158 SHOOTING GIRAFFES IN THE DUSK. [ru,r. ix.
It was a great drawback to us that elands were hardly ever seen in this country ; they are the staple food of sportsmen in Bechuanaland, and are very fat.
We discovered how to shoot giraffes on foot from Andersson having gone successfully after a herd in the dusk of the evening, when we found that they allowed him to stalk close up to them. They see very indistinctly in the dark. He shot at two, who did not run far when wounded, but seemed bewildered. He fired all his bullets away at them, and brought one to a standstill, and the other to a slow walk ; but they would not fall. He could only find one pebble in the sandy soil to fire out of the gun, instead of a bullet, and that seemed to have no effect upon the animal : he then thought of hamstringing them ; but though he nicked the skin of one deeply, yet as he struck out both with his horns and heels when he did so, it was too dangerous to continue the attempt. In despair, he took his rifle-barrel (which was a common thick thing) from the stock, and kept flinging it at the giraffe's head like a knob-kerrie, and at length the beast dropped. In the morning the other one had walked away, and though he was tracked a couple of miles, yet he could not be found. We jerked the giraffe, that is, cut the flesh that we did not eat into strips, and dried them in the sun. The skin was of great service to us, as our shoes were worn out, and wanted new soles. It is strange to see in how small a compass the meat of the whole animal packs up when it is dried.
Something was shot every day till we came to Kurrikoop, and there we slept out by the water. A buffalo, a gnu, five zebras, two hartebeests, and three roebucks were " bagged " in two nights. The natives of the place had a grand feast: and so had we.
At Elephant Fountain we found Amiral, and about forty men, who had just arrived there en route for a shooting excursion to the east. They take their waggons with them for some days, and then make an encampment, whence they journey short distances on ride-oxen, and shoot what they can, bringing the meat back jerked to the waggon. It was delightful to hear people talk familiarly of the rhinoceros as an everyday kind of game, and we longed for a raid upon them. I had not yet seen a single rhinoceros. One was shot by Andersson and Hans when they went down to the bay, but I was not then present. On the last shooting excursion Amiral's men had"bagged " forty of them.