The best time for partridge shooting is in the morning early, or late in the afternoon. Always endeavor to get cross shots, this may usually be effected by walking across or heading your dog when pointing. If you go straight from him to the birds, they will generally go straight away. Birds when flying across you, present a far easier shot, and expose a more vital part. During the entire season, the wheat-stubbles and turnips are the best spots for holding partridges. In storms and fogs partridges lie very close, and in fine days which follow storms. Heavy rains cause them to lie extremely close in turnings; and therefore, as well as for other reasons it is not favorable for sport.
The shooting of the woodcock requires more skill and experience than any other game. It is an uncertain bird, that requires careful treatment, but is worth all the trouble. A team of small spaniels is all that is needed in the way of dogs; nearly every thing depends on the trigger. When the cover is beaten, look out sharp for the cock, as your shot must depend very much on his humor, whether he is all alive or sluggish. Sometimes, for example, he won't stir till fairly beaten out of the cover, and then a shot will bring him down; sometimes he will be off and away almost before the cover has been touched. When in places likely to hold a cock, towards evening try the mosses, banks of rivulets, and boggy bottoms; at that time the birds are on the "road," or feed, and, consequently, are more easily met with than when laid up in the snug harbor of some old osier-bed, or beneath the root of some monarch of the wood, in the deepest recesses of some wide cover. When flushed, bear in mind that the woodcock seldom, if ever, pitches on feeding-ground.
Wild Fowl Hunting
Care must be taken not to fire too soon, distance is very deceptive on water, and many good aims are made worthless through miscalculating the distance. The scent of the water fowl is exceedingly keen, and to get within range it is better to keep to the leeward of them, than to bear direct down upon them. Ducks are hunted with decoys in the early spring and fall. Wild geese are shot from behind screens on the margins of lakes and rivers. The hunters decoy them by imitating their cries. Tame geese may also be used as decoys.
The best method for hunting deer is by the "Still Hunt." This is done by finding fresh track of the deer and then with care and quietness following the trail till the deer is found. If care is exercised in approaching, a good shot can generally be obtained. The following directions are given by a practical hunter: "For 'Still Hunting,' the hunter should provide himself with a good rifle and a pair of deer skin moccasins. When finding the trail he should walk carefully and keep a good lookout ahead as deer are always watching back on their trail. When routed, they almost always stop on hills. In order to get within gun shot, it is necessary to circle round and come up to ward in front or at the side - always circling to the leeward side, as their sense of smell is very acute. The deer, when the early snow comes usually get up and feed till about 10 o'clock, a.m., when they lie down till about 3 o'clock, p.m., when they start on a rambling excursion till near the next morning. In these excursions they almost always return to the place from whence they started, or near to it." In "Still Hunting," when the buck, doe and fawns are found together, shoot the doe first, the buck will not leave till you get another shot.
Buffalo hunting is not unaccompanied with danger. When the head is disturbed, they at once flock together, into a compact mass, and rush through all obstacles. They should only be approached on the outskirts. The usual way of hunting the buffalo is on horseback, as a person on foot cannot approach them without screening himself. An eight inch navy revolver is the best weapon, but a breech loading carbine or rifle is very good. Hunt up a drove feeding; approach them from the leeward side, or they will scent you and move off. The horse does not disturb them, therefore lie down on the horse and let him gradually work towards them; select a cow and approach heron the left side of you have a pistol, and right side if you have a rifle. Shoot for the heart. The ball should be aimed just back of the foreleg, a few inches above the brisket.
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