Every member of a shooting-party should be provided with a camp bed, a canvas lounge chair and a camp stool. Mosquito curtains for the bed must not on any account be forgotten, nor a blanket, as it is sometimes very chilly in the night in the low-country, in the earlier part of the year. All bedding should be wrapped up most carefully in hold-alls or water-proofs secure from damp. The lounge chair will be found a great comfort in camp, and should invariably be taken. A hammock is an excellent thing to take. Even if not used as a substitute for a bed, it can be slung up anywhere for taking a siesta in, and will be most useful if any one of the party meets with an accident or is taken ill, and has to be carried to the nearest hospital. Waterproof bed sheets, about six feet by three feet, are useful things to have, to be laid on the damp ground when night-shooting, on tops of camp beds in leaky huts or tents, and used in other ways. One folding table about four feet square, for meals, should be taken. All clothes and store boxes should be raised off the ground on stones when in camp to save the contents from white ants and other insects.
A good supply of tinned food should be taken, not so much for daily use as to lie kept in reserve in case of ordinary supplies failing. Men who have gone on shooting-trips intending to "live on their guns," have generally repented it. A number of tins of prepared soup are most excellent things to have. They can be opened and warmed in a few minutes, and nothing is so comforting to a man, too hungry and tired to wait till his dinner is cooked, like a plate of hot soup. It is generally necessary to take a reserve stock of horse food, as grain is seldom procurable in the jungle, and paddy not always. In the event of the horse food giving out, and no paddy being obtainable, the horses might be fed with Indian corn grown in the chenas which is generally to be got.
As regards drinks every man will, of course, be guided by his own wants and tastes. All that need be said is that the heat usually promotes a far larger consumption of alcoholic beverages than is conducive to health.
Most men have an exaggerated idea of the deadly nature of low-country water, judging solely by its appearance, but, as a matter of fact, the turbid, odorous tank and river water is often perfectly innocuous, while clear, sparkling water running through tea estates in the hills might easily swarm with disease germs. Nevertheless, to avoid all risks, all water drunk on a shooting-trip should first be filtered and then boiled. Every man should take his own filter, and make as little use as possible of rest-house filters, as they are seldom cleaned and are generally worse than useiess. Some men think that when very hot and perspiring freely they can safely drink bad water, the idea being that it will run off through the pores and leave no ill-effects ; but whether the doctors will support this theory is doubtful.
If the expense need not be considered, it is as well to take an ample supply of soda water, but in such case a cart will have to be employed, as it will be far too heavy to be carried by coolies. It is, however, a delusion to suppose that saturating water with carbonic acid gas-that is, making soda water, will kill all deleterious germs that may be in it. Death has often resulted in the East from drinking soda water made in native bazaars from water obtained from contaminated wells. Aerated waters are made at most of the outstations, but they are nearly always inferior to what may be obtained in Colombo.
Rice, fowls, and eggs may usually be procured in the jungle villages at cheap rates. It is better, however, to bring such rice for one's servants and coolies, as they are accustomed to, and not to trust to procuring supplies locally. Natives are very fastidious about their rice, and upcountry coolies will grumble fiercely if forced to eat the dark-coloured, gritty stuff to be got in the low-country. The village fowls are small and tough-eating, and the eggs, at the time of purchase, have generally got the last of the three stages of freshness recognised by native cooks, "boiled-egg," "poached-egg" and "omlette-egg." Pumpkins, cucumbers, brinjalls and sweet potatoes, grown in the chenas, may often be got, and sometimes plantains. Manioc does not make a bad substitute for potatoes at a pinch. In jungle villages off the cart road straw for horses and thatching huts may generally be had for nothing.
Meat, provided by the guns of the party, is usually plentiful in a shooting camp, but is generally dry tasteless stuff. Venison, in the opinion of most men, is not to be compared with good beef and mutton, unless it happens to be the meat of a stag with its antlers " in velvet," when it is generally fat and juicy. A young wild pig is fairly good eating, but the flesh of an old boar or sow is rather rank. Sportsmen sometimes amuse themselves by trying fancy dishes while in camp, such as roast monkey, salted elephant tongue, bear-ham, stewed iguana and curried flying-fox, but do not repeat such experiments often. Many men will not touch hares or jungle-fowl which have been shot near villages, because they feed on the offal and filth lying round the huts, but this fastidiousness seems unreasonable when it is considered what foul feeders the ordinary village fowls are, which are eaten by every body without hesitation.
The success of a shooting-trip depends so much on the servants and coolies taken, that no trouble should be spared to make them comfortable and contented. There should be no divided responsibility among the servants, or each of them will look solely after his own master, to the general discomfort. The catering should be entrusted to one man, the cooking to another, and each member of the party should have his own boy to look after his personal belongings. Servants, who have had some experience of jungle travelling, should be taken, if possible. Men with quarrelsome dispositions should be left at home, however excellent they may be in other respects. Nothing is more annoying than to have servants and coolies quarrelling in camp. It is politic to allow smoking, chattering, and even "singing" in camp to a reasonable limit, as it keeps the men in good temper. Their food-snpply should never be allowed to run short and "treats" every now and then should be served out to them. Every man should be provided with a sleeping-mat and a blanket, which will probably save his services, by warding off fever, the result of chill. Batta should be given to every man brought from home ; and whenever any one does anything in any way worthy of praise he should be given a small present at once. When servants and coolies realize that a shooting trip means extra pay, plenty of food, and presents if they do well, they will be eager to accompany their masters on future trips.
Care should be taken to prevent one's followers from bullying and cheating the villagers, which they are very prone to do.