Dakna Bagh, 12 March 1893

During the night it had been raining very much so that no tiger had been confirmed despite the smiling morning sky. The resident therefore proposed a general shooting that was to start straight outside the camp and proceed in a big half circle  and end back at the camp in the evening. Business kept the resident from participating in the hunt whose directions he transferred to the expedition’s doctor. The latter transfer seemed to disturb the natives. We too would have been under the competent direction of a Nepalese. As soon as the line had been formed, the first shots rang out at the plentiful game. I shot a strong boar, Clam a porcupine. Also shot were multiple deer as well as peacocks and francolins that flew up in front of us.

We might have hunted for about half an hour when to the right of me Kinsky fired a bullet and the cry of „cheetah, cheetah“ (panther) was heard. A huge commotion took hold of the long line. The shikaris shouted their commands, the mahauts incited their elephants with merciless beats to their fastest pace and I started to believe that the worst disorder, total chaos, had been created when to my surprise I saw a regular circle was formed and the shikaris rode in its middle to flush out the encircled panther. The speed and security in which the Nepalese manage to advance and withdraw the wings of a long line of elephants to form a circle around a certain spot is truly to be admired. The panther at which Kinsky’s bullet was intended had sought shelter in the middle of the circle in a small bush in a cat-like manner but soon jumped out and was now killed by Kinsky with two bullets. It was a strong male animal with clear beautifully speckled skin.

After this interesting „intermezzo“  our hunt was continued in which I bagged first some muntjacs that rose very close to the elephant and fled like hares, barely visible in the high grass. A chital with very strong antlers and three animals from a pack fell to me soon thereafter.

I was just occupying myself with the loading of the four pieces onto elephants when again bullet shots rang out in quick succession with the cry of „cheetah, cheetah“. Prónay and Stockinger had fired upon a panther in the high grass and missed. With my fast elephant I arrived just in time to see the panther sneaking away into the jungle. I fired and hit the panther, shouting at the others not to fire as the animal was already dead, when the panther suddenly rose again and with a mighty roar broke through the not completely closed ring.

Never to be seen again, I thought but I didn’t take the sharp eyes and the skills of the natives into account. While it would have been impossible for us to determine the direction the panther had taken, the shikaris took note and soon had encircled the fugitive again. This time too, he managed to break through despite being severely wounded and before we could fire a secure shot. It retreated, followed à vue in a wild chase by us to a porcupine burrow and was soon encircled again. The mahauts saw the panther go down at the edge of the tunnel and showed us the spot which I couldn’t make out due to the yellow grass. Finally, the situations proved too much for the panther and it emerged in full flight and attacked an elephant jumping with both forelegs onto the elephant’s back where it was finally caught by Pronay’s shot. Even though my first bullet sat in the shoulder, the panther had had the strength to escape twice and attack an elephant, — certainly a proof of an astonishing tenacity of life.

We allowed us and the brave elephants a short pause with a breakfast after the hunting successes, which may be justly be called well deserved. The collector’s drive, however, did not leave me completely alone during this pause so that I was always scanning the area for prey. Here I was very lucky as I found close to our location the skin of a 5 m long python in the grass. After the pause the hunt resumed.

The terrain we were hunting in was especially rich in game, namely in species that are very rare. Clam and I each killed a jerboa, I also killed two Indian civets; A rich booty for us offered a jungle overgrown with ferns and lianas, a favorite location of bronze pigeons and jungle hens. When these beautiful hens with their yellow and metallic gleaming feathers and the red crests walked in front of us, we could believe to be in a chicken coop. They fly as fast as our partridges. Usually, though, one sees them only seldom as they are very fast and always run away and only start to fly at the edge of the jungle o at a stream. We were, however, very fortunate to bag 52 jungle hens in total.

The day’s total result was 160 pieces among them 16 deer of different species. In the camp in the evening, the resident assured us — and the Nepalese concurred — that such a huge result has never been achieved in one day. No wonder that there was a very good mood among the hunting companions and the results offered almost inexhaustible topics for entertaining talks.

In large hunts one has to overcome numerous terrain obstacles, namely streams and deeply cut and swampy ditches and gorges. The streams cover the plain in meander curves. The banks are steep, fragile and have a sharp inclination. To descend over such a shore bank, the elephants stand at the edge and glide down on the front legs in an avalanche of sand and earth, while the rear legs wait until the front legs are on firm ground. Mounting a steeply inclining bank, the elephant presses its head, trunk and tusk against the ground, advances its fore legs and draws the rest of the boy after it.

Links

  • Location: Dakna Bagh, Nepal
  • ANNO – on 12.03.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. Die Neue Presse offers a recap of Franz Ferdinand’s journey from Bombay to Agra. Empress Elisabeth, it is said, will continue her journey after her ongoing stay in Switzerland to Genoa and then by ship to Corfu.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the tragedy “Der Erbförster“ and the comedy „Krieg im Frieden“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing Meyerbeer’s opera „Die Hugenotten“.
Die Neue Presse 12 March 1893 - Franz Ferdinand's journey from Bombay to Agra.

Die Neue Presse 12 March 1893 – Franz Ferdinand’s journey from Bombay to Agra.

Die Neue Freie Presse - Recap of Franz Ferdiand'S trip from Bombay to Agra, conitunued

Die Neue Freie Presse – Recap of Franz Ferdiand’s trip from Bombay to Agra, conitunued.

 

 

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