Letter | Published:

Intelligence in Animals


I THINK it was about the year 1844 that the Duke of Argyll desired my late father, his factor, to preserve game in the district of Kintyre, Argyllshire. If any steps in this direction had been taken by other proprietors, they were very irregular. My memory goes back to about 1846 and 1848, and at that time the grouse of Kintyre “sat like stones”—they might be shot to dogs from the first to the last day of the season; in fact it was often difficult to get the birds up. With this preservation, grouse increased enormously—and therefore the food supply of the people—to such an extent that the late Sir John Cuningham and my father shot, on one 12th of August, seventy-two brace of grouse. Sir John was a very old man, and insisted on loading his own gun, an old muzzle-loader. My father never shot hard. Now I do not believe any two men with two guns and loaders could do this in the same district with all the improvements in arms and dogs; whilst I have heard my father say that seven brace was a good bag when he was young, before game-preserving.

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