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foot may be safely placed ; the practised foot starts back well nigh instinctively the instant its sense of touch tells that all is not right, and saves its owner before weight is thrown upon it. Yet even the most experienced of bog-trotters will make mistakes now and again, generally when his uttermost thought is upon the birds rising thick and fast before him. Nothing is more calculated to distract attention from matters personal than the proceedings of snipe when they engage in the very favourite pastime of springing up one after another a gunshot and a half or a couple of gunshots away. The less experienced bog-trotter has most unpleasant experiences at times; the novice not infrequently finds himself disastrously bogged. Indeed, I think if the sound waves of spoken words and the thought waves of thoughts unuttered were retained by the soil below, and might be extracted therefrom and registered in the form of gramophone records, many an Irish bog would yield quite as much unparliamentary language to the square yard as could be unearthed from any golf green in the United Kingdom. The spick and span sportsman who starts to traverse an Irish bog is often enough a fearful, wonderful, and unspeakable object by the time he has carried out his purpose. Only those as sound as a bell are fit for the work or should think of allowing
the fascinations of snipe shooting to tempt them to engage upon it. There are few if any more exacting forms of sport, nor is there any sport more attractive to the gunner when the birds are abundant and lying well,
Though the going one encounters when snipe shooting, otherwise than over the bogs, is comparatively good going, there is generally plenty of hard work attaching to it. In the first place, movement is continuous; not only has a great deal of close walking to be done in search of the birds, but there is the constant working back to pick up a bird which has risen wild, or been missed, and has pitched again within reasonable distance in some spot which makes it appear almost certain that a kill will result if we approach with caution. When shooting over ditchdrained country, it always pays well immediately to follow up every bird that has been marked down in a dyke within anything like fair distance, and up to any distance—the eye does not follow a snipe a great wayif one be quite sure of the dyke in which it went down. I have found small glasses of very great service while tramping over the marshes at times when the birds have been wild, and, by following up every bird which happened to pitch straight into a dyke, have made good days under the most unfavourable conditions.
One often feels surprised at the small acreage of land that has been covered when following up snipe in this manner, and at the same time one is always convinced that much better results have accrued than would have resulted if one had gone straight on and ignored birds which pitched to the rearward. The quantity of walking one does when snipe shooting on marsh or fen is very great; probably, considering the pace, the distance one covers is often three times as long as the distance one covers in a day when walking after partridges.
And then there is the crossing of the dykes and ditches, for wherever we shoot snipe, on the marsh or fen, or in the river valley, we find obstacles of the kind which have to be left behind us. Plank bridges are generally few and far between ; if one never crossed save by a plank, only a small quantity of ground would be covered comparatively, while generally speaking, following up a marked bird would be so lengthy a proceeding as to be scarcely worth the necessary expenditure of time. Hence a great deal of jumping has to be done-and continuous jumping is apt to tell heavily before the end of the day. Jumping the wide dykes of the fens needs not a little practice--as well as a fair quantity of nervebefore one gets well into the work : and even then a