Imagens das páginas

understand that he is always in aid of the gun, and that he must keep within shot. For this purpose spaniels must be taught not to press their game till the shooter is within range, which is one of the most difficult things to teach them. When they are to be kept exclusively for “ feather," they must be stopped and rated as soon as it is discovered that they are speaking to “fur.” This requires a long time, and therefore few spaniels are worth much till they have had one or two seasons' practice, from which circumstance it should not occasion surprise that a thoroughly broken Clumber spaniel fetches from 30 to 40 guineas. When they are too riotous and hunt too freely, these methods of sobering them are adopted :— 1st, to put on a collar, and slip one of the fore legs into it, which compels the dog to run on three only; 2ndly, to buckle a small strap, or tie a piece of tape, tightly round the hind leg above the hock, by which that limb is rendered useless, and the dog has to go upon three also ; and, 3rdly, to put on a collar loaded with shot. If either of the legs is fastened up, it must be occasionally changed, especially if the strap is adopted, as it cramps the muscles after a certain time, and, if persisted in too long, renders the dog lame for days afterwards. On the other hand, when the puppy is slack in hunting, put him on the scent of pheasants as they are going off their feed, when they generally run back into covert, and at that time the scent is very strong, especially in the evening. The birds soon rise into the trees, and after that are no longer disturbed by the dog. In hunting hedgerows, the young dog should at first be kept on the same side as the shooter, so that his movements may be watched; but, as soon as he can be trusted, he should be sent through to the other side, and made to drive his game towards the gun, always taking care that the dog does not get out of shot. In first introducing a young dog to a large covert, he must be put down with a couple of old ones which are very steady; and, at the same time, he should have a shot-collar on, or one of his legs up. Without this precaution he will be sure to range too wide, and, if he gets on the scent of a hare, he will probably follow her all over the covert, to the entire destruction of the day's sport; but, by the above precautions, he is prevented doing this, and by imitating his fellows, he soon learns to keep within the proper distance. Here, as in all dogs intended for the gun, the great principle is to make them understand that it is the instrument of destruction, not themselves, and that it is only by paying proper attention to the gun that they can be expected to succeed in obtaining game. In working spaniels in covert great quiet is desirable, as game will never come within distance of the shooter if they hear a noise proceeding from him, and hence the constant encouragement to the dogs, which some sportsmen indulge in, is by no means necessary. If the spaniel is properly broken, he can hear his master as he passes through the underwood, and he will take care to drive the game towards him, while, if he is slack and idle, the voice does him little good, and prevents the only chance of getting a shot which might otherwise occur. In battue shoqting, spaniels, if employed, are in aid of the beaters, not of the shooters, most

of whom do not even know the dogs' names, and the latter cannot, therefore, be expected to work to them ; but as they go forward with the beaters in line, they must be kept from getting on too far, or they will often drive game back. For this work, however, they do not require to be nearly so thoroughly broken as for hunting to the single shooter, for which purpose they must know him, and should in fact be broken by him.


Terriers are entered to vermin with great facility, and require very little breaking, unless they are intended to be used with ferrets, when they must be broken to let these animals alone, as they are apt to make their appearance occasionally in passing from one hole to another. It is only necessary to let the ferret and the terrier be together in a yard or stable, cautioning the latter not to touch the former, for a few times, and the young dog soon learns to distinguish his friends from his foes. Some terriers are not hardy enough to brave the bites which they are liable to in ratting, &c., and, indeed, the true terrier without any cross of the bull-dog is a great coward, so that he is quite useless for the purpose. In such a case he must be encouraged by letting him kill young rats first, and as he gains confidence he will perhaps also increase in courage. If, however, the terrier is well bred, he will seldom want anything but practice.





Coursing. – Deerstalking. - Hunting. — Partridge- and Grouse-Shooting:

Snipe-Shooting: -Covert Shooting.–Wildfowl-Shooting.–Ferreting.


BETWEEN private and public coursing there is a considerable difference, not only in the methods adopted, but also in the kind of greyhound most useful for each. In the first place, the private courser will not like the expense of rearing a fresh set of greyhounds each year, but will expect them to last several seasons; and hence speed and cleverness must to some extent be sacrificed to honesty, which is the sine quâ non of the private greyhound, excepting for those who course for currant jelly purposes only. It is true that a cunning old dog, if fast and clever, will kill more hares than any other, but he will do it in a way to disgust every sportsman, and such an animal is not to be recommended on any account. If, therefore, the private courser regards the sport independently of the obtaining hares, he will see that his greyhounds combine as many good qualities as possible, with an amount of honesty which will carry them through three or four seasons without lurching. These, however, are only now to be obtained from private sources, for every strain of public greyhounds with which I am acquainted will show a tendency to lurch after a couple of seasons, if used as much and as freely as the greyhounds of most private coursers are expected to be..

The feeding of these greyhounds should be on oatmeal porridge, with more or less wheat-flour or Indian meal, as described at page 215, and flavoured with greaves, or with broth made from flesh of some kind. If half a pound a day, or rather more, of flesh can be given in addition, they will be so much the better, but in that case they ought to have a couple of hours' exercise every day, without which they become fat and unwieldy. Vegetables should be carefully given, as in all cases with dogs, and due attention should be paid to cleanliness. In fact there is no reason why the system adopted in the feeding of the public greyhound should not be fully carried out. The sport of private coursing may be conducted exactly on the same principles as public coursing, excepting that stakes are not usually run for, but in almost all cases the dogs are matched together, without which the sport is tame and uninteresting. The essence of coursing is the competition between the two dogs engaged, that being the number which is considered fair to the hare, and coursing with more than two being by general consent stamped as poaching ever since the days of Arrian, A. D. 150. When, therefore, greyhounds are kept with this purpose, it promotes the object of sport if two or more gentlemen will meet together to run their dogs in competition with one another; and, when this is done,

« AnteriorContinuar »