A few days ago the words 'pig-sticking' came into my mind. It was as if the goddess of wonderful phrases had placed the words there to muse over. So naturally I got my happy feet on to go exploring among the pig-sticking ways.

Pig-sticking is a form of hunting pigs or hogs. It is not much done anymore since hunting with firearms is more effective for most hunters out of practice with pig-sticking ways. Likely it is more in the category of sport hunting than the other kind where the meat is desired more than the glory (or at the very least, as much as the glory).

Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell (who has seventeen capital letters attached to the end of his name signifying some assumed-to-be-wonderful things about himself) attended to the business of describing pig-sticking in his book 'Lessons from the Varsity of Life' in 1924.

Here is a sketch made by Baden-Powell of the activity followed by a few notes (also by him) on the sport.

"He is plucky and tough, as fast as a horse, and can jump
where a horse cannot. He stands as high as a table, is long in the leg, and very muscular.
He doesn't hesitate to swim a river, even when it is inhabited by crocodiles; he seems to
think that the crops which the natives raise of melons, sugar cane' grain, etc., are meant
for him to devour, which he does extensively, and if a native objects he knocks him down
and tries to disembowel him with his murderous tusks.

Well, that is the fellow we hunt in India on horseback
with spears, and there is no sport can touch hog-hunting for excitement or valuable

Three or four riders form a " party." Beaters
drive the pig out of his lair in the jungle, and the party then race after him, but for
the first three-quarters of a mile he can generally outpace them.

The honours then go to the man who can first come up with
and spear him. But so soon as- the boar finds himself in danger of being overtaken he
either " jinks," that is, darts off sideways, or else turns round and charges
his pursuer."

There are many more things to be learned in this monograph. You can learn what 'coming a cropper' is, and about the Prince of Wales' hunting skills, and even better can muse on the additional phrase 'We had a ding-dong gallop.'

Yes, I do think this pig-sticking thing is a ding-dong gallop!

Link to Baden-Powell's story


9 thoughts on “Pig-Sticking

  1. I was awed, just awed, when I learned from my room mate at university that her parents had met pig sticking in Poona.
    Until then I had thought that pig sticking in Poona was one of the in-jokes of the British Empire. Well it was. But it happened too.

  2. I bet you were, awed, by hearing that, Rachel. It must have felt as if a fairy-tale came real and was close enough to reach out and touch you!
    Sonia, I am going to use ding-dong gallop as much as I possibly can in conversation from now on! 🙂
    Someone asked me how this blog was any different than foodvox, Louise – they didn’t see the difference aside from WP to TypePad. I’m not sure how it will be different except that it will be, somehow. 😀

  3. The hunter doesn’t want just any spear, either. A proper boar spear has a cross-piece (like a sword-hilt, but farther down) to keep the stuck boar from running along the spear to gore the hunter.

  4. Bob, those are admirable instruments. I saw illustrations of them during my research. Quite workmanlike and useful!
    A small wonder that you brought up Ramsay during this conversation about pig-sticking, O.Beck. I’d guess, per swear word, that he gets paid much more than the soldiers at Fort Benning and that the heat he faces is quite different than theirs in the general way of things. But of course even in the fearful ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ mode he raises the banner for pleasant foodie-ism, so he has his place in the grand scheme of things, no?

  5. MRE’s actually have been touched by our culture’s interest in tickling the tastebuds to a fine tenderness, O.B.
    In recent past history a good amount of $ and research have been devoted to finding ways to keep the troops happy with their rations. MRE’s have been considerably upscaled and finessed. The inclusion of various favorite condiments (hot sauce, etc.) is one just one of the ways MRE’s have been aimed towards an improved character.
    I seem to remember reading that they still are very weighty (heavy to carry but then what isn’t heavy to carry that soliders have to lug around??!) but somehow self-heating.
    There’s some fun stuff out there on the web about MRE’s if you try a search! 🙂
    But to answer your last question, I would suspect that MRE’s are situated somewhere outside the Land of Foodies. 😦

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