One Of My Final Shikars

Kawshik Rahman

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Due to the encouragement of the founder of this magnificent web site , Mr. Jerome and a good number of other respected fellow forum members , l have decided to provide my dear readers today with a story of a Shikar which was memorable in a very positive way. This is the story of one of my final Shikars . Let us begin dear readers , by winding the clock back to March of 1970 .
It was in the middle of Shikar season , and every one of the Shikaris in Sundar Raj Shikar were preoccupied with guiding their clients after Royal Bengal tiger , leopards , Gaurs , Bears , boars or crocodiles. I was headed towards Sundar Raj Shikar early in the morning, as l was supposed to meet my respected client for the upcoming Shikar. He was a repeat client of ours and l had come to see him as a great personal friend. When l arrived , my respected client was drinking imported Turkish black coffee with Sundar Raj sir in his office. We greeted each other courteously . My client , this time wished to shoot two beasts :
One was a Sambar deer and the other , a leopard. This was a very simple request and certainly one which Sundar Raj Shikar could accommodate.
My client had brought two fire arms , both of which I had become intimately familiar with , by now.
One was a magnum .375 bore Model 70 by the American firm , Winchester . It was a rifle of an older vintage , because it has the mauser type extracting claw device . It was clean , but well worn . It's stock was split and was kept together by a glue of some sort and large bolts ( which my kind fellow forum member , Shootist43 kindly educated me , as to being called cross bolt )
For this rifle , he had brought a few boxes of the then-popular Winchester silver tip in 300 grain weight and two boxes of Winchester 300 grain metal envelope bullets .
The other gun was a 12 bore side by side shot-gun made by the Spanish firm , Astra, with 70 millimeter chambers . It originally had a fully choked barrel and a half choked barrel of 32 inch length. However , after an incident where the fully choked barrel had bulged in the past , my client had used a hack saw to remove 4 inches from the muzzle and had reduced the muzzle length to 28 inches ( and giving both the barrels zero choke ).
The gun had no ejecting mechanism , but rather had extracting mechanism.
Other than this , the weapon was in flawless condition and certainly a good one for close up work.
For this shot-gun , my client had brought 12 bore Alphamax cartridges from the English firm , Eley . These were LG cartridges and number 6 cartridges .
And thus , another exciting Shikar would begin , as the second part of this three part account shall relate.
Screenshot_20191017-224708_01_01.png

Off into the Shikar field one more time
 

gesch

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I’m looking forward to this account. Thanks
 

Kawshik Rahman

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It was a Tuesday morning and we all set off , after our Sambhar deer. Our party consisted of myself , my respected client , Rishi and Gautam ( our coolies ) and Jedediah and Rhidoy ( our loyal Garo trackers ) . Rishi carried my respected client’s magnum .375 bore bolt operation rifle . Gautam carried my client’s double barrel Astra shot-gun. I carried my old Ishapore Arms Factory 12 bore side by side shot-gun , loaded with SG cartridge in each barrel . By this point , my already poor quality gun , was in an even worse state than can be imagined. The stock had broken near the wrist and had to be repaired with a reinforcement made from local brass sheeting. There was also something very wrong with the striking pins of the shot-gun . Once every ten times , the gun would mis-fire due to the striking pins not hitting the primers in the back of the cartridges with enough force. However , Beggars cannot be choosers and that was l l had with me.
Jeddiah managed to find the tracks of a large Sambhar deer near the Pujaree area and our tracking work began.
It took us about five hours , but we finally got a glimpse of the Royal creature. He had a magnificent coat and the finest antlers ever seen. Rishi handed our client , his Model 70 rifle , which was loaded with Winchester silver tip cartridges. The client and l slowly began to creep closer towards the Sambhar deer , as he was unsuspectingly feeding on the vegetation. At a distance of 100 yards , we stopped and my client raised the rifle to his shoulder. After carefully taking aim , he shot at the deer from the side . That single Winchester silver tip bullet did it's work excellently. It pierced two lungs in the deer. He ran a short distance , coughing blood , but then the inevitable and loud Thud was heard , as the noble noble creature fell to the forest ground , lifeless. I praised my client's shooting prowess and got ready to order the coolies to carry the corpse of the Sambhar deer back to Darjeeling Circuit House . I told my client " Shahib , let us head back to the jeep " . However , Jeddiah then said
" Kawshik Bhai , dekhen ! Ekhane toh phota baagh er chinno " ( Brother , Kawshik , look ! There are the tracks of a spotted leopard on the ground . )
I looked down and true enough , old Jeddiah spoke correctly as always. They were the unmistakable tracks of a heavy Central India hunting leopard . A leopard had been nearby the area where we had shot the Sambhar. With five more hours of daylight left , l turned and asked my client " Shahib , how would you like to secure your Sambhar deer and your leopard on the same day ? "
My client smiled in approval.

I will not post a picture of the Sambhar deer yet , dear readers . But rest assured , it will follow in the final part of this account.
 

Kawshik Rahman

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I decided that l did not wish to take any risks when hunting an animal as dangerous as a leopard . I did not want to use my Ishapore Arms Factory 12 bore shot-gun , as l knew that a mis-fire at the most unfortunate of moments could possibly lead to my demise , or worse , my client's. Seeing that this client was a great , personal friend of mine , l asked him for something which l dared never ask to any other client , as it would be an act of insolence. " Shahib " l asked " May l use your shot-gun ? My own has been missing fire lately quite a bit " . My client immediately replied " It would be suicide going after dangerous game with a gun that jams . Of course , you may use it ." And thus , l handed my Ishapore Arms Factory 12 bore shot-gun to Rishi and l took my respected client's 12 bore Astra side by side shot-gun , loaded with LG cartridges ( each contained eight pellets ) . I also took four spare Eley Alphamax LG cartridges for added precaution. I kept two cartridges in the breast pocket of my cotton poplin half sleeve shirt and l kept two cartridges between my fingers.
My client had his magnum .375 bore model 70 bolt operation rifle , which was freshly loaded with four Winchester silver tip cartridge .Jeddiah and Rhidoy began to track the spoor of the leopard , as my client and l eagerly followed.
Upwards of one hour had passed , as Rishi finally whispered " Kawshik Bhai , oije ! " ( Brother Kawshik , there ! ) . He had spotted the leopard with a pair of binoculars . I took the binoculars from Rishi and eagerly , had a look . Indeed , it was a very large leopard and clearly a very heavy one. Rishi , my client and l slowly began to creep within one hundred yards of the leopard. When we were within a suitable distance from the leopard and within an acceptable range , l advised my client " Shahib , wait until he has his side fully exposed to you. Then place your aim correctly to pierce his two lungs " . However , my client was a seasoned hunter. He smiled and took aim with his rifle . The leopard was standing perfectly side ways to us. The client fired , and it was a good shot . However , no matter how proficient one is , sometimes , luck does not favour one in the Shikar field the way , we would prefer. In the fraction of a second before the trigger was fully pressed , the leopard moved at an angle and the bullet , while hitting him , did not get placed perfectly. The leopard roared and disappeared into the foliage. I immediately became alert. All of a sudden a perfect and enjoyable Shikar had now become a struggle to track and contend with a wounded leopard in thick foliage. And any professional Shikari will immediately tell you how much they loath having to contend with a wounded leopard in thick vegetation. Make no mistake . A wounded leopard in thick vegetation is almost thrice as dangerous a
unblemished leopard on open area.
My client , being a brave and honorable man , immediately operated the bolt of his magnum .375 bore model 70 to get a fresh cartridge into the breech and said " Let us finish this " . Keeping Rishi behind us , my client and l cautiously ran into the dense bushes. The blood trail was relatively thick . I had already guessed that at least one lung had been pierced . However , a leopard with one pierced lung is still very much dangerous. All of a sudden , we heard a sound behind us which made our blood run cold. As he turned , it was the leopard rushing towards us . I immediately fired the left barrel at him , at a distance of eight feet or so. Those eight .36 caliber round balls of lead certainly hit the beast in the head , and that stopped the charge. Perhaps , it killed the beast too , but l will never know . Because , at very moment , my brave client fired at the head of the leopard at a distance of three feet . The leopard never moved after that.

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Happy client and l with our Puroshkaar ( trophy )

The epilogue will follow with on more photograph.
 

Kawshik Rahman

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Rumesh and our client with the Sambhar deer and the leopard .

What a marvellous day ! We secured not one trophy , but two before sundown. One was a large Sambhar deer . The other was a massive leopard. Not only did we secure a leopard , but what was more impressive was that , even the leopard , after getting wounded , did not manage to trouble us much . Surely , fortune had smiled upon us that day. After cutting the leopard open , we discovered that only one of the eight LG pellets had penetrated the brain of the leopard. Two were found inside the cavity of his nose . The rest had flattened against the skull of the leopard.
The Winchester silver tip bullet had done devastating damage to his brain. The very first Winchester silver tip bullet had only ruptured a single lung.
I certainly liked the feel of that Astra 12 bore . It was a very comfortable shot-gun to use and the recoil of the gun ( which weighed upwards of seven pounds ) was in no way , unpleasant . My client would have a bigger in my life fifty years later. That client was Don Fernando Delgado. I never saw Fernando again after that Shikar . However , fifty years later , we would run in to each other again , in the strangest of circumstances.
In 2019 , his grandson , a member of these forums known as Hoss Delgado , would write a post which mentioned my former Shikar partner , the late Karim Chowdhury by name . It was through pure good fortune that l would find this forum on the internet one day when l was doing a search on the internet about Kynoch lethal ball cartridges ( to see if they were being manufactured anymore ) . For fifty years , l did not have any contact with the international hunting world anymore. But in 2019 , l am proud that l have become a member of African Hunting forums .
And that , dear readers concludes another account. My next article will be slightly different. If anyone has any questions about Shikar in India from 1950 to 1970 , then please let me know. I will compile a separate article to answer each and every curious reader's questions in a chronological manner. I hope that this account has proved enjoyable . Someday , l hope l see another Astra side by side shot-gun again , although l am curious as to why that barrel had bulged in the first place.
 
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Ridgewalker

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Another excellent story! I believe you two were very lucky! Oh course your skills obviously helped improve your luck! :D

Connecting with someone after 50 years is also amazing! Another example: my wife’s parents divorced when she was 2. 50+ years later her half sister found his band on the internet. We contacted him. He was so excited! We flew to San Francisco to meet him for the first time. Great experience, but he died a couple of years later.
 
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Kawshik Rahman

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Another excellent story! I believe you two were very lucky! Oh course your skills obviously helped improve your luck! :D

Connecting with someone after 50 years is also amazing! Another example: my wife’s parents divorced when she was 2. 50+ years later her half sister found his band on the internet. We contacted him. He was so excited! We flew to San Francisco to meet him for the first time. Great experience, but he died a couple of years later.
Ridge Walker
Thank you so much for your kind words. I attribute my success largely to luck and consider myself a very average hunter . For leopard , my preferred weapon would be a double barrel magnum .375 bore rifle with two triggers , no automatic safety mechanism and 26 inch muzzles , loaded with expanding bullets ( like any modern equivalent of Winchester silver tip )
It is unfortunate that your wife's family member passed away. Please offer your wife my sincerest condolences. At least , she was able to reunite with her family prior to them passing away , if that is any small consolation . I hope that he is in a better place now.
While the Astra 12 bore shot-gun loaded with LG cartridges was far from an appropriate weapon for dangerous leopards , it was still a far better weapon that the Indian made shot-gun which l had been forced to use during my career.
 

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Hey , that's gramps :D . He shaved that '70s porn star style mustache off back in 2003 ;)
Gramps still has that Astra 12 gauge sxs , Mr. Rahman :) . It's completely cylinder bore in both barrels now :) You're right :p It had 32 inch barrels , which were full choke and modified choke. The barrel got bulged , coz gramps fired 000 buckshot through the full choke barrel. So he cut em barrels down to 28 inches and removed the chokes . Now , he's got a really cool 000 buckshot gun :p
 

Kawshik Rahman

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Hey , that's gramps :D . He shaved that '70s porn star style mustache off back in 2003 ;)
Gramps still has that Astra 12 gauge sxs , Mr. Rahman :) . It's completely cylinder bore in both barrels now :) You're right :p It had 32 inch barrels , which were full choke and modified choke. The barrel got bulged , coz gramps fired 000 buckshot through the full choke barrel. So he cut em barrels down to 28 inches and removed the chokes . Now , he's got a really cool 000 buckshot gun :p
Hoss Delgado
Thank you for explaining to me. It was a beautiful gun for LG cartridges. Whoever shortened those muzzles did a professional work , as it looked brand new .
However , please respect Fernando more. He is your grandfather. I am sure he would not like to be compared to a pornographic actor simply for having a moustache .
 

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It looks like your grandfather was the real deal Hoss. Mr. Rahman is offering good advice, he can probably still whip your butt. Don’t mess with the old guys, they don’t fight fair!
 

Kawshik Rahman

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It looks like your grandfather was the real deal Hoss. Mr. Rahman is offering good advice, he can probably still whip your butt. Don’t mess with the old guys, they don’t fight fair!
Wab
Thank you so much for your appreciation. He is a good soul. Just a little unthoughtful in what he says at times . His grandfather is a very brave hunter . One of the finest gentlemen l have ever hunted with. You are correct.
 
 

 

 

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