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demonstration. Some gunmakers will tell you they can make their rifles to carry with strict accuracy to all distances; but this is impossible, being mathematically untrue: it is in defiance of the fact of the recoil taking place at the moment of combustion, and of its inevitable consequences before the bullet leaves the muzzle, when the rifle is discharged from the shoulder ; but if they make tbeir experiments from a vice in which the stock is so firmly fixed that the effect of the recoil on the direction of the muzzle is counteracted, they resort to a test which is fallacious, and are deceiving themselves, and must subsequently disappoint the sportsman, as a double rifle, which might carry with accuracy from an immovable and fixed position, would infallibly prove altogether faulty when fired from the shoulder, for the reason which I have already given. With regard to elevation, the degrees are ascertained by experiments, and the sights arranged with so much accuracy and precision, that there can be no mistake.
To Lang the sporting public are considerably indebted, as he was the first who improved the original Lafanchaux to such an extent as to bring it into notice, and render it worthy of general acceptance. In fact, till Lang produced his improved specimen of this principle a breech-loader was not only considered a very inferior but also a very unsafe weapon. Lang's snap gun is as good as any of the many which have recently been brought out of this description, and commends itself especially to the attention of all sportsmen who can afford to indulge in a variety of weapons, as the process of loading can be accomplished with much greater ease and dispatch than with the ordinary Lafanchaux, and in the field will be found to be equally effective. For the use of sportsmen who can afford to have only one gun, the improved Lafanchaux must be preferred, in consideration of its extreme simplicity, and of the superior strength of the lever. And of this class I have seen no gun which pleases me so much as one made by Martin of Glasgow, with disks to fit closely into the breech-end of the barrels, and with one of the simplest but most powerful levers now in use. This principle would, I should think, answer thoroughly for either the single or double rifle, as no movement of the barrels, independently of the stock, is possible, so great is the binding power of the lever combined with the closely fitting disk, and moreover little or no escape of gas is possible. Martin is himself practically a gunmaker, and thoroughly understands the principle on which a double gun or rifle ought to be constructed, and therefore the result with him is a matter of comparative certainty, and not one of chance, as is frequently the
case with some gunmakers in their construction of the double rifle. Martin's price is moderate; his materials and workmanship are first-rate.
EMASCULATION OF FAWNS.
In some of the large deer forests in Scotland the foresters castrate as many young male fawns or calves as they can discover. The places in which the hinds have and conceal their young are in deep heather, and as they quit these places at daybreak the forester must be on duty in concealment, with a good glass, long before sunrise. The hinds do not return till night, but remain in a recumbent position after they have fed within a short distance of their young: so that at early morn is the only chance for the forester. The operation must be performed with the greatest care, so that no particle of that which is withdrawn, or drop of blood, be on any account allowed to touch the heather. Even when every precaution is taken, the hind will not return immediately to the spot; her sense of smell being so acute that she is readily aware that some one has been there.
The operation of emasculation of fawns is similar to that performed on lambs. An emasculated fawn has no horns; and if the operation be performed after horns have made their appearance at any age, no alteration in them ever subsequently occurs: they neither grow, fall off, nor are removed, but remain precisely in the same condition. The venison of the emasculated deer is far superior to that of the ordinary stag; and if it had the fat of the fallow deer, would be far better than a large quantity of strong coarse stall-fed venison which is sold in London.
If the operation above mentioned were performed more frequently than it is on the young males of the fallow deer, a very great improvement in the quality of the venison which is produced in some parks would very possibly take place, as it is frequently of so strong a flavour as to be uneatable, and not to be mentioned or compared with the best quality of red deer, of which I have often partaken in Scotland. I do not contend that the best quality of fallow deer, in consideration of the excellence of its fat, is not generally superior to red deer; but, on the other hand, good red deer venison, when in first-rate condition, is incomparably superior to a large quantity of the coarse strong stall-fed fallow deer venison sold in London. Indeed, I have tasted red deer venison quite equal to any fallow deer venison, as far as the flesh is concerned, and fallow deer that was not eatable. For the guidance of the young stalker, I should mention that, to ensure the good quality of his venison, he must take care that any stag which has fallen to his rifle is bled as soon as possible, then opened and emptied, or, in sporting language, gralloched. It may then be covered over, and left till it be convenient to send for it. For the further information of the sportsman, it may perhaps be as well to mention the different terms which are applied to deer of different ages. The young ones under one year of age, both male and female, are termed calves. One year old male, a brocket; a three year old, a spire; a four year old, a staggart; five and six years old, stags. A young female after one year is called a hearst; at three years old, a young hind; castrated males are called steers or hevers.
The impression or tread of a deer's foot is called his slot; his haunt, his lair; where he lies down, his bed; taking water is called going to soil—and this he frequently does when wounded and pursued by a deerhound; and then, from the great length of his legs, he has a great advantage over the deerhound who is attacking him.
A stag older than six years is called a nart.
Deer shed their horns annually in the spring of the year, about April.
The shedding of them lasts three months; their renovation consumes about a similar amount of time.
The horns become gradually loose till they drop