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ing, there being abundance of both woodcocks and wildfowl; the covers along the coast being peculiarly adapted to the former, and the numerous bays and creeks exactly suitable to the latter.
These islands are to the west of Scotland, and within about two hours' sail of Ireland. Both islands are about the same length, Jura being twenty-six miles long, and Isla twenty-seven; the latter eighteen miles in breadth, the former only seven. The sound of Jura is about seven miles broad. Black-game frequently cross the sound to the opposite toast during the time of the corn being in stock (i. e. sheaves), there being little cultivated land on Jura.
Having witnessed their arrival from the sea, I can speak to the fact. The moors on Jura are in appearance as good as any in Scotland; but grouse are not abundant, the ground never having been properly preserved; and the island abounds in flying vermin of all sorts, it being a great breeding place for them, especially for the hoodies. There are some very good salmon rivers, which empty themselves into the sound.
THE ROE AND ROEBUCK.
These elegant little animals abound in many parts of Scotland, and are to be found in woods and plantations. As they are by no means wild, they can very easily be killed, either by having the woods and plantations driven, several guns having been previously placed in the passes (which are generally known to those who are acquainted with the covers); or they may be hunted by one or two couple of hounds, and waited for at their pass as they come round; but, in my humble opinion, it is most wretched sport. They lie so close at times, that you may come within a few yards of them before they will rise; so that you may shoot them easily with small shot.
When out woodcock shooting I have shot them with No. 6.; but this can only be done when you can get a near side-shot, and are able to hit them behind the shoulder. When they are going directly from you they are not easily killed, even with large shot; and ought not to be shot at, unless you have dogs to pursue them. The shot generally used by amateurs is BB, with which you may kill them at seventy or eighty yards, if you can get a side-shot. If the country were rideable, I should think, with a pack of harriers, they would show excellent sport.
In Dorsetshire, some thirty years ago, I recollect its having been tried, and I believe that it succeeded tolerably well. Some that had been turned out in a park having escaped and bred in the open country, this means of destroying them was resorted to. But I do not believe they do much damage to corn crops, as they live principally upon the young and tender branches of young trees, leaves, and clover.
They are tolerable eating, the flesh being sweet and tender; but they are never fat, and, in my opinion, very inferior to good mutton. The cotelettes are, however, very good, and the haunches, if larded, are eatable with a sauce piquante. The other parts are good for soup, which I rather fancy is the best purpose to which they can be applied, The roe is in rut from the end of October to the middle of November; and, as they go about five months and a half with young, they generally produce about the end of April or beginning of May. They sometimes have two young ones. The roebuck sheds and renews his horns every winter, and in March he may occasionally be seen rubbing them against trees, in order that he may get rid of the skin which covers them. In the second year he has two or three antlers, on the third four or five, and never more. There are a great many L
roe in France in the royal forests; but particularly in Brittany, where the woods are very extensive.
Good sport depends so much upon good dogs, that to secure them ought to be a primary consideration with every sportsman. Little trouble and exertion are required for this purpose; and as good dogs occasion no more expense than bad ones, it is a matter of surprise that the latter should be so frequently in use as they are. Bad dogs spoil sport and occasion disappointment; they both pass by and run up game, give you long shots, diminish your pleasure, cause irritation, sometimes loss of temper, and its very frequent sequel, bad shooting.
Good sportsmen, who have time and leisure to attend to their dogs, either personally, or through the instrumentality of competent keepers, almost invariably have good dogs; bad sportsmen, seldom or never; simply because, if they happen to buy good dogs, or have them given as presents, they generally contrive to spoil them, unless they be old dogs so obstinately tenacious of their former good habits that they cannot be either induced to move after a shot be fired, till the gun be reloaded, or to chase a wounded hare, if ever so much excited to do so.
Now to the point. In the first instance, every beginner must buy his dogs; and there will be no difficulty in his purchasing good and wellbred ones, provided he will give a fair price. After this, the best plan will be to breed and break them; and well-bred dogs are easily broken if the proper means be adopted. Never, upon any account, buy dogs without a trial, unless you receive the most unquestionable guarantee as to their excellence. A pointer or setter may be broken at eleven or twelve months old. In breeding, take care not to breed, as it is called, "in-and-in," that is, from dogs nearly related one to another, as the produce is generally feeble and deficient in courage; rather send to any distance to breed from a dog not related, selecting for your cross a veil-bred and well-made dog, and one possessing first-rate qualities. A good working dog, with good temper, first-rate nose and stanchness, good legs and feet, and breadth of chest, is one not likely to disappoint you. Work, in my opinion, is the first consideration, as all other good points, however excellent they may be, will be of little value without this quality; but there will be no difficulty in obtaining all you require if you will only give yourself the trouble to make the proper inquiries; and the