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AGING WILD HOGS
This article is intended to be a general referrence / guide to aging. Some conditions, such as soil and geographical, can change the way teeth wear. As a general referrence, in ten years, I have found little to change the overall results found below.
NOTE - Aging a hog on the hoof is possible with experience. Just as a whitetail deer can be aged on the hoof. Formation of the head and shoulders can be used to age wild hogs.
It seems to me that each time I'm around
when a hog is killed the question of age always pops up. In the past hunters would usually venture a
guess at the age of the dead hog but that's all it generally was, just a guess with no real basis to which it was arrived. Aging a hog on the hoof is an acquired art.
To help others I have published this guide as a way to help hunters age their kill.
The basis for this guide is arrived by pure personal experience, as follows. For many years I've raised and bred
wild boar. During those years many of the hogs were shot or otherwise died of other causes. As
a result I have assembled a fairly large collection of jaw bones. So, as good
fortune would have it I have the bones/teeth and I know the age of'em.
The size of the cutters, body weight or
body size is a very poor guide to determining the age of a hog. Body weight or
size can vary
widely amongst wild hogs so comparing weight and size to age isn't accurate. Body weight and tusk size is based on genetics and diet and thus will vary greatly. Although a full lower jaw and skull development should be considered in the aging process. The skull and jaw develop and grow with age. WildBoar will only start producing fully developed cutters at around 3 years of age. Large fully developed cutters will usually appear when the skull and jaw reach maturity at around 4 years of age. Shorter snouts and jaw lines with small undeveloped cutters, despite weight, indicates an boar under 3 years of age.
To age a wild bar all one needs to do is
expose the back row of teeth on a DEAD hog. This may require cutting the
cheek/lips clear of the lower jaw and prying the mouth open as wide as you can
get it. Then simply compare those teeth to the information I have below.
The average wild hog is born with a row
of 6 teeth at the back of the jaw.
in most situations not all 6 teeth will show till the hog reaches 5 years of age.
A HOG IN ITS SECOND YEAR
When a hog begins its second year it
will have 4 teeth showing through the gum line. On the hoof it is noticed by short slender snout.
The 1rst and 2nd tooth will be slender (incisors).
* The 3rd tooth will be FLAT, have 3 cusp and be
smooth. This tooth is a bay tooth and falls out at around 2.5 years of
The 4rth tooth will have 2 cusp and likely show no wear.
A HOG IN ITS THIRD YEAR
|As a hog begins its third
year will experiene a widening and lengthening of the jaw bone and skull to occomadate the growth of cutters used battles of dominance. the jaw should have 5 teeth showing completely
through the gum line.
* The 3rd tooth is now narrow and sharp. (a
drastic change from the 2 year old hog)
The 4rth tooth will have two cusp and show signs of wear as the cusp
loose the high sharp points.
The 5th tooth is exposed completely and has two cusp with little or
A HOG IN ITS FOURTH YEAR
|When a hog begins its fourth
year the skull and jaw will be fully developed. On the hoof the hog will have skull that is distinctly filled out wider and much more extended jaw. The 6th tooth, which is a big one with 3 large cusp, should be
showing 2 of its cusp through the gum line but show little wear.
The 4rth tooth should now show destinct signs of wear with possible pits, chips, or a
cup like appearance in each of the cusp.
The 5th tooth will now begin to show signs of wear by becoming more
A HOG IN ITS FIFTH YEAR
| As a hog reaches and
begins it's 5th year will have an overdeveloped destinct jaw line to occomadate cutters with a large base and the 6th tooth should show all 3 cusp through the gum
The 3rd tooth will begin to wear down and loose its sharp edge.
The 4rth tooth shows definite signs of excessive wear. Deep
cups/pits in each cusp and now may include chipping of the edges.
The 5th tooth should also begin to show signs of heavy wear as the 4rth tooth did at 4 yrs of age. Both cusps
will begin to pit and be worn smooth.
A HOG IN ITS SIXTH YEAR
|In a hogs 6th year of life. Skin usually becomes loose and show signs of heavy wrinkles along with balding in the shield area and an overdeveloped head and jaw compared to the body. The 6th tooth will be completely exposed and begin to show signs of wear.
The 4rth tooth will likely be chipped and decayed and worn
The 5th tooth will now be cupped with excessive wear and possibly
The 6th tooth will now begin to wear and loose its sharp edges on
all 3 cusp.
Unfortunately I don't have a 7 or 8 year old jawbone..
With a 7 year old hog you should expect the 4rth
tooth to be broken and decaying. The 5th tooth will most likely be in bad
shape also. The 6th tooth will be worn smooth.
An 8 year old hog is lucky to be alive and also lucky
to have his 4rth and 5th teeth. [smile]
As an overview here's a simple way of looking at the
ages of hogs taken in the field.
2 year old will have 4 prominent teeth showing. On the hoof a small slender skull and jaw that is overtaken by the body frame and body structure.
3 year old will have 5 prominent teeth showing. On the hoof a skull that more likely matches it's bady weight and frame and a jaw that is more pronounced.
4 years old will have 5 prominent teeth showing and part of the 6th
tooth showing (2 cusp). On the hoof the head/skull will be more ditinct with a jaw and snout that is pronounced and fully formed.
5 years old will have all 6 teeth showing through the gum line. On the hoof the skull and pronounced long snout that appears large are even over pronounced compared to the body frame.
After 5 you must judge the age by wear of the 4rth, 5th, and 6th teeth.
These are my observations and are a good
reference to to estimate an age with a wild hog taken in the field. Lots of
study is still to be done on this and revisions are likely to be made as I learn