Warthog Hunting in Africa

Interesting facts about the Warthog

  • Their name comes from their ‘warts’ or protrusions on the sides of their face, these protrusions are a combination of bone and cartilage. It protects their face when they fight.
  • They sleep underground at night in burrows that they steal from other animals such as aardvark.
  • Warthogs mainly eat grass or will dig for roots and bulbs when it’s dry. If they have the opportunity, they will scavenge on meat as they are omnivorous.
  • They like to roll in the mud to protect their skin from the sun and from parasites.
  • Warthogs have litters of two to four piglets however, their mortality rate is quite high due to predators.
  • Two or three female warthogs form small sounders with their young as they look after the piglets.
  • Female warthogs let their babies go into their burrows first, then they back into the burrow so that if anything comes into the burrow as a threat she can run out and protect them.
  • They have tusks like an elephant, on their upper and lower jaws that they use to fight and defend themselves against predators. If the ground is hard, they use their snouts and tusks to lift the soil. They go down onto their wrists when they eat.
  • Surprisingly, they can live for up to 17 years of age.

The difference between a male and female warthog

The male warthog is bigger with bigger tusks as well and has two sets of warts. While the female warthog has one set of warts and invariably has a brood of young following her around.

Warthog male with big tusks and two sets of warts

Warthog Male

Warthog female in the grass with smaller tusks and one sets of warts

Warthog Female

Background information for African Warthog Hunting

The common warthog is the only pig species that has adapted to grazing and savanna habitats. Its diet is omnivorous, composed of grasses, roots, berries and other fruits, bark, fungi, insects, eggs and carrion. 

Whilst feeding, they often bend their front feet backwards and move around on the wrists. Calloused pads that protect the wrists during such movement form quite early in the development of the fetus. Although they can dig their own burrows, they commonly occupy abandoned burrows of aardvarks and other animals. The common warthog commonly reverses into burrows, with its head facing the opening and ready to burst out if necessary. Common warthogs will wallow in mud to cope with high temperatures and huddle together to cope with low temperatures.

The common warthog is a medium-sized species, and shoulder height from 20 to 30 inches. Females, at 100 to 150 pounds, are typically a bit smaller and lighter in weight than males, at 130 to 250 pounds. 

A warthog is identifiable by the two pairs of tusks protruding from the mouth and curving upwards. The lower pair, which is far shorter than the upper pair, becomes razor-sharp by rubbing against the upper pair every time the mouth is opened and closed. The upper canine teeth can grow to 10 inches long and have a wide elliptical cross section. A tusk will curve 90° or more from the root, and will not lie flat on a table, as it curves somewhat backwards as it grows. The tusks are not used for digging but are used for combat with other hogs, and in defense against predators – the lower set can inflict severe wounds.

Warthog trophy boar. Where to place your shot when warthog hunting in Africa

Shot Placement for Warthog Hunting

Warthog Hunting in South Africa

Your warthog boar trophy should have an average shoulder height of around 25 inches, weigh about 180 pounds and have a tusk length of approximately 10 inches. The Safari Club International minimum score for a warthog is 30. This is measured by adding the length of each tusk as well as the circumference of the tusks.

Warthogs are great trophies to hunt and a big boar is not an everyday occurrence. A great animal to approach and observe, but be warned that it is an extremely difficult animal to read; they will up and leave in a second for no apparent reason while feeding. When judging the trophy quality from a distance, the tusks are not always that easy to see. Boars will display darkened skin below their eyes due to scent glands leaking a secretion that stains the skin, making boar identification much easier. 

Boars will often be double the size of sows in body weight, displaying 2 dominant warts on both sides of the head, while sows have much smaller warts. When judging the trophy quality of warthogs, one must always consider that on most occasions there is at least 2-3 inches of tusk inside the lip.

Warthog are now one of the most widely spread animals in the Eastern Cape. High quality boars are still difficult to find. Sheep and cattle fences are little or no impediment for freedom of movement.

Where to place your shot when Warthog hunting in Africa. Vital organs of a Warthog for shot placement

Warthog vital organs for shot placement

When hunting warthog, try your luck near wet, marshy areas, water holes, and pans. Tusks are readily visible; up to one half will be embedded in the skull. While they have two sets of tusks, upper and lower, only the upper tusks are considered for trophy assessment. When hunting warthog, approach slowly from downwind; his eyesight is poor, but his nose and ears work quite well.

The 7mm's and 30 calibers will work well for hunting warthog. For those hunters who do not wish to go through the red tape of having to bring a rifle in to South Africa Nick Bowker Hunting has available a 7mm custom made Remington Magnum fitted with a suppressor. The rifle is mounted with a Swarovski Z8 tactical scope. We have hand loaded Hornady ELD-X ammunition. This set up including ammunition is available as part of all hunting packages free of charge.

Warthog live most often in deserted aardvarks dens which they dig out with their hoofs and clear out with their shovel-like snouts. Piglets enter the den head first while the adults back into the burrow. Not dependent on water, the warthog will drink if it is available. Wallowing in the mud is his favorite pastime.

The goal for hunting warthog ranges from the trophy tusks and hide to delicious meat. One of the toughest of African game, the adult can weigh in at over 250 pounds. This unique member of the swine family is almost an exclusive grazer; not at all territorial, he wanders wherever he pleases. Found in small family groups called “sounders”, mother and piglets stay together for some time (up to 3 years); the boar joins the group for mating.

IDENTIFICATION: Warthogs' natural skin color is grey, but can appear reddish or yellow due to their constant mud bathing activities. Snout is broader than that of a domestic pig and long canine teeth (tusks) curl over the snout. Tails are always erect when on the move.

A Warthog trophy hunted in South Africa with Nick Bowker Hunting. One of Africa’s leading hunting safari outfitters

Warthog Trophy taken with Nick Bowker. Your Professional Hunter and Outfitter