Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Ty Karnitz.
Gentleman readers, this is a call to action. Throughout history, men have used sports to test themselves against one another, and it is time we revive a noble sport which builds courage, willpower, and mental fortitude. It is time for ferret-legging’s renaissance.
What is ferret-legging?
What is ferret-legging you ask? A sad question — it proves just how forgotten this sport has become. The game is simple and eloquent. Contestants take live ferrets and shove them down their pants. The winner is whoever can stand the ferrets’ teeth and claws the longest.
There are, of course, a few additional rules to make the contest fair. The pants must be tied at the ankle so the ferret cannot escape and the pants must be roomy enough for the ferret to move from ankle to ankle freely. The ferret must have all 34 teeth and all their claws. Neither the ferret nor the contestant can be drugged in any way. Save the drinking for afterward, gentlemen. Finally, it should go without saying that no underwear is allowed.
Once the ferret is inside and the pants belted tight, the game begins. The current record for ferret-legging, or “put ’em down” as the pros call it, stands at about 5 hours and 30 minutes. A daunting time at first glance, but don’t despair. With practice and patience you too could be a king of the ferret-legging world.
Okay, where did this come from?
Ferret-legging has a rich history. While primarily pets today, ferrets have been domesticated for at least 2,500 years and were once used as hunting animals. Hunters would send muzzled ferrets into the burrows of rabbits and moles to scare them out. During the Middle Ages, ferreting became illegal unless you were very wealthy, and that is how the sport was born.
Poor hunters and poachers were forced to smuggle their ferrets past game wardens. They did this by putting them down their pants. It’s unclear when shoving ferrets down your trousers became a sport instead of a necessity, and we don’t know the exact location it became a contest, either. Some claim Scotland, others England. We do know it began in the United Kingdom and became very popular among Yorkshire miners in the 1970s. It’s there that ferret-legging hall-of-famer Reg Mellor took up the sport. When Mellor began, the record for ferret legging was a measly 60 seconds. Mr. Mellor was able to reach 5 hours and 26 minutes. And while his record has since been broken, ferret-legging aficionados know the sport wouldn’t be the same without his contributions.
Sadly, since the 1970s ferret-legging has died off. But it is not dead yet. In Richmond, Virginia a national ferret-legging event was held from 2003-2009. Occasionally the sport can still be seen as a stunt at charity events to raise funds, and rarer still some Highland games hold competitions.
To help this sport reclaim its former prominence, you can contact your local Highland games society and request they include ferret-legging as part of their festivities.
Why should I ferret leg?
Ferret-legging has many benefits for the modern man. Competition between men raises testosterone, and we all know of the many benefits of this manliest hormone. Ferret-legging also helps a man develop his ability to thrive in high pressure situations and harness his willpower. Because when that ferret first gets its teeth into you, you’re going to want to quit. With every second you fight the pain, your willpower increases.
Ferret-legging is truly two manly hobbies in one. Because once you’re done ferret-legging, you can train your ferret to actually ferret and go hunt rabbits. While it may not be as prestigious to hunt rabbits with ferrets instead of falcons, the licensing for owning and keeping birds of prey in the United States can make this unpractical for the average man. Ferrets, on the other hand, are readily available in pet stores. Please remember purchasing a ferret is a big commitment and you should do your research. It’s never okay to purchase an animal without accepting complete responsibility for its well-being. This doesn’t just include ferret-proofing your home but making sure you have all the necessary supplies to keep your little weasel healthy.
Finally, ferret-legging is also a good conversation starter. When women hear you’re into ferret-legging, they’re naturally going to want to learn more about a man who would do such a thing. So the sport can help you stop hanging out with women and start dating them.
You may be asking, “What if I’ve spoken with my wife/girlfriend and she’s not keen on me taking up my new hobby?”
Gentlemen, we must remember that sometimes we cannot live for the approval of women. Sometimes we must step out on our own and lead our own fulfilling lives. Explain to her that “hobbies can bring you joy, increase your eye for detail, keep your mind sharp, expand your creativity, and help you meet friends and learn valuable skills. They add interest to your life and help you become a more well-rounded man.”
If you find your woman is still doubtful about your new hobby, consider inviting her along. While ferret-legging is traditionally a male-only sport, there is a female version. Ferret-busting — in which ladies drop ferrets into their blouses — is a perfect way to get your girl involved. A perfect date night for the both of you, and the ferrets.