The Royal Bengal Tiger Which Almost Did Me In

Discussion in 'Articles' started by Major Khan, Mar 25, 2020.

  1. Major Khan

    Major Khan AH Elite

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    Tonight , I shall be sharing a reminiscence with all my fellow forum members of African Hunting Forums about perhaps the closest brush with death , which I ever had during my 10 year career as a professional shikaree in Nagpur, India from 1961 to 1970 . It is an incident which certainly was a hair raising 1 . However , the fore gone conclusion is that this story has a happy ending for me ... because I clearly survived the incident to continue writing about all of my adventures to this day .
    However , I did learn quite a few valuable lessons that day . Lessons , which shall be elaborated on , at the climax of this article .
    Let us go back to 1970 now , Dear Readers .

    Below , is a photograph kindly lent to me by my good friend , fellow forum member and former fellow professional shikaree , Sergeant Kawshik Rahman of a royal Bengal tiger killed by 1 of his clients with a 9.3x62 mm Mauser calibre bolt rifle . The photograph of the actual brute who nearly put an end to me shall be provided at the climax of this 3 part article .
    Screenshot_20191018-001102_01_01_01.png
     

  2. Major Khan

    Major Khan AH Elite

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    It was March of 1970 , exactly 50 years ago from today . Week after week , I was guiding international clients for dangerous game shikars during the most busy time of the year for the employees of Allwyn Cooper Limited ( my shikar outfitters . ) However , the Golden Age of Allwyn Cooper Limited was clearly over as our “ Hay Day “ the 1960s came to an end . Our head shikaree , the great Rao Naidu of Hyderabad had resigned from Allwyn Cooper Limited after getting in to an intense argument with Mr. Vidya C Shukla ( The owner of Allwyn Cooper Limited ) and had branched off to establish his own shikar outfitters , Rao Naidu Shikar Limited . My professional shikaree partner , Tobin Stakkatz had lost a kidney to a gaur bison wounded by an Australian client in 1969 and he was no longer guiding shikars for dangerous game anymore . Mr. Shukla , himself was always too busy to personally tend to Allwyn Cooper Limited’s affairs now , because he was constantly running around and attending different political campaigns all across the 30 different states of India . On top of things.... the “ animal rights activist “ pieces of shit were gaining a strong momentum in India , as they slowly began to influence the illiterate , low class devout Hindu villagers all over the country to begin pushing for a ban on the Majestic Art of Shikar . However , none of the Indian shikar community at the time ever anticipated that these retarded swines would ever actually succeed in their vile and delusional agenda . In our eyes , they were jokes ... cow urine drinking clowns who were a waste of our time and did not deserve a 2nd glance ( Little did any of us know what was in store for us in 1972... ) .

    1 fine Monday morning , I was called to Mr. Shukla’s office . There , waiting for me was Mr. Shukla and my client , an Italian gentleman who looked extremely well groomed , well mannered and definitely appeared to be a man of means . The gentleman had booked Allwyn Cooper Limited’s classic “ Fur & Fur “ package deal - He desired to shoot a beautiful sambhur deer and a large , male royal Bengal tiger . These were pretty simple requests and indeed 1s which Allwyn Cooper Limited could easily accommodate . I smiled in eagerness , when I heard that the gentleman wanted to partake in a shikar for sambhur deer . It would give me an opportunity to guide a client with my good friend , Tobin once again .

    I had an opportunity to examine the gentleman’s battery . He had brought just 1 rifle with him for shikar in India . It was a beautiful double barreled side lock side by side double barreled rifle , built by the Belgian Company , Auguste Francotte . It was chambered in .458 Winchester magnum . Alongside this rifle , the gentleman had brought 3 boxes of Winchester “ Super X “ 510 grain soft point cartridges , which advertised its velocity on the box , as 2130 feet per second . My foot !

    Below, I have provided a scan of a page taken from our Professional Shikaree’s Book Of Rules & Regulations for 1967 & 1968 . Please note the applicable fees for an international client , in order to shoot a sambhur deer and a royal Bengal tiger .
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  3. Major Khan

    Major Khan AH Elite

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    Come Thursday ... our shikar party was guiding our client through the forests on the outskirts of Nagpur for the shikar of a sambhur deer . Our shikar party consisted of myself , old Tobin , 4 coolies , our client and of course ... my indispensable Shawtaal tracker , Mintu . I carried my trusty , old “ 12 Bore DBBL Made In Belgium “ , which was loaded with 1 of my hand loaded 3 inch Eley Alphamax Magnum Spherical Ball cartridges in each barrel . Tobin carried his Fabrique Nationale Mauser 98 bolt rifle , chambered in .423 Mauser , fully loaded ( 4 cartridges ) with 347 grain German RWS brand solid metal covered cartridges in the magazine . 1 of our coolies carried our client’s .458 Winchester magnum calibre double barreled rifle . Our other coolies carried refreshments , butcher knives , an ice box and a folding chair for our client .
    Our client , himself wore an expensive looking leather bandolier , filled with .458 Winchester magnum calibre soft point 510 grain cartridges. Mintu was preoccupied with following the tracks of a large sambhur deer and we cautiously trekked forward ... well aware that we were moving through royal Bengal tiger country .


    A brace of hours passed , before we were able to catch sight of our client’s fine trophy . He was a large , Majestic looking male sambhur deer , identical in size to an American Elk . Both Tobin and I imagined gleefully how much juicy , delicious venison this fine specimen must have been carrying . Our coolie handed the .458 Winchester magnum calibre double barreled rifle to our client and Tobin silently whispered to the client , “ Follow me quietly . Let’s get within range for a clean heart shot . “ Our client was most obedient and sensible . He followed Tobin quietly until they were within 50 yards of the sambhur deer ( the quintessential essential range for operators of double barreled rifles . ) .

    Hiding behind the broken stump of a long dead Banyan tree ... the client raised the double barreled rifle to his right shoulder and flicked off the safety catch . Taking careful aim and concentrating ... he let off a single shot . The 510 grain Winchester “ Super X “ soft point bullet was absolutely devastating upon the sambhur deer . It struck the animal square behind the shoulder and the sambhur deer went only a few steps forward , before dropping lifeless on the green , forest floor and expiring.

    Both Tobin and I heartily congratulated our client and we all went forward , so that our coolies could begin to field dress the animal. The folding chair was set open for our client , while Tobin and I supervised our coolies on skinning the sambhur deer . Tobin took out his old military GI zippo lighter , his tobacco pipe and a pouch full of tobacco to fill his pipe with . He begin to fill his pipe , as I took out a bottle of lemonade from my satchel and opened it , in order to take a swig .
    Just then ... I heard a snarl coming from the thickets . Even before I turned my head to look at the thickets ... my blood ran cold , because I knew that snarl all too well . Only 1 creature can snarl like that , especially in this part of the forest . I instinctively turned my head towards the thickets . Yes .... It was a royal Bengal tiger . The largest , which I had ever seen. He must have been been stalking that sambhur deer , just like we had been stalking it ! And now , he was staring at our shikar party from the thickets ; snarling . Clearly , he did not take too kindly to us hunting , what he considered to be HIS meal . My client instantly snatched up his .458 Winchester magnum calibre double barreled rifle ( which was laying across his lap ) and snapped it up to his shoulder . Taking swift aim , our client fired the right barrel . The 510 grain soft point bullet struck the brute in the shoulder and he roared , as he began to run in to the thickets . Our client pulled the trigger for the left barrel , but click ! It was empty, because the gentle man did not have the opportunity to replenish his left barrel , after he had taken the shot at the sambhur deer .
    Hurriedly , our client broke his double barreled rifle open at the breech , in an attempt to re load his rifle with a brace of fresh cartridges . However , despite the double barreled rifle being equipped with automatic ejectors.... the expended .458 Winchester magnum cartridge cases were simply not extracting !
    Seeing that the royal Bengal tiger was making good his escape.... I hurriedly snatched up my old Belgian 12 Bore side by side shot gun and yelled to Tobin , “ Protect the client ! There may be more of these brutes lurking about , Tobin ! “ .
    And with that... I gave pursuit to the brute .
    Below , I have provided a photograph kindly lent to me by good , old Kawshik of a sambhur deer , which was hunted by his client , Don Fernando Delgado .
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  4. Major Khan

    Major Khan AH Elite

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    As I chased the wounded brute through the thickets , tightly clutching my old Belgian 12 Bore side by side shot gun ... he suddenly turned to face me . The royal Bengal tiger charged right at me , and I gave him the contents of my left barrel , right in the region between the 2 eyes at a distance of 12 feet. Even though my shot was perfectly well placed ... my 1 ounce spherical ball of hardened lead glanced right off the head of the brute ! At the enraged creature got to within a mere 6 feet of me ... I gave him the contents of my right barrel , square in the jaw , as I tumbled backwards in a desperate attempt to put some distance between me and the enraged brute .
    And he was right on me , attempting to maul me ! I knew very well , that unlike forest panthers ( which only give you a brief series of bites and scratches for more than 30 seconds , before making off . ) ... a royal Bengal tiger will not cease to maul you until your life has been extinguished.
    However , I was determined to fight to the bitter end and I rammed my left boot hard into the brute’s mouth in a vain attempt to keep him off me for as long as possible .I knew that I could not hold the royal Bengal tiger tiger off for ever and in all honesty... I did not expect to survive this encounter . What happened next ... can only be described as Divine Intervention.

    The loud crack of a rifle shot rang out , and the royal Bengal tiger dropped dead ; blood oozing out of a single bullet hole in it’s head . My jaws dropped in disbelief , as I turned to look at my savior . It was my best friend , Tobin Stakkatz . Tobin was clutching his smoking .423 Mauser calibre Fabrique Nationale Mauser 98 bolt rifle .
    It was he , whom had saved my life .
    Tobin ran towards me and helped me get to my feet . “ Are you okay , Buddy ? “ He asked . I replied , “ I am alright , Tobin . My pride hurts more than anything . “ . True enough . I was miraculously UNSCATHED in this encounter with the enraged brute .
    My left boot was damaged very badly though . However , I could not care less .

    We brought back the corpses of the slain sambhur deer and royal Bengal tiger to Nagpur , where a post mortem of the brute was properly done in the lawn of the hotel where our client was staying . The post mortem taught us a great deal .
    The client’s Winchester Super X 510 grain soft point bullet had completely fragmented upon striking the shoulder of the royal Bengal tiger, without even remotely damaging the shoulder bone. My very 1st 12 Bore spherical ball bullet ( of 1 ounce weight ) had struck the royal Bengal tiger correctly in the region between the 2 eyes . However , the ball had deformed and glanced off the skull bone of the brute without providing even remotely adequate penetration. My 2nd 12 Bore spherical ball bullet had broken the creature’s jaw and ( in all probability) this was the main reason why it had been unable to bite clean through my foot , when I had stuck my left boot in to the brute’s mouth. Tobin’s 347 grain .423 Mauser RWS brand solid metal covered bullet had struck the royal Bengal tiger in the left side of the skull , and fortunately this bullet had managed to reach the brain of the brute . This was the heaviest royal Bengal tiger which I had ever seen in my life . It weighed 518 pounds and had a nose to tail length of 10 feet .

    Tobin Stakkatz had saved my life and my demise was very narrowly averted . Instead of losing my life ... I had walked out of this nightmarish situation completely UNSCATHED. As an icing on the cake ... our client had secured BOTH of his trophies in 1 day ! Within a span of less than 10 minutes , actually .
    Below , I have provided a photograph taken by myself of the slain brute which had very nearly brought me to grief .
    As can be clearly seen ... It was so heavy that it actually necessitated 2 bamboo poles in order to carry the slain royal Bengal tiger back to Nagpur .
    Screenshot_20191201-082544_01_01.png
     

  5. Mort Hill

    Mort Hill GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Holy smokin hell Major!! What a tale. I agree in divine providence and you will find no argument from me. I am glad you are hear to recount this story, and glad for the quick reflexes of your Italian client, as well as the bravery and skill of Tobin. My hunting partner had a female lioness try to claim his cape buff once, and he told me it was the most nervous he has every been in his life as she would race in to 20 yds, then back off at the screams and shouts. I can hardly fathom your nerves of steel as you faced that tiger at 12, then 6, then 0 feet. Bless you for not only surviving but sharing with us, your admiring and loving audience!
     

  6. fourfive8

    fourfive8 AH Elite

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    I'll say! Major, what an experience! Can't imagine really. Thanks for sharing
     

  7. Major Khan

    Major Khan AH Elite

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    I made some inescapable conclusions after this hair raising experience. While my “ Old Belgian “ was a most perfect weapon for flooring even the largest of forest panthers ... It was certainly far from being the appropriate tool for contending with a large unwounded male royal Bengal tiger ( which exceeded more than 500 pounds in weight . ) The skulls , bones and muscles of these creatures were far too strong to be defeated by a 1 ounce spherical ball of hardened lead . Even though , I had hand loaded my spherical ball bullets myself in to Eley 3 inch Alphamax Magnum “ High Brass “ cartridge cases , the increased charge of powder was still not enough to drive the spherical lead ball cleanly through the skulls of the largest male royal Bengal tigers with utter reliability 100 % of the time . While effective on 400-450 pound wounded female royal Bengal tigers ( if the region between the 2 eyes , was selected as a target , at short distances .) a spherical lead ball ( even if backed by an increased charge of powder ) would simply not cut it , for the 500+ pound male royal Bengal tigers . Only a suitable rifle of at least .338 Winchester magnum calibre , loaded with 250 grain Winchester Silver Tip soft point cartridges is the correct way to go , for the largest and heaviest of these great cats .

    Our client was a true gentle man and a man of great honor . He insisted that Tobin keep the skin of the royal Bengal tiger , as a fine momento of the time when Tobin Stakkatz had “ Saved The Day . “ Even though Tobin requested our client to keep the skin of the royal Bengal tiger... our honorable client would certainly not have any of it . In the end , Tobin kept that skin of the 518 pound royal Bengal tiger and ( unless I am very mistaken. ).... I believe that Tobin’s lovely widow still has the skin of that brute , draped over a 3 seater sofa in her living room . Hopefully , it shall remain in the Stakkatz household forever ; a testament to her late husband’s superb marksmanship and his ability to act swiftly during desperate times.

    I would like to dedicate this story to my dearly deceased best friend and former fellow professional shikaree, the late Tobin Stakkatz . Had he not chosen to follow me when I had gone after that brutish royal Bengal tiger .... then I would not be here today to write about any of my adventures on African Hunting Forums . Even with 1 kidney and having undergone extensive surgery , the previous year ... Tobin Stakkatz would risk his life without hesitation to save his friend from the face of death , and I will never be able to forget that as long as I breathe . In 1976 , Tobin and his wife paid a jaw dropping sum for my facial reconstruction surgery in America after I had been wounded , during the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971 . Today , the only reason why I can look relatively normal in society is because of Tobin and his wife’s never ending kindness towards me . Kindness , which I could never , ever repay . I know not if there is a Heaven... However , if there is, then I know for a fact that Tobin Stakkatz is up there .

    Below , I have provided a photograph taken by myself in America in the 1970s of Tobin with a freshly hunted North American Black Bear . He clutches his custom built .458 Winchester magnum calibre bolt rifle , which is built on a Springfield Model 1903 action .
    Screenshot_20200117-035936_01_01.png

    I hope that this article has proven enjoyable to our fellow forum members . Hopefully , from tomorrow ... my good friend , fellow freedom fighter and new forum member , Panther Shooter shall grace African Hunting Forums with 1 of his own articles . I greatly look forward to reading his excellent work and I am 100 % confident that his writing shall surpass mine in every single manner .

    THE END
     

  8. Wyatt Smith

    Wyatt Smith AH Fanatic

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    Incredible! I’m amazed you were fortunate enough to break the jaw with the second barrel. There are scenes like the on described in sever action movies, I am glad it was real for once.
    I look forward to Panther Shooters story tomorrow.
     

  9. Newboomer

    Newboomer GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    That was an adrenaline rush just reading it. My Friend, someone up there was watching over you that day as well as guiding Tobin to your rescue. I hate to think what would have happened if you hadn't broken the tiger's jaw. You could very well have lost a foot or worse. Those boots were made for more than walking that day.
     

  10. flatwater bill

    flatwater bill AH Elite

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    Thank you for sharing your adventure with us......a tribute to your brave friend Tobin, and an honor to another brave man.....you...........Bill
     
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  11. Major Khan

    Major Khan AH Elite

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    The most miraculous thing , Mort Hill .... was that Tobin was not even supposed to be there , originally . If you have read my previous story , " The Gaur Which Ended A Shikar Career " , then you will recall that Tobin had retired from guiding shikars for dangerous game after he got gored by a gaur bison and lost 1 of his kidneys in 1969 . Our original plan was to guide the client on the shikar for the sambhur deer that day and then guide the gentleman on the shikar for the royal Bengal tiger 2 days after that .
    If this original plan was carried through ... Then Tobin would never have accompanied me on the shikar for the royal Bengal tiger and I would not have survived that encounter with the brute .

    It is only because we CHANCED upon that royal Bengal tiger on the day of the sambhur deer shikar... that Tobin was actually present to save my life from the brute . It is actually pretty unnerving if you think about it .
     

  12. Major Khan

    Major Khan AH Elite

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    It was an unenviable experience , fourfive8 . I am privileged that you found this article so enjoyable .
     
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  13. Major Khan

    Major Khan AH Elite

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    Mere words cannot describe how fortunate I was , Master Smith . If that 1 ounce spherical ball bullet had not broken the brute's jaw ... Then I would ( in all probability ) be a 1 legged man today , hobbling on a crutch . That is ... if I survived at all .
     
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  14. Major Khan

    Major Khan AH Elite

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    The miraculous thing , New Boomer
    was that Tobin was not even SUPPOSED TO BE PRESENT on the shikar for the royal Bengal tiger , originally . If you have read my previous story , " The Gaur Which Ended A Shikar Career " , then you will recall that Tobin had retired from guiding shikars for dangerous game after he got gored by a gaur bison and lost 1 of his kidneys in 1969 . Our original plan was to guide the client on the shikar for the sambhur deer that day and then guide the gentleman on the shikar for the royal Bengal tiger 2 days after that .
    If this original plan was carried through ... Then Tobin would never have accompanied me on the shikar for the royal Bengal tiger and I would not have survived that encounter with the brute .

    It is only because we CHANCED upon that royal Bengal tiger on the day of the sambhur deer shikar... that Tobin was actually present to save my life from the brute . It is actually pretty unnerving if you think about it .
    Those boots were made from the leather of gaur bisons and this leather is known to be extremely strong . Regardless... If my 1 ounce spherical ball bullet had not broken the brute's jaw... Then , I would ( in all probability ) have ended up as a 1 legged man today hobbling around, on a crutch .
     
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  15. Major Khan

    Major Khan AH Elite

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    It is my utmost privilege that you have enjoyed this article , Bill.
     
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  16. gesch

    gesch AH Enthusiast

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    Thank you Poton for another captivating story. As you know I also believe in the sovereignty of God! I am thankful for His using your best friend to accomplish His design. I look forward to PS continuing the tradition of wonderful writing you and Kawshik and Captain have started. Thanks again. Your friend, Brian
     
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  17. Major Khan

    Major Khan AH Elite

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    Why , thank you so much , Brian ! Ah , yes . Panther Shooter has decided to join African Hunting Forums . What good fun ...it will be now . If the events of that day proved anything to me , then it is that THERE IS A GOD . And He sent old Tobin to come and rescue me .
     

  18. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    A most excellent tale with a most fortunate ending. Could of ended so much worse than what it did. Thanks for sharing.
    Bruce
     
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  19. krish

    krish AH Member

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    Great encounter Major Khan. I have read few of your articles and they are very impressive. I am kind of new to this forum. I have spent most of my time acquiring fire arms. I reload all my calibers. May be in a year or two God willing I will make my trip to Africa. By the way I am a Hindu Hunter in the US.
     
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  20. krish

    krish AH Member

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    Correction.
    A Hindu and a hunter I the US.
     
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