Cianjur, 16 April 1893

This regent too wanted me to enjoy a hunt. He therefore invited me to a deer hunt in his favorite private hunting ground Panoembangan. Cianjur was still asleep when we left the small town. Only here and there a Chinese was visible who was just opening his shop. But the tireless escort was already in the square and accompanied us at a brisk gallop which again put some of the gentlemen in a tough situation. After only a few Paals (1 Paal = 1506.9 m), their up to then considerable number of riders had reduced itself to a minimum as some had been separated from their horses and others did not manage to guide their horses past the houses along the road.

This time we did not use the large government carriage as in earlier occasions but a very light hunting wagon with a roof which was much faster but had the big disadvantage of being built only for the short legs of the natives and we thus were sitting in a very uncomfortable position.

First the road led across the plain through a valley of many villages and numerous rice paddies. Then we turned to the north-east and reached a mountainous terrain which contained besides a few plantation mostly savannah of alang and forests.

In this mountainous terrain we advanced naturally much slower than in the valley below despite the exertions of our ponies. Some inclines could only be conquered with the assistance of an army of coolies who pushed behind each wagon, heaving and dragging while the coachmen were shouting and cracking their whips.

Strange were the numerous bamboo bridges of the roads we drove through. At a glance these filigrane constructions seemed not to look very trustworthy, as the trusses were only about 30 cm strong bamboo poles while the cross beams are even thinner. There are no pillars, the bridge hangs freely over the valley or river on bamboo ropes that are tied on both sides to trees.  Solid bridge fillings is missing too. It is replaced by woven bamboo fibers that resemble a mat. If a wagon is driving over such a bridge, the whole construction is swinging and creaking alarmingly even though the elastic material is said to have great lifting power. The Dutch resident seemed to be of a different opinion and not have much trust in the bridges in his residency as he asked us repeatedly to leave the carriage and pass the bridge on foot. Very naive was the behavior of the coolies: In the opinion to reduce the strains upon the bridge, about fifty guys carried the wagons across.

After a drive of three hours we finally arrived with our horses completely spent at the regent’s delicate hunting lodge built out of bamboo. The friendly owner offered us first a snack and use the time it took to eat to make final preparations with the hunters.

On a mountain ledge we saw an immense crowd of drivers who were beautifully assembled from the valley up to the top of the mountain.

The hunting ground was this time a mountain range without trees, completely covered in tall thick alang grass through which the drivers were to march towards us. Along a foot path on the ledge we were assigned raised stands all made out of bamboo that offered a view upon the grass jungle. The brave people had decorated my raised stand with crossed flags in black-yellow and red-white. As much as I appreciated the attention, I still asked to remove the flags as it would chase away the game.

I took up position at the outward right flank; next to me were the other gentlemen of my entourage. At a sign from the regent the drive started with the terrible noise of the drivers who advanced concentrically from the hills toward our position.They happily used their bamboo rattles which jumped up and down the whole line like platoon fire. Strangely the drive advanced in complete order even if at a very slow pace.

Just at the start of the hunt I saw an animal and a a calf cross at a large distance; after a while they came a bit closer in full flight and I managed to kill the animal. When the drivers had approached to about 800 paces, a strong animal and a spike became visible that collapsed after fleeing from my shots and died. Finally — the drivers were already close to the dais — a good deer escaped out of a bamboo thicket and fled just in my direction. Hit by my fire, it collapsed.

The other shooters had not killed anything; Wurmbrand shot in vain at long distance at an animal while one of the other gentlemen saw the game flee before he had even arrived at his hunting position.

The six-ender antler of the deer I killed was still in velvet. The deer on Java as well as those in India seem not to have a season for casting the antlers as at the same time there are deer with totally used up antlers, deer in velvet and those that had cast off their antlers.

Questioned about the reasons for the meager result of the hunt the native hunter explained that the current time period was not very favorable for a deer hunt as the abundant rain had led to very tall grass which made the finding of game and the hunt much more difficult.

By the way, the big game has already been mostly killed in the whole of Java. Hunting is free, the Javanese nobles are eager hunters and everywhere everything is mercilessly hunted that comes into view. The quantity of game that the island originally had may be assessed by the following:  When 25 years ago a Dutch resident visited one of the provinces of central Java, the native regent organized a hunt in which 1200 pieces of game were killed on a single day.This fact was reported to me by an eye witness who also said that the area was foul for weeks afterwards as the killed game could not be removed due to a lack of manpower but left behind on the spot.

At the end of the hunt all the drivers, more than 2000 men in numbers, streamed to my dais and started upon the sign of the chief hunter, a small old man, into a deafening cheer that nearly made the air tremble. The four bagged pieces were laid out beside the dais and soon I was standing in a a downpour of hats as the densely packed crowd had thrown their straw or bamboo hats into the air in order to applaud again.

Even more original was the procession to the hunting lodge. This procession was led by uniformed minor officials who performed a jig in front of the game carried on poles like King David did in front of the ark of the covenant. Then followed  the 2000 drivers, in whose midst I was quasi wedged in, all of them shouting and crying and making noise with bamboo rattles. A stranger who encountered this procession would think that a legion of madmen had escaped out of the madhouse and was enjoying their regained freedom. At the hunting lodge, the exaltation fortunately stopped.

Links

  • Location: Cianjur, Indonesia
  • ANNO – on 16.04.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. The Wiener Salonblatt mentions that FF has set course for Java from Singapore on 11 April 1894.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Das Heiratsnest“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Margarethe (Faust)“.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

*

Solve : *
10 × 4 =