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KNOWLEDGE OF LAW NECESSARY,

It constantly happens that the keeper is obliged to consider whether he shall be within the law in any action which he is about to commit. Poachers are constantly trying new dodges, and to meet these, new plans of operation are neces-, sary,

which may or may not be legal; and either the keeper or his master, or his master's lawyer, must settle this knotty point. Generally speaking, there is little time for consultation, and the keeper must make up his mind on the spot. Hence it is a great point in his favour if he is able to understand an Act of Parliament, and unless he does, he will be constantly obliged to consult his superiors.

NUMBERS REQUIRED.

When an efficient head-keeper has been appointed, it is desirable to know how many men he will require to assist him. At certain seasons of the year a few extra watchers will always be required; but what I am now alluding to is the number of regular under-keepers required. Much will, of course, depend upon the nature of his duties, for it is well known that in some districts game requires far more careful supervision than in others, The neighbourhood of large towns, and especially if footpaths pass through the manor, is exceedingly prejudicial to secure and easy preserving; and if a keeper has one so situated to look after he will require double or treble the average staff. For these reasons it is impossible to define the number of assistants required, and every master must in some measure be in the hands of his servant.

TIIE KEEPER'S GUN. It is a much-disputed question whether the keeper should be allowed a gun at all, and there is also another, bearing upon the propriety of his being allowed to carry it at night. With regard to the diurnal use of a gun, I cannot but think that the keeper should never be without it. Those who have been much in the country must have observed that every now and then a chance of being near some coveted

object of natural history is obtained which rarely occurs a second time, and in the same way a keeper has the opportunity to shoot some kind of vermin when he has not got a gun, which all his trapping will fail to obtain for him in that way. He may, and often does, carry it for weeks without using it, but then comes the chance, and he will add to his list of vermin by its aid to a greater extent in one week than his traps have done in a month. Continual shooting will, no doubt, frighten game, and in that way do harm, but an occasional shot once a week or so has never produced that effect, and it is rarely the case that a keeper would be called upon to use his gun twice in the same locality within a week. We all know that vermin may be trapped; but when the gun comes in aid of that means it is so much gained. A bad trapper I would never employ, nor should I like a keeper who depended upon his gun rather than on his traps; but that some men have done this is no reason why others should not be allowed to use both. A stout useful keeper's gun may be bought new for from 101. to 15l. (See p. 253.)

SELECTION OF PRESERVE OR SHOOTING. If the keeper is appointed before the ground, which he is to look over, is chosen, it is always well, if possible, to consult him about it. There are many little things which are likely to strike the eye of the professional in any department, which by the amateur are passed over, and besides this it is well known that we all undertake a task more willingly about which our opinion has been asked and taken. So much depends upon a hearty co-operation in the master's views by the keeper, that a little concession of dignity may fairly be made by the former to him, and I have so often known the opposite plan lead to a bad result that I would strongly advise its being avoided.

In choosing a manor in the south for the purpose of preserving pheasants, partridges, hares, &c., the master is inexcusable if he is taken in with regard to the head of game remaining, because he can so readily ascertain what is left. The spring is the usual time for letting manors, and at that period of the year it is extremely easy to show what

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game there is by running a brace of good dogs over it. It will not do to depend upon accounts given in the previous season of the head of game killed, for it may have been killed down too closely; nor should there be an agreement to take it in the spring after the season has concluded, because here the incoming tenant is in the hands of the one outgoing. So also, whenever the agreement is made, it should be arranged that the ground should be at once given up, for I have known a wonderful difference between the head of game, on an extensive beat, in the first and that in the last week of September. Keepers, we all know, can poach if they like, and if they are not to be retained by their new masters it is to be expected that many of them will take advantage of the knowledge acquired during their previous term of office. Wherever, therefore, you have decided upon taking a manor, make up your mind either to retain the keeper, if you think him trustworthy, or to displace him at once, if otherwise; although you are likely even then to lose a considerable quantity of game. It is evident that a strange man cannot compete with one who knows all the haunts of the game, as well as of the vermin attacking it; the old hand has the opportunity of robbing you if he likes, or if he does not do so directly, he can indirectly, through some of those half-poachers, half-keepers, with whom so many are in league. The best time to make choice of a moor or partridge manor is in the month of February or March, when you may, by a little perseverance, have ocular demonstration of nearly every head of winged game on the beat.

By taking out a brace of strong and fast pointers or setters you may easily beat over a couple of thousand acres of arable land, or double that quantity of moor land, and you will thereby find at least three-fourths of the birds. In this proceeding you must take care not to let the keeper palm off the same birds upon you two or three times over, which he may easily do if you are not on your guard. To avoid this trick, observe the line which the birds that have been put up take, and instead of following that line, which the keeper will most probably try to induce you to do, just keep to the right or left of it. In beating, also, go straight a-head, if the manor is extensive, and do not follow the same plan as if you were shooting. Take one field after another in a straight line; and though you will not thereby see so much game as you otherwise would, you will, at all events, avoid the mistake of fancying that there are 150 brace instead of 50. With regard to pheasants, you may always be shown these birds at feeding-time, as the keepers know where to find them as well as barn-door fowl. If, therefore, they are not shown, depend upon it, if it is the interest of the keeper to show them, that they are not in existence. As to the number of hares and rabbits, you may generally make a pretty good guess at them by the state of the runs and meuses. If these are numerous and well used, there is sure to be plenty of fur; or at all events there has been till very recently. The spring months are also the only ones in which vermin can be successfully trapped, and therefore you have every reason for taking your moor or manor at that time of the year.

There are sundry points of importance by which likely ground may be known. In the south, where pheasants and partridges are to be preserved, there should be one or more large coverts in the centre, in which pheasants are secure at all seasons, and in addition a number of small ones, which are all the better if in the form of belts. A belt surrounding a property, as is too often the case, is by no means desirable, because the pheasants in it are sure to feed upon the adjacent lands, when they are liable to be shot or poached. If the corn is all bagged, or the stubbles are mown directly after harvest, or if the course of husbandry leads to their being broken up soon in the autumn, the partridge shooting will not be good, unless there are plenty of turnips, mangold wurtzel, seed-clover, or other green crops. A light sandy soil suited to turnips is also that which partridges thrive upon; but there must be water at all seasons, or in a dry one they will be liable to die away wholesale. So also with the pheasant-coverts; they ought all to have water in them, and this should be perpetual, and not merely a winter pond, liable to be dried up in the summer. In the choice of moors, as well as in that of manors, the management of the adjacent beats should be taken into consideration. Game being one man's property to day and his neighbour's to

morrow, it follows that there must be a "give and take” system continually going on, and if the adjacent lands take all they can and give none in return, the effect is felt in the course of the

year. But moors require special circumstances to be examined into. There is a necessity for a certain amount of old heather to protect the birds, not only at the breeding season but all through the year, and if this is not in existence the moor cannot be a good one for a number of years, as the heather takes seven years to attain its full growth. But, supposing that there is a good crop of old heather left, provision must be made that it shall not be burnt in too great a quantity annually. A certain extent of burning is desirable, but all that is destroyed beyond a seventh or eighth of the whole area tends to the reduction of the desirable extent. These points, therefore, must be carefully looked to, and the lease so arranged that an ex. cessive burning will vitiate it, or be met by the payment of a penalty on the part of the landlord.

CONTRACTS FOR TAKING MOORS OR MANORS.

In all contracts for taking manors or moors the agreement ought to be in writing, and properly executed on a stamped paper. The following form has been found to answer all the purposes required, and is more simple than most of those in general use:

MEMORANDUM of an agreement made this day between A. B. of and C. D. of -; the said A. B. agrees to let the said Ç. D. (without power of sub-letting or assigning) the whole of the game on the lands, farms, or moors in the parish of from this present date to the of

-; that is to say, that he, the said C. D., shall have full power by himself, or others having his authority, to kill game over the above-named lands, during all lawful times and seasons. And in consideration of the same permission of A. B., the said C. D. agrees to pay the sum of on the 25th day of January in each year; but the first payment to be made at the signing of these presents. And the said C. D. further agrees that he will preserve the game in a fair and proper manner, and that he will not destroy, in the last year of his

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