The Development of Pheasant Shooting - With Chapters on the Natural History of the Pheasant, Breeding, Rearing, Turning to Covert and Tactics for a Successful Shoot
68 pages
English

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68 pages
English

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Description

Comprised within this text is an account of the natural history and development of pheasant shooting in Great Britain, including detailed chapters on subjects such as rearing, turning, breeding, and hunting tactics. The perfect book for those with an interest in this most popular of wildfowl, this antique text is both interesting and informative, making it a great addition to collections literature pertaining to the hunting of wildfowl. The chapters contained within this book include: 'The Natural History of the Pheasant', 'Pheasant Breeding: Eggs and Incubation', 'Pheasant Breeding: on The Rearing Field', 'Pheasant Breeding: Turning Pheasants into Covert', 'Pheasant Shooting', and 'Pheasant Shooting Tactics'. This text has been elected for modern republication due to its educational value, and we are proud to republish it here complete with a new introduction on shooting wildfowl.

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Publié par
Date de parution 16 octobre 2020
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781528764469
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0500€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

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The Development of Pheasant Shooting
With Chapters on the Natural History of the Pheasant, Breeding, Rearing, Turning to Covert and Tactics for a Successful Shoot
Copyright 2011 Read Books Ltd.
This book is copyright and may not be reproduced or copied in any way without the express permission of the publisher in writing
British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
Shooting Wildfowl
Wildfowl hunting or shooting is the practice of hunting ducks, geese, quail or other wildfowl for food and sport. In many western countries, commercial wildfowl hunting is prohibited, and sub-genres such as duck hunting have become sporting activities. Many types of ducks and geese share the same habitat, have overlapping or identical hunting seasons, and are hunted using the same methods. Thus, it is possible to take different species of wildfowl in the same outing - waterfowl are by far the most commonly hunted birds though. Waterfowl can be hunted in crop fields where they feed, or, more frequently, on or near bodies of water such as rivers, lakes, ponds, swamps, sloughs, or oceanic coastlines.
Wild wildfowl have been hunted for food, down and feathers worldwide, since prehistoric times. Ducks, geese, and swans appear in European cave paintings from the last Ice Age, and a mural in the Ancient Egyptian tomb of Khum-Hotpe (c. 1900 BC) shows a man in a hunting blind (a covering device for trackers) capturing swimming ducks in a trap. Wildfowl hunting proper - with shotguns - only began in the seventeenth century with the invention of the matchlock shotgun. Later flintlock shotguns and percussion cap guns have also been used, but in general shotguns have been loaded with black powder and led shots, through the muzzle, right up until the late nineteenth century. The history of shooting wildfowl is very much tied up with the development of the shotgun. It was the semi-automatic 12 ga. gun, developed by John Browning in the very early twentieth century which allowed hunters to shoot on a large, commercial scale. Once wildfowlers (primarily in America and Europe) had access to such guns, they could become much more proficient market hunters. They used a four-shell magazine (five including the one in the chamber) to rake rafts of ducks on the water or to shoot them at night in order to kill larger numbers of birds. Even during the great depression years, a brace of Canvasbacks could easily be sold, but legislation was gradually brought in to prevent such practices.
Early European settlers in America hunted the native birds with great zeal, as the supply of wildfowl, especially waterfowl on the coastal Atlantic regions seemed endless. During the fall migrations, the skies were filled with birds. Locations such as Chesapeake Bay, Delaware Bay and Barnaget Bay were hunted extensively. As more immigrants came to America in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the need for more food became greater. Market hunting started to take form, to supply the local population living along the Atlantic coast with fresh ducks and geese. Men would go into wooden boats and go out into the bays hunting, sometimes with large shotguns - and they could bring back one or two barrels of ducks each day. Live ducks were used as decoys, as well as bait such as corn or grain to attract other wildfowl.
There are several items used by almost all wildfowl hunters: a shotgun, ammunition, a hunting blind, decoys, a boat (if needed), and various bird calls. The decoys are used to lure the birds within range, and the blind conceals the hunter. When a hunter or hunters sees the wildfowl, he or she begins calling with an appropriate bird-call. Once the birds are within range, the hunters rise from the blind and quickly shoot them before they are frightened off and out of shooting range. Duck or goose calls are often used to attract birds, but sometimes calls of other birds are simulated to convince the birds that there is no danger. Today, due to the ban on lead shots for hunting wildfowl over wetlands, many wildfowlers are switching to modern guns with stronger engineering to allow the use of non-toxic ammunition such as steel or tungsten based cartridges. The most popular bore is the 12-gauge. Only certain quarry species of wildfowl may legally be shot in the UK, and are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. These are Mallard, Wigeon, Teal, Pochard, Shoveler, Pintail, Gadwall, Goldeneye, Tufted Duck, Canada Goose, White-fronted Goose, Greylag Goose and Pink-footed Goose. Other common quarry targets for the wildfowler include the Common Snipe.
An intimate knowledge of the quarry and its habitat is required by the successful wildfowler. Shooting will normally occur during the early morning and late afternoon flights , when the birds move to and from feeding and roosting sites. A long way from the market hunters of the eighteenth century, current wildfowlers do not search for a large bag of quarry; their many hours efforts can be well-rewarded by even a single bird. Wildfowling has come under threat in recent years through legislation though. Destruction of habitat also has played a large part in the decline of shooting areas, and recently in the UK right to roam policies mean that wildfowlers conservation areas are at risk. However, in most regions, good relationships exist between wildfowlers, conservationists, ramblers and other coastal area users. In America, the situation is rather different, due to the concerted efforts of J.N. Darling in the 1930s. He urged the government to pass the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act better known as the Federal Duck Stamp Act , which required hunters to purchase a special stamp, in addition to a regular hunting license, to hunt migratory waterfowl. This scheme has funded the purchase of 4.5 million acres of National Wildlife Refuge land since its inception in 1934. The Duck Stamp act has been described as one of the most successful conservation programs ever devised. Thanks to such efforts, which maintain the natural habitats of wildfowl, and especially of waterfowl, the sport is still enjoyed by many, all over the world.
Contents
The Natural History of the Pheasant
Pheasant Breeding: Eggs and Incubation
Pheasant Breeding: On the Rearing Field
Pheasant Breeding: Turning Pheasants into Covert
Pheasant Shooting
Pheasant Shooting Tactics
NATURAL HISTORY
Order Galliformes: Family Phasianid : Subfamily Phasianin
The typical pheasant of to-day is of such mixed blood that a particular description of each of the plumages of Colchicus, Torquatus , Mongolicus , and Versicolor is useless to the shooting man. But as a rough guide it is interesting to realize that a pure cock Colchicus (English) would show a dark green neck with purple reflections without any white ring, the under parts (except abdomen) golden orange, and the rump a red maroon with purplish lake or green; cock Torquatus (Chinese) a white collar, narrow in front and back but wider at sides, and the rump a bluish slate colour shading into light green; cock Mongolicus (Mongolian) with a broad white ring round neck-but divided in front-white wing coverts, and rump a reddish bronze; cock Versicolor (Japanese) a dark blue neck without any white collar and the breast dark grass green.
There is no seasonal change of plumage.
The average weight of a wild cock pheasant is about 3 1/4 lb when fully developed, and the hen 2 1/2 lb. A cock of just under 6 lb has been reported.
The usual nesting-place is a shallow depression in the ground scraped out by the hen in a hedgerow, beneath a bush, or amongst thick vegetation-and she will sometimes deposit her eggs in the nests of other ground-nesting birds. Occasionally the pheasant may lay her eggs and incubate them in an old nest of a wood-pigeon or other tree-nesting bird, or perhaps in a hollow between the boughs of a tree.
The nest consists of a scanty lining of dead leaves, dry grass, etc. The average clutch of eggs numbers about ten to fourteen; and a collection of more than this number in one nest is usually due to co-operative production by two or more birds. The eggs are olive brown in colour, but they vary in depth of tone-occasionally pale blue eggs may be discovered.
The eggs are left uncovered during the laying period.
Incubation is done by the hen only-but rare instances of a cock incubating have been reported-and the period of incubation is twenty-three to twenty-four days. In the warmer parts of the British isles the earliest eggs are usually laid about the beginning of April-only a single brood is reared in the season.
A hen pheasant will sometimes assume male plumage; usually this metamorphosis is due to old age or damage to the ovary, but occasionally a vigorous and healthy hen may display such a change-and cases have been known where hens in male plumage have laid fertile eggs in an aviary.
Rare cases of cocks assuming female plumage have been known.
The pheasant is not, by nature, a strong flier-as is evidenced by the wing, which is rounded and short-and will usually prefer to run rather than to fly; but when actually on the wing this bird can attain a high speed (about 50 miles an hour, without assistance of a following wind) and the method of progress-by gliding, curling, and gradual planing descent-makes the pheasant, after it has attained full speed, a difficult bird to shoot.


A HANDFUL OF TROUBLE
The majority of the pheasants in the British isles roost in trees; but this may be a habit caused by necessity-the persecution by ground hunting enemies-rather than a natural trait. Young pheasants often continue to roost on the ground in rough grass fields, when their enemies are scarce, until absence of cover in the winter makes

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