google in the first place.
But if you are Google, you can afford to be a despicable hypocrite with a double standard.
4. Prevent injury and protect your vital parts. You have only one life to live. So, do whatever you must do to keep it.
The blood in our bodies sustains life. Without blood there is no life. It follows thus that anyone attacked by a wild pig (or any other large wild animal) must prevent injuries that result in major blood loss. Head injuries bleed a lot and so do wounds affecting your soft belly because of the major organs there. However, with boar and their characteristic slashing attacks, there is always the danger that major arteries in your legs and groin area are cut and the bleeding cannot be stopped quickly.
Because boar are not tall animals, slashing injuries occur mainly to the lower extremities of a human. Unless, of course, you are knocked over and the boar returns to punish you even more. Then the injuries can be anywhere on your body.
5. Stay away from piglets under any circumstances. Their mother is never far and she will attack without warning to protect her offspring. Sows are extremely aggressive in defense of their brood. And they can inflict major damage on careless hunters, unsuspecting campers, hikers, and wildlife photographers who only want to snap a few pictures of cute, striped piglets.
As any boar hunter worth his money knows, wild pigs have a phenomenal sense of smell and good hearing. They can detect a human from miles away. When they do, they usually slip away silently. Thus, surviving boar encounters is best done by avoiding surprising the boar and giving them a way out.
Never corner a wild pig and be ready to defend yourself when searching for a wounded boar. You will regret being careless if you don’t.
Boar hunters and readers of the California Hunting Post know that boar have distinct seasonal movement patterns through their home range. Use that knowledge to avoid surprise encounters. For instance, soon boar will concentrate on the mast nuts dropping from oak and other mast producing trees. Your chances of running into busy boar trying to fatten up on mast for winter are infinitely greater now than at most other times of the year.
Finally, burgeoning numbers of wild pigs and the expansion of their ranges into human activity centers, have created an entirely new set of issues. Attacks by urban boar are becoming more frequent as a result. But that is another story which we will address in time.
Meanwhile, know your adversary and his strength and weaknesses, and carefully protect your own precious life. Be careful.