The Last Day On The Job

Discussion in 'Articles' started by Major Khan, Jun 27, 2020.

  1. Major Khan

    Major Khan AH Legend

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    Tonight , on African Hunting Forums ... I am going to share the reminiscence of the final day in my 10 year career , as a professional shikaree ( From 1961 - 1970 ) . It was the last and final shikar which I had ever guided in India , thus marking the end of an era never to return . Let us wind the clocks back , Dear Readers ...To January , 1971 .
    4B0D88A1-AA65-458E-B8E7-709B44FF4AA6.png
    End of an era . Photograph taken by myself .
     

  2. Major Khan

    Major Khan AH Legend

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    Our days were coming to an end . More and more newly elected government officials were turning out to be grossly prejudiced against the noble sport of shikar . Gone were the innocent days of my childhood in the 1940s . Gone were the colorful days of my teen age years in the 1950s . Gone were the glamorous , thrilling and adventurous days of my professional shikaree career in the 1960s . I would be turning 30 years old on February . And I could see my world getting smaller and smaller . Hunting was ( and IS ) my life . Yet , the anti hunting swines were slowly increasing their strength in numbers and their influence ... All over India .

    Mr. Vidya C Shukla had announced that Allwyn Cooper Limited would have it’s final working day on the 15th of January . Then , the company was closing down for good . All of Allwyn Cooper Limited’s professional shikarees were being dismissed . Several ( Such as Ajay Kumar Reddi ) were selling off their fire arms and entering new lines of work . Others , such as Suresh Thakur and Riaz Sharrif were moving to other countries ... Where the public perception of hunting , was far more positive . Even old Tobin and his family were permanently moving back to Wisconsin , in America ... By the 15th of February . And there , in the middle of it all ... Was me .

    My girl friend and I were now married and our son was 1.5 years old . The 4 of us ( Myself , my grand father , my wife and my son ) lived in my family house in Nagpur . But severe thoughts crept in to all of our minds , about what would happen to all of us ... If shikar was banned . Ignoring the fact that shikar was my LIFE & PASSION , it was also the way via which I was earning money for my entire family . After the birth of our son , my wife had to give up modeling and had to tend to the child . My little boy was the apple of my eye . He was playful and cheerful . How ever , he was also incredibly naughty and 1 of us needed to always look after him . I was a professional shikaree , and it was the 1 thing which I was really good at . Hunting was my trade , fire arms were my tools and the forests of India were my work place . With out hunting ... What would I do ?


    How ever , it was only the 7th of January ... And there was still good money to be made . Because Allwyn Cooper Limited had a final client , coming to Nagpur ... For his very 1st ( And last ) Indian shikar . With only myself remaining behind , as Allwyn Cooper Limited’s final available professional shikaree ... It goes with out saying that I was assigned to be the gentle man’s professional shikaree . And I would be meeting him , on the following day .
    58D5BF99-1609-487C-B967-7E7F1F870E82.jpeg
    My last photograph of my boy & I . Photograph taken by Sepoy Jalaluddin Khan .
     

  3. Major Khan

    Major Khan AH Legend

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    The next day , I visited the head office of Allwyn Cooper Limited . The once magnificent building was now a mere shell of the great stronghold of shikar ... That it once was . Gone were the majestic rugs made from the hides of royal Bengal tigers and the furs of Himalayan Brown Bears . Gone were the sofas made of the hides of forest panthers and cheetal deer and the leather of gaur bisons . Gone were the hundreds of trophy heads of of game ... All of which had once adorned the walls . Gaur heads , cheetal heads , kakar heads , Chinkara heads , 4 horned buck heads , black buck heads , royal Bengal tiger heads . You name it . It was all gone . We once used to have an extremely spacious cafeteria , there ... Where 20 different items were available ( My personal favorite used to be the grilled mutton chops and paratha flat breads with mint yogurt sauce ) . Now , the cafeteria itself ... Was completely gone . The air conditioners had been removed and most of the lights were removed , as well .

    A building which was once full to the brim , with lively and enthusiastic sports men ... Was now virtually empty . Only 2 people were present in the entire building :
    > The watch man , who was near the gates .
    > The clerk , who was sitting at the reception desk .

    All of the offices were now locked up , and the clerk offered me a folding chair to seat myself on ... While I waited for my client’s arrival . My heart felt extremely heavy , by looking around at the condition of what was once my home away from home . The last 10 years of my life ... Flashed before my very eyes . But then , I snapped myself out of my thoughts . It was not over , until the very end .

    My client arrived at the head office , via a taxi ( Allwyn Cooper Limited’s personal car service for all foreign clients , was naturally no longer available . ) . He was a tall , well built , mustached gentle man ... Hailing from Texas , in America . He was modestly dressed in a plaid flannel sport shirt , a pair of pleated Khaki cotton gabardine dress trousers , a brown leather belt , brown leather boots and a well worn cow boy hat . Let us call him “ Dan “ . In each hand ... Was a leather case . 1 was a modestly sized suit case . The other was quite clearly ... A rifle case . Dan walked up to the reception desk , and handed the clerk an envelope full of bills . This was his payment , for the shikar .

    I shook Dan’s hand and offered to carry his luggage for him . How ever , Dan said “ You carry 1 . I’ll carry the other . “ And so we did . We walked towards my Land Rover Series 1 , and got up . As I began driving my car to take Dan to his hotel ... We enjoyed a nice conversation . Dan was an average working class Souther gentle man , who was 41 years old . He had been saving money for the last 15 years to fulfill his life long dream : To hunt a magnificent trophy royal Bengal tiger in the grand “ Maharajah Manner “ ( By way of beats ) . This was certainly a dream , which I could make come true . And I smiled .

    After we reached Dan’s hotel ... I had a chance to examine Dan’s rifle . It was a magnificent looking Remington Model 700 “ Classic “ push feed bolt rifle , which was chambered in .375 Holland & Holland magnum . Along side this rifle , Dan had brought along 2 boxes of Winchester Silver Tip 300 grain soft point cartridges . I smiled , as I examined the box of Winchester Silver Tip soft point cartridges . The time tested “ Baagh Guli “ ( “ Tiger Bullets “ ) as we Indian professional shikarees used to refer to them . The perfect ammunition to crumple even the most imposing of royal Bengal tigers .


    After dropping Dan off to his hotel , I went to Tobin’s house to have some lunch . As usual , Tobin’s wife was an exceptionally skilled chef . She served us both the delicious oven roasted ( Rare ) tenderloin of a black buck ( 1 of 2 which Tobin and I had shot 4 days previously , in the forests of Nagpur ) . She served it alongside Dijon Mustard , horse radish cream , Caesar Salad and fried potato hash browns . We capped off our lunch with 2 tins of creamy Stout Beer . I told Tobin that I would be guiding Allwyn Copper Limited’s final client , 2 days later . I secretly wished that old Tobin would come along , sort of as my partner in crime ... For 1 last grand adventure . How ever , I had to be realistic . Tobin had ceased guiding hunts for dangerous game ... Ever since he hadlost a kidney , after getting gored by a gaur bison ( Which 1 of our clients had wounded ) .

    Miraculously enough ... It was as if old Tobin and I had the same thing on mind . He asked me “ Hey , Poton . What say your old shikar partner tag along with you guys ... For 1 last rodeo ? “ I smiled , enthusiastically . There was a reason why this man ... Was my best friend .

    I replied “ I thought you would never ask “ .
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2020

  4. Major Khan

    Major Khan AH Legend

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    2 days later , our shikar team was in the forests on the out skirts of Nagpur . We were in a particular patch of forested area , where Mintu ( My Shaotaal tracker ) and his sons had ( On the previous day ) located the spoor of a large male royal Bengal tiger . Early on this morning , We had 60 beaters encircle the patch of forested area , by establishing a 5 mile radius . They were carrying drums , flutes and all manners of musical instruments . Right in the center of the area , We had erected a large macchan .

    Our shikar team consisted of 66 people :
    > Myself - Armed with my “ Old Belgian “ , which was loaded with my hand loaded Eley Alphamax magnum 3 inch “ High Brass “ spherical ball cartridges .
    > Tobin - Armed with his Fabrique Nationale .423 ( 10.75 x 68 mm ) Mauser caliber bolt rifle , which was loaded with German RWS 347 grain solid metal covered cupronickel jacketed solid metal covered cartridges .
    > Dan - Armed with his .375 Holland & Holland magnum caliber Remington Model 700 bolt rifle , which was loaded with 300 grain Winchester Silver Tip soft point cartridges
    > Ponual , my servant boy - Who carried a satchel full of skinning implements .
    > 2 coolies - Who carried a tool box , refreshments and fine grain salt ( For preserving the hide of the royal Bengal tiger )
    > 66 village men - Assigned to serve as beaters .

    With Dan and Tobin up on the macchan ... Ponual and I were on the ground . Every body was ready . Tobin raised his .423 Mauser caliber rifle in to the air , and fired off a shot . The signal was made to the beaters ... To commence their duties . And thus , began the beat . Both Tobin and I listened emotionally to the sound of the beaters . Over the last 10 years ... This was a sound which we had grown accustomed to hearing at least 3 times per month . Now , we were listening to it for the final time in our lives .

    About an hour passed . We watched countless Nilgai being driven towards us . I shot 1 of them for the pot , with a single 16 Bore spherical ball bullet to the spinal column ... Fired from my “ Old Belgian “ . Tobin also dispatched 1 , with a single frontal heart shot ... By using a 347 grain round nosed cupronickel jacketed solid metal covered bullet , fired from his .423 Mauser caliber rifle . How ever , we also knew the golden rule of driven hunting : During a beat , the herbivores are always the 1st to get flushed out by the beaters . Carnivora shall invariably hold their ground ... Until the last possible moment . Since the Nilgais had already been flushed out ... It was a virtual certainty that the royal Bengal tiger would be next .

    And true enough ... In the distance , we could hear the roars of an irritated male royal Bengal tiger slowly getting louder and louder . We finally saw him , about 15 minutes later . He was a massive majestic looking brute , with a coat finer than Turkish velvet . Tobin whispered to Dan , “ Wait till he gets broad side of us and then , pop him in both the lungs . Widest target on the critter’s body . Even a kid doesn’t screw that shot up “ . Dan nodded obediently .

    We kept silent , as the unsuspecting brute rushed right past us . Dan ( Who kept his Remington Model 700 raised to his shoulder ) waited , until the brute was exactly parallel to us ... And had his body exposed from a broad side position . He pulled the trigger . “ Blam ! “ went the rifle , as the sharp crack of the .375 Holland & Holland magnum echoed through the entire forest . The striped brute roared in pain , as the 300 grain Winchester Silver Tip soft point bullet struck him ... Right behind the shoulder . He ran 100 yards , coughing blood from his oral cavity and nasal cavity ( The characteristic symptom of an animal which has had both it’s lungs punctured ) ... Before dropping loudly on to the green forest floor , with an authoritative “ Thud ! “ . Majestic , he was . Even in death .

    Tobin and I looked at each other wordlessly , but emotionally . We were both happy AND heart broken . Our client’s shikar had been extremely successful . How ever , our final day as professional shikarees ... Had come to an end . All of a sudden , 10 years felt like it had passed too soon . We felt like it had not even been 10 days , since we had begun our careers .


    A9708CE8-79A2-4CEF-AEE2-F342ECC15E4A.png
    Dan & his royal Bengal tiger . The beaters are in the back ground . Photograph taken by myself .
     
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  5. Aaron Nietfeld

    Aaron Nietfeld AH Fanatic

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    What a majestic way to end an amazing career! You’re stories are always enjoyable to read!

    What size of an area would a beat encompass?
     

  6. Rick Cox

    Rick Cox AH Elite

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    This going to be a great read! But it has to wait for now. Looking forward to it.
     

  7. Major Khan

    Major Khan AH Legend

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    Dan had secured a magnificent trophy . The royal Bengal tiger had a snout to tail length of 10 feet and 7 inches . He was a fully grown male , with a weight in excess of 506 pounds . A post mortem confirmed the obvious . The 300 grain Winchester Silver Tip soft point bullet had penetrated beautifully , and mushroomed perfectly inside both the lungs of the brute . I will always be a pre 64 Winchester Model 70 man , myself . How ever , even the BIGGEST critic of Remington Model 700 rifles MUST admit this : The things are damned accurate . Of course , Dan’s marks man grade shooting skills obviously had some thing to do with it , as well .

    Dan had requested a head mount to be prepared , for his royal Bengal tiger . How ever , old Tobin and I suggested him to opt for a full body mount ... Instead . Dan had just shot Allwyn Cooper Limited’s final royal Bengal tiger . No body knew what the future of hunting would be in India ... In the uncertain future . For all we knew ... Dan might been the final Àmerican to shoot a royal Bengal tiger , in India . We offered to have a full body mount prepared for Dan’s royal Bengal tiger ... At no extra cost . And thus , it was done .

    As I reflect up on my final day as a professional shikaree , I can not help but acknowledge the irony . Those of my Dear Readers who have read my previous article “ Guiding A Classic Shikar For A Royal Bengal Tiger “ ... Will know that the very 1st client whom I had ever guided on a dangerous game shikar , was an American gentle man who used a .375 Holland & Holland magnum caliber rifle ( Loaded with 300 grain Winchester Silver Tip soft point cartridges ) to successfully dispatch a male royal Bengal tiger . My final client also happened to be an American gentle man , who used a .375 Holland & Holland magnum caliber rifle ( Loaded with 300 grain Winchester Silver Tip soft point cartridges ) to successfully dispatch a male royal Bengal tiger . My very 1st client used a pre 64 Winchester Model 70 . My final client used a Remington Model 700 .

    Due to the growing influence of the vegetarian retards plaguing all of India , most of Nagpur’s excellent carveries and steak houses had already shut down . We decided to enjoy a celebratory dinner with Dan in the roof of my family house . Every body who meant anything to me were there , at the dinner . My grand father , my wife , my son , Tobin , his wife and his children . Dan was our chief guest . My wife and I served smoked leg of Nilgai , baked potatoes , sour cream and roasted vegetables . We capped the entire meal off , with a bottle of St . Estephe red wine for the adults ... And lemonade for the children .

    Dan asked me and Tobin what our plans were , in the future .Tobin mentioned his plans to return to Wisconsin and open a small electronics store . I made up my mind on what I wanted to do . I wanted to move out of India with my family , as well . I wished to go to East Pakistan , where I knew that hunting was legal and there was no social stigma against hunting . My skills with fire arms and hunting could surely be of great service to any of the 6 Divisional forest departments , in East Pakistan . I intended to apply for a job as a Divisional forest guard . Given my skill set , I could secure a high ranking position ... With virtual effortlessness . My wife and grand father greatly supported my decision , as did Tobin . Dan became close friends with Tobin and I ( He would visit me in Bangladesh and I would visit him in Texas , once every year ... Until he sadly passed away from pneumonia in 1986 ) and he told us that ... As beautiful as his royal Bengal tiger trophy was , his real trophy was the friendship which he made with us . Every thing seemed to be finally going in place .

    How ever , fate has a way of never letting us choose our own endings . On the 20th of February , my grand father went to East Pakistan for a month ... In order to look for a new family house for the Khan family . That would be the last time I ever saw him , alive . On the 25th of March , Sepoy Jalaluddin Khan was 1 of the thousands of innocent people to be killed by the West Pakistani army ... When the West Pakistani military commanders commenced “ Operation Search Light “ all across East Pakistan . On the 26th of March , the East Pakistani military leaders declared war on West Pakistan .

    I was conscripted in to the Indian Army Rangers and was then , transferred to the Mukti Bahini ( Freedom Fighters Battalion ) ... Before ultimately being posted in Rajshahi. With out going in to too much personal detail ... The War took away practically every thing I cared about . I lost part of my face , part of my tongue and most importantly to me ... My family . East Pakistan DID ( Against ALL odds ) end up winning the Liberation War In 1971 . And Bangladesh was born .

    I did move to Bangladesh , in 1972 . It turned out that Mr. Vidya C Shukla ( My former employer , and the owner of Allwyn Cooper Limited ) was a treacherous swine . A sell out , like most politicians invariably are . He did not fail to prevent the ban on hunting in India . He was secretly in league with the Gandhi Regime , all along . He aided them , in passing the bill to enact a ban on shikar ... All across India . He betrayed his own kind , just in order to advance his own political career . I stayed in the military until 1976 . Until 1988 , I worked as 1 of the supervisors at the newly formed Ordinance Factories in the South . In 1988 , I decided that I had made enough money to pursue my passion for the culinary arts . Thus , I commenced restauranting and by the Grace Of God / Allah ... It became immediately successful .

    Of course ... My main love always was , always is and alway shall remain hunting . And I am fortunately able to continue pursuing my passion , extremely well ( Although , I certainly wish that forest panthers were not a protected species in Bangladesh . 1 can only hope to shoot a forest panther or a royal Bengal tiger , which has become a man eater ) .

    Over the years , I watched countless of my former fellow professional shikarees ( Who chose to remain behind , in India ) make hefty sums of money ... By writing books which detail the “ Ecological Horrors Of Hunting “ . They portrayed themselves as “ Repentant butchers , who hunted only to earn their daily bread “ . In a ( Predominantly vegetarian ) post 1972 India ... These books made a great deal of money . A few were even made in to trashy Indian films ... With the usual vegan , anti hunting , socialist agendas . Former professional shikarees such as Ajay Kumar Reddy portrayed themselves as “ Financially insolvent simpletons who were forced to make a living ... By helping sadistic White Men satiate their blood thirsty appetites and primitive urges to slaughter poor , defenseless wild life “ . Former professional shikarees such as Donald Anderson portrayed shikar , as a sort of vice ( Like smoking ) . He claimed that shikar used to be his guilty pleasure . He claims that he used to enjoy it , but knew all too well “ That hunting is a cruel , ecologically destructive practice , which must be banned ... In order to save the earth’s wild life “ .

    I personally find such statements to be nothing short of hypocritical . Especially when you look at Don ... Who was so reckless in his pursuit of game , that his recklessness got 2 of his own men killed by dangerous game animals ( Which Don had wounded ) . And what about Ajay ? Repeatedly shooting a sleeping pregnant royal Bengal tigress ( Who was NOT a man eater ) to death , cutting out the fetus and then , posing for a photograph ... By sitting on top of the slain tigress and her fetus ( While wearing sun glasses ) ? Do these sound like the actions of a repentant man ? I would be ASHAMED to even call such an act , a “ Shikar “ . This was murder , plain and simple . It was sadism .

    Unlike many of my former colleagues , I never had any such “ Regrets “ . I have committed numerous acts in my life , which I deeply regret . How ever , hunting never was , never is and never shall be 1 of them . I always hunt(ed) carefully . I adher(ed) to bag limits . I never shot a single sleeping animal , in my entire life ( Barring 1 Ganges river crocodile ) . I never shot any immature animals or pregnant female animals . I never let any of my colleagues or employees get killed , while pursuing dangerous game . I have always firmly believ(ed) that shikar and conservation CAN , DO & MUST go hand in hand .

    To that end , I have absolutely ZERO retreats about my deeds as a hunter .

    THE END
     
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  8. WAB

    WAB AH Elite

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    Thank you.
     

  9. Bob Nelson 35Whelen

    Bob Nelson 35Whelen AH Elite

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    @Major Khan
    My dear friend Ponton. It is a pity that bitch Ghandi ruined such a beautiful country and noble profession. India could have still played an important part in the international shikarees.
    I'm very happy you will be still able to live out your days still hunting in your adopted country.
    Your humble reader and friend
    Bob
     

  10. Newboomer

    Newboomer GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Major Khan, Sir,
    That was a most revealing and factual description of the last days of shikar in India. It was and is a tragedy that such a fulfilling lifestyle should end in such a way. I am happy for you that you picked up the pieces, aided in forming a new country and prospered. Many happy returns, my friend.
     
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  11. Wyatt Smith

    Wyatt Smith AH Elite

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    Thanks for the story Major. It was a sad one to read.
     

  12. Bob Nelson 35Whelen

    Bob Nelson 35Whelen AH Elite

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    @Major Khan
    I could not imagine your dear friend Tobin missing out on the final hooray.
    Bob
     
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  13. Bob Nelson 35Whelen

    Bob Nelson 35Whelen AH Elite

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    @Major Khan
    My dear friend it was a fitting end to a magnificent career. A beat, A royal Bengal tiger, a perfect one shot kills and all in the presence of and shared with your best friend Tobin.
    As the hunting had to finish I could not imagine a more fitting end. Imagine if it was just a deer or fowl hunt to finish on.
    I share your sorrows on having to finish such a job because of such stupidity and ignorance.
    Your humble reader and friend
    Bob.
     
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  14. BenKK

    BenKK AH Elite

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    Hell of a finish, Sir!
     

  15. Bob Nelson 35Whelen

    Bob Nelson 35Whelen AH Elite

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    @Major Khan
    My dear friend to have experienced so much heartache and tragedy at a young age then become severely wounded in combat would be trying for anyone.
    To come out the other end as you have my friend is a true credit to your guts and determination to not let the past dictate your future. You are a credit to yourself and your generation. Young people should be proud to have you as a mentor, the same as I am proud to call you a friend despite not having met you in person.
    Your humble reader and friend
    Bob Nelson.
     
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  16. DieJager

    DieJager AH Veteran

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    I Just feel your pain Major when reading this. Such raw emotions and so eloquently written. God bless you Sir.
     
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  17. MS 9x56

    MS 9x56 AH Veteran

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    Major Khan that was one of the most poignant stories I have ever read. You are an honorable man I would be happy to call my freind. I am so sorry that you lost your family and were betrayed by former colleagues Life is journey full of ups and downs. You have persevered and lived an honorable and full life. Thank you for sharing this story with all of us.
     

  18. Dinosaur

    Dinosaur AH Veteran

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    Major, such a tragic story you have told, I am totally lost for words.

    I am truly grateful that you have survived, as you share such wondrous stories of adventure, and in depth knowledge, of your life in India and East Pakistan, during 'the good old days', which a lot of our forum would never have had the chance to experience.

    I am sincerely grateful that I have been lucky enough to see life through your eyes, and man, what a life you have lived, you are absolutely 'Legendary', a hunter, a scholar, and a true gentleman.

    It has been a real honor to meet you, and I look forward to hearing more of your great work.

    Take Care

    Regards
    Rob
     

  19. Major Khan

    Major Khan AH Legend

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    Thank you so much for your kind words , Mr. Nietfield . Normally , a beat shall always encompass an area with in a 5 mile radius .
     
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  20. Major Khan

    Major Khan AH Legend

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    Take your time , Rick .
     
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