The Royal Bengal Tiger Shikar Which Almost Killed My Client

Kawshik Rahman

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At the encouragement of my respected fellow forum member , New Boomer , today l have decided to give my respected fellow forum members an account of the Royal Bengal tiger Shikar which almost led to my client losing his life. As l write this account , l certainly recall both the excitement and the horrors which unfolded , during this Shikar .
Let us begin , dear readers by going back to July of 1968 .
Shikar season was heavily underway as the rainy monsoon season had just come to an end and clients were booking Shikars with Sundar Raj Shikar , left and right. One afternoon , Karim and l were at the veranda of Sundar Raj sir’s office cleaning Karim’s Brno .22 Long Rifle auto loader when ( On a previous Shikar , the rifle had become dirty when Karim was forced to crawl through some mud ) . Sundar Raj sir sent a Chokra ( clerk boy ) to call me to his office. My client was there . He was a Belgian gentleman and his wife had accompanied him.
This gentleman desired to shoot cranes and a Royal Bengal tiger . Splendid , l thought. To this date , nothing excited me more than hunting a Royal Bengal tiger . It was the King of all dangerous animals to hunt. Among birds , l enjoyed ( and still do enjoy ) shooting cranes the most , as their flesh is excellent in terms of flavour.
The gentleman had brought two beautiful fire arms and they reflected his sophisticated European back ground very well.
The shot-gun was a magnificent side by side of 10 bore , calibrated for the 89 millimeter cartridge . It was made by a firm named Neumann.
For this shot-gun , the gentleman had brought number 2 cartridges from the firm , Winchester . These held about two ounces of shot pellets .
The rifle was a splendid mauser bolt operation rifle , calibrated for the 9.3 millimeter cartridge.
For this , the gentleman had brought cartridges from the firm RWS . These weighed above 280 grain and came in soft head variety and metal envelope type .
And so , all arrangements were made . Two days later , the Shikar would begin . As Shikar season was extremely busy in this time of the year , Karim would be guiding another client for a Gaur Shikar , which meant that l would have to arrange everything alone. If Karim was with me during this Shikar , then it would not have gone as terribly as it did , as he was far more cautious than l and disaster could have been more easily averted , as the next three parts of this account will detail.
Screenshot_20191018-001102_01_01_01.png

I have already provided the picture of the tiger , as that was not the terrifying part of this Shikar , in the slightest
 

Kawshik Rahman

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Two days later , we were off to shoot cranes near the Shagaar streams . These streams ran into the Buri Ganga river and were quite a popular haunt for cranes . With me was my respected client and his respected wife madame . Along with us was Rishi ( my loyal Gurkha coolie ) and two assistant coolies. The coolies carried folding chairs , fresh towels and refreshments for sir and madame . Rishi carried the client's 10 bore Neumann shot-gun and a leather satchel full of number 2 cartridges . I carried my Ishapore Arms Factory 12 bore side by side shot-gun loaded with SG cartridges in each barrel , in case we ran into any dangerous creatures which might try to cause harm to our respected client or his wife madame. We reached the streams.
Rishi handed the 10 bore shot-gun to our client , while l was to serve as the gentle man's Havildaar ( or loader ) . I took the satchel of cartridges from Rishi , as l would be loading my client's shot-gun for him.
In about half an hour , the shooting had commenced . And the sheer power of that fully choked 10 bore side by side Belgian shot-gun , loaded with number 2 cartridges soon became evident.
Screenshot_20191018-020412_01_01.png

Two ounces of number 2 shot fired from a 10 bore is downright devastating for those cranes . The madame sat on a folding chair while Gautam kept her cool with a haat pakkha ( hand fan ) . In the mean time , Rishi offered to make the madame some milk tea , but Madame instead wished to have some lemonade which Rishi had freshly made in the morning and brought in a jug.
I was eagerly watching my client blast those cranes with his 10 bore shot-gun as l reloaded fresh cartridges into the gun for him after every brace of shots . I looked at the discarded paper cartridges on the grass and parsimoniously wished that they were 12 bore 70 millimeter cartridges , so that l could collect them for my own reloading . You see , dear readers , paper cartridges of our time were only durable enough for three reloadings at most and thus l was always looking for ways to improve my stock . However , this was no time to lament . Our client had managed to down fifteen cranes with fifteen cartridges. He had not even missed one shot. How marvellous . I sent two of the coolies to go collect the fallen cranes. Now that the cranes were secured , the next thing which occupied my attention was making arrangements for the Royal Bengal tiger Shikar.
That is what the next part of this account shall detail.
 

Ridgewalker

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A 10 bore! Ugh...I had one briefly. It gave me a terrible headache every time I pulled the trigger! Your client’s must have been heavier than mine, or maybe I’m just a wimp!:ROFLMAO: Yep, I admit I’m a wimp!:rolleyes:
 

Kawshik Rahman

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Screenshot_20191018-001102_01_01.png

Me instructing the Palowans ( beaters )

A week later , the much anticipated Royal Bengal tiger Shikar had been arranged .
Our loyal Garo tracker , Jeddiah and his fellow trackers , were able to narrow down the location of a large Royal Bengal tiger. It was in a heavily vegetated area near the Tripani forests .
We were to use Palowans ( beaters ) to drive the tiger towards our respected client. A large wooden macchan was erected so that our client could safely stand there , ready with his 9.3 millimeter mauser bolt operation rifle. The rifle was loaded with the customary soft nose bullets for Royal Bengal tiger . Our client's supportive wife madame had elected to stay in the macchan with our respected client .
Four hours later , everything was unsettlingly silent , as the beaters did their work. I stood near the macchan ( but on the ground ) with my 12 bore side by side shot-gun loaded with SG cartridges ready , in case there was trouble . I had always been extra cautious about these great cats , ever since l had seen a leopard spring up an elephant macchan , in an attempt to reach our client ( l have related that account previously on these forums ) . It was a very hot day , but l had to keep my wits about . Somewhere , in that thick foliage , there was a very Dangerous Royal Bengal tiger .
True enough , sooner than l thought , a massive Royal Bengal Tiger ( the largest l have ever seen ) lunged out of the foliage , in our direction. I readied my shot-gun in case of an emergency. However , this was not needed. My client expertly placed a single 9.3 millimeter soft nose bullet in the heart of the beast . His aim was correctly placed , behind the shoulder . In a negligible amount of time , the Royal Bengal tiger was lifeless. My client had secured his Puroshkaar ( trophy ) with , but one bullet. His shooting was the best l have ever seen in five decades ( amongst both hunters and military men combined )
Screenshot_20191018-001102_01_01_01.png

He was the heaviest Royal Bengal tiger which l had ever weighed , over 501 pounds .
In thirty minutes , our coolies were skinning the beast . I offered to drive out respected client and madame home in the jeep , while the coolies finished skinning the Royal Bengal tiger . However , they were an adventurous pair and wished to oversee the skinning process. I decided to oblige and told my client and his wife madame " Shahib , Mem Shahib . Perhaps you would be more comfortable sitting on a rock nearby ? That way , you both may be able to see the whole process . "
In the mean time , l decided to eat my lunch . My mother had made me some delicious corned beef sandwiches and orange juice to eat , during the Shikar and l sat down on the ground and began to eat. Madame stood near the coolies , watching the skinning process curiously. Our client found a nice rock to sit over , near a small stream . To his horror , he realized that the rock was not a rock at all. It was a basking crocodile which did not take too kindly to the client attempting to sit on him . Our client screamed as the crocodile went after him. Panic had broken out , as we all realized what was going on.
 

Kawshik Rahman

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My client was overtaken with fear , as he ran for his life through the thick thorny vegetation . Unfortunately , the devil lizard decided to go after him. I dropped my lunch on the ground , snatched up my shot-gun and rushed after the beast frantically. If , heaven forbid , anything happened to my client , then the Nilgiri Wildlife Association would have me hanged , just like they had Rongon Daas hanged. Rishi ran with me , carrying a a Ram Dao in his hand ( a heavy butchering knife made from the leaf spring steel of vehicles ) . Our poor client was running as fast as his feet could carry him , and we were hearing sounds of branches snapping in the bushes , as he ran through them , in an attempt to get away from the crocodile. I got behind the creature and fired my left barrel at it , from behind , in a desperate attempt to kill it. This did not even seem to stagger the brute. I fired my second barrel at the head of the saurian at a distance of twelve feet , and it turned it's head towards me . I hurriedly folded open my shot-gun's breech , turned the gun upside down and shook the empty paper cartridges out of the breech . I hurriedly loaded in two more SG cartridges , as the creature came closer . I must admire the loyal conduct of Rishi who showed extreme bravery and selflessness that day . He was desperately attempting to hold the brute off with his Ram Dao , long enough for me to reload my shot-gun . I got within three feet of the creature ( certainly , not an enviable task , l can assure all of you ) and l fired my left barrel into it's eye region . That finally killed the brute .
Screenshot_20191018-015532_01.png

As an insurance , l stood by , with my remaining loaded barrel ready , as Rishi stabbed at it repeatedly in the head with his Ram Dao . It actually was dead , having taken 3 SG cartridges.
We turned to help our poor client .
The epilogue will follow.
 

Kawshik Rahman

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Our poor client was in a horrible state. He was covered from head to toe in mud . His clothes had been tattered to shreds and he was pricked in numerous parts of his body with thorns from the bushes which he ran and crawled through , in a desperate attempt to escape the crocodile. He had also lost his hat and one shoe .
However , by the grace of God , he was not injured . His wife madame rushed to her husband's aid and l decided to drive them back to Darjeeling Circuit house , because a fresh shower and a new change of clothes and some bandages were requisite for our client . Fortunately , they were both very kind people and thanked ( and tipped ) Rishi and I heavily for being able to stop the crocodile in time .
I have only myself to blame for not watching where the client was going to sit . If Karim was with me , during this Shikar , then he would have been able to notice the crocodile immediately. I apologized to my client repeatedly for not checking where he was going to sit. However , he thanked me instead and told me not to apologize. The Garo tribesmen made an excellent meal out of the crocodile. Years later , when l visited the United States of America , l would learn that new 10 bore cartridges now contain 2 ounces and a quarter ounce of shot in them , as opposed to the 2 ounces shot filled cartridges of our time , which the Neumann 10 bore shot-gun had been proofed for.
I have a most curious question for my dear fellow members . A 10 bore cartridge containing 2 ounces and a quarter of shot , would certainly be harmful for a shot-gun which was proofed only for 2 ounces of shot , would it not ?
I hope that this account has proven enjoyable .
 

Kawshik Rahman

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A 10 bore! Ugh...I had one briefly. It gave me a terrible headache every time I pulled the trigger! Your client’s must have been heavier than mine, or maybe I’m just a wimp!:ROFLMAO: Yep, I admit I’m a wimp!:rolleyes:
Ridge Walker
Thank you so much for your kind words. I am of same view as you. I use 70 millimeter 12 bore cartridge for everything for my entire life. On a related subject , l am most curious about a topic.
The Neumann 10 bore shot-gun which the client owned was proofed for firing 2 ounces of shot pellets. A modern 10 bore cartridge loaded with 2 ounces and a quarter of shot , would be detrimental to the gun , would it not ?
 

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Another great story. I trust that from this time onward you were always on the lookout for live rocks especially when close to a stream.
 

Kawshik Rahman

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Another great story. I trust that from this time onward you were always on the lookout for live rocks especially when close to a stream.
Shootist43
Thank you so much for your kind appreciation. Indeed , after that day , l would always make Rishi , Jeddiah or Gautam check nearby areas for any dangerous creatures . Crocodiles and garrials can be extremely stealthy .
 

Ridgewalker

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A modern 10 bore cartridge loaded with 2 ounces and a quarter of shot , would be detrimental to the gun , would it not ?
In an older shotgun I’m certain it would damage it, but the newer shotguns are made of much better steels and are proofed at a higher pressure (lawyers got involved) than older ones. That’s what I’ve read about it.
I inherited a field grade LC Smith 12 gauge SxS. Built in 1950. I never wanted to fire a 2 3/4” (70 mm) magnum load for fear it couldn’t handle the pressure. Nor use steel shot as required to hunt waterfowl these days.

Another fun article!
 

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Good story Mr. Rahman! I wonder if his friends believed him when he told that story. I also briefly owned a 10 gauge but found it offered little advantage over a 12 gauge 3 1/2 so I traded.
 

Newboomer

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Thank you for another great story. Did the hunter recover the items he lost in his flight from the croc?
 

Kawshik Rahman

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Good story Mr. Rahman! I wonder if his friends believed him when he told that story. I also briefly owned a 10 gauge but found it offered little advantage over a 12 gauge 3 1/2 so I traded.
Wyatt Smith
Thank you so much for your kind words.
I do believe that there were even bigger bore shot-guns available. I have seen an 8 bore shot-gun belonging to a Sultan , inside a display case in Lalbagh fort .
 

Kawshik Rahman

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Thank you for another great story. Did the hunter recover the items he lost in his flight from the croc?
Newboomer
Thank you so much for your kind words.
Unfortunately , his clothes were tattered very badly. His hat and shoe were easily recovered , though.
 

Kawshik Rahman

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I love the tiger stories! Great job!
Larry4831
Thank you so much for your kind words. In my time , six dangerous animals could be hunted in India : Royal Bengal tiger , Leopard , Gaur , Bear , Boar and crocodile. Of these six , it was the Royal Bengal tiger which l used to enjoy hunting the most.
 

Wyatt Smith

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I have seen some 8 bore cartridges sell at the local gun auction before. They look very intimidating.
Wyatt Smith
Thank you so much for your kind words.
I do believe that there were even bigger bore shot-guns available. I have seen an 8 bore shot-gun belonging to a Sultan , inside a display case in Lalbagh fort .
 

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Thanks for sharing the story, enjoyed the read.
 

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Did the client turn the croc into a chair? That would be an appropriate piece of taxidermy.
 

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