A Tussle With A Sun Bear

Sam Kunal

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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 ) .
View attachment 345123

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
View attachment 345129
Below, I have provided a photograph taken by myself of my trusty “ Old Belgian “ .
View attachment 345131
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.
View attachment 345134
Very nice reminisce ..I feel that your gun "The Good Old Belgian" surely has a connection with you right from the beginning.
 

Nyati

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Thank you for another great story which I immensely enjoyed Major.

About going to hunt "overgunned", I have heard a few stories from PH´s in Africa, around a fire and after few drinks ;)
 

jeff

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Thank you Major for another fascinating account of guiding hunters in old India!
 

Major Khan

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Very nice reminisce ..I feel that your gun "The Good Old Belgian" surely has a connection with you right from the beginning.
Indeed , Kunal Beta ... My " Old Belgian " is 1 of my most valued possessions . I have owned and been using it now for more than 61 years . It has never , ever let me down .
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Major Khan

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Thank you for another great story which I immensely enjoyed Major.

About going to hunt "overgunned", I have heard a few stories from PH´s in Africa, around a fire and after few drinks ;)
Why thank you so much , Nyati . It is my utmost privilege that you have enjoyed this article on mine ... So much .

As my dearly deceased former client , Mr. Tom Bolack ( The former Governor Of New Mexico ) would say , " If Robert Ruark advises you to use enough gun ... Then , I'm advising you not to use too much gun ! "
 

Major Khan

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Thank you Major for another fascinating account of guiding hunters in old India!
Why thank you so much for your kind words , Jeff . It is my utmost privilege that you have enjoyed this article of mine , so much .
 

Wyatt Smith

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Why thank you so much , Nyati . It is my utmost privilege that you have enjoyed this article on mine ... So much .

As my dearly deceased former client , Mr. Tom Bolack ( The former Governor Of New Mexico ) would say , " If Robert Ruark advises you to use enough gun ... Then , I'm advising you not to use too much gun ! "
Wasn’t he the one who used a 270 Win on a Royal Bengal Tiger? I guess if it’s enough gun for him, he can use it. I won’t.
 

Major Khan

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Wasn’t he the one who used a 270 Win on a Royal Bengal Tiger? I guess if it’s enough gun for him, he can use it. I won’t.
Indeed , Master Smith . And 130 grain Winchester Silver Tip soft point cartridges . If I ever have to dispatch a man eating royal Bengal tiger , again ... You back me up with your .375 Holland & Holland magnum calibre Winchester Model 70 , loaded with 300 grain Trophy Bonded Bear Claw soft point cartridges !
 

Wyatt Smith

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Indeed , Master Smith . And 130 grain Winchester Silver Tip soft point cartridges . If I ever have to dispatch a man eating royal Bengal tiger , again ... You back me up with your .375 Holland & Holland magnum calibre Winchester Model 70 , loaded with 300 grain Trophy Bonded Bear Claw soft point cartridges !
A very sound plan, Major. However I fear it would be me that was the weak link, not the artillery.
 

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Wonderful story. Thank you for sharing.
 

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