Getting Drawn To The World Of Dangerous Game Hunting

Professor Mawla

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Since I am a new member of these forums, my first article here is going to be about how I was drawn into the world of hunting dangerous game as a young man . I am also going to relate the first time I shot a marauding Asiatic leopard in 1972 .

Since this is my first time writing on social media , please forgive me if my writing format leaves a little to be desired . Hopefully , my English writing format will improve with time .

All photographs used in this article are my personal photographs ( several of which have been published in my book in 1999 ) . Therefore , I own exclusive rights to any photographs used .

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The author with a marauding cheetah baagh leopard ; shot in 1976 .
 

Professor Mawla

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We drove the West Pakistani army out of our land , after an armistice was signed on the 16th of December , 1971 . East Pakistan became Bangladesh and a lot of rebuilding was necessary across the entire country . Both my mother and my father were killed during the West Pakistani airstrike at Golkhali on the June 3 , 1971 . I had been conscripted as an HMG ( heavy machine gun ) operator during the war and now that it was over , I needed to get a job . But I also needed to complete my education , as I was almost going to turn 18 . So I got myself into Murari Chand College in order to complete my education . The government was extraordinarily kind towards veterans of the war and had bequeathed a substantial amount of money to each of us ( alongside the standard medals and military awards ) .

As a source of income , I got myself a job as a workman at the various tea estates around Habiganj ( a district in the north east part of the country ) . I had rented two rooms at a local boarding house , but ( truth be told ) I only slept there . I spent most of my time outside . Between work and college , I would dedicate Fridays to my recreation . This could be either watching a cinema at the local theater , catching fish , eating at restaurants / ice cream parlors or hunting . Most of my free time was dedicated to hunting , because that was ( and is ) my favorite hobby of all .

Before the war , I had some fairly mild hunting experiences . My father used to own a .22 LR bolt action rifle made by BRNO with which he would often shoot cranes , pigeons, doves and rabbits for the pot . Around twice a month , he would take me on his hunting outings and I was six years old when I used that .22 LR to shoot my first crane . Soon afterwards , I had begun to develop a fondness for hunting and would usually outshoot my father during our hunting trips . However , it was only after the war that I actually began to go on hunting trips all by myself and began to hunt seriously .

After the war , it took no effort for me to successfully apply for two firearms licenses as I was a war veteran and a medal of honor recipient . From an arms shop in Dacca ( named “ Ahmed Hossain arms “ ) , I purchased a 12 bore shotgun and a .22 LR rifle . My shotgun was ( and is ) a second hand ( but pristine condition ) sidelock ejector side by side , made by Laurona in Spain . It had 2 3/4 inch chambers , double triggers and 30 inch barrels ( the left barrel was 1/2 choked and the right barrel was 1/4 choked ) . Since new side by side shotguns were not being imported into Bangladesh ( as majority of the hunters preferred over under , pump action or semi automatic shotguns ) and the shotgun looked too new to have been imported during the British colonial era , this meant that the shotgun must have been imported into the country during the East Pakistani era . My .22 LR was a bolt action , made by BRNO in Czechoslovakia . These rifles could be had for very little money , as local rifle clubs had purchased them by the hundreds .

In the 1970s , only three different kinds of ammunition were imported by the arms shops of Bangladesh . There were .22 LR shells loaded with 40 grain solid bullets , which were manufactured by Eley Rifle Club . There were Eley Alphamax 2 3/4 inch number 4 ( birdshot ) shells . There were .32 ACP ( Automatic Colt Pistol ) shells loaded with 73 grain full metal jacket bullets , which were manufactured by Sellier & Bellot . I always kept myself well stocked with Eley Rifle Club .22 LR shells and Eley Alphamax number 4 shells .

I consider my first “ serious “ hunting to have been done on January 8 , 1972 . I used my 12 bore and a number 4 shell to successfully bring down a giant cormorant bird , at a range of forty feet . As delicious as it tasted , I wanted to hunt bigger game . There were numerous barking deer in the forests of Habiganj and I was determined to start hunting them . But the problem was that a .22 LR rifle is not powerful enough to kill anything much larger than a crane , without necessitating multiple shots and a chance of losing the wounded animal . While my 12 bore shotgun was a more appropriate weapon to use , my number 4 shells were not much good for anything other than wing shooting . But there was a way around this problem .

Traveling military officers would often bring back up to 250 shells for their personally owned arms , when they would return to Bangladesh from tours in foreign countries ( as part of their personal luggage ) . Being a war veteran myself , it took me no effort to make friends with quite a few of these officers . These officers would often sell some of their surplus ammunition to their friends or civilians ( who possesses firearms licenses) . From one officer , I was able to purchase 22 Eley Alphamax 2 3/4 inch LG shells . These held eight slugs per shell and the caliber of each slug was .36 . In the United States , LG is known as “ 000 buckshot “ .


With my 12 bore shotgun and an Eley Alphamax LG shell , I shot my first barking deer on March 26 , 1972 . It was delicious and the venison lasted me for an entire week . Later during Easter , I shot a wild boar with two LG shells . I gifted the fresh pork to my close friend , Joy and his family ( who are Protestant Christians) . Joy had served alongside me during the war ( watching over me like an elder brother ) and was also an avid hunter . To this day , he and I remain close friends .

However , ( as dangerous as 140 kilogram wild boars with tusks are ) it was not until November 9 , 1972 that I would end up hunting my first truly dangerous game animal - A marauding cheetah baagh leopard . I will now begin to relate that story .

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The author with his giant cormorant ; shot on January 8 , 1972 .
 

Red Leg

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Standing by! And very well told thus far. Thank you.
 

Professor Mawla

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From September onwards , there were an increasing number of grievances caused by a cheetah baagh leopard in the area around one of the tea estates in Habiganj . So far it had killed and fed on five locals . Two of them were children . One was a maid servant at the tea estate and two of them were goat shepherds . It had also unsuccessfully attempted to attack a local farmer . Despite sustaining several injuries and being badly disfigured and mutilated ( including losing an ear ) , the farmer had managed to successfully evade the leopard . Finally fed up with the increasing number of ( mostly fatal ) maulings , the Habiganj Forest Department had declared the cheetah baagh to be a “ marauder “ . This meant that local hunters and bearers of arms licenses were welcome to try and hunt the marauding cheetah baagh . The victor would be paid 500 Bangladesh Taka ( roughly six American Dollars today ) , as a reward .

Initially the idea of going after a marauder did not occur to me . Then ,on November 9 ; an unforeseeable incident occurred . I was hunting barking deer at the time , during the evening . In Bangladesh , the standard method employed by local hunters to hunt barking deer is like this : You erect a tree blind called a makkan , near an area where gooseberry trees can be found. If there are no gooseberry trees around , then you have the makkan erected near a waterhole ( which you know , is going to be regularly frequented by barking deer ) . Then , you wait on top of the makkan after sundown ; armed with a shotgun loaded with LG shells ( or any lettershot of SSG size or larger ) and fitted with a powerful torchlight ( at least three cell , but preferably six cell ) . Those who own rifles and are confident of their shooting abilities at nighttime by using a torchlight , can substitute the shotgun for a rifle . Once the barking deer comes near the gooseberry trees ( or waterhole ) to feed ( or drink ) , the hunter shoulders his shotgun ( or rifle ) , switches on the torchlight , quickly takes aim and fires .

That evening was no different . After successfully hunting my barking deer , I loaded the carcass onto my old Ford pick up truck and decided that I would send a leg of venison over to Joy’s house . Joy and his newly married wife , Rabbani absolutely love(d) barking deer venison . While driving through the forest , I suddenly saw an elderly village lady lying on the ground and surrounded by a pool of blood . I got out of my pick up truck and rushed to help her , only to realize that she was already dead .

Her entire face was missing chunks of flesh and one ear was dangling from her head ; connected only by a small piece of skin . Her rib cage was torn open and her lungs were pierced . She had been disemboweled and her intestines were hanging out . I had seen wound patterns like that before . During the war , West Pakistani soldiers stationed in this part of Bangladesh ( which was East Pakistan at the time ) used to rape East Pakistani women and then tie them naked to trees before sundown . The screaming naked women were mauled to death by wandering cheetah baagh leopards ( if no cheetah baagh attacked the women for two days , then the soldiers would lose their patience and impale the women on bayonets or sharpened bamboo poles ) . I knew that this lady had been fatally mauled by a cheetah baagh . I had heard the news on the radio , that a marauding cheetah baagh leopard was operating in this vicinity . It did not take me long to figure out , that the marauder which had killed this lady , was probably the same one which the Habiganj Forest Department had put a bounty out for .

However , the largest pieces of flesh on her body were still intact . She was missing flesh from her right buttock , but the flesh on her left buttock was unbitten . Since a marauding cheetah baagh leopard ( or Royal Bengal tiger ) will always bite off the flesh from both the buttocks of their human victim , I knew that this cheetah baagh still had not completed his feeding entirely . I checked my Rolex Oyster Perpetual wrist watch . It was 7:12 PM . There was a very strong chance that the marauder would return this way , in order to complete feeding on the dead lady .

I ran to my pickup truck and retrieved a folding plastic butcher table ( which I would use for field dressing game ) . I folded it open near a banyan tree and carried the lady’s corpse towards the table . I placed the corpse at the centre of the table . Then , I drove my pick up truck a little further down the forest , where I parked it .

Retrieving my Laurona 12 bore shotgun from my pick up truck , I loaded the chambers of both barrels with Eley Alphamax LG shells . I had three spare LG shells which I put in the breast pocket of my blue check cotton poplin shirt . Then , I went back to the area where the table was . I climbed up the banyan tree and began to wait .

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A barking deer recently shot by the author .
 
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Professor Mawla

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I waited on the top of the Banyan tree , hoping that the cheetah baagh would show up . I did not have to wait very long . About 90 minutes later , I could see a dark silhouette slowly coming out of the foliage . It’s shape looked almost like a large wild dog or jackal . But I knew that it was the cheetah baagh . It’s mannerisms and movements had betrayed it’s identity.

I watched the animal slowly creep towards the table . It was drawn by the smell of the fresh corpse . As it drew closer , I shouldered my 12 bore and put my hand on the switch of the torchlight ( which was fitted by a clamp , to the fore end of my 12 bore ) . The marauder raised it’s fore paws and placed them on the folding table in an attempt to reach the corpse. I knew that I had only two seconds to make my shot count .

I switched on the torchlight and the marauder turned briefly to look at me . Taking aim at the animal’s chest , I pulled the left trigger followed by the right trigger . As the two loud gunshots echoed through the forest , the cheetah baagh took nine or ten steps back ; before dropping dead . Not wanting to take any chances , I reloaded my 12 bore with two more Eley Alphamax LG and cautiously climbed down the banyan tree . I approached the fallen marauder and poked it’s eye with the muzzles of my 12 Bore . It really was dead . There was a roughly two inch ragged hole in the cheetah baagh leopard’s chest . The LG slugs fortunately had not spread at all , at such close range ( less than four metres ) .

About two hours later , the corpse of the fallen marauder was at the head office of the Habiganj Forest Department . We ( the Forest Guards and I ) were now able to examine the marauder , properly . It was a a large male , weighing exactly 73 kilograms . His left hind leg had been mangled by what appeared to be an iron bear trap . Clearly , this must have been the work of a poacher . Now we knew exactly why this cheetah baagh leopard had turned into a marauder . After sustaining the injury to his left hind leg , he was no longer able to hunt his natural prey ( barking deer and wild boar ) . As such , he had begun to feed on human beings ( whom he perceived as far easier quarry to hunt ) . The concentrated charge of LG slugs had completely shredded the marauder’s heart ( we found 13 LG slugs inside the heart ) .

The Habiganj Forest Department paid me my promised 500 Taka and I then hurried back to my truck . I needed to reach Joy’s house before the venison of the barking deer could begin to spoil ( I had already removed the entrails after hunting it ) .

At the time , I did not think much about it . But later that night , as I tried to sleep ; I realized how much I had enjoyed shooting that marauding cheetah baagh leopard . I thought that perhaps I should volunteer for problem animal disposal much more often . And from then onwards , I did .

C01B56BA-FD03-46E1-8D63-CB68427AE4BC.jpeg

Eley Alphamax LG shells owned by the author ( currently discontinued from Eley Hawk Limited’s product line , who now manufacture no shot size larger than BB )
 
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Professor Mawla

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I apologize if I made any grammatical errors or if my English writing could have been a little better . I am not accustomed to writing on social media and English is a second language for me .

I hope that maybe some of you have enjoyed this story of mine. More such incidents ( and photographs ) can be found in my book “ Jokhon Shikari Chilam “ ( When I hunted dangerous game ) , which was published in 1999.
AC73EC48-D8C1-4305-914A-92C1F3EEA8B0.jpeg

The English translation of my book will be published by “ Dacca Club Classics “ in January , for the international market .

If people have enjoyed my telling of this incident , then I will share three or four more such incidents on these forums over the next few days .


The End
 

Red Leg

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A great read. Thank you very much for sharing.
 

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Thank you Professor, your story was extremely well told, I really enjoyed it.

Your accounts of the sad and terrible crimes of the war are also educational, and I am glad that you noted the details, as to explain another reason why predatory cats become man eaters.

Congratulations on successfully hunting the elusive man-eating Leopard, you are a much braver man than me.

Shooting the giant cormorant must have been extremely special, as you mentioned how delicious it was. Did it have a full stomach of fish ?

Over here in Australia, Cormorants are protected, and I recall my uncle saying that they are too oily and smell, therefore as you have dined on cormorant, it has put that myth away to bed.

Regards

Rob
 

Professor Mawla

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@Dinosaur
Thank you so much for enjoying my writing . I hunt in Australia too , about once every three years . I visit Victoria and Perth . Which part of Australia are you based in ? Great Cormorant taste quite delicious as long as a sharp marinade is used . They can taste a little too fishy unless left to marinate overnight . We hunt them annually in Bangladesh during every winter . We each are permitted to shoot 15 giant cormorant birds a year by our game department. When butchered , we often find fish in the stomachs of the giant cormorant birds . The fish are the principal food of the giant cormorant birds.
 

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Sad tale of all those who died because of a poacher’s mistake, but it ended well! Excellent story of your first truly dangerous game!
Thanks for sharing it here with us.
 

Doug Hamilton

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I apologize if I made any grammatical errors or if my English writing could have been a little better . I am not accustomed to writing on social media and English is a second language for me .

I hope that maybe some of you have enjoyed this story of mine. More such incidents ( and photographs ) can be found in my book “ Jokhon Shikari Chilam “ ( When I hunted dangerous game ) , which was published in 1999.
View attachment 363087
The English translation of my book will be published by “ Dacca Club Classics “ in January , for the international market .

If people have enjoyed my telling of this incident , then I will share three or four more such incidents on these forums over the next few days .


The End
An excellent story, and well told. Nothing wrong with your use of English or grammar. I am looking forward to more of your stories.
Doug
 
 

 

 

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