Last year I found my wife’s forgotten Beretta 12-gauge over-and-under tucked away deep in the closet while searching through her old hunting gear from before we met. To a hunter like me, it was like finding buried treasure.
SoI decided to put the gun to use in putting food on the table instead of just collecting dust in the closet.
And to my surprise, I’ve learned there are many benefits from hunting hogs with an O/U verses a typical pump or semi-automatic.
During October of last year, I took the gun on Bayou Cocodrie National Wildlife Refuge to scout for deer season, which opens in November there. Sure enough, I came across a pack of hogs deep in the woods and quickly changed out one of my squirrel shells. So now I had two Dead Coyote shells loaded and started to creep closer.
The biggest pig, a 150-pound spotted sow 40 yards away stopped, turned and looked at me. Boom! The headshot dropped her and the other pigs disappeared into in the palmettos.
Before I had time to reload, a 130-pounder ran back out of the palmettos broadside — that wasn’t a smart move. My second barrel sent the payload of tungsten T-shot right into the vitals. That pig ran 20 yards, and I quickly finished off both hogs at point-blank range with cheaper steel shot shells.
Since I keep my knife, gloves, game bags and scent free garbage bags in my hunting bag, I cleaned and backpacked my hogs right there. Then, I made the 2-mile trek out of the woods with a backpack overflowing with quality pork. Here’s the video footage from that hunt.
In Louisiana, it’s been legal to shoot hogs during any legal hunting season with any legal weapon for a few years now on wildlife management areas. Ever since, each September starting in dove season I’ve been chasing hogs with the shotgun. Here’s the article with hog-hunting tips and the video of the 16 hogs I killed in 12 days during September with small game ammo the first year the rules switched.
Many people use rimfire rifles when targeting hogs on public lands during squirrel and rabbit season, but I enjoy spraying a shell full of BB or T-shot tungsten instead. This drops them like a rock within 40 yards with no need for a stationary hog or a perfect headshot. Just point at the shoulder, pull the trigger and harvest all the pork you can imagine.
The feature I most like about the double barrel is my use of two different chokes. For hogs with my T-shot, I usually use an extended full choke or a turkey choke to give good dense patterns out to 50 yards. However, since it’s usually dove, teal or small game season, I usually use an improved cylinder or modified choke on those game animals. With the double-barrel shotgun I can have both at the same time.
Another great feature is the ability to have two different shells ready at once. When hunting hogs or small game, there is often only one second to make the shot. This doesn’t leave enough time to switch shells from a typical gun. Since the non-toxic tungsten hog shells cost around $5 a piece, I don’t want to use one of those unless it’ll result in an ice chest full of pork.
With the double barrel that’s a nonissue since I typically walk with one hog shell and one small game shell loaded. This allows me to quickly shoot rabbits, squirrels and ducks that take off with cheap ammo and also be prepared to take a hog at any given moment simply by switching the barrel selector button.
Another neat thing is the quiet nature of switching shells, since my over-and-under is nearly silent both to break open and also close shut. When I see unwary small game or hogs ahead, I’ll simply switch out one of my shells. Then, I have two pulls of the trigger with the most efficient shells on the game I’m about to stalk.
The only downside to the O/U is having only two shells to shoot instead of three with pump and semi-automatic shotguns, but rarely do I need three shells when hog hunting. Even if my first shell doesn’t fully bring down the pig, usually by the second it’s down for good.
A neat feature with having a wider-spreading choke in one barrel is having the ability to take out multiple pigs in one shell on closer shots. I’ve done that before, doubling up with lethal lung shots on two smaller spotted pigs.
Also, when tracking wounded hogs from archery hunts, I use my shotgun instead of a bow since a charging pig is hard to hit with an arrow. I’ve been charged several times before while tracking, and a bow doesn’t offer much protection. Having the wider spreading choke makes for easier first shots on a pig that is violently approaching or fleeing.
Then, by having the full choke for the second shot, a more efficient longer range can be useful on taking down fleeing hogs.
The double barrel that I own is still practically the same weight as my Remington pump and Benelli Super Black Eagle, so carrying the weapon is no problem.
Another benefit of the over-and-under is the ability to break it in half for road trips or flying. The broken down weapon fits in shorter double-rifle gun cases which don’t cause oversized charges on flights ,and it allows for more gear or multiple weapons to be packed in the case. A typical long shotgun case is considered oversized for plane trips, which could cost up to $400 extra round trip if the wrong fly attendant checks your bags.
So when hunting pigs and small game on public land, try out an over-and-under and experience double the benefits. If you are lucky like I was, you may just end up with one pig per barrel.