Page:Mongolia, the Tangut country, and the solitudes of northern Tibet vol 2 (1876).djvu/222

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MONGOL HUNTERS.

the herd to fire at several times. They are also more wary and difficult to stalk than solitary bulls. Out of a total of thirty-two yaks, shot by my companion and myself during our expedition in Tibet, only three were cows. The Mongols are terribly afraid of the wild yak, and we were told that if a caravan chance to come upon one lying down narrow defile, they will halt and not venture to continue their journey till the animal has risen. The Mongols of Tsaidam, however, often hunt the wild yak, their chief inducement being the large quantity of meat which it yields; gluttony overcoming their fears. The hunters, in parties of ten, proceed to the haunts of this animal beyond the Shuga river; afraid to attack him in the open, they get behind some ambush and deliver a volley, concealing themselves till the result of their fire has been ascertained. The wounded beast, after looking in vain for the aggressor, makes off, followed by the hunters at a respectful distance, and if severely wounded the next day he will be found dead. Of course it rarely happens that a yak is killed on the spot by a bullet fired from one of their wretched matchlocks. It sometimes happens that after being wounded in the way we have described, the infuriated beast encounters the horses of his pursuers, and gores them terribly with his formidable horns. Besides eating the yak beef, Mongols use the heart and blood of this animal, taken internally, for medicinal purposes; the hides are sent to Tonkir, and ropes are spun from the long hair of the tail and flanks.