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

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

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and regain that portion of the cover which has already
been beaten.

When once he has been persuaded to evacuate a
cover and take to the open, his plans are at once laid,
and he will almost always strike a line for some other
sanctuary although it may be distant some miles.

31. Speed of the Boar, The pace at which a
boar can travel is to a stranger perhaps one of the most
surprising points about him. Of course the actual speed
and its duration depend to a great extent on the breed
and condition of the pig, on the state of the ground, and
on how he is being hunted ; but under general con-
ditions a single rider will find it hard to exceed him in
pace for the first three-quarters of a mile, and if he
should try saving his horse in the first burst, merely
using sufficient speed to keep the boar in view, he will
find that when he wants to overhaul him the pig has got
his second wind and is quite prepared to go on for miles
at a steady hopping canter which will keep him comfort-
ably in front of the hunter, and the run will resolve itself
into a trial of endurance between the horse and the

In a run where three or four men are racing together
for " first spear " the pig is hustled along faster than he
wishes from the very first, and consequently though he
will keep ahead of his pursuers for half or three-quarters
of a mile his wind will last no farther and he is then
soon overtaken.

A young and fresh boar, making for a jungle only a


few hundred yards away, is capable of putting on a spurt
which few horses could equal.

32. Cunning. When fairly started in his run across
country for a distant sanctuary the boar will utilise
every scrap of cover that lies anywhere near his route,
such as bushes, nullahs, walls, sunk roads, etc. ; he will
also take advantage of the best ground for making the
pace over, by following footpaths through ploughed
fields and ridges between irrigated crops ; and when-
ever he gets the opportunity he will place any natural ob-
stacle between himself and his pursuer, such as a ravine,
canal, nullah, etc.

He will sometimes make so wide a deviation from his
direct line that the pursuer will almost think the pig has
got out of his reckoning, till some thicket or other oppor-
tunity of concealment comes in sight and accounts for the
detour. Arrived at such a clump, he will endeavour either
to get his wind, or very commonly to give his hunters the
slip by plunging into the cover and then squatting sud-
denly, leaving his pursuers to rush by hoping to catch
him on the far side ; as soon as they are past, he steals
out at the spot where he entered and quietly gallops
back in the direction in which he has just come.

In placing a natural obstacle between himself and his
foes a pig will never hesitate to get over it himself. He
will hurl himself into the deepest nullah at the risk of
broken limbs, in spite of the fact that his legs and joints
are very susceptible to injury. It is very common to
find old boars with enlarged and ossified hocks and
fetlock joints, resulting from such break-neck leaps. I
have even seen a pig break its leg in the course of a
run in the act of jumping down a small bank.

In Kutch a few years back a boar, finding himself

F 2


hard pressed, ran straight over a steep cliff 50 feet high,
and picked himself up at the bottom and got away un-
hurt over the plains below, in full view of his disgusted

There is a saying that a pig cannot swim, as in attempt-
ing it he cuts his throat with his hoofs.

I fear the action of the wild boar hardly bears out
this statement, as he may often be seen swimming a
canal or river on pleasure or on business bent, and when
hard pressed near water it is the first method of escape
he essays.

In the Log of the Cawnpore Tent Club there is recorded
a case of a pig taking to water in a deep pond when he
had been badly speared. He thus kept his foes at a
distance, and there seemed every prospect of their having
to besiege him until his swimming powers failed, when
a coolie, and let us here enshrine the fact that his name
was Choodoo, swam in and tackled him, and eventually
succeeded in drowning him.

It is said that when swimming a boar cannot use his
tushes, an accusation that has yet to be proved.

33- Jinking. When the boar in the course of
the run finds he is becoming too closely pressed, he will
keep an eye on his pursuer, and directly he sees the
spear point being lowered in his direction in anticipation
of a prod, he will "jink," or suddenly turn sharply to the
right or left, almost divining at the moment to which
hand the rider is least prepared to turn. In performing
this trick he will often make a feint of jinking to one
side, and will dart off in exactly the opposite direction
in the next stride. In either case he generally manages
to escape -the spear point for the time, and to throw his
foremost pursuer a good many lengths to the bad.


A pig hard pressed will often make for a herd of cattle
and try to keep in its midst during its blundering and
stupid flight before the horsemen, hoping in this way to
escape notice.

I have been riding a boar who in his anxiety to lose
his identity attempted to join a herd of water buffaloes,
in which he would have been very hard to follow ; but
luckily for me one old bull resented his intrusion and
charged him head down. This unexpected reception
so annoyed the old boar that, forgetting all about his
original danger, he turned his attention to this new
enemy, and I was the witness of two real good charges
between them before he came to the conclusion that it
was better to resume his course of flight.

On another occasion I saw a boar join a herd of
neelghai ; and once nearly lost one in the course of a run
through his seeing and joining a sounder of fresh pig, in
which he hoped to smuggle himself away ; but the foam
on his jaws and his pounding gait and tail erect and
rigid (for I had been riding him some distance) soon
distinguished him from the rest, and I was able to single
him out. When he saw his ruse was discovered his rage
knew no bounds, and he came round at me at once, and
was only killed after a good fight, in the course of which
he cut my horse severely above the knee.

In the above cases it was apparently no abject feeling
of fear which prompted the pig to adopt this course, but
rather an instinct of cunning and discretion which urged
them to avoid unnecessary fighting, by availing them-
selves of the means of escape offered, which means,
when found inadequate, were at once abandoned for the
more natural method of cool upstanding fighting.

The Cawnpore Tent Club Log also gives a case in


which a hunted boar took refuge in a herd of rough-
looking village pig, and with such success that for a
short time one of the unfortunate tame porkers stood in
imminent danger of his life, until his owner came rush-
ing up with clasped hands to intercede for his favourite,
and put the hunters on the track of the interloper.

34. Ferocity. I defy contradiction of the state-
ment that the boar possesses the nastiest temper of any
living animal. The moment he is put out by any little
annoyance he is prone to resort at once to the use of
his tushes, usually in an indiscriminate manner,

" Being moved he strikes whate'er is in his way,
And whom he strikes his cruel tushes slay " (very often).

He will attack anything, from his youngest son to an

When galloping after a sounder I have seen the boar
running amongst his young family, pitching them right
and left out of his way. It is, as a rule, very hard to get
elephants, so knowing are they, to face a pig in the jungle.
On one occasion a particularly staunch elephant was
employed in beating a jungle, and on finding a pig she
stood her ground, but was promptly attacked by the
boar, and received such a severe cut in her leg that she
could never be got to face one again.

General McMaster and Major Moray Brown both
relate instances of camels, whose very appearance
suffices to scare most animals, being the victims of
savage onslaughts by boars. At a grand field-day at
Delhi, in the presence of all the foreign delegates, fh
1885, a boar suddenly appeared upon the scene and
charged a Horse Artillery gun, effectually stopping it in
its advance at a gallop by throwing down two of the


horses. The headquarter staff and the foreign officers
were spectators of this deed, and hastened to sustain the
credit of the Army by seizing lances from their orderlies
and dashing off in pursuit of the boar, who was now
cantering off to find more batteries on which to work his
sweet will. The staff, however, were too quick for him,
and, after a good run and fight, he fell a victim to their
attentions, amidst a chorus of vivas, sacrts, and houplas.
Colonel Bushman, the Deputy Adjutant-General, him-
self a fanatical believer in " the queen of weapons," took
the honours of the run.

This is not the only occasion on which pig have
appeared on the field of battle, for in the Franco-Prussian
War numbers of them used to keep the outposts on the
qui vive. In that campaign, Hans Breitmann, serving
as a uhlan, observed the number of sows that were about
in the Ardennes, and accounted for their presence in a
somewhat original way :

" And all dese schweinpig sauen
Vot you see a running round
Is a great metempsygosis
Of the Frantsche" demi monde"

It often happens that cattle and peasants are killed or
badly hurt by boars whom they have unexpectedly dis-
turbed enjoying their mid-day siesta in crops.

It is a well ascertained fact that of all animals the
boar does not fear to drink at the same pool with a
tiger ; nay, a case is on record of his having taken his
drink with a tiger on each side of him.

Mr. Sterndale relates an authentic story of a tiger
being killed by a boar, the tiger being young and
lusty, not old and worn-out like the one who, according
to the account in Phil Robinson's "Noah's Ark," was


killed by his own dinner the dinner being a playful
but hard-headed sheep, who, when introduced into the
tiger's cage, proceeded " to butt him so severely that he

Mr. Inglis describes a pitched battle between a tiger
and a boar, which he watched from a hiding hole near a
pool, where the wild beasts came to water. " When the
boar saw the tiger the latter roared. But (says Mr.
Inglis) the old boar did not seem to mind the roar so
very much as might have been anticipated. He actually
repeated his " hoo ! hoo ! " only in a, if possible, more
aggressive, insulting, and defiant manner. Nay more,
such was his temerity that he actually advanced with a
short sharp rush in direction of the striped intruder.
Intently peering through the indistinct light, we eagerly
watched the development of this strange rencontre. The
tiger was now crouching low, crawling stealthily round
and round the boar, who changed front with every
movement of his lithe and sinewy adversary, keeping his
determined head and sharp, deadly tusks ever facing his
stealthy and treacherous foe. The bristles of the boar's
back were up at a right angle from the strong spine.
The wedged-shaped head poised on the strong neck and
thick rampart of muscular shoulder was bent low, and the
whole attitude of the body betokened full alertness and
angry resoluteness. In their circlings the two brutes
were now nearer to each other and nearer to us, and thus
we could mark every movement with greater precision.
The tiger was now growling and showing his teeth ; and
all this, that takes such a time to tell, was but the work
of a few short minutes. Crouching now still lower, till he
seemed almost flat on the ground, and gathering his
sinewy limbs beneath his lithe, lean body, he suddenly


startled the stillness with a loud roar, and quick as
lightning sprang upon the boar. For a brief minute
the struggle was thrilling in its intense excitement. With
one swift, dexterous sweep of the strong, ready paw, the
tiger fetched the boar a terrific slap right across the jaw,
which made the strong beast reel ; but with a hoarse
grunt of resolute defiance, with two or three sharp digs
of the strong head and neck, and swift cutting blows of
the cruel, gashing tusks, he seemed to make a hole or
two in* the tiger's coat, marking it with more stripes than
Nature had ever painted there ; and presently both com-
batants were streaming with gore. The tremendous
buffet of the sharp claws had torn flesh and skin away
from off the boar's cheek and forehead, leaving a great
ugly flap hanging over his face and half blinding him. The
pig was now on his mettle. With another hoarse grunt,
he made straight for the tiger, who very dexterously
eluded the charge, and, lithe and quick as a cat after a
mouse, doubled almost on itself, and alighted clean on the
boar's back, inserting his teeth above the shoulders,
tearing with his claws, and biting out great mouthfuls of
flesh from the quivering carcase of his maddened
antagonist. He seemed now to be having all the best of
it, so much so that the boar discreetly stumbled and fell
forward, whether by accident or design I know not, but
the effect was to bring the tiger clean over his head
sprawling clumsily on the ground. I almost shouted,
" Aha, now you have him !" for the tables were turned.
Getting his forefeet on the tiger's prostrate carcase, the
boar now gave two or three short, ripping gashes with
the strong white tusks, almost disembowelling his foe, and
then exhausted seemingly by the effort, apparently giddy
and sick, he staggered aside and lay down panting and


champing his tusks, but still defiant with his head to the
foe. But the tiger, too, was sick yea, sick unto death.
The blood-letting had been too much for him. And now
thinking that it was time for the interference of a third
party, I let the two mutually disabled combatants have
the contents of both my barrels, and we had the satis-
faction presently of seeing the struggling limbs grow
still, and knew that both were ours.

Captain Williamson also mentions instances of " fights
occuring between tigers and boars in some of which
both combatants have been killed."

" And, being ireful, on the lion he'll venture."

General Rice shot a boar whose " back was full of
deep long furrows as if some one had dug the iron
spikes of a large garden rake well down into his flesh and
then dragged it out sideways." This was the work of a
lion which the General succeeded in shooting the follow-
ing day. On examination a dangerous rip from the
boar's tush was found under the lion's elbow.

The fact of finding himself hard pressed appears to
annoy a boar very considerably, and he will then often
charge any object he sees, whether it may be concerned
in his pursuit or not.

In one morning I have seen two different boars in the
course of their runs charge at harmless cowherds who hap-
pened to be standing near their line of flight. One man was
cut, the other threw his only garment a la matador over the
pig's head and hurled himself flat on the ground howling.
Luckily for him the pig seized the rag to vent his rage
upon, and lost his life while busy in tearing it to shreds.

In the neighbourhood of the Saharunpore Stud Farm
last year, Lord " Bill " Beresford was riding a boar, who,


finding the fields rather heavy, took to a road for better
going. After rattling along this for some distance he
found himself coming to one of the farm gates shut
across the road a real formidable five-barred arrange-
ment in stout timber. Without a moment's hesitation the
boar put on extra steam and charged it with lowered
head. The result was that he knocked away the lowest
bar, and, catching the next one on his back, gave the
gate such a heave upwards as to release the latch and
open it for his pursuer. " Bill," however, was too close
on to him to be benefited by this accident, for his horse
was at that moment rising to clear it, and the gate
swinging back just as he rose caught the horse as he
descended and was smashed ; the horse and rider got
a very nasty fall on the hard road, and the pig lived to
fight some other day.

It frequently occurs that a boar charges before he has
been wounded or evn ridden.

On one occasion in my experience, a sportsman, fresh
from England, was sitting quietly on his mare outside
the cover during a beat (of course taking no pains to
conceal himself), looking with rather a contemptuous eye
on all the preparations for killing a miserable pig, when
an old boar looking out from the bushes spied him, and
without thinking twice about it went straight for him.
The sportsman gaily advanced at a canter to meet
him in spite of all his companions' adjurations not to
head him. The boar, however, had no intention himself
of being headed, and putting on an extra spurt charged
straight for the mare's forelegs and knocked them clean
from under her ; the fall that followed was " imperial,"
and the sportsman, who had pitched on his head, only
came to his senses some twenty minutes later, with quite
fresh opinions about the Indian boar.


Another time a boar, hearing the coolies beating
through the jungle towards his haunt, looked out to see
if the coast were clear for a bolt across the open.
Nothing was to be seen except one native gentleman
stepping along the high road nearly half a mile away.
Still this was not to the boar's taste, so he went straight
for the wretched man and gave him one gash that
floored him with his thigh laid open, and then went on
his way rejoicing.

Major Gough (better known as " Goffy ") avers that a
boar once charged him for three miles (more or less) !
He saw the brute come as a mere speck over the distant
horizon, it came on and on nearer and nearer faster
and faster, until it rushed right on his levelled spear !

Major Hogg writes, " I remember on one occasion the
beaters paused on the brink of a large nullah covered
with bushes and grass, and pointed out to me a dark
object rather more than a hundred yards off which
they said was a boar and which they were afraid of. On
riding up to about sixty yards the boar sat up on its
haunches like a dog, and when we were within thirty
yaflds he charged as straight as an arrow and as hard
as he could. He was, of course, checked by a spear,
but owing to the thick cover we took half an hour
to kill him, and not before he had ripped three horses.

" On another occasion I was riding alone after a boar
which had taken the beaters three hours to dislodge
from a steep hill covered with jungle, who, when he
found I was gaining on him, when I was still about
fifty yards from him, stopped short, wheeled round, and
charged. I speared him through the back and forced
him on to his knees, but he broke my horse's off
hind fetlock with his tusk. He then got one of the


Shikaris down and nearly killed him, ripping him
in five places, and cutting an artery in his arm before
I could get up and spear him on foot."

35. Use of tushes. One of the traits of the boar that
usually strikes the beginner is his apparent ability to
be at one moment some yards away and the next right
under your horse ; and another, the power and accuracy
with which, by a rapid twist of his head, he inflicts his
murderous gash. This quickness and handiness with his
tushes is learned and practised from his earliest youth,
and is brought into use in his fights with rivals as he
grows older. I have seen little " squeakers " having a set-
to together, while their mothers, sisters, cousins, and
aunts formed an admiring crowd to watch their quick
rushes and rallies, just as one sees two boys pitted against
each other in a match at lawn tennis to say nothing of
a set-to with gloves on, or without. I had a young wild
boar for some time living in my compound, and have
spent many a half hour watching him jinking from, and
charging at, an old tree stump with most active and
untiring energy.

On one occasion, when beating a cover, our coolies
disturbed a regular prize-fight between two grown boars ;
two large sounders, numbering in all thirty-seven pig,
broke cover and came close past the copse in which the
party was posted. Each sounder contained only one full-
grown boar, and was evidently composed of his family and
backers, etc. One of these two bore fresh signs of recent
punishment, his head and shoulders being gashed and
covered with blood, the other had only a few slight cuts
and scratches, but his tushes were ominously covered
with foam and blood.

Many an aged solitary boar is found to be covered


with scars and old wounds mementos of his last
struggles for supremacy in his family circle, when a
younger and stronger rival had come to oust him from
his position and his wives.

Some people suppose that boars use their upper tushes
in cutting an enemy ; this, however, is not the case ; the
upper tushes are too blunt and thick for that purpose, and
are merely protectors and sharpeners of the lower ones.
Two instances in particular have come under my per-
sonal observation which tend to show that the upper
tushes are not dangerous. A very old boar with perfect
upper tushes but with both lower ones broken off once got
under my horse, and though he marked him with streaks
of foam from his jaws, he did not inflict the slightest
scratch on him. On the other hand, another old boar,
who was afterwards found to have both his lower tushes
in good condition, but one upper tush broken off and the
other very blunted, was making his way across a field,
filled with rage at having been already twice speared,
when he espied two natives at work. One of these he
charged, and throwing him down inflicted several severe
gashes on him. The other man came to the assistance
of his comrade and was in his turn sent flat on his back ;
while in this position the boar lay on him to keep
him down and proceeded to dig at his chest with his
tushes ; the man managed to mitigate the effect of
the cuts by seizing the boar's lower jaw with both hands
and partially holding it from him till he was rescued ; but
notwithstanding this, he was more or less badly cut in
fifteen places.

No more conclusive instance can be given of the
boar's gashing abilities than that of the encounter
which Colonel Kinloch, of the King's Royal Rifles, had


with a truculent old monster. I will give the account in
the Colonel's own words from his "Large Game Shooting
in Northern India:"

" Several of us were lounging about the mess tent late
in the afternoon when we heard shouts of ' Jungli soor/
and, on looking out, saw a boar galloping through some
shallow water about 300 yards from camp. Just then
one of our men fired a charge of shot at him, which,
of course, did him no harm, but only served to enrage

" My horses were being groomed at the time, so that I
shouted to a syce to saddle one, ran to my tent for a
spear, and was in the saddle and in pursuit of the boar
in little more than a minute. He was about three-quarters
of a mile off, but I could plainly see him, and sent my
horse along as hard as he could go. The pig was going
leisurely, and I soon came up and made him quicken his
pace. Just then he espied two wretched natives standing
in the corn, and at once changed his course and charged
them. They turned to run, but one was instantly
knocked over. I was close behind, and the boar went
on. I soon overtook him and gave three spears in quick
succession, but in my hurry I had unfortunately brought
a blunt spear, and I did not do him much harm. Each
thrust was followed by a most determined and wicked
charge which it took me all I knew to avoid. I had no
spurs. We now reached a field of higher corn, and the
boar, turning suddenly round, charged straight at my
horse's chest. I had no time to get out of the way, and
my horse was knocked off his legs, receiving a cut under
the left knee. I was sent flying, but found myself on
my feet in an instant, and had just time to lower my
spear as the boar rushed at me. The spear glanced, and


I was at once thrown down and the pig immediately
attacked me on the ground, digging at me most savagely.
I knew that my only chance was to prevent him from
getting his tusks into my stomach ; I therefore kept my
left arm well to the front and let him rip at it while I

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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 5 of 14)