I was castigated by a dear friend for never having discussed poacher pockets. I had been reading Danny, the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl, a story about Danny and his poaching father at the time, so it seemed time to admit that although I have 2 Barbour jackets with poachers, I very rarely use them.
For you non hunters, a poacher is someone who illegally steals animals, fish or plants, usually for food. Subterfuge is important for the penalty for game theft is high. Many sub plots of 19th and early 20th century Brit Lit focus on poachers alluding Mi'lords gamekeeper. Perhaps this November 1959 Field and Stream review of Lady Chatterley's Lover will remind you:
Although written many years ago, Lady Chatterley's Lover has just been re-issued by Grove Press, and this fictional account of the day-to-day life of an English game-keeper is still of considerable interest to outdoor-minded readers, as it contains many passages on pheasant raising, the apprehending of poachers, ways to control vermin, and other chores and duties of the professional game-keeper.Unfortunately, one is obliged to wade through many pages of extraneous material in order to discover and savour these sidelights on the management of a Midland shooting estate, and in this reviewers opinion, the book cannot take the place of J.R. Miller's "Practical Gamekeeper".
To aid a poacher's quest, full length pockets are sewn in the back of a hunters coat, usually with an opening on either side so a poacher can snatch his quarry with either hand and quickly slip it inside his coat so it is not noticed, and the poachers keeps his hands free.
I'm certain there are thousands of great stories both mythical and real life about the uses for poacher pockets,beyond holding a wet newspaper, a smuggled carton of cigarettes or a bottle of wine which is about all I can imagine. I'm game to hear yours though. Does the Jeremy Irons televised version of Danny really exist?