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painful to go out with some men, who are everlastingly using the whip upon their unhappy slaves.
“If the snipe-shooter wishes to keep his dogs in health and condition, free from coughs and colds, and always fit for work, he must not be above looking after them himself when their day's work is done, instead of handing them over to ignorant or careless servants. Their legs and feet should be well washed in warm water before consigning them to the kennel, which ought to be comfortable and dry, and provided with a liberal allowance of straw.—Henry Clive.”
This kind of shooting is generally carried out by the aid of human beaters, who, either with or without dogs, enter the covert and drive the game to the shooter. Sometimes, however, the sportsman has a train of thoroughly broken spaniels, beagles, or terriers, and with these he goes quietly to work, either making them drive the game to him, or else keeping them at work so close to him, as he walks through the covert, that any game which is disturbed comes within shot. In either case the dogs should be thoroughly under command, as has been explained in the chapter treating of the breaking of them to the gun, and, beyond the remarks there introduced, there is little to be said. A practical acquaintance with each animal is more requisite here than in any other kind of shooting, because the sportsman always is being called upon to judge of the proximity of the dog to his game, and of the kind of game also by his note at the time. Hence practice is all important, and directions are of little avail. The shooter must, however, be quick in his movements in getting to his dogs when they give tongue in a way to lead him to expect that they are close upon their game, or he will get few shots ; and in this one of the chief arts of covert shooting consists. It is, however, useless to attempt any further explanation of its details.
Whether spaniels, beagles, or terriers make the best covert dogs is a point which is sometimes discussed ; but I think there is a general feeling in favour of the first, and at present the Clumber spaniel is certainly the fashion. He is more suited to battues, which are now the only kinds of covert shooting much in vogue, for the reason that pheasants will not bear disturbing many times in the season, and so the proprietor of a large preserve likes to give the greatest happiness to the greatest number of his friends on the small number of days which his gamekeeper advises him that he can afford. These spaniels, however, are too heavy for wild woodlands, or for cock-shooting, for which the light corky cocker must be employed. But between these two there is little room for the too noisy beagle, or the too silent terrier, and they are therefore seldom used, though the last is very useful to the single sportsman who goes quietly poking about in search of a shot.
As far as the dog is concerned, this kind of sport requires a steady water spaniel or retriever, with a good nose, and thoroughly accustomed to his work. In river and pond shooting, he will have to find as well as to retrieve the ducks or other kinds of water-fowl which are sought for; but in the marine variety his sole use is to retrieve the dead and crippled birds, which would otherwise be beyond the reach of the shooter. For each kind, however, the power of retrieving is most important, and no one would think of embarking in this sport without a dog thoroughly broken in this respect, or likely to become so. Those who wish to become expert in it, and have no friend or · servant able to teach them the various details necessary for its successful prosecution, will do well to consult the pages of Col. Hawker, who has written most minute instructions for the construction and management of punts, punt guns, &c., in his celebrated work on shooting.
THE USE OF TERRIERS IN FERKETING, RATTING, ETC.
Beyond the necessity for entering these dogs to their game, and breaking them from destroying the ferrets, little can be said on the mode of using them. Some practice is of course required to do these things well and successfully, but the oral instructions of a good keeper or ratcatcher are of far more value than all the written directions which can be given.