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its appearance have been those which have succeeded very long and protracted winters, when the snow has remained so long on the heather that it has never bloomed, consequently produced no young shoots, and the same severity of weather has exercised its influence over the incipient shoots of the former year, so that no green, moist, wholesome food was to be found, nothing but old, dry, hard heather, void of sap; and as hundreds of diseased birds after these winters have been picked up, either in a dying state, or dead with their crops full of undigested heather, and their livers perfectly black, it is not unreasonable to assume that bad food had something to do with the malady. Cause and effect seem here to be pretty closely connected. On the hills over which I shot on the west coast of Scotland, there is always an abundant supply of green heather, the weather during the winter months being seldom very severe, and, owing to the influence of the sea-air, the snow seldom lies long, never so late in the spring as to prevent the growth of the heather; consequently there is always a supply of wholesome food for grouse, and to this circumstance I attribute the absence of disease. Most of the proprietors of extensive moorland, who have given their attention to this subject, seem to have arrived at the conclusion that burning quantities of heather, regularly in slips every year, is necessary for the healthy preservation of grouse; and I am convinced they are right. Grouse cannot be healthy without a sufficient supply of their natural food— young green heather; in addition to this they eat berries of various kinds, and at a particular season of the year, sometimes descend to the corn-fields in large packs, where they are easily victimised in large numbers by poachers and by sportsmen, who are similarly unscrupulous.
The peculiar fine flavour characteristic of a grouse in first-rate condition is considerably impaired when he abandons his natural food, the green juicy heather, and eats the hard dry corn—in fact the change of food has even an effect on his external appearance, which is easily recognised by the poulterers of the north, who refuse to give the same price for those grouse which they designate as' corn birds,' as they give for the heather-fed birds —and this would not be the case if there were not a decided difference in the quality of the two birds, as well as in the external appearance of them; but the fact is they are not so saleable to the consumer, as the flesh is found to be whitish, hard, and dry, whereas the flesh of a healthy wellconditioned heather-fed bird is brown, tender, and juicy ; and for the guidance of those who are particular in these matters, I can safely assure them, that when the former appearances are manifest the bird in question is either corn-fed or partially diseased, and not good or wholesome food. The external appearances of a diseased grouse are dulness of plumage, absence of plumpness, and a sharp, partially projecting breast-bone.
NECESSARY TO BE MADE PRIOR TO THE 12lH OP AUGUST,
FOR THE SAFE AND INEXPENSIVE TRANSMISSION OF
GAME TO ENGLAND.
ON PACKING GAME, AND ON THE ATTF.NTION TO IT, WHICH
IS REQUIRED PREVIOUS TO PACKING, WITH OTHER,
During many years' residence in Scotland, having had a considerable amount of game at my disposition, the greater part of which I was in the habit of sending to England, I am induced, for the benefit of those who may be similarly circumstanced, to communicate the results of my experience as to the mode of transmission, as the great distance and consequent expense render the subject worthy of some attention.
The charge by rail for game-boxes is by weight; consequently one of the objects of the sportsman's anxiety is to secure boxes of as little weight as is consistent with safe transmission. This was my principal object, and I believe I attained it by resorting to the following means: the results of which were—boxes of an average cost to myself of 6d. each, and of 3s. 6d. and 4s. carriage to my friend, of those containing four and five brace of grouse. The planks were purchased from a saw mill in the vicinity of my residence early in the spring, and kept in a dry place under cover, where there was a free circulation of air, till they were perfectly dry and fit for use, when a carpenter's skill was brought into action for the purpose of converting the raw material into three, four, and five-brace boxes. The planks were of different dimensions. Some thirteen inches broad, and a quarter of an inch thick, for the tops of the boxes; of the same breadth for the bottom, but threeeighths of an inch in thickness; for the sides, the plank was half an inch thick, some four inches and some six inches in width.
The sides of the boxes must necessarily be thicker and stronger than the tops and bottoms, as they receive all the nails. For grouse, woodcocks, and partridges, boxes four inches deep will suffice; six inches in depth will be required for black game and pheasants. The friend who receives four brace of grouse at an expense of 3s. 6d. has no just right to complain; but when the carriage reaches double that amount, sometimes even more, which is frequently the case when no attention has been paid to the description of box used, it having been made of raw undried wood, of unsuitable demensions in every way, the recipient party is not so well pleased.
I have frequently seen boxes, the component parts of which were all of similar thickness, nearly an inch thick, if not quite as much ; the box consequently weighing twice as much as the boxes made according to the proportions which I recommend, and being charged double. Boxes fifteen inches in length and four in depth, will carry three brace of grouse, or four of partridge, and four of woodcock. In packing, the birds should be placed with the feet towards each other, each bird being wrapped up in dry paper, with some powdered charcoal under the wings and in the mouth, and some sprinkled all over the top of the birds, with some few bits of the same. During the summer months I was in the habit of purchasing a sack of charcoal, which sufficed for the use of the sporting season. I generally mixed a little pepper with the powdered charcoal. All birds intended to be sent away ought to be perfectly dry, clean, and cool, before they are packed, hence the necessity of directing some attention to game immediately after it is killed. Grouse ought either to be carried by the hand, or on a game stick, or hung up in a large basket for the purpose, carried by a pony, till perfectly dry and cool. When put into a game-bag, or thrown into a basket one upon