On being long wild pig
Hunting is assumed to be an inalienable right for French people ever since the revolution of 1789 set them free to hunt – rather than poach. And wild boar makes better eating than a handful of roast chestnuts..(read Jacquou le Croquant by Eugene le Roy). Let the wild boar eat the chestnuts first and then let humans eat the wild boar.
Once sus scrofa is fully grown there is nothing sympathetic about it nothing to make anyone go – aaaah! The young are prettily striped, chocolate and cream, but their mother, like so many over-worked mothers, is seriously bad-tempered and does not wish her offspring to be admired. Given that she is likely to weigh around 80kg a brief charge by her should be sufficiently dissuasive to any spectator.
What all the boar, irrespective of sex, like doing is rooting things up, maize fields, sunflower crops, someone's vegetable garden, a prized lawn. They are creatures without respect for anything: a boar being pursued in our woods charged right through the sheep fencing, right past the sheep who apparently serenely continued munching ( scout's honour word of a following hunter) and through the fence the other side. Well, no sheep fencing is likely to stop a 90 kg boar charging at heavens only knows how many kms an hour – and our local chasse only told us about the incident when presenting a near 3 kg haunch of same animal, having repaired the fence.
Boars will charge across country roads also, no respect for cars. My daughter wrote off her relatively new boy-friend's car one night in the Landes as a boar crossed their way. The boar did a somersault and went its way, the car was a write off. Fortunately seat belts and air-bags meant there was little damage to the passengers, just an unhappy insurance company. My daughter's rescuers hoped the boar had been sufficiently damaged to make it easy to find the next day, Sunday – the primary hunting day.
I did, once, meet some young wild boar face to tusk. I was taking the labradors for a very early morning walk. Going down the path to the pine woods, dogs on leads (I did not trust them not to do a bunk) three youngish wild boar, side by side, stood across the path. Their tusks were not very long but even so I was frightened. Courageously, I stood behind a tree, desperately holding the dogs' leads and screeching at them to be quiet. They were equally desperate to jump on the pigs. Stand off. Then the young pigs clicked their heels, wheeled round and trotted back into the woods.
In a good hunting year we always get a haunch of wild boar or deer, recently it has mostly been wild boar because – it has been darkly opined – a local commercial chasse has released bred wild boar into the woods. The gift is partly a public relations exercise and partly a genuine thank you. The last time I walked in our pine plantation I noticed that what appeared to be a 'wild boar motel' had been installed: a nice muddy bed, some relatively clear water in a deeper hole, a convenient back scratching tree and what looked suspiciously like the remains of breakfast in bed, maize cobs. Wild boar roam over many kilometres of forest, hunters prefer them to stay within walking distance....so tempt them with food.
I mentioned this 'wild boar motel' to the representative of the chasse who came to deliver this winter's haunch of wild boar. She disclaimed all responsibility, said that our pine plantation, so well maintained, was what attracted the animals and they – the hunters and the pigs – were duly grateful.
So there I was, with a fresh near 3kg haunch of wild boar, to add to the 3 kg haunch already in the deep freeze, also the 2 kg plus boned and rolled roast offered by a hunter friend. Given that an average, generous portion of meat per meal should be around 150 gr that's enough meat for about twenty people on one haunch alone. With freezer capacity at a premium, what to do?
The answer was 'paté de sanglier aux cèpes' but conservation rules being what they are, the older frozen joint had to be used and the new joint frozen. Fortunately, as I have mentioned in previous posts, we are currently as 'long' cèpes as wild boar meat so using those might make some space in the freezer. (Silly, innumerate me) My local butcher kindly boned and minced the joint once it was unfrozen and sold me an equal quantity of slightly fatty sausage meat, also some caul fat to wrap the patés. Net result, over 6 kg of processed meat spread over 12 foil patés, net space gain nil but at least an easier, quicker way of serving wild boar to fewer people at a time..