8 SEPTEMBER 1939, Page 18

The Lure of the Game

It is an ill wind—how many thousands of young partridges and their parents will be longer on the wing for the end of the weapon-still-stand in another field than the stubble! Probably one species of four-footed animal also will have its life prolonged. The dog, especially the hound, is a problem in days when food is scarcer. Dr. Johnson's jibe that oats were a food for men in Scotland and for horses in England no longer applies since porridge increased its vogue; and the capacious vessels filled with porridge for hounds might whet a healthy human appetite. The total of such food consumed in the kennels must be large. Game, of course, contributes a considerable amount to the nation's food supply. As soon as the woods stand open and the bigger shoots begin the price of poultry falls at once on competition with the pheasant. I have seen an invitation to shoot that opened with the words "I am opening the larder door on" such and such a date, when the central covert for the hand-reared birds were to be shot. Perhaps half a ton of food would fall. Certainly pheasants must be shot on behalf of the food-supply whatever happens to partridges and foxes. Unlike the partridges, which arc scarcer in some districts (though plentiful enough in others), pheasants are immensely numerous.