Shooting in the Himalayas: A Journal of Sporting Adventures and Travel in Chinese Tartary, Ladac, Thibet, Cashmere, &c

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Richard Bentley, 1854 - Himalaya Mountains - 375 pages
 

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Page 93 - The Puharries believe that the males kill and eat snakes, and feed upon the leaves of the " kedar patta," a small and very fragrant smelling laurel, and that the musk is produced by this food. They may probably eat the leaf of this laurel, amongst other shrubs ; but from the few occasions upon which I have seen this laurel stripped of any portion of its leaves, it does not appear to afford a very favorite repast.
Page 84 - ... but for the celebrated perfume with which Nature has provided it. Its skin being worthless from its small size, the flesh alone would hold out no inducement for the villagers to hunt it while larger game was more easily procurable, and its comparative insignificance would also have protected it from the pursuit of the travelling sportsman.
Page 96 - The polecats often find out the snares, and, after once tasting the feast, if not destroyed, soon become a terrible annoyance, tracing the fence almost daily from end to end, and seizing on everything caught; they are often caught themselves, but immediately bite the snare in two and escape. Musk-deer are frequently lost to the snarers in this manner, for when one is eaten by the polecats, the pod is torn to pieces, and the contents scattered on the ground. No animal swallows the musk, and when a...
Page 87 - The pod, which is placed near the navel, and between the flesh and the skin, is composed of several layers of thin skin, in which the musk is confined, and has much the appearance of the craw or stomach of a partridge, or other small gallinaceous bird, when full of food. There is an orifice outwards through the skin, into which, by a slight pressure, the little finger will pass, but it has no connection whatever with the body. It is probable that musk is at times discharged through this orifice,...
Page 88 - When fresh it is of a dark reddish-brown color, but, when taken out of the pod and kept for any length of time, becomes nearly black. In autumn and winter the grains are firm, hard, and nearly dry, but in summer they become damp and soft, probably from the green food the animals then eat. It is formed with the animal, as the pod of a young...
Page 92 - They eat but little compared to other ruminating animals, at least one would imagine so from the small quantity found in their stomachs, the contents of which are always in such a pulpy state, that it is impossible to tell what food they prefer. I have often shot them whilst feeding, and found in the mouth or throat various kinds of shrubs and grasses, and often the long white moss that hangs so luxuriantly from the trees in the higher forests. Roots also seem to form a portion of their food, as...
Page 94 - July, and almost every female brings forth yearly, and often twins. These are always deposited in separate places some distance from each other, the dam herself keeping apart from both, and only visiting to give them suck. Should a young one be caught, its bleating will sometimes bring the old one to the spot, but I never knew an instance of one being seen abroad with its dam, or of two young ones being seen together. Their solitary habits are innate, for if a fawn is taken young and suckled by a...
Page 97 - ... the hair. The skin shrinks up from the heat into a small compass, and is then tied or stitched round the pod, and hung up in a dry place until quite hard. This is the general method of preparing them, but some put the pod into hot oil instead of laying it on a hot stone, but either method must deteriorate the quality of the musk, as it gets either completely baked or fried. It is best both in appearance and smell, if the pod is at once cut from the skin, and allowed to dry of itself. The musk...
Page 89 - Himalayas, the musk-deer may be found upon every hill of an elevation above 8,000 feet, which is clothed with forest. On the lower ranges it is comparatively a rare animal, being confined to near the summits of the highest hills, as we approach the colder forests near the snow ; but it is nowhere .particularly numerous ; and its retired and solitary habits make it appear still more rare than it really is.
Page 97 - I have often seen pods offered for sale, which were merely a piece of muskdeer skin filled with some substance, and tied up to resemble a musk-pod, with a little musk rubbed over to make it smell. These are easy to detect, from there being no navel on the skin, it being cut from any part of the body. But the musk is sometimes taken out of real pods, and its place supplied by some other substance, and these are difficult to detect even if cut open, as whatever is put in, is made to resemble musk in...

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