88 WILD SPORTS OF BURMA AND ASSAM
THE GAUR (miscalled Bison)
This animal, one of the noblest game-beasts in the world, has probably a more extended range than any other beast which is an object of chase; yet until very lately very little was known about it, and the accounts hitherto published of it have referred to the animal found in Mysore, the hilly ranges of Southern and Western India. It is plentiful in Travancore; a few were to be found in the hills not far from Vellore; in Central India, near Warungul and the Nirmal jungles in the Nizama s country; very many exist in the hilly regions of the Northern Circars of the Madras Presidency, at the foot of the Bhootan Hills in Assam, in the hills along our North-Eastern Frontier, and downwards through Burma to Malaya. In this extended range there is but one species, but two well-marked varieties. Mr. Blyth, probably one of the best naturalists that ever lived, thought for a long time that the Gayal (Bos sondaicus) took the place of the gaur in Burma, but he quite altered his views. I sent him some heads, and when he visited the Province he procured others, and came to the conclusion that not only did the gaur exist, but that it was a far larger and finer beast than those in India.
I have shot a great many of them in various parts of Southern India, and in Lower Burma and Assam, but nowhere did I see such splendid specimens as in Burma. I have seen very fine heads brought down from the Mishmee Hills, and their owners must have been noble bulls indeed. I have no doubt that the abundance of food procurable in the vast forests and hilly ranges of Burma has contributed to increase their height and general bulk. Whereas in Southern India the largest bull is recorded as 19 hands and 2 inches, cows have been shot in Burma 19 hands. My colleague has shot them in Upper Burma up to 20 hands, and I shot one near Banlong only | inch short of 21 hands, or 7 feet. It is difficult, of course, to measure such a beast accurately, but I always took the greatest care to make the measurements as correct as possible. I used to stick a .straight bamboo in the ground at the top of the ridge over the shoulder, stretch the