It was like that of an old man deeply creased, determined, and fierce, but very calm. Everything was in readiness when we reached our machan, which was near the banks of a broad, dry river bottom. Animal rights activists are revolted by a series of trophy photos that have emerged showing Eric and Donald Jr. Trump posing with a dead elephant, kudu, civet cat and waterbuck. We had only two more days at Surguja, and the Maharaja was very anxious that these be successful. The tracks of game increased as we rode along and we found plenty of signs of sambur, a large stag. Elephant hunting brings money to communities who would otherwise see no benefit from the preservation of elephant, only the agricultural impact of the elephant on their livelihood. We had inspected the schools maintained out of the Maharaja's private fortune, from which he gives scholarships to the most deserving pupils, who are sent abroad to study special topics. Jollye told me that, no matter how many tigers he killed or saw killed, his heart always came up into his mouth at the sight of one. It made me think how easily I could equip one of our airplanes to fly to Mount Everest, photograph the whole peak, take temperature readings, notes of wind directions and force, and even land supplies wherever they were desired for ground parties climbing the mountain. The natives were very anxious to have him destroyed, as their herds were never safe while he was in the vicinity. The weather was very hot and he had been driven rapidly, which made him angry. Her belly was close to the ground and her tail, trailing low behind, was lashing back and forth. As I was such a new hand at the game, I was advised by Jollye to take my gun-bearer, a little Gond named Budung, up into the machan with me. Then we had an Indian galvanized-iron oven, in which we were to bake excellent bread and cake later on. The importing of so-called hunting trophies was banned by former President Obama in 2014, but the Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it will allow Americans to bring back elephant … The beaters were a little tired, I think, from the day before, and although they did everything with their usual dash, their precision did not seem to be as great. Now it requires a month to get there. Our doubts were soon dispelled, however, as a tiger appeared along the opposite bank, trotting slowly through the brush and trees across my front, his tail, held high, swinging from side to side, just like a large, angry cat. So, without further ado, the Maharaja and I started for the appointed place. The message had been relayed through by runners every three miles. Old tigers, whose vigor is on the wane and whose teeth are defective, find man an easier victim than fellow-dwellers in the wild; so it is these wily creatures who wreak the greatest destruction among the natives. All of them were now in plain view of our machan. The Largest Tiger Falls Before Both Hunters. We left the automobile at the outer gate and were met by the heir apparent, a fine young man of about 15 years, and his little brother, clad in their long brightly colored, gala robes, with splendidly bejeweled turbans, and surrounded by functionaries of the court. Finally, we could tell from the shouts of the beaters that the tiger had been flushed and was in the beat. Jollye was placed first, in the second best position, and his machan, consisting of a native four-poster bed, was quickly tied in a very large tree with almost no noise. Mrs. Mitchell had become quite ill and was unable to accompany me for several days. He also commandeered all the men driving carts with teak logs. From our Churna resthouse we rode over to Supplai resthouse, close beside another Gond village, where we were the guests of Lieutenant Hammond, of the British army. One was that the heaviest rifles are necessary to stop these great beasts. We had a pleasant night on the banks of the Narbada River, the great stream of central India. There are many mysteries and superstitions about an elephant. Everyone and everything looked so beautiful, so bright, and so friendly that we hated the realization that we were to leave on the following morning. After a good meal and a rest, we got out our shotguns for a peacock and jungle-fowl hunt along the forested banks of a river about a mile away. Occasionally we found the pug of the tiger himself crossing our road. Elephant hunts requires expert tracking and you should be prepared to walk great distances, for days on end, to secure a good tusker. After events proved this to be correct. The beat began. In addition, it is taken very seriously and its methods and forms are as carefully observed as religious ceremonies. Budung had removed all his clothing except a breechcloth, as he thought his calico turban and cloth might be too conspicuous. What the effect of my bullets had been I could not tell, as they had made wounds of entrance only as large as the .30-caliber bullet, and no blood whatever had dropped from the wounds. GETTY Providing meat makes the bush meat trade redundant, thereby helping to save other species. The Maharaja then explained what had happened. Panthers are much given to going into the villages and smashing in the native houses, and in the outlying districts mothers never leave their children alone on account of this constant menace. A tiger, to all intents and purposes, is a huge cat, acting as one of our house cats might if he were many times larger and weighed hundreds of pounds. We returned to our splendidly prepared camp, which I had barely had a chance to see before our departure for the tiger. The tiger avoids a well-armed man, and it is next to impossible to stalk the beast on foot, except during the height of the dry season, at a water hole. A thorough knowledge of the habits of the tiger and the locality is essential to the successful location of the gun positions. The dance steps are accompanied by a peculiar sucking sound made by placing the left hand under the right armpit, then lifting the right arm up and down rapidly. Upon reaching our machans we found … We would have the opportunity to shoot both in the preserves of a British province and in a native state. Join a Twitter chat with the Dereck and Beverly Joubert to talk about conservation on Wednesday, August 6 at 12 p.m. Emitting a loud squeal, it turned and struck its companion full in the nose. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. It is hard to express one's exaltation at the first tiger. If the tiger is driven too rapidly, he becomes surly and charges the beaters. Arrived at the jungle in which the tiger was located, we mounted elephants and started for the machans. Accounts of tigers attacking and killing adult Elephants and Rhinos! The Tiger of Segur was a young man-eating male Bengal tiger who killed fifty five people in the Nilgiri Hills of Tamil Nadu state in South India.Though originating in the District of Malabar District and Wayanad District below the south-western face of the Blue Mountains, the tiger later shifted its hunting grounds to Gudalur and between the Sigur Plateau and Anaikatty in Coimbatore district. Without any warning, we heard a commotion among the stops to our left, followed by a roar that resounded through the forest, and we knew that the tiger was close by. After we were seated the Maharaja took garlands from a table and placed them around our necks, then sprinkled attar of roses on our shoulders and handkerchiefs, and bade us welcome to the durbar. About 600 beaters were employed, this being the slack season, after the harvest had been reaped and before plowing had commenced. These great animals were a never-ending source of interest for us during our stay in the jungles. The bullet went either behind or between its legs and hit beyond. At the signal of its mahout, an elephant will catch projecting limbs with its trunk and remove them, or push trees a foot thick out of the way. A leopard had killed one of our baits, and we thought that we would have to be content to sit up over his kill. The object in beating is to inclose the tiger in a wide-flung circle of men and then gradually to drive him into an ever-narrowing funnel of stops to the waiting guns. One variety digs into the mud in the rice fields during the dry season and comes up as soon as the rains have made sufficient water for them. Tiger-Hunting in India By Brigadier General William Mitchell, Assistant Chief, U.S. Army Air Service. The scene was so quiet and peaceful that it was hard for me to believe that the great cats were really in the woods opposite, although with my glasses I could see where the buffalo had been killed the night before and the nala up which it had been carried. The tiger is the most dreaded creature of the Indian jungle and a tiger hunt, therefore, assumes not merely the aspect of a sport, but a public benefaction. All camps are made in that fashion and watch fires are kept burning at night. In the Nerbudda Division of the Central Provinces, 61 tigers, 262 panthers, and 44 bears were killed last year, while in the Nagpur Division 67 tigers, 154 panthers, and 68 bears were killed. For several days no kill resulted. At this time also the expedition for the ascent of Mount Everest was being assembled at Darjeeling. I slipped a cartridge into Mrs. Mitchell's .405 Winchester and tried a snapshot, but it hit a tree immediately beside him and he was through a beat for the seventh time. They had traveled ten miles to the hunt, ten miles back, had participated in the beat, and some had hunted in the morning before we started, making a total of at least 35 miles or more for the day. © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society, © 2015- In 1861, on tiger hunts, elephants easily shook tigers off and crushed them when they attacked. Finally, we could discern the elephants of the shikari to our right, but the left was still some distance off. Outside the guest house porte-cochère stood Gurkhas of the household guard, who had come from the Maharani's home country, Nepal. The male tigers often cover a female's retreat in this fashion. We threw down some sticks and stones, but as there was no response, I jumped down the bank and gave the tail a hard pull. If the tiger is wounded or brought to bay, his ferocity is something terrifying, awe-inspiring. As this was our first experience in a jungle of central India, we were keenly observant. Nowhere is more genuine and whole-hearted hospitality displayed than among the high-caste Hindu aristocracy. He remained entirely by himself, cooked his own food, and slept among his skins. These head beaters were provided with guns and blank ammunition, used to keep the tiger moving. After its close the men all proceeded to another apartment with the heir apparent. A bright new moon lighted our first view of the wonderful Taj Mahal, while cool, bracing weather accompanied us to the palaces and haunts of the Great Moguls. In addition we had put a boy up a tall tree about 50 yards back of our machan to observe any game that had been fired at and was either killed or wounded. Had I known more about big-game shooting in India, a much greater proportion of double-barreled rifles would have been provided. To the top of a rocky outcropping the tiger jumped, not more than 50 yards away, and at that instant I let go the bullet from the Springfield. As we proceeded along the road, there were signs of small deer. Had it been coming straight for me, I doubt very much if my Springfield would have stopped it. Following closely on the jungle fowl came the peafowl, both cocks with their long colorful tails undulating to the rhythmical pulsations of their wings, and peahens in more somber apparel, all very gorgeous, however. His ancestors, driven out of Rajputana by the Mohammedan invasion of the eleventh century, fled south and east, conquered this part of the country, where very little resistance was encountered, and their descendants remain to this day. Tradition has it that their first abode was a solitary mountain, in the northern part of the state, which they fortified and used as a base of operations and center of power. The shikaris are also provided with ball ammunition, in case the tigers attack the beaters. These were the fastest-moving elephants that I have ever seen, going through the forest at a gait of about 5½ miles an hour. I was surprised at the profusion of signs of all sorts of game. The beaters arrived in the middle of the performance and immediately climbed trees. My machan was only eight feet from the ground, and tigers have pulled men from trees 17 feet up. The Maharaja himself supports the temples, the priests, and the schools throughout his domain of 6,000 square miles, with a population of more than half a million people. He stayed away nearly four hours without finding any trace of the tiger. Mrs. Mitchell and I occupied the machan, while the Maharaja placed his motor car on the road, in a clearing about 200 yards behind us, so that if the tiger escaped us, either wounded or unhurt, he would have a good shot at the beast. It suggests that this may be happening because hunting an elephant requires less energy than hunting a sambar or a cheetal, and because an elephant provides a larger quantity of food. The mail is carried by runners, who suspend the pouch from one end of a spear laid across the shoulders and a bell is attached to the other end. We were met at the outskirts of the capital by Mr. Daddimaster, the prime minister, who proved to be a delightful, well-educated Parsee gentleman of great breadth of view, who had been brought up in the Indian civil service before being selected by the Maharaja for his present important post. Once an elephant is killed, locals show up from miles around to divvy up the spoils. In addition, it is taken very seriously and its methods and forms are as carefully observed as religious ceremonies. At the higher levels the Tibetans were encountered—big, ruddy-faced, rollicking individuals, both men and women. After a stalk of 200 yards I shot it. The mighty ridge of the Himalayas was denuded of clouds for our inspection. The following day, however, he decided that he would go, after all, so Governor Sly telegraphed his head forest officer and arranged that I should have the next best block. He was the biggest tiger that I have ever seen, either in the woods or in captivity, although larger tigers have been killed, the Maharaja himself killing one last year which measured 10 feet 8 inches. As they wear long hair, they hang their spare arrows in their scalp lock instead of carrying them in a quiver. We had killed so many animals during our last three days that their pelts were not sufficiently dry to pack, so we had to spread them on top of the automobile truck that was to carry our baggage south, allowing them to dry en route. They lie down on their sides, put their heads under the water, and are scrubbed all over by their attendants. The growls ceased and all was still. The skin was removed perfectly, in an incredibly short time. Usually when a band is encountered and one is killed, the others will not leave the vicinity until several have been hit. A fact which forcibly impresses the Western traveler in India is the proximity in which the indigenous people and the animals of fields and forest live. It is a serious thing for a great animal weighing several tons to become mired in a bog. In fact, reports of tigers killing full-grown adult Elephants have dated back to over a century ago and continue to this day! In a moment the Maharaja appeared on his elephant with the howdah and wanted to know where the tiger was. It reminded me of what a Frenchman had said to some friends after seeing his first tiger. We had dressed accordingly—Mrs. Each year the tigers exact their toll from these hardy runners. Two machans had been erected on the banks for fish shooting and the next morning we took our posts in these and got several specimens measuring from one and a half to two and a half feet. She was a fine animal, measuring 9 feet 6 inches—very large for a tigress. We started back, the dead tiger being carried on a palanquin much like Mrs. Mitchell's. The Maharaja saw us off, the band played the Star-Spangled Banner, which I had had the band leader practice during our stay, the guard of honor presented arms, and our wonderful sojourn at Surguja was over. These were almost constantly at work, and when not so engaged were in a large tank, bathing and spurting water over themselves. He was a beautiful creature, about 14 years old, 10 feet 4 inches between pegs. For several days we had no tiger kills and our time was taken up in shooting the spotted deer, barking deer, and wild boar. In an instant it was at the top of the river bank above me and turned, roaring, to face me. At that moment I fired my fourth shot. These consisted of diamonds, emeralds, and other large gems. Of a sudden we heard the deep roar of a large tiger and, a minute after, clapping and shouts from the stops on our right, as they turned him back. On the beaters came, closer and closer, those at our right closing in much faster than those on our left. It reminded me a little of our own upper Missouri where it loses its muddy color and becomes a clear, smooth-running torrent. That was wholly jungle, with very few fields crudely cultivated; this was a rice country, with jungles covering only the mountains and hills and unprolific ground in the valleys. The little cultivation that we encountered was very crude, done by burning a stretch of woods, letting it lie for a few seasons, and then planting it for a couple of years, until the soil runs out, when a move is made to another place. A great tiger had broken from the jungle at top speed on the opposite side and was coming, faster than any horse can gallop, straight for me.
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