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Old 02-13-2011, 05:39 PM
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Pig-ology


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Combining a couple of recent topics, I've decided to start a new thread on 1. field dressing, 2. equipment, and 3. ballistics

WARNING WARNING WARNING WARNING WARNING WARNING WARNING WARNING WARNING WARNING ad nauseum

Images presented herein are graphic in nature. If you don't like to look at blood, guts and cut-up animals, well, go somewhere else. I hear that there is a pretty cool electronic farming game on the "face-spaz" web site that might just be the ticket for you!

You have been warned. I DO NOT want to hear any whining! Frankly, if the sight of this offends you, then the smell of a "Eau de Urine" from a big boar would probably be fatal. Stay at home and watch TV!

Parts II and III:



<a href="http://www.shootersforum.com/my-neck-woods/76627-pig-ology-ii.html">Pig-Ology II</a>


<a href="http://www.shootersforum.com/wildgame-fish-fowl-recipes/82049-grill-ology-mouth-watering-sequel-pig-ology-i-ii.html">Grill-Ology</a>
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Old 02-13-2011, 05:42 PM
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First, kill a pig........

Headed up to the lease this weekend and after checking several feeders, found a big dug-up hole under one of them. Court was convened into session, and the guilty parties were convicted in absentia, and sentenced to capital punishment.....

.30-30 at the ready, and at 5:30pm on Saturday the guilty party showed up for sentencing! He was quartering away from me to my left when I let a Beartooth 160gr. bullet fly from my .30-30 at approximately 100 yards.

You gotta love a DRT. Usually these things show up 45 minutes after sunset, then run off into waist-high poison ivy, briars, cactus, and God knows what else.

At the shot, the pig started on his big dirt nap. I watched for a few minutes to make sure there was no miraculous recovery, and ate an apple. The other 4 rounds in the magazine were conserved......

This was an opportunity to use my scale, he weighed right at 170 lbs, which was about 50 pounds more than I wanted to clean. Oh well.......

Also, note the massive amount of dirt on these things. It kills knives..... Also note the short drag track from the dirt nap, to the truck. The convenience of backing the truck right up to the deceased and using a winch to pick him up just cannot be overstated.
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Pig-ology-3030pig.jpg   Pig-ology-fullweight.jpg   Pig-ology-dragpig.jpg  
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Old 02-13-2011, 05:44 PM
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Now comes the fun part.

My own habit is to core out the pelvic tunnel and not split the bone for various reasons. Since this is a boy, we'll have to start farther down the belly and skin out his "junk" before doing anything else.

Then, using the convenient "handle," carefully! start separating all of the plumbing from the rest of the pig. Pull it away from whatever you're cutting and use the tip of the knife to go 3 or 4 inches down into the tunnel, that should be far enough.

The "boys" aren't going to fit back through, so might as well slice them off. Save if you like Rocky Mountain oysters; I've always been partial to feeding them to coyotes......
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Old 02-13-2011, 05:47 PM
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I'd suggest slicing the meat on the sternum next. Find where it starts and go down.....

Then, either use a guthook, or just spread the abdominal wall, and carefully cut up to the pelvis with just the very tip of the blade. Take your time here, bad things can happen.
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Old 02-13-2011, 05:49 PM
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Before you have guts hanging down in the way, I recommend slicing down the front of the chest cavity and splitting the ribs. Trust me, it's a lot harder when they are in the way.

Find the end of the sternum, and carefully, insert the knife, with the blade cutting out, and see if you can cut the ribs. Note that even with the point of the knife in the chest cavity, you can still rupture the stomach if you aren't careful.

On small pigs and deer, I can grab the knife handle with both hands and split the sternum. On this big fella.... we need some help!

I've seen hunters use bone saws, hack saws, hand saws, battery powered reciprocating saws, tree shears, and no telling what else. But, my favorite is a pair of tinsnips.
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Old 02-13-2011, 05:50 PM
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If you've cut enough out around the outside of the pelvic tunnel, you can grab the guts from the inside and gently pull down. Be extremely careful if you have to cut more tissue! The "junk" all comes back down through the pelvic tunnel.....

The intestines are stil attached by fairly weak connective tissue at the spine. I just pull it away, cut if you need to. Note, the object below my hand is the bladder. DO NOT!!!! under any circumstances, pierce that. It DOES NOT smell good, I can assure you.

The "kidney-shaped" objects next to the spine are, well, kidneys! (what did you expect). They go to the coyotes, too. All that stuff pulls right off.
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Pig-ology-pulljunk.jpg   Pig-ology-pullguts.jpg   Pig-ology-pullkidneys.jpg  
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Old 02-13-2011, 05:53 PM
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Now, the diaphragm is next. Cut a small slit in that next to the ribs, and just pull or cut it out. Even on this big pig, I just pulled most of it loose.

With the diaphragm cut all the way around, the rest of the chest cavity comes out. At this point all of the digestive organs are out, and you can start hacking things with a knife if you need to. On a lung shot, it is going to be pretty bloody.
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Pig-ology-cutdiaphram.jpg   Pig-ology-pulldiaphram.jpg   Pig-ology-chestcavity.jpg  
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Old 02-13-2011, 05:55 PM
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Do autopsy next, if you want to evaluate bullet performance. Helps to have an object to judge size. Here, a .30-30 cartridge is next to a hole in the lungs. Damage was probably from bone fragments. The bullet went through the spine and I found the gas check where some vertebrae were shattered, still haven't found the bullet yet. It's probably in a shoulder or backstrap which are still in the cooler as of this writing.

Next photo... I hope someone has a clue what "this" is. Long, flat, dark colored object. Spleen full of blood? Never saw anything like this. It's not the liver which is at the bottom of the photo. I don't have a clue what this is... ??

Here's a shot at my 'toolbox,' and yes, I may use them all. Pigs kill knives!!!!!!!
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Pig-ology-lungs.jpg   Pig-ology-whatisthis.jpg   Pig-ology-tools.jpg  
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Old 02-13-2011, 05:58 PM
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Bloody pic next (warning). Get the rest of the esophagus out, if you haven't already. Very important. One of my friends call this part the 'goozle' and no, I don't know why.

At this point the field-dressed weight was about 125 lbs.
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Old 02-13-2011, 05:59 PM
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Get back to camp and start skinning! Pigs are not like deer where the skin is loose. You have to hack every square inch off and it gets tough over the shoulders.

Here is what the bullet had to go through just for starters. Note that the flat nose of the bullet actually cut enough tissue out of the way so that there is an actual hole. That doesn't usually happen with spitzer bullets.

More shots of the 'shield' - I don't know what it really is, exactly, but it feels like a mixture of fat and cartilage. Not all that thick on this one, about 5/8" or so, maybe. You may be able to see the (somewhat) horizontal lines made by the tip of the knife as I hacked through this stuff.
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Old 02-13-2011, 06:00 PM
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When you get to the earhole (just above the knife tip), you are done skinning. At least I am. Let the knife follow the base of the skull and cut the head and hide loose.

Fortunately, at this point I went to bed! It was cold enough to hang overnight. Carcass weighted around 85 lbs. with no hide, head, or hooves.
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Old 02-13-2011, 06:02 PM
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Next morning... slept in as cleaning another pig was beyond my ambition

Start with shoulders. Just pull them away from body and let knife follow inside of shoulder blade. Toss in cooler......

Get the belly out of the way next, even if you aren't going to keep it. Cut just in front of pelvis (you can feel it) and then down when you get to backstrap.

This pig had a LOT of meat on the ribs which I'll keep for sausage. Run knife between meat and ribs, and keep going. Pretty big slab!
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Old 02-13-2011, 06:03 PM
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With the belly meat out of the way, start on the tenderloins. Run the knife tip carefully next to the spine on both sides..... and then fillet off the backbone.

Right after I got the first tenderloin off, Dr. TPV Pig.-d (doctorate of pigology), showed up at camp. Good thing as I was on the third knife and so he lent me his folding scapel to finish boning out. Thanks Dr. T!

Here's the scapel in use with the backstrap. Start at the front of the pelvis, cut back to the spine, then along the top of the backbone/ribs and slowly peel off. This is a big one and seriously good eating.

It is difficult to put into words how much of a joy this tool was to use. First, I have sharpened many a knife to "shaving sharp" but this is a whole other level of sharp. Next, it's a thin, handy, light size that can be run with fingertip pressure. No hunting knife could be this thin, and survive more than a few cuts of anything tougher than angel food cake. Last, it *stays* sharp. I'm gonna order me one tomorrow!
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Old 02-13-2011, 06:05 PM
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I cut the hams off by following the outside of the pelvis, then cut through the tendons at the ball joint. The scapel made this job the easiest time I have ever done it. Note, I mentioned in the beginning that I don't cut the pelvic bone on the inside. Here's one reason why - I'm hanging the carcass by it. If you've never had a ham fall off a gambrel into the dirt, then well, you probably haven't cleaned too many animals!

In fact I don't even use a gambrel at all. Two or three wraps of the game hoist wire around a hock, then clip back to itself, and that critter isn't falling off. I drove a mile or so back to camp over some pretty rough road with the pig hanging on the hoist like that. Probably not the best way to transport one through downtown Austin, but no one on the ranch will be offended. In fact they might thank me for killing this ugly pest!

Here's the remainder. It looks like a lot of meat left but it's paper-thin between the ribs and backbone. The coyotes will enjoy it, and buzzards gotta eat, too. I forgot to weight the part but maybe 15 pounds or so?

After we were done, Dr. TPV and I drove around a bit and did some sight-seeing while discussing the merits of various anti-pig devices. It should be noted that the 160gr. projectile in .30 caliber, in the .30-30 case, has a 100% "one shot stop" record on the ranch for pigs. The efficiency of this level of performance just can't be argued! We both have noted a tendency of cartridges that use more powder, to be less effective at times.....
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Old 02-13-2011, 06:06 PM
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OK.... last thing. Would you like milder tasting, cleaner meat? Sure you would! Put some salt on it........

Then a bunch of ice, and a bunch more salt. Example, I used most of a can on this pig. This will soak a lot of blood out over the next couple of days. Plus, the high salinity is antiseptic. A day or two of soaking won't make the meat taste excessively salty, either - that takes weeks.

Best part was getting home - wife had roasted a shoulder from one I shot last month. Wow it smelled good walking in the house!!!!!

That's it! Hope you enjoyed "Pigology 101" and ask questions if you have any.
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Old 02-13-2011, 07:25 PM
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Great pics and narrative, Mike!

Bigger pig than most there? Nice shot!
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Old 02-13-2011, 07:37 PM
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Great job, Mike - both the pic's and the instructions.

Next one I get at the lease I'll take the pic's while you explain the work!
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Old 02-14-2011, 05:08 AM
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Very impressive, start to finish! You described the process, in all its (lack of) glory extremely well!

I was particularly interested in the middle picture from your first post, which shows the hog hanging in front of the woods and brush they live in...it looked like an ad for "pig-o-flage" camo. It's amazing how well they blend into their surroundings.

For all of you out there who have never cleaned a pig, or many big game animals, THIS IS THE WAY TO DO IT! Also, thanks for the very descriptive endorsement of the scalpel/skinning knife; I'll be ordering one, as well.
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Old 02-14-2011, 06:45 AM
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Thanks for the kind words. Death usually isn't pretty, and it sure doesn't smell good, either!

Dead pig pictures seem to be less bloody than dead deer pictures. The pigs just bleed out less, I suppose. The pigs sure are a lot uglier, though!

My poor camera surely suffered the most in this ordeal. I tried to keep the mess off of it but.... Kdub, I'll take you up on the offer to run the camera but it has to be on a pig with only one hole. Otherwise people will think we're mad at it

Size.... I can only speak from experience. Long ago lost track of how many pigs I've shot, but 300+ pounds is rare. My biggest was weighed at 275. On the same property, the landowner killed one that field dressed at 285, so it was surely 340 or so live. He had the second biggest pig killed in Comal county that year according to one of the local contests, but only by a few pounds.

On the current lease, I've killed two that we did not weigh but were bigger than this (brought home 10-20 pounds more meat). So those were surely at the 200 pound mark, plus or minus 10 lbs. My wife, also, got one right in that range. I know of one that was weighed on the lease that went just over 400. Let me tell you, that is one big pig! The ones in that weight range are quite reclusive and don't get killed very often unless they are trapped or get caught in daylight chasing a sow in heat. Unless it's someone I know who has considerable hunting experience, I don't really trust weight estimates.

Mostly what gets killed is a sow or piglets from a family group. Usually the sows don't go much over 150 or so but the very first one I ever killed probably was quite a bit more than that, looking back. I just didn't have a scale or anything to judge it by at the time.

Boars get kicked out of the nest (or run off by bigger boars) when they are 100 pounds or so. I've killed one boar that had a broken tusk and several that had chipped tusks, these boys are fighters not lovers! If you see a pig by itself, odds are it's a boar over 100 lbs. This one was probably bigger than average (but keep in mind the average is held down by the legions of piglets) and surely bigger than you want to clean by yourself.....
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Old 02-14-2011, 01:43 PM
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I don't know anyone else with more experience killing and cleaning pigs than Mike. Anyway I thought his pig pics were very useful for anyone new at the sport of pig sticking. Heck, he even kills pigs that I shot a week earlier with my 223. I knew I'd take flax for that one. But like any cartridge, its where you hit them that counts.
Anyway, to make a long story longer, the equipment used was certainly worth it. I will be getting a winch up for my Polaris to help in cleaning and loading animals. And the scalpel is a neat idea for pig cleaning. It is effortless all the way through the cleaning process. The surgical steel is coated with something, I don't know what, but I could still shave with it.
I still like to sharpen, and use my knives, but if you have a lot of cleaning and skinning to do, I'd leave them in the case and pick up one of these little gems. A word of caution, BE CAREFUL! If it touches your skin, it will cut through all the way.
The other handy inexpensive product that pig hunters might like to carry with them it a package or two of strawberry jello. Just the powder with suger in it. I have seen them eat the dirt with this stuff spread on it, and there is not a lot of money invested here. I like to use it by the feeders or at the edge of our ponds (tanks) where they like to wallow. Guess they like to smell like Eu'd Jello in the spring.
The check out girl at our Wal-MArt, has noticed my quantity purchases of the stuff. Wonder what she was thinking!
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