In Pursuit Of The Fabled Black Panther

Bullhunter

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...However , I request you to tread carefully...
Of course sir, of course.
 

cls

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enjoyed the story, have your buddy join the forums, always good to get a different perspective form your part of the world and during much different times.
 

Major Khan

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enjoyed the story, have your buddy join the forums, always good to get a different perspective form your part of the world and during much different times.
It is my privilege that you have enjoyed this article so much , Cls . To the best of my knowledge ... Panther Shooter has already joined African Hunting Forums tonight .
 

Newboomer

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Great news that PS is joining us here. I look forward to reading more of his exploits in old India. And keep writing your own experiences, Major.
 

Panther Shooter

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Poton, please tell PS that both he and his exploits are welcome. Killing a man eating Leopard, Panther or Royal Bengal Tiger isn't "poaching" as we understand the term to be. I trust that the "statute of limitations" precludes PS from ever being prosecuted for his life saving activities close to 50 years ago.
Shootist43
Thank you very much for being so understanding . Such level of intellect is sadly rare these days .
 

Panther Shooter

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Panther Shooter,
What a fascinating account! My Friend, you have nothing at all to apologize for. You lived in a different time with different standards. I can understand your love of hunting and believe you did so in as ethical and logical manner as possible under the circumstances. I think you saved several lives by ridding the community of maneating panthers.

I like your choice of rifles. I have a Winchester model 70 in 7mm Remington Magnum and love it. I have collected several species of plains game with it. I use Barnes TSX 160 gr with 53 gr of 4064 powder for excellent accuracy and killing power.

Please continue to write and post here. And thank you, Major Khan, for putting it in print here.
New Boomer
You are a very understanding gentleman . I know that we shall make fast friends , especially since we both share a mutual admiration for the 7 millimeter Remington Magnum . I have owned mine since 1976 and I could not be happier with mine. It regularly bags various game for me through out the year.
 

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Welcome aboard Panther Shooter. You will soon discover that being part of this forum is as comfortable as an old pair of slippers. I hope you start writing up another of your adventures very soon.
 

MAdcox

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It seems all of you gentleman originating from India have a masterful gift of storytelling. It has been a great pleasure to read you stories of a time and place very few here have experienced and most likely no one else ever will. Thank you very much for sharing and welcome to the forum @Panther Shooter
 
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Tonight , I am going to be sharing a new story with our dear members of African Hunting Forums . However , unlike most of my other stories ... This story is going to be a little different . It is not a story about myself , but rather about a gentleman and a friend whom I know personally for more than 45 years . For the sake of brevity and privacy , let us call him , “ Panther Shooter “ or “ PS” for short . PS lives in Bangladesh currently just like I do , but used to live in India until 1975 .
He shot and killed ( among other things ) 25 Indian forest panthers between 1972 and 1974 in India and has been reading most of my articles on African Hunting Forums for quite a while with great enthusiasm. This inspired him to put his pen to paper and write 1 of his own stories to share on African Hunting Forums . However , he is extremely hesitant to personally join the forums , because he is afraid of the negative back lash which he may receive . This is because hunting was unfortunately banned in India by Indira Gandhi’s tree hugging government in 1972 , and therefore what he was doing was illegal poaching ( in the eyes of the retarded Indian law , any way ) . I attempted to re assure the gentleman that what he did , happened a very long time ago ( 46 years ) and that the members of African Hunting Forums are very non judgmental . However , he handed me a paper copy of his story and requested that I share his story on his behalf , on African Hunting Forums . And that is exactly what I am going to do today , Dear Readers .
Our friend , Panther Shooter is going to tell us a story today about how he shot a man eating Black Panther 47 years ago , in India . I would personally like to express my gratitude to Panther Shooter for providing me with this excellent story to share on African Hunting Forums , along with a few of his personally owned photographs . I shall be narrating the story from Panther Shooter’s perspective.

Below , is a photograph taken from the internet of a Black Panther for reference . The photograph of the actual animal shot by Panther Shooter shall be displayed at the climax of this 3 part article .
View attachment 337216
Friend Ponton
Thank you for getting Panther Shooter to write his own article for AH. It was very enlightening to hear how corrupt the official was at the time. That sort of thing probably still happens today. My main disappointment is that Panther Shooter did not get to keep the beautiful Rigby 375H&H double rifle he surely deserved it for lining that scumbags pockets. He has nothing to fear on this forum as we all enjoy reminiscing about the past and you gentleman have had such a colourful past that we mere mortals can only admire and envy.
Cheers my Friend
Bob
 
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As I've often said on this forum it is unfair to judge a man out of his time. Anyone who condemns a man forced to pouch under an extremist regimes dictatorship style rule, whom has not lived through that sort of experience is uncouth.

I sincerely hope pather hunter will join our brethren, the history you gentleman represent is a valuable glimpse into a bygone era I for one am grateful to have.
+1
 

flatwater bill

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Welcome PS..........and thank you Poton, for the translation. My Bengali was getting a little rusty :)...........................Bill
 
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By Panther Shooter :
“ After the Bangladesh Liberation War fortunately came to a end , I received my honorable discharge from the Bangladesh Army as a marksman and returned to my home in Jolpaiguri , in West Bengal , India. My parents owned a massive Tea Estate in Jolpaiguri ( the name of which shall remain undisclosed. ) and I was happy to return home .
However , to my great sorrow , hunting ( my favorite pastime of all , prior to the war and even now . ) was banned after the passing of the Wild Life Protection Act - 1972 .
There , I was . A 22 year old hot blooded young man , keen on adventure and thrills . After I returned from the war , I just hated sitting idle . Getting educated was no longer a concern . I already had my degree and “ Doctor “ title after graduating from Medical College in 1970 ( Yes , you could graduate Medical College by the age of 20 in India , back in those days . ) Mom and Dad were just happy to have their boy back home and they told me that they just wanted me to take things easy and help watch the Tea Estate . This , I would naturally do . However , my heart also lied with my 1 true ( non living ) love ... Hunting . I was determined to get back to hunting , even if I had to operate outside the perimeters of the law .

The hills near the Tea Estate was teeming with all manners of wild life , which would frequently find their way in to the Tea Estate :
> Chital ( Axis ) Deer
> Kakar ( Barking ) Deer
> Sambhar Deer
> Gaur Bison
> 4 Horned Antelope
> Black Buck
> Chinkara
> Hog Deer
> Barasingha ( Swamp ) Deer
> Mouse Deer
> Rabbits
> Grey Partridges
> Grouse
> Chukar
> Doves
> Quails
> Pigeons
> Ducks
> Cranes
> Pea Fowl
> Baboons
> Geese
> Wild Boar
> Asian Sloth Bear
&
> Hunting Leopards .

Unlike the pre 1972 days when we ( and indeed , any licensed hunter ) could wander off in to the vast forests to hunt game legally ... I now had to content myself with hunting only whatever game was getting in to the Tea Estate from the hills . Hunting in the forests was now completely out of the question . You had to evade the forest department officials and the Indian Army Rangers posted there , and you also had to deal with the dozens of cutthroat dacoits , thieves and bandits who were lurking around in the forests . However , the Tea Estate did have quite a good selection of fauna for the keen Shikari to choose from and I figured that I would be more than content with resuming my hunting practices in the Jolpaiguri Tea Estate .
Nevertheless , I had to be extremely careful . Getting caught poaching , would land me no less than 14 years in prison , and I valued my freedom too much to risk doing anything reckless which might get me caught .

I had purchased an IOF 12 Bore DBBL shot gun in 1968 which I would use for Shikar and I had left this shot gun home with my parents when I had gone off to serve in the Bangladesh Liberation War . Now ,I retrieved my shot gun and was ready to put it to good use again . The ownership / Possession of any shot gun cartridges firing any shot size larger than BB was now prohibited by law and thus it was impossible to legally get ahold of any buck shot cartridges in India as well , at that time . I thus , had available to me shot gun cartridges ( of 2.75 inch length ) made by Indian Ordinance Factories in the following shot sizes : No. 6 , No.4 , No. 1 and BB . I also had Indian Ordinance Factories 12 Bore “ Ball “ cartridges . These 2.75 inch cartridges employed a 1.25 ounce spherical ball of hardened lead .

However , neither the shot gun , nor the ammunition could even remotely be considered “ reliable “ without having a great deal of work done to them .
The shot gun was too light to be used with “ Ball “ cartridges without inducing a painful recoil . I had to have more weight added to the wooden stock , in order to ensure that the gun was successfully counteracting recoil properly . The original sear springs of my shot gun had long been broken in 1968 and were replaced with the sear springs of a damaged English John Dickson & Son side by side shot gun by a local Indian gun smith in Jammu . This significantly helped to reduce the number of mis fires which were occurring with the gun , when using it’s original factory sear springs.
When purchasing fresh shot gun cartridges , I always had to break them down and then remove the propellant powder . This powder would need to be run through a sieve at least twice before being re loaded in to the cartridges again . Indian Ordinance Factories propellant powder would always burn extremely dirty and was prone to ignition failures as it used to have a great deal of impurities in it . Shot cups and wads also were often improperly placed in the cartridges and these needed to be properly re adjusted and re set in to the cartridges . Carrying out this arduous task would ensure that the cartridges were at least REASONABLY reliable .

I resolved to only shoot game at night , with the aid of a powerful torch light .
Thus , I began my legally taboo Shikar practices and I suddenly was full of life once more . Our Tea Estate workers were all sworn to secrecy . They had all worked for my parents for years , even before I was born and none of them supported the Wild Life Protection Act - 1972 , anyway . More over , I would often donate large quantities of delicious game meat to them and thus , they got along quite well with me . Not only did they turn a blind eye to my poaching activities , but they also actually helped me during my Shikars on more than 1 occasion .
Life was good . I was purchasing fresh cartridges from Calcutta every month and I had a few close friends who would also hunt with me , in the Tea Estate .
We lived far away from forest department officials and the city and thus gun shots would not typically be heard .
If anyone ever asked about the gun shots , then we would merely claim that we were engaging in a little night time target shooting .

Let it be known however , that even though I was a poacher ... I always adhered to certain standards or principles . Being conscripted in to the Bangladesh Liberation War and being forced to take human life and watch human life get taken through my rifle scope , had instilled in me , the value for all forms of life .
I NEVER touched folidol in my life . I would much rather stop hunting altogether , rather than use this vile substance on ANY animal . I also eschewed snares and traps and preferred to rely solely upon my competence with fire arms . After all , I was not doing this for the money. I had a medical degree and my family owned a Tea Estate . I was a man who simply enjoyed hunting so much that I would not let a draconian law get in my way from practicing my beloved hobby.
I never shot anything except fully mature animals ( and largely males , whenever the situation allowed it ) . I also did not believe in the wantonly indiscriminate slaughter of game animals and mostly shot whatever game I knew would be eaten or put to use by man , and I made it a point to never shoot more than as much as we were going to eat , on a single particular occasion . Despite being a Muslim , I always made sure that the fresh pork harvested from the Wild Boars shot by me were put to good use . The meat would always go to our Non Muslim friends and employees . If I was shooting an animal solely for the sport ( i.e animals which could not be consumed , such as the Baboons or Hunting Leopards ) , then I would still make sure that I never shot more than a specified quantity of them , at any single time . Of course , exceptions had to be made by me for those animals which were damaging our tea plants or devastating our live stock or menacing our employees . These animals needed to be destroyed without any limitations on my part , whatsoever . Baboons in particular , were a huge menace to our tea plants .



The Hunting Leopards which would come down from the hills , however were always a constant problem to the peace and sanctity of the Jolpaiguri Tea Estate .
These menacing felines could weigh up to 90 Kilograms in a fully grown male and were a constant threat to our Tea Estate workers . By the time , I had returned home from the Bangladesh Liberation War , no less than 3 of our loyal employees had fallen prey and lost their lives to man eating Hunting Leopards .
With the passing of the Wild Life Protection Act - 1972 , there was now no way whatsoever , by which a law abiding Indian citizen could dispatch these devil cats . Fortunately for our employees , I was not a law abiding citizen anymore . When laws were stupid , I did not follow them .
I resolved to start shooting the leopards which would enter the Jolpaiguri Tea Estate , at every opportune moment .
And thus , between 1972 to 1974 ( when my family and I moved to Bangladesh permanently ) .... I took out 25 West Bengal Hunting Leopards successfully .
Not only were our employees relieved that their employer's young son was keeping them safe , but as a bonus for keeping silent about my nocturnal Shikar habits ... I would frequently also gift them the hidess of the Hunting Leopards which I was shooting . Under the table , the hide of a West Bengal Hunting Leopard used to fetch a great deal of money back in those days .
1 particular incident in January , 1963 deserves special mention . It was the night I had gone after a man eating Black Panther ; an animal so rare that it used to be a protected species , even during the time when Shikar was legal in India , prior to 1972 . And that is the story which I shall share today..... "
View attachment 337303
Final page of the Professional Shikaree's Regulation Book for 1967 , specifically listing the Black Panther as a protected species .

View attachment 337300

Indian Ordinance Factories 12 Bore double barreled side by side shot gun , known to Indian shikarees as " IOF 12 Bore DBBL" gun .
Friend Ponton
It's a shame the reasonably good looks of the IOF shot gantry and hide the fact that they were pieces if junk.
Bob
 

Panther Shooter

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as a life long hunter and former soldier, i welcome any others into my circle of world wide friends. a very hardy welcome to AH.
Leslie Hetrick
Thank you very much . I am honored to be a member of AH . It is always an immense pleasure to interact with other hunters and gentlemen who have served their country .
 

Major Khan

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Friend Ponton
It's a shame the reasonably good looks of the IOF shot gantry and hide the fact that they were pieces if junk.
Bob
Oh... " junk " would be the under statement of the year , Bob. Panther Shooter actually had a barrel of 1 of these pieces of garbage BURST once , and he received severe burn injuries to his left hand. This occurred when he was using a standard 2.75 inch Indian Ordinance Factories 12 Bore cartridge . Indians cannot make even passably safe fire arms ... even if their life depends on it .
 

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