LOW-BELL And HAND-NET. " With these instruments," says the author of the Dictionariura Rusticum, published in 1717, " birds are taken in champaign countries, as also in stubble fields, especially that of wheat, from the middle of October to the end of March, and after this manner:-—About nine at night, in a mild air, and moonshine, take the low-bell, which should be of a deep hollow sound, and of such a reasonable size as may be well carried in one hand, which toll just as a wether sheep uses to do while he is feeding in pasture grounds: you must also have a box much like a lantern, about a foot and a half square, big enough for two or three great lights to be set in; let it be lined with tin, and one side open to send forth the light; this box fix to the breast to carry before you, and the light will cast at a great distance before you very broad; by which means you may see any thing that is on the ground, within the compass of the light, and consequently the birds that roost thereon. For the taking of them you have two men with you, one on each side, but a little after you, to the end they may not be within the reflection of the light that the lantern or box casts forth ; and each of them should be provided with a hand-net about three or four feet square, which must be fixed to a long stick to carry in their hands; so that when either of them sees any birds on his side, he is to cast his net over them, and so take them up with as little noise as may be; and let him that carries the light and low-bell, be the foremost to take them up, without over-haste, for fear of raising others.
" The sound of the low-bell causes the birds to lie close, and not to stir while you lay the net over them, and the light is so terrible to them that it amazes them. If you would use this sport by yourself, carry the low-bell in one hand, as before directed, and in the other a hand-net about two feet broad, and three long, with a handle, which is to lay upon them as you espy them: but there are some, who, instead of holding the light to their breast as aforesaid, tie the low-bell to their girdle, by a string that hangs to their knees, and their motion causes the bell to strike; then they carry the light in their hand, extending their arm before them; but the lantern or box must not he so large as that which1 you fix to the breast."
Harewood, Harry. A Dictionary of Sports. London: T. Tegg and son, 1835
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