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Pheasants

from Fables For Children, Stories For Children, Natural Science Stori - STORIES FOR CHILDREN





Wild fowls are called pheasants in the Caucasus. There are so many of
them that they are cheaper there than tame chickens. Pheasants are
hunted with the "hobby," by scaring up, and from under dogs. This is the
way they are hunted with the "hobby." They take a piece of canvas and
stretch it over a frame, and in the middle of the frame they make a
cross piece. They cut a hole in the canvas. This frame with the canvas
is called a hobby. With this hobby and with the gun they start out at
dawn to the forest. The hobby is carried in front, and through the hole
they look out for the pheasants. The pheasants feed at daybreak in the
clearings. At times it is a whole brood,--a hen with all her chicks, and
at others a cock with his hen, or several cocks together.

The pheasants do not see the man, and they are not afraid of the canvas
and let the hunter come close to them. Then the hunter puts down the
hobby, sticks his gun through the rent, and shoots at whichever bird he
pleases.

This is the way they hunt by scaring up. They let a watch-dog into the
forest and follow him. When the dog finds a pheasant, he rushes for it.
The pheasant flies on a tree, and then the dog begins to bark at it. The
hunter follows up the barking and shoots the pheasant in the tree. This
chase would be easy, if the pheasant alighted on a tree in an open
place, or if it sat still, so that it might be seen. But they always
alight on dense trees, in the thicket, and when they see the hunter they
hide themselves in the branches. And it is hard to make one's way
through the thicket to the tree on which a pheasant is sitting, and hard
to see it. So long as the dog alone barks at it, it is not afraid: it
sits on a branch and preens and flaps its wings at the dog. But the
moment it sees a man, it immediately stretches itself out along a bough,
so that only an experienced hunter can tell it, while an inexperienced
one will stand near by and see nothing.

When the Cossacks steal up to the pheasants, they pull their caps over
their faces and do not look up, because a pheasant is afraid of a man
with his gun, but more still of his eyes.

This is the way they hunt from under dogs. They take a setter and follow
him to the forest. The dog scents the place where the pheasants have
been feeding at daybreak, and begins to make out their tracks. No matter
how the pheasants may have mixed them up, a good dog will always find
the last track, that takes them out from the spot where they have been
feeding. The farther the dog follows the track, the stronger will the
scent be, and thus he will reach the place where the pheasant sits or
walks about in the grass in the daytime. When he comes near to where the
bird is, he thinks that it is right before him, and starts walking more
cautiously so as not to frighten it, and will stop now and then, ready
to jump and catch it. When the dog comes up very near to the pheasant,
it flies up, and the hunter shoots it.





Next: Milton And Bulka

Previous: Bulka And The Wild Boar



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