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It was a hot afternoon, the last day of March 2019, in a small village of Nagari Surian, on our way to Kersik Tuo village, the entry point of Mount Kerinci. Normally it takes around eight hours to drive from Padang, the capital of West Sumatra province. Our smooth journey suddenly slowed down. The driver was getting out of the car and trying to check what was going on, a minute later he came back with a surprise news “we might get stuck here for hours!” he said. “There’s a communal wild boar hunting event in this village, with hundreds of hunters with hundreds of dogs as well,” he added.

After I briefly translated and explained the situation to our client, then I started googling to find out more about that event on the internet.

Hunting wild boar with trained dog is common and it’s already become a communal practice in West Sumatra. It is unknown when this tradition began but it has continued over the generations and is pretty organized these days. In this hunting with dogs’ event, the hunters aren’t allowed to use guns, they use only spears or machetes and trained dogs. The dogs will be released to chase the pigs and the hunter will follow the voice of their dog barking.

The hunting activities are mostly done around the cultivated land, which is located near a forest area. It is pretty well known that wild boars are destructive pests with a wide and ravenous appetite for a variety of plants. It destroys many agricultural crops by crushing or eating plants.

In West Sumatra many people participate in this activity mostly for sport, because people in that region mostly do not eat pork, as part of religious restriction.

Twenty minutes passed and our car was only moved less than fifty meters. We decided to get out of the car and walk forward. Wow, it was a rare scene that we’ve ever encountered. Dozens of dogs were patiently waiting at their small cages which were piled up on pickup cars with some of the dogs having a hunting team’s name painted on their bodies.

Meanwhile, on the rice fields hunters were trying to follow the dogs chasing the boars with noisy barking sounds.  In a far distance, the cheers of the hunter’s voice burst in the accompaniment of the sound of dog barking, they worked together to catch the targeted boar.

Another hour passed, more people were coming and the traffic was completely clogged. We stopped by at local shop for a coffee and had a chat with some hunters who had been traveling many hours from their places only to participate in this event. He looked exhausted after running around the hills following his dogs chasing the boar. His Pitbull breed dogs looked tired as well.  

The hunting might not significantly decrease the boar populations in this area because the number of boars killed were very few, but it could effectively driving the boar temporarily away from the area,” one hunter said.

That afternoon we were saved by the rain. As the rain started to fall, hunters were leaving the hunting areas, and finally we could continue our journey to Kersik Tuo.