Friday, December 2, 2011

Poacher Pockets

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?



Jennings and Gates said...

I was taking a break from writing and laughed when I read your post. Just working on one for Barbour and was about to mention that the poacher's pocket is the perfect size for the newspaper!

Anonymous said...

I have been told that for tailgating purposes, a Barbour Beaufort's game pocket can easily hold a 6-pack of beer, and provide ready access to said beers WITH EITHER HAND.

Old Polo said...

Just don't zip the front all the way up or you might strangle yourself thereby leaving the remnants of the six pack to your friends!

Suburban Princess said...

I was in line at the grocery store today, behind a man wearing a jacket with these pockets on it. We were chatting and the whole time I was wondering what they are for! Now I know! Thanks Unca Toad!

Anonymous said...

I frequently use the poacher's pocket in my Barbour border jacket for a far more practical and mundane purpose. When moving from outside to inside on a rainy day, I'll tuck my compact umbrella into the poacher's pocket. It's waterproof so it won't get my clothes wet, keeps the umbrella from dripping water all over the store, library (wherever), and keeps my hands free. (I also use it to smuggle booz into movie theaters.)