Beli, 19 March 1893

During the whole night it rained incessantly. Towards the morning, the storm calmed down so that we could at least undertake a hunt, as no tiger had been confirmed, in the jungle next to the camp which proved to be almost bereft of game. One could only hear the sound of a shot once every half hour. When we intervened with the hunting master,  the maharaja’s nephew, he explained to us that he had predicted this but nevertheless led us to this hunting ground as he had been informed that a tiger was in this forest.

To offer a goal for all further discussion, he ordered to arrange a breakfast and rest to which I happily agreed, as during our previous expeditions breakfast had proved favorable opportunities in a change of our hunting fortunes and especially as we soon resumed the hunt in a better mixed jungle.

I had just passed a small gorge and the whole line had entered a jungle of very high grass and reed when I found parts of a cow killed by a tiger in the grass. I made the shikaris riding beside me aware of my find. Having examined the killing ground closely, they shook their heads and held a long discussion with vivid gestures among themselves which I interpreted that the tiger could not be very far away. The had the right wing of the line halt which had already entered the jungle, while the left wing which had lagged behind a bit was wheeled inward with me in the middle acting as a pivot.

Now came a moment which will always remain a black mark in my tiger hunts but for which Saint Hubertus will hopefully forgive his eager follower  As I knew that the wheel of the left wing would take some time, I was sitting carelessly with the shotgun in the hand in my hauda.  Suddenly I see a long yellow line in front of me in the grass. Jumping up and shooting happened in one instance, even though I had already realized that a tiger was in front of me. Thus I had not replaced the shotgun with a rifle in the heat of the moment but fired at a noble tiger with size 8 pellets. I quickly grabbed the rifle but it was too late. The tiger fled after the shot and disappeared into the tall grass. Deeply ashamed and also very angry about this incident which could only be excused in case of a very inexperienced huntsman, I stood there and shouted out with all the voice that my body could produce, thus venting some of the anger about myself „Bara Bagh, Bara Bagh!“ to inform the other gentlemen about the presence of the tiger.

The tiger fled away from me in a straight line and I feared that the circle would not be closed quickly enough. But the encircling proceeded at the usual order and speed, so that when the first shikari entered into the middle, the roar of the tiger joyfully assured us of its presence within the circle. Already when I was standing there with the emptied shotgun, I saw that it was an especially large tiger which we were facing and which did not make us wait for a long time but rushed, a beautiful image of force and strength, upon Wurmbrand who shot it in the leg just as it was started to jump. Roaring loudly, the tiger retreated into the grass, jumped at another circling elephant and finally perished from another shot.

It turned out to be the strongest tiger that we had killed up to now, an especially large specimen with a mighty head and long fangs, one of which was carious, a sign of very old age. During the opening of the stomach, a well preserved half of a cow with skin, head, ears etc. was found. Also found while puling off the skin were my shot pellets sitting straight on the shoulder.  I kept them as a sad memento. Overall, I was very glad that it was Wurmbrand who was the lucky hunter who bagged the tiger as he had not yet had the chance. The continuation of the hunt did not result in much game but at least representatives of a new species for us, two large Indian civets (Viverra zibetha) that are marked by intense and numerous dark spot and stripes.

Towards evening when we had already returned to camp a heavy storm erupted which continued to thunder without interruption.  The pouring rain was in no way helping in reducing the humidity in the camp still wet from the day before.

During dinner, there suddenly was sounded a tiger alarm. Frightened coolies rushed in with the message that a tiger had killed a bull and was sitting on it. The people, fearing for their own animals, made fires everywhere. The message, however, turned out to be false, so only a scared feeling lingered on.

Links

  • Location: Beli, Nepal
  • ANNO – on 19.03.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Das Käthchen von Heillbronn“ in the afternoon and „Kriemhilde“ in the evening, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing „Die Jüdin“.

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