The nets are so set up on the stakes, that when an animal bounds along and touches the net, it falls over him, and ere he can extricate himself from its meshes, the vigilant Banturs rush out and despatch him with spears and clubs. We waited a long time hearing nothing of the beaters, and watching the red and black ants hurrying to and fro.
On the way we met a crowd of Banturs with bundles of stakes and great coils of strong heavy netting. Sending the coolies on ahead under charge of several headmen and peons, we plunged into the gloom of the forest, leaving our ponies and grooms outside.
It seems to have some narcotic or poisonous principle, easily soluble in water, for when put in any quantity in a stream or piece of water, it causes all the fish to become apparently paralyzed and rise to the surface, where they float about quite stupified and helpless, and become an easy prey to the poaching 'Banturs' and 'Moosahurs' who adopt this wretched mode of fishing.
When we came to a likely-looking spot, the Banturs began operations by fixing up the nets on the stakes and between trees, till a line of strong net extended across the forest for several hundred yards. We then went ahead, leaving the nets behind us, and each took up his station about 200 yards in front. The men with the nets then hid themselves behind trees, and crouched in the underwood.
When the gun goes off there is a mighty splutter, a roar like that of a small cannon, and the slugs go hurtling through the bushes, carrying away twigs and leaves, and not unfrequently smashing up the game so that it is almost useless for the table. The Banturs, who principally inhabit these jungles, are mostly of Nepaulese origin.
The motion is communicated to the fisherman by a string from the centre of the net which is rolled round the fisherman's thumb. When the jerking of his thumb announces a captive fish, he puts down his left hand and secures his victim. The Banturs, Nepaulees, and other jungle tribes, also often use the bow and arrow as a means of securing fish.
The Banturs, a jungle tribe of wood-cutters. Their habits. A village feast. We beat for deer. Habits of the spotted deer. Waiting for the game. Mehrman Singh gets drunk. Our bag. Pea-fowl and their habits. How to shoot them. Curious custom of the Nepaulese. How Juggroo was tricked, and his revenge.
A number of moosahurs, banturs, gwallas, and other idlers, from the jungle villages, generally follow in the wake of the line. If you shoot many pigs, they carry off the dead bodies, and hold high carnival in their homes in the evening. To see them rush on a slain buffalo, and hack it to pieces, is a curious sight; they fight for pieces of flesh like so many vultures.