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SHOOTING


the lynx, and most beautiful and rarest of all, the ounce or snow leopard only found above the snow line.

Of other Asiatic carnivore the bears are the most important from the sportsman's point of view. A great variety of them exists, ranging from the great Kamchatkan bear to the small blue bear of Thibet, but the methods of their pursuit call for no special mention.

The Indian elephant is rather smaller than the African variety, and has other well-marked differences, the chief as regards shooting being the fact that the cavity at the top of the trunk is not protected by the roots of the tusk as in the African elephant, thus enabling a frontal shot to reach the brain. This point, one at the side of the temple, and another at the back of the ear, are most usually selected for their aim by Indian sportsmen, who do not favour the shoulder shot so commonly employed in Africa. A charging elephant can often be turned by a well-planted, though not necessarily fatal, bullet, but a really determined animal, especially a female with a calf, will not cease its attack until either it or the hunter be killed. Though elephants will usually fly from the report of a rifle, the sound of a human voice will often make them charge.

Four varieties of rhinoceros, of which two are one-horned, and two double-horned, are found in Asia, ranging eastwards from Assam through Burma and Siam as far as Sumatra. The rhinoceros is almost invariably found in heavy grass swamps, and can consequently only be hunted by means of elephants, It is usually beaten out by means of a long line, but is occasionally tracked to its lair on a single elephant. In common with many animals of the deer and antelope tribes, the rhinoceros always deposits its droppings in the same place, a peculiarity which enables native shikaris to locate it with tolerable ease. Although a rhinoceros, even when wounded, will rarely charge home, it has a peculiarly terrifying effect on tame elephants, and specially trustworthy ones are necessary for this sport. The Indian rhinoceros differs in many important details from the African variety.

Of bovines, Asia produces the buffalo, three species of the gaur—miscalled the Indian bison—and the yak, the latter a rather uninteresting beast of the chase only found on the open ground of the Tibetan plateau. Very different is the pursuit of the gaur in the dense forests of India and Burma, where it is usually stalked on foot; and to track a wounded bull through thick jungle affords one of the most exciting experiences of big game shooting. Such an animal will almost invariably turn at right angles to its trail, and Watch for its pursuer, whom it will charge from a distance of perhaps a few yards, even feet. The wild buffalo, too, is an exceedingly plucky animal, and will on occasion even attack a European—whose smell appears distasteful to it—unmolested, a peculiarity it shares with the tame variety.

The numerous species of deer and antelope scattered over the continent of Asia are usually obtained by stalking, but the former being essentially forest-haunting animals, while the latter are usually found on open ground, the methods of approaching them naturally vary with local conditions. Of deer the best known are the sambar, the chital and the swamp deer, but the Hangul or Cashmere stag, the Altai wapiti and the Maral or Asiatic red-deer afford the finest trophies. Of Asiatic antelope the handsomest and commonest variety is probably the black buck, found practically all over India as far east as Assam.

To many sportsmen the most fascinating form of Asiatic big game shooting is the pursuit of the many varieties of wild goats and sheep, common to the various mountain ranges and high lying plateaus of the continent. While such sport lacks the risk of attack from the animal hunted, it exacts remarkable powers of endurance and perseverance on the part of the hunter, coupled in most cases with the dangers inseparable from Alpine climbing. There is scarcely a mountainous or elevated part of Asia which does not contain some variety of wild goat or sheep, of which the best known are the ibex and markhor of the Himalayas and Hindu Kush among the former, and the Ovis Poli and O. Ammon of Tibet among the latter. As a general rule all wild goats can only be obtained under conditions which exact the highest mountaineering qualities on the part of the stalker, but with regard to the sheep of the vast tablelands of High Asia-" the roof of the world ”-a good deal of work has to be done on pony back, as the rarefied atmosphere of these great altitudes precludes much physical exertion. Exception, however, in this respect must be made of the burhel—Otis Nohura—which haunts the same inaccessible crags as the ibex or markhor. The sportsman who essays to bag an Ovis Poli, or O. Ammon, will probably have had ample opportunity of testing his climbing powers on the march from India to his shooting-ground.

Ibex-shooting begins with the melting of the snows on the lower slopes, and ends in June, when the flies and the flocks of native herdsmen, driven to the Alpine pastures, force the wild animals to seek ground absolutely inaccessible to man. “ First come first served ” is a recognized rule in Himalayan shooting, and once a sportsman has claimed a nullah, or mountain valley, by priority of possession, it is his alone as long as he chooses to retain it; consequently the “ race for the nullahs ” in early spring is not the least exciting part of Himalayan big game shooting. In addition to ibex, markhor and such animals, the season's bag should also include two varieties of bear, and, with extreme good fortune, an ounce or snow leopard.

Like the fox in Great Britain, the wild boar is never shot in any part of British Asia where it can be hunted on horseback. Thanks to the improvements in modern firearms, and particularly to the adaptation of cordite ammunition to sporting rifles, the battery necessary for Asiatic big game shootingEquip-
ment.
has been considerably reduced, both in weight and number of weapons required. It is not long since or even 4-bore rifles, weighing respectively 18 and 24 lb, or at least a .577 Express, were considered indispensable for the pursuit of the pachyderms and larger bovines, yet nowadays a .450 ride of 11 lb weight, in conjunction with cordite powder, is held amply sufficient for the heaviest or most dangerous game, the penetration or expansion of the bullet being regulated by the extent of its covering of cupro-nickel or steel. For soft-skinned animals, deer and mountain game, a .256 or .303 magazine rifle is the most useful weapon, and it may be confidently said that the introduction of these and similar small-bore rifles has extended the killing zone in stalking by at least 100 yds. For forest or jungle shooting a 10- or 12-bore Paradox gun is an admirable weapon, capable of use as a rifle against large and dangerous animals, or as an ordinary shot gun for small game. A double barrelled rifle is essential for dangerous game, the saving of time, short as it is, in merely shifting the finger from one trigger to another, being an enormous advantage as compared with the action of ejecting and re-loading from a magazine. Finally it may be said that a sportsman would be completely equipped for big game shooting in Asia, or indeed any part of the world, with a battery consisting of a .450 cordite rifle, a 10- or 12-bore Paradox gun and a .256 or .303 magazine rifle.

As regards the rest of his outfit, if he propose to shoot in any part of British Asia, he can procure this on the spot, as well, and far cheaper, than in England.

Useful works dealing with big game shooting in Asia are: Baldwin, Large and Small Game of Bengal; Forsyth, Highlands of Central India; Sanderson, Thirteen Years among the Wild Beasts of India; Kinloch, Large Game Shooting in Thibet, &.; Maclntyre, Hindu Koh; Steindale, Natural History; Demidoff, Sport in Central Asia; Ronaldshay, Sport and Travel 'neath an Eastern Sky; A Shooting Trip to Kamchatka; and Fife-Cookson, Tiger-Shooting in the Doon and Ulwar.

The main feature of African big game is the antelopes, which exist in great variety; such widely different animals as the noble sable antelope and the tiny dik-dik being classed among          Africa. them. African gazelles and antelopes may be roughly divided into two classes, those found on plains or open ground, and those frequenting forest or bush, and the methods of hunting them naturally vary with the locality. Still, as a general rule, the antelopes of the plains are not only the finer animals, but afford more enjoyable sport in the stalk, combined with the advantage of a climate free from malaria. There is practically

no part of Africa where antelopes do not exist in one variety or,