Feral pig – miracle on public land

How to get your feral pig from public land to your home the easy way. And look like an expert butcher at the same time.

After spending a small fortune on hunting so-called wild boar on a private ranch with a guide you saw the light. You decided to hunt a  free feral pig on public land. Obviously, it takes courage and much self-confidence to make that decision. Not to mention that hunting successfully in the wilderness is akin to a miracle on public land.

With this in mind, you have read my articles on hunting feral pigs on public land. Maybe you even practiced using Google Earth to scout for promising wild pig habitat in the wilderness.

Following trail 23 or 27 in the Cow Mountain area on your dirt bike, you came close a stand of oak trees located during one of the flyovers. You dismounted and began the serious part of your hunt on foot.

After a lengthy trek across inhospitable terrain, you spotted the oak trees in the distance.

Someone’s acorn collection? (wiki)

Your heart started racing. Adrenalin rushed and pushed you to approach the trees running. But you resisted the urge and calmly stalked closer.
Lo and behold, there it was!

Moving in for the kill

Right under the second tree from the right stood a magnificent feral pig. Unaware of your presence, it slowly moved about under the oak tree digging for acorn. And it was successful because you could hear it crush and munch acorns from afar. A dream come true.

An experience that proves all doubters wrong, you thought. Nevertheless, having self-discipline and hunting wisdom you refused the almost overwhelming urge to rush the feral pig. You did not. Instead, you continued a cautious stalk into the wind. Luckily, it was coming from the direction of the feral pig.

Finally, your were close enough for a clean shot on the wild pig that was quartering away from you. Your shot into the vital area dropped it on the spot.

Congratulations. This was the easy and fun part of the hunt. Now comes the real, hard work.

How do you get this 250 plus pound feral pig back to your dirt bike and then back to your house? Good question.

New guide to field dress and quarter a feral pig?

As you all know, when hunting with a guide on a private ranch field dressing and quartering a pig for transport is not a problem. The guide or his helpers are eager to aid you with the task. For a small extra fee, of course.

They load the wild boar on their truck, drive to the ranch, and there, they hang it up for field dressing and butchering on a meat gambrel. I have even seen guides use a chainsaw during this process!

But you are alone in the wilderness. No gambrel because you saved weight. And no chainsaw, hacksaw, meat cleaver or hatchet to quarter the pig. In reality, you do not need either. There is an easy way – if you know what you are doing. You need only a very good, hunting or skinning knife.

May I digress for a moment? My father, grandfather, and great-uncle were medical doctors. I was supposed to follow in their steps. Therefore, my father exposed me from a very early age on to the anatomy of humans and animals.

One of his lessons was to show how easy it is to dismember a body. Or, if you prefer, to quarter it when you know the anatomy of the animal. He used chicken to demonstrate.

Bodies have natural breaking points at the extremities. They are associated with the big joints, such as the knees, the hips, and the major joints on the arms. Each one of them is designed to move freely in one direction but not in the opposite. Except, of course, the rotator joints. The joints are stabilized by strong ligaments and muscles.

Take, for example, your own knee. It bends backward but not forwards. Touch the backside of it while you sit on a chair and you will feel huge ligaments in the back on either side of the knee. Cut those ligaments with a sharp knife. Then cut into the muscles, ligaments, cartilage towards the joint between the thigh bone and the shin bone. You can then snap the knee forward easily and break it. Separate it with a few more aimed strokes with the knife.

Likewise, separating the thigh bone from the rest of the body is equally easy. Maybe even easier. Again, just push the thigh of the animal outwards. You will then notice the ligaments on the inside of the hip-joint. Cut them and make a cut towards the center ball joint of the hip. With the supporting ligaments severed, you can dislodge the ball of the femur with a quick snap. Leave as much flesh around the upper end of the thigh bone as you wish.

You get the idea. Instead of powering your way through the ligaments, muscles, and bone with a hacksaw, hatchet, or even a chainsaw use the inherent instability of the big joints in your favor.

Years ago, when I attended my first CDFW advanced wild pig hunting clinic on the Tejon Ranch the guide demonstrated exactly this method of quartering a feral pig.

No gambrel, no hacksaw, no hatchet. Only cuts placed intelligently in combination with quick snapping motions in the right direction. It looks easy and it is, indeed, easy. As long as you know what you are doing

Does CDFW like this method?

Yes and no.  CDFW frowns upon hunters wasting game. And hunter ethics also discourage shooting game and leaving it in the field to rot.

However, professionally quartering a feral pig in the wilderness, miles away from the nearest access point for motorized vehicles, is a different story. After all, you do use most of the meat leaving behind mainly the bony skeleton and the entrails of the animal.

Let’s not forget, local predators and scavengers will be most grateful for the gift you left. Much of the carcass, especially the viscera, will be gone almost overnight. Only some of the major bones of the harvested animal may endure for a while.

The advantage of this method: Instead of carrying 250 pounds of bones, gut contents, and meat, you only carry with you the prime cuts. Shoulder, ham, and the tenderloin. The best cut from along the sides of the spine.

By the way, ask any elk hunter in the wilderness of Colorado about packing out the meat on horseback. They practice it after every successful hunt.

Meanwhile, you have other work to do now. Watch the following video. It explains in detail and expertly how to “cape and quarter” a feral pig.

Simply disregard the part about caping and fast-forward to time marker 9:00 if you are impatient. Or know everything about mounting a trophy and caping.

The video is great information. However, you may have to watch it more than once to catch all details. The author performs some of the operations rather quickly. After all, he knows what he is doing. You, however, are still learning.


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Publisher and Editor in Chief at United Seabears
Peter Jaeckle is the publisher and Chief Editor of the California Hunting Post.You can find him also on Google+,Twitter, Facebook and on many other sites. Over the past decades he has written on investments, dogs and dog rescue, economic and on environmental topics.

One thought on “Feral pig – miracle on public land”

  1. PJ, as a fellow hog hunter I think that this is an excellent article. However, the video is doing a real disservice to beginning and intermediate hunters, or anyone that does not have significant long term experience hunting hogs. Why? Unless you are fortunate enough to have dropped a hog in a bucolic green meadow, or perhaps on a lawn, a hunter will be dealing with dirt, leaves, and other detritus and filth. The hog itself may be covered in mud, blood, etc. It is obviously imperative that the meat is kept clean as possible during the breakdown… . The conditions shown in the video are highly unrealistic and the gentleman rolls the body around on the grass. He does give lipservice to keeping the loose Cape under the pig, and mostly accomplished that in the video.. I am sure the gentleman is highly experienced, but it also is not a good example to break down a pig in your bare feet as well. Moreover, he does not use gloves, which every hunter should carry, as contact of pig blood with a human membrane or open cut can lead to serious health issues. Therefore, I would suggest that the video is not a good example to promote, because of these flaws.

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