22 AUGUST 1885, Page 16



Sra,—As a sportsman and deer-stalker of thirty years' standing, I have read your article of August 15th on " Deer-Forests " with interest, if not conviction. You advance the arguments of the other side with your usual fairness and moderation ; but in one respect you labour under a misapprehension, to which I venture to ask your attention. You put deer-stalking and deer-driving in the same category, and in so doing have done deer-stalkers grave injustice, which I am sure you will willingly repair.

Wby tar us all with the same brush as Mr. Wynans ? His example, I admit, if followed, would amply justify your remark that " we live in degenerate days ;" but this is not so, for the great majority of us still follow "the old method." Deer-driving, the "armchair sport" as you not inaptly call it (though often cold, wet, and miserable, trying to the patience and ending in disappointment), is not the sport we love or follow. The exigencies of the ground sometimes, however, bring it to the front ; but barring with Mr. Wynans, a drive is the exception and not the rule. If the stags have gathered in a large im- practicable corrie or in the woods (and there is but little wood in the forests of Scotland), they are driven out and dispersed over the hills for future stalking, and the occasion is utilised. The season lasts some seven weeks, from the end of August to the 10th or 12th of October, and in the greater number of forests there is no driving ; while in the remaining few, one, two, or at most three, drives occur each season, and all the rest of the time is devoted to stalking. Our weapon is doubtless superior to that of Mr. Scrope ; but except for this advantage—an advantage he gladly would have possessed—the " old method " is still followed ; and you, who have always shown yourself interested in the well- doing of all classes, be it in their work or their play, may yet regard it "as a trying mental discipline, no less than as a splendid physical exercise," still in vogue.

As to grouse-driving, I would add that this is only resorted to when birds are so wild that they can be got in no other way. And I undertake to say that at this moment (11 a.m., August 18th) many a pair of guns, far from despising, are anticipating with hope the pleasure of counting a bag of thirty brace for their day's work, and that on no second-rate moor.—I am, Sir, &c., ALFRED BONHAM-CARTER. Atheneum Club, August 18th.