What Is “The Boar Hunt” by Jose Vasconcelos About?

In “The Boar Hunt,” Mexican author Jose Vasconcelos describes the grim fate of four men who hunt wild boars in the remote jungles of Peru. These four men, each of a different Latin nationality, met on a large Peruvian sugar plantation several years prior to the events in the story.

The significance or symbolism of their having met on a sugar plantation is not made clear. However, the four men became friends and continued to arrange meetings where they enjoyed each other’s company and made plans for various adventures, many of these involving orienteering and marksmanship skills.

Attracted to a specific region in the Peruvian jungle by reports of enormous herds of wild boars, they set off with great provisions, even employing the help of Indian guides.

The four men make camp and encounter the boars the next day, making sport of shooting them from the elevation of hammocks hung from trees near their camp. Gradually, their spirits dampen as the boars increase in number and their munitions run low. Eventually, the boars, employing their considerable intelligence, begin destroying the trees from which the men’s hammock are hung.

Sensing disaster, the protagonist devises an escape, swinging from tree to tree like a primal man. While he escapes, his companions do not. When he returns to view the camp, he finds only strewn clothing and footwear.

Horrified by the experience, the protagonist draws from the ordeal the lesson that boars somehow had claimed revenge for man’s wrongdoing toward them. He resolves never to hunt for sport again, having re-evaluated his notions of morality related to hunting, husbandry and man’s dominion, vowing only when necessary to exterminate harmful beasts, but vowing never to take pleasure in such a destructive sport as hunting.