Over the decades I have eaten a wide variety of game, and thoroughly enjoyed it. However, the one animal missing from my menu has been wild pig. I have tried it on only a couple of occasions, shot and prepared by an old mate who used to be a butcher. It’s not that I lack the opportunity, I live in a rural area where wild pigs abound. Occasionally, like yesterday, I will shoot a wild pig in the course of my hunting for wild dogs.
At first light yesterday my hunting buddy, Pete, and I were walking along a cattle track on our way to a calling stand for wild dogs. Ahead we became aware of a large boar feeding slowly along in the same direction. We stalked closer until a good opportunity presented itself. I used my Sauer XT101 in 243 Win, firing Fiocchi 100 grain factory softpoints to deliver a carefully placed headshot. Pete caught the moment on video.
The pig flopped to an instant kill and began to slowly roll down the grassy, wet slope of the spur. As we positioned the big hog for some photos we found he was a barrow pig. That accounted for the big size and great condition of the animal as well as clean and odourless state. Wild boars are often rangier in build and always stink of their own body odour and the carrion that they roll in. It is the primary reason for never having elected to butcher and eat feral pigs. Even the smallest wild hogs stink of carrion.
Anyway, presented with a large, clean barrow hog in great condition it seemed a waste to leave it in the paddock. However, a complication was a lack of my usual harvesting kit of knives and plastic bags. Pete and I had a small pocket knife each, so that would have to do. The skin of the pig was much thicker and tougher than I expected; a real chore to cut through with a small, fiddly pocketknife. By the time I had cut through the heavy skin on its back to get at the backstraps I had had enough.
At home I chilled the prime meat, then trimmed and sliced away any sign of field contamination. I vacuumed bags the individual cuts and then placed those in the freezer. After two weeks in the freezer I will extract a bag and decide how I will cook that pork. Pork, whether wild or domestic, carry similar potential risks and should always be well cooked. With wild pork, two weeks minimum in the freezer at -20C, or colder, resolves many other risks as well. I’ll report back on that after my first meal of my wild pork.
For anybody who, like me, has long wanted to try eating wild pork they have harvested, here a few excellent reference articles by folks more knowlegible about that topic than I am.