The Very First Royal Bengal Tiger Shikar Which l guided In My Career

Discussion in 'Articles' started by Kawshik Rahman, Nov 26, 2019.

  1. Kawshik Rahman

    Kawshik Rahman AH Elite

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    After a very long time , today l have decided to provide my dear respected forum members with an account which l hold very dear to me , on a sentimental level . Today , l shall share with all my fellow sportsmen on these forums , the story of the first ever Royal Bengal tiger Shikar which l had ever guided , in my career as a professional Shikari in Darjeeling , India from 1962 to 1970 .
    Along the way , l shall also relate some basic tips and tricks of the trade , when one is hunting Royal Bengal tigers .
    Shall we begin , dear readers ?
    Let us turn the clock back to 1963 , to a time when India was a land of adventure and sport . A time when the Royal Bengal tiger roamed the forests like true royalty and Shikaris from all over the world came to old India to hunt these beasts .
    Screenshot_20191125-042910_01_01.png
    I have already provided the photograph , because l consider the story more interesting , as the first of this four part account shall relate.
     
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  2. Wyatt Smith

    Wyatt Smith AH Enthusiast

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    Looking forward to hear the rest!
     
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  3. Kawshik Rahman

    Kawshik Rahman AH Elite

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    I had begun my career , as a professional Shikari less than a year back and l was still very much seen as one of the new " amateurs " of my outfitting firm ( Sundar Raj Shikar ) . I had already guided numerous Shikars for Chital deer , Sambhar deer , four horned antelope , Nilgai and wild boars . However , back in those days , one was simply not a " true " professional Shikari , until they had guided a Shikar for the greatest of cats ... the Royal Bengal tiger . Even though , l had already killed a Royal Bengal tiger on my personal Shikar license , in 1962 , l was yet to guide a foreign Shikar client for a Royal Bengal tiger .
    All this was to change in April of 1963 .
    A client from the United States of America had come to our firm , having booked for two species :
    He wanted to shoot jungle fowl. And he also wanted to shoot a Royal Bengal tiger . Due to being , right in the midst of Shikar season , most of the more " salted " Shikaris ( experienced professional Shikaris ) were already preoccupied with guiding other clients after other beasts .
    However , l was available and l immediately seized my opportunity . I volunteered to Sundar Raj Sir , that l would be privileged to guide the Shikar .
    Sundar Raj sir was initially very hesitant to let me guide the Shikar , because l had never guided a Shikar for anything more dangerous than a Darjeeling bush boar . However , l was quick to point out to Sundar Raj Sir , that l had already killed one Royal Bengal tiger , one leopard , two crocodiles , an Asian sloth bear and two Gaurs , on my own personal Shikar license , and thus l could not possibly be so inept , as to warrant his concern .
    Furthermore , my dear respected client was a true sport and he himself , seemed very open to the idea of 21 year old Kawshik Rahman being his professional Shikari. Eventually , Sundar Raj Sir relented on the condition that l be accompanied by a second Shikari from another firm ( who was more experienced than l ) . I readily agreed .
    I had a chance to examine the gentleman's fire arms . Indeed , this gentleman seemed to have a profound fondness for small calibres .
    The rifle was built by the American firm , Savage . It was a bolt operation rifle and
    it was calibrated for the .243 Winchester cartridge .
    The shot-gun was a double barrel side by side English piece , built by the renowned firm , Westley Richards . It was a 28 bore and had removable locks .
    For the rifle , the American gentleman had brought four boxes of soft nose cartridges . These were made by the American firm , Winchester and weighed little above 100 grains .
    For the shot-gun , the cartridges were of number 6 shot size ( the most useful shot size , in my view ) and were made of paper , by the English firm , Eley .
    I was quite sceptical of the gentleman's choice in rifles . A .243 Winchester cartridge seemed rather diminutive for securing a 400 to 500 pound Royal Bengal tiger . However , back in those days , Client was King , and l dared not question my respected client .
    And thus , another week of Shikar began , as the next part of this account , shall relate .
     
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  4. Shootist43

    Shootist43 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Very interesting read so far.
     
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  5. Kawshik Rahman

    Kawshik Rahman AH Elite

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    Three days later , our party set out for securing some nice grouse birds . Our party consisted of myself , my dear respected client , my loyal Nepalese gun bearer , Rishi , our loyal Garo tracker , Jeddiah and another professional Shikari named Poton Khan . Poton was 22 years of age and my senior by two years . He was from a Shikar outfitting firm based in Nagpur , called " Allwyn Cooper " , which was run by a gentleman named Vidya C Shukla .

    A word about Poton is requisite here . Even though , he was only two years older than l , he already had secured five Royal Bengal tigers by 1963 . He was also an owner of an imported fire arm , which was a rare luxury to us local Shikaris .
    He had purchased a second hand shot-gun from a British tea garden owner who had returned back to Great Britain , in 1959 . The shot-gun was a 12 bore " magnum " side by side shot-gun with 76 millimeter chambers and 28 inch long muzzles. The left barrel was a half choke , while the right barrel was a full choke . This shot-gun was made by a firm named " Mercury " , which l believe , was a continental firm . Poton was a very unusual ( yet highly competent ) fellow.
    Like me ( and every sensible Shikari ) , he loathed locally manufactured Indian ammunition . However , unlike me , he actually resolved to do something about it .
    When corresponding with his future clients , over telephone, or by post , he always had a request . Each of his clients had to bring him three boxes of " Eley 12 bore Spherical Ball " cartridges . Thus , Poton was always well supplied with 12 bore ball cartridges for his shot-gun .
    He was highly competent with the weapon too . Most of the Royal Bengal tigers , which he ever killed on his personal license were killed at night , using a torch light . He always opted to use baits ( such as a goat or a Bullock , which he would tie to a tree ) and always preferred to shoot the tiger in the head , between both eyes . However , let us now get back to the story at hand .

    I carried my Ishapore Arms Factory 12 bore side by side shot-gun loaded with SG cartridges in both the barrels . Poton carried his Mercury 12 bore side by side shot-gun , loaded with an Eley Spherical Ball cartridge in each barrel . Rishi carried our respected client's 28 bore Westley Richards shot-gun and a leather bandolier , filled with number 6 cartridges . We reached a very popular spot where the jungle fowl were abundant .
    Screenshot_20191127-052142_01.png
    Spots like this , would be teeming with jungle fowl .

    Rishi handed our dear respected client his 28 bore shot-gun and bandolier of cartridges . Poton offered to serve , as the gentleman's loader . However , the gentleman politely stated that he always felt more comfortable , loading his own fire arms. In half an hour , the shooting had commenced .

    Now , l must admit that up until that point in my life , l did not have much respect for the little 28 bore . I viewed it , as a shot-gun for a lady , or a boy , but not the sort of thing for a dedicated Shikari ( you will forgive me , dear readers , for my insolence . It must be remembered that these are not my beliefs , but rather the beliefs of twenty year old Kawshik Rahman , who still had a great deal to learn about the art of Shikar ) .
    I was pleasantly surprised . The little 28 bore , which had a quarter choked left barrel and a half choked right barrel , was knocking down down grouse left and right ! Those Eley number 6 cartridges were just the things for the Indian grouse. After an hour , Poton and l counted the number of grouse which had fallen to the 28 bore of that American gentleman .
    All in all , there were twenty grouse secured . This gentleman ( like most of our clients ) had a heart of gold . He let Poton and l , each keep five grouse birds for ourselves , while he kept the rest .
    Both Poton and l , were indeed , very grateful , for this token of appreciation .
    Few birds , are as delicious , as grouse .
    However , enough of talking about bird shooting . You all are reading this article patiently to reach the part concerning the Royal Bengal tiger , no ?
    Let us proceed , dear readers , to the third part of this account.
     

  6. Kawshik Rahman

    Kawshik Rahman AH Elite

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    Now , there are basically two methods by which a Shikari can secure his Royal Bengal tiger :
    A ) Baiting
    B ) Beating

    When you are baiting a Royal Bengal tiger , the method used in Old India , was as follows :
    You would tie a goat , or a Bullock to a tree and then climb up a macchan or another nearby tree and wait with your shot-gun ( or rifle , if you had one ) for the tiger to come . A word of warning , is requisite here. A Royal Bengal tiger has an unrivalled sense of smell. Some times , it may not fall victim to the bait , if it catches the scent of the Shikari . That is why , every Shikari who ever used the baiting method ( naturally , including myself ) always used to wash their clothes in kerosene . While this sounds like a very pungent thing to do , the effectiveness of this trick should not be underestimated . The kerosene helps to mask the smell of the Shikari .

    The " Beating " method is far more costly and requires a good deal of co-ordination . The Shikari (s) hire a large group of villagers ( say forty to fifty ) after the trackers have successfully narrowed down the area of a Royal Bengal tiger . These villagers carry large drums , flutes and other musical instruments . While making as much noise as possible , these villagers comb through a forested area in a single file formation , while the shooter(s) are waiting in the other end of the forest . The idea , is to ensure that the Royal Bengal tiger , is flushed towards the shooter .
    My childhood hero , Stewart Granger's excellent film " Harry Black and the tiger " portrays the method of beating very accurately . However , the film is ( sadly ) inaccurate about a small detail . The film treats beats , as if they were a very common occurrence . This is not necessarily true. Beats were often used , only as a LAST RESORT . This was , not only because it was expensive to recruit so many villagers , but that it was also extremely difficult to make a large quantity of villagers agree , to this task. No body wants to beat a loud drum and walk through a forest , knowing full well that a Royal Bengal tiger might choose to spring upon you rather than away from you ( however , to be fair , these occurrences were exceedingly rare ) .

    In this case , Poton and l decided that we would use a beat , to flush out that Royal Bengal tiger towards our client .
    Screenshot_20191018-001102_01_01.png
    Me , supervising a group of beaters .
    While l do own this photograph , it is infact taken from another Shikar which l guided . I have merely added it here , for reference purposes.

    A massive macchan was erected for our client to wait on top of . And so , he did , cautiously clutching his .243 Winchester calibre bolt operation rifle .
    Two hours had passed . Poton and l were waiting on either side of our client's macchan , in a hole dug in the ground . I was armed with my Ishapore Arms Factory 12 bore side by side shot-gun loaded with SG cartridges in each barrel . Poton carried his Mercury 12 bore magnum side by side shot-gun loaded with Eley Spherical Ball cartridges . We were anxiously waiting , as we heard the loud drumming of the beaters move closer and closer towards us. If they were moving closer and closer towards us , then that must have meant that the Royal Bengal tiger was also getting closer and closer towards us , ad well .
    Rishi , who had a pair of binoculars and was sitting on a nearby coconut tree , was scouting the entire area . Suddenly , he said " Kawshik Bhai , dekhen ! Baagh dekhte parchi ! " ( Brother Kawshik , look ! I can see the Royal Bengal tiger ! ) .
    Poton immediately gestured to our client . The client readied his .243 Winchester calibre rifle . Being on ground level , neither Poton , nor l , could see the Royal Bengal tiger until it was within a few hundred yards of us . I cautiously raised my Ishapore Arms Factory 12 bore , to take a shot at the Royal Bengal tiger , lest it discovers the hole where Poton and l were lying , in wait . However , Poton stopped me and said " Monib ba amra bipod e na porle , guli chalanor kono dorkar nai "
    ( Unless we or the client , is in danger , there is no reason for us to shoot our client's trophy ).
    My heart pounded nervously , as l knew that the Royal Bengal tiger was getting closer and closer. Suddenly , we heard a sharp "Pop " ! All was silent . It was a gun shot . Poton and l tightly gripped our shot-guns , fearing if the worst should happen . Finally we heard Rishi yell " Baagh amader ! Baagh amader ! " ( The tiger is ours ! The tiger is ours ! ).
    Cautiously , we peeked our heads out of our hiding place . True , enough , the Royal Bengal tiger lay dead . Our client had shot him through the heart , right between the two fore legs .
    Screenshot_20191125-042910_01_01.png
    He was a massive fellow , with a weight of exactly 500 pounds . That little .243 Winchester 105 grain soft nose bullet had opened up perfectly , inside his heart and ended his existence .

    The epilogue will follow.
     

  7. Kawshik Rahman

    Kawshik Rahman AH Elite

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    What a great way to commence one's career for guiding Royal Bengal tiger Shikars !
    Co incidentally , the .243 Winchester cartridge is the smallest calibre in my career as a professional Shikari , which l have ever personally seen , to be used with success , on a Royal Bengal tiger .

    I learnt a great deal about how to hunt these great cats , from Poton during that week . Poton would go on , to shoot seven more Royal Bengal tigers , in his career as a professional Shikari .
    Poton and l would end up becoming close personal friends and we remain so , to this day ( He lives in Bangladesh now , albeit in a different district than l ) .
    Our client would go on to become a politician in the United States of America ( you will forgive me , dear readers , for not disclosing any other information . As it is , five forum members have already recognized the gentleman and privately messaged me , guessing his identity and asking if they are correct . Indeed , they are . )
    As for Vidya C Shukla , the man would go on , to become an Indian politician himself . However , like most politicians , he was a hypocrite . After , becoming a part of Indira Gandhi's government , he instead began to demonize all hunters and painted all of us , as evil beings , caring about nothing other than wanton slaughter .
    In my opinion , the only thing worse than a vegetarian or anti hunting activist , is a former hunter who turns on his own kind , just so that he can get more votes . I have no respect for such people , in any form .

    As l conclude another article , l know that many Indian people are probably reading my articles here with disgust , about how we used to kill all their " animal friends " . Truth be told , l am not concerned even the slightest about offending these illiterate vegetarian " activists " or these anti hunting lunatics , who preach about ethics and conservation , without knowing a farthing about either .
    If these people had their way , there would be no hunting in the entire world at all and the world would be over run with vegan and vegetarian filth . Fifty years ago , they over ran India , with their lies and propaganda . But here , l will write the truth and they cannot stop me from writing the truth . That is why , l have chosen to continue writing about hunting in Old India .



    I am also pleased to inform my dear forum members that l have asked my good friend , Poton Khan , if he would like to be a member of African Hunting forums and share some of his experiences and photographs with everyone here , about his own personal Shikar experiences ( mostly involving Royal Bengal tigers ) . He has obliged and will become a member of these forums soon , when he has cleared some time on his schedule . I feel that he will be warmly welcomed here , just like l was , by all my dear respected forum members . I hope that this article proved enjoyable .
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2019
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  8. Ridgewalker

    Ridgewalker AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Kawshik, another one of your fascinating adventures from an era lost! I would never hunt a Royal Bengal Tiger with a 243! Amazing your client had the calm nature and self control to put a tiny 105 grain bullet into the tiger’s heart!
     
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  9. Wyatt Smith

    Wyatt Smith AH Enthusiast

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    Just think, I am only a few years older than were at this time( I’m 22) and you were already guiding clients for tiger. I hope someday I can see a tiger in his natural habitat and not in zoo.
     

  10. Newboomer

    Newboomer GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Mr. Rahman,
    Thank you for another fascinating glimpse of hunting in Old India. I like and wholeheartedly endorse your your disgust of vegans, hypocrites and other activists.
    Looking forward to welcoming Poton Khan to AH and reading of his experiences.
     
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  11. Kawshik Rahman

    Kawshik Rahman AH Elite

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    Ridge Walker
    Your view is extremely sound . I would personally opt not to shoot one of these Royal Bengal tigers with anything smaller than a .338 Winchester calibre rifle.
    My client was an unusually cool customer.
    It must be remembered that when my late colleague, Rongon Daas's client attempted to secure a Royal Bengal tiger by using a Winchester model 70 rifle , calibrated for the .220 Swift cartridge , the poor man lost his life and Rongon was hung to death by the Nilgiri Wildlife Association , for letting his client die .
    Thank you so much for your kind words and support. I will keep writing here.
     
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  12. Forrest

    Forrest AH Member

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    As always a wonderful account. Thank you.
     
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  13. Kawshik Rahman

    Kawshik Rahman AH Elite

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    Wyatt Smith
    Thank you so much for your kind words and support. Some day , you will have your own adventures and you will write a book about them , which l will purchase and read with great enthusiasm . It must be remembered that in our time , the pressure of education was low , fortunately . For instance , l completed my University degree in Economics by the age of twenty . My niece , however , is 25 and finished her education only two years ago , at the age of 23 . Also , my niece always used to complain about study pressure and only found time to hunt with me , on her vacations .
    However , during our time , it was common for all University or College students or even high school students to study during the week and then go out to shoot jungle fowl or boars or deer , during the weekend ( as Shikar season was seven months long ) .
     
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  14. Kawshik Rahman

    Kawshik Rahman AH Elite

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    Newboomer
    Thank you so much for your kind words.
    I absolutely dislike these people with a passion . They genuinely think that animals are superior to human beings and are " saintly " creatures . One Indian lunatic recently wrote a book called " Legend of the man - eater" where he basically denies that a man - eating leopard or Royal Bengal tiger can ever exist . He goes on , to call Jim Corbett ( one of my greatest role models and child hood heroes ) a " sadistic butcher " and " serial- killer of animals " . He ends his book by claiming that the world will remain filled with violence and evil , until " Kill Sports " are banned in the entire world . If l ever find this retarded filth in front of me , l will throw my shoe at him .
    He claims that Shikaris shooting deer turns Royal Bengal tigers into man - eaters , because we are " killing their food "
    And he claims that bird shooting results in " Hundreds of wounded birds " , because the " thousands of pellets in a shot-gun cartridge cripple dozens of birds , in a single shot " .
    Despite being Indian by birth , l am ashamed of what India has become now . These vegan and vegetarian filth ruined my country .
     
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  15. Kawshik Rahman

    Kawshik Rahman AH Elite

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    Forrest
    Thank you so much for your kind words and support.
     

  16. Malambo

    Malambo AH Member

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    Dear Mr. Rahman,
    Thank you once again for such a interesting personnal account. Please don`t stop.
    Kind regards
     
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  17. Kawshik Rahman

    Kawshik Rahman AH Elite

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    Malambo
    Thank you so much for your kind words and support.
     

  18. Shootist43

    Shootist43 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Kawshik, while a 243 Winchester is in a slightly different league than a 220 Swift it can hardly be classified as a DG rifle. Obviously it worked for your client "this time." I'm of the opinion that your amazement at that time was equally matched by mine when I read your account of this hunt. To date, my Win. Mod 70 Featherweight in 243 has only hunted paper, although admittedly quite well. That being said, if I were ever in a position to hunt a Royal Bengal Tiger, rest assured that it would not be with my trusty 243 Win. :D:D I'm looking forward to reading Poton Kahn's posts.
     
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  19. gesch

    gesch AH Enthusiast

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  20. gesch

    gesch AH Enthusiast

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    As always your articles are interesting as hunting literature but also as insightful historical reports. Excellent in all regards! I think it also points out that marksmanship is the most important element in the discussion of caliber while not dismissing that the caliber must be reasonable to the task at hand! Thank you again for your excellent writings. Your friend Brian
     
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