Time to dig out the old Nugger Hunting Spear
The return of boar hunting as a sport to help the rural economy in Britain is given a boost today after a government consultation.
About 80 per cent of people and countryside organisations have said that they are in favour of wild boar being killed to protect human safety and prevent damage to native plants such as bluebells..
For pig-sticking there are two requisites in addition to the pig—a fast, steady horse, and a good hog spear. The Nugger Hunt spear-head, which is now generally used in India, is shaped somewhat like a myrtle leaf, with long slight curves from point to shank, so that it can be easily withdrawn, as well as easily driven home. A four-edged spear-head is also sometimes used, but as it is difficult to sharpen, it is not much liked. Of course the spear-head is made of the best quality of steel, and its edges ought to be sharp enough to shave with, in case any lunatic should desire to put it to such a use.
The spear shaft is a stout male bamboo about nine feet long, with the butt weighted with lead so as to balance the weight of the spear-head. The veteran pig-sticker is particular to have his bamboo cut at night, and at the time of the new moon; in which case it is his belief that it will not yield to dry-rot. This is a native superstition and perhaps strikes an Englishman, whose sisters make a point to cut their hair only at the change of the moon, as a rather respectable superstition which it can do no harm to adopt.
Armed with this weapon, and well mounted, the pig-sticker rides off, sometimes alone, but usually with a gay company of pig-sticking brother officers, and halts on the border of the jungle while the native beaters drive the inhabitants of the jungle down toward the hunters. The master of the hunt posts the sportsmen here and there in pairs so that each hunter has an especial rival, against whom he is pitted and whom he must, if possible, forestall in spearing the hog. When the line of spearmen is in readiness the beaters advance, usually with shouts and the beating of torn-toms. Presently one of them sounds a horn, and the hunters then know that the game has been started. A little later, and out from the jungle marches the “sounder,” led by the patriarchal boar. When the master of the hunt considers that the game has had a fair start in advance of the hunters, he sounds his bugle, and the horsemen, with poised spears, bear down upon the devoted boar, which bounds away with a speed more worthy of an antelope than a pig.
The one great secret of success in pig-sticking is to ride straight after the pig with all the speed that your horse can muster. The pig must be “blown” within the first two miles, or else he performs the curious respiratory feat known as “getting his second wind,” in which case the chances are that he will outrun the horse, and squeak derision at the baffled hunter.
A BRUTAL SPORT
You who sit at home will naturally condemn it. But again I say, like the drunkard to the parson, try it before you judge.
See how the horse enjoys it, see how the boar himself, mad with rage, rushes wholeheartedly into the scrap, see how you, with your temper thoroughly roused, enjoy the opportunity of wreaking it to the full
Yes, hog-hunting is a brutal sport--and yet I loved it, as I loved also the fine old fellow I fought against. I cannot pretend that I am not inconsistent. But are many of us entirely consistent ? Do what we will and say what we like, although we have a veneer of civilisation, the primitive man's instincts are still not far below the surface. Murder will out. Did we not see it in all its horridness in the War ?
But apparently the Churches recognised the fact; at any rate one does not remember that they made any attempt to stop us killing our fellow-men, our fellow-Christians.
Until we get our education upon a more spiritual foundation instead of being content with mere academical scholarship, more of character training than standard of knowledge, we shell only have the veneer.