Open main menu

Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/820

This page has been validated.
730
HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT

for the real sportsman can only enjoy that chase when the deer is sought for and found like other game, which are pursued with hounds. In the case of finding an outlying fallow-deer, which is unharboured in this manner, great sport is frequently obtained, but this is now rarely to be met with in Britain. Hare-hunting is followed in many parts of this and the sister island. Although it is less dangerous and exciting than fox-hunting, it has great charms for those who do not care for the hard riding which the other requires.

The Art of taking or killing Birds is called "fowling," and is either practised as an amusement by persons of rank or property, or for a livelihood by persons who use nets and other apparatus. When practised as an amusement, it principally consists in killing them with a light firearm called a "fowling-piece," and the sport is secured to those who pursue it by the game laws. The other means by which birds are taken consists in imitating their voices, or leading them, by other artifices, into situations where they become entrapped by nets, bird-lime or other methods. For taking large numbers of birds, the pipe or call is the most common means employed; and this is done during the months of September and October. We will here give a brief description of the modus operandi pursued in this sport. A thin wood is usually the spot chosen, and a cabin is erected under a tree at a little distance from the others; only such branches are left on the tree as are necessary for the placing of the bird-lime, with which they are covered. Around the cabin are placed avenues with twisted perches, also covered with bird-lime. Having thus prepared all that is necessary, the bird-catcher places himself in the cabin and, sunrise and sunset, imitates the cry of a small bird calling the others to its assistance. Supposing that the cry of the owl is imitated, different kinds of birds will immediately flock together at the cry of their common enemy when, at every instant, they will be seen falling to the ground, their wings being of no use to them, from their having come in contact with the bird-lime. The cries of those which are thus situated now attract others, and large numbers are thus taken in a short space of time.

It is only during the night, and by counterfeiting the squeak of a mouse, that owls themselves can be taken. Larks and other birds and water-fowl are sometimes taken by nets; but to give a full description of the manner in which this is done would occupy too much space.

Feathered game have from time immemorial gratified the palate of man. With the exception of birds of prey and some other species, the Israelites by the Mosaic code were permitted to eat them; the Egyptians made offerings to their priests of their most delicate birds. The ancient Greeks commenced their repast with little roasted birds; and feathered game, amongst the Romans, was served as the second course. Indeed, several of the ancient gourmets of the "imperial