Dakna Bagh, 10 March 1893

Towards 9 o’clock in the morning we departed for a hunt in a swamp thickly covered with reeds in which multiple tigers had been confirmed. The terrain was of a very different character than the one of the day before. It was an extended swamp in which there were patches of nearly impenetrable reeds that offered good cover for the tigers. We cut down a few stalks of the local reed that can grow up to a height of 6 m, a length one might consider incredible. In the usual manner and speed a circle was formed on the most suitable spot. Unfortunately without result — not every jungle was housing five tigers. Even if we had no opportunity to shoot, it was interesting enough to observe the enthusiasm and skill of the natives. Here every movement is done without shouts and waste of time only with short commands, in a military manner, so that the Nepalese distinguished themselves very positively from their Indian brethren for whom indecisiveness and noise seem to be indispensable ingredients of every hunt.

The shikaris excused themselves for the failure and wanted to try their luck again. They formed two more circles but also without success, so that only two of the rare swamp francolins were the only spoils of this hunt. I fired and wounded a huge crocodile that was sunning itself on a small island without being able to catch it as it disappeared into the muddy water after the shot.

The shikaris explained their lack of success by the fact that the water has risen because of the recent rainfalls and has driven away most tigers. In fact, the water in the swamp stood so high that the bellies of our elephants disappeared in the mud. They could only advance with difficulty. After an exhaustive march through the deep swamp we permitted our brave elephants a little rest. Later we crossed, again in a long line, an area in which shala trees alternated with jungles. Here there were rich pickings. Among others, Wurmbrand shot a noticeably strong boar and Kinsky killed a swamp deer as did I too.

The swamp deer that as its name reveals usually stays in wet marsh  is an uncommon type of game which distinguishes itself mostly by its far superior size to the big game at home. Its characteristic attributes are long beard-like hair on the shoulders, the inch-long oval tear sacs and the foot-long tail; the color of its coat is similar to our big game. The animals are a bit less fully and more clearly colored than our deer. Immediately afterwards I bagged my first porcupine which appeared near my elephant and offered a very strange comic sight in its flight. The total result of the hunt was 57 pieces of various types of game.

Crossing one of the swamp streams I was put in an uncomfortable situation: My especially large and heavy elephant was stuck  in a deep spot and was sinking in more and more the heavier he struggled to get on. Its movements became so frantic that I had to hold on to the wall of the hauda with all my force, clutching my rifles. Finally, the big belt of the haudas tore in two so that I expected every moment to fall with all hunting equipment into the water but the elephant, finally realizing that it was in a critical situation, suddenly stopped, regained its calm for a while and then pushed the trunk against the ground to distribute the weight more evenly and worked its way out of the difficult situation.

Links

  • Location: Dakna Bagh, Nepal
  • ANNO – on 10.03.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater plays “Kriemhilde“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing a potpourri „Wiener Walzer“

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