Boar hunting

Boar hunting

Boar hunting is generally the practice of hunting wild boars, but can also extend to feral pigs and peccaries. A full sized boar is a large strong animal armed with sharp tusks which defends itself strongly. Boar hunting has often been a test of bravery.

Wild boar

The wild boar ("Sus scrofa") is the wild ancestor of the domestic pig. It is native across much of Central Europe, the Mediterranean Region (including North Africa's Atlas Mountains) and much of Asia as far south as Indonesia, and has been widely introduced elsewhere.

Currently wild boars are hunted both for their meat and to mitigate the damage they cause to crops and forests. A charging boar is considered exceptionally dangerous quarry, due to its thick hide and dense bones, making anything less than a kill shot a potentially deadly mistake. Hunters have reported being butted up into trees by boars that have already taken a glancing shot.



Pigsticking was a form of boar hunting done by individuals, or groups of spearmen on foot or on horseback using a specialized boar spear. The boar spear was fitted with a cross guard to stop the enraged animal driving its pierced body further down the shaft in order to attack its killer before dying.

In India, pigsticking was popular among the Maharajas, and with British officers during Victorian and Edwardian times. [ [] ] According to the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, it was encouraged by military authorities as good training because "a startled or angry wild boar is ... a desperate fighter [and therefore] the pig-sticker must possess a good eye, a steady hand, a firm seat, a cool head and a courageous heart." Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Scouting movement wrote a book on the subject [ [] ] In "Lessons from the Varsity of Life" he says that "I never took the usual leave to the hills in hot weather because I could not tear myself away from the sport." To those who condemned it, he said "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." Michael Rosenthal quotes him as saying "Not only is pig-sticking the most exciting and enjoyable sport for both the man and horse as well, but I really believe that the boar enjoys it too."

Willie Rushton suggests that Baden-Powell's love of pig-sticking is a good reason for any self-respecting boy scout to "hand in [his] woggle and garters".

Spear hunting for razorbacks is practiced in some parts of the U.S. although it is uncommon.


In Persia aristocratic hunters used elephants to chase the boars and encircle them in marshland. The hunter would then use a bow to shoot the boars from a boat. Elephants carried the bodies to the hunting camp. The rock reliefs of these scenes have remained largely intact in Taq-e Bostan.

Hunting dogs

Hunting dogs have been used to hunt boar since ancient times. Boar hunting dogs are loosely divided into two categories, bay dogs, and catch dogs.

Bay dogs harass and harry the boar, keeping it cornered in one place, while intensely vocalizing. This behavior is known as "baying" or keeping the boar "at bay". The bay dogs vocalizing alerts the hunter(s) to the bay, and the dogs maintain a slight distance from the boar allowing the hunter(s), once caught up, to dispatch the boar with a well placed rifle shot or tie the hog up to be killed and cleaned later as the meat from a boar goes bad very quickly. Bay dogs are typically Cur dogs such as the Leopard Cur, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Blackmouth Cur, Blue Lacy, Catahoula and trailing scent hounds such as the [ Walker Hound] , Foxhound, Plott Hound, and the Berner Niederlaufhund.

Catch dogs physically take hold of the boar, typically seizing the base of the boar's ear. Once the catch dogs have physical control of the boar, they will hold it down by the head indefinitely until the hunter arrives. The hunter then comes in from behind the boar, and dispatches the boar with a knife or spear. Catch dogs are typically "Bully" breeds such as the American Bulldog, American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier and other molossers such as the Dogo Argentino, Cane Corso and smaller Mastiff crosses.

Popular "hog dogs" in the U.S. include the Blackmouth Cur, Catahoula, Blue Lacy, Plott Hound, Walker Hound, Pit Bull and purpose bred crosses. Popular "pig dogs" in Australia include Staghounds, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Greyhound crosses, various Terriers, and purpose bred crosses.

It is not unusual for hunters to utilize both bay and catch dogs in the same hunt. Bay dogs are used to find the boar, initiate the chase, and pursue the quarry. Typically the boar will run from the bay dogs at first, but at some point during the chase either stop to fight or become cornered. At this point catch dogs are released to keep the boar stationary for the hunter.


Ancient Greece and Rome

In Ancient Greek culture, the boar represented death, due to its hunting season beginning on the 23rd of September, the near end of the year. The boar was also seen as a representation of darkness battling against light, due to its dark colouration and nocturnal habits. Boar hunts appear frequently in Ancient Greek mythology and literature. The first recorded mention of a boar hunt in Europe occurs in 700 BC in Homer’s rendition of the hunt for the Calydonian boar. In Homer’s "Odyssey", Odysseus was injured on the leg during a boar hunt as a boy. The scar on his leg is what leads Auricle to recognise him on his return to Ithaca. In the legend of Prince Adonis, the titular character goes on a boar hunt, only to be killed by his quarry. The third labour of Heracles involved the live capture of the Erymanthian Boar. According to the legend of the founding of Ephesus, the city was built upon the ground where a boar was killed by Prince iconcite book | author= Scheggi, Massimo | title= La Bestia Nera: Caccia al Cinghiale fra Mito, Storia e Attualità | year= 1999 | pages= pp.201 | id=ISBN 8825379048 ]

The Romans left behind many more representations of boar hunting than the Ancient Greeks in both literature and art. Hunting became popular among young Romans starting from the third century BC. Hunting was seen as a way of fortifying character and exercising physical vigour. The boar was known as aper, feri sues or singularis on account of the animals supposedly solitary habits. According to Pliny the Elder, Fulvius Lippinus was the first Roman to create a reserve for wild boar, where he would breed them for hunting in his land in Tarquinia. His methods would be imitated by Lucius Lucullus and Quintus iconcite book | author= Scheggi, Massimo | title= La Bestia Nera: Caccia al Cinghiale fra Mito, Storia e Attualità | year= 1999 | pages= pp.201 | id=ISBN 8825379048 ]

Medieval Europe

The Germanic tribes responsible for the sack of Rome were avid hunters, though unlike the Greeks and Romans, they considered the deer and not the boar as the most noble iconcite book | author= Scheggi, Massimo | title= La Bestia Nera: Caccia al Cinghiale fra Mito, Storia e Attualità | year= 1999 | pages= pp.201 | id=ISBN 8825379048 ]

Unlike the Romans for whom hunting boar was considered a simple pastime, the hunting of boars in Medieval Europe was mostly done by nobles for the purpose of honing martial skill. It was traditional for the noble to dismount his horse once the boar was cornered and to finish it with a dagger. To increase the challenge, some hunters would commence their sport at the boars mating season, when the animals were more aggressive. Records show that wild boar were abundant in medieval Europe. This is correlated by documents from noble families and the clergy demanding tribute from commoners in the form of boar carcasses or body parts. In 1015 for example, the doge Ottone Orseolo demanded for himself and his successors the head and feet of every boar killed in his area of iconcite book | author= Scheggi, Massimo | title= La Bestia Nera: Caccia al Cinghiale fra Mito, Storia e Attualità | year= 1999 | pages= pp.201 | id=ISBN 8825379048 ]

Renaissance period and modern era

The Renaissance period saw a dramatic reduction of forests for agriculture, thus diminishing some boar populations. Boars were increasingly hunted as crop predators by the rich, who rather than using spears, daggers and arrows, now had firearms allowing them to kill boars far more quickly and efficiently. The reduction in boar numbers resulting in the formation of hunting reserves. it iconcite book | author= Scheggi, Massimo | title= La Bestia Nera: Caccia al Cinghiale fra Mito, Storia e Attualità | year= 1999 | pages= pp.201 | id=ISBN 8825379048 ]

The civil unrest following the end of the French Revolution put an end to feudal privileges and hunting was liberalised, leading to a decrease in boar iconcite book | author= Scheggi, Massimo | title= La Bestia Nera: Caccia al Cinghiale fra Mito, Storia e Attualità | year= 1999 | pages= pp.201 | id=ISBN 8825379048 ]

ee also

* List of pigs over 1000 pounds
* Medieval hunting


External links

* [ Ozziedoggers, Australias pig dogging and pig hunting website] Pig hunting with pigdogs. Pig shooting.
* [ Lessons from the Varsity of Life, Chapter 3] by Baden-Powell
* [ Recruiting for the Empire: Baden-Powell's Scout Law] , Michael Rosenthal. Source of quotation "the boar enjoys it too."
* "Pigsticking", William Rushton (London 1977)

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