A Tussle With A Sun Bear

Major Khan

AH legend
Joined
Dec 3, 2019
Messages
2,191
Reaction score
5,512
Media
159
Articles
46
Tonight , I am going to share a reminiscence with my fellow members of African Hunting Forums ... about an incident which involves our Indian Sun Bear , and illustrates the raw aggression of these brutes .

I have noticed that , in all of my time on African Hunting Forums ( in the last 5 months ) ... I have never , ever shared a story about our Indian Bears with any of you gentle men . Well... I should hope to change that , today . Let us begin . Let us wind the clock back , Dear Readers ... to the December of 1968 .

Below , I have provided a photograph taken by myself of my good friend and fellow former professional shikaree , the dearly deceased Tobin Stakkatz with an American Black Bear which he had hunted ... during my visit to America once in the 1970s . In Tobin's hands is his custom made .458 Winchester magnum calibre bolt rifle , built on a Springfield Model 1903 action . At the climax of this article ... I shall be providing a photograph of the actual brute which we had dispatched during the misadventure on the December of 1969 .
Screenshot_20200117-035936_01_01.png
 

Ridgewalker

Lifetime bronze benefactor
AH ambassador
Joined
Aug 8, 2016
Messages
6,651
Reaction score
7,887
Location
Colorado
Media
231
Hunting reports
Africa
3
USA/Canada
3
Hunted
South Africa: Limpopo, Northwest; USA: Ak, Mt, Wy, Co, Ne, Ks, Nv, NM, Tx
Poton, you always leave us hanging!:LOL::ROFLMAO::whistle:
 

Major Khan

AH legend
Joined
Dec 3, 2019
Messages
2,191
Reaction score
5,512
Media
159
Articles
46
It was a Sunday and the very 1st working day of the week for the professional shikarees of Allwyn Cooper Limited . I was called to the office of Mr. Vidya C Shukla and when I knocked on the door and entered the office... Mr. Shukla was waiting for me with my client . He was an American gentle man, hailing from Nashville, Tennessee . I was introduced to the gentle man and was ordered my Mr. Shukla to be the gentle man’ professional shikaree.

The gentle man had booked Allwyn Cooper Limited’s standard “ Fur & Feather “ package deal -
The “ Fur “ was to be a Sun Bear
The “ Feather was “ to be Greylag Geese

These were certainly game animals which the employees of Allwyn Cooper Limited specialized in guiding shikars for . I decided that this would be quite an easy and straight forward shikar to guide the client for . I examined the gentle man’s armaments . These were fire arms which the gentle man was exceedingly proud of .
>The rifle was an ornate looking Weatherby Mark 5 bolt rifle , chambered in the behemoth .460 Weatherby magnum calibre . For this rifle , the gentle man had brought along 2 boxes of Weatherby brand cartridges... which were loaded with 500 grain solid metal covered bullets .
> The shot gun was a 12 Bore Ithaca Model 37 pump shotgun with a fully choked 30 inch barrel and a 3 inch chamber . For this shot gun , the gentle man had brought along along 2 boxes of 3 inch Winchester brand #4 buck shot cartridges ( with each cartridge holding 41 pellets . The diameter of each pellet was 6.16 mm ) .

I told the gentle man that soft point bullets were much more advisable for our Indian Bears . However , the gentle man assured me that the .460 Weatherby magnum was the most powerful and highly advanced calibre on earth ... and that he intended to take the Sun Bear with a brain shot . I nodded in agreement and took to making our preparations.

Below I have provided a photograph taken by myself of a Greylag Goose which I shot earlier this year , as a reference.
A9285749-E3EE-4676-93F6-70BB23C3B36E.jpeg




Below, I have provided a scan of a page from our “ Professional Shikaree’s Regulation Book Of 1967-1968 “ ... which stipulates the legal regulations for shooting Sun Bears and water fowl.
2C53B278-BED1-4ACC-94CA-8A5FC0F7A60F.png
 

Major Khan

AH legend
Joined
Dec 3, 2019
Messages
2,191
Reaction score
5,512
Media
159
Articles
46
2 days later , our shikar party set off to 1 of the countless streams in the out skirts of Nagpur for the Greylag Goose shikar . Our shikar party consisted of :
> Myself: I was carrying my old Belgian 12 Bore double barreled side by side shot gun , loaded with my hand loaded 3 inch Eley Alphamax magnum “ High Brass “ spherical ball cartridges .
> Ponual: He carried the client’s Ithaca 37 12 Bore pump shot gun .
> Our client: He wore a leather waist belt containing 35 shot gun cartridges
> 3 coolies: They carried an ice chest , a folding chair for our client and refreshments for the entire shikar party .

We reached quite a beautiful stream , which we used to call “ Mirre Shorai “ back in those days . It used to literally be over flowing with water fowl back in those days . However, after Indira Gandhi’s renegade government banned all hunting in 1972 ... poachers had completely destroyed this wild fowler’s paradise by 1977 .
When we reached , our client was completely got smacked by the size of our Greylag Geese . Ponual handed the gentle man his shot gun and the gentle man prepared himself .

Below , I have provided a photograph taken by myself of “ Mirre Shorai “ back in the good , old days . We often used to wade knee deep in to this water ... in order to recover downed water fowl .
9FE1F55A-D30F-4B65-9963-1F3424FFECAD.png





Below , I have provided a photograph taken by myself of the weight of a Greylag Goose , which I have shot ... as a reference .
48D6BAE0-231E-495D-8A8D-DA017B653E93.jpeg




Within 5 minutes the gentle man commenced shooting . It was quite a beautiful sight to behold . The gentle man was a natural with that Ithaca 37 . What really impressed me about him... was that ( unlike most of my clients ) this gentle man was DELIBERATELY aiming for the highest flying birds . In fact , I dare say that all of his shots were taken at ranges , exceeding 45 yards . Those Winchester brand 3 inch #4 buck shot cartridges were laying low Greylag Geese , left and right . Within 20 minutes ... 15 Indian Greylag Geese were taken down .

I sent 2 coolies in to the water to recover the downed Greylag Geese, while the third coolie laid out the folding chair for the client to sit on and offered him refreshments.
The gentle man ate some strawberry jam biscuits made by Glenary Bakery ( Darjeeling’s oldest and most famous bakery ) and drank a half a bottle of Bourbon ...
the very finest quality directly provided from Mr. Shukla’s personal stash .

The 2 coolies returned with all 15 of the downed birds . Our client was the living definition of “ generosity “ . He kept 5 Greylag Geese for himself and gave the other 10 Greylag Geese to us . We thanked him greatly for his charitable kindness . Each of us ( Myself , Ponual and the 3 coolies ) kept 2 Greylag Geese for ourselves . That night ... dinner with my grand father and my girl friend was magnificent . I assure all of you , gentle men that I am not exaggerating in THE SLIGHTEST... when I say that the meat of Greylag Geese is unrivaled by any other bird meat on God’s Green Earth .

If only the Sun Bear shikar which took place 3 days later , went so smoothly ....
 

Art Lambart II

AH elite
Joined
Apr 24, 2015
Messages
1,008
Reaction score
1,531
Location
Kansas City
Media
27
Hunting reports
Africa
1
USA/Canada
1
Member of
NRA Life Member, SCI, QDMA
Hunted
MI, TX, MO, South Africa Limpopo & Northwest Provinces
Great story so far I look forward to the rest of the tale. Something tells me your client would have been better off with a fast handling 30-06 and 200 grain Nosler Partitions.
 
Last edited:

Major Khan

AH legend
Joined
Dec 3, 2019
Messages
2,191
Reaction score
5,512
Media
159
Articles
46
3 days later , our shikar party was off to the Panchghani Hills in order to guide our client for a Sun Bear shikar . Our shikar party consisted of :
> Myself: I carried my “ Old Belgian “ loaded with my hand loaded 3 inch Eley Alphamax magnum “ High Brass “ spherical ball cartridges .
> Ponual: He carried our clients .460 Weatherby magnum Mark 5 bolt rifle .
> 3 coolies: They carried a folding chair , skinning tools and butcher knives, an ice chest, salt and refreshments.
> Mintu: Our tribal Shaotaal tracker .
> Our Client : He kept 3 spare cartridges in each breast pocket of his khaki shikar shirt .
Below ... I have provided a photograph taken by myself of Mintu , my loyal tracker ( right ) .
28D41711-80E5-413E-AD90-90FFC21C35BA.png


For upwards of 5 hours ... Mintu was following the tracks of a Sun Bear through the Panchghani Hills . We stayed closely behind him ... taking great care not to divert his attention . Mintu finally came across a pile of Sun Bear Dung and took off his left Jhootey ( A locally made Indian sandal worn by villagers ) . He then curled his toes and dipped them in to the dung of the Sun Bear . He told us that the dung was still warm ... which could only mean that the Sun Bear was not too far off.

It took us another hour ... until we were finally able to catch sight of the brute . He was a majestic looking creature ... using his sickle like claws to tear in to an ant hill , before using his long tongue to reach for the inhabitants of the aforementioned ant hill . I left Ponual , Mintu and the coolies to stay back ... while our client retrieved his Weatherby Mark 5 bolt rifle from Ponual . The client and I then slowly began to stalk the Sun Bear until we were within 50 yards of the brute .

Knowing that the client’s Weatherby Mark 5 bolt rifle was equipped with a muzzle brake and was chambered in .460 Weatherby magnum calibre ... I decided to do the wise thing ( for the sake of my ears ) and got behind the client. I told him , “ Sahib, perhaps a shoulder shot would be best under these set of circumstances. It allows for a greater margin for error “ . My client told me , “ I’m a master of the brain shot . I’ve got this critter covered “ . I nodded, hesitantly . The client raised the big rifle and pulled the trigger. If only that big rifle was as good, as it was big...

A tremendous blast went off. Deafening , actually. The 500 grain solid metal covered bullet blew the top of the snout of the Sun Bear clean off , and the animal howled in pain . It had seen us ! The brute charged . “ Sahib ! “ I shouted in despair . “ Shoot him again ! Quickly ! “ . Unfortunately , stock of my client’s Weatherby Mark 5 bolt rifle had “ Let Go “ . In other words ... that ornate Deluxe Grade wooden stock of the Weatherby Mark 5 had split . I knew that I had to step in , now... otherwise it would be too late.

I raised my “ Old Belgian “ to my shoulder and took aim , hastily. The enraged , bleeding brute was now within 30 feet of us. He was covering distance with savage speed . I pulled the left trigger and let fly . The 1 ounce spherical ball of hardened lead punched right in to the area behind the Sun Bear’s left shoulder . The brute let off a painful guttural growl and turned it’s charge ... attempting to get as far away from us as possible . I instinctively kept my “ Old Belgian “ trained on the wounded animal ... ready to give him the right barrel without a moment’s notice . However... I never needed to .

The brute dropped on to the green forest floor after running for a mere 55 yards . He was lifeless .

Below , I have provided a photograph taken by myself of the slain brute... after we had managed to finally get him back to the edge of the road
4D308336-DCD5-4615-AAE0-2EB5F3253B17.jpeg

Below, I have provided a photograph taken by myself of my trusty “ Old Belgian “ .
82C51436-9375-435F-99F4-20737090A531.jpeg

Below, I have provided a photograph taken by myself of 1 of my recently loaded spherical ball cartridges. Note the high brass head ( 20 mm length ) of the cartridge.
F40B31A7-D95C-417A-A7D5-1FA868935D5B.jpeg
 
Last edited:

Major Khan

AH legend
Joined
Dec 3, 2019
Messages
2,191
Reaction score
5,512
Media
159
Articles
46
A post mortem proved quite fascinating . The Sun Bear was a heavy male ... weighing exactly 174 pounds . My 1 ounce spherical ball bullet had successfully ripped in to his heart ... which was what had sealed his fate . My client was quite satisfied with his new Sun Bear Puroshkaar ( trophy ) . The brute’s skin was removed and carefully treated by Nagpur’s best taxidermist at the time . It made for an extremely high quality rug .
My generous client tipped me handsomely for aiding him in securing his Sun Bear and treated Ponual and me dinner at his hotel’s restaurant , but he also expressed regret for choosing a .460 Weatherby magnum calibre weapon . I politely told him ( albeit untruthfully ) that it was just bad luck , on his part.
He then made a startling revelation to me : Even though he had significant experience with landing brain shots on all manner of game animals ... he had never ever attempted to land a brain shot on any animal with a .460 Weatherby magnum calibre Mark 5 bolt rifle before. This was the very 1st shikar in his life , where he had brought along the .460 Weatherby magnum calibre Mark 5 . He had purchased this Weatherby Mark 5 a week prior to visiting India for the shikar ... confident that it would prove satisfactory for all of his needs . The advertisements of the Weatherby rifles had led him to believe that the .460 Weatherby magnum was inherently the most perfect and high tech calibre ... ever to be created by man .

I feigned indifference after hearing this revelation and told the gentle man that I would absolutely love to guide him on another Sun Bear shikar in the following shikar season . He became quite enthusiastic upon hearing this and asked me what rifle and cartridges he should bring . I told him that a Winchester Model 1894 chambered in .30-30 Winchester would be nice ... loaded with 170 grain Winchester Super X soft point cartridges .

True to his word ... the Southern gentle man returned to Nagpur in 1969 , this time armed with a .30-30 Winchester calibre Model 1894 lever rifle for tackling a Sun Bear . Needless to say... the shikar in 1969 proved to be infinitely more enjoyable , than the shikar in 1968 .

I sincerely hope that this article has proven to be a passably enjoyable read . For my next article , which I shall commence writing after 2 days... I shall be narrating 1 of the adventures of my close friend and former fellow professional shikaree , Riaz Sharrif .


Before I conclude this article ... a few words are requisite about my American clients in general . These were GOOD PEOPLE , by every definition of the word .
They were extremely generous and big hearted people . Every single last 1 of of them . They were extremely ethical shikarees . They were people who would go to the ends of the earth to recover any game animal which they had wounded... in order to put the animal out of their misery . Unlike many of our clients ... our American clients ALWAYS adhered to our bag limits . Despite their wealth , none of them ever attempted to bribe us to allow them to do things like shooting an extra royal Bengal tiger . They were people who respected and championed the concept of shikar and conservation going hand in hand. Not even 1 of them was ever racist or condescending upon locals ( Despite what Indian media tells you , these days ) . They were all extremely respectful people , even to the coolies .

However , a few of my American clients had 2 small flaws in their approach to armaments .
1stly > Many of my American clients in the 1960s , who had brought .30-06 Springfield calibre rifles... would opt for military surplus spitzer pointed 168 grain solid metal covered cartridges for shikar. These were WIDELY available in America in the 1960s and would come in papaya green tins for very low cost . However , they had absolutely no place in the shikar field and the performance of these spitzer point solid metal covered bullets on game animals ... was completely dismal .
2ndly > Many of my American clients in the 1960s had an unhealthy fascination for high velocity calibres , such as the Weatherby magnums . This mind set sadly led to countless of my American clients to come to India for shikar , armed with Weatherby brand rifles ... even if they might have been better served by a different rifle or calibre , altogether .

Fortunately ( as observed by myself, after being privileged enough to become a member of African Hunting Forums ) these trends have largely disappeared in modern times. All American hunters ( and indeed , hunters from all parts of this world ) are nowadays extremely particular about choosing the right ammunition for the particular game animal ... which they are in pursuit of . They have also ceased to look at only the velocity of a calibre when choosing their shikar armaments... and instead consider a wide range of factors when deciding what rifle calibre to utilize on any game animal .
Certainly , sensibilities have arisen !

THE END

PS : I sincerely apologize to my Dear American Readers if my views were offensive. Such was never my intention. I was merely stating an observation .
 
Last edited:

Major Khan

AH legend
Joined
Dec 3, 2019
Messages
2,191
Reaction score
5,512
Media
159
Articles
46
Brain shot...with a 460WBY...well alright.
Well... you know what they say , Bee Maa - “ The Customer Is Always Right “ .
On a more serious note ... your level of fore sight is quite impressive !
Just after reading the 1st 2 parts of the article... you knew that this shikar was not going to end as smoothly as we would have thought.
On a personal note ... even at that time , when the client told me that he planned to accomplish a brain shot on a Sun Bear with a .460 Weatherby magnum calibre rifle ... I knew ( Deep down on the inside ) that the Sun Bear shikar was bound to go wrong , in some way or another . It was a fore gone conclusion.

We also typically would always attempt to dissuade a client from attempting a brain shot on our Indian Bears. You see ... The skull of a Sun Bear ( or an Asian Sloth Bear ) is an oddly structured 1. The small size of the brute’s brain and the odd structuring of it’s skull make it extremely unwise to ever attempt a brain shot on these animals . Utilizing a violently recoiling calibre ( such as the .460 Weatherby magnum ) in an attempt to accomplish this feat ... only exemplifies the problem and significantly reduces the operator’s ( already low ) probability of success .
 
Last edited:

Ridgewalker

Lifetime bronze benefactor
AH ambassador
Joined
Aug 8, 2016
Messages
6,651
Reaction score
7,887
Location
Colorado
Media
231
Hunting reports
Africa
3
USA/Canada
3
Hunted
South Africa: Limpopo, Northwest; USA: Ak, Mt, Wy, Co, Ne, Ks, Nv, NM, Tx
Another enjoyable story of an age gone by! Thanks again Poton! I’m looking forward to your next story!
 

Major Khan

AH legend
Joined
Dec 3, 2019
Messages
2,191
Reaction score
5,512
Media
159
Articles
46
Great story so far I look forward to the rest of the tale. Something tells me your client would have been better off with a fast handling 30-06 and 200 grain Nosler Partitions.
Why thank you so much , Mr. Lambart . I should hope that you enjoy the rest of my article as well . I am such inclined to agree with you. A .30-06 Springfield calibre rifle ( such as a sporterized Enfield Model 1917 ) , loaded with 220 grain Winchester Silver Tip soft point cartridges ... would prove to be an infinitely superior choice against our Indian Sun Bears .
 

375Fox

AH fanatic
Joined
Feb 19, 2020
Messages
503
Reaction score
1,043
Location
Pennsylvania
Media
60
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Hunted
Zambia, Namibia, South Africa
Another interesting story. What was the weight range on a trophy bear? There can be a large variance here in our black bears depending where in North America you hunt them.
 

Panther Shooter

AH enthusiast
Joined
Mar 26, 2020
Messages
274
Reaction score
698
Media
29
Articles
6
Member of
Bangladesh Shooting Federation
Hunted
Bangladesh, India
Major Sir
A marvelous first class account of a Sun Bear Shikar . The Asian Sloth Bears which I have shot in my life ( till now ) were all shot by my 7 millimeter Remington Magnum , employing a 175 grain Remington Core Lokt soft nose bullet.
My preferred method of shooting them is to establish an ambush site near a bee hive . I wait for the fiend to stand up on it’s hind legs , in order to reach for the bee hive .
As soon as it raises it’s fore paws in an upward fashion in order to reach for the bee hive , I plant a a 175 grain Remington Core Lokt soft nose bullet behind it’ shoulder . This technique works like a charm . You manage to rupture the fiend’s heart ( as well a piece of both of it’s lungs , most of the time ) .
 

Major Khan

AH legend
Joined
Dec 3, 2019
Messages
2,191
Reaction score
5,512
Media
159
Articles
46
Major Sir
A marvelous first class account of a Sun Bear Shikar . The Asian Sloth Bears which I have shot in my life ( till now ) were all shot by my 7 millimeter Remington Magnum , employing a 175 grain Remington Core Lokt soft nose bullet.
My preferred method of shooting them is to establish an ambush site near a bee hive . I wait for the fiend to stand up on it’s hind legs , in order to reach for the bee hive .
As soon as it raises it’s fore paws in an upward fashion in order to reach for the bee hive , I plant a a 175 grain Remington Core Lokt soft nose bullet behind it’ shoulder . This technique works like a charm . You manage to rupture the fiend’s heart ( as well a piece of both of it’s lungs , most of the time ) .
Clever 1 , Panther Shooter !
I use a bucket full of honey combs as bait . I hang the bucket from a tree branch .
 

Forum statistics

Threads
36,240
Messages
682,936
Members
62,474
Latest member
MiaDenny51
 

 

 

Latest profile posts

Rifle57 wrote on Viral_SIGness's profile.
Viral is a great guy to trade with First Class all the way!!
Rickmt wrote on Justbryan's profile.
What is your new shorter rifle? Thanx Bryan !
raamw wrote on neckdeep's profile.
Supply your address so I can get shipping Paypal Friend (no ) fee) is fine
Viral_SIGness wrote on Rifle57's profile.
Great person to deal with. Fast communication and quick shipper!
Sarg wrote on Philippe's profile.
Hello Philippe, did you get my PM that I sent you earlier ?

Regards Mark
 
Top