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SPORTS AND PASTIMES. --+- IRISH SEA FISHERIES.—The commissioners for administering the laws relating to the deap sea and coast fisheries in Ireland, report upon the whole in the year 1865 the continuance of a manifest and decided improvement in the condition and progress of these fisheries as compared with their state a few years back; an improvement, however, scarcely, if at all, apparent this year on the western and northern coasts, partly owing to the loss by emigration of the more able men, the poor condition and equipment of the boats, and the want of an immediate and remunerative market, but partly also, it seems, to real scarcity of fish. But the return of the herrings to the east coast and the success of mackerel fishing in the deep sea, have given confidence to the Irish fishermen; and the haddock and whiting, which for a very long time had scarcely been seen on the coast, reappeared last year. The oyster fishery is not in a prosperous condition- not owing to any decline consequent on natural causes, but to the increased demand and price stimulating dredging to an extent which the beds are unable to bear. The commissioners have extended the close season on the south-east coast, and encouraged the formation of private layings, with a view to create sources whence the public beds may be re-stocked. They feel obliged to dissent from the recommendation of the Royal Commission in reference to the abolition of a close season for the oyster fishery, and the re- moval of the restrictions on trawling on the banks along the coast, believing that the fish ought to be left undisturbed during the spawning season. CAN feathered game swim ? This question being asked by a correspondent of the Field, led to several answers, amongst which are the following:— I was witness to an incident similar to that men- tioned by Muzzle-loader.' I was shooting in the Isle of Skye a few years ago, and shot at a grouse, which fell near the margin of a hill loch slightly wounded. On the pointer going through the long heather to geek dead,' the grouse took to the water and swam out towards the other side. On its nearing the land again, after about a hundredyards' swim, I went round with the keeper to secure it, and was surprised to see it re- luctant to leave the water and making the best of its way out again. The pointer had watched the bird all this time, and on seeing it going out again plunged into the loch, and after a short swim retrieved it. The dog had never before taken to the water, and after showing such sagacity it was impossible to find fault with him." "Your correspondent 'Muzzle-loader' asks for an instance of a pheasant swimming. At the end of last season, while beating a small cover abut- ting on a large pond of perhaps 150 yards by 40, two cook pheasants were dropped into the water, and, although much wounded, continued to swim so strong and lustily across, that one of them reached the oppo- site bank, landed, and got some distance into a field before it was caught by the retriever sent in pursuit. The other was overtaken when just quitting the water; but both birds swam with great apparent ease to themselves. I admit that this is not a parallel case to that mentioned by Muzzle-loader,' inasmuch as the swimming was in his case voluntary,' and in mine enforced' by necessity; but they both prove equally the power of the pheasant to swim; therefore I send it to you in compliance with his request. I may add that I never before witnessed a similar instance." IN consequence of the unhealthy state and the scarcity of grouse this season, and the unfavourable prospects of sport on the Scotch moors, Lord Stam- ford has decided that his grouse shootings shall not be disturbed this year, and he has consigned his kennel of pointers and deer-stalking dogs to Messrs. Tattersall for sale under the hammer. HORSE-RACING in India is becoming a popular pas- time, and as an evidence of its success, there is about to be a horse-breeding establishment on a large scale formed in the Panjaub. AT the meeting of the Braemar Highland Society last week, the secretary laid on the table letters from his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and Colonel Farquharson of Inveroauld, suggesting that the annual competition and athletic games of the Braemar Highland Society be held this season on Thursday, the 6th of September. IT is expected that the total number of volunteers who will be present at the great review at York on the 11th of August will be 20,000. The Duke of Cam- bridge is to be the reviewing officer, and the Prince and Princess of Wales are to be present. His Royal Highness, on the Monday following, ia, it is reported, to proceed to the Yorkshire moors for grouse shoot- insr. ON Monday a number of the tenants and servants on the Balmoral estate assembled on the top of Craig Gowan, at the desire of the Queen, to erect a cairn in commemoration of the marriage of Princess Helena. A pleasant and merry day was spent, and the health of the lately married couple was drunk amid hearty highland cheering. Craig Cowan, beautifully fringed with birch almost to its summit, stands immediately to the south front of the castle. THE MOORS OF ABERDEENSHIRE^ AND BANFF- SHIRE.-Now that the shooting season is near at hand, the usual interest is excited as to the prospects of the sportsman. It was anticipated that the rather severe winter would prove unfavourable, by disease and other- wise, to the birds of last season, but in general this has not been the case; and now, from most of the moors in the two counties, we are assured the pros- pects of the 12th of August were never more cheering'. On the highest shooting ground in Aberdeenshire—the | Strathdon hills-we understand there is an exception to the otherwise favourable reports from tha lower-lying. moors. There, we are informed, grouse were numerous and healthy all last season, and continued so up to the spring of the present year. Disease, however, is now very prevalent, and it is always far more fatal on the higher hills than on the moors at lower elevations. It would appear that where the heath had been most severely damaged by the very severe frosts of the past winter the grouse on such places are most affected by disease. In consequence of this it is to be feared that the sport on this and neigh- bouring moors will this season be very much curtailed. It is, however, satisfactory to be able to state that roe and red deer are very plentiful and in excellent condition. On the Braemar and Deeside moors disease has not made its appearance, and the accounts given of the fine healthy appearance of the birds are very encouraging. The fine weather during the hatching season doubtless contributed not a little to the pleasing prospect of the moors in this district. From the Abergeldie, Crathie, a-ad Balmoral moors the reports are equally favourable. The young broods at this date were scarcely ever seen stronger or more numerous and healthy. Ptarmigan, blackcock, and other birds are also plentiful on the several moors before named, and no disease has as yet been observed. On the lower-lying moors in Aberdeenshire, particu- larly in the Strathbogie district, game birds are more than usually abundant, and no signs of disease. On the Huntley Lodge moors, tenanted by Major Boyd, includ- ing the Wishach, Melsach, and Corskie hills, the birds are already on the wing, and in coveys from 10 to 12 strong. The other game, including rabbits, on these moors, is very abundant, in consequence of no great number being killed last season. On the Clashnadar- roch grounds it is stated that disease has manifested itself partially, but to no great extent. If the weather continue favourable, the sport on these will not be in- ferior to that of former years. Of the Cabrach and higher-lying moors of Banffshire, a correspondent writes:—The prospeots of the sportsmen this year are very promising. Upon the moors of his Grace the Duke of Richmond, the Earl of Fife, Lesmurdie, and Beldorney, game of all kinds is very abundant indeed, the grouse are at this date strong and quite healthy. There is not the slightest symptoms of disease to be observed either among birds young or old. There are, however, to be seen on Cabrach and Glass moors small packs of small grouse flocking together, the cause of which may be owing to the ravages of foxes, which this year have been more than usually destructive. Despite this, however, we anticipate that the ooming season will be exceedingly good for the sportsman, and very largo bags may be looked for on the 12th of August.



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