The Marauder Of Habiganj

Professor Mawla

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Aug 15, 2020
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Today , I will relate an incident from 1976 where I shot the largest and heaviest of my 18 marauding cheetahs - The one nicknamed “ Habiganj er shontrash “ ( “ the scourge of Habiganj “ ) by the locals . I hope that it proves to be reasonably enjoyable for the other members of these forums .

Before I begin , I would like to verify that all the photographs used in this article are my personal photographs . I own exclusive rights to them and thus , they may not be reproduced without my permission .


Habiganj , Bangladesh . October , 1976
It was October 4 , 1976 when I was first assigned to supervise the building of a water tank in a tea estate , located in the Northern outskirts of Habiganj . The process would take our workers around two complete months . During this time , the owners told me that I could shoot two barking deer and two wild boar on each month at night . Considering how much I love(d) hunting and how much I enjoy(ed) the venison of wild game , I gladly took them up on their offer .

One night , I promised Joy and Rabbani ( his wife ) that I would bring them back a fine wild boar , which Rabbani intended to stuff and spit roast for serving at one of their family dinner parties . While they were certainly not poor by any means , no sensible person who eats pork would ever deny a large freshly shot wild boar which they were going to get for free . So I began to make preparations . That evening ( after the construction workers had gone back home for the night ) , I decided to have a go at a wild boar .

I was accompanied by a 25 year old man named Farid ( the assistant caretaker of the tea estate ) and at night , we decided to try finding a few wild boar near the stream which ran through the tea estate . My reason for bringing Farid along , was twofold :

A ) I needed someone who possessed a great deal of local knowledge about every nook and cranny of the tea estate and which parts of the tea estate were frequented by wild game .
B ) After shooting the wild boar ( some of which can usually weigh up to 137 kilograms in Bangladesh ) , I would need someone to help me carry the carcass back indoors .

I was carrying my Laurona 12 bore ( 2 3/4 inch chambers ) sidelock ejector side by side shotgun , which was loaded in the chamber of each barrel with an Eley Alphamax 2 3/4 inch LG shell . Clamped to the fore end of my 12 bore , was a powerful six cell torchlight ( to provide illumination for my nocturnal shooting activities ) . In the breast pocket of my blue check cotton poplin dress shirt , I kept four extra Eley Alphamax LG shells . Farid had a hurricane lamp in his hands . He suggested that we try looking for the wild boars along a particular spot near the stream where a patch of wild rice was growing .

And thus , we were off . Cautiously following the stream , we both pressed forward until we found a small sounder of wild boars feeding on the wild grain . They were about 100 yards away from us , when we noticed them . Most of the wild boars were sows and sub mature animals . However , we caught sight of three large male wild boars . After observing them for roughly two minutes , I singled out the largest one which I wanted to shoot . Instructing Farid to put out the light of the hurricane ( in order to prevent the wild boars from noticing it and getting alerted as to our presence ) , we both crouched on the ground and slowly began to crawl towards the wild boars in order to close the range between them and us .

Once we got within ten metres of the sounder , I shouldered my 12 bore as I waited for my intended target to present a favorable shot . Leaping up , I switched on the six cell torchlight and took aim at the largest male wild boar . I did not even wait for him to turn and look at me . I instantly pulled the left trigger of my Laurona 12 bore . The fairly concentrated charge of LG slugs ( there were eight in an Eley Alphamax LG shell ) caught the wild boar right between the two shoulder blades and he dropped to the shot , lying motionless on the ground . The other wild boars ( caught by surprise ) quickly dispersed . Farid and I then , approached the downed wild boar . I instructed Farid to grab ahold of the hind legs while I went to grab ahold of the fore legs . All of a sudden that wild boar sprung back to life and began dashing away . We suddenly realized that he had not succumbed to my gunshot , at all . I desperately unslung my Laurona 12 bore from my shoulder , took aim at the fleeing wild boar and instinctively pulled the right trigger . The charge of LG slugs caught him in the rear hams , but he disappeared into the thick foliage .

Hurriedly removing the two empty LG shells from the chambers of my 12 bore , I reloaded the shotgun with two more Eley Alphamax LG shells and yelled at Farid to follow me while we went after the wounded wild boar . After about 15 minutes of searching through the thick foliage , we finally found the

wild boar . He was lying motionless under some neem plants . I cautiously approached him and poked the muzzles of my 12 bore into his right eye . No movement . He had finally succumbed to his injuries and had died under the neem plants . Looking around , I realized that we had reached the very edge of the tea estate .

I took out my carbon steel Case trapper folding knife and a roll of para cord from the pocket of my cream flannel dress trousers . Cutting off two large pieces of para cord , I handed one piece to Farid while I took the other . Farid lashed the hind legs of the wild boar together , while I lashed the front legs of the animal together . I told Farid to go and look around for a suitably heavy and large tree branch . This ; we would pass between the tied up hind legs and fore legs of the carcass so that we could carry it back inside , a little easier .

Five minutes later , Farid came back to me . He did not have any tree branch in his hands and was overwhelmed with fear . When I asked him what the matter was , he motioned me to follow him . This , I duly did . I soon discovered what Farid had found , which had terrified him speechless .

It was a human corpse . A little boy ; perhaps seven years old . The boy’s scalp was almost completely ripped off his skull . Both eyes had been gouged out and both ears had been ripped off . His rib cage was torn open and his lungs were pierced . He was disemboweled and his intestines were falling out of the large lacerations in his stomach and abdomen . The boy’s corpse was missing flesh from both the buttocks . Just by observing the wound patterns on the corpse , I knew that there is only one thing which could do this to a human being - a cheetah . And the fact that both the buttocks were missing flesh , told me that this was no ordinary cheetah but a marauder .


Laurona 12 bore sidelock ejector side by side shotgun belonging to the author.

Eley Alphamax LG shells belonging to the author .
The next day , panic had spread all across the area around the tea estates in Habiganj . The little boy was the son of one of the local rice farmers . Upon seeing his corpse , the boy’s parents had completely broken down psychologically . While both parents had broken down into tears , his mother was actually experiencing a difficulty in breathing due to her extensive crying .

When I was called to the head office of the Habiganj Forest Guards to give my statement about how I had come across the boy’s corpse , the Forest Guards gave me a piece of information which came as a bit of a surprise to me . They were well aware of the presence of the marauding cheetah , for at least the last one month . The marauder had fatally mauled and eaten at least 13 people so far ( which they knew of ) . It was quite active around all of the tea estates and farms in this part of Habiganj . When I asked why the Forest Guards had not publicly declared the presence of a marauder in the area , they claimed that they were acting on the orders of local tea estate owners and that local bureaucrats were involved . As harvest season was coming , local tea estate owners did not want their employees to panic and stop coming to work .

After giving my statement , I was getting ready to leave the head office when the senior Forest Guard called me back . Knowing that I was a hunter who had already shot a few marauding cheetahs in the recent past , he made me an offer - 500 Taka if I could get rid of the marauder . I told him that I would do it for 600 Taka , because I needed some extra expenses to hunt down this marauder . The Forest Guard asked me what kind of extra expenses I was talking about . I explained that a cheetah which has fed on more than seven people , cannot be drawn in by using animal baits . I would need to purchase a human corpse from a local medical college , in order to use it as bait . The Forest Guard agreed to pay me the desired amount . And thus , I was after yet another marauder .

I went back to my apartment and used the rotary telephone to give Joy a call . I asked if he would like to assist me in hunting down another marauder . Being my good friend , Joy ( like always ) readily agreed and asked me how he could help . I asked him if he could manage a healthy human corpse from some local medical students ( who used to purchase them as cadavers ) . Joy told me that he would need one day , but that he would arrange the corpse .

I then , went to my Ford pickup truck and decided to take a tour around the different locations where the corpses of the marauder’s victims had been found . The senior Forest Guard had provided me with a detailed map which had all the locations of the kill sites marked in red . I spent the whole day studying these sites which were concentrated across a very particular area . For my self protection , I took along my Laurona 12 bore which was loaded with Eley Alphamax LG shells . You never knew if you could cross paths with wild boars , wild dogs , Asian sloth bears or a marauding cheetah ( especially in this case ) . As I observed this area , I noticed one very serious problem .

There were countless small caves in this area , any one of which could be a perfect hiding spot for a cheetah . The trees around this area were all covered with scratch marks ; a clear indication that at least one cheetah had been passing through this area and using the trees to clean their claws . I also found several pug marks of a cheetah around this entire area , some of which were leading into the caves . While I contemplated going into the caves and straightaway commencing my search for the marauder ( especially since I was armed with my Laurona 12 bore ) , I eventually decided against it . Rather than tempt fate and risk getting ambushed , I rationalized that it would be a wiser approach to draw the marauder out towards me .

This , I was determined to do the following day .




The Author standing with the victim of a marauder ( in this case , a Royal Bengal tiger ) . December 23, 1976


The next afternoon , Joy and I met at my apartment . He had brought along the fresh human corpse , as promised . It belonged to a rickshaw driver who had recently been killed during a traffic accident , after being struck by a lorry . We packed the corpse ( which was wrapped in a white cotton sheet ) into the back of my pickup truck and also took a set of sharp heavy butchering knives locally forged from the 5160 spring steel from truck leaf springs , some carpenter’s tools and a coil of heavy rope . We took three arms with us :
* My Laurona 12 bore sidelock ejector
* My BRNO .22 LR ( Long Rifle ) bolt action rifle
* Joy’s FN Browning A-5 12 bore ( 2 3/4 inch chamber ) semi automatic shotgun .

We took the following ammunition with us :
* Six rounds of Eley Alphamax 2 3/4 inch LG shells
* 20 rounds of locally reloaded 2 3/4 inch LG shells
* 50 rounds of Eley Rifle Club .22 LR 40 grain solid ammunition

After that , we both set off to the area which lay right in the centre of all of the marauder’s kill sites . Accompanying us , were two of Joy’s and Rabbani’s servants It was roughly 4:45 PM , when we had arrived at the area . Joy ordered his servants to construct a tree blind on the top of one of the large banyan trees . Mean while , I took to preparing the human corpse as bait . Joy ( who never really got used to the sight of dismembered human corpses , even during the war ) decided to supervise the building of the tree blind , while I rolled up the sleeves of my green check cotton poplin dress shirt and put on a canvas apron . Taking the set of butcher knives , I began to take the corpse apart .

Making circular incisions across the bone and then slicing downwards , I first removed the meat from the thighs and upper arms . Then , I removed the meat from the fore legs and fore arms . I then , made a long incision across the stomach and removed the intestines and liver . Cutting the rib cage open , I pulled the ribs apart and removed the heart and lungs . Then , I took the head off from the corpse . I told Joy’s servants to smear the branches of the nearby trees with the organs from the corpse . However , they were hesitant to touch the organs of a human corpse because they felt squeamish about it . So I had to go and go it . Then , I dangled the branches of the nearby trees with the intestines of the corpse . Joy fetched a folding plastic table from the back of my pickup truck , opened it and placed it roughly five metres away from where the tree blind had been built . I picked up the head and all of the human meat and laid it in the centre of the folding table .

We instructed Joy’s servants to go back to the town and to return to this area by midnight . By then , we expected to bait and kill the marauder . Joy and I then climbed up the tree blind and began to eat our lunch - a couple of toasted corned beef sandwiches which Rabbani had made for us , washed down with a couple of bottles of chilled mango juice . Looking down to check the bait , I observed that it was undisturbed ( barring a massive swarm of flies which was naturally drawn by the smell of the decaying meat ) . But then Joy pointed at something . It was a pack of wild dogs ( half a dozen of them , to be precise ) which were approaching the folding table . They had been enticed by the smell of the human meat .

We could not allow the dogs to eat the bait . Doing so , would jeopardize our prospects of baiting the marauding cheetah . So we had to shoot and kill the dogs . Joy and I debated as to what was the best weapon for killing these wild dogs efficiently . I did not wish to use my Eley Alphamax LG shells , because I was ( at the time ) beginning to run low on my supply of these shells . I only had six with me at the time , and I had brought all of them with the intention of using them against the marauding cheetah . Joy had a good stock of locally reloaded LG shells ( having brought 20 of them with him ) . They could easily take out a wild dog , but the problem was that they were too loud . We were worried that the noise of the 12 bore LG shells might alert the marauder and prevent it from coming towards our direction , in order to feed on the bait . My BRNO .22 LR did not have the proper stopping power to guarantee us a dead wild dog , but it had the advantage of producing barely any perceptible noise . Also , as long as shot placement was extremely critical , a 40 grain .22 calibre solid bullet would be enough to take out the wild dogs .

Joy took my BRNO .22 LR and shouldered it . Taking aim at the head of an oncoming wild dog , he fired . The nonchalant pop of the .22 LR was followed by a wild dog dropping dead , on the spot . As the other wild dogs gathered around the dead animal to look at it , Joy cycled the bolt of the .22 LR and shot a second wild dog in the side of the head . It dropped dead , on the spot . Joy cycled the bolt of the .22 LR once more and fired a shot at the head of a third wild dog . The 40 grain .22 calibre solid lead bullet struck the animal behind the ear and it went down , too . By now , the final three surviving wild dogs had begun to get spooked by seeing three members of their pack drop dead . They bolted away from the area as fast as their legs could carry them .

I climbed down the tree blind and dragged the corpses of the three wild dogs towards a nearby swamp , where I promptly dumped them into the water . The sun had now begun to set . It was time to wait for the marauder .


Left to right : Winchester Super Double X Magnum 2 3/4 inch SG shell ( 12 copper plated slugs ) , Eley Alphamax 2 3/4 inch LG shell ( eight antimony hardened slugs) , locally reloaded LG shell ( six antimony hardened slugs)

Note : Despite being the same length as the Eley Alphamax LG shell , the local product holds two less slugs , because it uses a fold crimp while the Eley Alphamax LG shell uses a roll crimp .

Joy sitting on top of a tree blind , holding the author’s BRNO .22 LR bolt action rifle . October 6 , 1976
Joy and I waited on the tree blind for the entire night . There was pin drop silence , barring the occasional call of an owl or a fox in the distance .

But it was only around 10:30 PM , that we began to hear something moving in the bushes . Our eyes glued to the folding plastic table and it’s contents , we noticed a large dark feline silhouette slowly coming out of the bushes . Just by seeing the general shape of the animal , we knew at once that it was a cheetah . And the odds of more than one cheetah traveling through this particular route were nigh unlikely . Thus ; we were virtually certain that the cheetah which we were seeing before us was actually none other than the marauder .

The cheetah began to sniff the smell of the raw human meat and slowly drew closer to the folding table . I shouldered my Laurona 12 bore and knew that I had to time my shots perfectly if I hoped to bring the marauder down quickly . The marauder placed it’s fore paws on the edge of the table in order to haul itself up and I instantly switched on the six cell torchlight , shining the light into the cheetah’s eyes . The temporarily blinded animal looked up at the source of light , in confusion . I pulled both the triggers of my Laurona 12 bore , taking care to aim at the marauder’s chest . The two gunshots loudly echoed through the forest , as the concentrated charge of 16 LG slugs caught the cheetah full on in the chest ( the muscles of which were very relaxed as the cheetah had been forced to raise it’s fore paws up in order to climb on top of the folding table ) . The animal roared in pain , dropping to the ground and springing back onto it’s feet at the very next moment . I hurriedly removed two more Eley Alphamax LG shells from my breast pocket , opened the breech of my Laurona 12 bore and loaded the fresh ammunition into the chambers before closing the breech shut . I was certain that I would be needing to give the marauder a few more shots to take it down . However , this need never materialized . For in the very next moment , the marauder simply dropped to the ground . And did not even twitch .

Cautiously staring at the motionless animal for two entire minutes , Joy and I finally climbed down the tree blind . We cautiously approached the fallen cheetah and I poked it in the left eye with the muzzles of my Laurona 12 bore . It really was dead .


The author sitting near the scourge of Habiganj . October 6 , 1976
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When the dead marauder was dissected at the head office of the Habiganj Forest Guards , we were easily able to understand why the cheetah had turned into a marauder . It was a large male cheetah and the heaviest one that I had ever shot or ever seen . He weighed 71 kilograms and he had a porcupine quill embedded in one of his testicles . No doubt , the excruciating amount of pain caused by the porcupine quill rupturing his testicle was what had made him turn into a marauder .The concentrated charge of 16 LG pellets from my Laurona 12 bore at point blank range , had completely torn through the entire heart of the cheetah .

When I received the 600 Taka reward money , I let Joy keep 300 Taka . Despite his arguments that I deserved to keep the entire money , I strongly felt that I could not have successfully. taken out this marauder so easily and quickly without Joy’s assistance . I kept 200 Taka for a rainy day and used 100 Taka to get one of my traveling military friends to bring me back two dozen more Eley Alphamax LG shells from his next foreign trip .

The End
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Good story Professor. That quill would have caused me to change my diet too. Lucky you caught the wild dogs in time before the ruined the bait.
@Wyatt Smith
Thank you so much . When preparing bait for cheetahs , it is essential to prevent other animals ( such as wild dogs , foxes , vultures or weasels ) from harming the bait . It greatly reduces your chances of being able to successfully lure the cheetah towards you .
Anayeth , this is absolutely brilliantly written ... As always , my young friend . Out of all of us , you have had the most successful track record in using buckshot to lay low forest panthers .

Out of curiosity , how many of these old Eley Alphamax LG cartridges do you still have in stock ? I used to exclusively use Eley Alphamax AAA cartridges until Eley discontinued them and my stock got exhausted . Now , I use Winchester Australia 2.75 inch 32 gram AAA cartridges .
Anayeth , this is absolutely brilliantly written ... As always , my young friend . Out of all of us , you have had the most successful track record in using buckshot to lay low forest panthers .

Out of curiosity , how many of these old Eley Alphamax LG cartridges do you still have in stock ? I used to exclusively use Eley Alphamax AAA cartridges until Eley discontinued them and my stock got exhausted . Now , I use Winchester Australia 2.75 inch 32 gram AAA cartridges .
@Major Khan Sir
Thank you so much . I still have 20 Eley Alphamax 2 3/4 inch LG shells in my inventory .

I will probably run out of them by the end of next year , considering how many Axis deer , barking deer and wild boars I hunt annually by having beats arranged .
@Major Khan Sir
Thank you so much . I still have 20 Eley Alphamax 2 3/4 inch LG shells in my inventory .
View attachment 364114
I will probably run out of them by the end of next year , considering how many Axis deer , barking deer and wild boars I hunt annually by having beats arranged .
After you expend all of them , bring me the empty cartridge cases ! They shall be ideal as hulls for my hand loaded spherical ball cartridges . One can never have too many " High Brass " 12 Bore cartridge cases .
Hell I don't blame him for being snippy considering what he had in his privates!!! Thanks again for the wonderful story!!!
Of all the man eating forest panthers which I have shot in the last 55 years , RMC ... Around 35 % of them had porcupine quills embedded in some of their sensitive regions ( Such as as an eye , under the jaw or even the stomach ) . Porcupine quills have a tendency to drive these brutes insane with the pain . And that causes them to develop a palate for the flesh of man . Nature is 1 cruel mistress.
Fascinating account, Professor, however grisly by our Western standards. Customs vary with the times and locale and one uses whatever is effective. Keep the stories coming.
Thank you very much . Today , marauding cheetahs and Royal Bengal tigers in Bangladesh are hunted by baiting them with chemical agents which emulate the smell of human corpses . So human corpses are no longer used as bait . To the best of my knowledge , the last time a human corpse was used as bait to lure in a marauder ; was in 1984 . The marauder was a Royal Bengal tiger .

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