Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell Baden-Powell of Gilwell.

Pigsticking; or, Hoghunting: a complete account for sportsmen, and others online

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Our horses are bedded, the camp is all still ;
We've just time for a pipe and to send the glass round,
To-morrow, by dawn, we must be on our ground.
Come, fill up your cup as full as you can,
Come, fill up a bumper each pigsticking man,
And drink to the boar, with his grizzled old jowl,
* May we meet him to-morrow,' and ' Hell to his sowl.'

Chorus Come, fill up your cup, etc.

" The beaters are in and the parties are out,
Our senses are tingling at every shout.
Will the boar be a big one, or will he be small ?
Will he break out to our side, or break not at all ?
Stop ! the mare's ears are pricked ! what is it she sees ?
A dusky form steals from the shade of the trees ;
He stops, then away for the open he hies,
Displaying his form to our gratified eyes.

Chorus Come, fill up your cup, etc."


67. Preserving Trophies. Voltaire says, " Le .corps
d'un ennemi mort sent toujours bon," but he had
had no experience of a pigsticker's camp. Once let a
bad smell get a fair start and not only is it impossible
to drive it out, but it is impossible to find where it

When the camp is being pitched a certain spot should
be assigned for depositing the pig, when they are brought
in, at some distance to leeward ; and stringent orders
should be given against the pig or any portions of them
being brought near the tents. Natives are very fond of
hanging up junks of the meat in trees and bushes until
it becomes " seasoned " and half cooked by the sun, and
the natural consequence is a smell, which can only be
described as awful. The uninitiated Englishman will
come out of his tent with his handkerchief to his nose,
and look everywhere but in the right place for the cause
of it. Man is said to be avOpwiro? (" one who looks
upwards "), but when he is looking for the cause of a
smell, however " high " it may be, he invariably looks
about low down for it.

As soon as possible after the boar has been killed he
should be " gralloched " and carried off to the appointed
spot outside the camp. He will there be cut up ; his
head going to the spearer, and his flesh distributed
among those of the villagers, servants, and beaters who
are not prevented by their caste from eating pork.

Before removing the pig from the spot where he was
slain he should be measured. Some people measure him
when he is brought into camp, but such measurement is
not reliable, as the muscles of the legs and shoulders will
have been unduly stretched and stiffened in carrying him
slung by the feet from a pole.


To measure correctly lay the pig on his side, place one
stick upright on the ground touching the withers and
another at the heel where the horn joins the hair,
and measure the distance between the two sticks in such
a way that the measuring tape is not curved, and so
lengthened by contact with the body. His length
should be measured on the same principle.

If it is desired to preserve the head to be set up, it
should be cut off with a good long neck.

The skin should then be slit down the centre and
stripped off the skull, taking care not to injure the part
round the eyes. The skull' can then be cleaned by a
native, care being taken not to lose the lower jaw-bones.

Wash the skin well in soap and water and split the
lips and skin of the ears from the inside as far as you
can ; removing as much meat from them as can be
filled in afterwards with wool and not be detected from
outside when the head is set up. Put the skin in a
chattie, or large jar, of carbolic acid and water, until it
is required to be set up.

The skull should be boiled in water, this will bring off
the flesh, etc., and will loosen the tushes.

These should be taken out, well oiled and plugged
with wax or grease, and refixed in the jaws.

The skull should be attached to a wooden shield
bracket by a wooden neck of proper length and inclina-

. The jaws should then be fixed with wire. The
appearance of the head will be more effective if they are
left open. Fill the eye cavities with putty and insert
glass eyes. Roll wool or tow round the wooden neck
and under the jaws, and model the muscles of the nose,
face, gums, and tongue, in putty on the skull.



Take the skin out of the solution (where it may have
been left with safety for six weeks) and soap it well
with arsenical soap. Put wool in the ears. Draw the
skin on to the skull and stitch up the slit. Tack the end
of the neck on to the shield. Manipulate the whole into
proper shape, and brush the bristles before the head
becomes set and dry.

To make arsenical soap mix into a paste with water :
5 drachms of camphor.
4 ozs. of arsenic.
4 ozs. of white soap.
1 2 ozs. of carb. potash.
4 ozs. of slaked lime.

If it is only required to extract the tushes : chop out the
jaws, and boil them till the tushes are loosened and come
out readily. Natives are very apt to try to force them
out and in so doing to break them. When taken out
they should be plugged and coated with wax or grease,
as they are apt to dry up and split into fragments in a
few days in hot weather. In a damp climate they last
perfectly well.

Small tushes make good labels for decanters, having
a silver plate attached to them and being hung round
the neck of the bottle by a small silver chain.

A pair of good upper tushes make a good stick or
umbrella handle, or one single upper or lower tusk makes
a good crutch handle for a stick. Briggs, of St. James's
Street, thoroughly understands mounting them.

Two large upper tushes may be made into a photo-
graph frame with legs formed by two lower tushes.

The Kadir Cup, 1883, is a plain silver cup with three
double handles, a pair of big under tushes forming each


A dog collar can be made with a pair of large under
tushes connected by silver hinge and hasp. Such a
collar was worn by " Beetle" (see portrait, page 132).

68. Surgical Notes. Besides knowing how to
cure heads, etc., it will often be found a most useful
accomplishment to know how to cure yourself, or friend,
or follower, in the event of accident or sudden illness.

It is not till an accident happens (as it usually does
when least expected, and with no professional assistance
at hand), that one realises one's utter helplessness, and
vainly reproaches oneself for never having devoted an
hour or so to learning how to give " first aid " to sick
or injured.

Sunstrokes and heat apoplexy are possible, and dis-
locations, fractures, sprains, contusions, concussions, and
gashes, are frequent in the pigsticking field ; it is, there-
fore, incumbent on a pigsticker to know how to deal with
them pending the arrival of a doctor, and to be provided
with a few necessary appliances for so doing.

An important addition, therefore, to your camp equip-
ment should be a book of "Ambulance" lectures and
instructions, and a pocket case containing triangular
bandage, tourniquet, antiseptic plaister, lint, ointment,
needles, silk, tape, pins. There are several forms of
suitable pocket cases in the market, notably the "Nyd,"
and the " St. John's Ambulance " cases.

The following notes on the treatment of the more
likely accidents might be copied into a pocket book
if an ambulance book is not available :


Symptoms. Insensibility, headache, and dizziness.

M 2


Treatment. Raise head ; open clothing near neck ;
cold water douche on head and neck ; no stimulants.


Symptoms. Insensibility, stertorous breathing.
Treatment. Raise head ; strip ; cover with wet sheet ;
cold douche ; no stimulants.


Symptoms. Contortion, crepitation.

Treatment. Straighten limb, bandage in extemporised
splints ; if an arm, put in sling ; if a leg, bind to the
other leg. Give weak stimulant.


Put pad in armpit, and bind arm to side. Weak


Bleeding to be stopped.

Blood from a vein comes dark coloured and with steady
flow. Lay patient on his back. Apply cold water and
pressure by bandage over the wound itself, that part of
the body being raised.

Blood from an artery comes bright red in jets. Find
the artery at some point between the wound and the heart
press it with thumb against the bone if possible. Apply
tourniquet immediately above this point if the bleeding
is checked by it.

A tourniquet is extemporised by placing a round
stone on the artery and fixing there with a hand-
kerchief passed r6und the limb, knotted, and screwed
tight with the aid of a stick through the loop.


Stop up with cotton or linen and bandage tightly.


Should be pinned or stitched up (see page 130) as
already described for horses.

A stretcher may be extemporised, if no charpoy is
handy, by laying two coats end to end, on their backs,
on the ground ; turn the sleeves inside out ; pass two
spear shafts through the sleeves, each shaft going down
one sleeve of each coat ; button the coats across. Place
the stretcher so formed alongside the patient for putting
him in.

The hand-books above mentioned contain all other
necessary directions.

1 66



69. A good man to pig. As we have already pre-
mised, an additional charm attaches to a sport in which
emulation between individuals finds a place, and in
which one man can prove himself better than another
and has opportunities of excelling in the eyes of his

Such rivalry is a special feature of pigsticking, where,
during the early part of the run, the riders compete for
the honours of "first spear," and later, when the boar
is being fought, they have constant opportunities of
showing their courage and adroitness.

In excelling in pigsticking more credit is due to the
man than to the horse, to a greater extent than is the
case in other mounted sports, such as racing, steeple-
chasing, polo, and even foxhunting. As we have before
seen ( 46) a good horse is certainly an advantage
and a comfort, but not a necessity. A good man on a
raw country-bred galloway will beat a bad man on a
1,500 Rs. Arab.

Some people lay down the theory that to be success-
ful as a pigsticker you must be a light-weight, since pig-
sticking is a species of catch-weight race, and adduce as
proof of their doctrine that most of the pigsticking cups
have been won by light or medium weights; but this
does not altogether prove the case, since the class of






horse used undoubtedly tells in these races for first blood,
and men of light weight are able to ride the best of
horses for the work, namely Arabs, while heavier men are
obliged to try and hold up their respective Walers and
country-breds in ground unsuited to them.

In practice it will be found that what the light rider
gains by lightness he loses in power a big considera-
tion where so much turning and holding of the horse has
to be done. It is, in fact, on this account that catch-
weights are considered the fairest weights for the annual
pigsticking competitions. Were proof required for this
view of the question it would only be necessary to point
to the successes of such heavy-weights as John Watson,
Harry Reeves, and others. But the truth is, weight has
very little to do with it ; the qualifications that make a
"good man to pig" are concisely summarized by " Old
Shekarry " as follows : " Strong nerves, good eye for a
country, keen sight, firm seat, a light hand, and more
especially a bold heart and cool head : and, add to these,
judgment of pace, dexterity with the spear, and an inti-
mate acquaintance with the habits and cunning of the

These points are the direct steps to the pinnacle of
excellence in pigsticking.

Many good men have a kind of natural instinctive
foreknowledge of the pig's tactics, which, perfected by
observation and experience, enables them in a run to
keep their horses going well within their powers, and
yet to get the best of every turn. They do not neces-
sarily lie first in the earlier part of the run, but they are
invariably the first to see and to seize the right oppor-
tunity for spearing, and they do it with a dash that were
it imitated by many others of the field would effectually


break the long continued spell of their unaccountable
want of success. But a large proportion of men are
cursed with want of dash which is fatal to success whether
in the pigsticking field or in the cavalry battle-field,
they see their opportunity but pause momentarily to con-
sider, " Is it good enough now yes, I think so, but yet
yes, here goes !" Too late ! " Here goes " should be
the first guiding principle, and any other considerations
should be gone into afterwards, like the Biluchi sentry's
method of " challenging " he puts his bayonet through
the intruder first, and then says, " Who comes there ?
Advance and give the countersign." (A fact.)

Outram is said to have possessed the powers of dis-
cernment and prompt decision in war to an uncommon
extent, and bringing the same dash to bear in the hog-
hunting field he proved one of the best pigstickers in
India. In 1823 at Rajkote, out of eighty-three boar
killed, Outram was accredited with fifty, and the follow-
ing year in Kattiawar, twenty-four out of thirty-nine fell
to his spear.

He even successfully extended his powers to tiger-
sticking, in which field, with the exception of Colonel
Skinner, he stands alone.

Supposing then that the aspiring tyro at pigsticking
considers he is qualified in the points already given,
such as nerve, dash, a firm seat and a light hand (not
a light seat and a firm hand, as some appear to read
it), it only remains for him to study the pig's ways,
and learn how best to adapt his skill to them. For this
reason I venture in this chapter to give a few hints on
riding to pig.

70. Waiting. The sentiment contained in the words
of the sea song, \vhich says :


" Dear, dear, that stupid engineer
Has got his work to learn."

must frequently occur in rather more forcibly expressed
terms to the Master and older sportsmen at a meet
where a young hand appears with full resolution to
cut some of them down in the run. From sheer
ignorance and inexperience he commits all kinds of
little faults which, trifling enough in themselves, may
have large results in the matter of spoiling sport for all.
Therefore, it will generally be wise in a beginner not to
try to make his mark in his first run, but to hang back
a bit and see how things are done by the older hands.

When once you have been told off to a party you
should remain with that party and not try to join any
other unless specially asked to do so.

The boar will never be induced to leave his cover if he
suspects that an enemy is in wait for him outside, and
therefore, after the beating has commenced there should
be no moving about on the part of the " spears," no
galloping up, a little late, to your party, etc. If by some
accident you have to move from one station to another
after the beat has begun, do not do so at a gallop, as it
makes a good deal of noise and also is a signal that you
are after a pig, but move at a trot, either inside the
boundary of the cover, or else at a good distance away
outside it, keeping as much as possible concealed from
the watchful eyes of any pig who may happen to be
looking out of the jungle.

When a party has been assigned a post at which they
are to wait for the appearance of a pig from the cover,
their first care should be to effectually hide themselves,
to keep their horses as still as possible, and to arrange
for a good look out being kept on all points within ken


of their post. The cover afforded by any bush, mound,
ditch, or deep shade of a tree should be utilised, but in
such a way that the hunter's view is not interrupted ;
spears should be held in such a way that no glistening of
their points shall catch the pig's eye ; and the horses
must be kept perfectly quiet and motionless.

It is a well-known fact among elephant hunters that so
long as a man stands perfectly still an elephant cannot
distinguish him even at a few yards distance. This is
also the case with a pig ; but it must not, therefore, be
supposed that he is dull of sight, for the slightest move-
ment or sound will at once attract his attention, and
excite his over suspicious nature. It is easy enough for
the man to keep still, but the difficulty is to make the
horse do so, and the pig quite recognises the horse as
man's ally against himself and dislikes him accordingly.

Nervous horses will twist about and paw the ground,
thin-skinned horses will kick at the flies, and the quietest
horses feel bound to keep their tails banging around ;
these eccentricities must therefore be taken into con-
sideration when trying to escape the notice of the pig in
places where complete concealment is not obtainable.
Fidgety horses should be placed between steady ones,
whose placidity will as a rule communicate itself to
them, all horses should be kept " head on " to the spot
watched, so that their tails will be as little visible as pos-
sible to the pig ; a fly net on the body, and a fringe
or leafy twig suspended over the eyes, will alleviate the
distress of thin-skinned horses.

It very frequently happens that when a party of spears
is posted near a spot which is known as the usual point
of exit of pig from the cover, they all keep their eyes
anxiously fixed on that point with a perfect disregard of


any other ; the consequence is that the very beast they
are so anxiously awaiting may have slipped out a short
distance further back, and be stealing away unseen over
the plain behind them, or, what is a very common occur-
rence, an old solitary boar dozing in an outlying bush a
short distance outside the cover is aroused by the din of
the beaters within the jungle, and proceeds to sneak off
unnoticed by the party of spears near him who are
steadily watching the whole length of the actual jungle

The next episode after the party has concealed itself
is one of the most exciting in the chase, namely, the
appearance of the pig on the scene.

There is an almost sickening feeling of suspense
associated with his first " discovery " such as one feels
when forming up to start for a race, or when thanking
the Governor of the jail and Sheriffs previous to the
bolt being drawn at one's execution.

" Bushman " writing in the " Oriental Sporting Maga-
zine," thus describes the sensation : " The intensity of
feeling at such a moment as this is truly painful, the
heart throbs in the throat and the hand all but refuses
to hold the rein, and this agitation as powerfully affects
your horse, his eye kindles, a tremor shakes his body,
and his restlessness shows how eager he is to commence
the fray." Dan Johnson, too, says that on these occa-
sions he has " trembled all over as if he were in a cold
fit of ague, which did not arise from fear but from ex-
treme anxiety " to begin operations. At such an exciting
moment, especially after having been waiting for the last
half hour, with every sense of sight and hearing strained
for a sign of the pig, a strong exercise of self control on
the part of the hunter is demanded in order that the


fruit of his patience may not be rendered abortive by
premature action.

It is at this juncture then that, if there is a beginner
in the party, he will make himself unpleasantly con-
spicuous ; on the first sight of the boar he will gather up
his reins, cram his hat down, and generally prepare for
the coming struggle ; his horse thus roused will set the
other horses shifting and moving, whereat the pig per-
ceiving something suspicious in the wind, accepts the
hint with a sort of nod of comprehension and trots back
into cover with a firm determination not to turn out of
it again in a hurry to face unknown dangers.

The author's remarks in " Hunting" on the shyness of
the fox in breaking cover apply equally well to the boar :
" one small child will keep him from coming out, while a
whole regiment of cavalry can't prevent his going back
when he has come out, and is minded to return."

Therefore the party of spears should remain perfectly
motionless on the appearance of the pig and give him time
to reconnoitre and make up his mind to venture forth ;
this may take him a few seconds or it may take several
minutes to do. There will be ample time after he has
finally determined to take to the open and has passed
the station of the party for cramming on your hats,
drying your spear hand, aye, and of making your will
too, if necessary, for you should not be in too great
a hurry to start to ride.

Better lose your boar over the horizon than chop him
back into cover.

In the case of a sounder of young pig and sows
breaking cover the party should remain perfectly quiet
even after they have passed, because in nine cases out of
ten the old patriarch of the family is following them at



some distance behind as rear guard, or if he does not
happen to be there, their apparently safe escape will
often induce others hesitating at the edge of the jungle,
to follow their example, and break cover.

If the ground is perfectly open the party can wait till
the boar has got his full distance and then start to
gallop him, but if there are thin crops or bushes, etc., in
which he might be lost sight of he should be quietly
followed and kept in sight, at a walk only, for he will
generally pause two or three times to listen before fully
making up his mind where to run to. When he stops
in this way the party should of course stop too, and in
concealment if possible. If he should happen to see
the party moving after him the latter should continue
on the move apparently taking no notice of him and
gradually circle away from his line. He will then often
imagine that he has escaped their notice and will there-
fore resume his flight. In any case it is no use attempt-
ing to rush him as he will at once dart back for the
cover whence he came.

In the case of canal jungles it is particularly neces-
sary to give the boar a long start, and by long start I
mean half-a-mile at least. Knowing the interminable
length of these jungles, pig are very loth to leave them,
and consequently if they find themselves being pursued
while they are still within what they consider reasonable
distance of the cover they will shoot round on the instant,
and make the running " all they know " back again, at a
pace that in that short distance will keep them well
ahead of any horse.

Considering the delicacy, therefore, of this " waiting"
phase of the chase, it is best for the beginner to let him-
self be entirely guided by the leader of the party. In


every party there will generally be one more experienced
than the rest who will, by tacit consent, be accepted as
leader. He will direct the movements of the party in
keeping the pig in sight, and when he sees him finally
cantering off with a sufficient start he will give the word
" Ride." Then let it be a case " extremum scabies

" Ride ! for now the sounder breaks,
Ride where'er the grey boar takes ;
Bold and brave ones join the chase.

Follow in the reckless race.
Hurrah ! hurrah ! one bumper more,
A bumper to the gallant boar ! "

71. Riding to Pig. The only golden rule for
riding well and successfully at pigsticking is " ride
straight." Mr. Nightingale's advice to beginners is
worth remembering. "Ride straight," he says, "from
first to last, keep your spear well forward and never say
die ; " and Mr. Cruickshank, in his pigsticker's anthem,
seconds the proposition with " Sit down and ride straight,
ride like hell!"

The author of a quaint pigsticking book of 1827
counsels the very opposite of what one would do now-a-
days ; he says, " I would rather lose a hog or not deliver
my spear than get a fall or my horse ripped. Unfor-
tunately many hoghunters pay more attention to the
hog and to the delivery of the spear than to themselves
or their horses, and have many ruined which might have
been saved by a little more attention to the latter, which
also would prevent many falls. I do not consider that
person the best sportsman who kills most hogs, but
he who kills the greatest number with the least risk."

Shooting driven pig from behind a safe rampart, as is


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Online LibraryRobert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell Baden-Powell of GilwellPigsticking; or, Hoghunting: a complete account for sportsmen, and others → online text (page 11 of 14)