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

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

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not be only to his horse's, but greatly also to his own,
advantage to have a fresh one to change to after every
other run or so.

A rider thus provided will ride all the more comfort-
ably and safely, and will, moreover, have by far the best
chances of winning the first spears amongst men mounted
on tired animals. With regard to these tired animals,
too, a word in their cause might here not be out of
place ; men are too apt in the excitement of the chase
to forget the expenditure of vitality that is being made
by their horse, when a little thoughtfulness and judicious
attention might just put the requisite amount of life
into him to withstand any bad effects of his exertions.
Such attentions, I mean, as dismounting while standing
about outside a cover, allowing the horse a good roll in
the river, giving him a bottle of beer after a hard morn-
ing's work, etc., etc., in addition to the ordinary cares of
good stable management.

In asserting that a horse imbibes a distaste for pig-
sticking, I speak from an experience of horses that have
changed from good hunters into apparent curs ; it is true
that in many cases this only lasts for a short time, while
in others it remains permanently. The latter case is
generally the result of some particular instance of injury,
such as a gash from the boar's tusk, the former being
rather a consequence of overwork, or of being badly
bitted, matters that are easily remedied by a few day's
rest or a change of bridle, as the case demands.

A writer in the " Oriental Sporting Magazine," states
that " fresh Arabs, just made handy," are in his opinion
the best pigstickers. " Old nags," he says, " are deuced
apt to get devilish shy of Bengal 'pork.' I know a
very sporting man who came down to Calcutta from a


superb pigsticking country (in days when railways were
undreamt of) for the purpose of swapping his horses on
this very account, they had seen more hogs than they
liked." I cannot think that that sportsman had tried the
experiment of temporarily giving the horses a complete
rest and change of employment.

54. Bitting and Saddling. With regard to the
misfitting of the bit ; native servants have no idea
of fitting a bit and much less of selecting one to suit the
horse, consequently the grossest incongruities, not to
say cruelties, are quite possible where the master does
not invariably examine and fit his saddlery for himself.
It often takes time to discover what class of bit suits the
horse best, and at what height it should be hung in his
mouth. Besides being useless and annoying to the
horse, a badly fitting bit is often harmful to him by pro-
ducing a sore in the corner of his mouth which at the
beginning of the rains is very liable to develop into
" bursati." A horse once afflicted with bursati sores is
unsound. The sore from its position is very slow to heal
and usually throws the horse out of work for some time,
but I successfully managed two such cases by riding the
horse in a common noseband without any bit in his
mouth, merely buckling the reins to each side of the
noseband. I afterwards took into use the " Carrago "
noseband, in which I have ridden horses both pigsticking
and hurdle-racing with greatest comfort to both parties.
Whyte Melville (I think it is in " Riding Recollections ")
says that in nine cases out of ten a fall is the result
of misuse of the bit, which he therefore justly condemns
as a dangerous instrument in unskilful or brutal hands.
It would, therefore, have been interesting to hear his
opinion of the noseband as a substitute, since it appears


to act equally well as an indicator of the rider's wishes,
without causing pain or inconvenience to the horse, be it
handled ever so roughly. For this reason I have found
it a most valuable appendage to exercising-bridles in
place of the bit, as it saves the horse's mouth from the
jobbing and dragging that it is often liable to at the
hands of a syce.

The ordinary syce has no idea of fitting a saddle to a
horse, and if such a job is left to him, you may con-
fidently look for a sore back, or a fall from a shifting
saddle. Unless prevented, a syce would appear to go
out of his way to find you the oldest and rottenest girths
for use out pigsticking ; and he never will leave the
stirrup bars open, which is a point that should always be
insisted upon; neglect of this precaution has been the
cause of many a man being " dragged " after a fall. I
witnessed a peculiar case of stirrup leathers coming easily
off the bars when a man, in riding a pig through some
bush jungle, tried to go between two small trees growing
close together, the horse got through, but the rider was
caught by both knees, and was held back while his
mount passed from under him and let him drop to earth ;
when landed, he had both stirrups still on his feet.

I would, therefore, impress the necessity of carefully
examining one's saddlery previous to mounting, and not
trusting to one's syce. In saying this, I do not mean to
infer that the syce is utterly without worth, for it very
often happens that he takes a real personal liking for his
horse ; and the average syce, if you pay him well and do
not fine him, as some short-sighted owners do, is sure to
work well at every detail that comes within his sphere of
understanding ; but it must be remembered always that
his sphere of understanding is very limited.


It is not an uncommon practice to hog the manes of
pigstickers, and there are several good reasons for it.
The mane flying about often impedes the rider's view of
the ground, or of the pig immediately in front of him ;
the horse is cooler without it ; the syce having the tire-
some job of cleaning it taken off his hands, can expend
more work on the rest of the horse ; it is under the mane
that the horse sweats most, and where a bad syce takes
the least pains about cleaning him, and this place is,
therefore, the usual nest and starting-place of skin

The tail should be allowed to grow long, as it is a
great comfort to the horse when standing out in camp
and pestered with flies. A string net thrown over him
also serves the same good purpose.

If there is no shade convenient, and the horse has to
be picketed out in the sun, a pad should be made for his
back ; this may be done by folding a blanket into a pad
about two feet square, and fixing it on his back with the
roller in such a way that it protects the spine from the
rays of the sun, and also any brand marks that may lie
near or under the saddle, which, when heated, are apt to
peel off and originate sores.

55- Veterinary Notes. It has often happened that
a horse has been badly cut when out pigsticking,
when there was no veterinary surgeon at hand, and
from want of proper treatment at first, the wound has
assumed grave proportions, and has finally carried off, or
blemished for life, a good horse.

Considering the almost certain risk they run of having
sooner or later a horse cut, and the ease with which the
few practical methods of dealing with wounds may be
mastered, it is strange that so few sportsmen take the



trouble to learn beforehand what they ought to do in
the case of a rip from a boar, etc.

In the case of a clean cut flesh wound, the place
should be bathed and all foreign matter cleaned out, and
the lips of the wound brought together and bandaged,
or, if necessary, pinned or stitched, with one or more
sutures as may be required. Before commencing such
an operation it is necessary to put a twitch on the horse.
(The best twitch of all is made with a rope or cord some
ten or twelve feet long. Make a small bowline loop at
one end to fit round the lower jaw of the horse, with the
knot at one side of the mouth ; pass the end over the
poll, down the other side of the head through the loop,
then up again over the poll and down the other side of
the head, then pass it across the gums of the upper jaw,
underneath the upper lip, and take it through between
the cheek of the horse and the cheek-piece now formed
by the rope, and retain the end in the hand. A pull on
the rope will thus bring pressure to bear on the upper
part of the upper gums of the horse a pressure that
has a most commanding influence over him.)

To pin a wound, a large pin is passed through both
edges of the wound, a piece of twine or worsted is then
wound alternately round the head and the point in
figure of 8, to keep the edges together.

To stitch a wound, a large, strong needle, threaded
with silk, twine, or wire, is passed through both edges,
the twine is then cut and the two ends tied together.

When the wound is not clean cut, but is lacerated,
pinning or stitching are not, as a rule, desirable.

It is very important in such cases to take care that no
matter becomes secreted in the low corners of the


The bleeding from a cut should be stopped by cold
water application, or by making a pad of linen, or of
materials at hand, such as raw cotton, etc. I have,
on an emergency, used a lump of dough from which
a syce was about to make his chupatties. In the case of
an artery being cut (when the blood is bright red, and
comes in jets) a tourniquet, or strong pressure, must be
applied on the artery at some point on it between the
wound and the heart.

Thorns are very liable to get into horses' legs, and to
cause swelling and lameness. Their position can often
be detected by gently scratching the leg with the finger-
nail ; if beyond reach of tweezers a poultice should be
applied to draw them. Banana or plantain leaves are
good for covering a poultice and keeping it moist ; in
fact, they will, to a slight extent, act as a poultice them-
selves on emergency.

The feet and frogs are liable to injury by dhail and
other stakes, etc. The injuring substance should be
carefully removed, and the foot put into a poultice or hot
water. A bucket or a nosebag filled with hot bran
may be used for this purpose.

For further details on veterinary and stable manage-
ment in India, I confidently commend the reader to
Captain H. Hayes' books, "Veterinary Notes for Horse
Owners," and " Guide to Training and Horse Manage-
ment in India."

K 2




56. Their Use for Pigsticking. Although dogs are
not legitimately used as regular allies in the sport of
pigsticking, it is often found advantageous to use them
for the purpose of scenting out the whereabouts of pig in
a thick jungle, and of inducing them to leave their

Most of the Brinjaris and gipsy tribes, who live to
a certain extent on the flesh of wild hogs, make use of
dogs to help them in driving them into nets and snares
placed ready in their favourite runs.

The Shikaris of some of the Tent Clubs, notably the
Delhi Club, are accustomed to use dogs in jungle with
the line of beaters, and with very good effect. The dogs
are pariahs of all shapes and breeds.

In the pigsticking in Morocco the Moors use their
dogs freely, both in the run as well as in the beat. This
is a mistake in India, as dogs are very much in the way,
and liable to trip up the horses and receive spear thrusts
intended for the boar.

When hunting by myself, I have often been accom-
panied by a half-bred fox terrier named " Beetle," whose
portrait is given at the head of this Chapter.

During the ride to the pigsticking ground, " Beetle "
usually rode on the front of the saddle, whence he com-
manded a good view of the country, while he reserved


DOGS. 133

all his activity for the run and fight with the boar when
viewed. On arrival at a thick crop, or other likely spot
for pig, " Beetle " would skip lighHy down and proceed
to search him out ; soon a sharp yap followed by a
smothered growl, a startled grunt, and a crash through
the cover would show that he had found the quarry and
had started him with a judiciously applied nip of his
sharp little jaws. Then in the run which followed, the
little dog used to tail along after the hunt, and, straining
every sense of sight and hearing as well as of smell to
keep to the line, always managed to be in at the death,
in time to hang on to the ear of a charging boar, or to
apply himself to the back end of one who preferred
sulking in a bush. He was, indeed, the hero of a
hundred fights, and many are the entries similar to the
following, in the Muttra Tent Club Log : " Started a

big boar in an outlying patch of grass Before he

was killed, he had severely cut " Mahomed Jan," Braith-
waite's horse, Smithson's mare, " Beetle " (who was
thought killed at one time), and three coolies."

Poor " Beetle " survived these fights only to fall a
victim to the change of climate at Natal, on the way
home to England ; when in addition to a tattered ear, a
drooping eyelid, and an enlarged foot, he bore the scars
of twelve honourable wounds on his game little body-
all received in open fight with the boar.








57. India. To win success as a pigsticker it is as
well in the first place to have something to guide you
in selecting a good field for your efforts, and then to
know how best to accommodate yourself to the neces-
sarily altered circumstances of living. Therefore, before
proceeding to describe the art of riding to pig, I propose
to lay before my reader a few notes on the various pig-
sticking localities, not only in India, but in other coun-
tries as well where the sport has been tried ; and then
to sketch out the usual arrangements made for living at
those centres.

Taking India itself first as being the country par ex-
cellence for pigsticking, the following are the best districts
for the sport.

In Bengal Presidency there are Meerut, Cawnpore,
Calcutta, Delhi, Muttra, Kurrachee, Lahore, Morar,
Allahabad, Agra, etc.

All these places have their pigsticking, or, as they are
called, " Tent " Clubs, and also pig are to be found and
are hunted- in many of the outlying districts where
regular clubs do not exist.

The Calcutta Tent Club is the oldest in Bengal, and
has a famous record of sport. It was started in 1862,


and bears on its rolls the names of more eminent sports-
men than any other club, from the late Lord Mayo

The Meerut Club is the leading one of the whole of
the northern part of India. It was started in 1865 by
Messrs W. Forbes and Neale. Its foundation and that of
the original " Hog Hunters' Cup " are thus recorded :

" Translation of part of a Cuneiform Inscription found
at Germ-ok-taza ; supposed to be a portion of the Book
of Spawt :

" And it came to pass in those days, that Fawben was
a ruler in the land, and collected the taxes for the king
and administered justice to the people. And a great
cry arose throughout the land from Delhi even unto
Foot, and the people came unto Fawben saying : ' We
are mightily oppressed by the unclean beast, and our
bellies cleave unto the ground through fear of him ; for
he hath increased and multiplied exceedingly, and
trampleth down our vineyards and devoureth our corn,
and no man can stand before him ; come now and help
us, or we shall die, we and our little ones.' And when
Fawben heard this, he was sore troubled and called to
Nil! the Scribe, and Nill the Scribe, having girded up
his loins, came and stood and bowed down before Fawben.
And Fawben said unto him, * Write now unto my young
men, and say unto them : Why tarry ye in your tents
whilst the unclean beast vexeth the land? Are your
spears rusty or your horses lame ? Ye are called mighty
hunters but your mothers know not that ye are out,
and ye tarry amongst your womenfolk that they may
cherish your poor feet. Give them now your garments
and take ye theirs that they may come out and slay the
unclean beast' And Nill the Scribe, wrote as Fawben


commanded him. Then great shame fell upon the
young men, and they smote their breasts, and rent their
garments, so that the tailors rejoiced, and they said
among themselves, ' Woe to us because of this thing.
Verily our faces are blackened this day.' And Fawben
wrote again to the young men, saying, ' Come out now
unto me, all ye that may, and bring your spears and your
horses, even the best that ye have, and we will purge the
land of the unclean beast, even the Soor, and slay him
from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same,
that the people may have rest.' And when the young
men heard this their hearts were glad, and they made
haste to do as Fawben had said. And there gathered
together a great company to Shirpur, from the east and
from the west, and from the north and from the south,
riding furiously upon one-horse chariots. Of the tribe
of Topkhana came Adg that dwelleth upon the hill of
ravens, the Hazligg and Robos the mighty rider, and
JBish the son of the high priest ; and of the tribe of
Hooza came Mulvil the clerk and Bedol that owned the
swift horses, and Barrur the beloved of women, whose
head is like the sun ; and Wuster the hairy man, and
Dirzee and many others ; and Taffy the centurion of the
spearmen, from the land where the people eat cheese
roasted with fire ; Hamilt the treasurer and Saptum the
wise judge. And some of the tribe of Buff, the men
that are clothed in scarlet, all of them desirable young
men. And Fawben erected tabernacles for the young
men, and gave them to eat and to drink as much as they
would, for they were exceeding thirsty.

" And Fawben gathered a great multitude of the tribe
of Hind, hewers of wood and drawers of water, and they
took staves and of instruments music and smote the


bushes and shouted greatly, so that the heart of the un-
clean beast became as water, and he fled before them.
And the young men having bound prickles on to their
feet, pursued the unclean beast and smote him in the
hinder parts, and covered him with shame ; and they
strove greatly with one another who should first smite
him with the spear, and they slew many, riding valiantly.
And divers of the unclean beasts being possessed with
a devil, turned upon the young men and sought to rend
them with their tusks, and wounded many of their horses
grievously ; but for such the young men stayed not their
hands, nor did they cease to smite them till they had
destroyed them utterly.

" And Barrur whose head is as the sun, smote one of
the unclean beasts, and his spear was loosed from his
hand and his horse fell upon the edge of the spear so
that he died ; and men grieved greatly for the good
horse and for the man, though the latter died not.

u And as the young men returned from hunting, there
come one to meet them, riding furiously, and when he
came close to them they saw it was Nill the Scribe.
And they asked him, * Whence comest thou?' And he
answered, and said : ' I am come from riding the beast
Behemoth in the land beyond Gusy, where I have slain
many wild beasts, and now I am come to help ye cleanse
the land of the unclean animal.' And they said to
him, ' Go to ! Where now is thy brother scribe, he that
rideth the horse that snappeth like a dragon?' And
he made answer and said, ' Verily he could not come,
but his heart is with you to-day.' And when the
young men heard this, they were sorrowful and held their

" And Fawben made a feast for the young men and


said ' Ye have well done this day, come now, eat, drink,
and be merry.' And he gave them to eat of bull's flesh,
and kid, and savoury meat, and sweet herbs and spices,
and provided them water of the brook Simkin, which is
also called dry ; and they were exceeding thirsty. And
after they had feasted, Fawben took a vessel of silver in
his hand and stood up and said : ' Ye have done well
this day, and have slain many of the unclean beasts,
but there be many that remain to vex the land, so this
cup shall be a sign to you, that ye shall not be sparing
of your horses until ye have utterly destroyed the Soors.'
And he gave the vessel of silver to Bedol, as a memorial,
for his horse was very swift.

" Then Bedol stood up and said : ' This honour that
Fawben hath done me, I am not worthy of it ; is he not
of the tribe of Brix?' and the young men shouted with
one accord, ' Verily he is chief among the tribe of Brix/
and they danced and made merry before Fawben. And
they continued this for three days, slaying the unclean
animals by day, and making merry by night ; and
whatsoever they desired to eat or to drink, that did
Fawben give them ; and they were exceeding thirsty.
All this did Fawben the collector of taxes do, by reason
of his desire to cleanse the land."

The remainder of the inscription is illegible.

The above names may be translated as follows :

Fawben, Mr. Forbes, C.S. (Collector).

Nill, Mr. Neale, C.S. (Deputy Collector), Secretary of
the Club.

Adg of Hill of Ravens, Lieutenant Ravenhill, Adju-
tant, A Brigade, R.H.A.

Hazligg, Lieutenant Hazlerigg, R.H.A.

Robos, Lieutenant B. Roberts, R.H.A.


Bish, son of High Priest, Lieutenant Phillpotts, R.A.,
grandson of Bishop of Exeter.

Mulvil, Mr. Melville.

Barrur, Lieutenant Seymour Barrow, igth Hussars.

Wuster, Lieutenant Webster, iQth Hussars.

Dirzee, Lieutenant Taylor, iQth Hussars.

Taffy, Lieutenant Welshman, I9th Hussars.

Hamilt, Major Hamilton, District Paymaster.

Saptum, Hon. Mr. Sapt, Judge.

In addition to the above, General Travers, V.C.,
General Sir A. Hardinge, and Captain White, I5th
Hussars, were distinguished members of the club. This
club gives annually a Pigsticking Cup to be run for
after pig with the long spear, called (from the country in
which it is contested) the Kadir Cup, and also a steeple-
chase cup for pigstickers called the " Hog Hunters'

The Cawnpore Club was founded in 1869, and up till
the last few years has had excellent sport Under its
auspices the Ganges Cup has been instituted, an annual
cup like the Kadir Cup, but for men using the short
spear. It also gives a silver spear to the member who
wins the greatest number of first spears in the season.
Among its prominent members are Messrs. A. B. Chap-
man, A. W. Cruickshank, John Watson, C. Knyvett,
Fishbourne, Captain Hayes, Hon. G. Bryan, etc.

The Allahabad Club was started in 1870 by Mr. J. C.
Robertson and General Travers, V.C., and has always
had a good record of sport. It had long before been
known as a good country for pig, but until some hardish
men came there it had been supposed to be unrideable.
Its districts of Kyraghur, Puttra, the rocky hills south of
Mejah, and Kohrar, are rough going, but favourite resorts


of a very game breed of pig. Among its best men were
Major Jeffreys, Messrs. G. Spankie, C. Knyvett, A. W.
Cruickshank, Colonel Prinsep, and " Parson " Adams,
V.C. This club has been specially favoured by the
practical support of the chief landowners of the district,
notably Mir Muhut, Ali Bahadur, and Sirdar Luchman

The Delhi Club started in 1870, and has an excellent
sporting record, due in a large measure no doubt to
the number and excellence of its hunt Shikaris. Dr.
Kavanagh, A. M.S., Messrs. Lushington, Lynch, Bishop,
Captains Tidy, Walford, and Jeffreys are some of its
most successful members.

In Behar and Chumparun and Tirhoot districts
there is no regular club ; but the planters of the
district are all sportsmen of the first water, such as
Archie Hills, Jem M'Leod, Vincent, and other well-
known men. They have occasional meets, at which
strangers are received with something more than mere
hospitality. The jungles are chiefly of grass, and are
beaten out by coolies and elephants. In addition to
the common big grey and black boar, and the small
shaggy one, there is hereabouts a reddish kind, which
has a peculiar way of making for the rider's leg when
it charges. " Walers " are the best horses for these plain

In Berhampore there is no regular club, but the
planters of the country meet frequently, chiefly in the
cold weather for two cr three days, and generally
manage to account for ten to fourteen boar among a
dozen or so of them. The country is open, and the
jungles are of tiger grass and null. There are many
overgrown, ruined villages, which are favourite breeding-


places of the pig ; these are never disturbed, and con-
sequently the supply of game is always up to the desired

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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 9 of 14)