4o8 WILD SPORTS OF BURMA AND ASSAM
they invariably enter the jungle before the beaters have begun work and start a hunt after some animal on their own account, thereby alarming the whole jungle. When untrained dogs are used, the hunted animals invariably dash away at a tremendous pace in the opposite direction to that in which the sportsman has been posted, and very often the dogs are shot by some one in mistake for a barking deer. Dogs are only useful for bringing big game to bay, to enable the sportsman to walk up and fire at the animal with the best head, for running down a wounded animal, or for locating a tiger, leopard, or bear.
Should the sportsman be the only armed European present at a drive, he should see that he is posted in the best position, which is usually the centre. Two stops, some fifty or a hundred paces off, should also be placed in likely spots on his right and left. These two men should be instructed to turn inwards any animals which may appear in front of them, so as to afford the sportsman a shot.
To avoid any disappointment it is well to see, before a drive is begun, that each beater understands the point for which he has to make.
A wrong line is often taken, and the sportsman is left alone wandering why the noises made by the beaters are growing fainter and fainter, the beaters having moved off in an entirely opposite direction to that in which the sportsman has been posted. The men should also be instructed to stop beating only when they have come within a yard or two of the guns. They have a knack of scattering and stopping to talk to one another, taking it for granted that there are no animals left between them and the sportsman, but I have seen both barking deer and pig break away past the guns when the beaters have been only a few yards distant.
It is simply wonderful what can be turned out of a patch of jungle by beaters. The first animal to put in an appearance, as a rule, is either the sambur or barking deer. Should the former put in an appearance first he will be seen moving along slowly with a wonderfully noiseless tread. He will often appear quite suddenly in front of the sportsman without giving any warning, at other times, when startled suddenly,