I managed to shoot some very rare birds on the coast, and among them I can mention the following : Little stint (rare so far north), red-breasted snipe (an American species, then having been shot only once or twice before in Britain), Ross's gull (very rare), shoveller duck (not often got in Forfarshire), etc.
Then I went to Ceylon, and soon after to India, where I spent some years tea-planting; but the jungles are too thick in Eastern India to expect much shooting unless one can command the use of elephants. I went to Central Africa in 1903 and have been there ever since; but I will go on to mention some of the most fascinating books on sport I have read.
A very fine book is Mr. J. G. Millais' " A Breath from the Veldt," and this accomplished author has the great gift of being able to illustrate his works with beautiful drawings.
I advise all sportsmen to read the " Life of William Cotton Oswell," written by his son. Oswell was the beau ideal of a fine hunter, and he was modest and reserved about his doings. He only wrote a few chapters to the Badminton Big Game series.
Gordon Cumming was a daredevil, and his book was considered by many people to be fictitious when it appeared; but the experiences of later sportsmen show-that he wrote the truth. About the middle of the nineteenth century many authors were inclined to exaggerate and embellish their writings, as there were then few people experienced enough to gainsay what they wrote, and the sportsmen of that time were more out for killing than nature study.
A very interesting writer was the late William Charles Baldwin, and most of his shooting was done in South-Eastern Africa, in the country now known as Portuguese East Africa, and Natal.
Perhaps one of the soundest writers we have had was the late Sir Samuel Baker, and his books are standard works. There is no doubt that he was not only a mighty hunter, but he was a good observer and field naturalist.
Everyone knows Mr. F. C. Selous' writings, and I think there is no author who can put his facts so clearly. I consider his books " A Hunter's Wandering in Africa " and " Travel and Adventure in South-Eastern Africa " two of the finest volumes on African sport and travel that have ever been written.
I have often wished I could write like Mr. Selous, or be able to draw like Mr. Millais; but we cannot all be gifted in this way so we have to do the best we can.
Some splendid works have been written on Indian sport, and I remember how interesting I found E. Baker's " Sport in Eastern Bengal." This is a little known work, but one much above the average.
A splendidly illustrated volume is Williamson's u Indian Field Sports," and Simson's book about pig-sticking and tiger shooting is also very interesting.
General A. A. Kinloch's book about sport in the Himalayas is well written and illustrated, and another volume on the same region I remember enjoying greatly is Major C. S. Cumberland's.
With regard to the shooting and habits of the Indian elephant, the best work in existence is the late Mr. J. G. Sanderson's 11 Thirteen Years Among the Wild Beasts of India," as he had great experience of elephants and other game during the time he was in charge of the Government Keddahs in Southern and Eastern India.
There are several other most interesting books about Indian shooting and natural history, such as the works of Forsyth, Markham, Rice, Macintyre, Sir Victor Brook (written by a friend), General Douglas Hamilton, Newall, Jordon, Inglis ("Tent Life in Tigerland"), Hornaday, Durand, Gerard, and many others.
Some other authors on African sport I have not mentioned are Drummond, Cotton, Kirby, Teleki, Wallace, Sykes, Stigand (a fine sportsman and an able field naturalist), Foa, Dugmore, Willougby, Bryden, Dickinson, Leatham, Drake-Brockman, Peel, Stevenson, Faulkner, Neumann (one of the finest hunters who ever shot in Africa), Patterson, Buxton (a most interesting writer), Sir Cornwallis Harris, Gibbons, Methuen, Alexander, Chapman, Andersson, and very many more I have forgotten.
A great number of books have been written on American shooting, and one of the very best is Van Dyke's " Still-Hunter," and i remember how i enjoyed reading Baillie-Grohman's book on British Columbia.
Mr. F. C. Selous' " Hunting Trips in British North America" is very interesting, and so is Mr. J. G. Millais' " Newfoundland and its Untrodden Ways." Mr. H. Hesketh Prichard's volume, " Hunting Camps in Wood and Wilderness," is also a work much above the average.
The literature about European sport (especially the northern parts of that continent) is a very varied collection, and there are few authors who can compare with Mr. Abel Chapman, whose books " Wild Norway" and " Wild Spain" are full of good matter. Then an old work is Lloyd's " Field Sports of the North of Europe." A more recent account of sport is Sir Henry Pottinger's " Flood, Fell, and Forest," in two volumes, and other authors whose writings are well worth reading are Sir Henry Seton Karr, who also wrote on American sport, Mr. E. B. Kennedy ("Thirty Seasons in Scandinavia"), and numerous others.
Since giving this list of writers on British sport, i remember other interesting authors, such as Sir R. Payne Gallwey, Speedy, Moray Brown, Scott, Shand, "Nimrod's" " Life of John Mytton," Jeffries, Jones, Hartley, Gathorne-Hardy, "The Badminton Small and Large Game Shooting," and the " Encyclopaedia of Sport."
Most of us have read the best known books on shooting and natural history in Britain, and they can be numbered by the dozen, but the best include the works of St. John ("Wild Sports in the Highlands," etc.), Sir John Colquhoun ("Moor and Loch," etc.), Lieut.-Col. Peter Hawker (on wildfowling), Mr. J. G. Millais (" The Natural History of British Game Birds," " British Deer and their Horns, etc.), Morris, Dixon, Corballis, Daniel (an old author 1801-13), Mr. Abel Chapman ("Bird Life of the Borders"), Scrope (on deerstalking), Grimble (on shooting and fishing), Lamond (on fishing), Calderwood (on salmon), Malloch, Hodson, Stewart, Tod, Leitch (these five write on wet-fly fishing). Then about dry-fly angling we have Halford's books, as well as some others I have forgotten.