Bull Ring




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By Dan Beard

Fig. 12. 
A Game in a Bull Ring.

One of the really scientific games is the old-fashioned Bull Ring, which is from four to ten feet in diameter. The ducks are placed a few inches apart on a cross scratched in the middle of the ring. The number of ducks varies according to how many "a whack," or how many "up" or to "lay in" may be agreed upon. If four or five boys are in the game, "one up" makes a nice pot of ducks to shoot at. If but two boys are playing they sometimes lay in three, four, or even more ducks apiece, according to their wealth. The boy who cries "First" soonest is accorded the first shot, and the others in their order. In case of dispute they "lag" for turn. Each player knuckles down and shoots for the opposite side of the ring, and their turns come in the order of their success; the nearest first and the most distant last.

Of course the object of the game is to knock out all the ducks if possible. Sometimes the first player, by a combination of luck and skill, will "skin the ring" before the others have had a shot. The first player knuckles down and lofts at the ducks in the middle of the ring. If he strikes one properly, his taw should stand or spin in place of the fleeing duck. The duck must reach or pass the line that makes the ring to be out and pocketed by the player, who now shoots from the place where his taw stands.

Sometimes his shooter will fly out of the ring, but if the duck is knocked out he continues to shoot, again knuckling down on the ring. In case he misses one shot, number two takes his turn. Whenever a slip is made or a hit fails to knock the duck front the ring and the shooter comes to

rest inside the bull ring, it must remain where it is until the player's turn comes again or until the shooter is knocked out by one of the other players. If the shooter or taw in the ring is knocked out by another player's taw, the owner of the latter is out of the game, or killed, and there is no less to fight against. The player who knocks the taw out not only has another shot, but is entitled to pick one of tile ducks from the ring as a reward for his luck. He continues to shoot until he misses.

In case two or more duck, are knocked out at one shot, if the player succeeds in crying "Dubs!" before the others cry "Fen dubs!" he is entitled to all he knocks out, otherwise he must replace all but one marble, but continue to shoot until he fail, to knock out a duck. If a player is caught "bunching," that is, shoving his fist beyond the ring while shooting, and makes a lucky hit, he must replace the marble and shoot over again. "Histings" and the use of "bowlers" are debarred in the bull ring.

Sneaking or Dribbling.

Sneaking is allowed; that is, shooting the taw slowly, so that it will stop in or near the center. This counts as a turn, and the marble is allowed to rest there until the sneaker's turn comes round again, in which case, if he has not been killed by some other player, he shoots from the spot occupied by his taw.

If a dead man's turn comes around and there are enough ducks in the ring to warrant the risk, the dead man may re-enter by laying in the middle twice as many ducks as the game required at first and placing still another duck near the edge of the ring to carom on. He shoots at the carom duck with the hopes of knocking it out and flying in the center, where, if he is "any good" he will "skin the ring." Often the dead man is unsuccessful and the game goes on.







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Last modified: October 15, 2016.