Archibald Hamilton.

The red deer of Exmoor, with notes on those who hunted them, from Robert D'Auberville, 1070, to Robert Arthur Sanders, 1906 online

. (page 5 of 22)
Online LibraryArchibald HamiltonThe red deer of Exmoor, with notes on those who hunted them, from Robert D'Auberville, 1070, to Robert Arthur Sanders, 1906 → online text (page 5 of 22)
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in a covert all July he may not be there in August.
A general shift of quarters invariably takes place
when the corn is cut. It frequently happened that
deer were reported as having done damage, a meet
was fixed, and all the village was on the tiptoe of
expectation ; but the keeper failed to harbour the
stag. He dared not report " no stag " and send the
hounds on somewhere else to try, so he reported that
he could not exactly "harbour" him that morning,
that he had been there two days " agone," and prob-
ably had not come out to feed, that he was sure he
was there, and so on, with the result that, the Master
yielding to local pressure, a day was practically
wasted. Had he done otherwise than he did, the
keeper's life would not have been worth living in the
parish for the next month. The professional har-
bourer is under no such pressure, he makes up his
mind at once and sticks to it, jumps on his pony and
gallops off to the next likely covert and has some-
thing harboured for the pack to hunt by the time
they reach the meet.



CHAPTER V.

OF TUFTING.

Next came the tufters

Tufting through the brake,

And opened on him staunch and sure,

And moved him where he couched secure,

And drove him forward o'er the moor.

His gallant point to make. вАФ Whyte Melville,

Tufting is more of a puzzle to the beginner than
any of the other pecuHarities of staghunting. " Why
should you not draw for a stag like you draw for a
fox ? You know he's there, and you have that
advantage over the foxhunter." True ; but you
draw for a fox and you draw for the stag. The
covert may, and probably does, hold other deer.
Supposing you had the best of luck, you might get
your stag away a few minutes quicker with, say, half
the pack after him ; the other half might be split into
three or four sections running other deer, who might
or might not break covert. The West-country coverts
are nearly all in deep, precipitous combes. Rides in
the ordinary acceptation of the word there are,
as a rule, none ; a few stony, scrambling paths
are all that is available. Amateur assistance may
stop hounds readily enough in the open, but in any



OF TUFTING. 63

hunt the amateurs who can be relied on to get to
hounds running hard in covert and effectively stop
them can be counted on the fingers of one hand.
More time would be wasted in getting hounds out of
a big covert than in the ordinary method of tufting,
and meantime your stag would have been conceded
an undue start. After all, an ounce of practice is
worth a ton of theory, and drawing with the pack
has been tried repeatedly in all sorts of circum-
stances. Experience has shown it to be a fatal
mistake unless


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Online LibraryArchibald HamiltonThe red deer of Exmoor, with notes on those who hunted them, from Robert D'Auberville, 1070, to Robert Arthur Sanders, 1906 → online text (page 5 of 22)