IN the last chapter we have dwelt on several points of the laws of sport which affect poaching. In studying the various kinds of game which it is the object of the poacher to secure illegitimately, more will be said on this subject. The days are past when a halo of sentiment hung round this law-breaker. Seldom now does he inspire the song-writer or the writer of romance. " The Lincolnshire poacher" and his contemporaries were no doubt men with a glamour about them-instinctive hunters, impatient of the trammels of game legislation, and lineal descendants of a breed of sportsmenbeginning with Robin Hood-that knew not Acts of Parliament, and had no fear of the power of the constable and the police court. But the glamour has passed, like many other illusions of simpler and freer days. The twentieth-century poacher, taking him" by and large," is an ill-conditioned, lazy, drunken, and slinking scoundrel, an enemy to law and order, without a particle of true sportsmanlike feeling in his veins. As a class, poachers are a set of hardened criminals, careless of
everything but their own besotted lives. The occasional poacher is a much rarer bird, and is the uncurbed expression of the natural poaching tendency which exists in human nature. He may be a farm hand, a village loon, or even a medical student home for the vacation; but whatever he may be, he is, in the majority of cases, an amateur and not so dangerous as his professional brother, who is a cast-off from honest trades-a grain in the lower sediment of society. He is the friend of no man and an enemy to most, and, in the majority of cases, will be found an arrant coward. Remarkably ignorant on most questions, he is terribly acute on all matters affecting the poaching of game, and coward though he be, may be ready at a pinch to get rid of another life rather than risk his own.