TRAPPING GAME IN NETS
to follow. These were to form the outer barrier to intercept large animals, such as buffaloes, who would scatter the frailer nets, but could not break through those.
The nets are never made more than 8 feet high; when employed in hunting they are kept upright by bamboos, the lower portion being fastened down with forked bamboo pegs driven into the ground. When a rush takes place, the net falls forward on to the intruder. Men and boys, armed with spears and dahs, take up their position in rear of these obstructions, hiding behind bushes, long grass or anything, to administer the coup de grace to such animals as are snared. If the first line is broken, the watchers retreat to the second, and if that too be demolished, they take up their final position behind the impregnable nets. It is seldom that any one is ever hurt in these encounters, which look perilous to a degree. The nets enclose a large space, and when every one is in his place the army of beaters commence a tom-toming,a cholera-horn blowing, and yelling like demons. As the game advances, the nets in the rear are pushed on, curtailing the circle gradually. In half-an-hour the circle would be considerably diminished, many deer slain, and fallen nets re-adjusted. Some of the deer, scenting the people ahead and the blood of the slain, attempt to break back, but they find their retreat cut off more fully than even the front, so in despair a grand rush is again made, and more animals are killed. On the occasion I particularly allude to, I saw many of these beasts ; a tigress at one point, and a three-parts-grown cub at another, were in the meshes. The latter was easily killed by the men opposing it, but the former had only two boys to deal with ; they gave her many a stab, but were not strong enough to drive the weapon home. I hurried up, rifle in hand, but the boys said they could manage her; but as I saw she had got her head through the netting, I thought it quite time to blow out her brains. While this was going on at one place several buffaloes had broken down two sets of nets and had carried the third some way with them in their rush. I hurried there and found the natives stabbing the full-grown animals, but noosing the cow-calves. One bull tossed a man, and I had to shoot him. This is about the commonest mode of sport amongst