The Wild Boar Hunt

January 15, 2013 / Local Interest
Campiglia Marittima, Tuscany
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Signor Giuseppe (Beppe) proudly wears his boar tusks.

A few days before November 1 when the wild boar hunting season begins one can feel the stirrings of excitement in the village begin to mount. Then suddenly many of the retired gentleman disappear from their usual benches and return in their khakis to the village in the evening carrying their shotguns. The season continues until January 31st and during this time one might need to wait until Monday, Tuesday or Thursday, when there is no boar hunting, for the electrician or plumber to arrive.

The wild boar hunt is stepped in long and universal traditions associated with courage, patience, strategic thinking and persistence. The boar originated in Eurasia and Africa and was then brought to America in the 1500s as a food staple. Huntsmen later imported them to Europe for game sport. An aggressive animal, it requires teamwork and careful tracking with dogs through the woods.

DSC02609Given the absence of natural predators, the wild boar now in Tuscany has multiplied out of control. This has become a real threat to agriculture, and causes quite a few road accidents as well. The Italian boar, smaller (60 kilo) and producing 1 or 2 offspring a year has been superseded by a larger (120 kilo) Hungarian strain which produces 7-8 offspring three times every two years. They forage the fields and are unwelcome guests in vegetable plots and gardens. There are not enough regular hunters to keep the population in balance and so squads from the Corpo Forestrale (Ranger/Forestry Service) as well as specially licensed hunters are trained to cull the ever-growing population off season.

Hunting laws are stringent in Italy requiring hunters not only to buy a license but also to take exams both written and oral. Fortunately, the boar properly prepared and cooked is a culinary favorite here in Tuscany!

Many thanks to Dott. Matteo Brogioni, hunter and a lawyer for his time and patience explaining the hunt. He learned hunting with his grandfather, accompanying him in the woods from age of 6.

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Beppe and two other members of the local squadra (registered hunting team).

Pat Carney

by Pat Carney

Pat Carney-Ceccarelli (www.campigliaworkshop.com) happily divides her time between Campiglia Marittima and Cambridge, UK.

11 Responses to “The Wild Boar Hunt”

  1. Colleen Simpson

    What a wonderful story!! I am in the U.S. visiting family and read this with my grandson, Kellen. I live in Umbria and often see wild boar along country roads and foot paths. However, I did not realize that they came to Europe via America! I am cooking Cinghale this Friday with the Pici pasta Kellen and friends are making. Had to order it special through an exotic meat source here in Seattle. Grazie mille!

    Reply
  2. D. Bianchi

    A very good story about the hunt, the animal and the history, but an excellent example of what gun control should look like. Too reasonable for the US? Ask someone who is about to use a gun to take both a written and oral test? Very good idea!

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  3. In light of recent events in the US I have to agree with D.Bianchi…..Oral, written or whatever test needs to be done!!

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  4. bob paglee

    Imagine getting the tough U.S. Fish and Wildlife service to shoot an overpopulation of wild boars here! But I’ll bet wild boar chops are even tougher.

    Reply
  5. Wild boars have propagated to the point of nuisance here in central California; a nephew will soon be taking up hunting them, I have many ancient family recipes and my kitchen waiting for the meat of the beasties. Thanks Pat for the recipe.

    Reply
  6. Pat Carney Ceccarelli
    Pat Carney Ceccarelli

    Hi John, recipe on the way- keep looking on Italian notebook!

    Reply
  7. Anne Robichaud

    Enjoyed your piece..and lots of boar hunters around here in the Umbrian countryside, including farm friend Giancarlo so we often eat cinghiale cooked by his mother, Peppa.
    Yes, thankfully very strict gun laws..and each hunter must sign his name on a form with his “squadra’s” caposquadra before they head out to hunt. Also, if one is stopped for driving while drinking or causes a road accident, hunting license retracted: that person considered too irresponsible to handle a gun.
    Here 4 days of “battute straordinarie” (hunts..out of season) just authorized to cull the boar…they have multiplied so that they do serious damage to farm crops.

    Alleluia

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  8. I would love to go out on a hunt. I live in Sicily, near Caltanissetta. I can taste them already!

    Reply

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