Man Eater: Descent Into Depravity

Major Khan

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Tonight , l will tell you all a story which may strike the hearts of many , in an unnerving manner. It is the story of a panther which became a man eater only through human ignorance ( or incompetence depending on how one looks at it ). It will be a little graphic , so if details of violence inflicted on human beings unsettles any of my readers , then perhaps this one is best skipped. Let us begin .
Our story begins in 1968, 16th March in a small farm North East of Nagpur .My friend , Tobin and l were were hunting hog deer in the area to take a little fresh venison back to our families .
Tobin was using his Belgian FN .423 Mauser bolt rifle , using 347 grain metal covered bullets.
I was using my Belgian 12 calibre side by side shot gun , loaded with Eley Lethal Ball cartridges .
With us , was my servant boy , Ponual . Tobin had already taken a hog deer that day ( which we had carried back to Tobin’s jeep ) and l had just spotted 1 , which l was about to start stalking .
However , we had suddenly heard a gun shot , ring out in the distance . It was the unmistakable sound of a 12 calibre shot gun. Tobin and l were initially not very surprised. The area was a very popular hunting location and many local shikarees were known to populate these areas. Then , it hit us . We were in this forest for the last 5 hours and we had not seen another person with a gun here the whole day . Just the odd wood cutter , or 2 . Curious , we became eager to see where the shot had come from . As we began walking in that direction , we came across a small farm and our curiosity was satisfied . We knew the farmer who owned that farm and we also knew that he owned an IOF single barrel full choke shot gun of 12 calibre . We saw him , holding the gun and eagerly looking in the direction of the forest , angrily swearing in Hindi , saying “ Saley chita baagh !” ( Evil panther !) . Tobin and l curiously asked him what had happened. The man angrily told us that a panther had broken into his farm and killed 1 of his biggest bullocks .
The man , however , in a fit of rage shot the panther with a charge of no.1 bird shot and the panther fled into the forest . The man then proudly went on to say that he had taught that nasty panther a lesson , to never attack any of his bullocks ever again.
Hearing this , Tobin looked towards the direction of the forest , rather concerned , and asked me “ Is there any chance that we could track that wounded critter and put him down ? “ . I could tell that my friend’s noble desire to end the life of any animal , which was wounded , would keep bothering him about that panther . In a misguided attempt to reassure Tobin ,
I told him “ No reason to fret , my friend . It is probably being mauled to death by a pack of wild dogs or hyenas by now . “ I always used to say this to Tobin whenever he wanted to follow a wounded and potentially dangerous animal ( wounded by someone other than ourselves ) into the thickets in order to dissuade him and give him reassurance. However , Tobin was always far from reassured and would rather give me a stern lecture about hunting ethics , before the 2 of us would end up going after that animal anyway. Even though l did it more out of my respect for Tobin instead of any ethics at that time , now as an old man , l realize what a noble habit my friend had and what a better human being he made me , over the years .

On that day , too Tobin and I would have probably followed the animal. However , we did not have any trackers with us , and the sun would set in roughly 1 hour. Thus , we went back to our homes and l was determined that the next day , l would secure my hog deer , as well .
I did not think about the wounded panther at all.
The farmer had proudly gloated that day , to us that he had taught the panther a lesson never again to attack any of his bullocks. Little did he know , how right he was. That panther never attacked a bullock again . It started attacking and eating living beings far more valuable than bullocks .

Below , l have provided a photograph which l had taken of the rear end of the dead bullock that day , to illustrate the damage a panther can do , to a bullock .
Screenshot_20191201-080117_01_01.png





In the next part of this 3 part article , l will relate what this bullock killer had turned into .
 

Major Khan

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By the beginning of April , there were reports in the areas around the North East of Nagpur of a man eating panther . It had claimed the lives of 8 people in roughly 2 weeks .
At the time , Loha Singh ( a fellow professional shikaree of Allwyn Cooper Limited ) and l were assigned to organize a driven mouse deer shoot for some Turkish clients . Now , a mouse deer is a deer which is little larger than the size of a large rodent . Typically , those who prefer using a rifle , go after these creatures with a .22 Long Rifle calibre weapon . Those who like using a shot gun , use triple A cartridges . Speaking for myself , back in those days , l would use 2.75 inch Eley Alphamax triple A cartridges ( holding 44 pellets to the cartridge ) for this sort of work . Today , in Bangladesh , l still use the same , in my old Belgian shot gun . However , sometimes , just for fun , l like taking them from a distance with my .22 Long Rifle calibre Austrian semi automatic rifle .

Below , l have provided a photograph taken by myself of my .22 Long Rifle calibre Austrian semi automatic rifle .
IMG_20191208_001645_01.jpg


That day , we had set up some tents for our clients to rest , while the beaters were getting organized .

Below , l have provided 2 photographs taken by myself . The first is of the beaters which we would use back in those days and the second is of the tent arrangements provided by Allwyn Cooper Limited for our Turkish clients that day .
Screenshot_20191201-063825_01_01.png
Screenshot_20191201-050915_01_01.png


We were just about to organize the beaters , when a land rover came to the area . It was Rao Naidu , our head shikaree of Allwyn Cooper Limited .
Rao held his Westley Richards .375 Holland and Holland magnum calibre double barreled rifle in his hands .
He shouted at Loha Singh and l " Shikar rukho ! Yaha adamkhor chita baagh heye ! " ( Stop the driven hunt and get the clients out of here ! There have been sightings of a man eating panther here ! )

Without wanting our clients to panic , Loha and l made an excuse that a sand storm was coming , and Loha escorted them all back to their hotels , in Allwyn Cooper Limited's jeep .

What Rao Naidu did not tell us was that not only was there sightings of a man eating panther in the area today , but that it had also claimed it's latest victim today ( a post man ) . When l found out , l went to the area where the corpse was found . I can tell you all that l have seen more than my fair share of human corpses in my life. However , what l saw that day seemed like an image from Dante's Inferno .
The corpse was mauled beyond recognition . About 12 feet of small intestine was jutting out of a massive jagged hole in the man's body , like a coil of British Cumberland sausage . His rib cage was ripped open and his lungs were badly punctured , no doubt . The face was looking , as if it had been savaged with a chain saw and the buttocks were missing flesh ( the unmistakable sign that the unfortunate post man was the victim of a man eater ) .

The local government was offering 500 Rupees for the destruction of this " animal serial killer " and l resolved to go after it . There was a slight inconvenience , however . My shikar partner and best friend , Tobin Stakkatz had gone to Wisconsin for a month to visit his family there and this meant that l would have to go after this man eater , completely alone , without a second shikaree to back me up , should the worst happen . And with a body count of 40 panthers ( technically 41) in his entire life , Tobin Stakkatz was just the sort of man whom you wanted to back you up , if you were going after a man eating panther . However , l had already killed 14 panthers myself by then , and so l did not consider myself too inept to handle the job .

In the next part of this article , l will detail how Ponual and l had to contend with this rascal .
 

Major Khan

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I recruited Mintu , my old Shawtaal tracker , to help me track down this brute . He and his 3 sons managed to use the locations of the corpses of the 8 victims to narrow down the area where the rascal was roaming . Then , it was just a matter of following the brute 's spoor until we had found the general area . We had found ourselves right in the centre of the grid , of where the 8 corpses had been found . My trackers were certain that the panther was passing through this area frequently and would be bound to pass through it again . I smiled in satisfaction and sent them away with a generous amount of payment for their services ( 15 rupees for Mintu and 10 for each of his sons ) . Now , it was time for me to devise a way to lure this man eater towards me . But how ?
Using a goat as bait , was out of the question , because any panther which eats more than 6 people , no longer has a taste for animal flesh . They opt for the flesh of man exclusively .

Then , Ponual came up with a rather innovative idea . Why not make a dummy from a scare crow and use it as bait ?
Bloody brilliant ! So , we purchased an old scare crow from a rakhaal ( farmer ) for 2 Rupees and we set it up , near a palm tree to mimic the position of a sitting human being . I dressed it , in one of my old white linen short sleeve shirts ( which had gotten too loose for me after l lost weight ) and an old hat belonging to my Nana ( maternal grandfather ) . I used a white shirt , because l WANTED the panther to notice it and come closer to it , to inspect it out of curiosity . I also made sure that these were clothes worn by human beings previously , so that the scent of human beings stays in those clothes . As an added form of enticement , l stuffed 2 pounds of raw mutton into the scare crow , so that the combined smell of meat and the visual appearance similar to that of a human being would entice the panther to at least get close to the dummy long enough , for me to take a shot at him .

Then , we dug a hole in the ground , using a shovel and an axe which we had brought from my family home . We covered the hole with a large piece of tarpoulin , topped with leaves and grass .

The sun had set after 2 hours and it was time to be ready for action . Ponual climbed the top of the palm tree with a pair of binoculars and l hid inside the hole in the ground , about 15 feet away from the tree . Ponual had a long piece of string in his hands , which was connected to an empty bottle of Gool ( local palm wine ) that was lying in the hole where l was hiding . When Ponual would see the panther coming , he would tug on the string . Seeing the empty bottle being pulled , it would give me a sign to be alert .

5 hours , l waited in that dirty hole . It was hot and there were many loathsome insects. I realized , at this point , how much l lacked Tobin's finesse , when he was not near me to help me out . Whenever , Tobin would dig a hole in the ground for us to hide in , to ambush a panther , he would always light a small fire inside the hole , beforehand ( during day time ) so that any insects which made their homes inside the hole would be completely driven away , so as not to bother the shikaree (s) . Clearly , l did not pay attention to so many small , but important details like my friend did .

At around half past midnight , l saw the Gool bottle moving . Ponual was tugging on it and that was my signal . I had my Belgian double barreled 12 calibre shot gun with me , loaded with a 2.75 inch long Eley Alphamax Lethal Ball cartridge in each barrel . I had attached a pencil torch light to the muzzles of the shot gun , with masking tape to aid in better visibility for night time shots . I slowly peeked my head out , carefully from the hole , to see if l could spot the panther . My efforts were immediately rewarded . His outline was very visible , as he was slowly closing in , on the dummy , curious to examine it , perhaps . I anxiously waited for the panther to get right next to the dummy , which was roughly 15 feet away from the hole where l was hiding .

Right then , l seized my chance . I flicked on the pencil torch light attached to the barrels of my shot gun and pointed it , at the head of the panther . The startled brute turned at me and l fired the left barrel of my shot gun , aiming for the spot right between the 2 eyes. Below , l have provided a photograph taken by myself of the left barrel of my old Belgian shot gun , my reliable shikar companion for the last 60 years .
FB_IMG_1575727188171.jpg







I have already described previously what amount of devastating damage an Eley Alphamax Lethal Ball bullet could do at point blank range , to a panther's head .
Needless to say , the brute was no more .
It gave out , then and there , right on the spot .
The next day , all the villagers came to see the dreaded man eater and they rejoiced at the knowledge that the brute was no more .

Below , l have provided a photograph taken by myself , of the dead brute .
With a weight of 188 pounds , he was not the most heavy or the largest panther which l had ever shot , but he certainly was one of the most dangerous
Screenshot_20191208-071335_01_01_01_01_01.png



In the next and final part of this article , l shall share some reflections of this most fortunate of shikars .
 

Major Khan

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Upon having a post mortem done to this brute's corpse , l learnt that it had a charge of no. 1 bird shot , lodged in the region between it's 2 hind legs , and the genitals had been severely damaged . Infact , they were gangrenous by the time l had killed it . Given the area where this man eater would operate ( North East of Nagpur) and the fact that exactly 2 weeks previously , that farmer in the same area had shot at a panther with a charge of local no.1 bird shot , shortly after which the reports of a man eating panther in the same area began to surface , my conclusions were inescapable .

This panther had turned into a man eater after that farmer had shot at it and not bothered with finishing it off .
Processing all this through my mind , l began to wonder if perhaps by insisting that we follow up and finish off every panther ever wounded by clients during professional shikars , maybe old Tobin ( and myself who always accompanied him into the thickets from 1965 ) had actually prevented many a panther , from becoming a consumer of human flesh and killing innocent people .

I hope that my readers have found this article worth while .
 
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Wyatt Smith

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Good story, Major Khan. I think the bottle and string is a very clever way of communicating. I’m sure that you and Tobin did save people when you followed up those wounded leopards.
 

gillettehunter

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Very smart to use a dummy for the panther to investigate. Again good shooting on your part. Thanks for telling us this story.
Bruce
 

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What an exciting story! From what I have read and been told by those in Africa, no one ever wants to go after a wounded leopard! You must have been excited by this? I would have had a heart attack with the excitement!
 

Major Khan

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Good story, Major Khan. I think the bottle and string is a very clever way of communicating. I’m sure that you and Tobin did save people when you followed up those wounded leopards.
Thank you so much , Master Smith. Always remember this . When hunting panthers , you need an extra set of eyes from higher ground .
 

Major Khan

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Wow! A well written and great story! What a unique life you have lead....
Thank you so much for enjoying this story . Indeed , l miss that old life very much . Hunting panthers was my favorite sport of all .
 

Major Khan

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Very smart to use a dummy for the panther to investigate. Again good shooting on your part. Thanks for telling us this story.
Bruce
Thank you so much for enjoying this article . To be very honest , l myself did not know if it would work at the time .
For normal panthers , l would usually use a goat at bait . Occasionally , l would use human corpses purchased from medical college students .
 

Major Khan

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What an exciting story! From what I have read and been told by those in Africa, no one ever wants to go after a wounded leopard! You must have been excited by this? I would have had a heart attack with the excitement!
Thank you so much , Ridge Walker . Believe me , when l say this . There is nothing worse for a professional shikaree than having to follow a wounded panther into the thickets .
However , l would also be lying if l said that l did not get an adrenaline rush from doing it . My favorite sport of all time was hunting panthers . I believe that you are far braver than you say .

As a side note , a mutual friend of Kawshik's and mine has actually killed 81 of these brutes ( panthers ) and he was just a local shikaree and not a professional ( albeit , a highly skilled one ) .

Below , l have provided a local newspaper article covering the exploits of our friend . At the time , this article was written , Captain Kareem Hossain Newaz had killed his 73rd panther in 1984 . He killed his 81st panther , 2 or 3 years ago , at the age of 72. Even now , if there are any live stock killing panthers or man eating panthers troubling any Bangladeshi villagers near any of the forested areas , he will be more than happy to go and hunt it down.
received_531068654383343.jpeg
 

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Thanks for sharing this panther hunt story. Thank you for protecting the community from for this man eater. I think often people today value animals more than people created in the image of God. Thank for for preserving human life by hunting this panther. I think you undervalue your ethics—to me you did the right thing! Thank you.
 

Major Khan

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Thanks for sharing this panther hunt story. Thank you for protecting the community from for this man eater. I think often people today value animals more than people created in the image of God. Thank for for preserving human life by hunting this panther. I think you undervalue your ethics—to me you did the right thing! Thank you.
I am touched, Gesch , by your thoughtful comment . I disgust the stunts of these so called " animal activists ", whose only experience with animals is Walt Disney and Animal Planet .
A man eater must be killed without any other alternative .
 

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Poton, thanks for another exciting story. No doubt you saved a lot of lives by killing this man-eater. I hope that retelling the "tales of your youth" brings you some small measure of excitement and pleasure. I am enjoying them immensely. Your buddy Tobin certainly "had a few tricks up his sleeve." When you killed a man-eater and collected the reward were you also able to sell the hide? If so, how much would that bring? How did the total amount compare to what you would have received for guiding a hunt?
 

Major Khan

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Poton, thanks for another exciting story. No doubt you saved a lot of lives by killing this man-eater. I hope that retelling the "tales of your youth" brings you some small measure of excitement and pleasure. I am enjoying them immensely. Your buddy Tobin certainly "had a few tricks up his sleeve." When you killed a man-eater and collected the reward were you also able to sell the hide? If so, how much would that bring? How did the total amount compare to what you would have received for guiding a hunt?
Thank you so much , Shootist43 for always supporting me from the very beginning of my time here. You are a good friend . To answer your question ,
It must be remembered that l was Allwyn Cooper Limited's specialist for guiding shikars for royal Bengal tigers , and for a shikar , l was paid 6000 Indian Rupees .

Whenever l killed a man eating panther , l would always be able to keep the hide , which fetched roughly 800 to 1000 rupees depending on the size of the leopard and the condition of the skin . I was able to keep the hides , because l killed those 13 man eating panthers alone .
For the 7 man eating royal Bengal tigers which l finished off , it must be remembered that ( with the exception of the first royal Bengal tiger which l had ever shot ) , l never actually killed those royal Bengal tigers myself , but merely finished off a heavily wounded animal already wounded by other members in my shikar party ( my specific role in that 3 man team , was to finish off any royal Bengal tiger which was heavily wounded and had retreated into the thickets . )
For the royal Bengal tigers , we sold the skin and divided the proceeds in 3 shares .
Tobin was the shikaree who introduced all of us Indian shikarees to the American tricks of the trade , relating to bush craft.
 

Major Khan

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I have thoroughly enjoyed all of your posts.
Many thanks for sharing.
Thank you so much , Doctor .
On a side note , l have read that you own a .416 Remington magnum calibre bolt rifle . How it this cartridge ?
 

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