HUNTERS AND WILD BOAR: THE (INTER)CORPOREALITY OF A RELATIONSHIP
What is special about hunters’ relationship with wild boar in Germany? In comparison to hunting other game animals in this country, hunting wild boar is a challenging and risky practice. Boar bodies are ‘hard’, armoured and armed and the intercorporeal encounter with them exposes the vulnerability of the hunter’s body who need to protect and extend their body in response. Assisted by animal intermediaries, architecture and a range of material artefacts, hunters employ a range of hunting techniques either to mitigate or to engage in this risky encounter: from hunting from a raised seat with a rifle to attacking boar with a spear or dagger in ‘hand-to-hand combat’. In all these hunting situations, boar bodies have an affective and material presence which may consolidate into particular ‘hunting atmospheres’ characterized by danger, adventure, or thrill. Yet boar bodies have a ‘soft’ side as well: they enjoy diverse ‘wellness’ activities and hunters, in turn, respond to these bodily desires by altering the hunting landscape accordingly and even employing ‘wellness kits’. I argue that these hunting experiences, corporeal encounters with soft and hard boar bodies, sheds light on an ambiguous relationship that exceeds the usual discursive constructions of wild boar either as pest or ‘our most knightly game’.