Page:Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume 1 (2nd edition).djvu/49

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29
Description of the Natives of King George's Sound.

in great numbers, and those which have escaped in their holes are easily discovered.

In the chase the hunters are assisted by dogs, which they take when young and domesticate; but they take little pains to train them to any particular mode of hunting. These dogs appear to have a very fine scent, and draw upon their game like a pointer; after which they spring upon or chase it. They are particularly useful in catching bandicoots, the small brush kangaroo, and the opossum, but for the emu and large kangaroo they are not sufficiently fleet. The owner of a dog is said to be toōrt-a-din, and is entitled to an extra proportion of the game killed. They are also frequently lent out upon consideration of the owner receiving a share of the produce.

The food of the dogs consists of a considerable portion of vegetables, roots roasted and pounded, the entrails of animals, and such bones as are too hard for the teeth of the natives. At some periods it is so scanty as to compel the dog to leave his master and provide for himself; but after a few days he generally returns.

When the owner does not wish the dog to follow, he ties the foreleg to the neck with a band of rushes, and leaves him in a shady place. He frequently carries the dog upon his shoulders. When they are puppies, between six and twelve months old, they are called jimmung,—they are then used to hunt lizards and bandicoots; and previous to this they are consigned to the care of the women. They seldom bark, but bite very sharply, snapping like a fox. They are excellent watch dogs, and will attack strangers.

In the wild state they are sometimes killed by the natives, who eat their flesh, but of the skin no use is made[1]. Upon finding a litter of young, the natives generally carry away one or two to rear. In this case it often occurs that the mother will trace and attack them; and being of a large size, and very strong, they are rather formidable. But, in general, they will stand and look for a few moments, and leisurely retire.

The mode in which they hunt the kangaroo is in small parties, or singly. They select a time when the rain is pouring heavily, or the wind blowing hard, to prevent the noise of their approach from being heard, for the kangaroo is very quick of hearing, and always on the alert. The hunter creeps upon them with the greatest caution, and generally succeeds in approaching them unobserved. They always, if possible, keep the wind in their face, and when one is observed, they take off their cloak, and watching


  1. The tail is frequently used as an ornament for the arm or wrist, &.c.—See King's Australia, vol. ii. p. 143.