Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/270

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

simpler plan of circumventing the ostrich. Having found its nest, he removes the eggs to a place of safety, and, ensconcing himself in the empty cavity, awaits the return of the bird, which he generally manages to dispatch with a poisoned arrow.

At other times the natives lie in wait near pools frequented by ostriches, and shoot them when they come there to quench their thirst. If the gun be loaded with swan-shot instead of ball, and one aims at the necks, several may be killed at a single discharge; but this plan will, of course, never be adopted by the true sportsman.

Ostriches are also not unfrequently captured in snares (similar to those made use of for entangling smaller species of antelopes), but I have quite forgotten whether by the neck or the leg. A long cord, having at one end a noose, is tied to a sapling, which is bent down, and the noose pinned to the ground in such a manner that when a bird treads within it the sapling springs back by its own natural elasticity, suspending the bird or other animal in the air, and it is only released from its sufferings by death. Strabo and Oppian make mention of snares being employed by the ancients for the capture of ostriches, either alluring them by stratagem into the toils, or driving them en masse by a brisk pursuit with horses and dogs.

But the most ingenious plan of beguiling the ostrich to its destruction is that described by Mr. Moffat and others as practiced among the Bushmen. The reverend gentleman says:

"A kind of flat double cushion is stuffed with straw and formed something like a saddle. All except the under part of this is covered over with feathers attached to small pegs and made so as to resemble the bird. The head and neck of an ostrich are stuffed, and a small rod introduced. The Bushman intending to attack game whitens his legs with any substance he can procure. He places the feathered saddle on