Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News
December 5, 1874
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THE PLEASURES OF SHOOTING.
AFTER LUNCHEON THE "BEATING" IS A LITTLE WILD.
[Michael J. Morell, Michael V. Hayden, James Clapper, Hillary Clinton, John Brennan, Hunters; Donald Trump, Tiger]
In some forests it may be advisable to beat for large game, and I have often made large bags by taking my station at the head of a ravine, and making the line of beaters drive the animals towards me. Previous to beating, the ground should be reconnoitred, and a good deal of judgment is required in selecting a position that commands the different runs up which the animals may come, and it is absolutely necessary to maintain the strictest silence, and remain as much as possible concealed. It is very unadvisable on these occasions to fire random shots, at very long ranges, as the chances are that the report of your rifle may prevent other game from coming near you, and you lose a fair chance. Great care must be taken, also, not to fire in the direction of the beaters.
The most certain information as to the presence of tigers, or indeed any of the feline race, is given by monkeys, who directly be stirs given their well-known cry of alarm, as a warning to the unwary, and continue making a harsh shrieking noise as long as he remains in sight. The peculiarly discordant cry of the kola balloo, or solitary jackal, also frequently betrays his whereabouts, as this animal, who, from old age or infirmities, is incapacitated from hunting with his fellows, lives upon what the tiger leaves, and gives notice to his master of any stray cattle that might serve him as a meal.
In central India, where trained elephants are tolerably numerous, the dense covers are beaten with a line of elephants, and many tigers are thus brought to bag, the sportsman being either mounted in howdahs on elephants or posted on some elevated ground, towards which the game is driven. A good steady khakar elephant costs about 300 pounds to buy in the first instance and about 80 rupees a month to keep, so that very few military men possess them; consequently coolies hired by the day are generally employed as beaters, every other man in the line having a fire arm of some kind, or a tom-tom.
The line of beaters, keeping up a perpetual noise, rouse the tiger from his lair and drive him past the ambuscades, behind which the sportsman lay hidden. When it is possible, elevated grounds should be selected for these posts, which command an extensive view of the country roundabout, and watchers should be posted in trees round about the lair to signalize when the animal breaks, and which direction he is making for. These must keep a careful watch, for a tiger that has been hunted before grows very cunning, and when alarmed, instead of breaking boldly forth, skulks from bush to bush and creeps along very close to the ground, taking advantage of every patch of cover that lies in his way. Sometimes when the bush is very thick, and he lies close, it is advisable to use rockets to scare him, and make him break into the open.