In less than ten minutes Heller heard a loud snort and, looking up, saw three gorals standing on a ledge seventy-five yards above him. He fired twice but missed and the animals disappeared around a corner of the hill. A few hundred yards farther on he saw a single old ram but his two shots apparently had no effect.
Meanwhile I had continued along the hillside not far from the summit for a mile or more without seeing an animal. Fresh tracks were everywhere and well-cut trails crossed and recrossed among the rocks and grass. I had reached an impassable precipice and was returning across a steep slope when seven gorals jumped out of the grass where they had been lying asleep. I was in a thick grove of pine trees and fired twice in quick succession as the animals appeared through the branches, but missed both times.
I ran out from the trees but the gorals were then nearly two hundred yards away. One big ram had left the herd and was trotting along broadside on. I aimed just in front of him and pulled the trigger as his head appeared in the peep sight. He turned a beautiful somersault and rolled over and over down the hill, finally disappearing in the bushes at the edge of the water.
The other gorals had disappeared, but a few seconds later I saw a small one slowly skirting the rocks on the very summit of the hill. The first shot kicked the dirt beside him, but the second broke his leg and he ran behind a huge boulder. I rested the little Mannlicher on the trunk of a tree, covering the edge of the rock with the ivory head of the front sight and waited. I was perfectly sure that the goral would try to steal out, and in two or three minutes his head appeared. I fired instantly, boring him through both shoulders, and he rolled over and over stone dead lodging against a rock not fifty yards from where we stood.
The two natives were wild with excitement and, yelling at the top of their lungs, ran up the hill like goats to bring the animal down to me. It was a young male in full summer coat, and with horns about two inches long. Our pleasure was somewhat dampened, however, when we went to recover the first goral for we found that when it had landed in the grass at the edge of the river it had either rolled or crawled into the water. We searched along the bank for half a mile but without success and returned to Hui-yao just in time for tiffin.
In the afternoon we shifted camp to a beautiful little grove on the opposite side of the river behind the hunting grounds. Heller, instead of going over with the caravan, went back along the rim of the gorge in the pine forest where he could look across the river to the hill on which we had hunted in the morning. With his field glasses he discovered five gorals in an open meadow, and opened fire. It was long shooting but the animals did not know which way to run, and he killed three of the herd before they disappeared. Our first day had, therefore, netted us one deer and four gorals which was better than at any other camp we had had in China.