Of the Stalking-Horse an other Engine.
NOw for asmuch as these shelters or couerts are after a way then found, and that Fowle doe many times lye so farre remoued within •…he water, that vnlesse a man doe goe in∣•…o it where no shelter at all is, more then 〈◊〉 man bringeth with him, he cannot po∣•…iblely compasse a shoote; so that of ne∣•…ssity a man must haue some moouing •…addow or shelter to walke by him; In •…is case there is nothing better then the •…alking Horse, which is any old Iade •…yned vp for that vse, which being stript •…ked and hauing nothing but a string •…out the neather chappe, of two or •…ee yards longe, will gently and as you •…ue ocation to vrge him, walke vp and Page 48 downe in the water which way you will haue him; flodding and eating vpon the grasse or other stuffe that growes there∣in; and then being hardy & stoute with∣out taking any affright at the report of the Peice, you shall shelter your selfe and your Peice behind his fore shoulder, bending your body downe low by his side, and keeping his body still full be∣tweene you and the Fowle; Then haue∣ing (as was before shewed) chosen your marke, you shall take your leuell from before the fore part of the Horse, shoot∣ing as it were betweene the Horses ne•… and the water, which is more safe an•… fur•…r then taking the leuell vnder th•… Horses belly, and much lesser to be per∣ceaued; the shoulder of the Horse co•… ring the body of the man, and the Horse•… legges shaddowing the legges of the ma•… also: and as thus you stalke vpon th•… greate blanke waters, so you may stall•… also along the bankes of Brookes i•… great Riuers, by little and little winn•… the Fowle to as neare a station as can 〈◊〉 desired, and thus you may doe also vp•… the firme ground, whether it be on mo•… Heath, or other rotten earth, or else up Page 49 the tylthe where greene Corne groweth; or generally, in any other haunt where Fowle are accustomably vsde to feede or abide.
And as you make vse of this Stalking horse, so must you not in any wise want your Water-dogge, for he is as vsefull at this time as at any other, nor can you well doe any thing without him; especi∣ally if it be vpon Riuers or broad deepe waters, yet you should haue him at such obedience that whilest you are a stalking you may leaue him with your Bagges, sadle & bridle & other needments, wher he may lye close, & neuer stirre till you haue shot, and then vpon the least gybbet or call, to come running vnto you, and to fetch foorth what you shall kill, which with a small practise he will doe readily •…nd willingly after you haue made him •…nderstand your minde, for they are •…reatures of wonderfull great capacity, •…nd naturally inclyned to the sport, so •…hat being kept in true awe there is no∣•…ing which they will not with great rea∣•…nesse performe. *
Now forasmuch as these Stalking hor∣•…, or Horses to stalke withall, are not Page 50 euer in readinesse, and at the best aske a good expence of time to bee brought to their best perfection: as also, in that e∣uery poore man or other which taketh delight in this exercise, is either not ma∣ster of a Horse, or if hee had one yet wanteth fit meanes to keepe him: and yet neuerthelesse this practise of Fow∣ling must or should bee the greatest part of his mantenance.
In this case he may take any pieces of oulde Canuasse, and hauing made it in the shape or proportion of a Horse with the head bending downeward, as if hee grased, and stoping it with dry Strawe, Mosse, Flocks, or any other light mat∣ter, let it be painted as neere the colour of a Horse as you can deuise; of which the Browne is the best, and in the midst let it be fixt to a Staffe with a picke of Iron in it to sticke downe in the ground at your pleasure, and stand fast whilest you chuse your marke, as also to turne and winde any way you please, either for your aduantage of the winde, or for the better taking of your leuell, and 〈◊〉 must be made so portable that you may beare it easily with one hand, mooui•…Page 51 and wagging it in such wise that it may seeme to mooue and graze as it goeth; nether must this in any wise exceed the or dinary stature or proportion of a com∣mon Horse, for to bee too low or little will not couer the man, and to be two big and huge will be both monstrous & trou∣blesome, and giue affright to the Fowle, therefore the meane in this is the best measure, and only worth the obseruation.
Page 52 Now these Engines are euer better and more proper for the water then the Land, and though they will serue very fitly for both, yet are they more conue∣uient for the Water, by reason that the Water hideth all their imperfection, and maketh them appeare to the Fowle one and the same thing which at the first they did seeme.
Now there be some which doe not so * well approue of this Horse thus stopt and furnisht out; alleaging it to be too heany and troublesome, and though a man vse all the Art that may be in the lightnesse thereof, yet still they say it is to waighty; and therefore they will by all meanes haue them made of single Canuas vnstopt at all, but onely strecht out vpon splents made of wood, or vp∣on strong wyer proportiond like vnto a Ho•…se wherein they vary nothing from the Figure formerly described, but onely in the stoping; for this and the other must be painted also, and that very thick too, lest in the turning it against the Sun it prooue transparent, or so as a man may see through it, which will giue such an offence to the Fowle, that they will in no sort endure it.
Page 53 Also you must obserue in the Stalke to turne that side euer vpon the Fowle which is plaine without splents, or other markes more then the painting onely for feare of offence, and these are as good as any liue Horse for this vse being arte∣fully handled in the motion, and made to mooue by slow degrees at leisure, as a Horse doth, and not suddenly or rude∣ly, for that will discouer them and breed affight in the Fowle.
There be others which vse insteed of * this Stalking Horse of Canuas either stopt or vnstopt, to make the pro∣portion of a beast or hornd Neat, as Oxe, Cow, or Bull in Canuas, as afore is shewed, either stopt or vnstopt, ac∣cording to the fancy of the Fowler, and as he shall finde fittest for his strength to support and carry without any offence, and this figure he shall make in as true forme and proportion as he can deuice, for the eye of a Fowle is so cunning that they will easily perceiue any grosse ab∣surdity, or mishapen, or vnlike forme, and thereat quickly take offence, and a∣uoid the thing deceiuing; it shall also bee very well painted to the life, either Page 54 Blacke, Browne, or Pied, according to the vsuall colours of the cattell in those places; for though blacke and browne are generally the best, because of their shaddow, yet in such places where no such Blacke or Browne cattell are, or at least very gayson or nouell, there they are the worst colours, and ought least to be vsed; for your Engine must euer bee sutable to that wherewith the eye of the Fowle is most acquainted, nor must you alone stand precisly vpon the colour, but also vpon euery other face or maine car∣racter, by which the whole body is dis∣stinguyshed; as in fixing the Hornes, which must euer be sutable to the colour of the Beast and the breed of the Coun∣trey, for it is commonly seene heere with vs in England, that your entire blacke, your browne, and your brended Cattell haue euer the goodliest Heads and fay∣rest extended Hornes, the whitest & the largest, and your white pide, and blood∣red Cattell the least Heads, crumpled, short, and foule collored; Therefore to make your Engine blacke, browne, or brended with short crooked and ilfauord Hornes, or white or pyed, with great, Page 55 straight and large spred Hornes, were both an absurdity to be laught at, and a preuention of the sport you labor for, by affrighting the Fowle out of your com∣pany with that, by which you should in∣tice them only to stay and grow familliar with you; and therefore you must ac∣commodate euery thing in his true and propper nature, without strangnesse or offence. Nor may you in any sort stalke with these Engins in any place but where these Cattell are vsuall and in most abun∣dance, for to stalke with a Horse where no Horses liue or are bred, or with the Oxe, where no Oxen are know is ab∣surde and losse of labor, but this is no doubt in our Nation, therfore the best vse I can giue you of these Engines, is that when you haue so much beaten the Fowle with the Stalking-Horse, that they beginne to find your deceit, and will no more sit or indure you, (as generally it falls out,) then you may an other while stalke with the Oxe or Beast, till the Horse be forgotten, and thus by the chang and alteration of your Engins you may make your sport last & be continual∣ly, for the shape of your Oxe Engine, it followeth in the next Page
Now there bee others without a fur∣ther curiosity (and indeed it is nothing at all to bee discomended) which frame themselues Engines like Stagges, or redd Deere, and these also they frame of can∣u•…sse as the former, either stopt or vn∣stopt, with the naturall hornes of Stags fixed there on, and the colour painted so Page 57 liuey, that the Fowle may not discerne them from a Stagge or a thing that is liuing, and these Engines are right good and very vsefull in all such places or low fenney grounds where any such Stagges or Deere doe vsually feede; as about Hatfield Chase in the North parts, or Ramsey in Huntintonshire and such like where the Stagge is more familiar with Fowle, and feedeth neerer them then either the Horse or the Oxe, and there∣fore this Engine being artificially & wel made is of as good vse as any of the former Engines, and will indeede bring a man within a farre neerer distance; onely it is subiect to quicker discouery, and therefore it must be the oftner alte∣red and changed to preuent the subtil∣tie of the Fowle: as for the proportion or forme of this Engine it is placed in the next page.
Now there bee some that will onely but make the moulds or models of th•… heads of these beasts onely, and putti•… them vpon their owne heads so sta•… therewith, holding opinion that it is b•… onely the face of the Man which is drea•… full, and breedeth affright in the Fow•…Page 59 and that if it be hidde•… in any of the formes before shewed, a man may winne his sport at pleasure.
I doe confesse it is the face of a man which keepeth all liuing things in the greatest awe, and that the face being co∣uered or concealed a man may proceed better in these pastimes, but that it should worke this great effect and be as vsefull as the former models, I vtterly deny and differ from; for the very body of man is too well known vnto Fowle, that when soeuer it is mixt with any vnnaturall forme or monstrous shape, it presently causeth amazement, which amazement though it may a little hold the Fowle at gaze, whereby the man may come at a much neerer distance; yet before the marke can be chosen and the leuell taken commonly the astonishment wasteth a∣way, and feare entring the minde, the Fowle suddenly ariseth, before the Piece can be discharged: And therefore though 〈◊〉 well allowe that the face of the man •…hould be couered with some hood or o∣•…her garment, which may be rather sha∣•…ow-like then monstrous; yet I would •…ot haue him to Stalke with these mo∣dells Page 60 of heads only, without some thing else to ouershadowe ones body and goe by them.
Lastly the skilfull Fowler must vnder∣stand that these Engines of what kinde soeuer, are fitter for the early morning Stalke or the late euening Stalke, then at any other time of the day when the Sunne is aloft or in his high glory, for at such time the lest blinke or deformity is very soone perceiued, and the naturall feare of the Fowle is most prone and apt to raise vp by thoughts and feares, where by they are forced to rise vp and flye a∣way before that the skilfullest man ca•… f•…ish his purpose, or recouer his mark•… or l•…ll.
There are other dead Engines to Stalke withall; as an artificiall Tree Shrubbe, or Bush, which may bee mad•… of small Wandes, or thinne Splinter•… foulded together in the shape or bod•… of a Tree, and so couerd with Canua•… and painted like the barke of the Tr•… represents or figures; of which th•… Willow, Poplar, or such as growe b•… Waters and Riuers sides are the bes•… for the other which grow vpon the dr•…Page 61 grounds, as Oake, Elme, & the like, are not so familiar with foule, & therefore by the strangenesse may occasion affright, and for the leaues it is not much materi∣all, because this time and season of Stal∣king after Fowle is for the most part in the winter season when leaues are from the trees: But let it bee at any season that you please, either in Sommer or in Winter, hauing made the boale of the Tree, as afore is said, with Canuasse and Wands, you shall in certaine holes made •…n the toppe for that purpose, sticke in •…he boughes and true naturall brauches •…f the Tree which you would figure in •…ch sorte as they growe at that season, 〈◊〉 you shall giue no affright or terrour to the Fowle; and the Tree will ap∣peare after this forme or figure following.
As for the Shrubbe or Bushe, it shall not be so tall as the tree, but much thic∣ker which you may make either of on•…Page 63 entire Bushe, or of diuers Bushes wo∣uen and intangled one within another either with small Withy wandes, Coard, or Packthried, that may not bee discer∣ned and this shall not be aboue the ordi∣nary stature of a man, but thicker then foure or fiue men, and in the midst of the bottome shall bee a small stake driuen with an Iron picke in the ende, somewhat longer then the Bushe, which being dri∣uen into the ground may support & stay vp the Bushe whilest you take your mark and finde your leuell, according to this forme and figure following.
The last of these stalking Engines is the dead hedge of two or three yard•… long, and a yard and three quarters hye, made of small wands in the manner of a true hedge, and busht out with twigges, leaues and such like as hedges are, and with certaine supports or stayes, where Page 65 by not onely to beare it from the ground at your pleasure, but also to stay and hold it vp whilest you doe finde your marke and take your leuell, according to the forme and maner of these figures following.
Page 66 Now for these deade Engines which carry not the shape of any liuing crea∣ture, they are not altogether so necessary for the Stalke as the Stand, because the onely thing that can discouer them, or breed aff•…ight from them is their motion, for to haue a dead thing mooue to grose∣ly is much vnnaturall, and the Fowle will not onely apprehend it, but eschewe it: therefore by all meanes you must be carefull not to mooue them at all but to lye at the stand watching behinde them; or if you doe mooue them, to doe it like the hand of a Clocke, with such slowe and still motion that you may gaine your purpose vnperceiued, and then it is as safe a way as any of the other before pre∣scribed.