My Second Man Eating Royal Bengal Tiger


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Jul 8, 2021
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Zambia , Namibia , Kenya , Mozambique , Zimbabwe
Hey, gents. I’ve been throwing together a little book about my tiger hunting experiences since I’ve been told that there’s a market for this sort of thing. As many of you know, I used to be the D.F.O (Divisional Forest Officer) of the Sundarban mangrove forests from ‘81 to ‘89.

After the Indo-Pak war of ‘71, only 4 Royal Bengal tigers (all man eaters) were legally hunted in the Sundarbans (one in ‘81, one in ‘87, one in ‘88 and the final one in ‘89). The one in ‘87 was killed by a gun-trap set by two of my forest guards. The other three were shot by me.

I’ve seen a lot of dramatic tiger hunting stories on these forums by a few other members (whether or not I actually believe them is another story). So just as an experiment, I’ve decided to post one chapter (the tiger hunt of ‘88) here. If you fellows want to see more, then who knows ? Maybe I’ll actually go forward with publishing the whole book for the international hunting audience. Let me know your thoughts.

By the way, don’t be put off by the colonial English writing tone of my agent. I suppose he wanted to make the book sound more old school.

Oh, and by the way… I know that a lot of forum members here (the “Great Tiger Hunters” in particular) have been caught using photos taken from the internet and pretending is if they’re their own. Well, there’s a little feature called “Google Image Search” which can easily locate any photo which might potentially be taken from the internet. Pretty simple method of exposing fakes. You won’t be finding any of my photos on the internet. You can quote me on that.

Alright, then. Here, I go.


The Author With The Man Eater Of Chand Pai (1988)
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The year was 1988 and I was trying my best to continue to flawlessly perform my duties as the Divisional Forest Officer of the Sundarbans. It was at this time, that reports of a man eating Royal Bengal tiger operating in the Chand Pai forest range had begun to surface. The animal had already killed 16 local villagers (mostly woodcutters and farmers, but also a few fishermen) and numerous heads of cattle, by the time the reports had begun to reach my ears. The creature was targeting farms and human settlements near the edges of the forested area. And the Sundarban Department of Forests were at their wit’s end, by attempting to contend with him.

As usual, all non-lethal means of attempting to contend with the man eater had been attempted. The forest department officers lit massive bonfires around the local farms in the forest range, but it was no use. They spent the entire day loudly beating drums and encircling the area from dusk to dawn, but it did not produce any successful results. They even spent quite a few days lighting fire crackers and having forest sentries fire off entire magazines of their issued .303 caliber Lee Enfield rifles into the air… hoping that the loud noises would act as deterrents and ward the Royal Bengal tiger off from the locality. But it was all in vain. The man eater went on killing local residents and heads of cattle with utter impunity. When attempts to ward off the tiger proved to be unsuccessful, the forest department officers attempted to capture the animal alive. They dug pit-fall traps and covered them with leaves. They set up snares camouflaged in the green forest floor. They even set up weighted cages (filled with raw meat to act as bait) with doors rigged so that the cages would shut the very moment the tiger stepped in. But it was to no avail. Whatever the forest department officers had planned in store for the man eater, the wily animal always seemed to be 2 steps ahead of them. Matters came to a head, when the tiger had claimed it’s 26th human victim.

With local residents absolutely paranoid and complaints about the man eater mounting every single day, I finally travelled to Dacca and submitted a report to the Chief Conservator in which I thoroughly broke down the reasons why it was necessary to get the Ministry of Forests to issue a Death Order for the man eater. The Chief Conservator then arranged a meeting with the Ministry of Forests. It took the Chief Conservator every ounce of persuasion he had, in order to convince the government that this man eating Royal Bengal tiger was not only a threat to human lives … but was also causing serious harm to government revenue. After the Chief Conservator went out of his way to explain that EVERY SINGLE NON LETHAL MEANS OF ATTEMPTING TO DISPOSE OF THE MAN EATER had proven to be unsuccessful, the Ministry of Forests finally conceded and gave the Chief Conservator exactly what I wanted:

A Death-Order for the tiger.
But now, only half the problem had been resolved. Who was to tie the bell around the cat? In other words, who was to actually attempt to kill the Royal Bengal tiger? Being the official Shikari of the Sundarban Department of Forests, old Pachabdi was naturally the first man to be approached. And he really did try his best. For 3 weeks, he kept setting gun-traps near the partially eaten corpses of the man eater’s human victims. But it was almost as if this tiger possessed a(n) (in)human level of intelligence. The tiger had developed a very cunning habit of walking through the forest with a tree branch between it’s teeth. The tree branch used to tug on the tripwires and would set the gun-traps off prematurely, without even remotely harming the man eater. The tiger would then complete feeding upon the rest of the human corpses with utter impunity and make off into the forest. Finally, Pachabdi reported to me that this man eater was not destined to die by his hand. With Pachabdi being ruled out as the one to potentially hunt the man eater, the Sundarban Department of Forests approached the only other man whom they knew had personal experience with hunting Royal Bengal tigers- Me.

Up until that point, I had mixed success in the craft of hunting man eating Royal Bengal tigers. In 1981, I had successfully managed to dispatch a notorious man eater which was operating in Mohesshoripur (although the cunning feline had almost succeeded in dispatching me). In the December of 1986, I had unsuccessfully attempted to shoot a man eating Royal Bengal tiger which was operating in the Talpatti forest range… Only to fail in a most spectacularly embarrassing manner.

Anyway, back to the matter at hand. When the forest department officials approached me to hunt down the man eater, I was initially hesitant to step in. Based on my experience with hunting Royal Bengal tigers, it was a very dangerous and trying task. Surely, far more qualified Shikaris existed in this field than I. I met so many hunters in my career, who used to publicly boast about shooting Royal Bengal tigers by the dozens during the East Pakistani era (when Royal Bengal tigers were offered no legal protection and were equated to vermin). They told dramatic accounts of hunting the great cats alone on foot, and of sometimes shooting as many as 3 Royal Bengal tigers in 1 night. It seemed quite strange to me as to why none of these gallant fellows volunteered to step in, once the Death-Order for the man eater was issued (along with a reward of financial nature). Eventually, I agreed to hunt down the man eater after news of him claiming his 30th human victim had been made public.
Taking along my 12 bore Sikender, my .22 Long Rifle caliber BRNO Model 2 bolt action rifle (which I had purchased from a gun shop in Dacca by the name of “Shikar O Shikari” in 1982) and my .32 ACP caliber Webley Model 1921 (and a good supply of cartridges for all 3 firearms), I headed for the Sundarbans as fast as I could. After going to the armory of Sundarban Department of Forests, I collected the 7x57mm Mauser caliber Churchill Model Imperial rifle from there (along with the remaining 7 Winchester Super X 175 grain soft nosed cartridges) and contacted Mustapha. It was Mustapha who had held the 5-cell torchlight for me, when I had successfully shot the man eater of Mohesshoripur in 1981. He was a most fearless and faithful companion. And I immediately resolved that if I was actually going to hunt down another man eating Royal Bengal tiger… then, Mustapha would be one to accompany me once again.

When young Mustapha found out that I intended to go after another man eater, he immediately agreed to provide his services to me with full dedication. I would expect nothing less from a young man with his level of integrity. And so, we both (accompanied by a dozen forest sentries) headed off to the Chand Pai forest range where the troublesome tiger was operating. It so happened that the animal had begun to target a ranch where the owners (3 brothers) were breeding hybrid cattle for selling to the local market at Khulna port. The animal had fatally mangled and fed on no less than 7 of the employees at the farm. Most of the other employees had resigned from their job, out of fear for the man eater. Only the 3 owners and an old caretaker by the name of Abul had remained behind.
When we arrived at the scene, the owners were immensely frustrated at the massive amount of financial loss which the man eater had begun to cause them. With most of the tiger’s potential human victims having evacuated the area, the animal had begun to kill and feed on the ranch’s prized hybrid cattle. When I arrived at the ranch, the owners desperately asked me how I intended to hunt down the man eater. I replied that everything was under control and I ordered my forest sentries to have a macchan constructed for me. But this time, I was much more particular with my set of instructions as to how the macchan was to be built.

If my dear readers will recall how I ended up shooting the man eater of Mohesshoripur in 1981, then they will clearly remember my repeated failed attempts to shoot the tiger from multiple macchans. Not only would the animal immediately get alerted by the sound of Rashid’s coughs, but I would later learn that the macchans were also being improperly constructed by my men. The macchans were far too visible to the eyes of the man eater. Since then, I took to a great deal of extensive reading in order to hone my bushcraft. I also always attempted to gather knowledge from those around me, who knew more about the subject matter. In 1986, Pachabdi taught me that there was a particular art to constructing a macchan in order to successfully ambush a Royal Bengal tiger. The trick was to build the macchan on a tree, and to camouflage the structure as if it was just a natural part of the tree. That way, the tiger would never suspect a thing.
With the macchan constructed, I decided now we needed some appropriate bait. Previous experience from the incident in Talpatti in 1987 had taught me that live baits are useless for enticing Royal Bengal tigers in the Sundarbans (even more so for one which has turned man eater). So I thought of trying something a bit different. What if I used an artificial bait? There were a large number of Bengal bush boars in the area (as can be found all over the Sundarban mangrove forests) and they could usually be found near the mouths of the canals where they would come to drink water. I resolved to shoot one and use the carcass as bait for the man eater.

Since I could not risk shooting the boar with my 12 bore Sikender or the forest department’s 7x57mm Mauser Churchill Model Imperial (since the loud noise of these 2 weapons would be bound to alert the man eater), I decided to use my .22 Long Rifle caliber BRNO Model 2 (which did not sound much louder than a balloon bursting). Loading the magazine with 5 Eley Rifle Club 40 grain solid cartridges and inserting it into the rifle’s receiver, I flipped off the safety catch and (taking 3 forest sentries with me) made my way towards the nearest canal mouth where I had last seen a small sounder of Bengal bush boars. When we arrived at the canal mouth, I saw 2 Bengal bush boars (a male and a sow) drinking water from the mouth of the canal. I was roughly 70 yards away from them and they still had not spotted me.

Raising my .22 to my shoulder, I took aim at the male ... hoping to make a broadside heart shot. I fired a single shot and the little 40 grain lead bullet caught the animal right behind the shoulder, downing him on the spot. Upon seeing her companion drop dead, the sow bounded off into the thickets out of fear for her own life. As we went forward to examine the fallen male Bengal bush boar, I saw that my bullet had gone right through the soft part behind the shoulder (indicating that he had been struck in the heart). I had my forest sentries carry the carcass of the Bengal bush boar back to the farm, and we all noted his immense weight. He could not have weighed less than 135 kilograms. Upon returning to the farm, I had my men lay down the boar’s carcass on the ground … exactly 20 measured yards away from where I had the macchan previously built.

As the sun began to set, I ordered everybody (except Mustapha) to head indoors and not to step outside until dawn… no matter what sounds they would hear. I loaded the breech of my 12 bore with a plastic cased Eley Alphamax L.G cartridge and the magazine of the forest department’s 7x57mm Mauser with 6 soft nosed cartridges. I also loaded the magazine of my .32 ACP pistol with 8 GECO 73 grain Full Metal Jacket cartridges. With my 3 firearms ready, Mustapha and I climbed up the macchan got everything ready. Mustapha had already used a Ram Dao (a large bush knife with a slightly curved blade) to cut off a Y shaped branch from a nearby tree. He set it up as a makeshift tripod, on the edge of the macchan. On this, I rested the barrel of my 12 bore and cocked the hammer. I laid the 7x57mm Mauser next to me and put my .32 ACP pistol in my pocket. On a small bowl next to me, I placed 5 extra Eley Alphamax L.G cartridges and told Mustapha to check the batteries of the 5-cell torchlight. For a moment, I contemplated whether I should attempt to shoot the man eater with my 12 bore or with the 7x57mm Mauser.

I eventually opted for the 12 bore, because it was with this weapon that I had successfully shot my first man eater in 1981. As I have already explained in the first chapter of this book, 8 lead pellets from a 12 bore Eley Alphamax L.G cartridge permitted for a greater margin of error than a single rifle bullet… especially when one is shooting at the dead of night over the beam of a 5-cell torchlight. With everything finally ready, Mustapha and I began to wait as darkness befell us. But alas, the tiger never showed up.


The Author (Right) & Assistant Range Officer (Left) With Bengal Bush Boar Shot By The Author For Use As Royal Bengal Tiger Bait (1988)
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Mustapha and I spent the next 2 nights on the macchan in a similar manner, all in the hopes that the man eater would eventually come to feed on the carcass of the Bengal bush boar. But it never happened. The carcass gradually rotted and became putrid, but something very revealing occurred exactly 1 day after Mustapha and I finally gave up trying to employ the Bengal bush boar’s carcass as bait: The man eater had killed and partially fed upon a large bullock on the OTHER side of the farm. This taught me the hard learnt lesson that artificial baits (such as the carcass of the Bengal bush boar which I had shot) were just as useless as live baits for enticing (man eating) Royal Bengal tigers in the Sundarbans.

But more importantly, as I went to look at the bullock’s partially eaten carcass … I hatched a new plan on how to ambush the man eater. When I examined the carcass, I noticed that the dead bullock was missing large chunks of flesh from his rear legs. Previous experience from 1981 had taught me that the man eater would be back sometime after sundown, in order to complete feeding upon the rest of the bullock’s carcass. I ordered my forest sentries to immediately build a large macchan on a nearby Goran tree, which overlooked the natural kill-site of the Royal Bengal tiger (i.e the bullock carcass). With everything ready just like our previous attempts, Mustapha and I ascended the macchan via a rope ladder and we began to quietly wait once again.
At 10:15 PM, Mustapha could feel as if we were not alone anymore. He silently motioned me to get ready, as his hand tightly gripped the 5-cell torchlight. I could faintly hear the sound of a large carnivora chomping down on copious amounts of raw meat. I readied my 12 bore shotgun, as Mustapha turned on the torchlight. In the beam of the torchlight, I only saw a huge pair of yellow glowing eyes hunched over the carcass of the dead bullock. Aiming an inch below the eyes (making a mental note of where the Royal Bengal tiger’s chest might be), I pulled the trigger. The loud report of the 12 bore shotgun echoed through the entire forest range. In the dead of night, it sounded as if an artillery shell had gone off. The report of the shotgun blast was instantly followed by the deafening roar of pain from the man eater. I had heard this all too familiar roar of pain when I shot my first man eater in 1981.

I knew from this sound, that I had hit the tiger. Within a fraction of a second, Mustapha and I heard the loud growling noises of the pain maddened Royal Bengal tiger as it bounded off into the depths of the forest. I desperately worked the top lever of my shotgun to get the breech open and pried out the empty cartridge with the blade of my folding knife (because the shotgun’s poor quality ejector had failed to extract the fired cartridge, as usual), before loading in another Eley Alphamax L.G cartridge and snapping the weapon’s breech shut. Even as I pulled back the hammer, I could hear the sounds of bush twigs snapping in the distance as the wounded Royal Bengal tiger was running off into the distance. Mustapha and I patiently waited for the rest of the night, prepared for the man eater to return and attempt to bullrush the macchan in order to exact vengeance upon his tormentors. However, the rest of the night passed uneventfully. The man eater did not return.

At dawn, Mustapha and I finally climbed down from the macchan. We met the ranch owners, the care takers and my forest sentries. They were all anxious to hear about what had happened, after hearing the shotgun blast last night. We found a large pool of blood near the remains of the partially eaten bullock carcass. The blood trail led all the way to a ditch, which was roughly 30 yards away from where the bullock’s carcass was.

There, lying in the bottom of the ditch… was a large male Royal Bengal tiger with blood still seeping from a gunshot wound in the front of his chest. He was dead and from the looks of things (i.e the carcass’s rate of decomposition), had succumbed to the gunshot wound at least 4 hours after I had shot him. My men all cheered in joy and bowed before me, to pay their respects. This man eater would trouble the locals of the Chand Pai forest range no more.
A postmortem revealed that all 8 pellets from the Eley Alphamax L.G cartridge had hit the animal in the frontal region, with at 7 L.G pellets striking the man eater in the chestal area and 1 L.G pellet striking him in the throat. The L.G pellets which had struck the tiger in the chest, had flattened out (like little balls of clay) on the rock hard chest muscles of the man eater. Not a single 1 of those 7 pellets had managed to reach the animal’s heart. However, the 1 L.G pellet which had managed to hit the man eater in the throat … had (by some stroke of immense good fortune) managed to sever the tiger’s jugular vein. No doubt, this was what had eventually caused the animal to bleed to death and hemorrhage from blood loss.

He was an old animal, with a great deal of missing fangs and several broken claws. His reasons for turning to the flesh of man for food has become as clear as day. His advanced age had rendered him incapable of hunting his natural prey (Axis deer and Bengal bush boars), for which reason he had turned to human beings and cattle for sustenance- Much more easy quarry to hunt than the wild beasts of the forest.

And that was how in 1988, I had managed to down my second man eater. This “feat” had earned me the nickname of “Tiger Habib” amongst my peers and while they all gave me the nickname out of a show of respect… I never could quite get used to it.



Right: 12 Bore (2 3/4 Inch) Full Choke Sikender Single Barrel Shotgun (Made In Sialkot, Pakistan) Employed By The Author To Hunt His First Two Man Eaters (1981 & 1988). Left: 7x57mm Mauser Churchill Gunmakers Model Deluxe (Assembled By Dara Adam Khel in Pakistan) Employed By The Author To Hunt His Final Man Eater (1989)

12 Bore 36 Gram Eley Alphamax L.G Cartridges Employed By The Author To Hunt His First Two Man Eaters (1981 & 1988).

7x57mm Mauser Winchester Super-X 175 Grain Soft Nosed Cartridges Employed By The Author To Hunt His Final Man Eater (1989)
Oh, and by the way… I know that a lot of forum members here (the “Great Tiger Hunters” in particular) have been caught using photos taken from the internet and pretending is if they’re their own. Well, there’s a little feature called “Google Image Search” which can easily locate any photo which might potentially be taken from the internet.
I actually quite enjoyed all the tiger and leopard hunting stories in old India and Bangladesh on this forum. It would never cross my mind to check origin of photos. Thanks for highlighting this.
Thanks a lot for sharing this hair raising adventure @Hunter-Habib I hope you will continue on publishing more of them. These stories deserve to be conserved for the future.

I had picked up on inklings that some boasts from others were not entirely truthful. Thank you for having pointed this out.

hope to read more,

Well done Tiger Habib! I enjoyed the story and the way in which you explained some of the pitfalls of earlier attempts. I doubt that any of us will ever get the chance to hunt Tigers and it's nice of you to give us a small glimpse into what that's like.

it still it amazes me about a government that seems to put more value on a animal over human life, i think the wayward animal should have been killed as soon as possible(before 16+ humans). as most here are hunters and armed, they would have been ready to kill the animal as soon hey could with out asking any government permision . and please keep the stories coming, thank you.

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There is something fascinating about stories of hunting an individual animal that is not only potentially dangerous, but that actually has proven to be so. I really enjoyed reading your story and would be very pleased to read more. Thank you for sharing!

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