Getting Drawn To The World Of Dangerous Game Hunting

Professor Mawla

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Aug 15, 2020
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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 .


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


The author with his giant cormorant ; shot on January 8 , 1972 .
Standing by! And very well told thus far. Thank you.
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 .


A barking deer recently shot by the author .
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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 .


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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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.

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
Dear @Professor Mawla
Your narrative is excellent! Thank you for your time, and, again, thank you for joining this forum!
I am sure you will have much more to tell us! And I am looking fwd to it.
A great read. Thank you very much for sharing.
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.


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.
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.
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.

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