"It Was Still Twitching!!"
The story as compiled by Ly. Kateryn from stories told by the participants
As a witness of this expedition, I heard the predictions and saw some of the preparations. I remembered the warnings and tales of failed boar hunts that have been shared. It is quite easy to swagger around, making grand gestures and pretending to be bold. I know it is completely different to actually act on these gestures. I can only imagine that the last few nights before the hunt were full of dread images, nightmares, and doubts that would fill a play by Shakespeare. I believe that it would have been quite easy on Friday night to cancel the trip if there was any way to do it and still save face. But in an extraordinary show of courage, all members of the party showed up and as a team were successful. I, myself, now dream of the honor of being on this team.
There were some very serious injuries inflicted during the hunt. Fortunately, they were all sustained by the two pigs that fell to the extremely deadly spears of Pavel, Valens, Lorell, Dongal, Malachi, and Hrothgar.
I have for years questioned the sanity of all the members of this party. Their motives and ideals have time and time again caused me to puzzle, but I have never doubted their manhood, their courage, their tenacity. I tip my hat to these men who proved that perhaps some of us are still able to be legends, above our fears.
This was a small group of guys who worked with real skill at close quarters with very dangerous weapons. This was a team composed of men who trusted each other in close quarters with real steel weapons, who really showed they could and would watch each others backs. This team proved they are the kind of small unit that every army needs, as well as real companions. Teamwork made killing a 300 pound boar possible when it would have been nearly impossible for individuals or even two-man teams to have accomplished the same feat. This sense of being a team was perhaps the most important gain of this hunt, and the one that will last long after the meat is eaten and the bones discarded.
The hunters all arrived early Friday evening, with Hrothgar getting in at 9:00 pm from Cincinnati. Dongal finished up spears for himself and Hrothgar with the red oak staves he made, and most of the hunters honed the edges of their points and blades. Everyone was anticipating the hunt the next day, and still wondering what would happen when they tried attacking wild boars with spears. There was talk of starting it out easy by hunting a canned ham in the lodge, but thankfully that never came to pass considering the state of the weapons by that time.
One of the most impressive aspects of the entire hunt was the enthusiasm everyone developed to do this as close to period as possible. The clothing, armor, and weapons the group came up with were very impressive. Pavel had a new outfit and Dongal looked rather roguish, carrying three weapons as if he were on a D&D campaign.We participated in and enjoyed a part of the middle ages that had been beyond our grasp for many years.
The next morning began with a breakfast that included nearly every form of pork, after which everyone dressed in their hunting garb and armored up. Pavel was spiff in his hat and hunting coat along with Dongal and Lorell who were also stylish. Valens in contrast, looked like a peasant in his more practical brown tunic. In addition to cuisses, placards, and gauntlets, some of the hunters wore mail, more as a precaution against spears than boars.
After loading the weapons into the guide's pickup, the men all piled into a suburban and followed him into the preserve, discussing wills and insurance policies along the way. After driving along a mile or so of barbed wire, they came to a very tall, very strong looking fence with large gates that looked like something out of Jurassic Park. The comparison of boars to Tyrannosaurs was certainly not a welcome one at this time.
They walked on to a large open clearing, on top of a rocky rise that sloped down to woods on three sides. Because they (ED: who is they? Hunters or Guides?) had been unsure of their chances of getting within spear range of a boar in the woods, the guides had put out some feed to draw the animals into the open. The pigs came, along with a menagerie of other animals including several species of deer, sheep, a bison, and a water buffalo. The hunters spread out in a circle, keeping to two-man teams on three sides. There was a moment of indecision on the choice of hogs, which allowed their first and smartest (most dangerous) picks to get away.
The hunters closed in, focusing on the biggest of the three remaining, keeping an eye on the water buffalo who did not seem pleased at all with this invasion. Valens got the pigs to move away (Ed note? move away from the water buffalo? or what?) by waving his spear at them, and once they were clear, Malachi jumped. He pinned the pig (a sow) by thrusting it through the ear and down the side, holding it long enough for everyone else to jump in and finish it off. Pavel was especially thorough, refusing to quit until it was done twitching (Pavel jumped in like Norman Bates into a coed shower stall.)
So, Pavel, how many times DID you stab that pig? "Less than a hundred. Hell, less than 50! I was scared and it was still biting spears! The sun was in my eyes! I got a piece with my shield. Kohotech!!"
The hunters stood for a few moments, basking in the success of their first kill until the guide drew their attention to the water buffalo, who by that time was extremely annoyed that they were standing in its breakfast. Everyone backed away carefully and considered what to do next.
Our second kill was a running battle that impressed the professional guides who were escorting our group.
Since the best boars had run off into the woods early on, the hunters formed a line and went down a draw and up the other side, through a clearing and through another line of trees, hoping to flush some game up against the fence at the edge of the preserve. All of the pigs had wisely gone somewhere else. At the guide's suggestion the hunters went back to the feeding area where some different pigs had arrived. Since the first kill had been much easier than anyone expected, pairing up didn't seem necessary, so everyone formed a wide circle and began to close in.
One of the boars who had escaped was back, and the hunters managed to isolate it, by letting the others go while keeping in its way as it began to nervously move around. Pavel managed to get himself into the most danger of anyone on the trip by concentrating a little too much on the boar. At a warning from Dongal, he looked to his left just in time to see the water buffalo hunker down and snort. He backed off and eased around the side before the animal became irritated enough to do something about it.
The boar was quite nervous by this time and tried to follow the rest of the pigs, running within range of Malachi. Malachi managed to poke it in the shoulder which got it seriously scared. It turned and ran into the buffalo which it seemed to find equally frightening, then circled back around toward Dongal. Dongal buried his spear into the animal's side as it ran by. The pig took off down the hill, looking like it was going to make a break into the open.Dongal took off sprinting after it, with every intention of tackling it as he admitted later.
The boar headed toward Pavel, who was so scary it turned away before even getting within spear range, and ran down the hill toward the woods, slowing with every step. One of the guides had run down in front of it and waved, which made the pig wheel and run straight into Lorell. Good thing Lorell and his weapon of mass destruction were there to stop it. He stopped it cold, laying open a huge wound in its side. Everyone else arrived seconds later. Lorell took a couple of steps to the side to push the boar off its feet and nearly got a spear in the butt as he moved into the space where Pavel was about to thrust. Valens finished off the beast with a sword thrust to the heart.
After seeing the damage that His Grace BatShadow Waspwingwanderer (Lorell) inflicted on the two pigs with his elfquest spear of doom, the team members decided that it is unwise to mock elves. Second, it is now apparent that Pavel's enthusiasm knows no bounds. Pavel was in such a hurry to get in on the kill that he nearly took off half of Lorell's Butt. Lorell had worn his mail with the split in the back, thinking the danger would be from the boar.
While its only a little dangerous for fellow Tusk Bearers to joke with LeafTwig BarkrunnerSureSpear (His non-elf name being His Grace Duke Lorell) It is nigh unto death for others to talk of his past. (You don't mess with elves, especially when they got their spears! ) The boar's wounds were 8 inches wide and a foot deep! Many of the important social and ritualistic aspects of medieval hunts occurred naturally without the hunters having to follow a script. The traditional "curree" or breaking of the game happened just like in the woodcuts of the period. The hunters stood around the bodies as they broke them apart, drinking beer and meade, retelling the entire hunt, and congratulating particular hunters who had landed the decisive blows in each encounter.
Everyone agreed that the second hunt was the best, and definitely what they came for. It was a running battle, and felt much like a melee. Someone compared it chasing a Duke at Pennsic, since it took as much damage before finally going down.
The spears worked very well, and surprised everyone with the ease at which they penetrated after hearing all the horror stories about seemingly invincible boars. One of Pavel's thrusts broke a rib without him feeling any resistance. After the pigs had been hung and skinned, Dongal took a swing at its neck with a danish axe and chopped the head clean off with a blow that any fighter would have considered light. Lorell took off the other boar's head with a cut from the side of his long spearhead, severing it cleanly with what could be considered a good leg shot from a polearm. Pavel cut straight through one leg and halfway into another with a strong "killing" blow from his broadsword, and probably would have gone all the way through both if they hadn't been dangling in midair.
Even though Society standard has us fighting in chain mail, everyone who sees the effects of these weapons might reconsider what they think of as light blow.
Though this story does not show any appreciable danger from the pigs, I hope that anyone else considering such a venture carefully considers their resources, their team, their motives. I still do not agree that this was a smart hunt, it was definitely a dangerous idea. But like a bungee jumper, these guys stacked the thing as much in their favor as possible, they knew the risks, and have sustained some battle damage in the past that gave them the experience that not many others in Calontir have. In other words, "Kids, don't try this at home."
Everyone learned about period hunting from their experience and many hours have already been devoted to planning their next hunt. How to make it better, even more of a period recreation, and how to improve our hunting techniques. The pigs didn't hurt them, they could have, and the way they hunted on their first attempt maximized their chances of getting a kill. They hunted the dumbest pigs in the woods. Many more wiser animals never came into the open where the hunters had a chance at them. There were many animals that the team never saw that are more wary of man and would probably react more violently if cornered by the group. Terror would make these animals potentially more dangerous to be close to, and as the hunters found out, you have to be very close to the animal to kill it with a spear. With this experience now under their collective belts, these hunters will try again, this time for the elusive animals and they will be much more selective in hunting the larger animals.
In a future hunt, they might put out bait grain at several locations in the woods where they can watch from a distance. Select a trophy type target and try to corner it in the woods where the animals would have a lot more advantages. The hunters now know they can kill the dumb ones, very quickly, ( they could have killed two pigs in the first thirty minutes). It may take all of one or even two days to get two of the better animals. The pigs they ended up killing would have been carried off by the peasants long before any hunters showed up.
To close, Calontir has a few new heros, the first among us to take the chance, the first among us to offer the potential sacrifice for this glory. Any who follow will not shine quite so bright as these. And this hunt will be the stuff of legends and bardic tales and songs in Calontir for many years.
Back to Pavel's Stories Page