Tjipandak, 20 April 1893

The ground for the Banteng hunt today was considerably farther away than the one the day before. Only after a three hour march did we reach our destination. The ride during which we had, like the day before, to cross the river multiple times lead almost continuously through Alang grass without the need to overcome any especially difficult terrain obstacles. Only one time there was a very steep gorge to pass which seemed impassable for horses but which our local nags overcame in a truly admirable way, as they slided and glided, sitting on their rear legs, down into the gorge without accident and then climbing almost vertically up out of the deep again while we on foot were only getting across with difficulties over the stone plates and the smooth clay underground.

During our ride I saw on a hill in the distance the head of a deer rise out of the tall grass. The attempt to sneak up to the shy game was unsuccessful.

This time too the drive pushed towards forests down in the valley but the hunting positions were taken up along a ridge. Mr. Kerkhoven first positioned me at the lowest level and had the intention to put one of my gentlemen in the closest upward position. By a mistake of the native who Mr. Kerkhoven had sent back with the order of this arrangement it was Mr. Borrel and not one of my gentlemen who took up position next to me. I sat under a tree and had to suffer during the three hours of the drive much exposure to heat as the tree offered no shade, even more so as it deemed necessary in the interest of the hunt to keep very quiet. Thus I could only sit quietly and envy the legions of ants that were running up and down unimpressed by the heat. The open space around the position was very limited.

After the lifting shot I heard a strong breaking that could only be the result of large game but soon everything was quiet again. Some time afterwards my neighbor fired a shot then I saw and heard nothing more than the monotonous rattles of the drivers in the defensive line.

Finally at the end of the drive, Mr. Borrel approached me and apologized vividly that he had shot a Banteng bull, convinced that the piece would not come into the range of my rifle. How correct this was I could not assess. In any way, I was not much pleased that neither I nor one of my gentlemen had had hunter’s luck and looked with much shooter’s envy upon the capital bull that distinguished itself by its remarkable size and strength.

Much taller than our strongest cattle the Banteng stands on high legs. Its mighty head is ornamented with upward pointing crooked horns. The top skin is glittering black. The extremities below the knee are white as snow. When a Banteng moves through the thicket, one can hear from afar the breaking and crackle of the branches that are crushed by the animals. In the forests which we were passing through today we found everywhere large quantities of broken and dry bamboo sticks — apparent marks of the mighty Bantengs.

Mr. Kerkhoven who stood there somewhat annoyed that the bull had been killed not by me but Mr. Borrel had seen a Banteng cow in the distance. Wurmbrand too saw three animals that crossed at a great distance. Even though there was time to continue the hunt, the retreat was sounded because a heavy storm was brewing on the horizon and our hunting master feared that a heavy rain would make crossing the river impossible. But the storm cleared up and we only were touched by a few rain drops.

As hunters, drivers and dogs were already lost and thus the hunt was over for today, we wanted to use the remaining time after the return to the camp to fish in the river. It was not an especially beautiful way of fishing that we were practising. We namely used dynamite which all of our rational fishermen would have found abhorrent, but we wanted mostly to know whether there were any fishes in the river and if so of what species. Here too the natives had claimed that the river contained crocodiles. Thus dynamite was the quickest and safest means to answer these questions.

The river was closed off a few hundred paces downstream with a net. Then the Dutch gentlemen started adjusting the dynamite cartridges while my hunter as a former NCO of the engineer corps had to provide them with help and advice.  With the greatest calm they were handling dynamite and fuses in our dining hut After they had prepared everything without causing a rightfully feared explosion, the cartridges were hurled into the river after their fuses had been lighted. The explosion followed soon afterwards but for the present without the desired success as no fish appeared on the water surface.

We, I and some of the gentlemen, had in the mean time gained control of a vehicle composed out of two canoes bound together by bamboo and were expecting to find some fishes. As we took it upon ourselves to guide the vehicle with bamboo sticks, we played a miserable role as our double boat either was turning in a circle or with a loud crash hit the shore, so that we attracted the attention of the natives who had remained on land and generated general merriment. We did not catch any fishes but instead Clam fell head first into the water at a very deep spot while in the midst of busy rowing and touched the underside of a canoe with his head but was rescued out of the river by a united effort.

After this intermezzo we considered it advisable to desist from testing our nautical skills further but disembarked in order to observe the next effects of the exploder on land. As for quite some time no aquatic animal became visible in the river, we finally returned home.  Half an hour later, a native brought us a basket filled with dead fishes and told us that many hundreds of fishes were being washed down the river without a possibility to catch them as the people with the nets had already gone away. My knowledge in ichthyology were unfortunately insufficient to determine the specimens precisely that had become victims of the dynamite. One of the fishes with a remarkable red coloring of the scales could be possibly classified as a barbel.

Links

  • Location: Tji Pandak, Indonesia
  • ANNO – on 20.04.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „De Widerspänstige“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Carmen“.

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