Page:Mongolia, the Tangut country, and the solitudes of northern Tibet vol 2 (1876).djvu/221

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

THE VULNERABLE SPOT.

199

seventh shot. I now had no difficulty in finishing the one with the broken leg, and thus secured three of these huge beasts in a few minutes without stirring from my place. On examining the slain animals more closely, I found that all seven bullets fired at the one which charged had lodged in his chest, and stuck there like a row of buttons. Knowing with what force a rifle will project a bullet at nearly point-blank range, I was amazed at the prodigious strength displayed by this animal in resisting seven such tremendous blows.

After great experience in yak-shooting I am convinced that one cannot do better than aim behind the shoulder of the left side if possible, for the bullet will go right through and lodge underneath the skin of the opposite side after touching some vital part. But a rifle bullet of small calibre, such as the Berdan, even if it touch the heart, does not of necessity instantaneously kill an old bull, who will often run for several minutes after receiving such a wound. If you aim at the head you are never certain of killing even at short ranges, and if your bullet strike obliquely, although of larger calibre,[1] it will not penetrate the skull. It was always my intention that, if I should ever be hard pressed by one of these animals, I would cripple him by firing at the legs.

Cows and young bulls are also exceedingly difficult to kill for another reason, viz. that they are always in troops, and you cannot single one out of

  1. I had a Lancaster rifle which carried a bullet of No. 16 calibre.