Manners and customs of ye Englyshe/Deere Stalkynge in ye Hyghlandes.

Illustrated by Richard Doyle

Manners and Customs of ye Englyshe in 1849. No. 28

Deere Stalkynge in ye Hyghlandes.


Deere Stalkynge in ye Hyghlandes.

[Monday, September 17, 1849.]

COMES Mr. Gollope, and Mr. Goblestone, and Jenkyns, to dine with me off a Haunch of Veniſon, and Mr. Mc. Nab calling, I did make him ſtay Dinner too, and the Veniſon very fat and good; and Mr. Gollope did commend my Carving, whereof I was proud. Between them a Debate over our Dinner, as to whether the Red Deer or the Fallow Deer were the better Veniſon, and both Mr. Gollope and Mr. Goblestone do ſay the Fallow, but Mr. Mc. Nab will have it that the Red is by far the better, and do tell them they know nothing about the Matter, and never tailed Red Deer but ſuch as had been mewed up in Richmond Park, which are mighty different from them that do browſe in the Highlands on the Heather. He do fay that Highland Deer-Stalking do excel every other Sport, from Tiger-Hunting to Fox-Hunting, which I mean to repeat to Mr. Corduroys to make him mad. Then he to deſcribe the Manner of Stalking the Deer, and his Account thereof mighty taking but, with his broad Scottiſh Accent and Phraſes, droll; and good Lack, to hear him talk of Braes, and Burns, and Cairns, and Corries, rattling the R in every Word! He ſays that the Deer are the cunningeſt and the watchfulleſt, and can ſee, and hear, and ſmell at the greateſt Diſtance of any Creature almoſt living, and do keep Spies to look out, and their Ears and Eyes always open and their Noſes to the Wind, and do think and reaſon in their Minds like human Beings; which, methinks, is peculiar to the Scotch Deer. He ſays that the Sport is to fetch a Compaſs on them by Stratagem, ſo as to approach or drive them nigh enough to moot them with a Rifle, and it do often take ſome Hours and ſeveral Miles, moſtly crawling on the Hands and Knees, to get one Shot. He ſays that the Stalker and Hill-Keepers that wait on him muſt, to gain their Chance, dodge, ſtooping behind Crags, wriggle and creep over Flats and up Brooks like Snakes or Eels, clamber up and run down Precipices, and ſtride over Bogs, wherein they do ſometimes ſink plump up to the Middle; which mould be rather Sport to the Stag than the Huntfman. But after all, the Deer ſhot dead, or wounded, and at Bay with the Hounds at his Throat, but deſpatched at laſt, and paunched, which he do call "gralloched," is ſuch a Triumph that it do repay the Sportſman for all his Pains. He do ſay that what with the Grandeur of the Mountains, and the Freſhneſs of the Air, the Spirits are raiſed beyond what we could imagine, and the Appetite alſo increaſed wonderfully; whereat Mr. Gollope did prick up his Ears. To conclude, he did declare that no one could know what Deer-Stalking was that had not tried it; but methinks I can, remembering how I uſed in my Youth to creep in Ditches and behind Hedges to ſhoot Larks.