British sportsmen hunted crocodiles in India in the 1890s by baiting Hindu babies!!!

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Sacramento Daily Union, Volume 88, Number 10, 1 September 1894

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—«. . BABIES FOR BAIT.

llow British Sportsmen Hunt Crocodiles in India. “Wo used to have great sport in India going out alter crocodiles with Hiudu babies for bait,” said an ex-officer of the British army to a Now York Sun repoito. “The baby wasn’t baited on a hook like a minnow or a fish worm, but simply secured on the river bank so that it couidn’i creep or toddle away or tumble into the river. Some babies don’t like their being made crocodile bait of, ! but that fact increased their value to tho sportsmen, for then they yelled and made B great noise, which was just what the crocodile* were waiting to hear, and they ‘ would come hurrying Irom all directions to have a chance at the babies. “Where did we get these babies for bait? From their mothers. All tho fel- ! low who wanted to go crocodiling had to I do was to noise abroad his intention aud it wasn’t long before native women would tlock in with their babies to be rented out far bait. The ruling price per head for tho young heathen was about six cents for tbe day. Some mothers required a guarantee that their offspring should be returned safe and sound, but the most of them exacted no such agreement. Tho babies were brought back ail right as a rule, out once in a while some sportsman was a trirlu slow with his rillo, or made a bad shot, uud the crocodile got away with I the bait, but that didn’t haupen often. “It your bait is in good form for crocodiling ana starts in with protesting yells, you may expect to get your crocodile very soon, but if the baby provos to be what is known as a sulker and takes tho situation in quietness and patience, you may have to wait some timo before you got s shot. I used to have an option on an Indian baby that was tho most killing bait for crocodiles in that part ot in.. 1 killed more than one hundred crocodiles with that youngster as a lure before she outgrew her usefulness. She had the most persistent and far-reaching yell I ever heard come out of mortal being, and no crocodile oould resist it. She was a siren in luring tho big reptiles to their lato, and 1 was sorry to see tier grow and get too big for bait and havo to give her ! up. That dusky infant always coin- i manded a premium in the market, and her mother was very proud of her indeed* “After lie had secured his baby at a proper spot it was the custom of the sportsman to bide behind a convenient bush or blind and wait for his game. If his bait was lively and of good lung he I would not have long to wait. I’ve seen! hall a do/on crocodiles come hurrying from as many different parts ot the nvor toward a baby five minutes after it was set. With such a rush as that, though, the sport becomes a trille trying to tho eyes for the baby, but generally the first crack ol tbe rifle will scare the big reptiles back into tho water, all except the one you have sent your bullet iuto, and he, if your aim lias been good, will Hop over and thrash about lor v few seconds, aud then give up tho ghost, But ill a short time back will come tho others again, and if you can have time you cau evontuallv stretch them ail on the bank. “A considorato sportsman, though, will not work his baby more than fifteen minutes at a time. Then he will have his native servant soothe it and refresh it from a nursing bottle, which is a part of a crocodile hunter’s equipment. I have killed six crocodiles over that favorite baby luro of mine in less than a quarter of an hour. “I was in Florida a year or so ago and tried to hire a baby to experiment with lor alligators after the method in India, | but folks who owned babies down thore i didn’t seen to enter into the spirit of the sport, and 1 couldn’t got one. I compromised on a rather lively and complaining dog. lie was a success and I had quite a lot of fun, although tho sport was a good deal tamer than it would have been if I had only had a baby for bait.”

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