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

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Commissioner ; and officers of this position, as a rule,
see the benefits that accrue to their villagers through
this medium, and therefore do their utmost to encourage
sport and to prevent poaching. Yet some few Com-
missioners there are who are so desperately afraid of
anything being said against them in the local news-
papers that they allow natives to carry guns as they like
for the annihilation of pig (and naturally of all other
kinds of game as well), and who make no attempt to
further the sport of the Europeans in their district.

This short-sighted policy is one of the causes that
operates to keep open the gulf between natives and

It only requires a hint from government to ensure the
sport having a thriving existence in almost any district ;
and where such great benefits accrue to both races it is
only reasonable to hope that government will not only
extend this encouragement, but also practically foster
the sport by the grant of waste jungle lands to serve as

Under such an aegis many places that are now nearly


denuded of pig would in a short time be restocked, many
hitherto unknown pig countries would be opened up, and
in tracts where at present no pig exist they would soon
be introduced by means of parents imported from other
jungles and turned down in adequate preserves.

Much waste land in India can thus be put to the very
useful purpose of promoting a sport which will enable
the civil and military rulers to carry on their paternal
despotism with greater energy and greater advantage
to the natives ; and also whilst maintaining their prestige
with the Indians, Englishmen will be hardening them-
selves for any struggle the future may have in store.




8. Ever since the first "first spear" was taken
has controversy raged over the rival claims of pigstick-
ing and foxhunting. Many and many an evening has
been spent over an Indian dinner table in discussing their
relative merits ; and, although it is generally allowed that
they cannot be fairly compared owing to their widely
differing elements, still, the argument continually crops
up, and when it does so I would always allow it to run
its course, for it has many good points in its favour, and
the above conclusion can always be brought into play
as a peaceful solution when the time has arrived for the
final whisky and soda. In support of this view of the
matter I would quote the old sportsman who said that
"nothing was more low, generally speaking, than 'buck-
ing/ but that he considered a man not only might, but
positively ought, to buck when pigsticking was the
theme, that being the sport, par excellence"

The fact is that pigsticking is a rough, wild sport,
with somewhat strange and foreign .surroundings, emi-
nently suited to a keen sportsman, even though he be
needy, who in India finds himself in a position to buy
two hunters for the price of one English one, and to keep
them on an outlay that would not serve for *5 of a horse
at home ; and who in addition, by reason of the settled
nature of the weather, can be sure of at least four months


of continuous hunting, without the risk of finding his
horses thrown idle on his hands to eat their heads off
during sudden visitations of frosts or storms. Lastly,
it is a sport in which a savage quarry has to be warily
hunted and boldly fought, and where the whole object
of the chase is his death. Foxhunting, on the contrary,
needs money, and although of a tamer nature, has just
as many delights born of the glamour of its peculiar
home associations, surroundings, and comforts. But
here the main point is a good gallop over a fenced
country, the death of the fox being a secondary con-
sideration. Sir Thomas Seaton, in " From Cadet to
Colonel," gives a spirited, though somewhat one-sided,
comparison of the two sports. " Hoghunting," he says,
" is the king of sports. Foxhunting in England is all
very well ; a mob of pretty dogs yow-yowing musically
after a poor little beast that is only too happy to escape
if he can. The only excitement is the gallop and the
jumps, the " raspers,"" flying over a brook, or tumbling
into it, etc., etc. Still when he finds himself at his own
fireside, the hunter expatiates on the ' glorious sport ' he
has had. Glorious sport indeed ! The hypocrite ! Let
him go to India and try a turn or two at hoghunting.
Put him on a good horse, place in his hand a sharp,
nicely balanced seven-foot spear, and station him just
inside the edge of the jungle with a bit of open before
him. Let him hear the elephants coming trumpeting,
and the beaters giving their warning cry, let him see the
sounder break cover and get into the open ; then let him
gallop after them, and with a friend, single out a big
boar and try for first spear. If the boar is a good one
he will go at a splitting pace for perhaps a couple of
miles, and if he finds he can't escape, will stop at once,



turn, and charge down like lightning upon one of the
two. Let it be our sportsman. He may perhaps stop
the brute's rush, but he won't kill him, and then when he
turns and tries for second spear, the really dangerous
one, he will see what a devil the wounded boar is. He
won't think much of foxhunting after he has once suc-
ceeded in despatching the more formidable animal."

The above account was written some years ago, when
it is reasonable to suppose that the balance between the
sports was more equally disposed than it is now, for
while pigsticking has of late years improved without
changing its characteristics, foxhunting has, on the
other hand, become a more artificial pastime with less
real sport in it. A good authority on the subject has
recently said : " The hunting field is nothing if it is not
amusing. It must be very amusing even now when the
railway brings crowds of strangers to the covert side,
when every covert is expected to hold a fox or two, and
the chase is a mere race across country. It is hunting
no doubt, but there is much less of real downright
hunting than there used to be, and as to woodcraft there
is no longer any call for it. The hounds are perfection,
if there is such a thing ; so are the horses, and the
riding is as good as ever ; but the hunting is gone, and
with it the pleasures attending the gratification of an
instinct in a hunting animal."

Pace is everything now ; thoroughbred hounds and
horses ; well drained lands ; and the fly-ahead spirit of the
age, all help to this end ; there is no time nor need for
steady hunting and exercise of woodcraft ; all that is
" slow " and out of date, not up to the requisite modern
steeple-chasing ideas. Even that enthusiastic sportsman,
the late Mr. Bromley Davenport, feels bound to confess


that, as a sport, foxhunting has seen its better days.
He says in his delightful book : " Perhaps no greater
anomaly, no more palpable anachronism exists than fox-
hunting in England."

It is true that among its devotees the pastime is as
popular as ever it was ; it is computed that they num-
ber 100,000, and that their half-million of horses and
hacks cause a weekly ebb and flow of some 6oo,ooo/. in
wages, forage, and stabling. But still for all this it is
little more than a pastime, although the most exhila-
rating and enjoyable that exists, and as such, with its
happy English surroundings, pigsticking need not be
run against it.

Major Moray Brown, in his "Shikar Sketches," compares
the two sports in words that well express the opinion
of a great number of us who have had experience of
both sports during late years. He writes : " You cannot
compare the two sports together. To begin with in fox-
hunting you are dependent on ' scent.' Granted the ex-
citement of a fast burst over a grass country, and that
you are well carried by your horse, the end What is
it ? A poor little fox worried by at least forty times its
number of hounds. Has he a chance, bar his cunning, of
baffling his pursuers ? No. Now, how different is the
chase of the boar of India ! There you must depend on
yourself in every way, and at the end your quarry meets
you on nearly fair and equal terms, and though certain
chances are in your favour the odds are not forty to one
against your killing him, as is the case in foxhunting.
Please do not think I am decrying foxhunting, for I am
not. I love it ; I adore, with a sort of venatic worship,
both a fox and a hound ; but if I were given my choice
of the two sports, I should choose hoghunting, just as

C 2


you, dear reader, would prefer a gallop with the Quorn
or Cottesmore to a day's "jelly dogging ! "

Doubtless, as a cross country rider and sportsman, a
foxhunter would be the first to take to pigsticking
should fate ordain that he must visit India. And, in
fact, with all the modern conveniences, rapidity, and
economy of travel, there is no reason why many a hunting
man should not nowadays take fate into his own hands,
and at the wind-up of the season at home start for the
sunny East, there to set himself up with a few horses in
a good locality for two or three months after the pig,
from say the beginning of April till the middle of July,
when the rainy season will interfere with his further
sport there, just as the autumn shooting will be calling
him home again.

I venture, therefore, to hope that the detailed de-
scription of " pigsticking" given in the following pages
may be of interest to foxhunters and other sportsmen,
and if it should be the means of introducing any of them
to a sport which succeeds in meeting with their approval,
my satisfaction will be complete.





9. Pigsticking is said to be a sport ; .
define a " sport " is a difficult matter. By misuse the
term has come to have a very wide application, and it
is hard to tell where "pastime" ends and "sport" begins.
The foreigner believes that the waking thought of the
British sportsman is : " God dam, it is a fine day. What
shall I kill ?" It is true that in one accepted sense sport
involves the death of an animal ; but then the quality
of the sport depends on the circumstances and method
of compassing the death. As Mr. Cruickshank says,
" A savage would consider it the height of sport to go
and whang a pig on the head with a lathi (club) una-
wares, but we should call this unsportsmanlike, not
referring to the result but to the method of bringing it
about. We sally out ourselves with the same ultimate
object in view, viz., the death of the boar, but then we
abandon the most easy and direct way of effecting it,
and substitute artificial necessities, such as the hunter
being mounted, a certain weapon being used, and in a
prescribed manner, and only used when the pig has been
put in motion."

It may be held that a field sport is the better in pro-
portion to the extent to which it fulfils the following
conditions :


Firstly. That a quarry worthy of one's steel is found.

Secondly. That the enjoyment is heightened by the
excitement and triumph of surmounting any obstacles
and dangers that may intervene, and offer the quarry
chances of escape, such for instance as the bad or fenced
nature of the country, the natural craftiness, power, or
fierceness of the quarry, or inadequacy of weapons used.

Thirdly. That the enjoyment is further heightened
by the sportsman bending to his will that of other
animals, such as horses, hounds, hawks, etc., so that they
assist and delight with him in the chase.

Fourthly. That the enjoyment is yet further heightened
by the success of his own individual prowess, in emula-
tion with, or excelling his fellows, in the pursuit.

Considered in these lights, without reference to associa-
tions and surroundings, it is evident that pigsticking
is second to none among sports, let us, therefore, proceed
to look at it under these four heads.






10. Boar. The " zoological attributes " of the wild
boar may be found in any encyclopaedia of natural
history, but the following summary of his points may
be of practical use to the pigsticker, and are not all
to be found in the school books. At the outset of an
inquiry into his natural history, we are confronted with
the eccentric and obstinate character for which he is
famed. The pig is generally described in such works
as belonging to the artiodactylate ungulata species of
animals, his feet being even-toed, two functional and two
rudimentary ; but Aristotle, who classed all animals
under the heads of whole-hoofed, cloven-hoofed, and
digitated, shows the pig as obstinately "ambiguous,"
since in Pceonia and Illyria whole-hoofed hogs were

Again, in the usual course of Nature, animals are the
less prolific as they are larger in size, and digitated
animals are more prolific than hoofed beasts, but the
sow is an obstinate exception to both these rules. She
produces more young for her size than any other animal,
and in the structure of the ovarium and in fecundity
somewhat approaches the egg-laying species.

The wild boar of India (Sus Indicus) is known by
Englishmen in the Bombay and Madras Presidencies
as the "hog" (deriv. Welsh, hwch ; Breton, hauc'ha, to


grunt), while in Bengal and Northern India he enjoys
the more common title of " pig."

In the native dialects he is known as follows :

Soor (Hindustani).


Dukar (Mahratti).

Paddi (Gondi).

Kard hundi, Currijati (Canarese, Mysore).


An old English writer tells us : " An old boar you
must call a Singular or Sanglier ; he hath left the sounder
four or five years since."

To describe him generally, he is an animal of low
and powerful build, standing from 28 to 36 inches at the
wither. Head long and narrow and carried low, with a
short thick neck ; the back and limbs particularly
muscular. The top of the head and neck, the throat,
withers, and rump, are covered with long brownish grey
bristles, and the rest of the body with shorter hair of the
same description ; tail straight and tapering, with tag of
bristles at the end. The male is armed with two tushes
on the lower jaw, tapering, sharp, and pointing upwards,
and two shorter and thicker in the upper jaw, also
curling upwards. These, in conjunction with his small,
yellowish-red eyes, deep set in his head, give him a
particularly wicked appearance, which does not belie his
genuine nature.

The character and size of the " pig " vary much ac-
cording to locality; for instance, the species found in
Afghanistan is more like the European boar (Sus scrofa)
in general appearance, being large-headed and heavy
shouldered, with a particularly thick growth of bristles,
and an undergrowth of woolly hair.


The Deccan boar is a game-looking animal, with
lighter-made body and long muscular legs, weighing
comparatively little for his size, owing to his practice of
going far afield for his food ; while his neighbour, the
Gujerati boar is of coarser build, with less speed and less
pluck ; but the latter lives in a more civilised district,
where he finds crops ready to hand, and probably is not
infrequently crossed with a strain of the village pig of

II. Varieties. The following are the chief varieties
of breeds likely to be met with by the hunter in India
of two of which I give facsimile sketches by a native

i. Tatainya, Tatira, or Mooghun: with small lean head,
broad chest, thin rump, and high wither. In
colour, dark brown and black, with reddish
bristles on neck ; big tushes ; fierce and fast.
Common in grass, jhow, hills, and ravines, hard
to drive from jungle, and generally pauses on
leaving the cover before taking to the open.
Frequently jumps and cuts at rider's leg when
charging. Other varieties of pig do not usually
inhabit a jungle in which Tatainya live.

ii. Meilier, Muckna, or Gagas: large and coarse breed;
with big head and feet ; thick tushes ; not very
fierce ; slow and easily caught. Found chiefly in
jhow, grass, and crops, particularly sugar-cane,
where a boar will live for months in the same
field, thus becoming very fat.

(A certain class of elephant is also called
" Muckna," being similarly of a stouter build than
ordinary males, with short thick tusks. A Muckna


elephant is, however, merely a lusus natures, not
a distinct breed.)

iii. Kookunnee or Tdana : is small in body, feet, and
tushes ; of a light colour ; and very fierce and

iv. Sooeur is small and compact ; with long toes, and
fair sized tushes set deep in the jaw. Fast, active,
and enduring, and " exceeding fierce."

12. Age.^The colour of a boar depends partly
on his breed and partly on his age. The following are
the signs by which the age of a boar is estimated :

Up to three years the boar is very small, from
the size of a rat to that of a young lamb, very hairy,
with dark longitudinal stripes on back and sides. At
this period of his existence he is termed a " squeaker,"
and is not ridden. The horn of the feet is soft and

At four years old he is brown, and the stripes have
disappeared. He is long in the legs and thin in body.
Depends almost entirely on "jinking" (turning suddenly
from the line of his flight) to effect his escape when
pursued. Tushes very small, sharp, white, and unground.
Feet still immature.

At five years he darkens in colour, and his feet are fully

From five to eight years he is of a dirty black colour.
Runs fast, and jinks when overtaken, and fights when
driven to it. Tushes come to full size at six years and
become worn, the lower against the upper, after that age.
The feet, too, begin to wear away after six years.

At eight years the colour becomes bluer ; the boar
reaches his full measurement of height and length. The


muscles of the shoulder and forearm are more fully
developed than in the " black " stage ; the feet wear

At ten years a new hoof of harder texture is formed,
which thenceforward shows little sign of wear until great
age is reached. The lower tushes begin to wear down
and become very discoloured. Speed and activity de-
crease, but the boar grows proportionately fiercer and
more prone to charge.

At twelve years the colour becomes greyer, the lower
tushes wear down and the upper ones become very long
and curled and discoloured. The boar fiercer than ever.

At fourteen years, old age sets in. The boar becomes
grey and often mangy, as Colonel Rice describes him,
" dirty grey all over, like an old worn-out white felt hat."
His tushes are worn or broken to stumps, and he cannot
hold his own with younger rivals, and so takes to a
solitary life, with a soured temper, like the old of the
buffalo, tiger, elephant, and other animal tribes. He
will not run far or fast, preferring to make the best fight
he can for his life so soon as pressed.

At sixteen to eighteen years his teeth drop out, and his
muscles subside away.

Twenty years is probably the limit of age he attains,
though a case is on record of a boar living till thirty
years of age.

13. Size. The largest complete measurements
of an Indian boar that I have been able to verify are as
follows :

Height at wither, 38^ inches ; length, 60 inches; girth,
55 inches ; girth of forearm, 14 inches ; tushes, 8J inches;
weight, 300 Ibs.

I' also have those of an Afghan boar :


Height, 37 J inches; length, 62 inches; girth, 55 inches;
girth of forearm, 1 1 inches ; tushes, 8 inches ; weight
266 Ibs.

An "index number," as a standard of comparison,
might be obtained by adding together the above figures,
in which case the above champions would be represented
by the figures 476 and 439^.

14. Height. Sportsmen are generally satisfied, how-
ever, to measure the height only of any boar they kill.
The extreme height attained by the boar has often been
a subject of discussion, and ever will be until all sports-
men consent to use the same methods in measuring.
The method generally employed nowadays is given on
page 161.

The following are the greatest height measurements
of which I can find trustworthy record :

One of 42 inches, recorded by J. M'Leod in Chum-
pa run.
One of 39 inches, recorded by Mr. Williamson in

Bengal (he had also seen two of 42 inches).
One of 37 inches, recorded by Tent Club Log at

One of 36^ inches, recorded by Tent Club Log at

One of 36 inches, recorded by Tent Club Log at

One of 34 inches, recorded by Tent Club Log at

One of 34 inches, recorded by Tent Club Log at


The Nagpore Hunt have been exceptionally fortunate
in getting big boar; in 1870-71 they killed six over
^ inches, and five of 34 inches.

. .


One of 43 inches is recorded by Daniel Johnson (1827)
in Bengal, but there is nothing to show how the measur-
ing was carried out.

Hence it would appear that 42 inches is attainable,
but that anything over 36 inches is rare.

15. Tushes. The lower tushes of a full-grown
boar average from 8 to 9 inches in total length, of which
nearly two-thirds is embedded in the jaw.

The largest tush recorded is that of a boar which was
shot in unrideable country in the Gheer, in Kattiawar.
This measured \2\ inches. Mr. Williamson states that
he has seen a single tush 1 1 inches long. The boar
recorded above as standing 43 inches had a tush of 10
inches. Any tush over 9 inches would be decidedly
above the average.

A perfect pair of tushes should, if placed point to
point and base to base, describe a complete circle.

The upper tushes are very much thicker, shorter, and
more curled than the lower, and are blunt. One I have
now mounted as a stick handle measures 4-^ inches. In
passing I may remark that tushes are perhaps best utilized
as stick, umbrella, or parasol handles.

The author of that curious book " The Gentleman's
Recreator," published 1686, writes of the tushes of the
boar : " The two biggest do not hurt when he strikes,
but serve only to whet the other two lowest, with which
they frequently kill." He adds : " If he but touch the
hair of a dog he burneth it off; huntsmen have tried the
heat of his teeth by laying hairs on them as soon as he
was dead, and they have shrivel'd up as with a hot iron."

1 6. Sow. The sow attains her full height at
five years of age, but does not stand so high as the boar
in his prime (eight years). The highest I can find record


of is 32 inches, but that is exceptional. She is more
heavily bodied, and does not possess such well developed
limbs and quarters as the boar. Several sows live in
company and form the harem of one boar.

A sow is in her prime from five to ten years of age,
and produces two litters a year, the period of gestation
being four months.

The first litter will consist of two or three young ones,
but each successive litter will increase in numbers up to
nine or ten.

Wolves, hyaenas, and particularly jackals are great
destroyers of young pig, and a sow with young at heel
is in consequence very watchful and fierce. In many
places their method of attack is by biting instead of
" tushing."

17. Barren Sows. - - Barren sows are commonly
met with, and are often difficult to distinguish from
boars. They are lean and leggy, and, having no cares of
maternity to tie them to one neighbourhood, are addicted
to roaming far afield, like boars, in search of good food,
so that the muscles of their backs and limbs become
similarly well developed. The most conspicuous points
of difference that distinguish a boar from a barren sow
are the long tushes ; but a barren sow also shows tushes
and very frequently has a tuft of hair jn the belly, and
another below the tail, which at a little distance give
her all the appearance of a boar. I have known two
such sows ridden and killed in one day by old hands at
pigsticking in mistake for boars.

The tushes of the barren sow, as in the case of the
tusks of the female elephant, are thinner, shorter, and
more curved than those of the male.

At Okhamanda two sows were killed, one of which had


tushes 8J- inches long, and the other showed 2\ inches
projecting from the jaw. These tushes, unlike the boar's,
are thickest at the gum and taper again towards the

Barren sows have all the speed, endurance, and vicious-
ness of the boar, with none of the utility of the matron

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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 2 of 14)