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no feeling for our amusement, and we could make nothing out of him. Reynard was gone ; where, nobody knew; and after fifty-five minutes of excellent hunting, and really first-rate pace without racing, we were obliged to give him up. Every man who was up agreed that few finer things could have been seen. It was seen only by a select few, though we mustered about thirty when we commenced beating the turnip field. I think Lord Alford, Mr. H. Farquhar, Mr. Villiers, and Lord Henley, had about the best of it: though, of course, the turning of hounds in a run of that kind gives an occasional pull to others. Mr. Payne persevered, as he always does, just as long as a sportsman ought; and stuck to the hounds, like the horseman he is, in a manner that deserved a luckier finish. Mobbing a fox, as the Warwickshire used to do last year, and killing him as he ought to be killed, are two monstrous different things. The following week, beyond another brush, furnished nothing worth mentioning, until Saturday. Harleston was rather a show day, but miserably wet. Harrington was the Friday's meet, and not a fast day : and the fog, on Saturday, at Cold Ashby, might have been comfortably cut with a knife. A fox was found at Coton Park, and after a ring, in which there was a good deal of riding, and an occasional tumble, the cunning rascal ran straight into the fog, and lost himself --so no wonder if we lost him too. Pluck is everything, however, and so they drew Buckley Folly for a second fox. By this time the fog was gone, and thirty-five minutes took the field up to Cottesbrook, Mr. Langham's seat. Here he was viewed dead beat ; but by some unaccountable mistake, Charles Payne got on to a fresh fox, and the misfortune was only discovered when Mr. Payne found it too late to get on his hunted fox again, and reynard escaped. As three gentlemen informed me each that they had the best of it-being all over post ard rails and brook, and up to the road first and that Mason was second, I made sure that Mason was first. He went uncommonly well, I believe, and pulled up, rather pumped, in the road before the park gates. However, Mr. Sturt had the best of it, according to all accounts; and if his horse could only carry him as he intended, I can easily conceive it.
I have just come in from rather a good thing with Mr. Payne this morning ; and I was going to give you some information about our nonresidents and their studs ; but I have trespassed so long on your time, that I must postpone my further communications to another opportunity. Did you ever see a man with a scarlet cap, of all things ; and where do you think he ought to ride if he ventures to wear such a thing—first or last ? Snob is very fresh, has washed himself during the summer, and means going—as does
Yours, most sincerely, Dec. 4, 1847.
SCRIBBLE-to bed. P.S. Mr. Rolt is arrived, and was out at Cold Ashby ; but lost himself in the fog, and went home before the run : there was a fall with the fog. The studs this season are even better than usual down here ; but I have no time to give any account of them till next month. s.
OBSERVATIONS ON THE HARE, AND “HARE-IIUNTING,"
| The hare is found throughout Europe, as, indeed, in most of the northern parts of the world ; and, being destitute of means of offence, is endowed by Providence with the passion of fear. Her timidity is well known to all sportsmen, as well as her extreme sensitiveness to all causes of alarm. Her long and tubular ears enable her to catch the most remote sounds, and thus become a source of continual protection.
We shall make but few remarks with reference to the breeding of the hare, inasmuch as we have already treated on this subject in a previous number of the magazine ; moreover, this is a question on which most sportsmen are well informed, particularly those who keep harriers, and have the good taste to acknowledge the delights and enjoy the pursuit of one of the most interesting animals in the game list-moreover, the courage to admit that there are few sports more enjoyable, and which require more skill and patience, though it be not quite so exciting as fox-hunting. The hare breeds or kindles during every month from February to November. Not that we intend to infer that the same hare will produce young each month ; yet we know a hare to have produced three times between February and November, and we believe such to have been the case even four times. Indeed, we have been informed, by authority which we have no reason to doubt, that three does and a buck being placed within a walled garden, produced in successive generations a no less astonishing amount than forty-seven leverets. Thus we may readily account for the abundance of hares that are generally to be found, notwithstanding their enormous destruction each season by every possible means, from the harrier to the wire of the poacher.
During the bucking season these timid animals show a spirit—when fighting with one another, evinced even to bloodshed-comparatively speaking, only equalled by the red-deer of the mountains of Scotland. This pugnacious spirit, however, is then only resorted to among their race ; in other respects no animal is more timid, none so fearful of the approach of man. The hare does not remain with her young, but, having sought her own food, returns from time to time to nourish them and keep them warm by covering them with moss, dried grass, fur, or any means of a similar nature at hand. Should her place of breeding be in an open country, down, or common land, with no covert at hand, she generally selects the protection of stones, an old wall, or any hollow she can find shelter in, during the months of February, March, April, and May ; but during other months meadows, high rank grass, fern, rushes, or hedge-bottoms are generally the chosen places for production.
Now, it is singular, but no uncommon fact, for hares that are hotly pressed by hounds to take earth ; and it is by no means unreasonable that such should be the case, when we consider that in such instances,
like foxes, they actually run home. And it is those hares which are produced during the first four months of the season, and which are bred and nurtured as we have above named, which resort to this their last hope of saving life. As a proof of this assertion, we may state that we well recollect having on one occasion seen a hare fairly run to earth in a rabbit-hole, from which, after some difficulty, she was at last removed. A short time afterwards another hare, chased by the same hounds, ran to the very same hole ; but on this occasion she went so far to earth, that a spade was the only course by which she could be ejected : at length, however, with much digging this was effected, and at the same time a nest or bed was discovered, where young ones had evidently been produced and nurtured. There could be no mistake as regards this fact, inasmuch as a quantity of fur, dried grass, and moss were formed into a bed.
About ten days subsequent to this event, another ran before the hounds in the very same direction, and to the identical hole, or, we should more properly say, to where the hole had been ; for, finding no place of rescue, she was run into and killed. All these hares, or leverets, appeared to be about the same age-probably six months ; and there can scarcely be a doubt but that they were of the same litter, born and bred in the same hole. Indeed, we have on several occasions seen hares run into holes and under roots, &c.; and this fact is sufficient to convince us that they are actually bred in such places, otherwise they would never approach them, their nature being to fly from danger, as long as the power of life remains.
No animal has a greater objection to wet than the hare, though in the heat of the chase they have been known, and not seldom, to swim a river ; she employs every possible means to keep her person dry, especially her sides, her belly, legs, and feet, and for this purpose she licks herself dry all over and clean previous to going to form. During wet weather she invariably selects the driest places, such as the sides of highways, or the barest pasture ground, or the fallow field. We look
this gentle animal to be the most innocent of any beast : and nature has most unquestionably taught her the most innocent ways of self-preservation, which are entirely defensive : in fact, the word offensive is not in the vocabulary of her nature or habits. Her means of preservation may be enumerated very briefly, for they consist entirely in her fleetness of foot, extraordinary rapidity in doubling, and lastly, in her squatting, all of which are perfectly natural to her. Though, in the language of many sportsmen, we constantly hear of the cunning tricks and other feats of the hare, as if the fear of man and terror of hounds had granted to this poor little beast a host of crafty means of preservation, one and all of which are granted to her by nature from the moment she sees the light of day. With regard to her fleetness, none will deny that it is the work of nature ; as to her doubling and squatting, though many may term these actions subtlety and foresight, experience convinces us that they are results derived simply from natural innocence. If such be not the case, why will a leveret of six months old double and squat, and cause as much trouble and hunting to a pack of hounds as an old hare? Have you ever observed a hare on her return from a night's absence to her feeding ground, unmolested by man or dog, going to her form? If so, you will see her make more doubles than she will even when closely pressed by a pack of fleet harriers, chasing to a burning scent. Observe also the trace of a hare in the snow, when going from her form at night, and you will find that she doubles and turns more than during a long run.
a man start a hare by accident, when at work with the plough or among cattle, and observe her well : if she run only half a mile she will make a dozen doubles before she squat. Indeed, we could name abundant instances to prove that a hare makes more doubles when she moves or runs unmolested, than she does when hunted, more especially when hard pressed by hounds; and, with the practical observations that we have been enabled to make, we are fully satisfied that nature, not cunning, has granted her this power of escape from man and dog. There can be no question but that a hare does not see well before her, but rather behind her, or on one side ; for when she is running straight, she frequently changes her mind, and turn. ing suddenly, makes almost an acute angle in another direction for a place of refuge. Like the owl, we really believe her to be an animal whose vision is more clear by night than day, and having no physical power of defence-in fact, no possible means of escape from danger save by flight-her sensation of fear is so great, that the very acuteness of that feeling causes her to double and return, in order, if possible, to sce and escape the danger which is hidden to her as she advances, and more with the hope that some friendly covert or gap may receive her in its sheltering thickness, or, as she in her fright believes, may permit her to escape from the enemies which she sees behind her; and it is that power of sight, inured by fear, we firmly believe, and the want of it as she advances, which cause this timid creature to return for a while on her own footsteps. If such were not the case, she would run forward as long as spoed and life remained. Accidental doubles may be caused by the meeting with an individual, or obstacle, or any other reason to affright which occasions her to turn from the danger. But the power which nature has afforded in the one instance of sight, and not in the other, assisted by fear, is, we are assured, the true and only cause for the numberless extraordinary doubles and turns of the hare, at periods so remarkable, when pursued by hounds; and these attempts to evade death are not cunning, but the means of saving life granted by the Power which ruleth over all things. The fox is cunning, the hare is not.
The one is gifted by nature with art to obtain subsistence, with cunning to evade his enemy; seeking to avoid his pursuers, he flies for life, rarely turning save to some well-known covert or earth, where he hopes, from a thorough knowledge of locality—to remain, in security consequently-he flies for life. Whereas the gentle puss gathers the subsistence which the fields alone supply to her, and endeavours, from absolute fear, to seek safety from her enemies by doubling only to those places which she best sees.
In reference to the squatting of a hare, there are two sorts of squats; the one is when the animal is so far before the hounds that their cry ceases to cause fear; and thus, feeling herself safe from her enemies, she squats or goes to form. Her form is generally made in such places as she may select to remain in till night ; it is generally in ploughed or rough and stony ground, in a covert, or by a hedge-row, or the side of a wall, or in any such place, even on the tops of banks, where she takes the benefit of the sun, for no animal loves so much to keep herself dry and warm ; here she remains till the light of day is faded, and then she quits her resting-place, and seeks the nourishment required to sustain life. The other squat. is at the period of the near approach of hounds, and then it is caused by weakness, or being almost run down; on such occasion she will lie flat on the earth in a furrow, in the bottom of a ditch, or in any hole at the side of the highway, or the bottom of a wall—in fact, in almost any place which comes in her way ; or, if a hare is doubling or creeping about immediately in front of the hounds, then close at her heels, she will lie down, without any respect to place, the moment she perceives either dog or man. The most frequent occasion, however, of a hare's squatting is when she is coming directly back towards the hounds ; then, in order to avoid them, she will creep on one side out of their line, and then squat till they have passed her ; and if she be not much pressed or well nigh run to the death, she will move again as soon as her enemies have passed. Should, on the other hand, her energies be well nigh spent, she will remain till the hounds have run her double, and once more forced her to fly. These squats are frequently resorted to on the highway, or any other sort of ground where the hare is making a long double when the hounds are close at hand, or that she is met by any person or with any obstacles which cause turns, and thus would turn her directly back towards her pursuers.
As for the running of a hare on highways and cross-roads, we firmly believe it to be as natural to her as existence : in order to keep herself as free from wet as possible, even from the dew of heaven, she resorts to such paths by night, particularly when the weather is wet, instead of entering corn fields, high grass, or rushes, and is consequently as well acquainted with them by day; therefore, she selects them when hunted as affording the easiest track for flight--for there can exist but one opinion as to the fact that a hare, when hunted, without she bo severely pressed or terrified beyond the power of recollection, will run over the ground best known to her, from her nightly rambles in search of subsistence.
We have now endeavoured to offer some slight comments as to the reason of a hare's doubling, squatting, and running on highways ; and we believe them one and all to be thoroughly imbibed by the instincts of nature, and consequently in no manner engendered by cunning or craft consequent on the pursuit, or the attempt to escape her enemy, man. Nevertheless, there are doubtless thousands of a totally different opinion, and such believe that the more a hare gains by the means before named, the more she will have the cunning to practise them ; but such is not the case.
In some instances a hare will also unquestionably perform feats which would lead us to believe that this gentle animal is gifted with much cunning ; but such events occur purely from accident ; indeed, we have heard it positively asserted that a hare will enter a gorse cover and leap from furze-bush to furze-bush, clearing immense distances at a jump to break the scent, and at other times face and climb a high stone wall. Such may have been the case, as we are well aware their powers of jumping are very great ; to us, nevertheless, such tales appear fabulous, . All we can say, therefore, on the subject of cunning is, that were a haro possessed of one-half the craft awarded her by many, and could combine it with the instincts solely developed by fear, no pack of hounds in England would ever kill her by fair hunting ; were she, we affirm, solely gifted with sufficient cunning to ascertain that scent will not hang on ploughed ground or the highway, she would rarely, when pursued by hounds, run on any other ground. However, while the feet of dogs,