Saturday, March 20, 2010

Saturday Blog Rodeo 03/20/10

© 2010 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5. trochronicles.blogspot.com
Saturday Blog Rodeo 03/20/10
Well folks,

Once again, I have traveled the far reaches of Al Gore's internet, searching far and wide for things that will educate, elucidate, and prognosticate for us! There was lots of great stuff to read out there this week, with several home runs, plus a couple of new blogs I bumped into that I would like to share with everyone.

(Remember if you bump into a post you especially like, drop me a note and I'll include it in the Rodeo. You can even feel free to copy this whole post and run it on your own blog; it spreads the word, and it's always nice to give a little link love to your fellow bloggers!)

Image Credit Henhouse Pottery
This week we will start off with Miss Julia at Henhouse Pottery. She and her family have adopted a simpler life, or to quote her, "Join us as we make simple living unnecessarily complicated!" Miss Julia covers some of the complexities in The Realities of This Life. Which reminds us all, that even the best laid plans oft go awry! But there are lessons, very important lessons to be learned in the everyday decisions to be made. "It is one of the moral conundrums that we face as a family providing their own food. In my opinion, much of what is wrong in America now has to do with the fact that most families no longer face these same types of issues that we struggle with as we labor to raise the animals we will eat." Great post Miss Julia!

Cork Graham of Cork's Outdoors wrote a strong editorial guest post over at my friend T Michael Riddle's blog Native Hunt Blog. The Truth About Bear Hunting. He brings up several good points on biology management vrs political management. I really like it that he calls Treadwell's shenanigans just as I have. I say Treadwell's a loon that got exactly what he deserved!

While I'm on Cork, let's not forget that he has a great blog too! Cork's Outdoors Blog has some great stuff in it that I certainly appreciate. From fishing tips and adventures to aging pheasant. I enjoy his tactical posts, Cork has, shall we say, some experience in the field.

Ok, Mea Culpa, I missed this last month. I believe I was flying over the Balkans at the time.  Anyway my favorite Cazadora, Holly Heyser of Norcal Cazadora, got an e-mail from an instructor at the Command and General Staff College with a brilliant idea. NorCal Cazadora: A soldier and hunter's brilliant idea is so appropriate and worthwhile an idea, that I would like to see it move forward.  I don't want to spill the beans, so go over and read it if you missed it!

Ben G Outdoors follows up on last week's Goals Post with some neat new logos for his site!  I am partial to number three (#3)! I think it looks really professional, and whether it has some similarities to someone else's logo, I didn't catch it. Stop by and give him your opinion.

If you are into making stuff for yourself, I highly recommend Stormdrane's Blog! I've mentioned his blog before, and I always find new ways to use paracord and he has all sorts of tutorials and links to other knot work. Check this one out: Paracord Grip Wrap for a Boot Knife Not a bad little trick for a smooth handled blade.

I mentioned Jackson Landers' blog, The Locavore Hunter last week, and I have had the pleasure of perusing his archives. Habits of a Successful Locavore Hunter is a well thought out and practical set of habits or philosophy that I think may be of interest to many that enjoy hunting, but seem to have lost a bit of that zest for it due to time constraints, social and family pressures, or schedules. By the way, "Locavore" means: A term for those who prefer to eat locally grown/produced food. That includes hunting, fishing, and foraging too.

Then there's Tovar's blog, People. Animals. Nature.  I've written a couple of posts on why I hunt or why I own firearms, and I always enjoy when others do the same. I like it because it not only gives me insight on how they define hunting, but sometimes illuminates my interests too. "When I was a vegetarian, I had no clue why modern people hunted." Tovar tells us.  Now that he is a hunter, he ponders some of his own reasons in his post The Why of the Hunt.

Home on the Range is one of my favorite blogs on the net. Brigid is eloquent and a skilled craftsman with the English language. That and she puts together some pretty sound instructionals for folks to learn from. And I don't mean her recipe posts either! Take for instance, Corrosive Cleanup. Brigid knows that a squeaky clean bore is a happy bore, and lets us know how it should be done. If you shoot milsurp ammo, you really should read this one too.

Hippo on the Lawn has another awe inspiring tale from the Dark Continent. If you haven't hit his blog ever, you really should! Read Bureaucracy, it is the bane of all civilized go getters! Hippo's been there for well over 16 years, how's that for brazen brass ones!

Down in Brazil, Joao the bladesmith of Voss Cutelaria Artesanal took a piece of PVC pipe and using a heat gun, molded it into a liner for a sheath. He doesn't have access to Kydex, and made it happen with PVC! Great idea... Wish I had thought of it! Liner em PVC

On a very sad note, fellow blogger Armed Citizen has lost his brother to the war in Afghanistan. My condolences to Armed Citizen and his family.

Regards,
Albert A Rasch
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

Friday, March 19, 2010

Baiting Up Wild Hogs: How to Get Them Here!

© 2010 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5. trochronicles.blogspot.com
"You don’t know discomfort
until you have sat upon a fire ant nest."
From personal experience!



My favorite game animal has to be the Wild Hog. Not only is he wide spread, but the limits are usually pretty liberal. Learning their behavior and habits is not too difficult, and gaining permission to hunt them on private property is a whole lot easier than getting permission to shoot deer or turkeys! In many cases they are right next door and on occasion they may very well be rooting up your front yard.

Hunting wild hog is a wonderful introduction to big game hunting in general. For those of us who desire a greater challenge, hogs can be hunted with dogs, bows, spears, shotguns and handguns. I’ve hunted razorbacks on foot with dogs and a handgun, (see Hogs and Dogs), and I have pursued them on horseback with a shotgun. (See Hog Hunting on Horseback!)If you are wondering what the proper calibers for wild pigs are, at least in my opinion, go to Boar Guns and Calibers Parts I and Parts II, where I discuss hog and wild boar rifle cartridge selections.

Their keen sense of smell allows them to be easily baited and therefore make themselves a great first choice for an aspiring hunter. The best thing about them is that if you have a place where you know hogs are, then baiting them in is not difficult at all. They are already there, all you have to do is give them a reason to come here, something like a hog attractant.


If you want to attract wild pigs, you’ll need a five gallon bucket and the cover. You’ll need the bucket to hold the corn that you are going to ferment, in order to attract the pigs. You can buy them new at any of the big box home improvement stores, or scrounge them up from a restaurant or painters. All they need is a quick clean-up, nothing more than a good hosing out.

Pull out your trusty drill, and a three quarter inch spade bit. Drill a series of evenly spaced holes around the side of the bucket between the rim and the section that the handle is secured to. Eight to twelve holes are sufficient. The plastic will get stuck to the tip of the drill bit. Remove it before drilling the next hole.

Now the fun part! Stop by the feed store and get yourself a fifty pound sack of whole corn. Wink at the girl at the register if she looks at you a little funny. Now stop by the supermarket and get five pounds of sugar. Somewhere around the baking section you’ll find the yeast. Buy a strip or two. Pick up a six pack of the cheapest beer. (Kids, you really don’t need beer for the mix, but it does help get the mash fermenting, so ask Mom or Dad for help on this.) The girl probably won’t look at you funny there, but wink at her too just for good measure. If for some strange and unfathomable reason you can’t find a feed store, head down to the same home improvement store you got the bucket at, go to the bird seed aisle, and get a bag of cracked corn. You can even use cheap birdseed if you can’t find the corn. Sunflower seeds though, are no good; too much oil.

Back at home, fill the bucket about two thirds of the way with corn (or bird seed). Throw in a couple of cups of sugar. Now add enough warm water to cover the corn; stir with a stick for a couple of minutes. Now add a packet of yeast, stir well, and pop a can of beer and stir that in.Keep your mash someplace relatively warm. By the next day the corn will have sucked up most of the water, so add more water until the corn is covered again. Wild Ed, of Wild Ed's Texas Outdoors, has a lot of experience with hogs, and he suggests throwing in an additional attractant into the mix. He says, "One of the best things to pour in your corn or just on the ground to attract hogs is strawberry Jello. They love the smell of the stuff and can can smell it from a long way off."

Within a day or two the sugar, yeast, and corn will start to ferment and a sweet smell will start to waft up from the bucket. Ahhh, the sweet smell of wild hog attractant.

Setting up is easy. Find a large tree with a good wide canopy. Throw a rope over a large limb. It has to be a relatively inflexible limb that won’t move when loaded down with five gallons of fermented pig feed. Tie the rope to the handle where the bottom of the bucket is about six to eight inches off the ground. Throw in another cup of sugar, and enough corn and water to fill the bucket. This will keep it fermenting longer. Take a couple of handfuls of corn and throw them around the bucket.

If you have to rucksack this to a remote hunting area, you can carry everything dry and pre-mixed in the bucket, and lug the water separately. If there’s a pond, stream, or creek, use that and save yourself the trouble of carrying water. You will have to wait a little longer for the corn to start fermenting, but your back will thank you.

When the hogs get wind of the fermenting corn, they’ll follow their noses right to your set-up. I have had them show up in as little as four hours and sometimes it has taken a couple of weeks. If you don’t see any in five or six days, check if your mash is still fermenting; if it isn’t, dump a third of the corn out around your set-up, add a couple of more cups of sugar, and top it off with more corn and water. If it is cold, try and position the bucket where it will get some sun; paint it black if need be. Yeasts need warmth to do their job of converting starches to sugars and sugars to long chain carbohydrates.

Wild hogs are really quite smart and more than capable to figure out how to get more corn out of
the bucket. They will use their snouts and tip the bucket on its side; due to the rope the bucket will tip off their snout and only a small amount of corn will drop out and onto the floor. But that’s enough to keep them very interested.

I recommend doing a little scouting in the early afternoon to check if the pigs are using your set up. When they get there, you probably don’t want to shoot right at your feeder. Somewhat unsporting there dear chap. But wild hogs are very accommodating and will almost always leave you a very clear trail from their bedding areas. It is important that you don’t walk within six feet of their track. They’ve got great noses you know! Try to parallel it until you find a convenient spot with a good shooting lane. If you want to stack the deck in your favor toss a few handfuls of corn in a six foot circle. The pigs will stop there for a few moments to gobble up the goodies you left there for them to eat. If you are taking out someone new to hunting, this is a good way to stop a pig in order to give the neophyte enough time to make a good shot.

Other animals might make use of your feeder. I have seen raccoons and ‘possum mooch corn from the feeder. The most amusing visitor I have had the pleasure to observe was a Blue Jay that knew there was corn to be had, if he could only figure out how to get it. He went ‘round and ‘round that bucket probing every hole in the perimeter. But he just couldn’t get his beak in far enough to grab the corn. I felt sorry enough for him that before we left, we put corn on the lid so that he could indulge his appetite for corn.

Another method I have used is the posthole trick. Use this in an area where you know the pigs are currently using. Start your mash a week or so before you need it. Once it is good and ready, go to your predetermined spot. Take a set of posthole diggers and dig a hole about three feet deep. Dump the contents of your bucket in the hole. It usually doesn’t take long for the wild pigs to find it and root themselves a good sized hole. Once they are using your hole, get yourself set up with a decent blind. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just don’t set it over a fire ant nest. You don’t know discomfort until you have sat on a fire ant nest. Bring a gallon of mash with you and pour it around the wallow they made. The scent will rise and the razorbacks will be on their way for breakfast or supper!

Wild hogs will normally hit open feeding spots twice daily, once at dawn and from late afternoon to dusk. They will usually hole up for the day, preferably near water, or they may continue feeding in impenetrable spots like swamps, brambles and tangles, or palmetto thickets.

When setting up a blind, take into account the wind direction. If your hog population is relatively wild and unaccustomed to regular human traffic, they will pick up any errant scent coming from you, and skedaddle or be exceedingly wary. Remember, hogs do not see very well but they can smell you from forever and a league if the wind is right. On the other hand, if you are hunting right next to the subdivision you live in, scent control is not as important and you can get away with a bit more. In that case your primary objective is to avoid alerting them to your presence. Therefore avoid stumbling around and any sudden movements.

I don’t know about the rest of the nation, but here in my neck of the woods the mast crop was phenomenal. I have seen the forest floor beneath oaks carpeted in acorns this season. Acorn fed hogs are probably the finest tasting pigs you will ever eat. As a matter of fact, hams made in the Spanish Sierras, “Jamon Serrano”, are made from free range hogs whose diet consists of a large percentage of acorns. What I am trying to say is that if you have had a very good mast year, by all means harvest a couple of young pigs for the table. If you find a big, fat, dry sow, take her and have the hams smoked, and sausage made; you can’t go wrong.

I want to reiterate that in my opinion, wild pigs, wild hog, hawg, razorback, or whatever you want to call him, are worthwhile adversaries. Not only do they make great eating, but they are an excellent introduction to big game hunting. Everyone can afford to hunt them on public lands and many private landowners, if approached properly, will allow pig hunting on their property. All you have to do is ask!

Best Regards,
Albert A Rasch
Member: Bagram Tent Club
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...


Related Posts:
Hog Sticking Raj Style! Pt I
Hog Sticking Raj Style! Pt II
Pig Sticking: Andalusia, Spain
Hogs and Dogs!


The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pig Sticking: A Forgotten Sport

Brought to you by Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5. trochronicles.blogspot.com

When I started digging ever deeper into the noble sport of Pig Sticking, I never imagined that I would find as much as I have! Some of the classic texts of the era are available through digitalization efforts made by universities and private citizens. I'll be reproducing selected portions of them as time permits.

Today I have Manohar Malgonkar's recollections of the last days of pig sticking in the Raj. Mr Malgonkar is well known Indian author. He was born in a royal family, and educated at Bombay University. He was an officer in the Maratha Light Infantry, a big game hunter, a civil servant, a mine owner and a farmer, and he also stood for parliament. Most of that activity was during the build up to Indian independence and its aftermath, often the settings for his works.(Wikipedia)


"Bullfighting is tame stuff when compared to our pigsticking."
Shahaji Maharaj, during his visit to Spain.

A Forgotten Sport
By Manohar Malgonkar

Army officers’ messes possess massive silver trophies which are looked upon with reverence, almost as though they were heirlooms. In some of our ex-Cavalry officers’ messes, this hoard of silver includes cups won at polo or pigsticking.

Polo or what?

Pigsticking. It was a blood-sport of the Raj — blood sport at its bloodiest; a one-to-one contest, if that is the word, between the hunter and his quarry. The hunter was an able-bodied man riding a trained horse and carrying a nine-foot-long spear: he hunted a pig, terrified, squealing, running for life, and, rarely, turning around to make a blind charge at its pursuer.

Oh, what fun!

In the middle ages, that was how the warrior clans of Rajasthan foraged for meat. They chased wild pigs on horseback and speared them to death. They then indulged in orgies of meat-eating since there was no way of preserving meat — hogged on hogs, as it were.

The sahibs who ruled India took to pigsticking like ducks to water, and in no time at all, transformed it into a ‘sport’; meaning that they framed rules for competition. There were pigsticking ‘meets’ at which teams competed. Sows with piglets were not to be chased. There were ‘umpires’ to ensure that the rules were observed. Why, there was even a ‘Lords’ and ‘Wimbledon’ of pigsticking! The annual Kadir Cup Meet at Meerut.

There was a time, coinciding with the high noon of the Empire — from the coronation of Queen Victoria to the declaration of the Second World War — when pigsticking, along with polo and horse-racing, became the sport of princes, if only for the starkly practical reason that, to be able to participate in it you either had to own a horse or belong to a cavalry regiment — and also, if you could, with impunity, ride across the country without hindrance which only a sahib could do anywhere on the subcontinent and a maharaja in his domain.

Of one of these maharajas, Sir Kenneth Fitze, who was an officer of the Raj’s Foreign and Political Service has, in his memoirs, The Twilight of the Maharajas wrote:

"The far-famed (sic) Indian sport of pigsticking also found favour in one or two states. The Rajput nobles of Jodhpur were notable exponents of it; but, undoubtedly, the most skilled and indefatigable of Princely pigstickers was the Maratha Maharaja of Dewas, Senior."

The Maharaja referred to was my friend Shahaji Chhatrapati of Kolhapur who had earlier been the Maharaja of Dewas. He and I were about the same age and had been friends since our college days — till his death in the mid-eighties. It was in Dewas, on the horses from his stable that I learned to ride, and it was by his invitation that I attended what must have been one of the last pig-sticking ‘meets’ of its type, put on by one rich Maharaja, that of Kolhapur, to entertain an even richer fellow Maharaja, Yeshwantrao Holkar, of Indore.

This was in the mid-thirties. In those days, like other princely domains, the entire territory of the Kolhapur state was the exclusive hunting preserve of its maharajas. What was more, its entire area was positively alive with wild life. You merely had to drive out to the outskirts of the town to get a glimpse of long lines of blackbucks grazing in the plains, and the folds of the low hills which were thickly covered with shrubbery, harboured an astonishing number of wild pigs.

That day a veritable army of beaters must have been given the task of driving the pigs out of their hiding places by making loud noises. Once they broke out they made a beeline for the next fold in the valley at a brisk trot. The sport consisted of chasing them on horseback while they were running through the open country and killing them with spears. Invited guests like myself and almost anyone who cared to come watched the proceedings from nearby hilltops.

One of the finer points of the game was that the pig you chase had to be the biggest one in a sounder, meaning herd, and had to be one with tushes, which are curling teeth protruding from its snout. The chase did not begin till the sounder had been given a few minutes start, and then hunters in ones and twos galloped after them. Here is a note of guidance for a ‘meet’ held in the year 1807, as given in a manual called Oriental Field Sports.

"The attack should be commenced by the horseman who may be nearest, pushing on to his (the pigs?) left side, into which the spear should be thrown so as to lodge between the shoulder blades."

But this practice of ‘throwing’ a spear at a pig was later thought to be unsporting, and ‘feminine’. By the time I, if only as a spectator, became introduced to the sport, it had gained considerably in masculinity. Now the pigs were to be done to death by thrusting the points of spears into their sides while chasing them at full gallop, and the ultimate skill was to take on the charge of a pig which turned around in its tracks and came to attack the rider. To facilitate this process, the spears that were now in use were nine feet long.

As in tiger shooting, a pigsticking ‘kill’ was credited to the ‘spear’ meaning the rider, who had drawn first blood, meaning inflicted a wound. In the language of the sport, an association of pigsticking enthusiasts became a Tent Club, and the manual that assiduously published the records of all the Tent Clubs in the country was The Hog Hunters’ Annual. It had pride of place in the sahib clubs and cantonment libraries. The sport had its own artist, Snaffles, whose sketches regularly appeared in the Empire’s periodicals. The secret ambition of every serious hog hunter was to win the Kadir.

The Kadir. It was an event of imperial sumptuousness, resembling a circus, complete with as many as a score or so of elephants, which were used as ‘stands’ from which the umpires could monitor and judge performances.

That day of the Maharaja’s pigsticking ‘meet’ near Kolhapur, we were treated to some spectacular feats of horsemanship as the hunters galloped after their quarries and jumped over fences and nullahs, with the excitement mounting as the rider came within striking distance and plunged his spear and extracted it too while riding full tilt and held it high as he rode on, its point dripping with blood. Then he would make a tight turnaround and slowly canter over to the spot where the pig lay still or thrashing its legs, to pose for the photograph which would appear in London’s Tatler or Sphere in a month’s time.

In one of its issues Field, the very voice of Britain’s hunting-fishing nobility, had a full-page photographs of the Maharaja of Kolhapur and the caption described him as one of India’s champion pigstickers.

True, he had killed more wild pigs with the spear than anyone else. The real ‘champion’ of pigsticking was the winner of the Kadir Cup. And my friend with his other obligations of rulership, had not been able to enter his team for the Kadir and was going to make a determined bid to win it in 1939.

Alas, that particular Kadir was never held. By the time winter came, the Second World War had been declared. India’s Cavalry regiments, which had formed the very blood-bank of the sport of pigsticking, were mobilized almost overnight. And that killed the sport. It died unlamented, except by the handful of its devotees, almost a whole decade before the Empire itself folded up. Only some overweight and highly polished silver pots stand as memorial to a sport which, to its devotees made "everything else poor stuff after that," as Daniel Deronda wrote to a friend in 1876, or again, as my friend Shahaji Maharaj, wrote to me during his visit to Spain: "Bullfighting is tame stuff when compared to our pigsticking."

Regards,
Albert A Rasch
Member: Bagram Tent Club
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...

Related Posts:
Hog Sticking Raj Style! Pt I
Hog Sticking Raj Style! Pt II
Pig Sticking: Andalusia, Spain
Hogs and Dogs!


The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Pig Sticking: Andalusia, Spain

© 2010 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5. trochronicles.blogspot.com

A lot of my more esoteric sporting desires come from having read, at a very young and formative stage of my life, Daniel Mannix' A Sporting Chance. For a kid, stuck in the concrete jungles of New York City, A Sporting Chance was a welcome addition to the Rasch adventure library. Filled with every sort of unusual and unconventional methods of hunting, it provided hours upon hours of entertainment, diversion, and instruction.

In chapter seven, Mannix rides with the French nobility while chasing stag and states, "The members of the hunt ride hard and well. Broken bones are not uncommon, and to kill a big stag with a dagger requires a considerable amount of courage and dexterity." Any ten year old, especially one with a vivid and very active imagination could be excused for imagining himself riding a fiery steed on the chase!

I have always had a penchant for chasing hogs on horseback. Several years ago I bought Cinnamon, a big, strong quarterhorse with the intention of learning to ride, and ultimately finding hogs to run down. But alas, the injuries I sustained well over 25 years ago, precluded my riding Cinnamon for more than a short while, with hell to pay for two days following!

So Cinnamon got fat and lazy, until I gave him to a good young man who put him to far better use than I ever could. 

With that in mind, you all know that I navigate the web far and wide in order to bring to you, my faithful and enlightened readers, entertaining and interesting bits of hunting information. Stuff to get us through the dreary day to day, and whet our appetites for more adventure.

Well I have found a delightful little slice of hog hunting esoterica that will just leave many of us salivating at the mouth!

Imagine my surprise when I found that there is a pig sticking organization, modeled after the Tent Clubs of the British Raj, alive and well in Andalusia, Spain!
The Presentation

"Today the “Club de Lanceo EspaƱol ”, or “ Pigsticking Club” is the largest institution devoted to preserve this ancient sport by organizing pig sticking parties, coordinating the various teams around Spain, as well as gathering as much literature, art or pictures related to this theme."

Pig sticking was not as organized in Spain as it was during the days British Raj in India, but the CLE has adopted many of the rules of the tent clubs as a basis for their organization and their actual hunting, including team heats.

I took the time to read as much of the correspondence between members on their forum page as my Spanish could tolerate.  Of particular interest was a note on the Spanish horses before the English cross bred 15 Spanish mares with three Arab stallions to create the thoroughbreds. I believe the correspondent was Jaime, and in his opinion if the English had not created the thoroughbred, the Spaniards would have finished the job with their own Spanish bloodlines! No less illustrious a monarch than Bonaparte led all his marches with Spanish horses.

Definitely Handy!

Now, another fascinating exchange is that of Ramiro who has been working on a thesis on "Best Practices" with respect to presenting your spear, depending of course, on whether you use the short spear, or the long spear.  He has actually studied Baden-Powell's treatise on the subject of pig sticking, and that of Wardrop. His suggestions are based on some very modern concerns of safety, and rightfully so.


Check out their website, it is in both English and Spanish.  On the photo page, there is a link "Ver Escena animada" which has some video clips of a few chases.

Next time we cover methods, we are going to discuss the Argentinian style of dogs and knives! If you remember, some time ago I mentioned the Dogo Argentino in one of my posts. We will be revisiting that post and the Argentinians that made it all possible!

Best regards,
Albert A Rasch
Member: Bagram Tent Club
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...


Related Posts:
Hog Sticking Raj Style! Pt I
Hog Sticking Raj Style! Pt II
Pig Sticking: Andalusia, Spain
Hogs and Dogs!


The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hog Sticking Raj Style! Pt II

© 2010 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5. trochronicles.blogspot.com

Field Sports in India 1800-1947
by Major General J.G Elliott


Chapter 5. The Tent Clubs

Besides the hog hunter, there were three other parties to the sport of pig sticking: the boar, the horse and the beater.

‘Pig’, as he is called by those who hunt him, can grow to a very large size, one is recorded in 1855 as measuring 44 inches at the shoulder and weighing over 400 lb, 25 stone of fighting fury. But most pig hunted measured between 28—34 inches, weighing between 120—260 lb. Pig under that limit were not hunted and anyone rash enough to spear one was fined a golden mohur for the benefit of tent club funds. The boar is a combination of speed, cunning and ferocity who fights to the end with the utmost courage. He has a short back tapering to lower hind legs, a solid mass of hard muscle, attacking with bristles erect and grunting savagely, and it takes a bold man and horse to face him when his blood is up. At his business end he keeps a pair of sharp curved tushes up to nine inches long, which can rip up man and horse. Even the tiger avoids him and may pay the penalty if he takes him on. For his tough make and shape he is surprisingly fast and can outpace a thoroughbred at full gallop over half a mile, and he is so handy that at full stretch he can turn through a right angle to jink and throw off his hunter.

After that he soon tires and then relies on his cunning and ferocity. If lucky, a single spear thrust may kill him, but more often he makes off and, though tired, charges the horseman again and again until killed by a final spear through the heart: fighting to the end, a very brave opponent.

The horse had to be able to remain upright when galloping full tilt through thick grass six to nine feet high, over ground as hard as rock, seamed with large and small nullahs and the occasional sunken buffalo wallow. It was amazing how a good horse managed to keep a spare leg in reserve when his leading foot touched nothing, ‘nothing’ being the bottom of a wallow as much as three feet deep. One well known horse with only one eye, would turn at full gallop into high grass on his blind side, drop into a wallow and remain upright, possibly by second sight or sense of touch of his hoof. Falls were fairly frequent over such country but seldom serious as at the speed at which the horse was galloping he and his rider would fall end over end without too much damage: a slow fall was much more dangerous.

Old, disused wells, completely overgrown by long grass, were a constant hazard in the Meerut and Muttra countries, and in 1890 a Colonel Napier fell into one and broke his neck. The only other fatal accident fall on record was in 1934 when Lieut. Ferguson-Davie was killed instantaneously. He was a confident and experienced horseman and a very fine spear and was hunting a pig ahead of his heat on a young horse which fell and rolled over him.

A skilled rider, holding off the charging pig with his spear, relied on the impetus of his horse to carry him clear before his adversary could charge home. If he did not manage to do so a horse might be cut from heel to knee.

Granite: Winner of the 1934 Kadir Cup

The horses used by the early hunters about 1800 were country bred, but about 1830 Arabs were being imported. They were bold, fast and handy. A colour print, published by Fores in 1836, shows the riders wearing top hats and white kid gloves, with luxuriant side whiskers, mounted on high class Arabs. Fourteen hands and under, they seem small by modern standards and as some of the pig they met measured up to 40 inches at the shoulder, the tushes must have reached nearly to the rider’s knees: a nasty thought.

Later ‘Walers’, horses bred in New South Wales, were imported but a writer in The Oriental Sporting Magazine in 1856 expressed the view that Walers would never hold their own with Arabs against pig. With improved breeding, the country bred often with considerable Arab strain, again came into their own.

The Kadir Cup

The Kadir Cup was to pig sticking what the Grand National is to racing: a name familiar to sportsmen all over the world. ‘Carclew’, a country bred, won the cup three times in 1924-25-27 and ‘Manifest’, also a country bred, won three times. ‘Carclew’ had an unequalled record, competing in the semi-final or final in seven successive years from 1923 - 30. His owner, Captain Scott-Cockburn, then took him hack to England where he died in 1932 at the great age of 32 years. His owner’s description of him describes the ideal horse after pig. ‘Carclew really loved a hunt. At the cry “woh jata” (there he goes) I could feel his heart thumping between my legs; once a boar had been singled out he would follow him as a greyhound will a hare. In the open he would place me right to spear within a minute. In thick tamarisk or grass it was no more necessary for me to steer him than in the open. Whenever we lost a pig it was either in impenetrable thorn, or when the cover was over my head. I think he must have accounted for a good third of the 500 odd boar on which I got “first spear”. In ten years’ hunting he was never cut by a pig nor missed his turn.

The rank and file of the beaters came from the villages adjoining the stretch of land hunted over. In the Meerut, Delhi and Muttra Tent Club country the best of them were Aherias or Kanjars, men of gypsy tribes, untouchable members of the lowest level of Hindu society. They were a cheerful race whose ostensible occupation was weaving grass into brushes or roofs for huts and bullock carts, but they were adept thieves, not very popular with their neighbours and in constant trouble with the police. Barefoot, clad only in a loincloth and pagri, and carrying a stout pole, a hundred of them in line would beat through the high grass until a rideable boar emerged with a savage ‘woof-woof’ from a thicket. And all for a few annas a day. There was, however, another attraction. Fox hunting has been described as the ‘unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable’, but pig sticking has the edge on it as pork was considered a great delicacy by the beaters, who could rarely if ever afford to eat meat. In charge of them was the head shikari. Some of these men had remarkable records, ome Chamru served the Muttra Club from before the Boer War until hunting ended in 1947. An article in the Hog hunters Annual describes the bond that existed between these men and the tent clubs they served. ‘When one considers that some Hon. Secs. have been young subalterns with but a brief experience of India, it speaks well of both parties that the loyalty and devotion which they receive from these shikaris has never been shaken. Something of this may be ascribed to the fact that among Hon Sees, no less than among shikaris, a great tradition has been handed down.’ The writer goes on to speak of General Wardrop, the best known of modern pig stickers. ‘No words of mine can better epitomize the ascendancy he had over these men than an expression one of them used to me: “To us”, he said simply, “he is like God.” In the same number of the Annual there is a short biographical sketch of Dhanni,.Saugor Tent Club shikari from 1882—1927. ‘To match his wits against those of the pig is the height of Dhanni’s ambition. Money is a secondary consideration; it is sport that appeals to him. Two words, familiar to most of us, find no place in his vocabulary; the one is Fear, the other is Fatigue. He knows neither. Very familiar is the scene when a wily old boar has come off the end of a hill, lain up in a bush and been marked down. The line will be stopped and silenced as if by magic. Dhanni will advance, supported by a dozen or so of his trusted stalwarts and breathing foul oaths against the tribe of pig in general, and this boar in particular. How many of us, bare legged and armed only with a lathi, would care to advance on a bush known to contain a large and angry boar? How many of us again could conduct a line from 7.30 a.m. till 5 p.m. in the hot weather over rocky hills amid scrub jungle at the age of nearly eighty, with only a sip of water as refreshment? Yet Dhanni will not only do this, but after it all will start off, to all appearance as fresh as paint, to tramp the ten odd miles to his home!’
At Kadir by Baden-Powell

The success of pig sticking depends very much on good organisation, and from 1840, as British control over India extended, a number of tent clubs were founded for this purpose. Very early ones were at Delhi, Cawnpore and Meerut and the countryside, through which the rivers Jumna, Ganges and Gogra flowed and changed their course over the years, was thick with cover which held hundreds of pig. The places at which tent clubs are known to have been founded are shown on the map on pages 32 and 33. To those who hunted pig it was a way of life: interludes of work necessary to earn their pay, with the weekend hunting to look forward to. Hunt club members would ride out in company to camp in mango groves and hunt on alternate weekends. About 1870, a benevolent commander-in- chief decreed that except for essential work Thursday would be observed as a holiday. Saturday amid Sunday did not count as working days, and it was pointless to return to barracks for a single day’s work on Friday, so a pig sticking weekend lasted from Wednesday till Sunday evening. Everyone was presumed to work extra hard from Monday to the Wednesday of the following week.

The dedicated pig sticker saved to buy another or a better horse, to be trained to docility and obedience in the evenings: a pig-shy horse who refused to face a charging boar was a disaster to be passed on at the first opportunity. Much of the evening conversation was of meets and pig; incredibly boring to those who did not share his sport.

The success or failure of a tent club depended on the honorary secretary responsible for all the work of organisation, and in the field, as complete a dictator as a master of foxhounds. The real business of the weekend began after dinner on the first evening when the honorary secretary arranged the heats, two or three spears hunting together; by lots if all were more or less experienced or, if there were unskilled riders out, arranging the heats so that there was at least one good spear in each. Breakfast was at dawn or soon after and the spears rode out to where the beaters were extended waiting for them, with the head shikari on a pony or a camel, two or three yards between each man, and a large red flag on either flank. The heats take station at equal distances along and behind the beaters and the line starts, in comparative silence lest they disturb a distant pig. Through the long grass go the beaters, tapping each thicket with their poles, for pig sit tight, and when disturbed come out like a rocket. When a pig is flushed the head shikari or the nearest flag bearer yells Wok jata’, and sets off in pursuit, waving his flag to show the nearest heat that a pig is away. The heat gallops up and taking up the line starts the hunt.
On-On-On by Snaffles

The first thing they have to settle is whether the pig is ‘rideable’, sows and boars under 120 lbs being strictly preserved. After the first 100 yards the nearest spear will decide. If he is not rideable he signals to the others by holding his spear horizontally at arm’s length. If all is well he gallops on, shouting ‘on-on-on’, and the hunt is up. The leading rider gallops on the line of the pig, as close to him as he can get, with the other two spears fanned out on either side, so that if the pig jinks one of the others can take up the running. If the grass is sparse the pig’s back will show above it but more usually it may be up to six feet high and his passage can be seen only by the waving of tops as he gallops through it. The boar will almost certainly be making for some safe haven, a thick impenetrable patch of tamarisk or thorn jungle. He will pick the roughest ground, cut by nullahs, which his instinct tells him is good for him and bad for his pursuers. For the first half mile spears will not be able to come up with him owing to his great speed over this distance, but he then begins to tire and the leading spear comes up on his tail. He then begins to jink, the spear on the line loses sight of him and the one on the flank takes up the hunt, echoing the cry, ‘on-on-on’, the pleasantest sound in the world to the pig sticker’s ear. As well as jinking he may suddenly squat motionless on the ground to throw off his pursuers.

When he realizes that he will not make his haven his next object is to attack the hunter. As the leading spear gallops up alongside, the pig cocks his ears and with a vicious ‘woof-woof’ turns at full speed with the object of cutting his enemy with his tushes. As he comes in the rider lowers his spear and at the last moment drives it home, aiming at the heart. If he is successful the pig dies at once, if not, the rider must hold him off for a split second as he swings his horse clear and disengages the spear. Even though wounded the pig may still be full of running and able to escape by jinking, but at last he sinks on his hind quarters and receives the coup de grace through the heart.

Ground, cover and the skill of the hunters vary considerably but even h the odds so loaded against him roughly two out of three pig that are hunted make good their escape. The hunt is over and the rider who was the first to spear the pig can claim his tushes in the evening. By some miracle one of the flag men appears and ties a piece of rag to the nearest bush to mark the spot. In due course four men arrive, tie the dead boar to a stake and carry him back to camp to be measured, recorded in the log then handed over to provide a feast of pork for the beaters. The heat make their way back, change horses, sharpen their spears, take a drink of cold tea from the char-wallah (tea boy) and resume their stations behind the line.

In a temperature that may be well over 100F in the shade, it is no sport for the unfit, the indifferent rider or the half-hearted. By midday everyone will have had enough; they return to camp and after a quick lunch with plenty of cold beer the spears retire to their tents to sleep away the afternoon, in the evening they visit the horse lines to see that all is well, then gather in the mess tent to discuss the day’s sport while the honorary secretary writes up the log.

A typical entry in the Delhi Tent Club log reads: 28th May 1926 Kasna (2nd Day) Right heat Centre heat Left heat Cursetjee (I.M.S.) Templer R.A. (Hon Sec) West R.H. Ruttledge (Poona Horse) Chapman R.A. Phipps R.H.A. “Beat Kasna jhow (tamarisk) and bend of river, small pig lost by centre in jhow. Crossed river (Jumna) and beat thick grass. Right hunted a good boar till the doctor (Cursetjee), took a heavy toss, laid out for 10 minutes, lost two teeth. Many pig in Chaurpore Kadir. Left heat, after a fast hunt killed a small one. Centre picked up a scarred old warrior who fought well. Left hunted one a long way through nullahs, and eventually lost it in jhow. Later right hunted and killed a good boar, which broke back. Nice days hunting, very hot. 213th boar Phipps ‘Cis’ 27 inches 120 lbs 214th boar Templer ‘Aaron’ 31 inches 180 lbs 215th boar Ruttledge ‘Chinatown’ 20 inches 152 lbs The second boar had fine tushes measuring 9 inches, a local record. Now reached the best bag since the war.”

Another and very exciting way of hunting pig was by ‘gooming’. Spears ride out a couple of hours before dawn to the edge of thick cover. Pig usually feed at night on the grass of the river bed and return to cover at dawn. As the light grows, the old pig followed by his wife and children are seen in the distance, and spears gallop towards him to come up with him before he can escape into the thick unrideable tamarisk on the river bank. The boar will try to escape by clever jinking, and he very often succeeds in doing so. Away from the beds of the big rivers in north India, the pig live on the low thorn-covered hills. The beaters work through the cover; the spears are stationed round the edge and try to cut the boar off as he makes for the next hill.

There were also plenty of pig to be found outside the territory of the organised tent clubs, and a couple of sportsmen on ten days leave at Christmas and hoping for a mixed bag would take their horses and their spears as well as rifle and shot gun. As with most sports, pig sticking had its competitive side, the Kadir Cup (held by the Meerut Tent Club since 1871) being the best known event. This was a competition for first spear. Every rider could enter two horses and there would often be over fifty entries. Heats of three were drawn and when a pig got up, the umpire who accompanied it gave the order ‘ride’. They galloped off each trying to spear the pig and draw first blood. The first to do so showed his spear to the umpire and went into the next round while the rest of the heat continued the hunt until the pig escaped or was killed. Experience and a very fast horse were necessary.

The illustration on page seventy-two shows an incident in the competition for 1925. It carries the legend ‘Marsh missing his pig and letting in Captain Scott-Cockburn', the eventual winner. If it was the dream of most pig stickers to win the Kadir Cup, it would also be their ambition to be a member of the winning team in the Muttra Cup, open to teams of three from any tent club or regiment. Each team rode six or eight heats and the prize went to the one that killed the most pig. It was a truly sporting event with no striving for first spear. The names of some of the winners of both competitions are shown on page 75.

The Kadir Cup was an annual award. The winner received the entry fees at Rs. 15 a horse and with the money bought a replica of the cup. The trophy won in 1890 by Captain J. Hanwell R.A. stands proudly among the regimental silver in the Royal Artillery Mess at Woolwich. It would be a fitting home for the Muttra Cup also; there, or in the Cavalry Club, but fate has ruled otherwise. The silver boars have been removed from the plinth and the cup is awarded annually for the Light Weight Race of the Army Point to Point Association. Many will think it has been misappropriated.

There was one other small award, within the reach of many who perhaps never aspired to win the Kadir, the tent club button. As the tailpiece to this chapter is a facsimile of the button which was granted to members of the Meerut Tent Club who got ten first spears. And proud they were to wear it.

The first Bengal planter, turning his attention from bear to boar, can never have imagined that the sport of hog hunting which he started would last for 150 years, and that in a single season over four hundred spears in more than thirty tent clubs would hunt the pig in places as far apart as the jungles round Calcutta and the deserts of Hyderabad in Sind. It attracted men from every branch of the services, civil and military, and civilians from all walks of life. One and all, they thought it the finest sport in the world; and the qualities it demanded and developed stood them in good stead in the professions they followed.

Philip Woodruff writes of it in The Men Who Ruled India: ‘The game of games, easily the first in the estimation of all who practiced it, was pig sticking. To be good after pig a man must be a horseman, a great asset to a district officer. And he must also have the same qualities—the power of quick but cool judgment, a stout heart, a controlled but fiery ardour and a determination not to be beaten—that are needed in the crisis of a riot, or for that matter for a battle. ‘The kind of man who has those qualities needs to exercise them, the danger and the excitement, the ferocity thus harmlessly given an output, sweetened men who might otherwise have been soured by files and hot weather and disappointment, as lime sweetens grass soured by poultry. Pig sticking and shooting did take a man among the villagers and in fact good pig stickers were usually very good officers.’

Definitely click on the picture to see it better!

Albert A Rasch
Member: Bagram Tent Club
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...

Related Posts:
Hog Sticking Raj Style! Pt I
Hog Sticking Raj Style! Pt II
Hogs and Dogs!


The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

Monday, March 15, 2010

Hog Sticking Raj Style! Pt I

© 2010 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5. trochronicles.blogspot.com

Well my friends, I have found a couple of great chapters from Major General JG Elliott's treatise on field sports, written shortly after the heyday of the British Raj! It took me a bit of time to type out the two chapters, but I got it done, and I wanted to share them with you. Both chapters are pretty long, but well worth the read.

I also found a few really good pictures of that era. And the summa plus ultra find was a series of pictures of original hog sticking spearheads of that era!

So without further ado, Field Sports.

"The Finest View"
From:  
Field Sports in India 1800-1947 
by Major General J.G Elliott

Chapter 4. The Early Days

The sport of hog hunting, or pig-sticking as it was later called, consists of the finding and pursuit of the wild boar by mounted sportsmen armed with a spear. After being chased, often for a mile or more, the boar becomes tired and annoyed and charges the hunter and, after a short or long battle, is killed, usually by a spear driven through his heart.

This bare statement quite fails to account for the spell it cast over those who took part in it. Fox-Hunting is said to be the King of Sports and the Sport of Kings, but anyone who has ever ridden after and killed a boar is certain that pig-sticking is the finest sport of them all. More than any other it inspired those who wrote the songs that were sung round the camp fire at the end of the day.


“Over the valley, over the level,
Through the dark jungle ride like the devil
There’s a nullah in front but a boar as well,
So damn the nullah and ride like hell.”

About 1800, the planters of Behar used to hunt the sloth bear with dogs, out of the cane fields into the grass of the open country where he could be ridden and speared. After a few years the bears tired of this amusement and retired to the heavy forest where the ground was unrideable.

The hunters then turned their attention to the wild boar. The idea spread to Calcutta, capital of the Bengal Presidency, and then to Bombay. Hunters originally rode singly or in pairs, but when the sport became popular, went out in groups of five or six and organised themselves as tent clubs. The one started at Poona claims to be the oldest in India, being founded at the time of the British occupation in the Peshwa’s days before the battle of Kirkee in 1817. The earliest records come from Oriental Field Sports where the plates show small parties in hard jockey caps, armed with long throwing spears, chasing boar which had been beaten out of high sugar-cane crops.

‘The first who can get within proper distance throws his spear, aiming at the hog’s head and filing off to make room for the next. I have seen a spear, thrown by a remarkably strong man at a hog moving at some yards distance in a parallel direction, dart through both shoulder blades, passing all but eight inches of shaft out at the opposite side. If the hog be very much exhausted, a person with a strong hand may await the charge and stab the spear between the shoulder blades and ribs or strike the forehead, by either of which methods the hog’s course may be usually stopt.’

These spears, thrown like javelins, were some ten feet long and had heavy triangular heads. Williamson offers this advice. ‘The best distance for delivering a spear is when the horse is about six feet behind the hog and nearly as much to the left, then turn your horse to the left immediately after delivering the spear, avoiding the charge and preventing him from ripping your horse. If it misses the hog and the point does not stick into the ground, the rider must dismount and pick it up, and by the time he has remounted hogs have often escaped.

Photo Credit: DAVID ZINCAVAGE
Spearhead by Bodraj of Aurangabad

In 1830 another method of spearing, invented by Mr Mills, became general; the spear was shortened to about six feet six inches, the shaft of stout, solid male bamboo with a lighter diamond-shaped head, balanced by a lead weight on the butt. This spear was grasped near the butt end and used overhand, driven down at close quarters into the hog. This ‘short’ spear was used until 1938 by the Calcutta Tent Club as being most effective in the thick jungles in which they hunted. It was found that the hog when closely pressed usually turned and charged the hunter, enabling him to drive the spear well home, balking the hog’s attack and allowing the rider to get clear while still keeping a hold of his weapon. When used skillfully this method was deadly, as the spear often penetrated the hog’s heart or backbone and he died at once.

But with a less bold pig who jinked— twisted and turned in his gallop—the short spear was less effective and soon another method came to be generally adopted. This was the ‘long’ spear, used underhand, eight to nine feet long, still with a narrow steel head and weighted at the butt. This method was adopted all over India except in the Calcutta Tent Club who to the end never favoured it. It had the advantage of about two feet of reach both when spearing and when holding off the pig. Moreover, when overtaking a pig which was reluctant to charge the rider could effectively spear him as he galloped alongside.

The Oriental Sporting Magazine frequently carried reports of the activities of the various tent clubs. In 1828 at Deesa, two hundred miles north of Bombay, six men killed 22 hog on a ten day trip. In 1831 five on a trip near Poona killed 34 in six days. The ‘Nuggur Hunt’ at Ahmednagar was a very active body. A party of seven in seventeen days killed 110. A breakdown of this figure shows that only 25 of these were what would today he considered warrantable pig; boar standing at least 28 inches at the shoulder. One boar had a two-inch piece of broken off tush embedded in its face, the result of a battle with another boar which, by a coincidence, was killed the following day with a broken tush exactly fitting the missing piece. Of the bag, 50 were squeakers and 35 were sows. The killing of sows was then common, but later became forbidden, the Calcutta Tent Club in 1862 making a fine of one dozen of champagne on anyone who killed one. Elsewhere the fine was usually ‘one gold mohur’ —fifteen rupees.

Not that the sow was any less formidable than the boar. ‘When boars are scarce, the sportsmen are glad to pursue fat sow, these run faster than a boar and their bite is very severe. I was hunting near Lye with a gentleman who, on overtaking a sow, jabbed his spear into her, the horse reared and the sow laid hold of the gentleman’s toe with her teeth, to which she held fast pulling with all her strength. In a few minutes the top of his boot came away with part of his toenail, the agony of which produced faintness. Luckily the sow cleared off with the spear in her back and I was able to assist my friend. Severe falls frequently occur and it is desirable to carry a lancet. I have saved many lives after such falls by being able to draw off blood immediately on the spot. A wounded boar is a very formidable animal and it is better to let him escape than to run the risk of being made a cripple.’
Photo Credit: DAVID ZINCAVAGE
Spearhead by Bodraj of Aurangabad

The spear has claimed other victims. In Cavalry Surgeon there is a story of a clash with a party of mounted enemy at the time of the Mutiny: ‘Fortunately the adjutant of Beatson’s Horse of the Irregular Cavalry, Clay, a bold and intrepid pig-sticker was to the front and we dashed on them in some sort of line. They drew up in close order to receive our charge but, not liking the pace, broke and fled. Our men followed right well and the adjutant and myself set to work in earnest with our hog spears, made by Bodraj of Aurangabad. Clay was shot through the helmet and spear handle but otherwise unhurt. One of our best men lost his bridle arm which was completely severed by a sabre cut but, twisting a piece of turban round it, he begged me that I would not let it trouble me until we reached camp.

A quarry only slightly less dangerous than man was the tiger. In 1803, Sir Robert Gillespie on hearing that a tiger had escaped from a menagerie, borrowed a lance from a Native Cavalry Officer and dispatched it on Bangalore racecourse. One may be sure that Pester would have a story about some such exploit. ‘Major Robert Nairn of the Bengal Native Cavalry was a great favourite of the Commander-in-Chief, General Lake, who once saw him spear a tiger on horseback, the only man probably to attempt so rash and desperate a thing.’ General Lake intervened and shot the tiger and sent the skin and the broken spear home to the Prince of Wales. Another formidable character was General James Outram who seems to have made a habit of tackling tigers with the spear. ‘In 1828 having heard of some tigers, Outram sharpened his old Maratha lance which had a knob of rusty iron on one end and a bayonet like bit of steel on the other and set out. The tiger got into a hole and we smoked it out. Outram stood above the hole and speared him in the neck as he came out. The tiger turned and broke the spear in pieces, when Tapp, and I (Douglas Graham, Outram’s adjutant) fired and knocked him over.’ And there is a story of one Adam Durnford Gordon, who, armed only with a common hog spear and a sharp sabre and mounted on an Arab, used to kill tigers single handed on open ground. Regrettably there are no details of how he did it.

A beat for pig might disturb a panther. Only a brave man on a very bold horse would tackle him and it was taken for granted that whoever first speared a panther had to finish off the animal himself. ‘Spearing leopard is a nasty business. I have on occasion speared three leopards myself On the north bank of the Sarda river in Oudh a very large leopard jumped out of a grass clump, snarled and ran off. I was on a very fast horse but did not catch him for about 3,000 yards, when he squatted. My spear went through him deep into the ground and he rolled over as I speared. They do this. Lionel Hearsey of the Royal Dragoons kindly gave me his spear with which I broke the leopard’s spine at the next attempt. When I thanked him for giving me his spear he said, “I thought you had wounded him the first time.” This is quite right and proper as a wounded leopard is a very nasty customer. Hearsey had a wounded leopard on his horse behind the saddle a couple of days before this.’

Wolf, nilghai and hog deer were often hunted with the spear but there is only one story of anyone tackling a crocodile. He was one ‘Empty Sahib’, an Indian corruption of the name Armitage. ‘Captain Darrock of the Argyles was riding with “Empty” when the latter spotted an eight or ten foot mugger crocodile in a shallow pool cut off from the main river. “Empty” said that anyone could kill a mugger with a spear, so he slipped off his horse and went for the mugger and the mugger for him. His tactics were very sound and consisted of getting to the mugger’s near foreleg and staying there. “There,” said “Empty”, “the mugger cannot bite you or break your leg with a stroke of his tail.” The mugger got hold of the first two spears with his teeth and made matchwood of them. “Empty” successfully disengaged both times, dragged Darrock’s best spear out of his hand and finished the mugger off with it, the spear being chewed to pieces before the beast died.

Tomorrow we will go to Chapter V!

Related Posts:
Hog Sticking Raj Style! Pt I
Hog Sticking Raj Style! Pt II
Pig Sticking: Andalusia, Spain
Hogs and Dogs!

Regards,
Albert A Rasch
Member: Bagram Tent Club
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...


The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Weekend Recap 3/14/10

© 2010 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5. trochronicles.blogspot.com
Weekend Recap 3/14/10

Well my friends, I have some exciting things going on this coming week. This week will be 100% hog-centric!  We are starting off with a couple of days of pig-sticking British Raj style. Then we are off to some modern day pig-stickers.Then we will finish off with more pig hunting in Europe.

Since this is a recap, a little bit about what I have been up to. This week has been a little tough on me. I am still slightly disoriented from my short stay in Afghanistan. I don't like crowds, I'm still waking up at odd hours and sometimes I'm momentarily confused as to where I am. I have to admit though, that I am anxious to get back. I made some new friends, and I hate the thought of leaving them behind, or shorthanded. There is something about being in a dangerous and difficult place, far from home and the familiar, that seems builds deep, honest, and lasting relationships.



Dillon Fox.

Don't know the young man. Don't remember his rank. Don't know anything about him, except...

He was killed in some miserable part of Afghanistan.

Don't know how he died, and I really don't want to. All I know is that somewhere in Afghanistan, his life slipped away from him. All I know is that his name is seared into my brain.

"Justice"

I was helping the crew sort mail, when I pulled out a plastic bag with a handful of mail from inside a mail bag.  Not giving it any thought, I tore the bag open, and as the mail fluttered and slipped out of the bag, a single sheet of paper stubbornly stuck inside. I reached in and pulled it out, flipping it to the printed side so I could make out what it was all about. All the other mail fell and scattered into a large canvas laundry style cart, with more mail being dumped on top.

As the sheet flipped over I caught the official looking template. In a moment the words, "CASUALTY MAIL" jumped out at me.

"STOP!" I screamed.

The other fellows stopped in mid stride, some looking at me, others looking around wondering what had happened.

I turned the page over so they could see what happened.

"Shit..." came from one of the fellows.

Without thought, each one of them reverently passed the paper around.

They were memorizing the name.

Without any direction they carefully started sifting through the dumped mail. Two carts materialized as word got around. More hands appeared as all the other work slowed so others could help. As each piece of Dillon's mail reappeared they handed it to me. I unwittingly mixed it in, it was my responsibility to make sure each and every piece was put together again.

There were only six pieces total, but we went through every piece in that cart. No one would take a chance that any of his mail stayed behind.

For some time thereafter, we were a little more muted than usual.

Casualty Mail will do that to you...

I mention that story only to illustrate some of the things that transpire. Things that in of themselves may not seem like much to an outsider, but to those that experience these things they can make an immeasurable impact.


Remember the fallen. Honor the brave.

Albert