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not perhaps be a bad plan to shoot during the morning and afternoon, and rest a little in the middle of the day, but, generally speaking, it will be found more agreeable, and more conducive to sport, not to commence too early. During a long experience, I have never found that much was to be done very early in the morning. If you take your breakfast before starting, and are on your ground by eight, or even nine o'clock, you will have quite sufficient time, between those hours and six or seven in the afternoon, to kill abundance of game, and you will have better sport and more enjoyment than if you had commenced as soon as it was light. There are two reasons which induce me to recommend eight or nine o'clock as the time for commencing operations, rather than at daybreak: in the first place, by allowing the grouse to remain undisturbed during their feeding-time in the morning, they will lie much better during the day; and, in the next place, you will escape that disagreeable sensation of languor, and subsequent fatigue, which invariably assails every man who rises many hours before his usual time.
When grouse are wildest in the more advanced part of the season, they will also lie better in the afternoon, immediately after feeding, than at any other time of the day, and frequently more shots may be had from about sunset, as long as you can see, than could have been obtained during the entire day; hence the policy of always leaving some good feeding-ground quiet till the afternoon; and some judgment must be exercised in determining the exact time of visiting the reserved ground, as half an hour too early might defeat your plans; and this is applicable in some degree to the morning,,in the early part of the season, as by disturbing birds too early, before they have finished feeding, you sometimes make them wild and unsettled during the day.
In making the above observations, I am, of course, assuming that, previous to your commencing operations on the 12th, the keepers are possessed of every information respecting the places where the broods of grouse have been hatched; and, if they have done their duty during the summer months, they ought not to be at fault in this respect, especially if they have acted judiciously by cultivating a friendly alliance with the shepherds, as without their aid, assistance, and good offices, all efforts at preservation would be abortive. The shepherds being on the ground at all seasons, and in all weathers, know not only all the places resorted to by the birds, the spots where the packs are bred, but also can give the earliest and best information as to the encroachment of poachers or appearance of vermin. The nests are also almost entirely in their power, and at their disposal, to be either protected or destroyed, as they may be conciliated or the reverse; it is therefore most important to make friends of those men, and this should be done immediately on a moor being taken, by promising each shepherd a reward at the commencement of the season, on the condition of his affording every protection to the game in his power. I would rather have the shepherds friendly, without one keeper, than half a dozen of the best keepers, with the shepherds adverse. In some districts it is customary to give the shepherds one shilling per pack, but I do not think this is so good a plan as giving to each shepherd a fixed sum, whereby you avoid exciting jealousy, which might arise from giving one more than another; but this is merely a matter of opinion, and on this point each person will judge best for himself. I have known both plans adopted with success. Some think so much per pack preferable, inasmuch as it operates as a stimulus to greater care and attention, and is likely to be a more just reward, being apparently proportioned to their trouble and vigilance, and that an inequality of rewards arising from this cause, produces rather a useful and advantageous stimulus than otherwise; but under any circumstances, it is both easy, just, and politic, to give an extra reward when extra zeal has heen evinced, and satisfactory results produced.
I must now return from this, I trust, not altogether unprofitable digression, to my relinquished ground in the pursuit of grouse, as this part of the subject merits a few observations.
In the early part of the season, grouse take short flights and may easily be marked down, and even if not marked down, may be found again by following the line of their flight, till you reach the first turn in the mountain, within a hundred yards of which they will probably have dropped, near the top; if not there, you must try every adjacent corner and bend in the ground. They rarely drop on a flat, except it be a very extensive one, or on the summit of the mountain, except it be after having turned some corner: it is always as well to be prepared when you come in sight, by making your appearance over a top or round a side of the hill, as there is no bird more quickly on wing and instantaneously off than a grouse. Sometimes they are very difficult to be found a second time, and baffle the utmost industry and perseverance. I have often been puzzled and unsuccessful, when I expected to have found them immediately, but the fact is they are very unequal in their flight, and sometimes go very great distances, and at others drop almost immediately on turning the first corner; in this respect much will depend upon the nature of the ground, independently of the weather. When the flats are extensive and the hills few, but large and lofty, I have generally found that grouse took very long flights, and became wild early in the season, especially if the flats be wet and spongy; but on the ground where the hills are small but numerous, and the flats restricted and dry, I have found grouse lie well constantly throughout the season, on fine and suitable days. •
In wet. weathergrouse are equally wild everywhere, and I have always considered it worse than useless to go out in wet, bad weather, as you not only disturb your ground without the chance of sport, but make your birds wild for a future day. In a very hilly country grouse take very small flights, but as there are so many corners round which they may have turned and dropped, the sportman's patience and perseverance are frequently put severely to the test, before he finds the objects of his search. On many moors where grouse are very abundant, following packs is not resorted to, you merely pursue the beat previously fixed by the keeper, and have abundant sport; but as the season advances I am persuaded the most successful mode of proceeding is to follow your game, especially when it is marked down, even though a single bird, and on no account to relinquish the pursuit of a wounded bird so long as there is a chance of finding him. For your trouble and perseverance in this respect you will generally