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Full text of "The diary of a sportsman naturalist in India"

THE I)IARY OFA SPlliil^ 




(^DcncU MnttteraUg Ilthrarg 



BOUGHT WITH THE INCOME OF THE 

FISKE ENDOWMENT FUND 

THE BEQUEST OF 

WILLARD FISKE 

LIBRARIAN OF THE UNIVERSITY 1868-1803 

* 1905 



Cornell University Library 
SK 235.S81D5 



The diary of a sportsman naturalist in i 




3 1924 016 409 785 




Cornell University 
Library 



The original of tiiis book is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 



http://www.archive.org/cletails/cu31924016409785 



THE DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN 
NATURALIST IN INDIA 




,__ -?-'-- — s.. .z,i*i- 



Br THE SAME AUTHOR 

STALKS IN THE 

HIMALAYA 

ON THE SERBIAN 
FRONT IN MACEDONIA 

JUNGLE BY-WAYS 
THE BODLET HEAD 




S/e/'/'iii':. plwto 

TttK AUTHOR OUT FoK A\" AFTERNOON STKOI.L ON A PAD tl.r.rHWT 
THKOC'C.H THK TAI.I. TIi;F.R r,RA>- 



THE DIARY OF A 
SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 
IN INDIA BY E. P. STEBBING 

F.Z.S., r.R.G.S. 

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS FROM PHOTOGRAPHS 
AND SKETCHES BY THE AUTHOR AND OTHERS 




LONDON: JOHN LANE, THE BODLEY HEAD 
NEW YORK: JOHN LANE COMPANY MCMXX 



The Mayflower Press, Plymouth, England. William Brendon & Son, Ltd. 



PREFACE 

THIS book was nearly completed on that momentous 
date in August, 1914, when the Great War burst 
upon us. Early in 1915 my PubUsher accepted 
the suggestion that its publication should be 
delayed until the German challenge to the World had been 
dealt with and disposed of. 

Since the Armistice Part II has received some revision. 
The rest remains as written. In Jungle By-Ways I dealt 
fully with the description and habits of the various game 
animals of the Plains of India. I have not therefore 
considered it necessary to repeat this matter here. The 
sporting anecdotes and material selected from my note- 
books, which form the greater part of the book, are designed 
to lead up to and emphasize the necessity which exists of 
affording an adequate protection to the Game and other Ani- 
mals of India. That this matter, with its threefold objects 
of maintaining the animals of the Chase, securing a revenue 
from the economic products yielded by the Fauna of the 
country, and preserving the Fauna as a whole, is one of the 
first importance, is known to that small band of shikaris 
who are both sportsmen and naturalists. A perusal of the 
chapter dealing with the operations of the Indian unarmed 
poacher will, of itself, bear evidence to the fact that India 
is threatened with an irretrievable decrease in and deteriora- 
tion of the most interesting members of its Fauna. 

To Sir John Prescott Hewett, G.C.S.I., Mrs. E. M. 
Sparkes, and my Wife my thanks are due for the striking 
Plates which illustrate the Diary. 

E. P. STEBBING. 

Hawthornden Castle, Midlothian. 
March, 1920. 




INTRODUCTION 



HAVE you ever been out in camp in the jungles of 
India in the cold weather ? 
If so, you wiU have had a foretaste of a 
Paradise. If you have not and can by any 
manner of means compass 'a visit, take the advice of 
one who has and go. 

The jungles of India are nowadays — alas that it is so ! — 
easy of access, even to the man with but a small purse, 
and a few months' leisure. Fourteen days will take you 
from Charing Cross to Bombay Harbour. A luxurious 
first-class carriage will then carry you close to as wild a 
jungle as heart of man can desire, the number of hours 
spent on the railway being dependent on your choice of 
locahty. And, once arrived, you must indeed be hard to 
please if the glamour and fascination of your surroundings 
do not grip you. 

You may be sportsman, zoologist or botanist. Your 
hobby may be sketching — ^the jungles have but rarely 
been adequately portrayed. You may admire scenery, 
wild scenery, or be merely a lover of nature in its purest 

vii 



viii DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

untrammelled freedom. Or your quest may be for solitude 
and rest and freedom from worry, or perhaps it should be 
said major worries — minor worries you must expect in the 
East. Whatever your object, it should be possible to 
attain it in one or other of the great jungles of India. 

It is not proposed to write an Indian Baedeker. The 
choice of locahty must be left to yourself. There are 
some 245,612 square miles of Government Reserves and 
other forest, and about 128,300 square miles of forest land 
in the Native States and private ownership in the country. 
There is room for all. That is room so long as your object 
is not sport, i.e. sport concerned with the sla3dng of animals. 
When such is desired much more trouble has to be taken 
nowadays in the selection of one's jungle, and certain first- 
hand knowledge is essential. 

The stay-at-home EngHshman often hears the Anglo- 
Indian descanting at great length upon the disagreeables 
of Indian Ufe, and you may be sure that they do not lose 
anything in the oft-repeated narration. The heat, the 
wearying monotony of the rains in the monsoon period, the 
malaria and mosquitoes, the " bugs " of all sizes and con- 
ditions, the depressing, narrow life of the small up-country 
Station, the constant transfers, the great expense of coming 
" home," the customs of the country, so entirely at variance 
with those of the West, the dilatoriness of the native, his 
conservatism and all the rest of it. 

Granted that all these factors do detract from the 
pleasure, ease and comfort (and pocket) of the members 
of the Ruling Race. It was to make up for these drawbacks 
that in the days of yore the salaries of official and non- 
official aUke were fixed on a scale equivalent to double the 
amount received by holders of corresponding posts in Eng- 
land. There iwas some meaning in the expression " Pagoda 
tree " and " nabob " in those halcyon days — now, alas ! 
gone to return no more. 

But there is another side to the question ! 

It is not all work in India ! We have not always the 
heat or the rains with us ; nor even when they are present 
are they necessarily always uppermost in our thoughts. 
We are not always counting our rupees or grumbling at 
our lack of them, or saving them for that trip home ! One 
could write of many pleasant hours passed amongst friends 
in the Station. Of dinners and dances, gatherings at the 



INTRODUCTION ix 

Club, football and hockey contests, gymkhanas and race 
meetings, of days under the burning sun in enjoyment of 
that prince of sports pig-sticking, hunting the wily " jack " 
or paper-chasing (on horseback, bien entendu) ; of keen 
tussles at tennis and badminton, of theatricals and con- 
certs, all amateur performances, and for this reason the 
more enjoyable, especially the rehearsals ! Of bridge and 
the Club bar ; of the softer delights and amenities of the 
Ladies' Room, and of those thrillingly dangerous drives 
and rides in the delicious, cool evening air, or 'neath the 
brilliant moonlight with as companion the particular 
goddess amongst the fair sex. The mere enumeration of 
the above delights must assuredly convict the most con- 
firmed Anglo-Indian grouser of a lapse of memory. 

But to a considerable portion of our race in India the 
delights of the Station hold but a subordinate place in their 
scheme of life in the East. The most unalloyed joys are 
reahzed in the untrammelled free life in camp in the jungles. 
True in these busy, worrpng, hurrying days the post 
and telegraph can reach one even there, sooner or later. 
But not, thank God, that invention of the fiend, the 
telephone ! 

The fascination of the Jungle ! 

Who can say in what it really hes. Its appeal is so wide. 
To the stay-at-home the very word " jungle " conjures 
up all sorts of visions, entrancing for some, fascinating for 
others, repellent, it may be hoped, for the few. The word 
is perhaps most commonly associated by the man in the 
street with the tiger — the Royal Bengal Tiger. And yet 
there are many who have spent months, aye and years, 
in India's jungles and have never set eyes on a tiger. 
Yet others again who, mirabile dictu, might have done so 
and yet have not cared to. 

True the novice when he first goes out is under the im- 
pression that he will find a tiger behind every bush or walking 
up every ravine or nuUah. I can well remember my first 
walk in such a locahty — finger on trigger, breath coming 
short, brain in a whirl of excitement — and probably not a 
tiger within ten miles of me ! Quite as well perhaps that 
there was not. I had been but six weeks in the, country 
and was accompanied by a forest guard and a coolie only, 
whose language I did not know. It is not very long, however, 
before the new-comer is disabused of this common fallacy. 



X DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

No, the jungle may be, and in parts is, the happy play- 
ground and hunting-ground of the tiger, but he does not 
play or usually hunt in the open in the daytime, and he is 
precious difficult to find at any hour of the twenty-four. 

And with the other jungle denizens — that wonderful 
sagacious beast the elephant, the shy gaur or Indian bison, 
the fierce and treacherous buffalo, the rhinoceros, now so 
near extinction, the bears and leopards and deer and 
antelope, they are not to be found in the jungle cooped up 
cheek by jowl as we have become familiar with them in 
our childhood or maturer years at a Zoo. 

Without a knowledge of their habits and characteristics 
you may pass months, even years, in the jungles without 
seeing, save by accident, pelt, horn or hoof. 

Nor to many does the great fascination of the jungle 
reside in its animal life either as sportsman or zoologist. 

In what then does it reside ? 

It is difficult to say. The jungle is so intangible, and 
there is probably to be found in each one of us that instinct 
which still survives, no matter how deeply it may be over- 
laid by present-day civilization, the instinct which takes us 
back to the time when the world was young and its 
inhabitants few ; to the days when the greater portion 
of the land surface of the Globe consisted of pathless jungles 
against which our ancestors waged unremitting war, and 
amongst which they lived and died. 

Most Anglo-Indians (of the Services, at least) know the 
feehng of relief, of relaxation from care and worry, which 
pervades the mind when, the Station left behind, one sits 
down to the first dinner in camp. The log fire burning and 
crackUng merrily outside, the subdued buzz of talk from 
the servants' lines, the whinnying of the picketed ponies 
or the shrill voices of the syces raised in execration when a 
biting or kicking match commences, the dull rumbling of 
the elephants engaged on their fodder, resembUng distant 
thunder ; the great columns of the trees forming a back- 
ground to the camp, on to which the camp-fires cast fitful 
shadows, whilst overhead the picture is closed in by the 
blue-black vault picked out with innumerable jewels and 
spangled with diamond dust. How pleasant it all is.- Are 
these the delights which make for fascination ? For many, 
perhaps. For others that indefinable sense of mystery 
which attaches to the Indian jungle, and to so much else 



INTRODUCTION xi 

in India, and which, to a degree probably unsurpassed in 
any other country in the world, assuredly pervades these 
vast tracts of wild country which cover so great a part of 
India. For in many of these wild tracts history has been 
made in the past — forgotten history. Hidden in these 
pathless wastes the remains of cities and towns and evidences 
of a high civilization in a remote past are to be found — now 
represented by crumbling walls or columns or mere heaps 
of stones and bricks covered up by a victorious vegetation, 
the homes of many and often the crueller members of the 
jungle folk. 

The fascination of such spots is readily understood, and 
the mind easily weaves spells and calls up pictures and 
phantoms of that long dead and buried past. 

India's jungles have then many aspects apart from the 
usually accepted and inaccurately portrayed one of the 
uninitiated. 

The notes embodied in this book, jotted down for the most 
part under very varying conditions in camp and under the 
influence of these great jungles, are an attempt to reproduce 
one side, that of the sportsman and naturalist, of the many 
fascinations of the Ufe passed amongst them. An endeavour 
is also made to point out how much they will lose of interest 
and health-giving enjoyment if protection is not afforded 
to some, at least, of their most interesting inhabitants. 

For if sport or the study of the fauna be your object in 
visiting the jungles, you will find matters in a very different 
state from what they were a score of years ago. 

With the wonderful improvement and cheapening in 
price of the modern rifle, and with the great development 
in railways and opening out of roads, not to mention the 
more recent introduction of the motor-car, extraordinary 
facilities (compared to former times) have been placed 
within the power of the sportsman, and what were formerly 
famous shooting jungles are now within easy fifteen days 
of London, and their former denizens know them no more. 

The destruction of game has proceeded apace with the 
increase of faciUties for attack, and some of the finest of 
Indian game animals are now within measurable distance 
of extinction. Protection in various forms has been started 
in different parts of the country, chiefly in the Government 
Forest Reserves and in some of the Native States. But 
the steps taken for the country as a whole are still far from 



iii DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST . 

adequate and affect but a tithe of the extremely interesting 
fauna of the country ; and even those are protected but 
partially. Poaching, at which the. native is an adept, still 
flourishes with all its pristine and cruel vigour. 

The creation of Game Sanctuaries has been commenced 
with a view to affording protection to certain animals, such 
as the gaur or bison and rhinoceros and elsewhere to deer. 
The question as to the length of time a tract shotild remain 
a sanctuary is, however, still a debatable point, as also 
the period of the close time which should be instituted for 
animals in areas outside the sanctuary. 

It is the object of these notes to draw attention to the 
urgent necessity of considering the Indian Fauna question 
as a whole. The chapters devoted to sport bring out the 
ever-increasing diminution in the numbers of game animals 
in different parts of the country within the last two to three 
decades. The economic value of the fauna is also dealt 
with ; a matter which has received but little attention in the 
past. In the last chapter it is suggested that the Indian 
Fauna as a whole requires a more adequate protection based 
on a correct understanding of the habits of the var3dng 
species. Zoologists consider this fauna to be one of the 
most interesting of the land fauna of the Globe. In the 
face of modem developments— the extension of agriculture, 
in the activities of the Forest Department, the opening out of 
the country by railways and roads for motor traffic, in the 
construction of canal and irrigation works — it has become 
vital that measures for the protection of the fauna based on 
an impartial review of existing facts should be undertaken 
before it becomes too late. 





"^.^si:z 



CONTENTS 



Introduction 



PAGE 

vii 



SPORT 

CHAPTER 

I. 

II. 

III. 



PART I 
IN THE BIG GAME JUNGLES OF INDIA 



-A Station 



The Jungles of Chota Nagpur 
Happy Days as an Assistant . 
Beating for Bear in Chota Nagpur- 
Shoot ....... 

IV. A Hunter's Paradise .... 

V. In the Berars — ^My First Tiger 
VI. Shooting Trips in the Central Provinces — i 
Fine Shikar Country .... 

VII. More Experiences in the Central Provinces 
VIII. Forest Life and Sport in Eastern Bengal 
IX. Wanderings in the Chittagong Hill Tracts 
X. The Jungles of the Bengal Duars and Assam 
XL The Jungles of Southern India 
XII. Sport in the Jungles of Northern India 

XIII. A Morning's Stalk after Black Buck 

XIV. The Havildah's Story 
XV. Back in the Jungles Again 

XVI. An Adventure with a Leopard 
XVII. Jungle Lore .... 
XVIIIj Jungle Lore — continued . 
XIX. A Real Tiger Story 



3 

15 

30 

51 
68 

77 
86 

97 
III 
126 
138 
150 
162 
169 
178 

193 
200 
216 
227 



PART II 

GAME PROTECTION AND THE PROVISION OF SANCTU- 
ARIES FOR THE PRESERVATION OF THE INDIAN FAUNA 

XX. The Indian Poacher and His Ways . . 241 
XXI. Game Sanctuaries and Game Protection in 

India 256 

XXII. The Economic Value of the Fauna . . 282 
XXIII. The Preservation of the Indian Land Fauna 

AS A Whole — The Permanent Sanctuary . 288 




FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS 



The Author out for an afternoon stroll on a pad elephant, 

through the tall tiger grass Frontispiece 



TO FACE PACE 



Tracks of bison or gaur ....... 4 

A memorable May Day's bag in the hot Terai Jungles . . 20 

Bringing back a tiger to camp ...... 74 

Returning after the bath ....... 88 

The line of elephants in straggling open order proceeding to the 

next tiger beat ........ 88 

The forest launch on the Kornafuli River .... 102 

On the upper waters of the Kornafuli River . . . 102 

Shooting-elephants beating through the high grass jungle in 

the Terai Forests in Northern India . . . .128 

The beautiful jungle-covered slopes of the Siwalik Hills . 154 

The Author stalking sambhar in the forests of the Siwaliks, 

Northern India . . . . . . . .154 

The golden-backed woodpecker at work in a s41 tree search- 
ing for insect grubs . . . . . . .156 

Park-like grass land in the Rhanikhet Jungles, United Prov- 
inces ......... 172 

Howdah elephants coming out into a high grass savannah in 

the Terai Jungles, United Provinces .... 172 

A corner of the sacred city of Hardwar, looking up the Ganges . 178 
Scenery in the beautiful Dun. The Mussoorie Hills in the 

background ........ 178 

The Author fishing at Lachiwala in the Dun (from a drawing 

by M. E. Stebbing) ....... 190 

Dead tiger in the high grass jungle where it fell on being shot 204 
Dead leopard in high grass jungle in position after being shot 208 
On the Jumna River, where it leaves the Himalaya in the 

Western Siwaliks . . . . . . .220 

Pad elephant proceeding through dense tree forest in the 

Terai, United Provinces ...... 220 

The line of elephants crossing a river en route to the tiger 

jungle in the United Provinces Terai .... 230 

Howdah elephants lined up for inspection before the start f 05 

. a day's tiger shooting ...... 230 

Beating elephants in the beautiful dense jungles of the Nepal 

Terai — an ideal game sanctuary ..... 256 

xiv 



ILLUSTRATIONS IN TEXT 



XV 



TO FACE PAGB 

Tree forest and old river bed on the Ramganga in the Terai, 

United Provinces ....... 256 

The luncheon during a tiger shoot in the hot weather in the 

Terai Jungles ........ 264 

Starting out for the first beat after luncheon . . . 264 



ILLUSTRATIONS IN TEXT 

PAGE 

Wild elephants feeding on the jungle men's paddy crops . . 6 

Jungle men sitting in a machan to protect their crops from wUd 

animals . . . ... . . .7 

A clump of bamboos in the ChotaNagpur jungles ... 9 
I was brought to a standstill by the vision of the bull facing me 12 
The furtive ways of the hyena . . . . . .15 

The village headman was already on his way to me . . 20 

The " kill " tied up for a tiger ...... 21 

The tiger appears ........ 22 

The dirge-like wail of the jackal ...... 23 

Wild dog were plentiful ....... 24 

Rolled up in a blanket on a camp cot ..... 25 

The bear rose up ........ 30 

The leopard inspects the goat from a distance ... 32 
A dead cow with two crows upon it . . . . -35 

Vultures sat about in the trees ...... 36 

Two black crows sat and cursed me ..... 38 

The bear stood on his hind legs and went for him ... 48 
A bison stampeding away . . . . . . .51 

My Khansamah ........ 55 

The khakar or barking deer . . . ... .56 

Saw the bull viciously charging down on me . . . .61 

Head of a tiger . .^ ...... 68 

Two crows sat contemplating the kill ..... 70 

A couple of vultures perched in a tree ..... 70 

Without a sound a fine tiger stepped out . . . -71 

The old Rajput Forest Ranger ...... 74 

A dead tiger ......... 76 

The leopard climbed up towards me ..... 77 

The leopard went clean through the gateway at a bound . ,83 

A number of big grey lungoor monkeys .... 89 

A young barking deer ....... 92 

It was the agonized mother ...... 93 

The bear slinking ofi up the hill-side ..... 95 

It was the old boar ........ 108 

He was only a pi-dog . . . . . . .110 

I dropped on my knee and fired at the mithan . . .123 

An old tusker wild elephant marching through the forest . 126 
Shooting from the back of an elephant .- . . . .129 

Thfr elephants undertook the summer migration to the hills . 131 



xvi DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 



Sitting up in a machan 

Shooting from a howdah elephant 

The mighty herd of bison stampeded in all directions 

The black mass plunged to the ground 

A pad elephant .... 

The porcupine with quills out 

A grey shadow appeared 

A jungle cock perched on a fallen tree . 

There was an old boar in this party 

A small herd of chital crossed the river-bed 

In front of me were the chital stags 

I lay behind a ber bush 

Black buck on the qui vive . 

The marvellous jumping powers of black buck 

I had a fine bull's eye to fire at . 

A tiger looking out of a patch of tall grass 

On a pad elephant in high tiger grass . 

A rhinoceros in grass jungle 

As we approached the vUlage 

We climbed the steep slope with heavy loads 

Howdah elephant kneeling 

Out in the tiger-grass jungles 

A spotted deer or chital with young 

A tiger was on the edge of the forest . 

The native shikari sits in a machan 

The leopard lay flat on his stomach 

The havildah and the rifles . 

A small herd of chital were grazing 

The pea-fowl were calling in the forest 

The leopard sprang into the air with a roar 

The elephant backs a step or two 

Suddenly a tiger looked out of the edge of the grass 

The tiger charged out of the grass and flung itself 

elephant's head 
The end of the tiger .... 



at the 



PAGE 

137 
138 
149 
150 
153 
155 
155 
157 
158 
159 
162 

163 
167 
168 
169 
170 
171 

173 
177 
178 
179 
184 
187 
191 
193 
193 
194 

195 
199 
228 

233 

235 
237 



PART I 

SPORT IN THE BIG GAME JUNGLES 
OF INDIA 




-itm 




u- 



--y:^^._ W^'>i 






li^ii 



^>r^^ 



CHAPTER I 



THE JUNGLES OF CHOTA NAGPUR 

The jungles of Chota Nagpur — ^A fine shikar country — ^The Kols and 
their villages — Bishu, head shikari — ^Marvellous tracking powers of 
the Kols — ^The Indian gaur or biso'n — Pick up the tracks of an old 
bull — Deserted villages in the forest-^Villagers' hopeless struggle 
with wild animals, malaria, and the encroaching jungle — Promising 
young tree crops occupy areas — Follow the bull — River terraces — 
Giant old trees and feathery bamboos — A rocky ravine and beautiful 
scenery — Come up with the bull — An unlucky contretemps — A 
grateful halt — Set out again — A long trek — Again find the bison — 
Face to face with the bull — A hurried retreat — The bull badly hit 
— Follow him down the valley — A last shot — Bishu's determination 
— Death of the bull. 

SOON after dawn, one December morning, a score 
of years ago, I stood leaning on my rifle and 
survejdng a scene of great beauty which lay out- 
spread before me. The point reached after an 
arduous climb was the summit of one of the higher ranges 
of hills in the wilds of Chota Nagpur, at that time forming 
the Western division of the province of Bengal. Below 
stretched a sea of briUiant green forest of the valued s51 
{Shorea robusta) tree densely clothing the valleys, ravines 
and lower part of the sides of the tumbled chaotic mass of 
hills upon which I gazed. Away in the distance a yellow 
ribbon with a silver streak (a tributary of the Mahanadi 
River, the only river of importance in Chota Nagpur) ser- 
pentining across it, over which hung a white filmy mist, 
showed where the hills dropped into an elevated area of 
cultivated table-land. 

The sun had just risen and was rapidly sucking up the 
white vapour which lay in the deeper ravines. Here and 
there a faint smoke rising above the deep sea of green pro- 
claimed the presence of a jungle village, consisting of a 
collection of miserable mud-walled thatched huts, the 



4 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

abodes of the jungle tribe, known as Kols, who inhabit 
these hills. They are a fine race of hunters these men, 
absolutely fearless and entirely trustworthy ; but in other 
respects indolent and thriftless, content to earn sufficient 
to keep them in rice and the material they require for their 
scanty garments. The men pass the rest of their time 
roaming the forests and in cock-fighting, a pastime they 
are passionately fond of. In fact, it is as difficult to get 
them away from an inter-village cock-fight where the stakes 
are annas and pice, as it was to stop our far more aristo- 
cratic grandfathers wagering sovereigns over similar events 
in this country. 

The forest-clad hills upon which I gazed with delight 
(I had but a year's service to my credit at the time) formed 
part of a great Government Reserve — a reserve at that 
time practically untouched by man, the home of the 
elephant, bison, sambhar, spotted deer, tiger, leopard and 
bear, and many other animals of interest to the sportsman 
and naturahst. It was as fine a hunting-ground as the heart 
of the hunter could desire. And it was on sport that I was 
bent that keen, sharp, exhilarating December morning, one 
of the finest sports in India or elsewhere — ^bison-tracMng 
on foot. 

In those days it would have been difficult to find a finer 
tract of country for this purpose in the whole of India. The 
great forest stretched untouched and unbroken for league 
upon league, the Government Reserves joining on to vast 
areas of forest in neighbouring Native States. Although 
the Reserve had been under the management of the Forest 
Department for some years, the forests had not been 
worked for timber to any extent, and were in their primeval 
condition. In other words, in that condition in wluch they 
had afforded an asylum par excellence for centuries past, 
and still did, to the elephant and shy bison. For both 
these animals require great stretches of undisturbed forest 
to live in — in fact, they can only exist in a wild state under 
such conditions. 

The Indian gaur or bison [Bos gaums), as it is always 
termed, has no affinity with the true species. It is far 
superior to the American bison, being much larger and 
heavier. When wounded and turned to bay, it is reputed 
amongst sportsmen to be far more dangerous than either 
the tiger or elephant. 






TRACKS or- lilSOiV CMi GAUR— W ALKING 

Scale about i/i2tli natural size 



THE JUNGLES OF CHOTA NAGPUR 5 

With my head shikari, Bishu, and two assistants I had left 
camp several hours before dawn, and we had reached our 
present position without having come across what we were in 
search of, the tracks of a solitary bull bison. Those of a herd 
with a young bull in it had been followed for a short distance 
and dropped at the foot of the last steep rise to the position 
now occupied as they trended off round the slope, and I had 
wished before proceeding further to obtain a bird's-eye view 
of the surrounding country, and check if possible the 
direction of a certain valley and stream which there was 
reason to believe were wrongly marked on the map. 

The point had been settled, and having gazed my full 
at the wonderful scene outstretched before me I turned to 
the head shikari with a query as to the direction in which 
we should proceed. As the question left my lips one of the 
assistants, who had been sent to prospect down the far 
side of the crest, returned, a broad smile upon his not 
unprepossessing visage. In a whisper he conveyed the 
information that less than half a mile away he had picked 
up the tracks of an old bull who had passed the afternoon 
before. A few questions from the head shikari and we 
set off for the spot. A very cursory inspection proved 
that the assistant was correct, and Bishu added the 
information that the bull had passed at four o'clock, in- 
dicating the position in the sky the sun would be at that 
hour. They are marvellous trackers these Kols, and will 
carry a trail over the most difi&cult country in the world 
with scarce a falter, often taking it at a smart walk over 
hard trap rock, where, to the uninitiated and untrained 
eye, it appears to be an impossibility, to say that an animal 
has passed by. If they have a fault it is a fondness for 
cutting round the base of a hill instead of following the 
trail to the top in the expectation that their guess of the 
animal's direction, often a most shrewd one, will prove 
correct. And it must be admitted that they are not often 
wrong. 

A council of war was called, and it was soon determined 
to follow the tracks of the old bull, for he appeared to be 
something out of the ordinary. 

The trail took us straight down the rocky, stony hill-side 
through a sparse forest at first, the going proving arduous 
owing to the masses of the long, trailing "sabai" grass 
{Ischoemum angusUfolium) which grew in tufts from amongst 



6 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

the loose stones and twined round the ankles in a most 
aggravating manner. This grass, known as "bhabar" in 
Northern India, is a valuable forest product as a coarse 
paper is made from it. 

As the upper slopes of the hill were left behind the forest 
grew thicker, the trees became taller, with finer boles and 
larger crowns, and clumps of bamboos made their appear- 
ance. 

The bison had proceeded slowly, feeding as he moved along, 
and the tracks trended eastwards, dropped into a valley, 
and wandered down the banks of the stream, eventually 
emerging on to a clearing covered with tall grass. This 
was the site of a deserted village. For some years several 
famihes had settled here, cleared off the forest for a few 
hundred acres or so, built themselves the usual mud- 
walled thatched huts, and cultivated a paddy crop on the 
cleared ground. It was a precarious existence and almost 



doomed from the first to failure. For the contest between 
the Forest and its inhabitants and man was too unequal. 
As soon as the crops commenced to show above ground, the 
herbivorous jungle folk, from the elephant downwards, 
arrived at night, and even by day in these secluded regions, 
and took toll. Little recked they of the puny efforts of 
the owners to drive them away. The elephants soon 
learnt that the tremendous noise made by the one or two 
old matchlocks in the possession of the jungle men was 
harmless ; and occasionally if more than usually worried, or 
from one cause or another short of temper, would charge 
the frail staging, or machan as it is called, on which the 
would-be protectors of the crops sat and scatter it to the 
winds, probably killing the occupier. The neve»-ending 
fight against the encroachments of the neighbouring jungle 
and weed growth, combined with the deadly malaria, 
resulted in a hfe of great strenuousness. The grim con- 



THE JUNGLES OF CHOTA NAGPUR 



•^i--^ 




■"''^<'C^\^y.:i:' 



test sooner or later ended in the defeat of the jungle man 

and his departure for the outskirts of the great forest 

tracts, where he had a better 

chance of combining, through 

greater numbers, against animal 

foes ; although he was here 

certain to suffer more from the 

depredations of the human 

sharks who found him such 

easy prey. 

Such was the history of the 
clearing, and, in the course of 
my wanderings in these jungles 
I came across others. Some, ^ 
relapsed into forest conditions 
once more, were already covered ",;■/ 
with a fine crop of thriving 
young sal poles, the size of the latter enabling a shrewd 
guess to be made as to the date the former occupiers of 
the clearing had vacated it or all died of fever. For this 
tract of country holds a deadly malaria in its forests 
throughout the rainy season. 

To return to the bison. 

The tracks skirted the clearing and proceeded through a 
thick piece of forest beyond until they reached a beautiful 
little stream, the Koina. Up this stream we quietly pro- 
ceeded for about a mile, a succession of lovely views opening 
out before us. The stream at this part was of fair size, and 
for the most part flowed over a rock-bed. Consequently 
cataracts, rapids and miniature waterfalls, alternating 
with deep, silent pools, most tempting to the eye of the 
fisherman, were numerous. Or again we came to places 
where the stream flowed in a long, silent reach between 
terraces clothed here and there with beautiful brakes or 
clumps of the feathery bamboo, interspersed with the 
great red columns of magnificent, giant, old s41 trees, upon 
which the morning light played with an indescribably 
beautiful effect. The great trees were festooned with thick 
ropes of creeper growth, whilst beneath, in glades where 
the forest floor was more open, the short grass was in 
places almost reminiscent of the soft, deep, velvety turf 
of a home park. Here the stalking was pure joy. It was 
gloriously cool under the shade of the great trees, and a 



8 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

couple of minutes' breather being called I flung myself 
down on to the cool green turf. 

Then we took up the trail again. Soon a rocky ravine 
opened out in front, and the brook, which had been 
running so decorously down the quiet reach, became 
a brawling, turbulent torrent once again. The tracks 
proceeded up the rocky side of the ravine, and we had to 
take to hard climbing ; for the bed of the stream now 
dropped in a series of giant steps, over which the briUiant, 
sparkling water tumbled in beautiful foaming cascades. 
High above stretched the great forest, the boles of the trees 
rearing up straight on either side, their crowns forming a 
gigantic dome to the rocky chasm. Here and there in the 
rock-waUs clumps of bamboo clung with precarious foothold, 
their feathery tops gracefully drooping over the sparkling 
water beneath ; whilst the maidenhair fern grew in drifts and 
patches against the dark rock. 

The path which we followed, if a series of steps could be 
entitled a path, must have been trodden through the 
centuries by the hooves and feet of countless animals, for 
the rock was worn down on the line the bison had taken. 
As we mounted higher the sides of the ravine grew less 
steep, the forest came down to meet us once more, and 
we soon found ourselves on the edge of a sloping hill-side, 
sparsely covered with bamboo clumps. 

Here Bishu signalled a halt, whilst he moved off to 
prospect. I was nothing loath, for the cUmb in the heat 
had been arduous, and for the time being I was pretty 
well done and was only too glad to stretch myself out for 
a few minutes in the shade of a clump of bamboos. The 
interlude was brief. Within a quarter of an hour Bishu 
appeared, and on his ugly physiognomy was the broad 
smile I haddeamt to interpret as the near presence of the 
animal we were stalking. Getting silently to my feet I 
seized the rifle, cocked it and prepared to follow the shikari. 
Very slowly we moved forward, skirting in and out of the 
bamboo clumps, every inch of the groimd being studied 
before the foot was set down. For I had learnt that the 
slightest unusual sound at this stage would mean the 
alarm and flight of the bison. We may have gone a qfuarter 
of a mile, it may have been less, when Bishu stretched 
out an arm. Eagerly looking in the direction indicated I 
tried to make out what my companion saw. For a frantic 



THE JUNGLES OF CHOTA NAGPUR 



minute I could see nothing. Then gradually four white 
legs with black upper edges framed themselves on my vision 
beneath a bamboo clump. The rest of the animal was 
invisible. 

As soon as Bishu was satisfied that I had made out the 
animal, he signified, by a movement of the arm, that we 
would move to the left, at the same time indicating that 
I should be ready to fire. Rightly or wrongly we started 
to execute this flank movement. Bishu, with bare feet, 
glided over the ground with ease and in absolute silence. 
Not so myself, weighted down with a heavy rifle and heavy 
boots, which I had not at that time learnt to discard for 
Hght stalking shoes. To me the movement was a night- 
mare. After twenty yards I looked up. There was Bishu, 
the smile on his face and his fingers signaUing frantically, 
the arm held rigid to the side of the body. A hurried step 
forward and the sharp snap of a twig sounded on the still 
air, to be succeeded instantaneously by a short, sharp 
bellow and a crash in the bamboo jungle, followed by a rush 
I hurriedly glanced round. The white -% -, 
stockings had disappeared. I dashed 
forward, my noise more than drowned 
in that made by the bison ; but within 
forty yards I came to a standstill, 
the bamboo clumps growing so thickly 
together as to render further progress or ^ y^f 
any chance of seeing the animal hopeless. 7f'.^ 
I could have cried with vexation. As a 
matter of fact I swore. 

Bishu called a halt and we sat down, 
one of us in no enviable frame of mind, 
and for the first time for hours conversed 
in a low voice. The shikari said that it 
was probable that the bison was more 
startled than frightened, and that he 
would be unlikely to go far as he was 
certain the animal was not aware of our 
presence. We could rest for half an 
hour and would then take up the tracks 
again. 

I took advantage of the respite, though with very bad 
grace, to have some lunch, as I had then been on the move 
for six hours. It was.a grateful rest in spite of my anxiety, 



^' 







10 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

and as I lay upon my back looking up into the shimmering 
green of the delicate bamboo leaves I speculated on the size 
of the owner of the stout white stockings so recently seen ; 
upon the size of the trophy they supported and whether 
it would ever become mine. Also what sort of a dance he 
was Ukely to lead us that afternoon, and at what time we 
were likely to see camp again. I was just dropping into an 
untroubled slumber when a touch on the arm brought me 
wide awake on the instant. It was Bishu. The quest was 
to begin again. 

Skirting the dense mass of bamboos we soon came upon 
the bull's tracks leading straight up a rocky slope covered 
with long grass. I had some trouble here owing to loose 
stones, the trippy nature of the grass, and the blazing 
heat of the sun, and it must have taken us an hour to go a 
mile. Then the ground became easier and we followed the 
tracks over the ridge and down into the cooler valley below. 
It was a rehef to get out of that sun and glare. The vaUey 
was filled with bamboo clumps, and great circumspection 
had to be used as we knew that if the beast was put up 
a second time and I failed to get a shot we should never see 
him again. The bison was not in the vaUey, however, and 
another long, hot hill-side had to be negotiated. For three 
hours we slowly followed the tracks, using a tantaUzing 
caution wherever the jungle thickened. Again the trail 
dropped to a nullah, somewhat broader than those passed 
through latterly, the ground on the opposite side of the 
stream rising but gradually. The forest here thickened, 
the trees being of good growth and height. 

Once again Bishu went on alone after signing to me to 
halt. I had become very despondent over my chances, for 
the bison had evidently been more alarmed than Bishu 
had imagined. But this spot looked so favourable for a 
bison to lie up in that I became again optimistic and waited 
the reappearance of the shikari with high hopes. Nor were 
they vain ones. 

Without a sound Bishu suddenly reappeared, and one 
glance at his face told his tale. I stepped silently towards 
him, grimly resolved to move at my own pace and repress 
all excitement no matter what my companion did or what 
appeared in front of me. I advanced through a low jinder- 
growth of small plants and shrubs which yielded easily 
as I pushed noiselessly through them, eyes alternately on 



THE JUNGLES OF CHOTA NAGPUR tl 

my feet and in front. Slowly and yet slower we moved 
forward, Bishu slightly to my right. The ground dropped 
gently to the stream, and I had approached to within 
twenty yards of the bank when away on the opposite side 
I suddenly perceived the bison. My breath came short 
and sharp, and then I seemed to cease to breathe altogether, 
whilst my heart pounded like a sledge-hammer. It was the 
first soUtary bull I had had a full, clear view of in its native 
jungles. Its bulk staggered me, for the animal stood 
almost broadside on beneath a great tree, whoUy in view 
save for the hooves and part of the white stockings. Ye 
gods ! What a sight the great fellow was ! 

Have you ever seen one under such conditions ? If not 
I fear I cannot help you to realize his full beauty ; for 
words fail to adequately portray it. They can but feebly 
convey the colossal total of his massive " points." Eighteen 
hands — and this specimen stood well over that — of coal- 
black beauty shining like satin on the back and sides, 
where the light filtering through the branches struck him, 
with four clean white stockings from the knee downwards. 
On to this enormous bulk the great head and thick, 
short neck were set, the frontal bone high, covered with 
whitish yellowish hair, the curved horns thick, much 
corrugated at their bases and blunted at their tips. Such 
was the sight upon which I gazed with a palpitating heart. 
As he stood there he was not more than forty to fifty yards 
distant, his tail swinging lazily from side to side as he 
flicked away the flies. 

For a few seconds I stared at the bison, fascinated at the 
grand sight, and then slowly sank on one knee and brought 
the heavy ten-bore " Paradox " rifle I carried to bear on the 
shoulder. The rifle was a weighty one and I recognized 
that I was feeling fagged after the day's exertions, and so, 
with a deep-drawn breath, I let the barrels sink slowly 
down till the sights made a bead on the shoulder and im- 
mediately pressed the trigger. There was a loud roar as 
the six drams of powder propelled the heavy bullet forward 
and a thick cloud of smoke enveloped everything. But the 
roar was followed almost instantaneously by a second, as 
the left barrel, which was at full cock, jarred off with the 
concussion of the first. It was a habit this rifle had, as I 
was to discover later on several occasions, until I learnt 
to remember to cock only one trigger at a time. The 



12 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

" kick " of the rifle under the sudden discharge of twelve 
drams of black powder almost knocked me backwards, 
and had I been firing at a target in cold blood would probably 
have done so. As it was I was braced to a considerable 
tension. Recovering myself and forgetting that I was. 
unloaded I rose to a stooping position and dashed through 
the smoke to see what had happened to the bison. A 
glance was sufficient. The old bull had dropped and was 
struggMng on the ground. Without a thought I rushed 
forward with a shout, dimly hearing Bishu's voice raised 
in a piercing exhortation of some sort. 




Leaping lightly into the bed of the stream I splashed 
through the water and clambered up the six-foot bank on 
the opposite «ide. Reaching the top I stood erect and 
took a few strides forward, only to be brought to a stand- 
still by the vision of the bison up on his feet and facing me. 
For a second or two we stood looking into each other's 
eyes. It was the first time I had ever looked at the eyes of 
a wild animal mad with rage. I saw red fury blazing out 
in all its untamed nakedness from the enraged brute's eyes, 
whilst, with his forefoot, he tore up the turf beneath "him. 
Mechanically I raised the rifle, the movement being accom- 
panied by a bellow of wrath from the bull, glanced along 
the barrels, noted that both hammers were down, and 



THE JUNGLES OF CHOTA NAGPUR 13 

realized in a flash what it meant. At the same moment 
down went the head of the bull and with a hoarse roar he 
charged. I turned, and in a couple of bounds had dropped 
into the nullah bed. The drop brought me to my knees. 
I was up in a trice, blundered through the shallow water, 
my spine deadly cold, and dashed through the low jungle 
to a large s41 tree round which I dived. Pulling up, I cau- 
tiously looked round the trunk from the opposite side, 
opening out the rifle and jamming in a fresh cartridge as 
I did so. The sight I saw caused me to breathe a sigh 
of relief and mutter a thankful prayer. 

The buU had not charged home. There he stood on the 
edge of the little cUff on the far side of the stream, his head 
swa5dng from side to side, evidently hard hit and apparently 
dazed and undecided as to whom to go for. His position 
was a bad one for a shot, but I was too excited to think of 
that, and raising the rifle I fired at the head facing me. 
The animal half turned to the shot, shook his head viciously, 
but did not drop, and after a few seconds' apparent in- 
decision set off down-stream, keeping just within the 
forest . His direction was easily followed from the blundering 
way he crashed through the undergrowth. 

As soon as I had slipped two fresh cartridges into the 
rifle I looked round for the shikari. At the same moment 
a head appeared slowly from behind a neighbouring tree 
and a pair of eyes, blazing with excitement, gazed into 
mine, the lower part of the face being set mask-like in a 
diabolical grin. It was Bishu. His body followed the 
head, and without a sound he glided up and motioned me 
to follow as he led the way. Slowly and cautiously we 
proceeded down our side of the stream, and had gone some 
fifty yards when out from the edge of the forest on the 
opposite side, some seventy yards away, slowly walked 
the bison and entered the bed of the stream, the bank 
shelving into it at that point. Bishu stepped aside, and I 
hurried forward for some twenty paces and then again sank 
on my knee and fired my right barrel, the left being safely 
at half-cock this time. Without a sound the great bull 
sank to his knees and rolled over on his side on a gravel 
bank at the edge of the little stream,_which at that point 
ran deeply under the bank on our side. 

Aflame with excitement and forgetful of my previous 
experience, I was again about to rush forward when I felt 



14 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

a firm grip on the arm. I turned angrily to meet the 
shikari's gleaming eyes and bared teeth. Incensed, I was 
opening my mouth in wrath when the old hunter vigorously 
shook his head and whispered that the sahib should re- 
load his empty barrel and stand ready to shoot whilst he 
would go forward to see if the animal was dead. Youngster 
as I was and mad with excitement I was all for disobe5dng, 
but some instinct made me give into the man of the jungles 
and I nodded. Bishu disappeared, worming his way Uke 
a snake through the short undergrowth and taking 
advantage of every tree as a shelter in his progress forward. 
As soon as he got near enough, after a tantalizing interval 
of quiescence, he picked up some stones and commenced a 
fusillade on the great black bulk of the stricken bull. But 
no sign of Ufe or movement came from that quarter. Slowly 
and more slowly the shikari approached, keeping up his 
rain of missiles until, at last, he was within some fifteen 
yards. He then circled round so as to get below the beast, 
and at last, after what seemed an eternity to me, who had 
eagerly watched every movement, he held up his hand 
and sprang lightly down into the stream, and stood beside 
the body. I was with him in a trice, and how describe the 
pride with which I stood beside my first old bull bison ! 
And truly he was a magnificent beast as he lay there silent 
in the majesty of death. 

With a youngster's disregard for the sun, the climate 
and everjrthing else, the head of a bottle of ice-cold Bass 
was knocked off, and in a nectar fit for the gods an acknow- 
ledgment of the great and brave spirit of the gallant bull 
was drunk with fitting ceremony. 




^X.^ 




CHAPTER II 



HAPPY DAYS AS AN ASSISTANT 



Sport as an Assistant in Chota Nagpur — Game animals in the forests and 
open country — The man-eating tigei: — ^Two men killed — ^An un- 
successful quest — ^The cattle killers-— Sit up for them — Other efforts 
to meet tigers — ^M.'s adventure — Leopards — Hyenas, wild dogs and 
jackals — Sl;3,lking sambhar in the hills — ^Abundance of good heads — 
Sambhar and the mhowa flower — Shooting sambhar in the rains — 
Set out to find a stag — Death of the big stag. 

.A S aji Assistant in the Chota Nagpur Jungles I had 
/% the time of my hfe. Although bison were my 
/ % first love, and remained my last, my attention 
•^ -^ was not confined to this fascinating animal from 
the hunter's point of view. It was the accident of my first 
posting to this fine country which enabled me to participate 
in a sport which many good shikaris only enjoy at the end 
of their time of service and then often only as the result of 
a specially planned trip and the expenditure of many hard- 
earned rupees ; whilst the vast majority probably never 
have the chance of seeing a bison at all. Even in these 
jungles, however, I could not spend my days in the one 

IS 



i6 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

pursuit since the animal was only to be found in the ex- 
tensive areas of heavy jungle. Some of my work kept me 
near the outer borders of these tracts, whilst at times I was 
in isolated small forests out in the agricultural parts of the 
district, although this was rarer. No bison, of course, came 
anywhere near these areas. There were, however, plenty of 
other animals to make acquaintance with. Sambhar (Cervus 
unicolor) in this thinly populated district were to be found 
at certain seasons quite near the open cultivated lands to 
which they were attracted at the periods when the young 
crops were springing up. Spotted deer or chital {Cervus 
axis) were numerous. Also that curious antelope, the blue 
bull or nilgai [Portax pictus) , with khakar, or barking deer 
{Cervulus muntjac), and pig or wild boar {Sus indicus), and 
the Httle four-homed antelope, Tetraceros quadricornis. 
Bear, the Indian black bear, Ursus labiatus, in the open 
parts of the district were very plentiful. Amongst the 
camivora tiger {Felis tigris) and leopard or panther {Felis 
pardus), hyena {Hymna striata), wild dog (Cuon rutilans) 
and, of course, jackal {Cams aureus) were comparatively 
common ; the first-named difficult to get as owing to the 
abundance of the herbivorous jungle-folk cattle-killing was 
by no means common and man-eaters during those two 
years were rare. 

I remember one occasion, however, when I had strong 
hopes of seeing my first man-eater. It was during my first 
year in India, and although I had sat up for tiger on several 
occasions I had never yet seen stripes. My chief and I had 
been snipe-shooting in the morning whilst on our way to 
one of the forest rest-houses. On reaching the latter place 
about II a.m. a sub-inspector of police came up and reported 
that two men had been kiUed by a tiger early the morning 
before at the railway tunnel about a couple of miles away. 
A man had gone out gfrass-cutting later in the day and had 
come suddenly upon the tiger, who was engaged in eating 
one of the bodies. 

We decided to go out at once, and having ordered the 
small elephant to be got ready and as many beaters as 
possible collected made a hurried breakfast. We had two 
elephants with us, but unfortunately the larger one was not 
staunch to tiger, having been badly mauled on some previous 
occasion in her history. Moreover, in this part of India our 
elephants were chiefly employed as transport animal.s, 



HAPPY DAYS AS AN ASSISTANT 17 

carrying one's camp paraphernalia, or in dragging timber. 
Occasionally one made use of them for riding purposes, but 
only rarely for shooting from. Shooting was primarily done 
on foot, a great contrast to the more usual methods adopted 
in the high grass jungles in the north of India and in the east, 
in Assam and elsewhere. 

We set off just before noon and arrived at the village 
nearest the end of the tunnel at which the men had been 
killed. On the way we gathered a good deal of information 
about this man-eater. Of course, he was known in the 
district, and by repute to us as a reward had been offered 
by the Government for his destruction, a reward which was 
subsequently raised to a considerable sum as the beast 
became more daring. But already he was the scourge of 
this district and of, at least, two neighbouring ones. Wood- 
cutters fled from the forests and grass-cutters and others 
refused to stir from their villages into the jungles as soon 
as a " kill " took place in the neighbourhood. He was said 
to be a very old beast with worn teeth, this being a reason 
for his having taken to man-kiUing, as he was no longer 
able to pull down deer or cattle. . 

On arriving at the village we enquired for the guide 
who was to show us the place, and to our disgust discovered 
that he had gone out to cut grass in the fields in an unknown 
direction, but certainly not in the one where the tiger was 
supposed to be. It transpired that he had promised the 
sub-inspector to remain at the village till 11 a.m., and if 
the sahibs did not turn up by then he would go out to get 
his daily load of grass. The policeman on being heatedly 
interrogated, of course, said the villager had misunderstood 
him. After a consultation one of the villagers volunteered 
the statement that he thought he^ knew where the man 
had gone and could bring him back within the hour. We 
agreed to wait for this period, and, sending off the man, 
dismounted and sought the shade of a tree, where we 
smoked and endeavoured to possess our souls in patience. 
The villager did not return at the appointed time and 
after giving him half an hour's grace it was decided to set 
out for the tunnel and see if we could find a trace of the kills. 
This we thought should be easy, as the man had so definitely 
said they had taken place near the tunnel mouth. 

The elephant was taken very cautiously over the half- 
mile which separated us from the spot, the beaters marching 
c 



i8 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

close behind the animal, whilst the village so-called shikari 
and another man walked just in front. We were on a pad, 
my companion sitting up behind the mahout facing the 
front and I behind facing left. Not the most enviable 
position from which to beat out a tiger ! But we had no 
howdah, nor had I yet ever been in one. 

We reached the tunnel, but no sign of the kill could we 
see, and my chief absolutely refused to allow the shikari 
to enter the jungle and rather dense grass which lined 
either side of the railway Une and clothed the top of the 
tunnel. The elephant was taken into the grass and made 
a bit of a cast to the right of the tunnel, but we found no 
pugs nor any other trace of stripes, and then reluctantly 
gave it up, arranging to be on the spot at daybreak next 
morning in the hopes of being able to beat up the beast ; 
but the hope as we knew was a very faint one. I was so 
frightfully keen that I expect my chief arranged this mainly 
for my benefit. 

Next morning the original villager led us to the scene of 
the bloody deed. It turned out to be nearly a mile from 
the tunnel mouth, and in the scrub and grass jungle on top 
of the tunnel ! But the native's ideas of distance are 
negligible. 

What we found of the remains of the men I prefer not to 
dwell upon. It was to me a ghastly and gruesome sight. 
It roused our blood, however, and we spent four or five 
hours beating for the devil who had done the deed ; but, 
although we found his pugs and followed them up, we saw 
no trace of him. Nor was he heard of in those parts for 
several months. I sat up for the brute in another part of 
the forest at a later period, but did not see him. He was 
far too cunning and I never heard that the reward offered 
for him in pur district was claimed, or rather, paid. It 
was claimed often enough by native shikaris on flimsy pre- 
texts which would not bear the searching light of the 
enquiry to which they were subjected. 

But as I have said, we were not plagued at that time 
with man-eaters. Nor was it surprising when game was so 
plentiful in the forests, necessitating but slight trouble on 
the part of the tigers to maintain a fuU stomach# And 
when they got old and heavy and, therefore, lazy, they 
could always fall back upon the cattle of the villagers, 
large herds of which graced in the opter foregts in tlie 



HAPPY DAYS AS AN ASSISTANT 19 

neighbourhood of the villages, and had done so from time 
immemorial. 

I remember once, as I was riding back to my camp 
situated in a beautiful grove of banyan trees {Ficus 
bengalensis) , coming across an instance of the work of one 
of these cattle-lifters. It was in the cold weather — January 
— and the sun was already low in the sky. A large herd of 
cattle, buffaloes and cows, was being driven back to the 
village by the herdsmen, of whom there wiere two. I could 
hear their cries to the animals and see the red dust rising 
on the edge of the forest as I trotted along the mud road 
towards the forest boundary. I had had a long day and 
was looking forward to the quiet of the camp and a 
comfortable tea with, I hoped, letters from home to render 
it more enjoyable. 

Suddenly the shouts in front turned to piercing yells, 
and I heard a rush of many hooves trampling down the 
jungle and coming back into the forest. " What on earth 
has come over the beasts ? " I muttered, rising in my stirrups 
to try and get a view to my right. Suddenly one word 
clipped clear-cut on the air amidst the vociferations of the 
herdsmen, " Bagh ! Bagh ! Bagh ! " repeated several 
times. " Tiger ! Good Lord ! " I thought, and jammed 
the spurs into my mount. I was out of the forest and in 
the open country beyond in a flash. It was only a matter 
of a couple of hundred yards and my action must have been 
purely instinctive. I reined up and turned the pony, who 
was rather restive, though she had been done brown just 
before, and looked to see what was happening in the forest. 
The two men were on the boundary line outside the forest, 
and some of the animals were shambling out sideways 
from amongst the trees, tails standing on end and ears 
cocked in a ludicrous fashion. 

On seeing me the men at once came up wailing and 
lamenting, and said that a tiger had killed three of their 
animals. This story was rather tall and I could hardly 
credit it. Why, I had been in the forest myself at the 
time and the whole performance could scarcely have taken 
a minute ! However, I told the men to call out their 
animals, count them and bring them close to my tents, a 
bare quarter of a mile away. I then galloped off, and on 
reaching the camp at once sent for the headman of the 
VJllaie. He w^s already on his way to me, a,pparently 



20 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 




having heard all there was to hear, the news haying 
spread to the village in the mysterious manner it does in 

the East. 

There was stiU nearly an hour 
of daylight, so I told him to 
raise as many men as he could 
at once, and if enough were forth- 
coming we would go and see if 
we could find the three beasts 
said to have been killed. I had 
a hasty cup of tea and then set 
off, all my available staff of 
servants, save the cook, whom I 
refused permission to come in 
deference to my dinner, accom- 
panying us. 

We must have presented an extraordinary and incon- 
gruous sight as we set forth, and the noise was deafening 
as none of the men wished to meet the tiger. And to be 
perfectly truthful I do not think I did myself with that 
rabble. Sure enough we found three dead cows all struck 
down within the space of twenty yards. A great argument 
took place as to whether there had been one or two tigers, 
and I inclined to the side of the party who maintained that 
there was a large and a small one — probably a tigress and 
her part-grown youngster — giving him lessons in the art 
of how to kiU. There was no trace of the tigers now, how- 
ever, the cattle having effectually frightened them off after 
the killing had been done, and our noise had probably 
caused them to leave the locality altogether. I selected a 
tree and had a machan built at once, as I thought it woiold 
be a certainty for me this time. But although I sat up 
over the kills for two nights and early afternoons into the 
bargain the tigers never came back, and presumably had 
to be content with wild game on that occasion. 

I have often thought, however, that had I possessed a little 
more expejience and had we not gone to seek the stricken 
cows with such a horde that I might have had a soft thing 
in tigers early in my career. 

I had curious luck altogether with tiger in this district. 
In another part I sat up at least four times in the same 
machan, erected in a tree at the junction of a narrow 
nuU^h with a, broader stream-bed. The locality was per- 




Sir y. p. Hewett, photo 

A MEMORABLE MAY DAY's BAG IN THE HOT TERAI JUNGLES 



HAPPY DAYS AS AN ASSISTANT 21 

fectly ideal for tiger and was, in fact, a well-known tiger 
" walk," if I may so express it. The first time I sat up was 
over a freshly killed young sambhar. It was very early in 
the morning and our approach had evidently disturbed 
the tiger at his meal. The struggle and death of the deer 
could not have taken place more than half an hour before. 
I had a machan made there and then and sat up. The 
tiger was close by all the time. Of that I felt certain, but 
he was suspicious. Once I feel sure that he came out behind 
me. I dared not move as the hastily constructed machan 
was of the flimsiest, and I feared to make a sound. With 
bated breath I waited to see him appear below, but he 
never came and I had to give it up in the end. 

On three other occasions I sat up in that machan, more 
solidly constructed now, each time over a " kill " which 
had been tied 
out. In one in- 
stance the tiger 
came out all 
right and had 
a good meal just 
below me. My 
luck was dead /[I 
out, however, | ^ 
as the moon, i^J^^ 
which had- 
been brilliant, 

became overcast with rain-clouds, most unusual at that 
time of the year, and I could not see even the outUne of 
the kill, much less the tiger on it. 

It is a curious and uncanny feeUng which invades one 
on such occasions. The tiger, on first interviews at any 
rate, like the snake, exercises a weird mesmerism over the 
senses. I felt this to the full as that beast lay there below 
me crushing and cracking up the bones of the kill with his 
powerful jaws and making all the sounds, though greatly 
intensified, produced by a cat eating its food. 

At length, out of patience, I fired in the direction of the 
sounds. A startled roar from below and I heard two slight 
sounds as of an animal making off very lightly, and then 
silence. Immediately after puUing the trigger I bitterly 
regretted the action, and I spent the rest of the night in a 
most agonized state hoping against hope that I had made a 





22 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

lucky hit, vowing I would never act like that again, and so 
forth. We have all been through it ! The orderly with me 

slept like a log, and 
snored and grunted at 
intervals. I could not 
sleep a wink. Anxiety 
kept me awake. With 
the first grey appear- 
ance of the dawn I strained my eyes downwards. Dimly 
I made out the outline of the kill. There was no 
tiger Ipng on or near it. I still hoped that he might be in 
the neighbourhood, badly wounded perhaps ! As soon as 
it was light enough we carefully surveyed the stony beds 
of the two streams, but could see' nothing. We then 
descended and hunted from below all round the kill, but 
found no trace of the tiger save for his pug marks nor any 
blood. 

There is another tiger incident, I remember, in con- 
nexion with this district. I was out on duty bent with an 
assistant, M. We had parted on the slope of a forest- 
covered hiU, I going straight to the top, only a few hundred 
yards away, he with orders to make a sHght delour to 
inspect some work and then to join me at the top. I had 
just arrived at the summit, and was standing to get my 
breath and look round me, when I heard hurried foot- 
steps behind. I turned. My assistant was advancing 
rapidly, and as I caught sight of his face, pale and tense 
with excitement, I jokingly said, " What on earth's the 
matter ? You look as if you had met a tiger." In jerky 
words M. rephed that that was just what he had done. 

" What ! " I exclaimed, " impossible here." However, 
he soon convinced me — words and manner were convincing 
enough. M. had apparently got on to a narrow, stony 
animal run, which followed a contour round the hill, and 
turning a corner sharply had come face to face with a tiger 
within fifteen yards. The man stopped, petrified with 
amazement, and stared at the beast. The tiger recovered 
himself first, or felt fear first, for he was obviously as sur- 
prised as the man, and with a startled " wuff " sprang into 
the jungle and disappeared. M., who was quite unarmed, 
turned and more or less stumbled blindly up the hill after 
me — at least, this is how he expressed it. He did not take 
long to recover, and then fury took him at the fright he had 



HAPPY DAYS AS AN ASSISTANT 23 

been given. I had a rifle in my hand at the moment and he 
soon got his from a forest guard who was carrying it. On 
the advice of one of the local forest staff we made for a 
ravine down which it was thought the tiger would move 
if he had not been frightened enough to make a clean bolt. 
We took up positions about one hundred yards apart, 
commanding the approach. I was squatting on top of a 
ten-foot rock, and before long began to doubt seriously 
whether I was sufficiently safe should I only wound the 
beast. We sat in our positions till dusk, but no tiger 
appeared, and we found subsequently that he had come 
down into the nullah much higher up, having kept to the 
forest on the hiU for some considerable distance. It was 
some time before M. got over that experience. 

The district I am writing of swarmed with leopards in 
those days. Practically the only sure way of bringing them 
to book, and that was by no means a certainty, was to sit 
up over a goat — I never would sit up over a dog, even a 
village pi-dog, as some men did — and try and kill the 
leopard before he killed the goat, if he made up his mind to 
attack it. But so cunning is this beast that in numberless 
cases he smells a rat when there is no seemingly apparent 
cause, and refuses to come up to the scratch. I did my 
share of this sitting up in my salad days, probably as much 
as most youngsters, and I enjoyed it immensely and cer- 
tainly learnt a great deal by doing it. But it must be 
admitted that once the novelty had worn off, and I really 
loved it at first, I got horribly bored by the monotony of 
it. It was all right so long as daylight lasted. There was 
plenty to watch in the jungle round about. But at night 
in the fitful moonlight the strain of tr3dng to decipher 
objects was wearisome, and when the fight with sleep 
began it became painful. In spite of the drawbacks, for a 
number of years I enjoyed it very much. 

Of the other carnivora hyenas were 
plentiful. I was never drawn to this 
animal, for his furtive ways and his 
diabolical laugh used to make my 
blood run cold when going through 
my first experiences out in the ^^1 
jungle in camp by myself. In fact, _ 

I think the satanic laugh of the 
hyena and the mournful dirge-hke wail of the jackal used 




%i 



^'^f^\i\ 




24 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

to make me more depressed, and consequently homesick, 
during my first year in India than any other experience to 
which the youngster is subjected. But sleep and sunlight 
next morn quickly dispelled such fits of the blues, and my 
dishke of these beasts did not prevent my endeavouring to 
shoot them whenever I met them in the jungles. Hyenas 
I only saw in beats, on no occasion in that district did I 
ever meet one face to face. 
Wild dog were fairly plentiful, and they gradually in- 
creased in such numbers in neigh- 
bouring districts in parts of the 
v't '1^ i Central Provinces as to seriously 
threaten the game of those areas. 
Whole blocks of forest would be 
entirely deserted by deer and 
such-hke once a pack of wild 
dogs commenced hunting in them. 
Next to bison I suppose I 
devoted most hours at that time 
to the fascinating sport of tracking down sambhar on 
foot. The miles I must have footed it with Bishu in this 
pursuit ! 

We used to start out long before dawn and make for some 
more or less Ughtly tree-clad, stony hill-side, and be some- 
where high up on this just before dawn. A careful survey 
of the neighbourhood as the Hght became strong enough 
would often disclose a number of sambhar feeding at various 
elevations on the hill-side. When I look back at those 
excursions I am lost in amazement at the number of good 
heads, even large heads, we sometimes saw in this fashion. 
There was usually little difficulty in so arranging the stalk 
that one got a shot at a good stag. Of course, the doe 
sambhar with their " sentry-go " propensities gave trouble 
when the stags were with the hinds. But in those days of 
pick and choose we paid much more attention to the soUtary 
old stags, often possessing record heads, which would be 
found feeding alone. 

Another good place for a find was the broad, cleared, 
fire traces or lines which ran round or through the forests 
for miles. Here, when the young grass was coming up over 
the burnt area — the traces were cleaned and burnt in the 
cold weather — after the first rains of the " chota bursat," 
in the early morn or just before dark, you might, by quietly 



HAPPY DAYS AS AN ASSISTANT 25 

walking up the fire-line, come across numbers of sambhar, 
and with moderate luck bag a good stag. 

In March and April — the period varies with the differ- 
ences in climate throughout India — the mhowa tree comes 
into flower. Like other deer the sambhar are very fond 
of these flowers and collect in the jungles in which the tree 
is abundant. A knowledge of this fact will enable the 
sportsman to pick up many a good head and will save him 
many weary hours' search in areas in which at other periods 
of the year he may confidently expect to find the deer, but 
from which they will have migrated to the tracts in which 
they know they will find this favourite food. It furnishes 
a good illustration of the paramount necessity, if he 
wishes to enjoy successful sport, that the shikari should 
make himself acquainted with the jungle lore of the district 
in which his operations are carried out. 

After the rains had broken and we were all back in the 
Head-quarters Station again, Bishu would now and then 
come in or send word that he had marked down a good 
sambhar. At this season when rice crops were coming up, 
the sambhar used to come out from the recesses of the great 
forests and take up their quarters for the time in the outer 
fringe of the jungles. From the position so chosen they 
would issue forth at night and walk down into the 
fields and take toll of the crops. By careful watching 
it was possible to mark down a particular stag, who 
might have a doe or two with him, and with luck get 
a shot at him. 

I remember an occasion of this kind, one of many similar 
incidents. Having received word from Bishu I sent off a 
breakfast-basket with a couple of men and rode out after 
dinner about eight miles from the Station. Arriving at a 
small bungalow I rolled up . , \ \ \ \ \ / 

in a thin blanket on a camp -JS..)..^}..^^^.},^}^^ ,{ 

bed to sleep for four hours. 



Bishu awakened me almost ////W ^/y//W'('^W'4/ 
to the minute with that "^^^^^^^| 
wonderful sense or instinct, jgg^^g^ ^^'ji^^ ^^M ^ 
or whatever it is, for time "^^^S^_^'^^^' ^^ 
possessed by the jungle man. ~ ' '"^ 

After a cup of tea and some toast we set off. Luckily the 
rain had ceased about six o'clock the previous evening, and 
the night, though dark, was not distressingly so. The noise 



26 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

made by innumerable frogs and night birds and the drone 
and hum of millions of insects filled the night air with an 
extraordinary medley of sounds as we made our way across 
the paddy fields by that most aggravating mode of pro- 
gression, walking along the bunds. The native, bom and 
bred to it, proceeds with such ease, whilst the European 
stumbles about on the often greasy and invariably narrow 
surface, the constant " cuts " made to let the water 
through, necessitating a frequent change of step or jump, 
adding to the annoyance. There is only one thing more 
aggravating to my knowledge and that is having to ride 
along them. 

We proceeded in this fashion for an hour or more, now 
and then following a village road for a short distance or 
going through a sleeping village itself, when the whole 
village pi-dog pack would turn out and bay at us, setting 
the jackals wailing in the distance and even waking up the 
village chowkidar or watchman, who ever sleeps his soundest 
during his hours of supposed duty. 

At last we arrived at a slight rise in the ground with a 
clump of trees situated on it. Here Bishu wanted me to 
take up my station. He pointed to a low range of forest- 
covered hills dimly looming up about a quarter of a mile 
away. " That's where the stag spends the day, sahib. He 
regularly passes here at dawn, usually with one doe, and if 
he is down to-night we should see him." We were, in fact, 
on one of the deer " runs." 

A light mist was hanging over the paddy fields, in which 
the water lay deep in parts, the green heads of the paddy 
showing above it. A narrow village path ran a circuitous 
course from the little knoll where we were to the forest-clad 
ridge. It was partly by this village path that the stag 
usually returned after his nightly foray into the fields. 
Bishu wanted me to take up a position to command this 
path. That would be simple, the only difiiculty appeared 
to be the mist. It was hght now, but should it get thicker 
it would be almost impossible to get a shot unless the stag 
walked right on to us. I was not very keen on a shot of 
this description, -however, and staying here meant limiting 
myself to the chance of seeing one stag only, and that 
problematical. I determined, therefore, to make for the 
hills in front of me, and this, in spite of Bishu's opposition, 
we did, proceeding there by a circuitous course. On reaching 



HAPPY DAYS AS AN ASSISTANT 27 

the foot of the ridge we climbed up through the scrub of 
Eugenia and other plants to about thirty feet elevation and 
then sat down to wait the dawn, now rapidly approaching. 
The mist was much lighter here. Already the sounds of 
the night folk were lessening. Away to our left a pea-fowl 
sent forth its peculiar call and the koel bird had started 
singing in a tree hard by. Gradually the darkness lying 
over the cultivated lands below us lifted as the East 
flamed red and gold with dark, threatening streaks, 
and patches of rain-clouds hanging above the brilliant 
colouring of the dawn. A light breeze had risen, blowing 
down from the ridge behind us, and was dissipating the 
mist in front. 

Eagerly we scanned the ground beneath, and I looked 
out carefully for the run by which the stag was said to 
return to the hills. One dark patch I discovered about 
three hundred yards off, and was just turning to Bishu to 
ask him about it when he touched my arm and pointed 
away to the right or south-east. Out in the plain I descried 
the small rise and clump of trees where Bishu had wanted 
me to "take up my station. I could see nothing else at 
first. Then suddenly I saw what Bishu meant. Two 
deer were advancing from the direction of the clump. The 
rapidly increasing hght showed them up sharply. The one 
in front was a doe, stepping daintily along the path, her 
ears constantly flicking backwards and forwards and her 
eyes travelling in all directions as she turned her head to 
left and right and nosed the air for danger. Behind, some 
fifteen to twenty paces, came her companion, a lordly 
stag. I suppose he was about two hundred and fifty yards 
off, perhaps a little more when I first saw him, and he 
appeared a fine heavy beast. Anxiously I watched the doe. 
In what direction would the run, for she was evidently on 
a run, take her. If she advanced towards us I should not 
get an easy shot at the stag. I glanced at Bishu, but could 
make nothing of his face. I looked back to the doe. She 
was now advancing directly for us. The stag would accord- 
ingly take the same direction as soon as he reached the turn 
in the run. Should I fire while I still had him more or less 
diagonally on to me ? I half lifted the rifle and then 
lowered it. I did not Uke the shot. Bishu moved his 
fingers, but I did not know what he meant. 

The doe was now within one hundred and fifty paces. 



28 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

the stag directly behind her. Suddenly she halted and 
stood like a statue, her ears flung forward and her nose 
held horizontally. She stamped her forefoot into the 
ground and for some reason or other was evidently sus- 
picious. We were hidden behind some bushes and she 
could not have seen us. But she evidently did not feel 
easy in her mind, and after advancing another twenty 
paces or so, changed her direction to the left, moving 
diagonally towards the foot of the hill. The rays of the 
rising sun formed a sort of halo round her as she moved off, 
suspicion in every line of her body. To my relief the 
stag still continued to advance, but not for long. He 
quickly noted the changed direction of his companion and 
suddenly up went his head, he turned half-left and stood 
stock still. 

What a sight the old fellow was ! Well over fourteen 
hands he stood, heavy and maSsive, the long bristly hair on 
his neck and the thick, widespread antlers, together with 
the heavy dark-brown body giving him a rugged and 
majestic appearance. A very king amongst stags is a fine 
old sambhar. The sun's rays gave a golden edging to the 
antlers, and the drops of moisture on the rough coat shone 
Hke jewels. 

In a tense silence and with bated breath I raised the 
rifle and sighted on the shoulder. As I did so a sharp, 
warning cry came from the doe, and the crack of the rifle 
S5Tichronized with a sudden start forward on the part of 
the stag. He stumbled to his knees, but was up again and 
galloping off in a lumbering fashion when the second barrel 
caught him true behind the shoulder and he dropped in 
his tracks and never moved again. I rushed forward with 
a shout of delight, for he was my first big stag. As I 
did so I heard a sudden bell of a stag behind me, and, 
looking round, saw a couple of does followed by a fair- 
sized stag entering the jungle at the foot of the hill, 
about three hundred yards in our rear, whilst several 
other does were stampeding across the fields at a stiU 
greater distance. 

" Sahib, we might have had another stag if you had not 
moved," said Bishu sorrowfully. For a moment I was 
annoyed, but only for a moment. " The big stag's 
enough for me, Bishu," I replied, and we went and stood 
over him, and measured every part of him. The horns 



HAPPY DAYS AS AN ASSISTANT 



29 



were very massive and thick, but just did not tape the 
forty inches. 

Measurements made I returned — luckily picking up my 
pony on the way — to the small bungalow where I made a 
good breakfast before riding back to the Station and the 
inevitable (at this season) day in the musty, fusty office. 








CHAPTER III 



BEATING FOR BEAR IN CHOTA NAGPUR — A STATION SHOOT 



' Mixed " shooting parties — ^The bundobast necessary for a Station shoot 
— ^Beating lor bear in March — Ordered to prepare the machans — 
Bruin brought to book — ^The leopard and the goat — ^Bear country — 
Bears as plentiful as blackberries — ^Tackling bear — Crows — The 
Indian vulture and its habits — Bears' partiality for the mhowa 
flowers — Incidents of the day's shoot — Several bears bagged — ^Usual 
method of shooting bears — Bear caves — Beating bears out of caves — 
Bears hard to kill — A day after bear — ^A.B.C. and his laugh — Success- 
ful sport — A.B.C. and the bear — A perilous moment — The besu^'s 
discomfiture — Failure to get him — A.B.C. explains — A good day's 
bag. 



M" 



"IXED" shooting parties are not, perhaps, 
greatly favoured by the keen shikari man. 
In my experience such parties are commoner 
in the cooler and less malarious climate of 
North- Western India than in the Central and other parts 
of the country. 

As an Assistant, however, I plead guilty to having thought 
them great fun, the presence of some members of the fair 
sex adding a piquancy to the proceedings not entirely due 
to the sporting element. 

And what a business it is, a day's Station shooting "picnic 
when the ladies are included ! 

The bundobast necessary to ensure matters going smoothly 
is terrific. It is not costly. It is not the expense of th? 

3° 



BEATING FOR BEAR IN CHOTA NAGPUR 31 

thing that appals one, but the magnitude of the scale on 
which the arrangements are made. And yet it is simple 
. enough compared to what an outing on the same scale 
would entail at home. In the East many of the wheels 
require little oil. We ourselves and our servants live a 
nomadic life for at least half the year, and therefore the 
commissariat presents small difficulties. Servants, food, 
its preparation, drinks, etc., are placed in the hands of one or 
two of the most experienced servants in the Station. When 
all is ready a few buUock carts are loaded up and dispatched 
the evening or morning before in charge of an attendant or 
two, and a cook ; and the necessary number of table 
servants to wait are told off to start in time to ensure their 
being ready with a meal on the arrival of the sahibs. 

The members of the shoot drive or ride out in the early 
morning so as to be at the rendezvous by the hour settled 
upon. A certain amount of manoeuvring and heart-burning 
take place over the question as to " who " shall go with 
" who " ; but that is usually trivial compared to the struggle 
amongst the bachelors at the end of the joUy day as to who 
shall be their companion for the drive or ride back ! 

One of the many shooting picnics of this kind I enjoyed 
in my salad days comes to my memory, and I will describe 
it as roughly noted down at the time in my journal. 

It was in the third week in March and the sun was already 
making its presence felt with unpleasant intensity. The 
hot weather in that district was terrific, and no amount of 
description will give those who have not experienced its 
fierce power an idea of what the sun can really do when it 
means business. That year we had a real " corker," and it 
began early. 

I was out in camp and the first intimation I received of 
the coming festivity was an order from my chief to proceed 
to a certain favourite beat of ours and inspect the repairs 
which had already been ordered to be carried out to a line 
of machans which were in existence. Having been by my- 
self for some weeks I hailed the order with dehght. Leaving 
my camp standing I set out at 3 a.m. next morning and 
rode through the forest to catch the mail at 4 a.m. at a small 
station about six miles off, the train arriving' at a junction 
at 5.30 a.m. Here I got some breakfast with new bread, a 
luxury I had not seen for weeks, and mounting a pony, 
wk^c^ had beeii. sent ovLt fpr me, galloped to K. about eight 



32 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

miles away. It was gloriously fresh, and I can remember, 
as if yesterday, every incident of that ride. As I passed a 
tank where I had often shot I noted there were still some 
duck and teal on its placid surface. Further on was a patch 
of forest on a small rocky hill where we had one day rounded 
up a bear. Bruin had stayed too long one night feeding on 
some succulent crop in the open country, a habit of the species 
to which I shall refer later on, and being surprised by dawn 
had not had time to get back to his cave, and so had lain up 
here for the day. Unfortunately for him the irate owner 
of the crop he had been robbing had noted him leaving in 
the morning and marked down his refuge. Ordinarily too 
lazy to carry shikar khubbar to the sahibs, rage in that 
instance overcame apathy, and the man himself had ap- 
peared at the door of the office where my chief and myself 
sat over dreary files and returns. Within half an hour the 
two of us, a tiffin basket, orderly, and the villager were in a 
trap bowling along for the patch of woodland and bruin 
was brought to account. 

A mile further on just behind the small wayside village 
was the tree in which I had sat up over a village goat, 
which had been kiUed by a leopard. The animal had 
seized his prey, but, frightened by the shouts of some men 
in the neighbourhood, had dropped his kill in his flight. I 
spent ten hours in a machan in the hope that the leopard 
would return and give me a shot. No trace of the beast 
did I see, though the villagers told me in the morning, and 
the pugs of the animal supported their statement, that he 
had come to within fifty yards of the kill and then, growing 
suspicious, or being too cowardly, had retreated. There 




was a fine moon that night and my surroundings were 
brilliantly lighted ; but a leopard can hide himself behind 



BEATING FOR BEAR IN CHOTA NAGPUR 33 

the smallest bush or patch of low grass, and moonlight is 
at best very deceptive. Moreover, I had not yet acquired 
much of a jungle eye for night work. 

What glorious days those were as an Assistant, before one 
realized fully that responsibiHty had to be shouldered and 
that hfe was not all shoots with the work sandwiched in 
between ! 

Arrived at K. I started on the inspection. The terrain 
of the day's business consisted of a steep rocky hill covered 
with low stunted s41 trees, here very different in appearance 
from the same species of tree when growing in the great 
reserves to the south-west. But the rocks, piled up in 
tumbled masses, formed caves of varying size, affording 
magnificent residences for bear. These rocky scrub- 
covered hills, which were plentiful in the more open parts 
— the agricultural parts — of this district, were in fact ideal 
homes for bruin, and gave shelter to innumerable families of 
the common sloth bear (Ursus labiatus) or bear of the plains. 
We used to say that they were as plentiful as blackberries 
in those days, and with very Uttle difficulty great sport, 
often accompanied by ludicrous incidents, could be enjoyed. 
In fact some of the sportsmen of the district, those not 
officially connected with the great forests, had numbers to 
their credit. That my own bag was small in my Assistant's 
days was primarily due to the fact that my work lay in the 
large jungles to a great extent, and that I was bitten with 
the " bison fever " rather badly. Whenever I consistently 
could, and whilst still an Assistant one's conscience is some- 
what elastic perhaps, my energies were devoted to bison. 

The black bear of the plains of India is a far more sport- 
ing beast than his Himalayan confrere with whom I sub- 
sequently had numerous encounters. The bear of the plains 
is both plucky and aggressive as the native well knows. It is 
not an uncommon. sight to meet a villager with one half of 
his face or his shoidder scarred in an unsightly manner owing 
to an unpremeditated encounter with a bear. As the latter 
is about six feet long and three feet high, when standing up 
on his hind legs, a practice to which he is much addicted, he 
stands some seven feet high to the crown of his head, and is 
then an ugly customer to meet unless one is suitably armed. 
And he will carry a lot of lead unless shot in a vital place. 
From the point of view of danger he is not to be com- 
pared to tiger, leopard, much less a, wounded bison, or a 
p 



34 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

buffalo. The danger from bear and the nasty " accidents " 
which have occurred to sportsmen when attacking bear are 
attributable to the fact that the average shikari is apt to 
look upon the bear as an easy quarry to bring to book and 
to take hberties with him in consequence. And then bruin 
turns nasty. And his antics, for at all times his comical 
appearance and actions have a strong effect on the risible 
faculties, unsteady one at a critical moment and one of the 
party gets mauled. Sportsmen are not so apt or inclined to 
play the fool when a wounded tiger or leopard is in the 
vicinity ! But I digress. . - 

The Une of machans was posted about one hundred yards 
below the crest of the hill, and on the side which was least 
broken up by narrow nullahs. There were a number of 
small caves on this side below the machans. On the other 
side of the crest the hill was much broken up, contained 
the chief of the large bear caves, and formed by far the 
greater portion of the eminence. There was also a small 
outlying spur to the right of the line of machans facing 
down the slope. The procedure was to have three beats or 
" hanks " as we called them locaUy. In the first or morn- 
ing one the men beat the larger part of the area bringing the 
quarry over the crest and down to the machans. The 
animals which escaped unhit or unseen took refuge in the 
caves below the Une of machans. This area was beaten 
back in the afternoon, and as a finale stops were placed 
along the crest and the outljdng spur was beaten on the 
flank of the machans, the animals coming past the whole 
line, or if extra cunning passing so far below them as to 
almost certainly ensure their escape to any but very good 
shots. 

I spent the day in examining each machan. In view of 
the fact that I was well aware that my work would be 
exposed to the criticism of all the men of the Station, older 
and more experienced than myself, and that such criticism 
would be made openly in the presence of the ladies, whose 
playful raiUery I was young enough to be mortally afraid of, I 
worked extremely hard. Several of the rnachans were taken 
to pieces and rebuilt. Others were given beautiful roofs of 
green boughs to protect the fair heads they were to shelter. 

The day was spent over those machans, and as the event 
disclosed some were made too comfortable for sportsmen 
satiated with lunch and the society of latiies fair. 



BEATING FOR BEAR IN CHOTA NAGPUR 35 

I also had some litters prepared in which to carry the 
ladies up the hiU. In this then unsophisticated part of the 
world we had only one palki or palanquin in the whole 
Station, and dandys and rickshaws were unknown ; not 
that the latter would have been of any use. 

At last I was satisfied and, as the sun neared the horizon, 
I cUmbed down the rocky hill-side to the small bungalow 
on the road where I was to pass the night, and spent the 
evening in a dream of deUghtful anticipations, the only 
excitement being the arrival of the carts with the com- 
missariat for the next day — and by their number that was 
evidently to be done in no niggardly fashion. Just before 
I reached the bungalow on my return I noticed some 
vultures winging their way across the firmament and 
dropping to 
earth at the foot 
of the hill to 
my right. Being 
still new to the 
country and in- 
terestedinevery- 
thing I deviated " 
from my route 
to see what they' 
were about. I 
soon spotted a dead village cow with two crows on it, and 
several vultures approaching with ungainly hops to their 
unsavoury feast. 

These vultures are a common sight in India. They each 
have a station of their own high up in the heavens, and 
soar slowly round in circles throughout the day, keeping a 
close look-out both upon the country below them and on 
their neighbours in the sky. If they see a djdng or dead 
animal- on the earth below them they drop to the ground 
in great sweeping circles, ever dropping and dropping till 
they get close to the earth, when they plane down a steep 
incline of air to the ground. If, on the other hand, they 
see one of their neighbours high up in the heavens leave 
his station and start off in a certain direction, they know 
he is making for a place where there is a dead carcase, and 
they take the same direction; keeping on and on till they 
see the bird in front of them dropping to earth, when they 
do likewise. 




;^=^^u 



36 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

It is an interesting spectacle for the naturalist to watch 
these great birds soaring in the heavens, and to speculate on 
the tremendous powers of vision they must possess to enable 
them to see what is going on below them on the surface of 
the earth from the great heights at which they slowly 
revolve. As interesting, though somewhat repulsive, is it 
to watch a number of them collected round a carcase and 
fighting for a position from which they can tear out a lump 
of flesh. Fierce pecks they give each other with their strong 
bills, and squabble and push and struggle amongst them- 




C'-? vV^'' ^ 



selves, for all the world like a pack of unmannerly humans 
in a low-class tavern. And then after the feast they sit 
round on the ground, or perch on neighbouring trees, with 
wings outspread and drooping, looking hke so many drunken 
bedraggled birds, whilst they slowly digest the mass of flesh 
they have gorged themselves with. . As soon as the mass is 
partially digested the heavy birds take a short run along 
the ground and launch themselves into the air; moving 
their great heavy wings in unwieldy flaps till they have got 
up sufficient momentum, when they rise in a straight line 
and then slowly soar upwards in ever-widening circles, 



BEATING FOR BEAR IN CHOTA NAGPUR 37 

The next morning I was up at " crow's dawn " and, after 
a cup of tea, climbed up the hill to have a last look at my 
machans. I expected the party at eight o'clock, and as I 
descended the hill I descried a dogcart about a mile away 
— the first contingent. We were not a large party in the 
Station in those days — a dozen all told, and ten, of whom 
four were ladies, were to form the party, the other two men 
being away in a distant part of the district. Three traps 
completed the driving contingent, the other four, two of 
them our fair unmarried spins, riding out. 

The breakfast had been laid out on tables under the 
shade of some fine banyan trees, and we lost no time in 
sitting down to it. To myself, after several weeks of my 
own company, the mere fact of finding myself amongst 
fellow-beings of my own race once more put me in roystering 
spirits, only dimmed now and then by anxiety about the 
verdict on the machans. I had good news to impart as to 
the certainty of there being bears in the caves on the hill, 
and that sent up all spirits. 

The mhowa {Bassia latifolia) tree flowers at this season, 
and it was particularly abundant in the vicinity. Bears 
are very fond of feeding on the shed flowers of this tree. 
The flowers have a vile smell, but are sweet tasting, and 
consequently loved by bruin as also by the various deer 
and the curious antelope known as the nilgai {Portax pictus). 
The jungle tribes distil a kind of arrack, a most potent 
spirit, from the flowers. White ants, which abounded in 
the district, are also much liked by the bear, who pulls 
down with his powerful claws the conical dried mud heaps 
of the termites and feeds noisily on the builders. 

We did not dally over breakfast, hot meal of many 
courses — so dear to the heart of the native cook — though 
it was. Before nine o'clock we were on the narrow 
winding rocky path leading up the hill, the two older 
ladies installed in the palanquins. The girls had elected 
to walk, each accompanied where possible by two attentive 
cavaliers. 

It was always an amusing episode (for the older people 
at least) that walk up to the machans. The path at times 
narrowed so that only two, and often only one, could 
proceed at a time, and it was at such places that the atten- 
tive swains endeavoured to displace one another, so as to 
keep nearest the girl of their choice for the time being. 



38 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

The older men used to say, confound them, that it was as 
good as a play that walk up the hill. Perhaps it was to 
them ! 

Arrived at the first machan the party halted, and the 
process of allotting machans for this the most important 
beat of the day was proceeded with. On such occasions 
and in such company this was a most anxious moment for 
the youngsters, and my rueful face gave rise to uproarious 
mirth, in which the girls merrily joined, when I was aEotted 
the machan we were standing before. By no means could 
a lady be put in it. 

" You will keep a good look out, S.," said the senior 
male member of the party. " Don't go to sleep, and 
don't let your thoughts go wool-gathering to the other 
machans." 

Another shout of laughter and the order to move on was 
given. 

I watched the party halt before the next machan. 
Hurrah ! Young T. was left behind and his attitude of 
dejection relieved a part of my gloom. This was all I saw 
of the party till the end of the beat 
and I chmbed into my machan. I had 
one man with me, and we took up our 
positions so that I commanded all the 
hkely places. 

A long wait now ensued. The sun 
rose higher and higher and the very 
trees themselves took on a Ustless air, 
the leaves appearing to droop. The only 
signs of life I could see were two black 
crows, who sat in a neighbouring tree 
and cursed at me at intervals; there 
were also lizards and insects. The heat 
bothered neither, especially the flies ! 

Suddenly I heard a very faint halloo, 
and as it always does it braced me up 
at once. The beat had begun. I sat 
motionless. The chaff and pinpricks of 
the morning were forgotten now, in the keen desire to dis- 
tinguish oneself if the opportunity arose. This beattook the 
best part of two hours to put through, and at times one lost 
sound of the voices when the men dropped into a ravine. At 
others they swelled in volume when they were endeavouring 




BEATING FOR BEAR IN CHOTA NAGPUR 39 

to ascertain whether the larger caves contained occupants. 
It must have been an hour after the start when the sharp 
crack of a rifle to my left broke the stillness. It was not 
repeated. A little later I happened to glance at T.'s 
machan and saw him raise his rifle, but he did not fire. 
Not long afterwards he went through the same motion, 
but again lowered the rifle. He told me afterwards he 
had seen a four-horned antelope, but never clear enough 
to fire at it. 

A loud burst of noise now quite close to the crest above 
me and quite suddenly a black baU appeared on the sky- 
line, and without a moment's pause, made down the hill- 
side, rolling along from rock to rock in an extraordinary 
manner and at a considerable pace. At first I thought he 
would come straight for me, but the bear, for it was bruin, 
changed his direction for a diagonal course and I soon lost 
him to sight. A shot, followed by a second, showed that he 
had been seen by one of the machans. Soon afterwards the 
first of the men appeared on the crest. A storm of yelling 
on the left followed by a fusillade, a dropping shot or two, 
and the beat was over. I waited. Dusky, beautifully 
built men, naked but for a loin-cloth and a huge turban, 
used as a covering at night, gathered below my machan, 
talking and laughing like children, going over the incidents 
of the beat. 

Two blasts of a whistle and I hurriedly climbed down 
and made for the rendezvous, a solitary, stunted but shady 
banyan tree situated near Machan No. 4, which time- 
honoured custom had made the tiflin place. Here the 
party soon assembled, some rather gloomy at their bad 
luck, others very excited at their bags. The result arrived 
at from the excited babel of talk was three bears killed, two 
supposed wounded, and, according to the native shikaris, 
three others which had apparently got by unseen. Anyway, 
ran the verdict, there would be plenty of fun in the after- 
noon. Whilst this went on the servants brought with us, 
who had been stowed away in the larger machans, were 
lapng out the lunch. Ice-cold drinks were produced, 
and most members of the party slaked a thirst that was 
worth quenching. We gathered round the board — snowy 
damask tablecloths spread on the ground — ^in a festive 
mood. 

Jhe heat did not impair our appetites — not of the younger 



40 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

members of the party. The tiffin, hot and cold, with a 
curry such as one can only get in the East, was a regal 
meal, compared with the few sandwiches which formed 
my usual midday fare when out in the jungles away from 
camp, and was a repast I did full justice to. 

Wiiat merry parties those were, even with the unmerciful 
chaff, always dealt out to the youngest griffin of the Station, 
" to Hck him into shape, you know," as the elders put it. 
And it was a fiery furnace which certainly accomplished 
the end in view so far as that was possible. 

The shikaris came up and reported that one of the bears 
said to have been wounded had been hit, but they could 
find no blood in the other case. They also intimated that 
it was time to commence proceedings again. By then 
most of the party were in a semi-drowsy condition, save the 
more energetic of the youngsters, who were fanning the 
girls with palm leaves. 

The machans were again apportioned. The fiat went 
forth ! All ladies were to either go with their respective 
husbands or fathers or with a senior male member of the 
party. The younger members of the party protested 
vigorously and the girls looked their disapproval. But 
apparently two leopards had been reported on the hill, and 
as it was quite likely that one or both might come out in 
the beat, no risks with excitable youngsters were to be 
taken ! 

Gloom settled over the younger members as, with elaborate 
politeness, they helped the elder ladies and men to collect 
their belongings and set off for the machans. I had No. 4 
given me. Nos. 3 and 5 were large roomy ones in each of 
which a lady was to go, elderly to the left, young one to 
the right. 

As there vjas a wounded bear afoot the beaters were to 
proceed out into the plain to beat a small rocky islet about 
half a mile from the hill to which one or other of the bears 
might have gone. This would make a longer beat of it, 
and should, with good fortune, send at least five bears 
back to the machans. 

I had a most entertaining afternoon in that machan. 
D. and his wife with the other elderly, rather voluble Jady, 
who, on hearing about the leopards, said she would only go 
with D., occupied No. 3 to my left, whilst No. 5 was 
tenanted by one of the fair spins and an elderly bachelor. 



BEAtING FOR BEAR IN CHOTA NAGPUR 41 

Poor T., desperately gone on the aforesaid fair damsel, 
was in No. 6, and his shooting was at first sadly affected 
thereby. 

It was very hot — ^in fact appallingly so — though I cannot 
say that I ever minded the heat very much. 

Watching the occupants of the machans to my left and 
right settle down proved most interesting and entertaining. 

D. was a very good shot and a fine shikari. But he 
always treated these picnics in a light-hearted fashion and 
not as serious business ; and, moreover, he had had an 
excellent lunch and a bottle or two of beer. Mrs. D. did 
not shoot, but was always very alert and keen in a machan, 
and not much escaped her gaze. The other lady evinced no 
interest in shikar. The couple to my right had commenced 
sparring before they got into their machan, and flippancy 
was all that could be expected from them. That the match 
continued after they were comfortably settled was evidenced 
by the occasionally slightly raised voices and silvery laughter 
followed by deeper guffaws. This annoyed me rather as I 
feared it would frighten the bears from our line, and besides 
it was directly against all the rules I was having inculcated 
into me as to correct behaviour whilst engaged in beats and 
sport generally. Also the spin had no business to be enjoy- 
ing herself with the old bachelor. However, I knew allow- 
ances had to be made when ladies were present, even 
though I myself was desperately in earnest and out to kill. 
But my anxiety and interest was mainly centred in D.'s 
machan, which at the present moment did not seem to be 
in much better case. 

D. was at the time my beau-ideal of the shikari, and I 
was endeavouring to model myself on him. My faith 
suffered a rude shock that afternoon ! 

The two ladies apparently found it difi&cult to settle 
down in comfort. An awful row went on in their machan 
for some httle time in which the voice of the talkative one 
predominated. 

Such fragments as — 

" What on earth you can find amusing ..." voice became 
indistinct. 

" My dear, as I said, this machan . . . and that young 
man ought ..." murmur, murmur — at which I blushed to 
the ears at the apparent scornful reference to myself. Silence 
for a space. 



42 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

" It's absurd. It's fearfully hot. Preposterous. . . . 
No ! Mr. D.," in a freezing voice, " I will stay where 
I am, if you please. Nor do I see anything amusing about 
my position ..." murmur, followed by a loud guffaw 
from D. 

" Don't be foolish, D.," from his wife. Silence. 

" My dear," loudly, " I tell you I'm positively melting ; 
it's trickling all down my back and front, so hot am I. No, 
it's not indecent, Mr. D. . . . " murmur, murmur. 

This continued for a time even after the beat had com- 
menced and proved most diverting. But I could not make 
out what D. was about to permit it. I could see him, or 
rather his topi and shoulders, and he appeared to be watch- 
ing the hill-side below him. He was in the front of the 
machan which was one of the roofed-in ones. The ladies 
were behind, and I could see Mrs. D. and hear her com- 
panion. The voices, the latter's chiefly, gradually sank 
and finally lulled to a murmur and then stopped. My 
comments on ladies out shooting during this stage were not 
pohte. At last total silence reigned in Machan No. 3j 
Mrs. D. sat erect, but when I looked for D. I could 
only see the top of his topi. This did not strike me 
at the moment. Ripples of laughter still came from 
No. 5, and not much of a look out I surmised was being 
kept there. 

The beaters were now at the foot of the hill below us and 
the fun was evidently waxing fast and furious. My eyes 
glanced down the slope. The shadows of the trees, hard 
and clear cut on the rocks, were commencing to lengthen 
somewhat. Suddenly a black form appeared on the top of 
a rock some way below. It disappeared. I waited with 
bated breath. There it was again coming in my direction. 
Finger on trigger, in intense excitement I waited. Again 
it disappeared. Then I saw it again, more to the left now, 
and making straight for D.'s machan. Disappointed, I had 
no thought of firing. I had learnt that lesson. Now it was 
within thirty yards. I glanced at the machan and saw Mrs. 
D.'s head bend suddenly forward. D.'s topi and shoulders 
immediately appeared. The bear was by then below the 
machan. The next moment it appeared to be half-way to 
the crest. I heard a shot from D. ; the bear disappeared 
over the crest, and I turned to see D. with his rifle at his 
left shoulder. He had fired from that position and had 



BEATING FOR BEAR IN CHOTA NAGPUR 43 

obviously missed. I loyally tried not to think it, but I 
knew D. must have been asleep — the last enormity to be 
committed by the occupier of a machan. I was absolutely 
horrified and dared not look in the direction of that machan 
from which I heard subdued voices coming. The shot had 
one effect. It stopped the frivolity in No. 5. 

The beat approached. The noise was prodigious, inter- 
rupted by peals of laughter from the Kols who were enjoy- 
ing their outing immensely. A prolonged howl and a bear 
appeared on a rock sixty yards from me. I fired on the 
instant, for he was high above the beaters. He disappeared, 
and for a second I thought I had killed him. In a flash he 
was in front of my machan, and as he passed within twenty 
yards I fired again, and he dropped and rolled over down 
the hill. Seizing the smooth-bore, in which I had a spherical 
lead bullet, I fired again and he was pulled up by a rock 
and lay quiet. At the same moment I heard a shot on my 
left. Turning, I was just in time to see another bear passing 
D.'s machan, and on the instant it fell, crumpled up and dead 
to the second barrel. 

These shots had roused the beaters to a frenzy. They 
were quite close, and I could see the men below bounding 
from rock to rock. Suddenly another rifle shot clove the 
air, followed by a second, and after a brief interval by a 
third. Again the uproar from the beaters who now climbed 
up to the line of machans. 

Our orders were to sit tight where we were till the small 
third beat was over. But the news was passed along that 
T. had bagged a bear, so that we had three more as the 
result of the second beat. 

The third beat was short and quickly over and proved 
blank. 

Again the party collected near my machan, and D. had 
to answer some pertinent enquiries as to what the first shot 
fired in beat No. 2 was at, and what the result ! I carefully 
kept my mouth shut and so, of course, did his wife. The 
other lady had been asleep, as had D. ! 

We were to have tea under the big banyan trees at the 
foot of the hill, before the party started back to the Station. 
I had to catch the night mail back to my camp many miles 
away, as I had no permission to be away more than the one 
day. It was a heavy heart I carried as we commenced to 
wend our way down the rocky hill, I noted that T. had 



44 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

secured his lady fair for the walk down, and that Captain 
H. had walked off with number two without a by your 
leave to anyone. But now that the fun was so nearly 
over I was not in the humour for skirmishing. It was 
a merry party, however, that went down that rocky 
hill-side, and a noisy one at the subsequent tea. For 
myself, in spite of being rallied about it — deep gloom had 
settled down upon me. The jolly day was over. The sun 
was within an hour of setting when the party began to 
prepare for the journey back. As I got up from the table 
D. suddenly said, " Oh ! by the way, youngster, I've a 
telegram about you," and searching in his pocket he drew 
out and threw the flimsy paper across the table. On it I 
read " S. may spend night in Station and rejoin his camp 
following day. C." It was one of the ways by which D. 
endeared himself to the youngsters. He had guessed how 
hit I should be at having to go back to my lonely camp 
and leave them all at the end of such a joUy day. He had, 
therefore, wired to my chief on his own account and obtained 
permission for me to go back with them all. He read my 
thanks in my face, and made some chaffing remark about a 
damsel dark and damsel fair, but his wife said, " What a 
shame not to have told him before." But would it have been 
quite the same ? By special request I made a third with T. 
and his lady-love in the ride back to the Station. However, 
before we had gone half-way I, without a pretence of an 
excuse, put spurs to my pony and galloped off. I was to 
put up for the night with the D.'s, where all the Station 
were dining that evening. 

What a jolly dinner that was, and what yams we all 
swapped ! 



The usual method of operating against bears is not, 
however, from the machan. The best fun is to be had in 
tackling them on foot, either by Is^ng in wait for them in 
the vicinity of their caves as they return from the fields 
where they have been guzzhng on some sweet crop at the 
expense of the unfortunate villager, or by beating them out 
of their caves during the day. Two or more rifles are 
preferable for this work as more bears are, or should be (by 
no means the same thing in bear shooting), bagged than is 
possible for one rifle when two or three bears are afoot at 



BEATING FOR BEAR IN CHOTA NAGPUR 45 

one and the same time. Also there is always an element of 
danger in the encounters, made stronger by the fact that 
bear are extraordinarily hard to kill. This is especially the 
case when you are awaiting the return of the animal from 
the fields and it-arrives before daylight. Owing to its black 
colour it is difficult to make out the form of the approach- 
ing beast, much less distinguish the dull white horseshoe 
mark on the chest or the place just behind the shoulder, 
the two best spots for a fatal shot. Unless brained, shot 
through the heart or spine, each shot put elsewhere appears 
to act as an additional incentive to a vigorous attack. 
In charging a bear usually gets up on to his hind legs, 
and the bullet in this case should be placed just below 
the middle of the white horseshoe. If he is on all fours 
fire at his white muzzle, which is the one conspicuous 
object which you will be able to pick up on the foresight 
of the rifle. 

Many a rough and tumble we had with bruin in the 
palmy days in Chota Nagpur. There was never any diffi- 
culty in getting together two or three rifles, and when life 
became irksome or monotonous in the Station in the hot 
weather or rains a day's beat was arranged as a variation. 
Ludicrous incidents occurred with a frequency which, if 
' related, would render oneself liable to the charge of romancing 
by those who have not enjoyed the sport. The following 
episode is a good illustration. 

The rains had been falling for days, weeks, with that 
boring persistency and monotony too well known to the 
Anglo-Indian banished for the time beiiig to one of the 
small Stations of a province where half a dozen represents 
the total complement of men of his race. 

A welcome break arrived and the sun shone, and inci- 
dentally the earth began to steam as only India knows 
how during a break in the rains. 

A day after bear was voted and out we went, four of 
us, including a youngster in the police, possessed of the 
loudest and heartiest laugh I had ever heard then, 
or have encountered since for that matter. A.B.C. we 
will call him (these formed part of his extraordinary 
collection of initials) ; F., R. and myself formed the rest 
of the party. 

We drove out some ten or twelve miles to a small rounded 
rocky eminence, separated by a couple of miles or less from 



46 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

a rather higher elongated ridge several miles in length. 
This latter was honey-combed with caves, and it required 
considerable bundobast and a week's work to do it 
thoroughly. It was a gigantic bear colony. The rocky 
eminence, which a closer approach showed to possess a 
cleft at the top dividing it into miniature twin peaks, was 
our objective that day. It contained several caves, one of 
considerable and unknown dimensions. We had always 
intended, the younger ones of us, to explore that cave 
thoroughly, but for one reason or another the expedition 
never came off while I was stationed in the district. 

We started at dawn with the Anglo-Indian's customary 
idea, ingrained in all of us, of escaping the heat later on. 
Though as we were going to play about aU day amongst 
rocks burnt to a fiery heat and would not begin much before 
10 a.m. or so, the object of dragging us out of bed in the 
dark was not apparent to the youngsters. 

The rocky hUl, save for a few stunted, sparsely foHaged 
trees, was devoid of covering, and I can well remember the 
scorching heat as we "took up our posts perched on rocks 
near the first cave. We had tossed for priority of shots and 
I came third on the list, A.B.C. being fourth. 

The ball commenced with the first cracker tossed in at 
the cave opening. We were posted so as to cover the 
probable hues of retreat, R. being in front and nearest. 
Whether the cracker fell on bruin I do not know, but as I 
heard the first report of the firework a black shape appeared 
at the cave mouth. R. fired and hit him somewhere, too 
low as we afterwards found, and the bear rose up and went 
for him. The second shot tumbled the animal over. For a 
space of seconds he lay inert and then was up and over the top 
of the cave, aiming a blow at the cracker man, who had gone 
up there for safety, which fortunately missed. A fusillade 
opened at once, but bruin had gone two hundred yards 
before he dropped in his tracks. FeeUng fairly certain that 
there was a second bear in the cave we spent a scorching 
half -hour and a lot of fireworks in endeavouring to get it 
out. It proved a waste of time. 

From the next cave one bear only was bolted and killed 
with a shot through the brain by F. A second expenditure 
of crackers failed to elicit a sound from this cave. 

It was now my turn for first honours. I perched on a 
flat rock shghtly to the left of the cave mouth, and the usua 



BEATING FOR BEAR IN CHOTA NAGPUR 47 

^proceedings took place. As the second cracker commenced 
to detonate and reverberate inside a snarling growl arose. 
Tingling with excitement and finger on trigger I waited. 
Suddenly a black form appeared at the opening and shot 
out. I fired. On the instant it turned and set upon a second 
bear which had just reached the entrance. A free fight 
took place, the first bear on being hit attributing the pain 
to an act of his companion. A fight of this description 
almost invariably takes place when two bears come out 
together and one is hit. I think we all emptied two barrels 
into the fighting black mass of fur, the only result being 
that the bears parted ; one going off up the hill-side, the 
other down. We all had twelve-bore guns loaded with 
Mead shells as our second weapons. I saw both of A.B.C.'s 
shells fired at the uppermost bear explode on the rocks, and 
also my first. The second hit somewhere, but the bear 
disappeared as A.B.C.'s great exasperating laugh came 
down to me. " What on. earth is the fool laughing at ? " 
I thought. R. and F. knocked over the other one. We 
retrieved the upper bear dead later on. It had five bullets 
in it, in addition to my Mead shell which had struck it on 
the pad. 

The main cave now lay before us, and here we fully 
expected plenty of fun. Nor were we disappointed. I 
should say that up to now, although at each cave we had 
heard A.B.C. or rather his great laugh at frequent intervals, 
he had not as yet taken any close part in the proceedings. 
The only bear that had gone near him was one of the two 
which came out of the third cave — the one he fired the 
Mead shells at. I may also add that none of us had ever 
been out bear shooting with him before. 

The big cave had a wide cavernous mouth, out of which 
a dozen bears could have charged abreast. There was also 
a platform of considerable extent in front rising slightly 
from the mouth of the cave to, the far side. Midway 
near the edge here was a small rock projection which formed 
the post of the first rifle. A.B.C. installed himself thereon, 
and the rest of us took up positions so as to cover aU possible 
avenues of escape, and with instructions to each choose a 
bear and endeavour to kill him outright, an instruction of 
perfection by no means easy to attain as has been shown 
already. 

As soon as we were posted three men approached the 



48 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

cave mouth armed with our largest and noisiest fireworks 
and threw them in as far as possible, immediately chmbing 
nimbly up to positions of safety. The cracking reverbera- 
tions made noise enough but nothing happened. A.B.C. 
started a laugh but was quelled into silence by our furious 
gestures. Three times was the firework manoeuvre repeated. 
Yet a fourth time the men advanced. One of the three, 
owing to carelessness or laziness, hung behind the other two, 




and their crackers were already banging inside as he raised 
his arm to fling in his. On the instant two bears appeared 
at the cavern mouth. The man dropped the cracker and 
bolted. The firework, a big one, at once commenced that 
erratic and elusive mode of cracking and jumping "which is 
so bewildering. Two rifles rang out, and the bears appeared 
to faU upon one another almost at the same instant, snarling 
and cuffing in a rough and tumble. Only twp of us could 



BEATING FOR BEAR IN CHOTA NAGPUR 49 

see the animals in their present position, and we again 
fired, and almost on the instant the cracker with a side 
jump got between the bears. At its next explosion they 
shot apart, and one of them went out of my vision. The 
second rose on its hind legs, and in a second saw A.B.C. 
immediately in front of him some fifteen paces or so away. 
A.B.C. fired at the animal once without apparent effect, 
and I was thinking that I would shoot the moment he had 
put in his other barrel — ^he could not miss, and no more 
could I, the animal looked as big as a haystack, so close 
was it — ^when to my surprise and utter consternation A.B.C. 
dropped the muzzle of his gun and commenced to shake 
with great gusts of that preposterous laugh of his. The 
bear was by then within five to seven yards of him. 
Ho ! Ho ! Ho ! ... Hah ! Hah ! Hah !— he bellowed 
in great rolHng gusts of sound. The animal halted and 
ior a few seconds stood erect staring at A.B.C, then 
dropping to its feet it turned round and bolted back into 
the cavern. I was furiously angry. For some instants I 
had thought A.B.C. a doomed man, for I did not dare fire. 
And that the bear meant mischief and would kill A.B.C. 
before my eyes appeared a certainty. Reaction came with 
that wild laughter and the disappearance of the bear, and 
in my turn I laughed till I was almost sick. To see that 
maniac within a few yards of a bear up on its hind legs 
and meaning mischief, to realize that he was a doomed 
man, and then to hear that great bellowing laughter. It 
was an inconceivable and altogether impossible situation ! 
I did not think of it at the time. I was too anxious and 
horror-struck. But after all I do not wonder the bear turned 
tail. I think most of the natives believed A.B.C. to be a 
bit of a deity plus devil combined. 

It transpired, after some considerable and heated question- 
ing from the older members of the party, that A.B.C. had- 
never been bear shooting before (we were all so accustomed 
to it that no one had ever asked him), and that the rough and 
tumble of the bears and their separation by the cracker 
had appealed irresistibly to his sense of the comic — and it 
was ludicrous enough it may be admitted. When the bear 
got on to its hind legs and came for him it put the final 
touch to the farce as A.B.C. saw it, and he just collapsed 
and roared. " Couldn't hold the gun up, you know. Most 
comic sight I ever saw in my life." " That b-b-bear . . 



50 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

up on his d-d d h-h-hind 1-1-legs, you know," and off 

he went again in that monstrous laughter of his. 

We did not get that bear out of the cave. It would 
not face A.B.C. again. The other men retrieved the first 
and we got another one later. 

It proved an interesting day taking it all round. 














CHAPTER IV 

A hunter's paradise 

Chota Nagpur once more — ^The fascination of the study of the natural 
history of the forest — ^Malarious jungles — Extraordinary abundance 
of the large game animals — Big herds of bison — ^Monsoon and hot 
weather conditions — An animal census of the forests in the late nineties 
— Arduous nature of bison tracking — Behaviour of wounded bison — 
The commissariat question — Start off to fill the larder — ^A moonlight 
walk — The decision — ^A barking deer — Come upon the fresh tracks 
of a herd of bison — ^The -450 express and temptation — Proceed to 
track the bison — Hot weather conditions — Come up with the herd — 
I follow the herd — Fire at a bull — Am charged by a young bull — I 
fire at him — Search for the bison — Am charged again — ^An ineffective 
rifle — A third charge — Treed by the bull — A long vigil and a vindictive 
enemy — A rescue — The dead bull — Carried back to camp. 

TWO years later I found myself back in, and now in 
charge of, the division in which I had enjoyed 
such fine sport as an Assistant. With a greater 
knowledge of the jungles and Indian sporting 
methods I promised myself a good time — ^hopes that were 
to be fully realized. 

Already, however, my attention had been attracted to 
the study of the fauna of the great jungles in which my 
work lay, and I had begun to realize that there was a stage 
beyond the mere sportsman's pleasure in stalking and 
shooting and searching for record heads, fascinating as 
these pursuits proved ; that the study of the fauna of the 
jungles as a whole, and not of the game animals alone, was 
a most enthralling pursuit before which the mere acquisition 
of heads would occupy a secondary position. 

My work for the next year kept me out in the jungles 
the year round. This was exceptional and a hardship in 
its way. For owing to the deadly nature of the malaria 
prevalent in these forests in the monsoon months, the 
orders in force enacted that the whole of the forest staff 

5' 



52 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

should retire to their head-quarters out in the open country 
at this period, brief visits only being paid to the jungle. 

The reasons which entailed my remaining on the 
spot proved, as it. turned out, a golden opportunity ; as 
unique opportunities arose for studying the fauna of this 
part of India as I could not otherwise have hoped to do. 

They were an extraordinary place those jungles in the 
monsoon in the late nineties of last century. Teeming with 
animals they were, in fact, a giant sanctuary in which the 
shyest members of the jungle folk, such as the elephant 
and the bison, roamed at will, free and practically un- 
molested. It is difficult to beUeve that this state of affairs 
existed, for the short interval which has elapsed has brought 
about very different conditions, so far as the numbers of 
the game animals are concerned. 

On one brilliant day during a break in the rains in August 
of that year three separate herds of bison, two containing 
over forty animals apiece, were tracked down and put up, 
whilst two old solitary bulls were seen ; one inadvertently 
run into as he was resting under the shade of a bamboo 
clump, and the other after two hours' hard tracking. This 
latter was a fine old bull, his skin jet black and shining 
Uke satin, and horns deeply furrowed at the base and 
blunted and worn at the tips. 

The fleeting glance we obtained of the other buU, as he 
sprang up and crashed away into a bamboo thicket, showed 
an animal in its prime, with what appeared to be an un- 
usually long and curved pair of horns. 

That day, as regards the number of bison actually seen, 
proved a red-letter one. But we had few blank days — 
either seeing animals or coming upon absolutely fresh 
tracks on most occasions. 

And the same state of affairs was disclosed with respect 
to other game. Sambhar were plentiful and many a good 
head could have been bagged had I not held my fire, being 
unwilling to disturb the jungles in the hopes of obtaining a 
good bison. 

In the light of the present condition of these forests in 
this respect I often bitterly regret that I did not keep an 
accurate daily record of the animals seen. It may be 
admitted that such a record would not have been absolutely 
correct, since the same animal may have been put up more 
than once. But as the tract of jungle visited at different 



A HUNTER'S PARADISE 53 

intervals that year extended over some nine hundred square 
miles, such a record would not have been without its useful 
side. 

It was not only in the rains that the animals were so 
plentiful. At that season, when food and water were to be 
had in abundance everywhere, the animals roamed through- 
out the whole length and breadth of the vast jungles. In 
the hot weather they were more restricted, as the vegeta- 
tion died down under the fierce heat of the sun and the 
streams dried up, leaving only pools. At this season these 
water-holes and the perennial streams which maintained a 
much reduced flow of water were the places to visit. 
In the evening, throughout the night, and early morning 
such places were the rendezvous of an extraordinary 
concourse of the jungle folk, and it was quite possible to 
arrive at some estimate of the numbers of the different 
classes of animals present in the surrounding tract of 
country. As the hot weather drew to its close the ground 
in the neighbourhood of these drinking places became 
trampled down into a shining, stony consistence, the surface 
showing a network of fine lines and curves left by the 
impress of the hoofs of the innumerable animals resorting 
to the drinking places to quench their thirst. 

Here again such figures as might be given, relative to 
the numbers of the various species probably existing in 
these jungles at that time, would scarce be credited in the 
light of the more or less accurately estimated numbers of 
the various species inhabiting the tracts at the present time. 
From my own personal observations made in the late 
nineties it can be said that considerable numbers of wild 
elephants were present in these forests and large herds of 
bison, whilst sambhar were very plentiful, big heads, forty 
inches, being fairly common. Spotted deer, barking deer, 
and four-horned antelope were numerous, as also pig, hyena, 
wild dog, and so forth. Tiger and leopard, though difficult 
to get at, were plentiful. Bear in the more open country, 
as already mentioned, were easily obtainable. 

As has been said, shooting in the Chota Nagpur jungles 
is done on foot, and if one wishes to track the bison with 
any chance of success it is absolutely essential to keep in 
hard and fit condition. One will almost .certainly have to 
spend hours on end tracking, exposed to a hot sun. Camp 
may be quitted at two or three in the morning, and should 



54 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

a fresh trail be picked up it may be late afternoon before 
one comes up to the quarry. All will then probably depend 
on one shot. If the sportsman is so tired out that he cannot 
hold the heavy rifle straight and steady he will have had 
his trouble for nothing. And this is by no means a rare 
ending to many hours' strenuous exertion. For these hours 
of tramping over rocky hills under a hot sun are terrifically 
arduous work. One must be abstemious — I do not mean 
teetotal — and reduce the smoking allowance whilst engaged 
on this kind of work or success need not be expected. 

One of the fascinations of bison shooting on foot resides 
in the fact that it is not possible to anticipate how an 
animal will act once he is wounded. The gaur is amongst 
the shyest and most timid of animals. He is endowed with a 
most wonderful sense of hearing and smell, and the sUghtest 
taint of man's presence in the air or the snap of a small, dry 
twig breaking the great midday silence of the jungle will 
send him crashing blindly away on a trek during which he 
may cover, if . seriously alarmed, thirty miles or more 
before he stops to browse and take matters easy once again. 
It is a knowledge of these characteristics which necessitates 
that slow, cautious and absolutely silent approach which 
is imperative when on a hot trail, if the stalker wishes to 
obtain a result from his hard work. It is this timidity also 
added to the natural wildness and constitutional inability 
to remain anjrwhere in the neighbourhood of civilization or 
man, allied to the bulk of the animal and his roaming pro- 
pensities, which necessitates the maintenance of large 
tracts of untouched primeval jungle, if the species is to be 
preserved from extinction. 

When wounded this instinct for self-preservation and 
sohtude may prove uppermost in the animal's mind and 
lead to a bhijd rush for safety dead away from the direction 
in which he imagines the danger to be. He may act thus. 
In many cases he does. On the other hand, in numbers of 
recorded instances he has exhibited a very different spirit. 
The wound appears to have roused in him a blind fury, 
under which all his usual instincts of timidity, fear and 
cravings for flight to a safe solitude, seem to be overpowered 
by an overmastering passion for revenge ; and ta that 
consuming lury he often adds a cunning which is of the 
jungle and commonly found in all jungle folk when they 
turn to bay against their enemies. It is now that the bison 



A HUNTER'S PARADISE 55 

becomes one of the most dangerous and vindictive of 
animals and resembles his cousin the buffalo. With his 
marvellously developed senses of smell and hearing to guide 
him he charges down on his antagonist, and if he misses him 
will wheel, as soon as he can pull up his heavy bulk, and 
come on again with rigid determination and eye blazing fire 
and deadly fury. It is on such occasions that a life hangs 
upon a thread and coolness and a heavy rifle alone stand 
between the sportsman and eternity. 

I had an experience of this kind that hot weather, and 
although the ludicrous aspects of my position have often 
appealed to me since that day, there was no possible doubt 
at the time as to the tight fix I had got myself into. 

One night at dinner my Khansamah 
informed me that the stock of murghis 
(fowls) had run short, that the com- 
missariat arrangements had gone wrong 
owing to some unforeseen delay, and would 
the sahib go out next morning and shoot 
a sambhar or spotted deer for the larder. 
We had considerable difficulty over supplies 
that year and cholera broke out badly in 




m 



the district, adding to our troubles. It was < 1 \ \ ! 

a bad business for a time, but we managed j( | y'\ \ (v 

to weather the storm. To my Khansamah ■* ^m^f ,^-^ 
I replied that his desire could be easily PiY -•"' — 




fulfilled without interruption to the work 

I had on hand. The moon was late that 

night or I would have gone out there and then. Before 

I turned in I gave orders to be called at 3 a.m. 

Dawn next morning found me several miles from the 
camp accompanied by a gun-bearer, who also carried a 
light lunch-basket and a couple of bottles of cold, weak 
tea, all I ever drank now when out in the jungles by myself. 
The moon had afforded us plenty of light and the path, a 
broad elephant track, had been an easy one. We had 
already seen or heard numerous deer, and a possible easy 
shot or two might have been obtained had I not wished to 
reach a certain hill in the cool before the sun rose and whilst 
walking was pure pleasure. My object was to get the work 
done, bag if possible a young stag, and be back by ten 
o'clock in camp, where I had a long day's office work to 
get through. 



56 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

As the moon paled before the brightening rays of the 
rapidly rising sun the surrounding forest became pervaded 
with a lovely rosy light which gave to the crowns of the 
great creeper-covered trees a wonderfully soft effect. In 
front a trappy, rocky hill-side covered with stunted, scat- 
tered trees and sparse tufts of sabai grass lay already 
bathed in a hard golden sunlight, which meant fierce heat 
later on. It was this hiU we were making for, and to my 
annoyance we had not reached it as soon as I had hoped 
to do. I was now faced with the problem as to whether to 
chmb the hill and get the work done whilst it was stiU 
comparatively cool, or make certain of replenishing the 
larder and face the greater heat on the hill-side, once the 
commissariat question was settled. The latter alternative 
appeared the most prudent, and quitting the track, we 
entered a narrow deer run to the left, and proceeded slowly, 
keeping a look out for fresh tracks or animals. 

We had not gone far when we 
saw, away to the right, a small 
dull redish shape cropping the 
grass at the foot of a fine old sil. 
It was about forty paces away 
and quite unconscious of our 
presence. The khakar or munt- 
jac, the so-called barking deer, 
for such the httle animal was, 
raised its head, listened intently for a second or two and 
then stamped its forefoot into the turf, emitted a 
succession of sharp barks, listened again and returned 
to its feeding. I raised the rifle and then lowered it and 
signified to my companion to move forward. I had not the 
heart to fire at the Httle beast and I had remembered that 
the camp follpwers would hke to have some meat, and that 
it would be as well to kill something larger than a khakar. 

Within ten minutes we were standing before the abso- 
lutely fresh tracks of a herd of bison ! The Einimals could 
not have passed, by all the evidences, more than an hour 
before, and were evidently browsing as they went along. 

The jungle man's eyes gleamed as he thought of the 
feast that he would have if the sahib bagged one of tfiem. 
A corresponding gleam was in my eyes. What would 
Bishu, the head shikari, say if the sahib bagged a good 
bison without his being there to show it him. The sahib 




A HUNTER'S PARADISE 57 

whom he himself had taught to decipher the tracks and 
signs of the jungle to some small extent. 

My hesitation was but brief, and was perhaps chiefly 
connected with the rifle I carried. Not wishing to 
overburden myself, I had only brought with me a light 
•450 black powder express. Cordite express rifles had not 
then come into general use. To those who know its signi- 
ficance their advent alone speaks volumes for the decrease 
in the game animals of India. Now to face a bison with a 
black powder -450 express is madness. Of course, many 
have done it and wounded their animal and never seen it 
again or, a far rarer event, killed their beast by a lucky 
shot ; others have done it or tried it and have paid the 
penalty with their lives. Elephants have been killed 
with a -303, but few would care to stand up to a charging 
rogue elephant with only this weapon in their hands. I 
had a fair-sized bump of caution about me, but I was 
young and the temptation was out of aU proportion to the 
size of my caution bump — as it has been to many before 
and will, in like circumstances, be to the end of time. Nor 
am I quite certain in my own mind that I should not 
succumb to the temptation now. 

A motion of the head and we set forth to follow the 
tracks of the herd. 

I am not relating this episode with any idea that it 
redounds to my credit. Far otherwise. It may read 
amusingly, and I have since been able to perceive the 
entertaining side of it. At the time, however, as events will 
show, my attention and interest were held by the serious 
aspects of the position. Also I have little hope of per- 
suading any other keen youngster to act differently. With 
the temptation in front of him he wiU certainly give way to 
it. But this episode will show him one of the experiences 
he may have to confront when, inadequately armed, he 
follows up dangerous game on foot. 

The tracks of the herd we now commenced to follow were 
simple enough to read, and it was evident that there were, 
at least, a score of animals in it. The difficulty lay in the 
fact that the forest at this season of the year was all as 
dry as tinder, and walking without making a considerable 
rustle and crackle was by no means easy, so thickly did the 
dead, dry leaves of the sil trees lie in the denser parts of 
the forest. 



58 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

Since I could not emulate my companion in his noiseless 
progression which, in his eagerness, would quickly have 
left me far behind, I placed him behind and we advanced 
in this manner for well over an hour and a half. In the 
period we covered a bare three miles, the tracks leading us 
dead away from the direction I wished to go in. But 
this appears to be almost invariably the case in bison 
tracking, and you must be prepared to follow where the 
trail leads. Latterly we had been silently walking through 
a piece of high sil forest, following a narrow path which 
was more or less clear of dead leaves — swept clear probably 
by the fierce, hot wind which blows during the day at this 
season. Gradually the ground, began to rise and the forest 
to open and thin out in front. Evidence had shown that 
the trail was becoming hotter and hotter, and I was 
breathless with excitement and anxiety, expecting 
momentarily to run into the herd or to hear the well- 
known short, sharp, snorting bellow which is the signal 
for a stampede. 

As soon as we noted the forest thinning again with the 
rise of the ground, it became evident that the herd must 
be close. I could not trust my companion sufficiently to 
send him on to make observations ; nor, at this stage, 
would I give up the honour I wished to have myself of 
running down the bison and telling the head shikari about 
it afterwards. Slower, and slower stiU we advanced. 
Suddenly I felt a touch on my arm and a hand came 
stealthily forward, pointing to my right front. I turned 
my head slightly and at once made out the head and 
shoulders of a bison. The rest of the body was hidden 
behind the stems of two sil trees. We stood motionless, 
not daring to move even an eyelash, as for all we knew 
there might pe bison on our left flank. Gradually I made 
out three other bison immediately in front of us. They 
were in the thinner part of the forest and the Ught fell in 
large chequered patches on their backs. Look as I might 
I could see no more. There was nothing for it but to wait 
till they moved away. The animals were all browsing, 
and in about a quarter of an hour or so they gradually fed 
forward and disappeared. We waited another ten minutes 
and I then motioned to my companion that I would go 
forward and that he was to follow at some distance behind. 
He nodded, and may or may not have understood. So far 



A HUNTER'S PARADISE 59 

as I was concerned I saw nothing more of him till a much 
later stage in the proceedings. 

I crept forward with infinite precaution, the -450 at full 
cock in my hand. The weight of the Ught rifle had not 
caused me much trouble or fatigue on this stalk ! As I 
advanced my eye was held by a curious-shaped, forked, 
almost deformed tree standing at the edge of the forest and 
directly ahead of me. The tree was thick and stumpy, forked 
at about twelve feet from the ground with a thick branch 
growing out horizontally from the trunk about six feet up. 
This tree was subsequently to play an important part 
in the day's operations. I arrived at the place where the 
forest thinned out, keeping so far as possible a tree or two 
always in front shielding my line of approach. The rise 
was more gradual here, and as I approached what may be 
called the edge of the forest the grass, with the lighter 
overhead cover, at once became thicker and higher inter- 
mingled with bushes. Out beyond the hill-side, as is so 
commonly the case in this part of the country, grew stonier 
with elevation ; being covered with a scattered, rather 
stunted tree-growth, interspersed with tufts of the sabai 
grass and bushes growing in clumps. A glance showed me 
that a number of bison were grazing here. Several were 
near the top of the slope, whilst others had probably already 
crossed the ridge out of sight. I was evidently only just 
in time if I was to get a shot before the herd disappeared — 
for once on the other • side the animals might get into 
bamboo jungle and give an infinite amount of trouble 
before I could get up to them again. 

I watched the herd with bated breath. In spite of 
some acquaintance with this fine beast I had not yet learnt 
to look upon him in his native jungle unmoved, and the 
sight before me set my pulses tingling and my heart beating 
a double tattoo on my ribs. My object was, naturally, to 
pick out the master bull of the herd, and I could form no 
estimate as to what his size would be. I had not had the 
practice, and even with it I knew I could never hope to vie 
with Bishu in his wonderful capacity for picking out the 
biggest head after a hurried glance over a feeding, or even 
a bolting, herd. As I surveyed the animals in front of me 
most fervently did I wish he were beside me. The animals 
were half and, at times, wholly hidden by the bushes or 
scattered trees, and as they moved about slowly browsing, 



6o DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

I only got glimpses of their heads. So far as I could perceive 
there were twenty animals on the slope when I came up, 
and already three of these had crossed the ridge and dis- 
appeared. Again I ran my eye over each animal as his head 
became visible. The nearest was, I suppose, about seventy 
yards off, the furthest under two hundred and fifty yards. 
There were two I had marked down as bulls and their 
heads appeared pretty level as regards size, and therein 
lay the difficulty. Surely there must be a larger bull in 
such a herd ! 

Patiently I searched the bushes again, starting on the 
left and working round past the curious forked tree in 
front of me, until I reached my right front. Ah ! What 
was that glint ? I waited and watched, and suddenly a 
black form loomed up above a bush and moved slowly 
forward. This must be the Lord of the Herd for certain. 
A fine massive beast in his prime. One long look I gave him 
and then aS he moved diagonally away from me, too 
diagonally I have since thought, but I had forgotten that 
I had only the light rifle, I aimed sUghtly behind the shoulder 
in the hopes of reaching the heart. The sharp crack of the 
•450 was followed by amazed snorts and bellows from the 
herd and a general stampede ensued. I saw the big buU 
lunge forward and then my attention was diverted by a 
crash to the right. , I turned sharply to see a bison charging 
down directly upon me from about fifty yards away. Where 
he had come from I had not time to consider then. Raising 
the rifle I aimed hurriedly at the neck just behind the 
lowered head with the idea of trying to sever the spinal 
column, and fired my left barrel. He was within about 
twenty yards when I pulled the trigger. Springing aside I 
got behind a neighbouring large sil tree, the bison passing 
within ten y^rds of me, being carried on by the im- 
petuosity of his rush. The whole thing was a matter of a 
few seconds only, and I was totally at a loss for the moment 
to explain the extraordinary action of the animal, for he 
was nowhere near the large bull at which I had fired. 
Afterwards I came to the conclusion that the animal, in its 
first rush, was not charging me at all, but only stampeding 
away in fright and by chance took my direction. As I 
silently extracted the spent cartridges and put in a couple 
of fresh ones I listened intently for any fresh sounds of the 
bull, but could hear nothing. A deep silence had given 



A HUNTER'S PARADISE 



6i 



place to the turmoil which reigned so shortly beforfe. "Per- 
haps he is down," I thought, and with the idea I at once 
started to find out. Leaving my tree I advanced cautiously 
in the direction in which the bull had disappeared. The 
dry leaves were a bother, but the tree-trunks, being still 
fairly numerous, afforded a certain amount of protection 




and concealment, and luckily for me I was not encumbered 
with the heavy boots I used to wear on such expeditions, 
but was shod in light stalking shoes. I had gone about 
fifty yards on the line the bull had taken and was begin- 
ning to think I must have overshot the mark, when suddenly 
from behind me a deep bellow sounded, followed by the 



62 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

rush of a heavy body. I sprang round to see the bull 
viciously charging down on me. There was no mistake 
about it this time. He had spotted me, and mad with 
fury meant having me. I was quite close to a big tree and, 
hurriedly firing my right barrel, got behind it, loosing off 
the left as he carried on past me. I might have been using 
a pea-shooter for all the apparent effect on the biill, who 
only answered to the shots by enraged beUows. He was a 
young bull, not having yet reached his prime, but brimful 
of viciousness as I was beginning to discover. I was now 
becoming seriously alarmed, and as I reloaded the rifle, 
with fingers that trembled in spite of me, I cast about 
hurriedly for a refuge. That the buU would return I had 
no doubt, and I did not hke this hide-and-seek business 
amongst the trees. All round me the trees were large with 
stout, clean stems and quite unclimbable. Suddenly there 
flashed across my mind the queer forked tree I had noted 
on the edge of the forest from my first position. It was an 
inspiration and I at once set out towards it, my actions 
hurried by the fact that I heard the bull stop and turn and 
advance in my direction again. So far as possible I moved 
backwards in the direction I knew the tree must be, having 
the edge of the forest on my right hand as a guide 
and facing in the direction of the bull. I moved very 
slowly, trying to make as little noise as possible, but I had 
not gone half the distance before, in stepping round a tree, 
I walked on to a mass of dry sticks. The sharp crack 
they produced was immediately followed by an angry 
roar from the bull. I had by then discovered the position 
of the tree and so knew the direction to make for. I started 
running, but realized that I could not get there in time as 
the grass and bushes were thicker now. Again I sought the 
protection of a friendly tree and fired a shot at the bull as 
he passed. But I was now shaking like a leaf and could 
hardly see out of my eyes for perspiration, and the bullet 
went in far behind as was subsequently discovered. This 
charge settled me. I could hear the bull already pulling 
up and I ran stumbling through the grass and imdergrowth 
for the tree, the instinct of self-preservation uppermost. 
Panting and swearing and perspiring and in a blue funk, 
for I heard the bull again advancing, I made a jump for the 
low horizontal branch, missed my hold and came to earth. 
Scr^mbhng up I had another try, got on to the branch and 



A HUNTER'S PAEiADISE 63 

climbed up into the fork of the tree. There I clung, shaking 
with fright, the perspiration pouring down my face and 
bUnding me. Luckily, though I was unaware of it at the 
time, my topi had not fallen off, as I usually wore it with 
a stout, leather chin-strap. As I climbed up into the fork 
I had a dim realization of a great heavy dark mass rushing 
beneath me. It was the bison, and when I began to recover 
my senses somewhat I looked about to ascertain the position 
of affairs. I soon saw the bull. He was out in the open, 
his impetus having carried him some considerable distance. 
He was now advancing in my direction at a shambling 
trot, and, passing quite close to the tree, went on into the 
forest ; to shortly depart for good, I hoped, when he could 
not find me. I had read, it is true, of men being " treed " 
by bison, but I did not imagine then that my position 
would entail anything but momentary inconvenience now 
that I was out of his reach. As I recovered from my fright 
my chief feeling was one of wrath at the young bull whose 
blundering interference had, I then thought, caused me to 
lose the old bull. However, I may say at once that no trace 
of blood was subsequently found on the latter's trail and 
I do not think he suffered much from the encounter. 

As has been said the young bull passed on into the forest, 
and as I made myself as comfortable as possible in the 
fork of the tree with my back resting against the thickest 
stem, I heard him blundering about amongst the under- 
growth, though the surrounding foliage prevented me 
seeing him. 

As soon as I was comfortable I concentrated my attention 
on the bison. He still seemed quite close, and then suddenly 
the noise advanced in my direction and the brownish-black 
form appeared about twenty yards away. I could not 
make out what he was doing. He appeared to be, if I may 
so express it, routing about in the undergrowth. Routing 
about was the thought in my mind, and then suddenly I 
thought of another term, " nosing " about. And with the 
word my spine ran cold and I remembered what I had 
read and heard of " treed " men — men in the position I was 
in, in fact. That when wounded and thoroughly roused a 
bison, discovering his enemy in a tree, would patiently wait 
at the foot of it till weakness caused the latter to fall into 
his power to be gored to death. I confess terror again 
invaded me at the thought. My whole consciousness was 



64 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

now concentrated on the actions of the bull. He again 
passed quite close to the tree ; again went out or rather 
blundered out into the open for fifty yards or so. I thought 
he might be giving up the quest and following in the tracks 
of the herd. But he circled round and once more entered 
the forest. 

As I lost sight of him I peered down tihrough the leaves, 
the foliage was scanty below me, to see if I could perceive 
the rifle. On jumping up from the ground in my second 
attempt to get into the tree I had left the rifle where it 
had fallen after my first desperate effort. So I was unarmed 
and helpless. From where I sat I could see nothing, but on 
moving a little I got a wider view, and — yes, there lay the 
rifle about ten yards from the foot of the tree. Though 
tantahzing, it gave me some comfort to see it there. 

Again the bull approached. This time he came quite 
close and circled round the tree. His course seemed airnless 
at first, but I cannot make up my mind that it was. Nor 
could I say definitely that he ever saw me in my present 
position. What he actually did was to blunder round the 
tree at about fifteen to twenty paces away and then sit 
down. He was in full view when he stopped and sat down, 
and I was thunderstruck at the proceeding. The only 
conceivable explanation that I could at the time give to 
account for this was that he had scented his enemy and was 
going to wait for him. It really appears the only plausible 
explanation of this and similar incidents which have been 
recorded. To say that my heart sank into my boots does 
not adequately portray my feelings. At first I buoyed 
myself up with the hope that he was so hard hit that he 
was dying but I soon had to give up that idea. He was 
sitting diagonally, head facing me, ears flung forward, the 
picture of algrtness and, so it seemed to my anxious gaze, 
wickedness. For an hour, or perhaps longer, I did not keep 
count of time at that juncture, I sat holding on Uke grim 
death to my tree, dazed and despairing. The sun got hotter 
and hotter, and I could feel it beating on to my topi and 
through it on to the top of my head, in spite of the leafy 
screen above me. It may have been this intensity of heat 
that at last woke me to reality again. 

Quite suddenly I found myself looking at the bull. He 
was still apparently in the same position. He surely must 
be dead I thought. Then I glanced downwards and my 



A HUNTER'S PARADISE 65 

eye fell on the rifle. A thought flashed through my brain 
and I began to let myself down on to the horizontal branch 
below, keeping my eye on the bison the while. From the 
lower position I found I could only see a part of him, but 
still most of the head. Taking my eyes from him I looked 
down ; there lay the rifle, not immediately beneath me, but 
still fairly close if I could only reach it without sound. This 
I proceeded to try and do. I turned over on to my stomach 
and was commencing to lower myself slowly when the 
buckle of a leather belt I wore caught in the bark and made 
a loud scraping crack. I heard a sudden movement to the 
left, a bellow and crash followed each other instantaneously, 
and I was sitting palpitating on the fork again. I could 
not have explained how I got there. The bull, for he it 
was, passed almost below the tree. What pace he was 
going I had no idea. But I heard him turn and then sit 
down again quite close ; but now I could not see him. 

I made no further attempts to get the rifle. 

The effort had done me good, however, and I now turned 
seriously to a consideration of the position. I had no watch 
on me, but calculated it must be between eleven and 
twelve o'clock. The effect of the sun was what I 
most feared. Drowsiness would do for me. The noise I 
made no longer bothered me. I felt the buU knew all 
there was to know, so I selected a better position, and 
taking off my leather belt, slit a hole in the end of it, and 
passing the end of a handkerchief through it, knotted it 
securely. The added length enabled me to tie myself to a 
fair-sized branch and thus ensure partial safety if I dozed. 
The added tightness round my middle also stilled the 
pangs of hunger that were making themselves felt, for I 
had not eaten for about nine hours. The thought of food 
brought to my memory my companion and the tiffin basket. 
Where, I wondered, were they ? And then I began to 
calculate. Assuming that the man was more or less aware 
of my position and had returned to camp, how soon could I 
expect relief ? Three hours either way should do it and an 
hour to collect the men who in my absence might be 
all over the place. Three o'clock at the earhest, and I 
wondered if I could stick the heat, always greatest between 
one and three o'clock, or felt most at that period. I had 
luckily never taken to the afternoon siesta in the hot 
\yeather so usual in the East for European and Indian 



66 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

alike, and so the fight against drowsiness was not so awful 
as it must otherwise have been. But I must have dozed. 

Once I thought, or dreamt, that the buU came close up 
to the tree and I grew cold with fright. But this incident 
may have been a chimera of the brain. Another time I 
felt myself falUng off the tree. That effectually roused 
me and I was broad awake. I looked round. The shadows 
were lengthening. I noted that, and as I did so I heard a 
faint halloo. I listened, my faculties keeidy on the alert. 
Silence, a dead silence, save for the tiny twittering of a 
small tree-creeper tjn a neighbouring tree. Again — surely 
that was a human voice. With strained faculties I Ustened 
intently. There ! unmistakable that time, and on the 
instant I opened my mouth to shout back. But no sound 
came save a harsh cackle. My tongue was baked dry and 
hard as a parrot's. Again I tried, with no better result. 
Despair seized me. Suppose they went away and left me 
to my fate. I grew frantic and gazed wildly round. My 
eye fell on the sal leaves. I plucked a couple and crammed 
parts of them into my mouth and chewed feverishly. 
Again the hail — nearer this time. 1 attempted an answer 
and got out a sound and continued my chewing. I tasted 
nothing, but I felt a httle sahva beginning to form and the 
blessed hails came nearer. At last I gathered up my whole 
powers and yelled. A certain amount of voice had come 
back and my third shout was heard, for a volume of shrieks 
answered me. I plucked some more leaves and chewed 
hard, for it was imperative that the men shoiild be warned 
about the bison. To my wandering senses, after the pro- 
tracted vigU in the intense heat, he had assmned the form 
of a devil, armed with the cunning of a serpent, and I did 
not want my deliverers to suffer at his hands. The voices 
approached? and I did what I could to warn them. But I 
doubt whether they understood me at the time. And it was 
immaterial. They thoroughly tmderstood the wily nature 
and cunning of the animal they had to deal with. Bishu 
told me afterwards that the men guessed, from the moment 
they heard my voice, how it was with me ; for my companion 
of the morning had been apparently convinced that I was 
" treed " before he left. I did not clearly follow the men's 
subsequent movements, as in the reaction my senses must 
have wandered. I was brought back to reality by a great 
shout and I heard indistinctly voices sajdng, " He's dead. 



A HUNTER'S PARADISE 67 

sahib. The shaitan's dead." They found him l3^ng on his 
side at the place I had last heard him sit down. And he 
must have been dead an hour or two before the men arrived ! 
They took me from the tree and I drank two long whiskies 
and sodas, and ate a couple of sandwiches whilst they 
hurriedly made a palanquin of creepers and branches. 
Into this I got, for I could not have walked a yard, and 
immediately fell fast asleep, only waking up as we reached 
the camp. 




CHAPTER V 



IN THE BERARS — MY FIRST TIGER 



From Simla to Berar in the rains — Sport in Berar " played out " — ^A 
rough monsoon morning in the Berar j ungles — A tiger kiU — ^Arrange to 
go and sit up — ^The machan and kill — ^A depressing performance — 
The crows and the feast — ^Weather gets worse-^A weary wait — ^The 
tiger appears — Removes the dead bufialo into the jungle — ^My 
despair — ^The tiger has dinner — Portion of head only visible — ^An 
anxious wait — ^Determine to risk the shot — Silence after firing — ^The 
orderly's opinion — See stripes Ijfing dead — ^The tiger's requiem and 
the villagers' gratitude — Start for home — ^Lose the way — ^A weary 
tramp — ^My friend's greeting. 

ON a gloomy morning in the month of July a train 
was dragging its tortuous way, with much noise 
and little speed, across the rain-sodden plains of 
Central India. In a first-class compartment 
another man and myself lay at ease on the seats. My 
companion, just landed from the Old Country and South 
Africa, was on his way to rejoin his regiment^ stationed in 
the part of tjie country to which I was bound. I had just 
left the " Summer Capital " and the mighty Himalaya, 
and we growled in concert at the mugginess and unpleasant 
climate of the plains. The conversation turned on shooting, 
as it so often does between men in India, and I questioned 

my companion as to the sport to be obtained in the 

hills in the neighbourhood of his Station, to which I was 
bound. 

" The forest, you mean ? " was the reply. " That 

part of India is played out. Nothing to be shot there. 
The recent drought finished off what we had left. The 

68 



IN THE BERARS— MY FIRST TIGER 69 

th, you know, are a sporting lot, and we have some 

keen shikaris amongst us." 

My companion, L., told me a great deal about the successes 
they had had in times past, but assured me it was " no go " 
now, unless a black buck head would suit me, and that would 
in all probability be but a small one ! 

On arriving at our destination I wished L. good-bye, 
promising to look him up on my way back, and next 
evening found me ensconced in a bungalow in the heart of 
the forest. There I met the Forest Officer, and almost his 
first words finally settled my hopes of sport. In reply to a 
question he repeated almost the identical words made use 
of by L. 

" Shooting ? None ! Shot over too much, and the 
drought carried off what was left ! " This was a clencher. 

The next morning broke a good average gloomy monsoon 
day ; but the showers were light, and we started out early 
on a tour of inspection, returning to breakfast at about 
eleven o'clock. I had spent the last four days in hard 
travelling in tonga, train and saddle, and confess I was 
looking forward to a lounge and a book after the meal was 
over. 

During the latter part of our walk the clouds had come low 
down, and half a gale of wind was blowing them in blind- 
ing showers across the hills as we arrived at the bungalow. 
This increased during breakfast, and when an orderly came 
to the door and reported that a man had come in with the 
information that a tiger had killed his buffalo early that 
morning at a spot about six miles away, the news was not 
received with very great enthusiasm. I suggested that" he 
be told to wait tiU breakfast had put more heart into us, 
and that meanwhile men might be sent off to build a 
machan over the kill. 

The weather was worse after breakfast, but when the 
villager had told his tale, and added that a machan had 
already been prepared, I felt that the opportunity was 
too good a one to miss. One had been on a wild-goose chase 
of this description before, but there was always the chance 
of the luck turning. From the outset my companion had 
made no pretence of either wanting or intending to go. 
4s he remarked, the weather was vile, not fit for a dog to 
be out in, even whilst on the move ; much less so for a man 
sitting in a machan in a wet jungle. 



70 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

However, I collected together the remnants of my 
rapidly diminishing courage, and changing into, jungle kit, 
hurriedly started so as to get wet through at once. This 
done, it was not worth while going back, and forward was 
the word. I rode two miles and tramped the remaining 
distance up over the wet molehills — for so they appeared 
to me after the giant Himalaya — until I reached the kill, 
and a more depressing show I have rarely assisted at. 

The tiger had killed in the open on the top of a grassy 
plateau, which was quite treeless. The ground sloped 
suddenly and steeply on the western edge of this plateau, 
the hill-side being covered with scrub jungle ; through this 
scrub the tiger had dragged the carcase of the dead buffalo 
— out of which only a few pounds of flesh of the hiiid- 

quarter and the tail 
had disappeared — a 
short distance, and a 
narrow track had 
been cut by the men 
to expose the body. 
In a small space at 
the end of the trail I 
could see the spot 
where the carcase lay, the jungle having been cut so as to 
leave a small clearing just round it. Up above in a tree full 
of wet creepers, in which 
two crows sat contemplat- 
ing the kill, some fifteen 
feet from the ground I saw 
my quarters for the next 
three hours or so. Over- 
head hung the lowering 
clouds, whilst a strong 
wind blew the driving 
rain across my face. The 
prospect was not enliven- 
ing. 

Having inspected the 
defunct buffalo from a 
distance, and noticed a 
couple of vultures perched in a tree close by, I chmbed 
up into the machan, covered myself up in my mackintosh, 
and sent the men, all but the orderly, away. Hardly 





IN tHE BERARS-MY FIRST TIGER 



n 



had they disappeared when a blinding shower came on, 
and for the time being jungle and buffalo were hidden 
from me. The squaU was accompanied by a gusty wind, 
which necessitated frantic clutches at the nearest branch 
to prevent myself being blown down the khud below. 

The time crawled on with leaden wings. The weather 
appeared to get worse and I grew weary of abusing myself 
for my folly at having come out on such an afternoon. The 
buffalo carcase, on which my eyes had been fixed so 
intently and for so long, began to assume fantastic shapes 
to my dazed vision and to Uft the legs I had thought so stiff 
and stark. 

Suddenly, from absolute lethargy and inertness, my body 
assumed a tense rigidity, the tension of the muscles being 
almost painful, so tightly were they 
braced. Without a sound, without the 
movement of a branch or crackling of 
a twig, a fine tiger stepped out into 
the small clearing round the buffalo 
with all the Ughtness and grace of a 
kitten, carrying its head held high in 
regal fashion. One lordly glance up the 
track by which the carcase had been 
dragged down was all he vouchsafed, 
and then stepping half round the buffalo 
he picked it up in his powerful jaws as 
easily as a kitten would pick up a ball, 
of yarn, carried it just out of the clear^g into the jungle 
alongside, and squatting down — I could guess this — began 
to crunch up the carcase. To describe my own feelings 
were impossible. From the seventh heaven of hope and 
delightful anticipation of bagging my first tiger I was 
reduced in a moment to the black depths of despair. 

Do you understand what had happened ? The space cut 
round the dead buffalo was only just sufficient to enable 
me to see it clearly, and I had understood that the carcase 
had been tied down to stakes in the ground. It had not 
been so pegged, and the tiger by moving it out of the 
clearing had taken it and himself out of my range of vision. 
I turned round to the man with me, and in frantic panto- 
mime asked him what was to be done. He was shaking like 
a leaf with excitement or something else. Nothing was to 
be got out of him ? I turned my eyes back to the clearing. 




72 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

Luckily the wind was still blowing, although not in the 
terrible gusts experienced an hour or so before, and the 
machan had steadied down and was no longer hke the 
deck of a ship in a gale. The noise of the rustling branches 
was still sufficient, however, to drown any sounds I made 
in getting free of my mackintosh and standing up in the 
machan. By moving to the extreme right-hand edge, 
clinging on by a small branch and leaning 'well over, I 
perceived, after a time, to my infinite delight, the tiger's 
left ear showing snowy white against the surrounding 
foliage, and soon after for a short moment the left half of 
the crown of his head as he moved it in his crunching 
operations. He was apparently squatting on the ground 
with the hind-quarters of the buffalo between his fore-paws, 
feeding just as a cat would. This I conjectured, but 
although I watched for nearly half an hour, not an inch 
did the beast budge from its recumbent position. It 
became evident that I should have to fire at what I could 
see, or take a chance shot at where I thought the tiger's 
body was. I soon determined that if I had to fire at him 
in his present position I would take the head shot and risk 
it. The minutes went by, and I became aware that the 
light was failing ; in addition to this serious fact I could 
stand the irksomeness of my present position no longer. 
I have said that to see the tiger at all I had to cling to a 
small branch and lean right out of the machan, standing 
at its extreme right edge. There was no parapet of any 
kind, and the drop below was about thirty-five feet, as the 
ground sloped steeply, so that the position was not an 
enviable one. Even the slight support accorded me by the 
branch was unavailable when I wanted to fire, as I should 
require both hands were I to succeed in hitting the mark 
presented. The only way to negotiate the difficulty was to 
make the orderly hold me round the waist, as I could not 
hold on to the branch, and my pantomime signals were 
most energetic as to the consequences to himself should he 
let go and send me below. If he held tight, all would be 
well. If he let go, well I did not care to think about the 
consequences. I didn't like it, not a bit, as it was depend- 
ing on a native more, much more than I had ever* done 
before. But what could I do ? There was my first tiger 
below me, and ordinary common-sense and prudence were 
relegated to the background. With one final glare at my 



IN THE BERARS— MY FIRST TIGER 73 

companion, resulting in a frantic and almost too energetic 
tightening of the clasp round my legs, I leant out of the 
machan and, waiting till a movement showed me the left 
ear and almost half the portion of the head nearest to it, 
I took as long a breath as my extremely irksome position 
permitted, wondered where I should be in a second or two, 
and fired. The shot was followed by a clutch that pulled 
me backwards into the middle of the machan, and I found 
myself reposing on the head and shoulders of my com- 
panion, but luckily still semi-erect and with my rifle, of 
which the left barrel was still ready for further operations, 
in safety. I gathered that the clutch was only the result 
of the great tension to which the man's nerves were strung. 
The report loosened them, and luckily for me in a backward 
direction. Had it been forward I should have had a poor 
time of it, the conditions below being an unknown quantity. 
I confess I was jumpy myself, but I had listened as care- 
fully as the circumstances would permit after the shot, and 
save for one sound, as of something falling in the grass, I 
had heard nothing. No growl ! No crash ! Had I killed 
the beast outright ? It seemed almost impossible that such 
a piece of luck should be mine after the half-hour or more 
of anxiety I had gone through. Or, dreadful thought, was 
it a clean miss ? I turned to the orderly and enquired 
what he thought. His answer sent my hopes to zero. He 
thought he had heard the beast spring away. As I was 
sitting on his head at the moment, and he himself was in 
as big a fright as was possible, I might have spared myself 
the pang which this reply gave me. I was too excited, 
however, to think rationally just then. I told him to get 
half down the tree and see if he could see anything. He 
did so, and presently came back and reported that he 
thought he saw the jungle waving about near the buffalo. 
As a wind was blowing and every tree was dripping, the 
jungle most certainly was on the move ; but from other 
causes than the death-throes of a wounded tiger. Never- 
theless, his words were golden to me at the time. I then 
bethought me of standing up in the machan and endeavour- 
ing to get a little higher than the position I had fired from. 
It was just possible to raise myself a Uttle and yet see 
through the branches the place which had been occupied 
by the tiger's head, and there — surely a sight for the gods ! 
— was a little patch of pure white with two or three black 



^4 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

streaks across it. 'Twas all I could see, but I knew it was 
my first tiger lying on its back ! I got down, called up the 
man who had again gone part of the way down the tree, 
and sent him up to see what I had seen, which he quickly 
corroborated. The question now to be faced was, what 
was to be done ? It was no good firing at what I could not 
see, and I had no intention of spoiling the skin by tr5dng 
aimless shots at what I was convinced was a dead tiger. I 
had fired at the head and I felt that the buUet, by some 
marvellous luck, had gone truly home. After some con- 
sideration we called out to the men who were some way off 
in the open above, and, as soon as they were near enough, 
explained the position to them. They 
sent down a few bushel-loads of stones, 
sticks, and mud, etc., to wake up the brute 
should he be only stunned or wounded, 
and I then got down and, accompanied 
by the Rajput Forest Ranger, armed with 
a prehistoric implement he called a rifle, 
we marched up to the tiger and found 
=''JK^ him lying on his back, his legs in the air, 
with a bullet-hole just beneath his right 
ear. Death had been instantaneous ! We 
stood round, and the requiem of the dead 
:£»,'■ ^ -^, monarch was shouted by a babel of voices, 
" all explaining how much they had helped 
in the deed of death, the number of buffaloes and cows the 
marauder had eaten, with other details of his life history, 
the refrain, which came in at intervals when want of breath 
stopped the chief performers, consisting of a chorus of 
grunts and wah ! wah ! wah ! wahs ! ! 

It was now nearly dark, and leaving instructions that 
the beast was to be brought straight in, I turned away, 
and for the first time for nearly an hour became aware of 
the fact that I was wet, cold, hungry, stiff and tired. The 
rain was coming down as if it meant to continue, and I had 
six weary miles to get over. 

We got up out of that jungle and started best pace for 
home. Before a mile had been covered it was pitch dark, 
and the dense mist came down on the hills like a thick 
white pall, fit shroud for the dead lord of the jungle. Two 
miles or more were got over in safety, and I was beginning 
to think that in a short time we should drop down on to 





Sty J. P. Heii'ett, pholo 

BRINGING KACK A DKAO TIGER TO CAMP. THE BOHV IS I'l.ACEU IN 
A STRONG ROPE NET, TO PREVENT IT SLIPPING, AM) THEN TIKI) TO 
THE PAD ON AN ELEPHANT. THE ELEPHANT DISLIKES A LOAD OF 
THIS KIND, CONSEQUENTLY SOME CAKE HAS TO 1!E EXERCISED IX 
" PAI)I)IN(;" THE TIGER AND MAKING SURE THAT THE BODY WILL 
NOT SLIP, FOR THE LATl'ER WOULD PROBABLY RESULT IX THE 
ELEPHANT STAMPEDING 



IN THE BERARS— MY FIRST TIGER 75 

the cart-road where all would be plain sailing, when the 
orderly, who was leading at a good round pace, faltered in 
his stride, went on, hesitated again, took a few more steps 
forward, and then came to a dead stop and volunteered the 
information that we were on the wrong road. My castles 
began to fall, but I was in too good a frame of mind to allow 
them to crumple quite to pieces, and I tramped for twenty 
weary minutes behind the man, while he tried various 
directions in search of the road. I only kept my eyes or 
rather attention fixed on the direction we had come from, 
but I soon gave that up as hopeless, as it was terribly dark 
and the thick mist made it impossible to see the ground 
even at one's feet at all plainly. The rain was steadily 
falling and the wind blew pitilessly through my bones, for 
we were apparently on the summit of an open down with 
small scrub jungle here and there in patches ; at least I 
gathered this to be the position of affairs by running into 
the said patches at intervals. I began to have visions of a 

night passed on the hills in a thin khaki shooting suit 

with no food or drink (there was plenty of the latter it is true, 
but my vitiated taste required, I fear, something stronger) 
— and even my tiger began to recede slightly from its 
prominent position in my thoughts as my imagination 
pictured only too vividly the realities of the situation. 

At length the man seemed completely at fault, and I 
suggested that we should go back to the place where we 
had first lost the way, if we could find it, on which point I 
had grave doubts, and make a cast round there. This we 
proceeded to do. On the way we came upon a dark-looking 
line running at right angles to the direction in which we 
were moving, and my companion, after kneehng down and 
examining it, pronounced it to be our path. Heaven only 
knows how he knew, but he turned sharp to the right and 
trotted on. I followed, fearing every moment to see him 
check again. He held steadily on, however, and proved 
correct, for we came to a shghtly broader track full of 
sharp-cornered trap-rock stones which, from its vile nature, 
I had marked down on the way up in the afternoon. Bad 
indeed was the walk down that path, which wound in zigzag 
fashion down the hill to the cart-road below, and throwing 
dignity to the winds I, in many places, took to the methods 
of our remote ancestors and went on all fours. The weary 
two -and-a-half -mile tramp along the cart-road I do not 



76 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

remember much about. The lights of the bungalow brought 
me back to the world, and tired, wet and muddy, I stamped 
in, subsided into a long chair, and laughed at R.'s incredulous 
" Nonsense, what ? Well, I'm ... ! What ? " as I assured 
him I had bagged (within twenty-four hours of my arrival 
in the " no shikar " country) the tiger, my first tiger. 

I sent the skin to L. next day with a note worded much 
as follows : " Dear L.— Herewith a tiger skin. Will you 
look after it for me till I turn up. Shot the brute yesterday. 

Understood you to say there was no shooting in the 

hills, and that it was a poor country. I find it top hole." 

His reply was perhaps more emphatic than polite, 
although extremely pithy. It consisted of — 

" Dear S.— Well, I'm d d ! " 



r ^.^ '^.^. -Xi ^ '^■' 







CHAPTER VI 

SHOOTING TRIPS IN THE CENTRAL PROVINCES — A FINE SHIKAR 

COUNTRY 

Visit the Central Provinces — Description of country — ^The Satpuras and 
area to south — ^The Nerbudda River — The Central Province jungles 
— ^A magnificent sporting area — ^Methods of travelling — Tigers before 
breakfast — Elephants, bison and buffalo numerous — Sambhar and 
spotted deer with record heads — An old-time sportsman's paradise — 
The coming of the railways — ^The present-day sporting possibilities — 
The jungles in the monsoon — Seonee — Wonderful sight of the teak 
forest in full bloom — Historical ruins in the jungle — ^A fine tank — ^An 
old ruined fort — ^Mahommed Khan, the Chieftain — Legend of the 
fort — I sit musing on the battlements — ^A leopard appears — ^The 
leopard charges — -The frightened shikari — Death of the leopard — A 
curious beUef — ^A mainah appears — ^The evil spirit. 

IT was subsequent to the rains during which I bagged 
my first tiger that I paid one or two trips to the 
Central Provinces and had a very pleasant time in 
these glorious jungles. I was acquainted with the 
parts adjacent to Chota Nagpur, but the great jungles to 
the north were new to me. 

Those who have read and loved their Seonee or Camp 
Life in the Satpuras and Forsyth's Highlands of Central 
India will understand the keen anticipation with which a 
lover of the jungle visits this famed region. It is true that 
parts of it are very similar in character, and of course in 
fauna, to the Chota Nagpur areas, but sport, and all per- 
taining to it, was far better understood in the Provinces 
than it was in the Chota Nagpur of my day ; and this is 
the only period I can speak of. Some brief description of 
this glorious shooting country wiU be of interest. The 
northern or hill districts which culminate in the Satpuras 
greatly resemble the southern hiU districts of Central India 
to the north, culminating in the Vindhyas, the two areas 
being separated by the great basin of the far-famed Ner- 

77 



78 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

budda River, which has a perfectly straight east and west 
course to its mouth in the Gulf of Cambay. This northern 
part of the Central Provinces consists of a wild, picturesque, 
chaotic mass of forest-covered hills drained by crystal 
brawUng streams, and inhabited by jungle tribes such as 
the Bhils and Gonds. Further south the country opens 
out into more extensive flats and tablelands with a red 
gravel soil and outcrops of laterite. The forest growth is 
often more open and park-Uke in character, with areas of 
dense grass, bamboo clumps and scattered trees. Still 
further south the forest becomes poorer in character, with 
wide areas of stunted and scorched vegetation stretching 
across Eastern India from the Godaveri — to be mentioned 
in a later chapter — to the Eastern Ghats. The Mahanadi 
River already mentioned drains the eastern half of the 
Provinces. The Nerbudda River and the valley of the Son 
— ^the latter belonging to the Gangetic system — divide the 
north of India from the south. The Nerbudda is one of the 
most sacred rivers in India, and it is said is to displace the 
Ganges itself in the rehgious estimation of the Hindus. 
The Nerbudda is surrounded by more romance and mystic 
interest than any other river in India, and its extraordinary 
beauty is freely admitted by all. Tourists know the Marble 
Rocks near Jubbalpur. But its course from its source at 
Amarkantak in the Rewah State down to where it dashes 
in rapids and whirlpools through the Vindhya and Satpura 
Hills is ever3rwhere beautiful. 

What magnificent game jungles existed in the old days 
and up to quite recently in the Central Provinces ! Great 
stretches of jungle-clad hiUs and valleys spread for mile 
upon mile across the countryside. The villages were small 
and scanty in number throughout much of the tract. 
Great towns" were practically absent, and railways few. 
The tonga was still the conveyance for travelling long 
distances in the Province ; or in default the palanquin, 
bullock cart, or saddle pony. The animals and, in fact, 
game of all kinds had this enormous area to themselves, 
and the shikari, in the absence of the modern facihties for 
getting about, and armed with the old muzzle-loader or 
black powder rifle which followed it, could enjoy his fill of 
sport whilst making little impression on the numbers of 
the animal life which disported itself practically unchecked. 
A tiger or more than one was no uncommon bag made close 



SHOOTING TRIPS IN CENTRAL PROVINCES 79 

to the small Station between dawn and the eleven or twelve 
o'clock breakfast ; or one might arrive by night and be 
found lying up in your back garden in the morning ! 
Instances are on record of such occurrences, and most 
amusing they usually were in their denouement. 

Elephants roamed these jungles ; gaur or bison were 
plentiful, as also buffalo. Sambhar, with lordly heads of 
well over 40 inches — 43, 44, 45's — were to be had (a record 
single dropped horn of 48 inches was picked up in Khandeish) 
for the looking for. Spotted deer heads vied with those of 
Northern India and Nepal in size, whilst the smaller animals, 
not to mention game birds, swarmed. 

Palmy days were those in the Central Provinces when 
you might easily meet a tiger or get khubbar of one during 
the ordinary morning's routine work in the jungle, or run 
upon the fresh tracks of bison, buffalo or sambhar. And 
the jungles were not overshot, not at the period of which I 
am writing. The powerful cordite rifle had not come into 
existence, and, more important, railways did not exist. 
The mail ran across from Allahabad to Bombay, passing 
through part of these jungles, but as a main line only ; and 
the Bengal-Nagpur Railway ended at Nagpur. None of 
the new branch lines had been constructed, and conse- 
quently the jungles were difficult to get at and shoot. Their 
delights were therefore practically confined to the local 
district officials and an occasional friend or stray traveller ; 
and these latter rarities were very occasional and extremely 
stray ! And, mind you, the district official of that day 
needed those gorgeous jungles sorely, for he had no other 
relaxation during his long years of exile. He did not get 
home every three years or less as now. He was not so 
constantly transferred about the country, and he could not 
get away on short leave to the hiUs in the hot weather and 
rains, or down to Calcutta for the delights of Christmas 
week. All these amenities to Anglo-Indian Hfe now exist. 
The railways have given them to us. But their enjoyment 
has not been an unmixed blessing ; for the facilities which 
have rendered them possible have also resulted in an influx 
of keen sportsmen into every fine jungle in the Provinces 
with a consequent rapid and alarming decrease in the game. 
I would not be understood to say that these jungles do not 
afford magnificent sport at the present day. They do. 
But protection has come in. Very rightly so. The Game 



8o DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

Sanctuary has come in. Equally rightly so. The old un- 
trammelled freedom has gone. Had it not done so the game 
would have disappeared for good. To this point we shall 
return at a later stage of these notes. 

It was early morning in a fine jungle not a hundred miles 
from Seonee, the time of the year August, and the monsoon 
had been blowing and the rain falling more or less con- 
tinuously and heavily for several weeks. The morning in 
question, however, broke clear and bright and appearances 
pointed to a welcome break in the long-continued spell of 
cloud and gloom. 

I had left the small bungalow in which I was putting up 
before dawn as I wished to get up to the top of a neighbour- 
ing hill so as to obtain a good view over the neighbouring 
forest if the fates were propitious and the clouds and mist 
permitted, and enjoy the wonderful sight of the teak trees 
in full bloom. It is a thing to have seen, and a picture to 
meditate over, the great teak forests when in their monsoon 
panoply of creamy white inflorescence. 

On reaching the top of the ghat on this clear morning 
the sight was stupendous. Mist and cloud lay in the deep 
valleys, it is true, but the upper portions of the hills were 
covered with a creamy white canopy under the rising sun. 
Leaning on my rifle I stood and gazed on the scene with 
rapture and forgot all about the quest upon which I was 
bent. The great teak forests in flower ! I had often heard 
that they were a marvellous picture at that season. But 
my anticipations were more than fuUy reahzed by the 
beauty of the panorama they presented. How long I re- 
mained there I was unaware at the time, but at length my 
attention was caught by a loud, though somewhat nervous 
cough, from the local shikari, who had been kindly sent up 
to me by the Forest Officer of the District. My attention 
secured he intimated by a glance at the sun tiiat it was 
time to be moving if we were to achieve one of the aims of 
the expedition. I had been told that in the neighbourhood 
there existed the ruins of an old fort, now engulfed in the 
great jungle. This part of India is full of these structures, 
the strongholds of bold adventurers of old times. Such 
places had always roused my curiosity, historical ruins 
possessing a fascination aU their own. And here in the 
great Indian jungle such remains possessed the added 
interest that their Wstory was often lost in a mist of legendary 



SHOOTING TRIPS IN CENTRAL PROVINCES 8i 

tradition and romance handed down in the locality through 
generations of fakirs and wild jungle-men. 

As I went down through the forest on my quest we passed 
a tank full and brimming with water. This place was 
famous in these parts in the hot weather. When the small 
streams and water holes had dried up under the rays of 
the fierce sun, the entire community of the jungle folk from 
the surrounding forests resorted to the old tank to drink 
from its much-diminished water level. Hundreds of head 
of game, including tiger, leopard, bison, sambhar, chital, and 
others, visit this spot to quench their thirst at this season, and 
although I never had the luck to be in this locality at that 
period I saw others of a similar nature. The hot weather 
season is the one par excellence during which it is possible 
to form an idea of the abundance of a certain species of 
animal in a particular locahty owing to the absolute neces- 
sity of the animals visiting the, at that season, compara- 
tively few drinking places in the forest. A very different 
aspect the tank now presented with its edges lapping the 
green grass and its surface, where not covered by a beauti- 
ful water-hly, reflecting the sea of green by which it was 
entirely surrounded. 

It proved a hoistrek to the old fort, or what remained of 
it. We came upon it quite suddenly, lost in a tangled mass 
of thick jungle which chmbed densely up the lower flanks 
of a steep hill. The fort appeared to be on a small hillock 
or low spur jutting frcrm the hiU, and was probably an ideal 
stronghold for defence against old-time warfare. A small 
gateway wasr flanked by deep red walls with a broken 
tower or two at the angles and portions of loopholed 
battlements still standing. Inside a court, now overgrown 
with scrub amidst debris of masonry fallen from the 
building, a very much ruined stairway chmbed up the side 
of an inner wall. This was a difficult structure to negotiate 
as several stairs had fallen away. Beneath it and on either 
side of the main gate were some small cells either cut or 
built into the thick walls, their entrances more or less 
covered with creepers and growths. As I passed these I 
remember thinking that these cells would make excellent 
lairs for animals, but at the time I was too intent on getting 
up the stairway so as to see as much of the upper parts of 
the ruins as was practicable, to throw more than a cursory 
glance at them. 



82 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

What extraordinary incidents this old place must have 
witnessed tenanted by its horde of dark-skinned daring and 
treacherous occupants. What forays they must have set 
out on from the very gate I now looked upon clad in their 
shirts of chain mail, steel morions inlaid with gold or silver, 
great steel gauntlets and armed with their quaintly shaped 
tulwars and other weapons and beautifully made bucklers. 

The business and method of hfe were very similar to our 
own marauding days, but the setting so extraordinarily 
different. 

The chieftain who was reported to have built the present 
fort, one Mahommed Khan, had a history which must have 
been quite common at the period. A junior Commander 
at one of the Courts of a Feudatory State on the Guzerat 
side, he was noted both for his great personal beauty, 
enormous strength, and a wonderful command of his 
weapons. Becoming enamoured of the only daughter of 
the Ruler who disapproved of his suit, he assembled his 
own command around him, by whom it is almost needless 
to say he was worshipped, and in most daring, fashion 
carried the lady off. Tradition relates that she was more 
than half willing. After days and weeks of hard riding to 
escape an energetic pursuit the party halted one night, 
having got hopelessly lost, on the banks of the Mttle river 
flowing round the foot of the small spur on which the ruins 
now stand. Next morning Mahommed Khan was so struck 
with the natural features of the position from a defensive 
point of view that he decided to remain there and build a 
fort. He appears to have erected a very powerful strong- 
hold, upon whose ruins I now gazed ; to have rapidly 
subdued the surrounding country and to have become a 
powerful robber chieftain. History or legend also credits 
his fair lady with presenting him with a fine race of sturdy 
offspring who in due course extended the parental domain. 

What was she like I wondered, that shp of a girl who 
fired this man to risk far worse than death for her sake, 
had he been overtaken by the enraged Ruler. And was 
she content ! She had a man at any rate for her husband, 
and that is what the sex mostly hkes. Where were her 
quarters in this old ruin I wondered — small trace of* them 
were now to be seen. 

As I sat musing and smoking on top of one of the only 
entire pieces of battlement my attendant, who had climbed 



SHOOTING. TRIPS IN CENTRAL PROVINCES 83 

up with me, probably because he was scared to death at 
the thought of the ghosts and devils said always to haunt 
such places, suddenly nudged me on the shoulder. I looked 
round and then down in the direction of his gaze. I have 
said that on either side of the gateway and below the stair- 
way there were a few small cells, probably used as sleeping- 
places for the men-at-arms or some such similar purpose. 
The entrances were mostly overgrown with climbing plants 
and low undergrowth. From one of these cells a large 
leopard had suddenly emerged and now lay crouching half 
in the full sunlight, half in the shadow of a big boulder in 
the inner court below us. Her beautiful coat with its ringed 
spots glowed richly in the bright rays of the sun, whilst the 
portions in shadow looked black as night. I could just see 
the tip of her tail moving slowly from side to side as she 
lay snarUng up at us. 

I was so lost in conjuring up memories of the dim past 
of this place that for the moment I took it as perfectly 




II ' 



■^^w^^'^^i^y^p^jj^.-.-j^'^' c^&s 



natural that a leopard should be down there ; for most 
Indian Princes and Chieftains keep chained or loose pets 
of this nature and have always done so. 

Then reahzation came and I moved out my hand feeling 
cautiously for the rifle which I had laid carefully on the 
unbroken piece of the battlement not far off. I did not 
remove my eyes from the leopard, and it was some time 
before I could feel the rifle — a -500 express. Lifting it 
shghtly so as to avoid scratching it as far as I was able I 
drew it towards me. I had nearly got the weapon on to my 
knee when the leopard shifted its position so as to face the 
gateway. I could not swear to any distinct movement on 
her part. I only know that whereas she had been at an 
angle to it she was now facing it, and her movements to 
reach this position must have been almost imperceptible. 

As I hurriedly raised the rifle she leapt for the gateway 
and went clean through it in the bound. I puUed the trigger 



84 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

on the instant and a snarl of rage came back to us. A 
second after, or so it seemed, the beast was back again in 
the courtyard and at the foot of the stairway. The next 
she was jumping up it. 

" Sahib, sahib, shoot, the shaitan is on us. It is the devil 
of this place and is angered at our coming," came in a 
quavering voice from the shikari. I hardly took in the 
words at the time, but remember to have seen him, out of 
the tail of my eye, fingering the little axe which was his 
only weapon. I had only the one rifle with me as it was 
the close season for most animals. 

The whole occurrence had taken place in a flash, and I 
had little more than time to lean over to make sure of not 
missing the leopard with my last barrel, for I had had no 
time to reload. I wondered vaguely why she took so long 
to get up the stairway, for a leopard should have got up 
the place in a couple of bounds. And yet luckily she didn't 
do that. When she was about two-thirds up I fired and hit 
her in the back, dropping her in her tracks. She crouched 
there for half a minute I should think holding on by main 
force with her front claws. Then gradually her hold relaxed 
and she slid down the stairs, bumping over the big gap, 
and fell into the courtyard below, where she lay snarhng 
at us. Her back appeared to be broken, for though I had 
hurriedly reloaded fully anticipating a second charge she 
did not move, and another shot finished her. She lay quite 
still, and after watching her for some time I turned to the 
shikari and told him to go down and I would foUow. But 
to my amazement he would not budge. In reply to my 
surprised queries he said that the devil of the place was in 
that leopard, that he did not believe it was dead, that if it 
was its spirit would pass into the man or animal who first 
went near it,'and that he was frightened. And he looked it 
as he sat there grey in the face and shivering, with his eyes 
protruding and fixed in a fascinated stare on the stiU body 
of the leopard. As a matter of fact the man had an ordinary 
bout of jungle ague on him, whether brought on by the 
episode or due to come out at that moment in the orinary 
course of things I know not. He moved sufficiently to enable 
me to get off the battlement on to the head of the stairway 
and I went down this gingerly, rifle in hand. As I was 
negotiating the break I noticed a mainah (the Indian star- 
ling) alight in the entrance gateway. Bold as brass, as this 



SHOOTING TRIPS IN CENTRAL PROVINCES 85 

bird ever is, it flew in, to have a look round I suppose, got 
close to the dead leopard before it saw it, gave a startled 
squawk and flew up in great agitation over the battlement 
and was gone. I wondered whether the evil spirit of the 
place, set free from the leopard, according to the shikari, 
would have to sink so low as to occupy the body of a 
mainah. The shikari vouchsafed no reply when I put this 
question to him subsequently. 

The leopard was quite dead and a fine big beast. On 
examination I found that my first shot had struck the 
animal in one of the hind feet, and this must have been the 
reason for her somewhat slow progression up the stairway, 
a most fortunate shot for us. For a close acquaintance 
with a wounded leopard when one is sitting on a bit of 
battlemented ruin, practically unable to move, would have 
been far from humorous. We had come out of it well, 
however, all but the shikari, and I considered myself richly 
rewarded for the archaeological inquisitiveness which had 
led me to make the expedition. 

That day was a red-letter one in its way, for in the after- 
noon we had rather a ludicrous tiger episode, but that is 
another story. 



CHAPTER VII 

MORE EXPERIENCES IN THE CENTRAL PROVINCES 

The hot weather in the Central Provinces — ^The new shooting rules — 
The fire Une — Find a pangolin or scaly ant-eater — Habits of — ^The 
big bee — ^Precautions when shooting from elephants — Monkejrs and 
the tiger — ^Try for the tiger — ^A frightened coolie — ^Stalkr the stags — 
A fine head — Forest fires — Barking deer and young — Beating out 
bear — ^A bear appears — ^The youngsters follow — ^The villager's 
discomfiture — A chummery menagerie — ^Wound a second bear — 
Track him up — Bag the silent bear — A glorious shikar country. 

THE broad fire line or trace separating two adjacent 
blocks of the great green sil forest was heavily 
wet with dew as we moved silently along it in 
Indian file one early morning towards the latter 
end of April. It was the hot weather in the Central 
Provinces ; all who have shot in or visited these jungles at 
that season know what this means as regards heat. The 
days were scorching and the hot wind blowing over the 
grassy glades and savannahs and into and through the 
outer parts of the forest took away the greater part of the 
amenity and coolness the forest would otherwise possess. 
It may be admitted that it is cooler in the forest than 
outside in the open country. One can spend the whole 
day in the forest whilst the sun is at its hottest in the hot 
weather season without the heat becoming absolutely 
overpowering ; though most of us would be sorry to have 
to do the same in the open country in April or May. Of 
course one grumbles and grumbles fiercely about the heat 
when out in it at all hours on duty bent. If it be a shikar 
trip in question, however, the heat is not noticed or bothered 
about to anything hke the same extent. And very often 
in both cases it is not so much the heat as the flies which 
drive one to distraction. 

On this particular morning I left camp just as the 
pearly Ught of dawn was giving place to the crimson 

86 



EXPERIENCES IN CENTRAL PROVINCES 87 

and gold which heralds the uprising of the sun in the East. 
We silently crossed the open gras§y maidan or plain 
which stretched between the sdl forest and the camp, 
disturbing a considerable herd of chital as we did so. The 
grass area was near the main forest road, which ran through 
these parts, and I did not look to find a good head amongst 
the lot in question. On leaving the maidan we got on to 
the fire fine and pursued our way along it, making for 
a grassy savannah about a couple of miles distant. The 
programme was to try and secure a good head of barasingha 
and a chital as well if possible, and then visit some caves 
in a rocky hiU and rout out a party of bears which were 
known to inhabit them. 

Under the shooting rules which had but recently come 
into force in these jungles a sportsman was only allowed to 
shoot two head of barasingha, sambhar, and chital during 
a season. And this number was subject to a maximum 
for each forest division. Once this maximum had been shot 
the particular species became automatically closed to 
shooting for the year, the sportsmen in the forests and 
those arriving subsequently being notified accordingly. 

I was consequently anxious on this occasion to come 
across a good head if possible. And it was not quite so 
easy a problem to solve as it had been a decade ago ; 
although there were still plenty of good heads to be had. 

We had gone but a short way along the fire hne when 
I heard a low hiss behind me. Turning round I saw the 
shikari stooping over a dirty greyish hump on the line. 
I went back, but, after a short inspection of the ball-like 
hillock, was no wiser. The shikari signified that we should 
move a little backwards and said, " Wait, sahib." We 
waited. 

The object 1 now saw had what looked like scales on its 
surface and had a rough appearance of a roUed up mahseer. 
After a minute or two the hillock began to move, after the 
manner in which a hedgehog does at home; when it com- 
mences to unroll, and I then realized what it must be. 
Slowly it unfurled itself and turned into a longish slim 
creature about two feet in length with a tail of a foot and 
a half, and with an armature on its back like the scales of a 
big scaled fish. It was a pangoHn or scaly ant-eater {Manis 
pentadactyla). I had seen pictures of this curious beast in 
books, but never a live one before. The natives caU it, 



88 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

very appropriately, the " jungle carp " as its scales resemble 
those of one of their big tank fish. The animal Uves in a 
kind of burrow and feeds on termites or white ants, of 
which there was no dearth in these parts, and also on one, 
at least, of the big black ants. The pangohn is. found 
throughout the hilly districts of India. I think the next 
I saw was found in the lower part of the hills between 
Rajpur and Mussoorie up in the north-west, a native securing 
it and bringing it into a friend in Dehra. 

The one we were now watching remained quite still 
for some few minutes after uncurling, and then went off 
slowly in a most ungainly fashion with the back arched 
and walking on the side of its feet, if it may be so expressed. 
I let it go, quite satisfied with having had the opportunity 
of seeing an animal new to me. 

For another half-mile we continued along the hne and 
then branched off down a nullah in which some fine cotton 
trees {Bomhax maldbaricum) of great size were growing. 
Hanging to the great branches in the lofty crown were a 
number of the semi-elliptical combs of the big bee {Apis 
dorsata). These combs measure several feet in length by a 
foot or two in depth at their greatest width, and contain a 
considerable quantity of wax and a strong, rank honey 
much sought after by the natives for sale in the local 
bazaars. The bees are vicious little pests in the hot weather 
and care has to be taken not to rouse them to fury by 
smoking or hghting a fire in their neighbourhood. To be 
attacked by a swarm is no laughing matter, for their stings 
are virulent at this season as many of us have discovered. 
In the north of India, when shooting from elephants, 
shikaris always take out blankets with them. In the event 
of a swarm of these bees being disturbed and attacking 
the occupants of howdah or pad, the latter rapidly en- 
velop themselves in the blankets to escape the venomous 
stings, whilst the mahout urges the elephant forward at its 
best pace from the dangerous neighbourhood. It is not a 
pleasant interlude in the day's sport as those who have 
sat swathed in a blanket with the temperature at no 
degrees in the shade will be prepared to vouch. 

Lower down the nullah I noted a number of the big grey 
lungoor monkey (Presbytis entellus) swinging about excitedly 
in some trees and jabbering vociferously. The shikari 
who was leading, halted and watched them attentively 




RETURNING AFTKR THE BATH. THERE ARE EKW IHINGS AN ELEPHANT 

ENJOYS MORE THAN LVIXt; ON HIS SIDE IN THE RIVhK AND BEING SCRUBBED 

BY HIS ATTENDANT 




Sir y.lP. f/e7Lrff: //ipff 

the" LINE IN STRAGGLING OPEN ORDER PROCEEDING TO THE NEXT TIGER BEAT 



EXPERIENCES IN CENTRAL PROVINCES 89 

for a minute or more. " There may be a tiger down there, 
sahib," he said at length. " We had better dimb out and 
try and get into the nullah some way ahead." Senditig 
one of the two men with us up into a tree with orders to 
gently hammer on the trunk with his stick should the tiger 
come up the nuUah, so as to turn him back again, we 
proceeded to cUmb up the steep side and then cautiously 




%.v- 




continued along the top out of sight of the monkeys until 
a point had been reached about half a mile further on, and 
then silently and cautiously climbed down into the rocky 
stream-bed once more. Here we took up positions com- 
manding the stretch of nullah above us and waited. I had 
been helped into the fork of a low tree, and settling in my 
uncomfortable perch I waited on events. Half an hour 
went by and then we suddenly saw the native we had left 



go DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

behind appear on the hill above us. He climbed down 
and had a conversation with the shikari. The latter came 
up to me. " The man says, sahib, that the tiger came up 
the nullah past his tree. He says that he beat the tree 
as the sahib told him to do and that the tiger then sprang 
up the nuUah bed and disappeared. I think," he added, 
" that the man lies, and that being fearful he only struck 
the tree after the tiger had passed him." It was useless 
being angry. " What now ? " I asked. " We wiU go on 
to the little maidan, sahib, and look for the barasingha." 

In twenty minutes' time we were cautiously approaching 
the edge of the grassy plain. As the trees of the forest we 
had been coming through thinned out, the shikari sUd 
noiselessly ahead. I halted, glad of a few minutes' rest. 
I could see parts of the little clearing already beginning 
to shimmer under the rays of the sun, now well up above 
the horizon and already becoming powerful. " Too late," 
I muttered. " The deer wiU all have returned to the 
forest by now." I was wrong, however. The shikari 
reappeared and said that there were three stags on the far 
edge of the clearing, and if we hastened I might get a shot 
at one of them. We at once commenced to encircle the 
maidan, keeping just within the forest for some way. 
Then a jutting tongue of forest favoured us, and we cut 
across the angle in its shelter and traversed it as quickly 
as the dry and brittle leaves and twigs would permit. As 
we again approached the clearing I went ahead and 
cautiously looked out. Yes, there were the stags, about 
sixty yards away. One fair-sized head and two smaller 
ones. I also saw to my disgust a number of hinds closer 
to the forest. Some of these latter were fitfully cropping 
the grass. Their appetites were either satisfied or the 
lateness of the hour made them uneasy. Others were 
anxiously scanning the area and looked hard in our direction 
several times. But the stags took no notice and continued 
peacefully grazing in a lordly indifference. I soon saw that 
I should have to take the shot from where I was, for I could 
get no nearer ; it meant waiting, however, as the big stag 
was feeding away froih me and one of the others half 
covered him. It was a most tantalizing position, as* each 
moment the distance was becoming greater and the stag 
might never give me a decent shot before he reached and 
disappeared into the forest. 



EXPERIENCES IN CENTRAL PROVINCES 91 

" Fire, sahib, fire," said the shikari. 

These men rarely understand the reason for waiting 
once they have brought one up to the quarry. 

The minutes passed and I began to despair of a shot, 
when suddenly the big stag turned broadside on and stood 
silently at gaze. He evidently heard something and was 
prepared to bolt. I raised the rifle and, almost without 
aiming, fired. The stag sprang into the air and in a few 
bounds was in the forest, my second barrel being, I felt 
certain, a miss. Almost before the first report sounded in 
my ears the does were gone, and the two young stags followed 
the older one in a flash. 

" I hit him. He's down all right," I said, and hurried 
across the clearing. The shikari fell in at my side, but he 
did not appear to share my certainty. I passed, without a 
glance, the spot where the stag had stood, so sure was I 
of the hit, and entered the forest. Here, however, I was 
quickly pulled up by spear grass — that curse of the forests 
of these and other parts — and looked round for the shikari. 
He soon appeared with a few blades of grass died red with 
blood. 

" He's hit, sahib. We shall get him. He can't go far." 

We then commenced to search for blood and almost 
immediately a patch was found, and further on clots of it. 
Fifty yards, a hundred yards, passed under our feet and 
still the blood continued. We were attentively examining 
the last patch when suddenly a shape loomed up out of the 
spear grass, ran forward a few paces and, even as I sighted 
on it, fell over. It was the stag. When we got up to him 
he was dead, the fine eyes glazing over. He was a beautiful 
beast, the horns wonderfully symmetrical, the best pair I 
ever secured, in fact. But as I stood over him and gazed 
at the perfect beauty of the animal I regretted having 
shot him. 



It was late in the afternoon when we reached the rocky 
hill in which we hoped to find the bear at home. We had 
marched several miles after the death of the stag, and I 
had sought then the shelter of an old mango tree growing 
near a trickle of a stream in a big ravine, and there had 
spent several hours enjoying tiffin and forty winks. At 
two, almost the hottest period of the day, we had started 



92 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

onwards again. On the way we passed through an area of 
burnt forest and very parching work it had been, mouth, 
nose and eyes becoming clogged with the fine powdery dust 
which rose on all sides at our every stride. These forest fires, 
or rather the work of extinguishing them, is about the most 
onerous of the jobs the Forest Officer has to tackle in India. 
They occur in the hot weather between early March and the 
time when the, rains break in June and early July. The 
forest during this period becomes like a tinder — fuU of 
inflammable spear grass two to three feet high, or in other 
parts elephant or tiger grass, fifteen to twenty feet high, 
with bamboos and other inflammable matter in abundance. 
Owing to the carelessness of travellers lighting fires to cook 
their food, smoking in the forest, or to wilful incendiarism by 
cattle owners or others, great tracts of forest may be burnt 
out at this season, backed as the fire is by the prevalent hot 
winds. Great sheets of flame sweep onward consuming 
everything, dry leaves, twigs, grass, and darting and curUng 
up the tree-trunks and bamboos, the latter under the heat 
bursting with the crack of a rifle shot. It is a wonderful 
sight, but dangerous work tr5dng to put out a big fire, as, 
without exercising care, one may get cut off by the flames 
creeping round without one being able to perceive it tiH 
too late. 

Shortly before reaching the bumt-out patches we were 
suddenly startled by the sharp barks of the muntjac or 
barking deer coming from a point about twenty yards 
away. I crept forward and a rush sounded in the jungle, 
and again the sharp barks recommenced, but stiU quite 
close. I continued moving cautiously forward and suddenly 
halted. Before me in a smaU form in the grass lay a tiny, 

fight yellow-brown object, pure 
white beneath. It was a tiny deer. 
Its large head — ^in proportion to 
the rest of the body — ^was borne 
^Jsb^^^fT^ on a long slender, thin neck, the 
"^ elongate, sfight body was covered 
with longish, rather coarse, fight reddish-yeUow hair sHghtly 
spotted and with a darkish dorsal fine ; the belly white and 
legs long and very slender. It could have only been recently 
born and made no attempt to move. Whilst I was inspect- 
ing the fittle animal again came the short, sharp barks, and 
a rustling in the bushes now shghtly to the right, but still 





EXPERIENCES IN CENTRAL PROVINCES 93 

quite close. It was the agonized mother, for the youngster 

before me was a young barking deer. My companion 

wanted to carry it off to 

cook for his supper, but of 

course I would not permit 

this. We moved noisily 

away to let the mother 

know, my companion very 

surly at the thought of his 

lost supper. The barks 

ceased abruptly. The poor mother who had passed through 

such fearful anxiety had evidently rejoined her offspring, 

and in an ecstasy of wild frenzy was Mcking it all over to 

assure herself that it had come to no harm. 

Soon after leaving the burnt-out tract we reached the 
rendezvous for the next item in the day's programme — the 
bear hunt. The procedure was fairly simple. I had a few 
squibs and crackers, and with them and burning grass we 
hoped to be able to induce the bears to come out. The rocky 
hill-side was similar to the general run of such. country in 
these parts. Scrub-covered, with a small tree or two 
scattered about, and giant boulders and rocks strewing the 
surface. In these latter were hoUows sufficiently large and 
deep to afford capital residences for the black or sloth bear. 
After inspecting the ground we determined to commence 
with the biggest cave which was also the lowest. I squatted 
on a rock at one side of the entrance which enabled me to 
command the exit, and two of the men then threw in a few 
squibs. I could hear them spluttering and banging inside, 
but nothing came out. Some bundles of lighted grass were 
thrown in with a like result. " Blank," I thought ; but not 
so the shikari. Warily he approached the entrance, and 
taking a large cracker he lit the end and hurled it into the 
dim recesses, at the same instant starting to climb nimbly 
up the rocks at the side of the cave. He had scarcely got 
up five feet when with a roar a great black mass hurled 
itself out of the entrance, puUed tip and stood for an instant 
bMnking in the light, and then turning swiftly made for the 
shikari. As the bear turned I fired, and then somewhat 
hurriedly pulled the second trigger. Both shots went 
home, missing was out of the question with the animal so 
close, but the beast only dropped to the second shot. It 
broke a leg we subsequently discovered. Scrambling up 



94 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

again the bear turned, and spotting me, uttered another 
roar of fury, and standing erect came in my direction. I 
had a spare rifle, a '303, and as he tried to get on the rock, 
fired at the V-shaped mark on the chest and bruin dropped 
in his tracks. After making certain that he was dead we all 
got off our respective perches and gathered round the black 
furry mass, and made an examination of the bullet holes. 
Whilst thus engaged we became suddenly aware of curious 
squeakings close by, and before we knew what was happen- 
ing two black furry balls were upon us and one of the men 
lay screaming on the ground. I shaU remember that man's 
screams and yells for many a long day. My blood ran 
cold. " At last my turn's come," I remember thinking, 
" and I've had a man killed out shooting." I bent over the 
man, Ufted him up, and asked him where he was wounded. 
I could see no blood. The shikari, as is the manner of the 
native, was far more caUous. " Speak, brother, where are 
you hurt ? Don't you hear the sahib asking you ? " The 
screams had now become reduced to groans and whines and 
tears. Yes, positively tears in the man's eyes and running 
down his cheeks. And yet there was not a scratch on him ! 
We searched him all over. It was sheer fright and funk, 
which began I suppose when the old bear was playing 
about after having quitted the cave. The two httle furry 
balls which had charged us were Uttle baby-bears, who, 
frightened at being left alone in the cave, had bolted out. 
As luck would have it the would-be wounded man had been 
standing directly in the path of one of them, and the latter 
in its fright had run between his legs and bowled him over. 
Bad as was the fright he had had, when he thought that his 
own particular demon or devil had him by the leg at last, 
the chaff he had to endure from his companions that night 
must have been even worse. 

The bear we had killed was a male, but we never got 
the mother out, if she was at home. Not that I would have 
shot her, but I wanted to send her to join her offspring, 
now out on the hill-side alone. Poor Uttle beggars. The 
men wanted to catch them, but I would not have it. I was 
not going to have them dying by inches in their hands, 
and I had had enough of young bears myself in my salad 
days. In the chummery I Uved in during my first year in 
India we had a menagerie consisting of seventeen dogs — a 
very mixed pack — two young bears, two hyenas, several 



EXPERIENCES IN CENTRAL PROVINCES 95 

deer, and goodness only knows how many monkeys. And 
they used all to be led after us on strings when we went 
out for a round of golf in the afternoons ! 

The second cave was blank. But the one above produced 
two more bears. One was lost, owing to our friend of the 
baby-bear episode planting himself, unbeknown to me, in a 
place of safety which was directly in the line of fire. 

The second bear we had nearly given up. All the crackers 
and squibs were exhausted. Burning grass had no effect, 
and I had just called out to the shikari that we would give 
it up when without a sound a black form appeared at the 




mouth of the cave, hung there for an instant and made off 
down-hill at its best pace. I had uncocked the rifle and 
laid it down preparatory to getting off the rock I was on. 
So the bear got a start. My bullet caught him far back and 
the second missed altogether, but turned him so that he 
took a more diagonal course. Picking up the Lee-Metford 
I aimed well forward and rolled him over. But he was up 
again and disappeared amongst some rocks. I did not 
want to lose him if there was a chance of bringing him to 
bag, so we hurriedly set off in pursuit. There was plenty 
of blood on the trail and we were soon amongst some large 
boulders, where circumspection was necessary, as none of 



96 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

us was anxious for a mauling. We left the rocks and got 
on to the open hill-side again, and the trail then turned and 
went upwards. Ten minutes passed and still no sign of 
the bear, but plenty of blood. Again we were approaching 
rocks and went warily. The blood went up to a rock half 
the size of a small cottage and then took round the base. 
We turned the corner and there was our quarry slinking off 
up the hill-side, about twenty-five paces away and evidently 
hard hit. I aimed for the neck and this time reached the 
spot, and bruin came roUing down the hill on top of us. 
We sprang apart and the animal went between us, and was 
pulled up by the rocks below. It was quite dead when we 
got up to it, and from first to last had not uttered a sound. 
I was tempted almost to believe that it was dumb, although 
the probable reason for its silence was cowardice. 

Leaving the shikari to make arrangements to get coolies 
to bring the bears into camp, I set off on my four-mile 
tramp, and on the way back through the beautiful s41 forest 
with the green grassy savannahs occurring at intervals, I 
counted roughly over three hundred deer, chital, barasingha, 
and sambhar. What a gorgeous shikar country that was 
in the old days. It is still, but the numbers are nothing 
Uke they once were. Nor could one expect it nowadays, 
I suppose. 




CHAPTER VIII 

FOREST LIFE AND SPORT IN EASTERN BENGAL 

Chittagong — The District and Hill Tracts — South Lushal Hills — An 
interesting fauna — ^The buffalo and rhinoceros — The mithan — 
Elephants and the Keddah Department — ^Mode of travelling — ^The 
tidal creeks and coast-line of Bay of Bengal — Bird hfe — The rivers of 
the area — Magnificent scenery and dense forest — ^Animal life of the 
forests — Swimming deer — ^Monkeys crossing a river — Rafting out 
forest produce — ^The game problem — ^The native and his umbrella — 
Shifting cultivation — ^Trackless forests — ^Difficult to find game — ^A 
fine animal sanctuary — Game in the CoUectorate Forests — ^A Christ- 
mas shoot — A game card — ^The civet-cat — ^Dogs used with the beaters 
— Pig — ^A tussle with an old boar — The dogs go in — Death of the 
pi-dog. 

DURING the closing years of the century I found 
myself stationed in Chittagong in Eastern 
Bengal. This district has earned an unenviable 
notoriety for malaria amongst officials and more 
especially amongst Forest Officers, the official connexion 
of many of the latter having been suddenly terminated by 
a medical certificate and a trip home. The climate suited 
me apparently, and during the three years I was there I 
had little fever. 

The division was a very fine one for the zoologist and 
sportsman. For the charge included, firstly, the Chittagong 
district with its seaboard and network of tidal canals and 
series of low rocky ridges clothed with bamboo jungle, both 
localities invariably teeming with a variety of animal life 
including birds, much of it totally different from the fauna 
one had been studying in Chota Nagpur and the Central 
Provinces. Secondly, the Forest Officer held sway over the 
forests of the neighbouring Chittagong Hill Tracts District, 
an enormous, chaotic mass of wild pathless jungle-clad 
hiUs covering an area of some four thousand square miles. 
The hills in this tract run in parallel series of ridges more or 
less due north and south down to the seaboard, the rivers 
n 97 



98 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

and streams being the " roads " of the country and much 
of the travelling being done by water. To the north the 
district abutted on the South Lushai Hills, of the Assam 
Province. 

This tract of country is of extraordinary interest. In the 
old days, and not so far off either, the smaller one-homed 
rhinoceros {Rhinoceros sondaicus) roamed over these jungles. 
Alas, he has gone now for ever, the last being killed in the 
Chittagong district somewhere about the late 'eighties or 
early 'nineties. The bison of these parts, the gayal or naithan, 
first cousin to the gaur we have already had tussles with-, 
still exists in the hill tracts and, of course, further north and 
east. But protection will be needed if this fine animal is to 
be preserved in its wild state. It is true that, unlike the 
gaur, it can be domesticated and will cross with the village 
cattle. I have seen it very often in the villages throughout 
the district. Buffalo used to exist in a wild state, but are 
no longer to be found in the jungles of which I write although 
their near relative the domestic animal possesses in these 
parts many of the attributes of its wild confrere and is an 
animal for the European to beware of. I do not know what 
makes these so-called tame buffalo so vicious in Eastern 
Bengal. They are often perfect devils so far as the sahib 
is concerned. I had a small adventure with one of these 
brutes once, being pursued by one, and have not for- 
gotten it. It was only luck that enabled me to get clear. 
I was returning to my boat moored in one of the tidal creeks, 
after having inspected some small revenue station or other. 
It was about three o'clock in the afternoon, and I was 
trotting along the banked-up road running through the 
rice fields. Suddenly I heard a dull, hollow sound of galloping 
hoofs behind me. Turning in the saddle I saw about twenty 
yards away a large buffalo in full cry. One glance at his 
face was enough for me and I realized that the tales about 
the " tame " buffalo of these parts were fully justified in 
this instance. My pony must have reaUzed the position 
sooner than I did, for he had been pulling hard for several 
minutes and I had wondered what on earth he was up to, 
as we still had a good many miles to go. He was a sorry tat 
at the best, a borrowed animal. I dug spurs into hiiB now 
and we scurried up the road at our best pace. Five 
minutes passed and I reaUzed that the buffalo was gaining 
steadily on us. I became seriously alarmed and cast about 



SPORT IN EASTERN BENGAL 99 

for a loophole of escape. I did not want to part company 
with the poor little beast I bestrode, even if it were certain 
that the buffalo would follow the pony and pass me by. 
But there was no certainty on this head. Again I looked 
round, fifteen paces or less only separated us, and the brute 
was rolling along over the ground in vicious silence, and 
evidently meant business. My spine ran cold and already 
I felt those long horns pitching me up into the air. Again 
I glanced ahead. I strained my eyes for a haven of safety 
and suddenly noticed that the road made a sharp right- 
angle turn to the left about two hundred yards or so ahead. 
I remembered the place as I had come this way that morning. 
I also remembered to have heard it said that a buffalo in 
pursuing along a road would usually continue his course 
if one could get out of the straight line. I acted on the 
thought and with some difficulty pulled the pony, now mad 
with fright, off the road to the left. He slithered down the 
embankment on his quarters owing to the pace we were 
going, but luckily did not come down on his nose. PuUing 
him together we went across the paddy fields at our best 
pace, cutting off the angle and getting on to the road some 
way down the bend. I glanced round. There was the old 
buffalo charging along the road. But before he got round 
the bend I had gained over a hundred yards on him, and 
ran him out of sight. But it was quite near enough for me 
and rendered me more than ever distrustful of the so- 
called " tame " buffalo of Chittagong. 

Elephant used to roam the jungles of the Hill Tracts in 
considerable numbers. Although protected now by Govern- 
ment, their numbers were sadly thinned by the Keddah 
Department, a Department which has probably done more 
to destroy game and thin out elephants during the last 
score of years than dozens of British sportsmen could do in 
double the period of time. Sambhar, khakar and other small 
deer were plentiful, though I never saw the spotted deer or 
the hog deer. Of the carnivora tiger and leopard were 
abundant, though the former was extremely difficult to get 
at, owing to the extreme denseness of the jungle and the 
hilly nature of the country. In fact in many parts of the 
district, and more especially in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, 
successful sport was difficult to attain owing to these 
causes. 

The local conditions of travelling and of hfe generally 



loo DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

were so entirely different from what one had been accustomed 
to on the other side of Bengal. Here the major part of our 
camping work was done on the rivers in boats, and at first — I 
subsequently had a Government steam launch — native boats 
had to be hired for the purpose. One either lived for 
days on end in these boats or occasionally was able to 
put up in one of the district or forest bungalows for a short 
time when such were conveniently situated to the work. 
But that was not often. 

Life in the boats apart from the work would have been ap- 
pallingly monotonous, bearing in mind the awful discomfort 
of spending several weeks cramped up in a tiny confined space, 
had it not been for the fascinating nature of the country. 
If one were in the tidal canals, with their black mud-banks 
and occasional broad stretches of soft turf beyond, or out 
in the Bay of Bengal, banks and shores were alive with bird 
life of all kinds, curlews, plover, and a variety of sandpiper, 
redshanks, cormorants, and so forth. Low tide or, better 
stiU, at two-thirds high water was the best time for the birds, 
and at such times the shores were a paradise for the ornitholo- 
gist. On my last trip in these parts before a transfer took 
me to North- West India, I had a brother officer, Mr. B. B. 
Osmaston, c.i.e., a well-known and extremely keen authority 
on birds with me. He was new to this part of India and 
was amazed at the extraordinary variety of bird life, much 
of it being, he said, strange to him. 

The cormorants and curlews were ever a source of interest 
to me. Both extremely wary, the cormorants used to sit up 
in low mangrove bushes on the sides of the tidal canals near 
their entrance to the sea and either fish or rest in these 
positions — but they ever rested with one eye open ! 

Of the curlews the largest, a handsome bird, was quite 
common and» possessed all the cunning this bird is famed 
for. A smaller grejdsh one was quite good eating — anyway 
to a hunter's appetite when in camp, the only occasions I 
remember partaking of it. 

On the green stretches between the mud-fiats plover 
swarmed, and but little care was necessary to make a bag of 
these birds once a flight had been marked down. Their 
colouring was extremely well attuned to their surroundings 
and so they were very difficult to see before they rose from 
the ground. The smaUer waders, redshanks, etc., were legion, 
and I was never tired of watching the banks or marge of the 



SPORT IN EASTERN BENGAL loi 

coast-line as I sat in the boat sailing or being pulled down 
the coast at twenty yards or so distant. In the paddy fields 
in the neighbourhood of the kals or creeks a large grey 
heron was fairly common — handsome birds but very wary. 
Of duck I saw numbers in the cold weather, and occasionally 
was able to get a shot either as a flight passed the boats 
within range or when we ran into a lot settled upon the 
surface in a creek or in one of the channels between the 
mainland and the islands out in the Bay. These were 
mallard, widgeon and teal of various kinds. That brilliant- 
plumaged bird the brahminy duck (Casarca rutila), surely 
one of the very wariest of the bird tribe, even including 
wild geese, inhabits these areas. I did not see many of 
these ducks in the Chittagong District but had great fun 
stalking them off the neighbouring district of Noakhally 
which I had occasion to visit once or twice. All who have 
read Simson's Sport in Eastern Bengal will remember 
this district as a famous pig-sticking centre in old days, 
with some of the finest galloping ground, green turf like 
velvet, I ever met in India. It had fallen on evil times at 
the period I write of and there was no tent club. 

Rivers are numerous in this region, all flowing north and 
south, such as the Kornafuli of which Chittagong forms the 
port, and others flowing parallel to it between it and the 
Kalad57ne which flows out at Akyab, through the district of 
Arakan; this river forming the boundary between Bengal and 
Burma. Proceeding up the rivers into the interior the 
scenery changes completely. Once out of the low country 
dense forests clothe either shore. The banks above tidal level 
are fringed with high grass and plantains, giving place, to 
tangled cane thickets, bamboo clumps with a high overhead 
cover of fine timber trees. Occasionally the scenery becomes 
very bold and rugged, the broad river running between 
steep gorgeous-coloured cliffs, their faces either sheer rock 
or covered with a low scrub jungle, from which graceful 
bamboos droop over the water. In the morning or at 
sunset marvellously soft effects are produced by water and 
sky, colouring which one can only see in the tropics. 

On the shore at daybreak or just before sunset, as one 
drifted along in the boats, one had a chance of seeing some- 
thing of the jungle occupants of the great forests. On the 
upper reaches where the water is fresh deer would come down 
to drink as would also family parties of monkeys, jungle fowl, 



102 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

and the black-breasted Kaleej pheasant {Gennceus Hors- 
fieldi) would be commonly seen, though by no means 
so commonly bagged for the larder. With extreme good 
luck one might see a tiger or leopard come down in the 
late evening or early morning to drink. It was not an 
uncommon sight to come upon animals swimming across the 
rivers. I have seen sambhar and barking deer on several 
occasions, both animals swimming with ease, the head held 
comparatively high out of the water. Monkeys also, swarms 
of them, and they are a ludicrous sight. Monkeys, or any- 
way the species which inhabits these forests, swim very high 
out of the water, head and shoulders well above the surface. 
Also they swim with great ease. But the row and fuss they 
make when a boat containing men comes along is most 
amusing. Whilst stilj at a distance they are insolent, turn 
and jabber and make faces ; as the distance between 
lessens they begin to put on the pace a bit, still losing 
ground by constantly turning to see how near the boat is 
getting and making the most comical grimaces in which 
fear now commences to appear. When they at last 
apprehend that the boat is actually coming for them and 
the danger is serious all semblance of defiance leaves them 
and a sauve qui peut takes place. Down goes the head and 
they take to a kind of overhead side-stroke, scrambling 
through the water at a great rate and deadly silent the 
while. On reaching the bank the more timid ones bolt 
straight into the jungle without more ado ; pluckier or more 
cheeky members halt just on the edge of the jungle, face the 
river, give themselves a shake, have a scratch or two and 
fling at one a few of their choicest expletives, the words 
tumbling out the faster the nearer the boat approaches. As 
the keel impinges on the mud-bank, with a last curse they 
leap for safety and one hears the band disappear with 
incfignant scolding and chattering amongst the trees. 

Practically the whole of the forest produce in the shape 
of logs, dug-out boats, bamboos, canes, etc., is floated down 
these rivers in the form of great rafts a hundred feet and more 
in length. Two or three men are in charge and they spend 
weeks on board living in a small bamboo-waUed thatched 
hut built on the raft. It is a sight to see these greaf rafts 
coming down-stream, and more especially when the river is 
in flood in the monsoon months. The rivers are also the 
highways of the local population. They, bring their produce 





THE FOREST LAUN'CH OX THE KARXAPULI RIVER, CHITTAGON'G DISTRICT 
IN THE MONSOON SEASON 




Photo by Author 

ON THE UPPER WATERS OF THE KARNAPUI.I RIVER IN THE CHITTAGONC, HILL 
TRACTS. THE BOATS ARE DUG-OUTS HOLLOWED FROM ■['HE STE1IS OF TREES 
THE LARGER IS FILLED WITH EARIHEN WATER-POTS BEING CARRIED UP 
SI'REAM, FOR SALE IN IHE INTERIOR. THE TIME OF YEAR IS THE HOT 
WEATHER SEASON. NOTE THF, UMBRELLAS OF THR PASSENGERS AND 

STEERSME^' — THE BADGE OF DIGNITY IN THESE PARTS 



SPORT IN EASTERN BENGAL 103 

down in dug-outs to the bazaars in the Chittagong District, 
returning often with the dug-out piled high with earthen 
pots, so much in use by the natives for domestic purposes. 
On sunny hot days the ever present umbrella is also much en 
evidence on such occasions as the photograph so weU depicts. 
The main portion of the boats in use is the great bole of 
some forest monarch which has been hollowed out usually 
by burning. The sides in the bigger boats are built up with 
planks, thus affording extra accommodation. 

It is far from easy to discuss the game problem in this 
part of India, so far as the abundance of animals is in 
question. Some animals, rhinoceros and buffalo to wit, have 
disappeared from the area. In the great tracts of forest 
stretching down east into the North Arakan District 
a few rhinoceros may still be left. I saw the pugs of one or 
two on the borders of that country on the occasion of a 
trip I made that way, but that was the only time I saw any 
sign of this animal in that part of the world. 

The Chittagong Division is a very densely populated 
part of India with 676 head of population per square 
mile, and the isolated patches of forest, consisting princi- 
pally of bamboos and grass, contained practically no game 
animals. They had been exterminated by the neighbouring 
villagers by shooting, snaring or trapping, even before the 
more modem rifles made their appearance. These small 
blocks of forest are, however, valuable from the economic 
point of view, since both bamboos and grass are necessities 
to the villagers, forming their chief house-building material. 
In the great dense forests .of the Chittagong Hill Tracts to 
the north, animals roamed at will probably as numerous 
as they had ever been, with the exception perhaps of the 
elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo. In this part inhabitants 
were few and the wandering tribes who were still allowed to 
practise that most iniquitous method of cultivation called 
" jhuming," had probably little influence upon the decrease 
of game animals with the exception of such shy beasts as the 
rhino. Jhuming, the oldest form of agriculture known 
(in Europe as well as in the East, for it is stilL practised in 
parts of Russia), consists of feUing a piece of primeval 
forest, setting fire to the trees felled and burning as much of 
them as possible, spreading, the resultant ashes over the 
cleared area and sowing the seed of a grain crop on top. 
The jhumer then squats down on his hams, smokes his 



104 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

pipe and waits till the resultant crop ripens, when he again 
gets to work and cuts it over. He may repeat the operation 
the following year and even a third year. By this time a 
dense weed growth will be making its appearance, entailing 
more work than our jhumer has any stomach for, and so 
in order not to have to fight against that he moves on to 
a fresh piece of forest. The procedure results in a frightful 
waste of fine forest, the product of hundreds of years, which 
is replaced by a tangle of more or less valueless soft woods 
and bamboos. But the numbers of the various famihes 
practising this patriarchal form of existence were few, and 
as I have said probably had little influence on the game. On 
the other hand it was extremely difficult for the European 
sportsman to get at the game in these forests. There were 
no roads, it was difficult to collect coolies to carry one's 
camp paraphernalia even if one was willing to travel with 
the Ughtest kit. No food of any kind could be bought for 
oneself or servants and so all had to be carried with the 
party, and lastly the country, an intricate mass of hills 
densely clothed with jungle, bamboo, cane, long grass and 
high overhead cover with only narrow game paths to move 
along, offered almost insuperable difficulties to the sports- 
man. We tried our best, those of us who were up in that 
part of the world at this period and were keen enough to 
face the inevitable discomforts and hard Mfe entailed, 
with but meagre results, however. The country forms a fine 
animal sanctuary, so long, and only so long, as the native 
inhabitants remain as sparse as at present and do not get 
hold of the modern sporting rifle. Once they do these jungles 
will follow the ones in the Chittagong District to the south. 
But that we may hope is a long time ahead. 

I have said that the Chittagong Collectorate areas are 
practically without life so far as game goes. But this only 
applies to the isolated blocks of jungle. Some of the forests 
are in direct communication with the great tracts of jungle 
to the north, forest-clad spurs running right down to the 
seaboard. These spurs are constantly supphed from the 
north and at the time I am writing of contained numerous 
sambhar, barking deer, pig, and leopard and more rarely 
tiger and, of course, numbers of the smaller carnivora. 
On these hills areas of a tall strong grass termed " sunn " 
occur in parts. The areas covered with this grass, called 
" sunnkholas," are of considerable value and are leased for a 



SPORT IN EASTERN BENGAL 105 

term of years, the grass being cut over annually and sold 
for thatching purposes. Sambhar could be found here. 

Many pleasant shoots did we have in the district and more 
especially in the tracts of forest included on neighbouring 
tea estates. Here our kindly hosts had no difficulties about 
obtaining the necessary beaters from their own garden 
coolies. The beats were systematically organized and often 
resulted in good mixed bags being made, the evening game 
card perhaps reading somewhat as follows : wild boar, 
jungle fowl, sambhar, partridge, barking deer, civet-cat, 
hyena, leopard, snipe, plover. Such a return was, I re- 
member, made at one of the Christmas shoots. 

How jolly these Christmas shoots were, and how different 
the conditions and surroundings to other parts of India. 
Called in the dark we used to get into shooting kit with an 
extra sweater, as it was chilly and damp, oh ! so damp, in 
the early morning. Assembling in the dining-room (men 
only, the ladies came out later after the sun was up, as there 
was no reason for their risking malaria) we made a hearty 
chota hazri or breakfast, whichever you hked to caU it, 
and then off with the first dawn with probably a two- to 
three-mile walk to the first beat. Chilly outside with a 
sopping wet penetrating mist, this part of the proceedings 
was the one we least liked. It usually meant a certain 
amount of floundering about on slippery, mud roads or 
narrow paths. When the sun was above the hill crests 
this discomfort soon disappeared and the day with its 
varying incidents was pure joy. 

One such day I remember as typical of many others. No 
ladies were out, I forget why. There was to be some big 
dinner or other tamasha in the evening and they had all 
stayed at home to get things ready. We had varying 
fortune in the morning. A civet-cat {Viverra zibetha) was 
put up by the dogs, who as usual went wild over the beast. 
The animal is not uncommon in these forests. It has a 
greyish coat with black spots and stripes, the throat white 
with a broad transverse black band, the tail being ringed 
with black. The civet is about three feet long with thirteen 
to twenty inches of tail. The drug called civet which has 
a peculiar and most unpleasant odour, the cause of the 
dogs going wild when they smelt it, comes from the sub- 
caudal gland of the animal. The animal is a carnivorous 
predatory cat destructive to poultry and game of all kinds. 



io6 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

It hides easily and has to be carefully watched for in a beat 
or wiU get away to a certainty. The one in question was 
shot just ahead of the dogs by my neighbour in one of the 
beats. 

As to the dogs mentioned above. 

In their beating operations in these parts the men made 
use of village pi-dogs whom they train with great skill. 
From two to three couple of these, a most nondescript 
mongrel crowd to look at, but exceedingly good at their 
work, were taken into the forest with the beaters and then 
unleashed. They worked independently of each other and in 
no way as a pack, unless two happened to get on to the same 
slot, but once they had got on to an animal's trail, whether 
deer, pig, or more dangerous game, they never left it and 
sent it forward if possible to the guns. They also proved 
most useful in following up wounded animals. 

On the day I speak of we had three beats in the morning, 
securing a sambhar, civet-cat, three pigs, and some jungle 
fowl. But the afternoon provided the excitement. 

As we smoked a cigar after lunch some of the Mug coohes, 
a merry keen set of men who loved the outing, being them- 
selves jungle-men from the Hill Tracts country, came and 
squatted round us and were questioned as -to what we 
might expect in the afternoon. 

" Pig, sahib, lots of pig and there is a very large old boar 
with long tushes. A very heavy old devil who is very 
fierce." In this part of the district pig were shot, as the 
country was quite unrideable and they were very destructive 
to the crops. Further west and in the neighbouring district 
of NoakhaUy pig-sticking could be indulged in, probably 
the finest sport to be obtained anywhere with as comrade a 
good handy fast nag. Another man volunteered the infor- 
mation that he thought there were at least five to six 
sambhar in the next two beats. One of the shikaris thought 
there would be a leopard. But there were few beats in 
these parts which were not credited with at least one pard — 
but, if present, he was usually cunning enough to get 
away, so we did not attach much importance to the state- 
ment. 

We soon got into our positions. I was on a btoad 
boundary line beneath a stunted mango tree which afforded 
shade from the sun and also hid me to some extent from 
anything breaking out. We never made use of machans 



SPORT IN EASTERN BENGAL 107 

in this district, merely taking up the best position from 
which we could command the area of our fire. 

For a space all was silent. The men were in a heavy 
piece of forest and not even the yapping of the dogs, who 
rarely ran silent, was audible. I could not see my neighbour 
to the left, but on the right the next rifle was easily visible 
on the top of a ridge some way above me and about two 
hundred yards distant. 

As I waited I suddenly heard a loud flapping of wings, 
and two large black hombills flew over the line between 
the right gun and myself. I had a rifle in my hand and so 
did not fire, but my neighbour did so, without result. 

Soon after the noise of the beat came to our ears and 
now and then a yap, yap from the submerged dogs, 
hot on a scent. I had set my heart on the old boar. I 
thought I should like to have the tushes of the hoary old 
sinner, even if they were not earned by riding him down. 
From the row proceeding in the jungle and the occasional 
vociferations from the coolies there was evidently game, 
and a good deal of game, afoot. The sudden sharp crack 
of a rifle to the left followed by a second produced frantic 
enthusiasm amongst the beaters and a stentorian voice 
was heard to shout, " Beat, beat, brothers. Beat, you 
lazy rascals. The sahibs are kiUing. There will be meat 
for all." The owner of that voice, costume and all, could 
have made a fortune on the halls at home. 

Suddenly a heavy rush in the sUght hollow to my right 
and a dark-coloured body plunged across the ride. Up 
went' my rifle, but it was a doe sambhar. Another rush 
behind, I swung round. A sambhar, I think a doe, was 
half in the jungle on my side of the ride, another was in 
the middle of the ride, whilst a third, a stag with a moderately 
good head as it turned out (I had not the time to decide 
the point then), had just left the jungle on the far side of 
the ride. I raised the rifle and snapped at him. I heard the 
bullet hit as I fired the second barrel and he dropped on the 
edge of the jungle on our side of the ride and lay there. One 
of the two men I had with me, a Mahomedan, rushed up 
the ride and " hal-lalled " or cut the throat of the stag, to 
let the blood flow, though I am sure the stag was quite 
dead before he got up to him. 

Meanwhile a terrific commotion was going on in the jungle 
in front of me. Voices were raised in anger, jubilation and 



168 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

fear, whilst at least one youngster was crying with sheer 
funk apparently, so far as I could make out. Then a dog's 
note made itself heard, followed by a second and a third. 
They were evidently baying something. I listened, keen 
excitement holding me. What on earth was it ? Suddenly 
a chorus of grunts broke the silence. Pig, by the gods. 
Now the jungle was swishing and rustUng in all directions. 
Nearer the noise approached and a large sounder broke on 
the ride between myself and the gun to my right. I raised 
my rifle, remembered and waited. The big old boar will 
be here, I reflected. The gun above me fired two barrels. 
Piggies charged to the right and left with enraged grunts, 
burrowing into the jungle on our side. Others, just emerging 
from the opposite edge, halted and looked about with their 
cunning-looking small eyes, doubtful as to what to do. 
But Uttle as they liked the front, they Hked the rear still 
less. The yapping was now quite close and I waited, 
finger on trigger. Closer came the dogs and louder grew 
the grunts of more of the sounder, now nearing the Hne. 
Quite suddenly a sow who was three parts out of the forest 
opposite and not twenty-five yards from me — I had hidden 
myself behind a little barricade of leafy branches — ^was 
propelled into the middle of the ride uttering a startled 
squeaking grunt as she was flung forward. I was on the 
point of bursting out laughing, she looked so comic, when 
a dim grey bulk took her place for an instant on the edge of 

the forest and then lum- 
<ii;,i"|J.''l]"'«/-„.^ bered out on to the ride. 

!''!' A"?. " ^^^'''*^'-- —^ _ It was the old boar ! He 
"" was a fine sight. Of 
giant bulk, his bristles 
grey with age and mouth 
adorned with a pair of 
giant tushes, by far the 
largest I had ever seen. 
On the ride he turned, 
his bloodshot eyes glaring red fury, whilst he champed 
his tushes and grunted. On the instant I understood 
the position. It was this old boar whom the dogs had 
been ba3dng and, as the thought flashed through my brain, 
a dog rushed out of the jungle and commenced dancing 
round the old boar. I hesitated no longer, but let drive 
at the shoulder, though I confess with some trepidation. 




SPORT IN EASTERN BENGAL 109 

The boar turned to the shot, but the dogs, for another had 
joined the first, distracted his attention and I fired again. 
He lurched and I thought he was going over, but with a 
fierce grunt he staggered into the jungle on our side before 
I could get a third shot at him from my smooth-bore, which 
I had seized. A very pandemonium now began. A third 
dog had turned up and they were now all three engaged in 
baiting the old boar. His grunts of rage showed that he had 
still plenty of fight in him. I was unwiUing that the dogs, 
who possessed considerable value in the eyes of their native 
owners, who had spent a lot of time in training them, should 
come to harm and so determined to follow them up and try 
and polish off the boar. My orderly and the other man with 
me, both of whom had long knives with them, agreed to 
follow and we hurried in the direction of the scufile. Forty 
paces was all we had to go, and then we burst upon a scene 
which baffles description. The old boar was standing or 
half-squatting with his back against a large tree and five 
dogs were jumping round him, yapping for all they were 
worth. First one and then another would try and run in 
only to retreat as the old fellow's head came round with a 
vicious upward cut of the tush. The dogs appeared to be 
covered with mud and blood, but it was impossible to say 
whether any of them were yet severely hurt. So occupied 
were they -all that it was a minute or two before they 
perceived us. I had tried to get a bullet into the boar, but 
the risk of hitting the dogs made it impossible. And I did 
not think he looked sufficiently harmless for me to walk 
up to him with only a knife in my hand. And sure enough 
he was not ! For as soon as he set eyes on us he got up and 
with a furious grunt tried to charge. But he was far spent. 
As I fired the biggest dog, a thick-set bright red brute with 
a terrific jowl on him, was in like a flash and got hold of the 
right ear, getting gashed as he did so. The old boar swayed 
on his feet and looked as if he would drop over. I fired 
again but just not quick enough. A second yellow-coloured 
dog, lithe and slim, went in on the left, and in a second 
lay disembowled on the ground, the old boar falling over 
on his right side after this last effort. I hastily reloaded and 
fired another barrel to make sure of finishing the business 
and we went up to the dogs. Four of them were now on the 
body each with his teeth firmly fixed in some part, nor 
could we move them. 



no DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

" You won't get them off till their owners come, sahib. 
No one else can move them when they take hold like that." 

I said nothing but turned to the poor wounded dog. A 
glance showed that nothing could be done for him. Poor 
plucky brute. I bent over him and poured some water 
over his mouth and head as he lay gasping. His brave 
eyes turned to me and I thought I read a gleam of gratitude 
in them. And then a film spread over them and he was 
gone. 

He may have been only a pi-dog. But his heart and spirit 
were pure gold. 




CHAPTER IX 

WANDERINGS IN THE CHITTAGONG HILL TRACTS 

Chittagong Hill Tracts and Lushai Hills — ^Accompany the Commissioner 
into the Hill Tracts — ^Luxurious travelling — Take to dug-outs — 
Burning forests — ^A day of smoke and heat — ^Land for the night — 
The Commissariat delayed — Dinnerless to bed — ^A wet morning — 
Continue our journey — ^A swimming snake and 3Kaleej pheasants — 
Reach the falls — ^A southern outpost — ^A wild frontier country — The 
Military Police — A fine fishing river — ^Proceed up-stream — Dense 
jungles and interesting fauna — A faunistic survey required — ^Meet 
the Political Officer — Bad weather and few fish — Southern Hill 
Tracts forests — Calling up sambhar— Stalking the mithan — ^A trip in 
the rains — ^The forest flora — ^Track the herd — ^A close encounter. 

THE Chittagong Hill Tracts and South Lushai 
HiUs are a most interesting piece of country to 
wander in. Of course, when once up in those 
parts one feels rather lost to the outer world and 
occasionally the feeling would come, as I remember it came 
to me very strongly on an occasion in the fastnesses of 
Upper Burma, that one had seen the last of civilization and 
was destined to leave one's bones in the wilds. But such 
feelings are evanescent. The lure of these wild tracts and 
their great fascination is far more dominant and lasting. 

I remember one hot weather in April accompanpng 
the Commissioner of the Division, who held almost auto- 
cratic sway over the Hill Tracts, with powers of life and 
death and other terrors, up into this region. The first 
eighty odd miles of the journey were done in a luxurious fiat 
pulled up the river by a launch. The day was spent in 
dignified ease. An hour or two in the morning was given 
to perusing and noting upon stately bundles of red-tape- 
encircled fUes, extracted from japanned tin offtce-boxes on 
the outer covers of which the official titles of their owners 
were inscribed in large type. Followed a beautifully cooked 
hot breakfast and then, installed in comfortable long chairs, 

III 



112 DIARY, OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

we smoked, talked and watched the beautiful scenery of 
the Hill Tracts as reach after reach of the great river opened 
out before us, bearing upon its bosom long rafts, often thirty 
yards in length, consisting of great logs, bamboos, canes, 
etc., cut in the forests to the north and now on their way to 
the southern markets. 

The next day we descended somewhat in dignity ; only 
small dug-out boats could proceed further up the river 
owing to the prevalence of sandbanks and other obstacles. 
Behold, therefore, the Ruler of the Country seated solemnly 
in the centre of a dug-out canoe-Uke vessel, with a strip of 
bamboo matting fixed over the centre to afford some 
protection against the sun, rowed or poled or dragged up- 
stream by the boatmen, whilst an orderly squatted in the 
stem. This was all in the way of passengers the craft could 
accommodate with comfort and safety. We had a fleet 
of these dug-outs. I occupied No. 2, and the tiffin- 
basket and two native servants No. 3. The rest of our 
enormous retinue, for the Commissioner, even on a combined 
duty and sport expedition such as the present, always 
travels in style, occupied the remainder of the fleet, which, 
before we had gone very far, was strung out over at least a 
mile of river. 

I had been anxious for the Commissioner to come up at 
this season to witness the enormous destruction being 
committed by the wholesale burning of the forest, done 
yearly by the occupants of the scattered villages in the 
outer hills and by jhumers elsewhere. The former fired the 
forest with the object of getting a crop of young grass as 
soon as the first rains fell for the pasturing of their 
miserable herds of wretched cattle and goats ; their 
buffaloes were good, but the rest of the animals — a 
type of the poorest. The jhumers burnt the forest in 
order to provide areas on which to raise their crops with 
a minimum of trouble and labour. We saw enough of this 
burning that day to convince the most sceptical of the 
wasteful damage being done. At times the smoke was 
blown so densdy across the river that we could not see 
twenty yards in front of us. At others large sandbanks 
necessitated our coming close into the shore above vvhich 
the whole hill-side was blazing, where the heat added to the 
rays of an already very powerful sun was terrific. About 
one o'clock, on rounding a bend, I perceived to my relief, 



IN THE CHITTAGONG HILL TRACTS 113 

for I was parched with thirst, that the Commissioner had 
landed on the right bank in a bit of open cultivated land 
near one of the curious Mug villages and was evidently 
going to have tiffin. I joined him there and found him in a 
very bad humour. I came in for some of it. It was the 
fires he was so mad about. Did not think they had been 
sufficiently reported, etc. I had covered reams of paper 
with reports, and as he unguardedly said he would read 
every hne I had written on the subject I felt I could put up 
with the present dressing-down as I should get my own 
back if he held to his promise. At last the tif&n-boat hove 
in sight and having washed out the smoke we recovered our 
serenity somewhat and, as it subsequently turned out, 
unduly prolonged the welcome rest. 

The afternoon passed very much as the morning. The 
fires were not so near the river-edge, and so the heat and 
smoke were not so aggressive. We did not halt for tea ; the 
three dug-outs were lashed together, several men towing 
them from the bank, as it had dawned on us that we should 
be late in getting to the tiny bungalow we were to spend the 
night in. Tea over, the Commissioner decided to leave the 
servants' boat behind with orders to hurry on the rest of 
the fleet, which was nowhere in sight. Darkness fell and 
the proceedings became wearisome. I was not sufficiently 
acquainted with this part of the river to remember how far 
the bungalow was. It was useless enquiring of the boatmen, 
as their invariable answer was " Round the next bend, 
sahib." I had no light so could not read, and finally I lay 
down in the bottom of the dug-out and dozed fitfully. 
I was roused at length by voices and the gleam of a 
light. We were approaching a tiny landing-stage. I 
crawled from under my cover and looked out. The 
Commissioner was standing in the verandah of the 
bungalow near a lantern placed on the floor. A second 
lantern was on the landing-stage, which was a frail bamboo 
lattice-work arrangement supported on bamboo piles. I 
hopped out of the boat, glad to stretch my legs, and joined 
him. It was a pitch-dark night and nothing could be seen 
of our surroundings. The night air on the river was quite 
sharp or we felt it so in our thin shikar suits after the heat 
of the day. 

We adjourned to the bungalow, a lantern was placed on 
the table and whiskies and sodas ordered and produced with 



114 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

some biscuits. The refreshment was very comforting, but 
gloom held the Commissioner for some time. I could not 
make out why. But when he shouted out an enquiry as to 
whether the boats were arriving I began to understand the 
position. He was thinking of the dinner. It was then 
nearly eight o'clock. Another hour passed and still no 
boats. We had both spent it in silence over a book apiece, 
but at the end of this period the hunger pangs became more 
insistent. The Commissioner went out into the verandah 
and remained the best part of the next hour there. Being 
a junior officer and also a guest I felt the position to be a 
rather delicate one. At ten o'clock an enquiry was made 
as to what provisions we had. It turned out that a soHtary 
bottle of beer and a couple of biscuits was the total strength 
of the commissariat. 

Hungry as from my own sensations I do not doubt he was, 
I think my companion was more annoyed on account of his 
guest than for himself. And, besides, for a Commissioner's 
bundobast to go wrong in a country where he held powers of 
life and death was an unheard-of event ! At 10.30 he said 
we might as well have what there was, and we solemnly 
divided the bottle of beer and ate a biscuit apiece and 
decided to turn in, i.e. he down on the bedsteads all standing 
for we had no bedding or anything else tiU the boats arrived, 
and it was too cold to take off one's boots. 

I buckled up my leather belt to the last hole to stiU the 
hunger pangs and lay down, with my topi for a pillow. For 
nearly an hour sleep refused to come near me, and then I 
feU into a deep slumber. I dimly heard or dreamt of 
noises and of a voice sapng " Sahib, Khana tiyar hai " 
(Dinner is ready) and I seemed to smell appetizing smells, 
but the real facts were that I slept tiU 6.30. I woke then 
to find my servant at my bedside with a tray full of a large 
chota hazri. I noted too that I had been covered up 
during the night with blankets. As soon as my eyes opened 
the gnawing pain came back and without question I 
devoured the victuals. I was told that the boats had turned 
up about I a.m. with a fine hot five-course dinner ready. 
(They said they got stuck on a sandbank in the dark). The 
Commissioner, who was awake, had his dinner brought to 
his bedside and ordered mine to be taken to me. They 
reported to him, however, that they could not wake me and 
were- told to leave me alone. We ought to have got off at 



IN THE CHITTAGONG HILL TRACTS 115 

4.30 that morning, but did not leave till 7.30 and had a 
shocking morning of it. The weather had completely 
changed. It had pelted with rain during the night and 
about eight o'clock a thunderstorm commenced and we had 
three hours of heavy rain. It was horribly cold and the 
mat roofing of my boat leaked like a sieve. I had to give up 
reading and in the end smoking also. I could not even 
swear in comfort, so I lay upon my back and stoically bore 
being, leaked upon. Yesterday baked and roasted and 
parched with thirst the contrast this morning was almost 
ludicrous in its completeness. My only consolation was that 
the Commissioner had seen the hills blazing as I had 
promised him he would. Had the rain come twenty-four 
hours earlier I should not have had the satisfaction of 
having this point definitely settled. About 11.30 it 
brightened and I shortly heard a hail and was brought along- 
side the Commissioner's boat. He invited me in and we sat 
back to back under the bamboo covering, the only way 
we could sit without upsetting the craft, and had a strong 
whiskey and soda and some biscuits. (We were not always 
drinking whiskies and sodas. But whiskey is the best 
antidote to malaria in unusual conditions such as we had, 
been experiencing). Soon after one of the boatmen in 
front shouted "Samp, sahib, samp." I crawled out at the 
end and sure enough a large grass snake was swimming 
across the river just in front of the boat. I had never seen 
one swimming before and the pace it went was prodigious. 
The Commissioner shot it. This woke us up a bit and I soon 
after got a brace of jungle cock, a number of these birds 
and the black Kaleej pheasants having come down to the 
river's edge to drink. We reached the landing-stage below 
the falls of this river at 2.30 and had breakfast, another 
thunderstorm hovering about making this a hurried meal. 
A little tramway connects the section of rapids below 
the falls and the rapids above them, with the navig- 
able waters higher up and, breakfast over, we got on to a 
trolley and were run up to the bungalow at the Falls, 
reaching the house just as a thunderstorm burst over us. 
The line runs through thick forest with hills rising above 
the river, the scenery being exceedingly picturesque. This 
bungalow reaUy forms the southern outpost of the wild 
frontier country which stretches for league on league to the 
iiorth and east, the few white men who rule this part being 



ii6 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

officers in charge of the scattered outposts of the MiUtary 
Pohce. A soUtary life they lead, but a most interesting one 
if the officer happens to be keen on shikar and natural 
history, or geography, ethnography, or, in fact, any one of 
the 'ologies. 

The bungalow was to be our headquarters for the next 
ten days and fishing was to be our chief sporting occupation. 
This river is a fine one for mahseer, that most sporting of 
Indian fish, which is angled for to some extent on much the 
same hues as the salmon at home. The mahseer has a 
superficial resemblance to the latter fish though of thicker 
build and with larger scales and a more carp-Mke appearance. 
This place was a weU-known fishing spot to the frontier 
officers though not as good as others higher up. StiU twenty- 
to thirty-pounders had been taken. 

We spent the afternoon setthng down, the river, of 
course, owing to the unexpected rain, being unfishable and 
this state of things lasted for the next two days. We tried, 
of course, but it was useless. On the second day, the water 
stiU being unpromising, I went twenty miles up-stream to 
explore. The forests up here were practically unworked 
for timber, only bamboos and canes being cut in them and 
rafted down-stream. The pernicious jhuming system was 
in force. A beautifully cheap existence these nomadic tribes 
Uved. Their houses are buUt of bamboos on bamboo piles 
bound together with creepers and canes. Their household 
utensils are chiefly made from bamboos and other property 
consists of a dug-out and a goat or two. Of garments I was 
going to say they had none. This is untrue. Still, they 
were so scanty as to be a neghgible factor in the year's 
expenditure — a shilling or two covering a year's wardrobe. 
All but the goat and clothes was obtained from the forest 
for nothing. » What a lot of money one could save by hving 
a nomadic existence of this kind for a year or two ! 

The jungles up here are extraordinarily dense and thick, 
and with a total absence of roads over the hills save for 
narrow footpaths or animal runs. Shooting is accordingly a 
most arduous pastime, the results obtained after extremely 
severe work being very small. I often discussed the question 
with the MUitary Police officers of these parts and they were 
aU of opinion that game was plentiful enough but very hard 
to get. 

The fauna of this great tract is of extraordinary interest. 



IN THE CHITTAGONG HILL TRACTS 117 

and there must be amongst the smaller forms of animal life, 
and especially insect hfe, many species as yet unknown to 
science. A systematic faunistic survey of the area is badly 
needed and would result in a rich reward to those under- 
taking it whilst at the same time providing interesting 
evidence on the distribution and spread of species and 
indicating the connecting Unks between the western and 
eastern hill ranges. 

Have you ever in the wild spaces of the earth suddenly 
and unexpectedly come across a fellow-countryman ? A 
curious sort of feeling, almost of shyness, comes over one. 
I went through this experience on my way back to-day. 
We had just started down-stream in the afternoon, when on 
rounding a bend I saw a large dug-out advancing and in the 
centre an unmistakable sahib in a topi. I knew the 
pohtical of the fastnesses up in the north was expected up 
the river, but had understood that he was to stay a day with 
us on his way up and I was looking forward to meeting him. 
As the approaching boat drew near my men said it was the 
Political Sahib. Our boats instinctively approached each 
other and we met, total strangers, as if close friends, so 
tight are the bonds of country when one meets in the wilds. 
We spent half an hour together and parted. It was some 
years before we met again and then the conditions were 
very different. The Viceroy's band was playing a most 
seductive waltz, a great ballroom was ablaze with gold and 
glitter, with fair ladies and gallant men, and we were all 
enjopng the golden hours, discussing the latest news 
from home, admiring or otherwise each other's clothes and 
talking Indian scandal. 

We got very few fish this trip. The weather was against 
us and all fishermen know what that means. The river was 
never once in real fishing condition, although usually at this 
time it is at its best. It was pure bad luck. I think five fish 
between us was the total bag, the largest about fifteen 
pounds. . But the whole trip was most enjoyable, and my 
host and myself had always much to discuss in the evening 
about the events of the day. Officially also the trip was a 
success, for a number of matters which had been pending 
and. creating friction for several years were settled. That is 
one of the best sides of India. So much real solid work can 
be got through out in camp, whether on a shooting trip or 
otherwise, provided aU parties are really keen on camp Hfe. 



ii8 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

There can be little doubt that too much sitting at head- 
quarters in the ofi&ce is the greatest deterrent to sound and 
more rapid progress in India as it is to obtaining an adequate 
knowledge of the people one has to govern or work with. 

I have alluded to the mithan, the bison of these parts. My 
remarks on the denseness of the forests in the HiU Tracts 
would lead to the inference that there was Mttle chance of get- 
ting near these or other animals. And such is the case over 
a great part of the country. In the more southern portions 
of the Hill Tracts area, however, the forests are more open ; 
hill-sides, probably jhumed in years gone by and so cleared 
of their primeval forest, are covered with bamboo growth 
only, principally the bamboo known as the muli bamboo, 
the stems of which grow out of the ground singly and 
not in clumps. Other tracts are covered with a tall coarse 
stout grass called sunngrass. Such clearings are known 
as sunnkholas and many of these were leased either by 
Government or their owners and cut over yearly. It was 
possible by judicious tending, removing coarse weeds, and 
burning after cutting, and so on, to greatly improve the 
quaUty and quantity of the grass on these areas and leases 
for a period of years were consequently given out. 

Here and in the adjacent tree-covered areas one could 
find sambhar, and the shikaris of these parts call the stags 
out by imitating the rather shrill note of the hind. This 
they do by placing a leaf flat between the closed palms and 
blowing on it edgeways, thus producing the doe's note to 
perfection. We used to go out either before daybreak, so as 
to get into position by dawn, or be in our place in the late 
afternoon. There was one favourite hill of mine a mile or so 
away from a planter friend's house. By proceeding east 
along a mud road the neighbourhood of a nullah was 
reached. This ravine was densely clothed with a magnifi- 
cent and luxuriant tropical vegetation and incidentally was 
full of fallen trees, monarchs whose day was done and past 
and who gave a lot of trouble to the progress of the stalker. 
An inspection of tracks here would almost invariably show 
that there were sambhar on the slopes of the hills higher up. 
The procedure then adopted was usually as follows : A man 
would be sent on to scout whilst we slowly wended out* way 
up the nullah, wading through the water whenever it 
became necessary. Sooner or later the man would return 
and tell us he had marked down one or more sambhar. 



IN THE CHITTAGONG HILL TRACTS 119 

On one such afternoon I remember the report was of two 
sambhar up on the hill to our left. We accordingly moved 
forward, and as soon as the ground became practicable 
climbed up the steep hill-side to our right. As soon as the 
dense tree growth had been left behind an examination was 
made of the upper parts of the opposite slope and a stag 
sambhar was spotted. The shikari then started calling the 
stag, who very soon answered to the apparent hind's call 
and began to move down the hill-side. As he did so he 
occasionally gave forth his deep note. This was suddenly 
answered or challenged by a stag's beU from higher up the 
valley. The latter, however, soon ceased, probably recog- 
nizing a formidable rival in the beast before us. I cannot say 
that I was enamoured of this method of killing stags, 
although in a dense jungle-covered country it was possibly 
the surest way to attain success. But omitting the slaying 
of the beast the actual calling him up and the study of the 
method of approach, especially when on a hill-side across a 
valley, was most fascinating. The method may be in 
existence in other parts, but I never saw it practised else- 
where myself. 

The southern part of the Hill Tracts District, all hilly, 
the ridges, covered with a lighter jungle, in some cases 
running right down into the CoUectorate and ultimately 
reaching the seaboard, were, as I have shown, quite shoot- 
able and practicable for stalking. It was in this area just 
within the borders of the HiU Tracts country that we 
went to search for the mithan, April and May before the 
rains had really commenced being the best months. I had 
not as much time to give to this sport as I should have liked, 
the work of the district being very heavy, but owing to 
the positions of some of my revenue stations and disputes 
over the sunnkholas, work luckily took me through this part 
of the country on several occasions. The year before I 
joined the district a party of three or four rifles had made a 
ten days' expedition and had good sport. Heat and thirst, 
I was told, were the chief drawbacks, and admittedly the 
damp heat of Eastern Bengal takes it out of one far more 
than the dry though even greater heat of Chota Nagpur and 
the Central Provinces. The party in question shaved their 
heads before starting and kept them bald, apparently, for 
coolness. Although satisfactory from their point of view 
the departure was not hailed enthusiastically by the ladies 



120 t>IARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

of the Station, two of the party being married men, and on 
their return they were left severely alone till in the course 
of time their polls became presentable again. 

Although the jungles were so different in character here, 
a deep green being the general colouring, as was the colour 
of our shikar suits (khaki being useless), the tracking was 
similar in many ways to the methods in favour in Chota 
Nagpur. Owing to the greater dampness in these jungles it 
was, however, far easier. 

I remember one occasion when we ran down a bull and the 
incident is typical of the procedure. 

It was late in the season, too late really for a variety of 
reasons, malaria being one. I had to go out on duty in the 
middle of June to meet the Collector over some dispute or 
other (these Chittagonians are the most cantankerous and 
htigious set of people on the face of the earth and give 
unending trouble) and I determined to make use of the 
occasion to visit some forests I had not yet been into. It 
was two years before I had visited the major part of the 
area I held charge of in this division, the country to be 
gone over being so large and the facilities for traveUing so 
inadequate. It has since been divided into two separate 
charges or divisions. 

I set off, allowing myself a day to have a look for bison. 
A hospitable planter friend whose tea garden was situated on 
the northern boundary of the district, the most remote of aU 
the tea gardens in these parts, was to be my host and I had 
a very interesting ride to get to his place. Two rivers had 
to be crossed in the morning and, safely negotiating these, 
I arrived at midday at a Uttle village, changing ponies on 
the way. My second mount, sent out for me by my friend, 
was a plucky little beast afid gave no trouble at the second 
crossing, imlike the other cross-grained brute, who got 
engulfed in black mud and was only extricated with con- 
siderable difficulty. At the village I found the place I 
wanted to inspect was a mile away by a village path. I set 
off to walk this. The Station was most prettily situated on 
the edge of a small river and entirely buried in bamboo 
clumps. No European had apparently been here for years. 
The inspection completed, I walked back to the viUager, ate 
my sandwiches, and then climbing on to a big horse, also 
belonging to my friend, I set off for his bungalow. That was 
a hot ride, the road being a new-made earth one. We had 



IN THE CHITTAGONG HILL TRACTS 121 

had a fair amount of rain already and the horse floundered 
about in the soft earth like a camel on a wet road. I was 
jolly glad to get in, and a warm welcome awaited me. 
Incidentally I did my friend a very bad turn in connexion 
with his new road. My kit was coming along on an elephant 
and the idiot of a mahout, with the official menial's disregard 
for an37thing and anyone non-official, took his beast right 
up the centre of the new soft road, gouging out twp-foot- 
deep circular holes with every stride the animal took. Most 
enraging can these men be. The elephant plus the mahout 
belonged to the Commissioner and not to me, but that did 
not make matters easier. 

Two-thirty a.m. saw me awakened next morning. A cup 
of tea and I dressed and had a solid meal in the dining-room. 
My friend was safely in bed and I envied him and devoutly 
wished I had never arranged to set out at such an unearthly 
hour. 

The forests of this part of India are quite unHke the dry, 
hot jungles of Chota Nagpur and the Central Provinces. 
Here the great heat is present but with it an atmosphere 
impregnated with moisture. Consequently one lives in a 
greenhouse temperature, and the flora is characteristic of 
such a temperature. A great number of species of giant 
timber trees fill the valleys and stretch up the lower 
slopes of the hills, with an under-story of smaller soft-wood 
species, cane brakes and grass, alternate with great expanses 
of scrub growth of soft-wood species or whole hiU-sides 
clothed with bamboos — the two latter the aftermath of the 
jhumer. The commonest bamboo is known as the muli 
(Melocanna bambusioides) which does not grow in clumps, 
each stem coming singly out of the ground from a ramifi- 
cated underground rhizome. As the stems often grow very 
thickly together it becomes very difficult to make one's way 
through them, and even more difficult to pick up a bison in 
such jungle. Tracking, owing to the soft ground, is easy, 
and the peril of the dry leaf and snapping twig underfoot is 
absent. The great difficulty I experienced was to pick out 
an animal in these new surroundings. In Chota Nagpur I 
had learnt to pick up a bison in its natural environment 
with fair ease. But that experience did not help me very 
much here. The sea of green in these jungles was of a totally 
different colouring and density with, consequently, as an 
artist will realize, a complete alteration in the play of light 



122 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

and shade. The difficulty was at its worst on the hill-sides 
covered with dense muli bamboo growth. 

When we set out on our quest, though the sky was over- 
cast and it was pitch dark the rain held off. 

The going was fair at first as we only had to follow the 
road running through the tea garden and connecting with 
one of the few main district roads existing in this part of the 
world. After proceeding in silence for about an hour (there 
was no cause for silence, but one is not in a talkative mood 
at this hour in the morning) we quitted the road and got 
on to a village path. We went through several small 
villages, being greeted by the village pi-dogs with the usual 
vociferous pandemonium ; in one instance the village chow- 
kidar was awake and we stayed a moment to have a few 
words with him. After quitting this village we entered the 
outskirts of the big high tree forest, and the going soon got 
so bad that I ordered a halt. It would be light in another 
half-hour, and I particularly wanted to see as much of this 
forest tract — one of the greatest interest to a forester and 
naturalist — as possible. The shikari with me was of a rather 
superior kind. He was a fairly well-educated Mahommedan, 
occupying a post as overseer on the tea garden, and had 
earned a great reputation as a shikari of parts, and I fancy 
as a first-class poacher to judge from the interesting con- 
versation we had at intervals. But he was passionately 
fond of the jungle and of shooting, and was quite prepared 
to stand up to a mithan if a sahib was by his side. He 
carried my second rifle with permission to use it if necessary. 
Altogether a novel article in shikaris in my experience. 

That day stands out vividly in my memory not only on 
account of the bison encounter which took place. It was 
the vast stretch of great tropical forest in which we became 
engulfed whith caught and held the imagination. Giant 
trees of great girth and height and of many different species 
stood up like the pillars of some vast cathedral, their 
crowns hidden by a lower story of vegetation, smaller trees, 
bamboos of several species, besides the httle muli, cane 
brakes, and an infinite variety of shrubs. The prevailing 
colour was many shades of green. Progression was not 
difficult as we kept to animal runs, but the going was'very 
heavy on the lower levels, and in these areas ten yards was 
the range of vision. As we climbed the hiUs the character 
of the forests changed, the trees thinning out, and often 



IN THE CHITTAGONG HILL TRACTS 123 

dense areas of pure muli bamboo growing thickly together 
alone occupied the hill-side. These areas were the result 
of jhuming, the fine timber trees which had previously occu- 
pied them having been ruthlessly cut down and burnt. 

It was nearing eleven o'clock and some rays of sunlight 
were shedding a vivid brilliance over the wonderful scene 
when we came upon the first tracks of a herd of mithan. 
We came upon them quite suddenly after getting into a 
valley. The animals were evidently not far away, and after 
a cursory examination we commenced to follow. The 
Mahommedan said there were about twenty animals in the 



c 









herd. We were neither of us in as hard condition as we 
would have liked, and the long march had begun to become 
fatiguing. But all trace of lassitude now disappeared. 
Silently we left the valley and climbed the hill, the forest 
opening out with clumps of bamboos and httle clearings 
appearing at intervals. We had just come to the edge of 
one of the latter when my companion touched my arm. I 
glanced at him and then in the direction in which he was 
gazing. I saw a clump of bamboos on the far edge with a 
dense mass of bamboos and other growth behind. In this 
mass a dim black shape loomed up. In the dense green 



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CHAPTER X 



THE JUNGLES OF THE BENGAL DUARS AND ASSAM 



Fauna oi Bengal Duars and Assam — Country to east and south — ^The 
rivers — Forest growth — Magnificent fauna sanctuaries- — Disappear- 
ance of big game in western part — ^The Tista Division — Methods of 
shooting — Rhinoceros — ^Types of forest — Game formerly abundant 
in Duars— Migration of elephants to hills — Sambhar — Reason for 
smaller heads — Sitting up over a salt-lick — Shift my post — The 
zareba — ^Moonlight in the forest — A sambhar appears — Night noises 
— ^An unexpected intruder — ^A tiger kills the sambhar — ^An uncertain 
shot — ^An anxious vigil — ^The morning's discovery. 

A SCORE of years ago, and less even than that, the 
elephant, bison, rhinoceros, all shy animals and 
animals requiring extensive junglfes to live in, 
roamed through the great jungles of the Bengal 
Duars and A^sam from the Jalpaiguri Forest Division 
eastwards, in numbers that may be characterized as large 
without undue exaggeration. 

Those who have a first-hand acquaintance with these 
jungles at the present day could tell a very different tale. 
And yet these great jungles stiU form, or could be made to 
form, an ideal sanctuary for game life, and animal hfe, 
speaking in a zoological sense, of this part of India. , 

To the west of the area under consideration stretch the 
extensive forests of the plains and submontane hiUs of 
Nepal, a country closed to shooting to the European save 

136 



JUNGLES OF BENGAL DUARS AND ASSAM 127 

by invitation of the Ruler or Durbar. To the east the 
Naga and Manipur Jungles of Eastern Assam stretch 
across the Chindwin River into the extensive, almost 
illimitable jungles of Upper Burma and still further east 
into Chinese Yunnan. South in the western area the great 
jungles are bounded by the cultivated plains, whilst in 
their eastern sections they stretch, as we have already seen 
in a previous chapter, southwards through the rough table- 
land of the Khasia and Garo Hills and the Lushai Hills 
into the Chittagong Hill Tracts and Chittagong Collectorate, 
and still further east, south of Manipur, through the Chin 
Hills into the Arakan Hill Tracts to Akyab on the sea- 
coast. On the north this extensive tract of country is 
bounded by the great chain of the Eastern Himalaya, 
Bhutan and the outlying parts of Tibet, rising more or less 
steeply out of the plains, and forming a natural barrier to 
the further extension of the fauna of the region in that 
direction. The great Brahmaputra, that highway of Assam, 
drains north-eastern Assam as its great tributary, the 
Megna, does the south, the former eventually joining the 
Ganges. The two rivers best known to the sportsman are the 
Tista on the west, coming from Sikkim and flowing down the 
beautiful Tista Valley, and the Monas on the eastern borders 
of Assam, famed for its mahseer fishing. The tract of 
country under consideration is for the greater part under 
forests, in the form of fine primeval high forest of valu- 
able timber trees and other soft-wooded species of all ages 
and in great variety, varied by extensive tracts covered 
by bamboos, cane brakes, grasses, or scrub jungle. 

The whole of this area is not under the management of the 
Indian Forest Department. We have seen that Nepal is an 
independent State, to give one exception. So is Bhutan to 
the east of Nepal. But a vast tract of the area above 
roughly enumerated is under the charge of the Department, 
either in the form of Reserves, Protected, or Unclassed 
Forests. Perhaps nowhere in India is to be found so large 
an extent of practically conterminous heavy jungle — ^jungles 
capable of forming a permanent sanctuary to the larger and 
shier, as equally to seme of the smaller and rarer forms of 
zoological life and to forms which are at present unknown 
to science. Nowhere throughout the Indian Empire is the 
zoological life of greater interest to the scientist, and in no 
other part would the institution of great permanent sane- 



128 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

tuaries be more feasible or prove of such high value both 
in the interests of the maintenance of the fauna and of its 
study. 

The opening of the country has been largely responsible for 
the restriction of the animals' haunts in Bengal and Assam. 
For instance the Western Duars no longer contain sufficiently 
extensive jungles to harbour rhinoceros and buffalo. To the 
apathy displayed in the past by the authorities in this region 
is attributable the deterioration of the stock almost to the 
verge of extinction. The forests are in large blocks, and it 
would have been sufficient to enforce the existing rules 
under the Forest Act. Neglect on this score has now 
reduced the numbers of such animals as rhinoceros, buffalo 
and bison to such small figures that deterioration if not 
extinction must follow. This point, i.e. the neglect to 
enforce existing rules and regulations, appMes, or apphed 
till recently, generally throughout India. 

In Assam sanctuaries have been in existence for some 
years' in Goalpara and elsewhere, and these are closed to all 
shooting. In Jalpaiguri and the Buxa Duars no rhinoceros, 
buffalo or bison may be shot at all, as the forests are 
nominally sanctuaries for these animals, but the blocks of 
forest are too small to contain animals of such wandering 
propensities. Access to the Bhutan Hills during the hot 
weather is also now cut off, owing to the settlements of 
NepaUs on the outer hills. The animals thus have a much 
restricted habitat, and cannot get away into the outer 
hills as formerly during the fly season in the hot weather. 

Fortunately Burma was disarmed comparatively recently, 
and the Government has not granted gun hcences in anything 
like the same numbers as elsewhere. In many places game 
is believed to have increased, but the European sportsman 
has been at»work there and the fine herds of brow-antlered 
deer or Thamin {Cervus Eldi) were almost exterminated 
before measures of protection were introduced. Deteriora- 
tion must of necessity follow even if the race does not 
become exterminated. 

During a dehghtful two years' sojourn in charge of the 
Tista Division with headquarters in the beautiful Httle 
hill station of Kahmpong, four thousand feet up in the 
Himalaya (British Sikkim), and some twenty-five miles to 
the east of Darjiling, I was able to make some acquaintance 
with the plains fauna of the Bengal Duars, the western 



JUNGLES OF BENGAL DUARS AND ASSAM 129 

part of the area I am discussing. Some years later I was 
able to extend my observations during a tour through 
Goalpara to the east of the Bengal Duars, and still further 
east into the Tezpur jungles. 

They are magnificent jungles in this western tract, alike 
in many characteristics to the great Terai jungles of North- 
West India, which we shall consider later, but so unlike in 
others. The sdl tree, which reaches the eastern boundary 
of its range near Tezpur, forms the principal species com- 
mercially in these great forests as it does in the Terai, but 
how different is their character ! Here in the east the 




climate is very hot and very damp, with the consequence 
that the vegetation is exceedingly dense, abounding in 
creepers, undergrowth, and tall grass, almost impervious, 
save to the elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo, whilst the 
luxuriant growth of canes, bamboos, giant creepers, a 
variety of briUiant flowering shrubs, and gorgeous-coloured 
orchids point to the tropical nature of the area. The grass 
both in and outside the forests is dense and high, and 
shooting save from the back of an elephant is almost an 
impossibility, if results are to be secured. Practically the 
only other method is to sit in a machan. In the foothills 
to the north the rhinoceros is sometimes pursued on foot. 



130 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

the animal being tracked down into some mud-hole where 
he is wallowing, keeping off the flies and passing away the 
heat of the day ; but such work is extremely arduous in 
the terrific and enervating heat. I never had the chance 
of tr5H[ng it myself, which was disappointing, as I should 
have liked to compare it with bison tracking in Chota 
Nagpur, the Central Provinces and elsewhere. 

Further to the north in Assam and to the east a different 
type of forest — the so-called " evergreen " forest — is met 
with. These areas are still more impenetrable, canes, 
creepers, bamboos, and tall grass forming dense thickets 
beneath the high tree growth. Shooting in these jungles, 
as already indicated in the Chittagong Hill Tracts which 
have a similar type of forest, is an extremely difficult, 
arduous and usually barren pastime. 

It was a glorious two years, those years spent in the 
Tista Division. My work kept me down in the plains all 
the cold weather. The country here is covered with ilhmit- 
able stretches of tea ctiltivation interspersed with patches 
of heavy jungle of varjdng size belonging either to the tea 
gardens or under the management of the Forest Depart- 
ment. Game at this period was abundant, although already 
a note of alarm at its decrease was being sounded by the 
older planters who were fond of descanting on its abundance 
in the " good old days," as they called them. Of course 
the clearances of great tracts of primeval forest and jungle 
for tea cultivation would have a natural effect on the 
distribution of the animals previously existing in the 
locahty, and the probability is that at the time I am writing 
of the animals were nearly as abundant only they had 
retired to a greater distance from the areas cleared for 
cultural purposes. Anyway, at the period of my first 
acquaintance with this area it was a paradise for sport. 
Tiger may be said to have been plentiful, leopard numerous, 
bison (gaur) not yet exterminated from these western areas, 
and elephants yearly visitants in the monsoon months. In 
fact some probably remained aU the year round, retiring up 
into the higher hiUs to the north during the hot weather 
when the big horse-flies proved too much of a curse even 
for the thick skins of these pachyderms. '- 

It was ever a source of interest to me to travel up into 
the mountains from the plains forests by one of these 
elephant paths or runs. Hollowed out or beaten down 



JUNGLES OF BENGAL DUARS AND ASSAM 131 

throughout the centuries by generations upon generations 
of these great beasts, the track was an interesting and 
stupendous sight. Usually following a steep gradient up 
the hill-side the soil 
pressed down into a 
solid rock-like con- 
sistency, the track 
would on occasions 
reach a steepish preci- 
pice of soHd rock. In 
the face of this giant 
footsteps appeared, to 
all seeming hewn out 
of the solid rock and 
subsequently rubbed 
smooth as pumice 
stone. Perhaps at the 
foot a beautifully clear 
silent pool would be 
situated, overarched 
by clumps of feathery 
bamboos with the 
crowns of the great 
forest trees far above 
them. It was difficult 
to conceive how the great beasts managed to cUmb this 
precipice by way of the giant footsteps, and yet these latter 
have been worn out by generations undertaking the summer 
outing to the hills. There was no other road. They went 
up and, more incredible and astonishing even they returned, 
by the one track. 

Sambhar were abundant although the heads of this 
animal ran much smaller in this part of the world than one 
had been accustomed to in the Central Provinces and Chota 
Nagpur, or in the jungles of North-West India. Whether 
this fact has ever been authoritatively explained I am not 
aware. A number of reasons have been stated from time 
to time, but no proof appears to have substantiated them. 
Perhaps the damper more tropic heat may have something 
to do with the lessened growth of the horn structure of the 
Cervidce and the greater weight the animals scale. 

I know that it is contended that the thicker growth of 
the low jungle has resulted in the stags developing smaller 




132 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

horns to enable them to get through the dense tangle with 
greater ease. But this, on the other hand, does not explain 
the decrease in the size of heads of the red deer in Scotland, 
where the deer "forests" are absolutely treeless and 
destitute of any scrubby growth which would afford an 
impediment to the horns of the stags. 

One of the best methods of securing sambhar or of 
watching them, a pastime I was much addicted to, was to 
sit up in a machan over a salt-lick. The animals used to 

resort at night to 
j<~ these areas, a saline 

deposit of var5dng but 
usually small extent 
on the surface of the 
ground, and on moon- 
light nights it was 
most interesting to 
watch such places. 
Many hours I passed 
in a machan situated 
in a Uttle nullah just 
off the Tista River 
where it debouches 
from the hills into the 
plains. There was a 
^^^<jrr^^ "tT- \ fa^J^ous salt-hck here 

which was resorted 
to by numberless 
animals, and the attendances enabled me to form a fair idea 
of the abundance of wild Uf e in that area. Of course I was 
not always successful in my vigils. On certain bitterly cold 
nights in the winter I remember passing some very miserable 
hours, vowing that I would never again give up a night 
between the blankets in a warm bed for such a questionable 
form of amusement. But the vow always appeared a 
f ooUsh one a day or two later, and the fascination exerted 
by the jungle folk and their ways invariably drew me back 
again and again. 

I remember with pecuUar vividness one particularly 
cold night just before Christmas, both on account of the 
petrifying cold and because it was one of the few occasions, 
I think the only one, on which I saw a tiger at this particular 
place. A party of men from the garrison in Darjiling were 




JUNGLES OF BENGAL DUARS AND ASSAM 133 

coming down for a week's Christmas shoot with me. Our 
first camp was to be in the neighbourhood of the salt-Hck 
in question, and a day or two before I determined to spend 
the night in the machan and see what animals were in the 
vicinity. 

I may say that there was a smaller salt-lick situated 
upon a little plateau about a mile and a half from the one 
I usually watched. On the edge of the smaller one I had 
had constructed a tiny zareba of branches and thorns on 
the ground. On occasions I watched here and sometimes 
if the big salt-lick proved blank I changed my quarters, 
but this only on very bright moonlight nights. With the 
perverseness of the jungle folk on some nights the small 
lick would be visited by aU the animals in the vicinity 
whilst the larger one, where I sat up aloft, remained deserted. 
Nevertheless, I preferred the latter as one could see more 
when perched up above the ground, and the risk of fever 
was infinitely less. 

On the night in question I changed my abode, shifting 
from the machan to the zareba at about midnight, up to 
which hour I had seen no sign of pad or hoof. The reason 
I gave myself was that I really wished to know what 
animals were about for the sake of my expected friends. 
The true facts were, however, that I was so appallingly 
cold that I felt I could not sit up there another minute ; 
also a slight mist was coming up from the river and I felt 
sure it would thicken later. The chattering of my orderly's 
teeth, too, got on my nerves, and when I tried to lift the 
rifle I found I could not feel it at all. Get out of that 
machan I must, and it meant either bed or the zareba. 
I had intended bed, but after getting down and stamping 
some circulation into my feet and hands, to the orderly's 
speechless disgust, I gave the order for a move to the 
zareba. 

My three years in India, whilst inoculating me with a zest 
for aU pertaining to the jungles and jungle life, had hardly 
instilled into me that sufficient knowledge which results in 
the intuitive exercise of a certain amount of caution or dis- 
cretion, call it which you wiU, whilst out hunting in the 
forest. It is that instinctive caution which animates the 
jungle-man. He does not move about unknown jungles in 
the dark, and on the occasion in question my orderly, a man 
from the Nepal Hills and plucky enough in the daytime, 



134 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

was perhaps justified in his exhibition of distrust at my 
proceedings. However, he came along, all honour to him, 
for he knew the risk better than I did. As a matter of fact 
the rest of the night's proceedings opened my eyes not a 
little. How casually one takes these jungle experiences 
whilst they are happening. All in the day's work one passes 
from incident to incident and episode to episode, getting 
perhaps in and out of a tight place with scarce an' after- 
thought, for several weeks together. And then a long period 
without event supervenes, to be once more followed by a 
period of incidents. To look back at or write about, these 
exciting portions of jungle life loom so much more largely 
in the eye than they do, I will not say at the time of their 
occurrence for then they may be exciting enough in all 
conscience ; but when the lapse of a few days has brought 
some new interest or episode into the foreground of one's 
camp Ufe. 

I digress with a reason for our change to the zareba on 
this particular occasion ran us up against one of the exciting 
experiences of jungle life and one which might easily have 
turned out otherwise. For on such apparently trivial 
happenings hang the decisions in these jungle adventures. 
The adventure occurred in this way. 

We soon covered the mile and a half from the machan 
to the zareba, I proceeding in front, rifle at fuU cock and the 
orderly following behind, teeth stiU playing their tune, 
though it was not perhaps now solely due to cold. For 
myself, as soon as I had restored my circulation and the 
resultant pricking pains had departed I was perfectly happy. 
Our chmb quickly took us out of the thin mist through 
undergrowth which was sopping wet. The forest in the 
bright moonlight was hke fairyland, the foliage glinting 
and glancing as it caught the rays of moonlight. We went 
as fast as the jungle growth permitted, and in a little over 
half an hour were inside the zareba. I caU it a zareba, but 
truth to say it merely consisted of branches stuck into the 
ground and intertwined with jungle creepers and bits of 
thorny shrubs. It was quite sufficient to hide us, but a hali- 
grown sambhar or a pig could have run through it with ease. 
Once ensconced in our hiding-place I took a pull at a«fiask 
of strong whiskey and water, devoured some biscuits, and 
then prepared myself for the rest of the vigil. 

The night was a perfectly still one, the leaves hanging 



JUNGLES OF BENGAL DUARS AND ASSAM 135 

motionless from tree and shrub in the bright moonlight 
which fell fuU upon the small glade in which the salt-Hck 
was situated. Our zareba lay in dense shadow as did the 
greater part of the surrounding forest, patches of moon- 
light appearing only in one or two places beyond the 
clearing. The forest was alive with sound ; the crickets 
were shrieking -as usual, night bush warblers and other 
nocturnal birds were voicing their sibilant or harsh notes, 
whilst at intervals the hoarse haunting hoot of owls rose on 
the night air, sounding Uke the cries of lost souls in pur- 
gatory. Weirdly uncanny are some of the night cries and 
sounds in an Indian forest. For an hour, perhaps longer, 
I sat and watched the little glade hstening to these var5dng 
night sounds with always that persistent under note of the 
crickets. Once a khakar suddenly and silently appeared 
out of the darkness of the forest and stood ghostly grey in 
the clearing. For a brief space he remained as though 
carved in stone, intently listening, and then vanished as 
quietly as he had come. 

I was beginning to wonder whether the vigil was to be a 
blank when I suddenly saw two round beads of fire, twin 
stars set close together in the darkness of the forest on the 
other side of the clearing. I first thought of fire-flies, to 
dismiss the idea as quickly as it had flashed across my 
mind. An animal, and from their height probably a 
sambhar, I surmised. No sound had I heard and for 
minutes nothing happened, only at times the stars dis- 
appeared as the wary animal moved its head from side to 
side and nosed the air for enemies. For a full minute the 
points of light disappeared altogether, and I was beginning 
to fear that the animal had retreated when I suddenly 
heard a slight rustle a little to the right of where they had 
appeared, and immediately afterwards a fine stag sambhar 
stepped quietly out into the clearing. Stepped out and 
came to a halt, head erect, muzzle pushed forward, nostrils 
dilated, and ears flicked to the front. He stood there as if 
carved in bronze, the moonlight turning to silver his antlers 
and upper parts, the rest being in dense shadow. 

I had not come out to kill so much as to watch, and I 
had not made up my mind as to whether I should fire or 
not when fate intervened, and one of the tragedies of the 
forest was enacted before my eyes. Almost without a 
sound a mighty black shadow, coming from our right rear. 



13$ DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

hurled itself through the air, and with a startled appealing 
beUow the lordly stag was borne to earth. A struggle of 
wildly kicking hoofs, a few gasps and gurgles and a rifle 
shot awoke the quiet depths of the forest. 

As the dark shadow hurtled through the air I gasped 
with amazement, and was conscious of a sudden frightened 
ejaculation from my companion. With the fall of the stag 
I came back to the reaUties, and keeping my fascinated eyes 
fixed upon the drama being enacted before them raised the 
rifle and so far as it was possible in the medley of conflicting 
black and silver shadows on the ground sighted on the black 
shape and fired. The sharp report was answered by a 
deafening roar, a roar which I afterwards interpreted as one 
of fright and rage, and a black and silver form leapt across 
the clearing and disappeared into the forest opposite, 
almost at the point from which the stag had issued. The 
briefest interval of crushing and rustMng bushes and then 
a deep silence ensued. The stag lay inert, evidently dead. 

I drew a deep breath. The shape was a tiger, and I 
wondered whether it had been stalking us when the sambhar 
had so opportunely appeared on the scene, or whether it 
was as unaware of oiir presence as we were of his. 

These were my first speculations, but they were soon 
succeeded by the tantalizing hopes and fears as to whether 
I had hit him or not. The whole drama was one of seconds 
only — could not have been longer. It had all occurred in a 
flash — ^the hurthng shadow, the felling of the sambhar to 
the ground, the report of the rifle and retreat of the tiger. 
And yet it had left different conditions behind it in the 
little clearing. The crickets, it is true, soon restarted their 
stance if indeed they had ever interrupted it, but otherwise 
a deeper silence pervaded the forest for other night sounds 
had ceased. We ourselves were very much on the alert 
and not a little uncomfortable, and passed the rest of the 
night sitting back to back very broad awake with our 
cocked rifles, for I luckily had two weapons with me, ready 
for instant use. My mind was in a whirl of anxiety as to 
the result of my shot and my inexperience led me to fear 
that I might have made more sure of my shot had I waited 
till the struggle was over. But I had fired without stopping 
to consider details. It was with a feeling of great rehef 
that at length I perceived the waning moonhght give place 
to the first pale note of the dawn. Soon the trees began to 



JUNGLES OF BiENGAL DUARS AND ASSAM 137 

stand out dim and grey from the surrounding twilight, and 
with the wonderful abruptness of the East the dawn arrived. 
Cautiously and quietly we left the zareba and walked up to 
the dead sambhar. It lay on its side, head and neck out- 
stretched and throat torn open and, as we soon discovered, 
with a bullet through the heart. So my shot had missed 
the tiger or, at any rate, had killed the sambhar, if it was 
not already dead at the time I fired, which appearances 
seemed to indicate. We made a short survey of the neigh- 
bouring grass for blood, but found none, and then I deemed 
it to be more prudent to get back to camp and fetch the 
elephant. I spent the morning searching for that tiger, 
but found no traces of blood. It appeared evident that, 
as ill-luck would have it, the bullet aimed at the struggling 
mass on the ground hit the dying or dead victim and missed 
the marauder, which is exactly the kind of mischance which 
so often happens in sport, and probably accounts for half 
its elusive attraction and charm. 

The incident proved, however, a most cheerful and 
exciting piece of news to give to the guests of the Christmas 
party on their arrival, and I feel sure that each man retired 
to roost on the first night with the conviction that he would 
meet a tiger during his first day's sport in such a delectable 
region. 





CHAPTER XI 



THE JUNGLES OF SOUTHERN INDIA 



The jungles of Southern India — Description of country — Ootacamund — 
The Ooty Hunt — ^A boar at close quarters — ^The river system — 
Denudation of forests — Cauvery Power Works — Game of the country 
— ^Malabar and Kanara — Dense jungles — Flora and hunting con- 
ditions — ^A queer shikari and a bull bison — Anacondu, shikari — 
Malabar jungles at night — ^A morning sunrise — ^A long trek after a 
great herd — Run into the bison — An impatient shikaii — Wound a 
bull — Follow the trail — ^Typical jungle scenes — Come up with bull 
again — He again makes off — Dense bamboo jungle — ^The final tussle. 

THE fine jungles of Southern India cover a very 
considerable area of the great triangular tract of 
country situated to the south of tlie Nerbudda 
River. This territory comprises the Native 
State of Travancore, famed amongst shikaris for its glorious 
sporting possibiUties ; the Annamalhes and Palni HiUs ; 
the Wynaad, Coorg, Malabar and Kanara Forests. East- 
wards the jilhgles stretch through Southern Mysore to 
Denkanicotta. The heavy forests fringing the Western 
Ghats run from Malabar northwards as far as Sangor in the 
Central Provinces, and those along the Eastern Ghats are 
also prolonged northwards on that side of the country to 
Sambalpur in the Central Provinces, and on into Chota 
Nagpur to the north-east. The Nizam's Dominions of the 
Great Haiderabad State are situated in the North Central 
portion of the triangle, and contain jungles which afford 
an asylum to most of the varieties of big game — an asylum 
in which the game conservancy policy undertaken for some 

138 



THE JUNGLES OF SOUTHERN INDIA 139 

years past should result in maintaining, if not increasing, 
the head of game. 

What a country this great tract is for the sportsman ! 
Here the elephant and bison roam in numbers which, 
owing to the extent and density of the jungles in many 
parts, have remained almost unaffected by the rifle. The 
poacher has done infinitely more damage ; and that dreaded 
scourge which resembles a form of anthrax, from which 
elephant, bison, buffalo and deer appear to be alike subject 
to decimation. 

The territory here dealt with is broken up into series of 
hills, rising even to mountains, culminating towards the 
south in the beautiful Ootacamund Hills, a stretch of turf- 
covered downs reaching eight thousand feet in elevation, 
interspersed here and there with Uttle jungle-filled cup- 
shaped depressions termed " sholas," and artificially formed 
Eucalyptus plantations. 

The Ootacamund Downs provide an excellent hunting- 
ground, and Ooty has a first-class Hunt, the conditions of the 
chase being more reminiscent of home than is the case with any 
of the other Hunts I have been out with in India and Burma. 

The animal hunted, as is usual in India, is the jackal, 
and fine gallops are enjoyed over the rolling downs, the 
only drawbacks being the treacherous bogs and swamps 
which are encountered and have to be crossed at the bottom 
of the slopes ; and the sholas into which the hunted jack 
seeks shelter. The shola may be occupied by anything 
from a tiger, leopard, sambhar, boar, down to smaller fry. 
The hounds running a jack into a shola naturally follow in 
after him. And herein lies the danger. For if any of the 
larger game animals should be in the way hounds quit the 
.old quarry for the new and commence to bay it, often with 
exciting results. Many a fine hound is lost in this way — 
English hounds imported from home at great expense. So 
dense is the evergreen forest and undergrowth of these 
sholas that they are almost impenetrable. The huntsmen 
and Master carry heavy revolvers for these occasions. But 
it often requires pluck of no ordinary kind to use them. I 
remember a yam which was going round Ooty on my 
arrival there one season. The week before hounds ran 
their jack into a shola and followed in. Within a very 
short space bedlam broke loose inside. The hounds had 
got on to an old boar. The few riders.up did their best to 



140 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

see what was going on, but the jungle was too thick. A 
piercing shriek or two and the furious grunts of the boar 
made it too evident that the hounds were getting the worst 
of it. The revolver was produced and a volunteer called 
for to use it. " V.C." Al37mer formed one of the party and 
volunteered to go in. He did so on all fours. He worked 
his way up somehow to the centre of the din and put a 
couple of bullets into piggy at point-blank range. Two 
fine hounds were killed that morning besides others wounded. 
I must get back to my description of this southern area. 
Great rivers, such as the Godavery in the north, the Kistna, 
and the Cauvery intersect the country, filled by many an 
important tributary and rushing torrent descending from 
the hilly areas. All these rivers flow eastwards to the 
coast. The main branch of the Godavery rises near Bombay, 
two-thirds of the river flowing through the Haiderabad 
State. They all flow through the forest-clad highlands of 
the Deccan, finally reaching the flat, alluvial delta of the 
coast. In the Wynaad, Coorg, and other parts, consider- 
able areas of forest have been cleared from the hill-sides by 
the planters for the cultivation of coffee and other crops ; 
whilst fire and axe, before the systematic conservation of 
the forests came into force, resulted in a serious decrease of 
the forest area in parts of the hiUy tracts. These clearances 
have had some effect on the maintenance of the level of 
the water supply in the rivers, and have also resulted in 
erosion on the • uncovered slopes, leading to devastating 
floods. The great floods of 1908 in Haiderabad are directly 
attributable to this cause. Many other parts of India have 
paid a like penalty for the ignorance displayed in the past in 
this matter. The apathy evinced towards the question of 
the necessity of maintaining the catchment areas of the rivers 
under forest is amazing when it is remembered that India 
is primarily an agricultural country, and that irrigation is 
so commonly employed for the cultivation of the crops. 
Now that the rivers of India are being harnessed for the 
production of power, such as the Cauvery in Mysore, to 
supply the power for the Kola Gold Fields, one of the 
first instances of a river being utilised in this fashion in the 
country, this question of the protection of the mountain 
and hiU slopes by forest is one the importance of which is 
becoming fuUy recognized. But I well remember on the 
occasion of my visit to the Cauvery Power Works, anxiety 



THE JUNGLES OF SOUTHERN INDIA 141 

being expressed as to the possibility of the level of the 
Cauvery falling in the hot season below the point necessary 
for the provision of the power required. 

The realization of the necessity of maintaining under 
forest the hilly tracts of the country, ensures the conser- 
vation of a great tract of forest country which will afford 
shelter to the jungle denizens, and we may hope that the 
day will never arise when the jungles of Southern -India 
will fail to afford an asylum to the animals which render 
them of such high interest to the shikari and naturahst. 

I have alluded to the elephant and bison as being, speak- 
ing generally, distributed through the denser portions of 
these jungles. With them are the tiger and leopard, the 
deer, such as the sambhar, spotted deer, barking deer, 
antelope, represented by the little Indian gazelle or 
chinkara, and so forth. 

Until 1870 elephants could be shot anjnvhere, but since 
then the shooting of this animal has been prohibited in all 
areas under the Government of India, though permission 
is stiU given in the Native States, such as Travancore. 

My knowledge of the sport obtainable in these southern 
jungles was derived during three trips paid at varying 
intervals to parts of the Mysore, Coimbatore and Anna- 
mally jungles, to the South Kanara and Malabar Forests, 
and to some of the scrub forests on the eastern coast. The 
varying character of the forest visited determined the 
nature of the large fauna to be sought for. But bison and 
sambhar, as also elephants, though they were taboo, I 
saw plenty of. Tiger and leopard were tried for with 
indifferent success so far as the former animal was con- 
cerned. But this was primarily due to the fact that I 
never had the time to sit down and carry out a prearranged 
plan of campaign against them — a matter of necessity where 
success is to be made reasonably secure. A novel kind of 
sport to me, outside the Himalaya, was the ibex stalking 
in the Coimbatore Hills, but my knowledge of this was 
confined to three well-remembered days. 

Bears are, of course, common in parts, but with bigger 
game to encounter I never wasted much time over them 
down here. Groves of the date palm are a common sight 
in this part of India. The owners tap the trees by making 
incisions in the stem, catching the sweet sap in small 
earthen pots. This sap ferments quickly in the sun and 



142 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

then becomes a strong intoxicant. Bears are very partial 
to this drink, which is known as toddy, and smash the 
pots to get at it. They say that it makes them drunk ! I 
never saw an intoxicated bear. Uncouth as his actions 
always are he would be a comical sight when drunk. 

Bison were the animals I chiefly tried for, and in the 
dense jungles on the Kanara and Malabar side he provides a 
magnificent sport. But one must be in hard condition to 
enjoy it and obtain success. 

These great jungles are dense and high, giant forest 
trees of teak and other species being interspersed with 
large clumps of the giant bamboo, its slender side branches 
armed with long, sharp spikes, causing extreme discomfort 
when one finds one's clothes, and often flesh as well, impaled 
on them ; dense cane brakes have to be skirted, areas of 
tussocky grass negotiated, whilst the going underfoot, so 
far as my experience goes, consists of a heavy mire deeply 
impressed with the footprints made by wild elephants (a 
foot or two deep these), bison, sambhar, and so forth, 
amongst which one flounders, stumbles and sinks as in a 
giant morass. Throw in a damp greenhouse temperature 
of between 90 degrees and 100 degrees, and you have the 
conditions under which the sportsman pursues and enjoys 
the cream of big game shooting in Malabar. 

And both jungles and sport are magnificent. I remember 
a day, a very long day, I had with a shikari named Anacondu, 
as vividly as if the events had taken place only yesterday. 

Anacondu, quite a fine type of the native shikaris of 
that part of the world, had been lent to me owing to the 
extraordinary behaviour of the man I first took on. The 
latter had, or was supposed to have, some reputation as a 
tracker and shikari of parts. In the former capacity I had 
no fault to find with him. After tracking an old soUtary 
bull bison for some six weary hours through pestilentially 
thick and hot jungle for the most part, we came to a rise 
in the ground and started to cHmb a small hiU covered with 
a coarse tussocky grass, with scattered, small trees and a 
few bamboo clumps. All the evidence went to show that 
the bison was close, and we expected to find him Ijdng up 
in the shade of one of the trees or bamboo clumps. Half-flfay 
up the hill — ^we were climbing it bent almost double — my 
companion touched me on the arm and went silently 
forward round a small clump of bamboos. He soon re- 



THE JUNGLES OF SOUTHERN INDIA 143 

appeared and beckoned me forward. I wormed my way 
to him and followed a short distance ventre d terre. He 
pointed in front. I could see a tree about twenty-five 
yards ahead, with a crown of fair size, but nothing else 
from my position. I moved slightly to the right, and there 
burst on my vision the sight of a fine old bull standing at 
an angle towards me, swishing the flies off with his tail. 
My position was not a good one for the shoulder shot, but 
a very short move still further to the right would be suffi- 
cient, and I proceeded to execute the movement without 
further reference to the shikari. I attained the desired 
position and slowly drew up the heavy rifle and sighted on 
the bull. As I was about to press the trigger the barrels 
of the rifle were struck violently upwards and a man leapt 
up at my side and shouted. A startled snort from the bison, 
followed by a rattle of stones and thud of heavy hooves, 
and the animal disappeared, over the top of the rise and 
could be heard stampeding down the other side. I turned 
round, furiously. There stood the shikari, almost white 
through his dusky skin and shaking like an aspen leaf. His 
was the form that had leapt up beside me, and it was his 
arm that had struck up the rifle. I had quite a lot to say 
to him in the heat of the moment, and said it pretty forcibly ; 
but as I could not speak his language I got no satisfaction 
at the time, nor at the subsequent enquiry which my friend 
conducted in my presence. I never had another instance 
of the kind. 

It was sufficiently evident that the man lost his nerve 
at the last moment, and we had to leave it ait that. But 
it was a maddening contretemps. The five-hour tramp 
back was a bad one, and I had not the heart to fire at either 
of the two very fine sambhar. stags we ran into on the way 
home — one of them the finest head I ever saw in Madras. 

This is a long digression from my day with Anacondu, 
but it may be useful as a possible experience for others. 

The day in question was typical of others enjoyed in the 
Southern Presidency. 

We, made the usual early start, i.e. middle of the night, 
2.30 a.m., which, often as I did it, I never could be got to 
face with any enthusiasm. 

Within a few hundred yards of the Uttle forest rest-house 
we had just quitted, we were floundering in the miry 
morass of the high forest and had started on our rough 



144 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

tramp. The only other forests I am acquainted with at 
all resembling the Malabar ones for morasses are those in 
North Russia, and they are worse. One requires hip boots 
to tackle these. But there one does not get the elephant- 
foot imprints to fall into. Six miles lay before us in order 
to reach a place where the shikari's information led him 
to expect that he would find fresh traces of a big herd of 
bison ; and those six miles ran, apparently, entirely along 
a wild elephant track. It was a nightmare of a walk, my 
recollection of which is that I spent the best part of three 
hours in getting into and slowly pulUng my legs Out of 
two-foot deep pot-holes filled to the brim with water, left 
by a herd of elephants of all sizes that had preceded us but 
an hour or two earlier. We passed close to them at some 
time during that trek, but they did not wind us ; they 
were making too much noise in tearing down branches 
from the trees to hear us, and we were quite glad to hurry 
away from their vicinity. 

Quite suddenly, when I was near the end of my tether 
for the time being, Anacondu, a dim, flitting shadow in 
front of me aU this time, halted. We had arrived and 
were to await the dawn. All too soon it appeared. Trees, 
dim shadows till then, took on sharp outUnes with amazing 
swiftness, the sky paled and then gleamed ; the crest of a 
dark mass in front became outlined in yellow and red, and 
fingers of light crept down the hiU-side, dissipating the 
shadows with that incredible rapidity which is a never- 
ending surprise in the East. Anacondu had disappeared, 
and awaiting his return I watched the beautiful scene with 
a keen rehsh which, often as I had seen it, never palled. 
The shikari reappeared. He had found the tracks of the 
herd. Forty or fifty animals he thought it contained. 

Having scant time at my disposal to give to sport on this 
trip, it had been understood that I was prepared to follow 
any tracks which appeared Hkely to give me a shot at a 
decent head, as I could not afford to risk a blank day by 
spending time looking for the tracks of a sohtary bull. If 
fortune took us across any we would follow them if fresh 
enough. Otherwise a herd must suffice. 

We now took up the tracks of this mighty herd, a far 
larger one than I had ever met in Chota Nagpur or the 
Central Provinces. Even in Eastern Bengal I had never 
come across a herd of this dimension) though the forests 



THE JUNGLES OF SOUTHERN INDIA 145 

^ here had something of the character of the Chittagong Hill 
Tracts. These jungles are, however, if not denser, infinitely 
heavier going and more miry, and the bamboo clumps of 
far greater size. In fact, in my experience they more 
resemble the evergreen forests of North Assam. But there 
you move about on elephants, whilst here we were on foot. 

For two hours we followed those tracks, the ground 
churned to deep, sticky mud by the hooves of the heavy 
animals. I was in stout boots and gaiters. One had to be 
in such going and one slipped about at every step. The 
spikes and thorns of the bamboos kept catching my clothing, 
in impatiently freeing which — no one, not even Job, could 
keep patient under such conditions — the hands got torn, 
not to mention other and more tender parts of the anatomy. 
And through it all Anacondu ghded on unconcernedly and 
hghtly, though one was glad to see that even he, carrjdng 
the heavy rifle, got bogged at times. 

We plodded on in this fashion and two hours went by. 
The herd was browsing slowly forward, and my experience 
with bison showed me that we were closing up and might 
run into it at any moment. 

We had dropped down a slight incline and entered a 
dense mass of bamboos. Proceeding cautiously round a 
great dense clump, Anacondu dropped quietly in his tracks. 
I sat uncomfortably in mine, in a pool of water. But all 
lassitude and disgust had now disappeared. I could see 
from the man's face that we had reached the end of the 
petty worries. Suddenly I heard a rustle as of a heavy 
animal moving about. Listening intently, other sounds 
came to my ears, and I reaUzed that we had come up to, 
and were very near, the herd. Cautiously raising myself I 
peered ahead into the dense sea of green which encompassed 
us, but could see nothing. Bison were ahead and bison 
were on our right and left flanks. So much was certain. 
Pushing the heavy rifle towards me and taking the hght one 
Anacondu glided forward hke a snake and was immediately 
engulfed. I waited, cocking the trigger of the double- 
barrel cordite -500 express, a beautiful weapon I had 
with me. 

I was glad of the respite, for I was shaking Hke a leaf, 
owing to the terrific exertions of the past two hours. This 
is ever the chief danger of bison tracking. The arduous 
nature of the work a long trek in the great heat entails 



146 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

engenders such fatigue that one's powers are reduced to a 
minimum just at the critical moment when it becomes 
imperative that they should be at their maximum. Given 
that one can obtain a few minutes' breather before action 
is demanded, the tense excitement strings up the muscles 
to the steadiness requisite to place a buUet properly and 
stand ready for the subsequent developments. 

And this is the reason why a heavy rifle is a sine qua non. 
One cannot be sure in thick jungle that one will be able to 
place the bullet in a vital spot. But the shock of the high- 
velocity, heavy rifle bullet, if the sportsman is fairly close 
up, wiU almost certainly result in his eventually getting on 
terms again with the wounded bison. This wiU never be 
the case if a man uses a light rifle. The wounded animal 
will go right away. In my salad days I learnt this inexorable 
rule by much bitter experience and many miles of heart- 
breaking tramps after wounded bison on which the hght 
rifle had made no more impression than would a pea-shooter. 

Anacondu soon returned and motioned me forward. I 
had the greatest difficulty in worming my way through the 
tangle, but we shortly reached a bamboo clump, the jungle 
proving slightly thinner on the far side. Peering round I 
soon made out portions of the bodies of several bison. The 
animals were moving about leisurely, browsing on the 
bamboo and other foliage. Gradually a head would come 
into sight and disappear again as its owner moved along. 
The minutes went by, but as yet I had seen no head worth 
firing at and I began to get anxious. The shikari from 
behind kept on touching me and signif5dng I should fire. 
These men are all alike. They know we come out only to 
bag a big head, but as soon as one gets into a herd in thick 
jungle their nerves begin to get jumpy and they want one 
to fire at the*first animal the eyes Hght upon. 

Our present position was not ideal, I admit, for if the 
bison winded us, as from their known and unknown positions 
they might do at any moment, we stood a strong chance of 
being charged over. I had been in at a charge of this 
description once and I did not wish to repeat the experience.^ 
At length I saw a mighty form loom out of the jungle and 
he carried a fine head. I raised the rifle, but he disappeared 
to reappear again in a brief space, now nearly head on. I 
fired at the front of the shoulder, not an ideal position to 

* Vide Jungle Byways, p. 136, 



THE JUNGLES OF SOUTHERN INDIA 147 

shoot at, but I could not risk waiting any longer. The bull 
dropped, got up again, whipped round and went dead 
away, my second shot, iired at his stern, having no apparent 
effect whatever. Pandemonium arose immediately, and 
the jungle all round was in a turmoil, the noise as the mighty 
herd stampeded in all directions being terrific. 

We pressed ourselves into the bamboo clump and thus 
escaped being knocked over by several of the bison who 
rushed blindly past us. For a few moments the jungle was 
lashed as if squadrons of giant cavalry were riding " hell for 
leather " through it in a wild charge. Gradually the thunder 
of the hooves died down and silence supervened. 

We went forward and soon found blood and proceeded 
to take up the trail. We followed this for about half a 
mile and then got out of the dense tree jungle and com- 
menced to climb a steep hill, on the upper slopes of which 
the trees opened out considerably. Some twenty of the 
herd had gradually come together and joined up with the 
wounded bull. About a mile and a half took us to the top 
of the hill, and the shikari went forward to prospect. It 
was by comparison cool up here and I sat down to survey 
the scene in front. The forest was of a lighter character, 
interspersed with little glades and dotted with bamboo 
clumps. Also for the moment we had got rid of one of the 
curses of these and many other jungles of my acquaintance, 
the leech. A vile thing is a leech. It works its way through 
the gaiters or puttees, shoves its head through the sock or 
stocking, and then fills its repulsive body with one's bloodj 
The spot attacked irritates, and if it is scratched may fester 
and produce nasty sores. I think the leech and the tick 
are two of the worst pests of this nature I have encountered 
in the course of my wanderings. And I am blessed with a 
hard skin. To the sensitive-skinned person I tender the 
advice to keep away from both these pests. But then he 
must not want to shoot big game in the glorious Indian 
jungles. 

The shikari was away for a longer time than I had antici- 
pated. On his return we left the trail and took a short cut 
— a cast ahead, as we say in the hunting-field — but the cast 
in this instance was one of about a mile. I dislike shikaris 
when they do this sort of thing. It may save time, but also 
it may lose the trail altogether. And by now I had come 
tojike following each stage of the business throughout. Jn 



148 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

this instance as I did not know fhe country and he did, I 
had perforce to submit. 

We went through some beautiful open forest with glades 
filled with tree ferns and smaller bamboos and clumps of 
flowering plants, such as cannae and others. For a time I 
enjoyed myself. But the rain which had held off all the 
morning, then restarted and we had some very heavy 
showers. These threatened to obhterate the trail and the 
shikari pushed forward rapidly. We came to the foot of a 
rise and had got about a third of the way up when Anacondu 
stopped and pointed to our right front. I looked and at 
once saw a bison. I could not have said for certain that it 
was the one I had fired at, for he was some eighty yards off, 
but he offered a good shoulder shot and I sighted on the 
shoulder and pulled the trigger. The animal stumbled forward 
on to his nose, staggered up and lurched off, my second 
barrel catching him too far back. The shot produced 
another stampede away to our left where apparently the 
rest of the bison had been. I turned in time to see them 
disappearing over the crest. My buU had gone over it, too, 
and we started off after him. By now I was badly in need 
of a rest and lunch. But we went off again, expecting to 
find him down on the other side. But the bamboo jungle 
was thicker on this side, necessitating a cautious mode of 
progress. Finger on trigger I went down that slope, expect- 
ing either a charge or to see a dead bison round each bamboo 
clump. We got to the foot of the slope, forded a small 
rain-filled, rushing stream, and turned along its bank ; the 
heads of the bamboos dropping into the turgid water. 
Slowly we moved forward, following the tracks, when a 
duU bellow sounded to our left rear, a crash through the 
bamboos and the buU thundered down on us. I whipped 
round, saw a black mass and fired on the instant. The 
black mass plunged to the ground and rolled over, its legs 
kicking in the air. 1 had jumped against a bamboo clump 
on firing and now rapidly got behind it. I heard a low 
half-bellow, half-groan, and peering round put another 
buUet into the shoulder of the bison which had half struggled 
up. He collapsed and rolled on to his side and lay stUl. I 
removed myself to a safer neighbourhood pro tern. * The 
shikari appeared, and after fusillading the body with stones 
we went up and examined him. My first shot at the 
point of the shoulder ha,d hit a,U right, but the bullet 



THE JUNGLES OF SOUTHERN INDIA 149 

had evidently not been able to reach the lungs owing to 
the enormous thickness of the body at this point. My 
second shoulder shot was too low. The frontal one, at 
about twenty yards or less as he charged, had merely 
floored him. He was too far spent, however, or his last 
charge would have in all probability got us. For he had 
cunningly doubled on his tracks, a nasty trick of this animal 
when wounded, and thus taken us in the rear. 




rr 

(Jiii'J'i- , 




CHAPTER XII 



SPORT IN THE JUNGLES OF NORTHERN INDIA 

The jungles of Northern India — ^Magnificent climate and scenery — Jungles 
and rivers — ^Densely populated plains — Fertile cultivation — Black 
buck and nilgai — First acquaintance with jungles — ^A novel trans- 
port — ^The beautiful Siwaliks — ^A porcupine appears — ^Damages trees 
— ^Arrive in camp — Search for chital — Jackal appears — Pea-fowl and 
jungle fowl — Dance of the pea-fowl — Other bird life — Chital appear 
— ^A sounder of pig — A surly old boar — Insect life — ^The chital stags 
— Fire at big stag — "Hal-lal" — Ruined trophies. 



DO you know the great grass and tree jungles of 
the north-west in the cold weather ? 
In no other part of India will you find a 
climate to compare with that of the plains of 
Northern India in the winter season. Hackneyed as is the 
expression, I think the simile " Uke champagne " ex- 
presses to perfection the effect the glorious exhilarating air 
has upon one. And when one adds to this the brilhant 
Indian sunshine and scenery it would be difficult to surpass, 
it wiU be understood that Northern India, and especially 



SPORT IN THE JUNGLES OF N. INDIA 151 

the jungles of Northern India, take a high rank. With some 
experience of the great jungles of India and Burma in the 
east arid west and south, parts of all of which I have 
roamed through at different times, I can safely slay that 
it is hard to beat those of the glorious north-west, or 
United Provinces, as they are now caUed, if one is 
searching for sport in a first-class chmate combined with 
magnificent scenery. 

Between the Jumna, which forms the western boundary of 
the Province here and the Ganges, the fertile plateau of the 
Dun exists with the Himalaya to the north and the Siwalik 
range fifteen to twenty miles to the south. East of the Ganges 
stretch the Terai jungles comprising the famous sporting area 
of the Ganges, Kumaon, Garhwal, and so forth, with the well- 
known Oudh jungles to the south. The Ganges is the great 
river of the Province which is joined by the Jumna at 
Allahabad. These two rivers rise quite close to one another 
in the Himalaya. The other main tributaries are the 
Ghagra, which divides the Province from Nepal on the 
east, and the Gundak, which separates it from Bengal to 
the south. 

Although at the present day animals, and game animals 
especially, are by no means so plentiful in the United 
Provinces as of yore, yet these jungles form a most fascin- 
ating place to spend the cold weather months in and the hot 
weather also from the sporting point of view — for at the 
latter period tiger shooting and mahseer fishing are at 
their best. 

In this part of the country the plains and neighbouring 
foothills of the great Himalayan chain are covered with 
great tracts of the beautiful deep green sdl forest inter- 
spersed with stretches of tall elephant grass. Through this 
wild and lovely country the rivers, on leaving the narrow 
gorges in which they pursue their torrential course in the 
mountains, spread out in broad stony beds ; the channels, 
in which the flow of water is greatly reduced in the cold and 
hot weather, often varpng from year to year. It is a sight 
to see these great rivers when in flood during the monsoon 
months. At this season the turbid dirty-coloured waters 
fill the whole bed often many hundred yards across and 
become for the period quite impassable. At the other 
seasons of the year it is difficult to recognize the country 
to be one and the same. The broad beds now consist of 



152 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

great stretches of shingle with here and there dense patches 
of tall elephant grass. Islands, some of considerable 
extent and covered with sissu [Dalhergia Sissoo) and 
khair {Acacia Catechu) trees and elephant grass, break up 
the shingle patches, a favourite haunt of game, tiger, 
sambhar, and so on. One may have ridden a hundred yards 
or more across the rough fair-weather road, whose only 
claim to the title consists in a row of large shingles placed on 
either edge to mark the thoroughfare, before one sees a sign 
of the river and then a stream of beautiful clear, pellucid 
water is reached which may form the main river, twenty 
yards or so across, or may be a minor tributary branch. To 
the south the great forest, broken in the foreground by 
patches of sissu, khair, and tall grass, stretches away in the 
flat plain until it reaches the cultivated lands. To the north 
the foothills, also covered with an intferminable sea of green, 
or with bare and scarred rocky faces higher up, block the view 
of the more elevated ranges behind them ; except where in 
some favoured spot an opening may give a coup d'ceil of a 
distant snowy peak, vignetted against a blue sky with green 
hills on either side and waving grass and brilliant sissu 
copses at its base. 

Out in the plains beyond the green forest Une lies one of 
the most densely popiilated areas in India. WeU-built 
pretty villages embosomed in trees or bamboo clumps, or 
with a neighbouring banyan tope, are dotted about amidst a 
fertile country in which magnificent crops are grown, the 
variation in height, appearance, and colour of which forms 
a most attractive feature of the countryside. Here the 
Mttle black buck roam in numbers which are still very con- 
siderable in spite of the incessant toll taken of their 
ranks. The nilgai or blue bull, that curious antelope 
which in bodiiy appearance is so hke a pony, also hves 
out in the fields, lying up in small patches of jungle during 
the day. 

It is a beautiful country and perhaps to appreciate it to 
the fuU it is necessary to have spent some years in the hot, 
damp, pestilential heat of parts of India to the south — 
Eastern Bengal for example, and to have had the opportunity 
of experiencing for oneself the conditions of Hfe of oae's 
confreres in those parts. 

It was in January that I made my first acquaintance with 
the jungles of the north-west. I had come straight up from 



SPORT IN THE JUNGLES OF N. INDIA 153 

Chittagong and the contrast was as sharply marked as it 
was deHghtful. Within two daysi of my arrival I went out 
to camp. Even moving one's paraphernaUa and camp 
equipage was, I discovered, a very different business up here. 
Coolies, both men and women, I had used for transport 
purposes, also bullock carts, mules, and pack-ponies, boats 
and elephants. But I had never yet made acquaintance 
with the idiosyncrasies of the camel as a baggage animal. 
And he is infinitely the worst of the lot. With a new- set of 
servants for the most part and a hastily improvised camp 
equipage I was not looking for much comfort until I joined 
as a guest the Conservator's camp several marches away ; 
and I did not get it. The first march out of headquarters 
was one of twelve miles. I was riding, so ordered all the men 
and camels to start off in the morning, intending to set out 




myself in the afternoon. I remember that ride as if it was 
yesterday. The first part was glorious. Well, as I sub- 
sequently became acquainted with that road, running 
through the heart of the beautiful SiwaUks, those first 
impressions of it never faded. But it is not of its beauty 
that I propose to write. I had not gone four miles before 
I met most of the camels in charge of a couple of camel 
men, but no sign of the servants. The camel men who 
were from the Punjab either could not or would not 
understand my questions, so I went on. I soon after 
saw a porcupine which scurried across the road in front 
of me. He is fairly plentiful in the SiwaUks and damages 
trees by gnawing round the bark at the base thus girdling 
the tree and kilhng it. The khair tree is a special favourite 
in these regions. The porcupine is a comic Uttle beggar 
to watch as, with all his quills up, he hurries away 



154 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

indignant at being disturbed. Another two mile's and 
I came upon an orderly. He said that two camels were 
on ahead carrying the cooking pots and cook's boxes. 
This was something. At the eighth mile I came up with 
these camels. Leading the head rope of the first was my 
new cook and with him his assistant. To my indignant 
enquiries the cook said that the camel men had stayed 
behind in the bazaar, as had the rest of the servants, 
and they would not be out for hours. The sequel to 
this march was that I reached my destination at sunset 
and sat in a cold bungalow — and it is cold at night up 
in these parts in January — ^for an hour or two, most 
of it in the dark. When the camels arrived I had to 
assist in unloading them, a job of which I was entirely 
ignorant. We had an exciting time of it ; more especi- 
ally as both were refractory, obstinate brutes, and one 
had the reputation of being a biter and he lived up to his 
reputation. Approaching unwarily I had one snap of his 
great yellow fangs in my face and that was enough for me. 
The brute pitched off one box of crockery (it is always the 
crockery that comes to grief) before we got him unloaded, 
and his appalling groans and grunts would have led anyone 
to infer that we were roasting him alive. Disagreeable- 
natured brutes these camels. 

It was a few mornings afterwards that I went out to look 
for spotted deer. The season was early for them yet as their 
horns are mostly in velvet at this time of the year, but one 
sometimes has the luck to get one clean. I at the time did 
not know the difference in seasons up here as contrasted - 
with those in other parts of India ; a point moreover which 
has certainly not received a proper amount of attention in 
the past and which, of course, proves the futiUty of making 
one set of gam« laws applicable to the whole country. 

To return to the morning in question, I had been told that 
a herd of chital, as the spotted deer is called in these parts, 
usually retired to the heavy forests to he up for the day in a 
certain direction and I had arranged with my orderly to go 
out and see if we could obtain a good head. I had not 
done much spotted deer shooting at that time and I 
was keen on getting a good head or two and a recoM if 
possible. 

Ere the sun rose next morning we were en route. The 
morning air was bitterly cold and I well remember how it 




THE KKArTH'OL ;UNOI.E-CO\'EKEn SLOI'KS Or THE MWAl.IC Hll.l- 




THE AllHOR STALKING SAMEHAR I\ 



THE lOKESls OK THE SIWAI.IKS, 
NORTHERN INIH \ 




SPORT IN THE JUNGLES OF N. INDIA 155 

pierced through my skin and bones, accustomed to the damp 
heat of Eastern Bengal. 

As we walked along the road in the direction of the 
forest, darkness began to give way to light and trees leapt 
out of the obscurity to take on their diurnal appearance. 
The sky from a dark blue-black flamed to red and then 
changed to pale yellow in the east, and the night was 
a thing of the past. Once a grey shadow appeared on 
the road and silently dis- 
appeared into the grass on 
the left. It was a jackal. 

At length we reached the 
spot and took up our 
positions about midway in 
a broad stony ravine, the 
orderly and his assistant 
arranging a small screen of branches and grass to hide our 
position. 

The first rays of the sun were just appearing over the 
hill-crests behind us as we got into our places and a twitter- 
ing, singing, and shrieking bird-life had begun to send up its 
morning paean of praise. Lower down the nullah three, 
pea-fowl and a cluster of jungle fowl were scratching for 
food in the dry river-bed. Now and then a cock, perched on 

the fallen trunk of a forest 
monarch, would elevate 
himself, flap his wings, and 
crow a defiance at a rival 
in the neighbourhood, to 
be promptly answered by 
a counter-challenge which 
was taken up in several 
other quarters. I was too 
used to the vociferous re- 
criminations of these birds 
to pay much attention to 
them, but noted that the hens took little notice of their 
lords or their efforts to show off, being too intent on their 
search for the morning meal. 

This red jungle fowl is the ancestor of all our varied 
breeds of domestic poultry. If the latter are allowed to 
revert to the wild state they assume the colouration 
of the jungle fowl. An attempt has been made to introduce 




156 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

them as game birds into Scotland, but their habit of keeping 
to the ground and the difficulty of making them rise resiited 
in the effort being given up. 

The pea-fowl were closer to my position but their 
energies, save for a continuous and keen survey of the 
surrounding neighbourhood made every now and then by 
one or other of the birds, were entirely confined to the 
search for food. What a handsome sight is a fine old 
peacock seen in his natural surroundings in the Indian 
jungle, and finer still when, his great tail feathers flaunting 
to the breeze, he sails down over the tree-tops. He is never 
so happy, however, as when dancing his extraordinary love- 
dance before the hens. 

I had seen this performance once only when on my way 
up to the hills at the beginning of the hot weather and the 
extraordinary caperings and pirouettings and gj^rations of 
the male bird fiUed me with astonishment and laughter. 
That such a proud-looking and splendidly plumaged bird as 
the peacock should have developed this extraordinary dance 
in order to make himself captivating to the hens, who may 
be seen watching him most intently all the time, appears 
httle short of amazing, for the bird, to my eyes, seemed to be 
making a ludicrous spectacle of itself and taking away from, 
instead of adding to, his charms. However, his fair com- 
panions evidently thought otherwise. 

This morning, I remember, I was in the humour to notice 
the bird-life around me. Golden orioles flitted in the sun. 
Fly-catchers glanced from the boughs of neighbouring trees, 
swerved prettily in the air, and caught the insects they were 
pursuing and returned with them to their perches. The 
metaUic notes of the coppersmith (one of the barbets) came 
from a khair tree and the tap, tap, tap, in the forest on the 
far side of the ravine told where a golden-backed wood- 
pecker was at work, searching for insect grubs in the inner 
bark or wood of a tree. 

^ But the^birds were not to have all the place to themselves. 
A soft patter up-stream was a precursor to the sudden 
appearance of some spotted deer. They were all does 
though, with not even a small stag amongst them. A louder 
noise made itself heard further up and again I grasped the 
rifle. 

This time there was more to see and even envy, for a 
sounder of pig appeared and grunted their way across the 




THE GOLDEN' HACKED WOODPECKER AT WORK ON A SAL TKEE 
SEARCHING FOR INSECT GRUBS 



SPORT IN THE JUNGLES OF N. INDIA 157 



nullah, some stopping to plough up the stones and sand in 
a search for a succulent root. There were several fair-sized 
boars and I should have liked to have had a shot at the old 
boar. But I was not out to fire at pig. The havildah's 
longing was far greater than mine, for he was a Gurkha, and 
a Gurkha can never see a pig without coveting its death, for 
he loves above all things the flesh of the wild boar. This fact 
was, of course, well known to me, but I had told the man, 
then a new servant, but destined to accompany me in many 
a shooting-trip aU over India and to prove the staunchest 
companion and servant one could desire to have, that I 
should not shoot at pig that day. Also I had imagined that 
it was too frequented a spot at this time of the year to 
render it probable that a sounder would choose that route 
for their retuni from the fields at sunrise to the heavy 
forest. An old boar is at all times a dangerous customer to 
encounter in the forest as his temper is most uncertain and, 
when wounded, he becomes a savage and vindictive foe, 
pursuing and charging his enemy with untiring watchfulness 
and cunning. The boars are armed with long tusks in the 
jaws, the upper and lower front teeth on either side of the 
mouth being prolonged into short curved ivory tushes 
which may grow 

to seven inches ■'^^SA^^Mf^i^i^p^iW'. 
or more in "^' " "' ' ' - "> ■ 
length. With 
this formidable 
weapon a boar 
can rip open a 
man or horse or 
other animal 
with as clean a 
cut as could be 
inflicted with a 
sharp heavy 
knife. When 
you remember 
that the wild boar is also a very speedy and extremely power- 
ful animal and can keep ahead of a horse for a considerable 
time you can perceive that he is not exactly an easy customer 
to tackle on foot even by a grown man armed with a rifle, as 
many have discovered to their cost. In the forest most 
animals, even the tiger, are content to let an old wild boa,r 




158 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

alone and to pass by on the other side when they discover 
his presence. Besides, to a man who has had many a 
stirring encounter out pig-sticking, which is the only proper 
way to kill the boar if rideable country is adjacent, the 
slaying of pig with the rifle has too great a similarity to 
shooting a fox. I had, and have since, shot wild boar, but 
only in unrideable country. 

There was an old boar in this party. A surly old rufifian 
he was too. He had come out of the jungle into the 
nullah last of all and at once commenced grubbing about 
in search of roots. Two younger boars on ahead of 
him started to fight and were hard at work squeahng 
and shoving for all they were worth when the old tusker drew 
near, tossing up the ground and sand with his snout as he 
advanced. When within a few yards he raised his head and 
watched the two youngsters sparring for perhaps half a 
minute and then, without any rh5ane or reason, charged 
in between them with a vicious grunt. The two com- 
batants were shot apart, one rolling over and over for 
several yards, the other turning a backward somersault. 
As they picked themselves up never were two more 
crestfallen pigs seen, and they hastened to hide their dis- 
comfiture in the neighbouring jungle whilst the surly old 
boar, advancing obliquely towards the jungle, continued 
to search for food. At length he entered the long grass 
and disappeared from view, and sUence reigned in the 
nullah for a space. 

The sun was already some way above the crest of the hill 

and I was commencing to 
^ fear that I had missed the 
deer altogether, or that they 
were not coming my way. 
One small herd crossed the 
nullah below about eighty 
yards off, but it only con- 
tained does and one small 
stag, and I resisted the 
temptation to loose off at 
the latter. 

As I wait6d expectantly I 
began to take note of the multitude of insect fife around me. 
Glorious butterflies floated past, insects which on other 
occasions I would have done my best to catch, glorious 




SPORT IN THE JUNGLES OF N. INDIA 159 

Papilios, Vanessas, and many others which are to be com- 
monly found on the border^ of the forest in this part of 
India. Beetles droned past, chiefly dung beetles, and rose 
chafers and cockchafers, though a brilliant buprestis or two 
is to be found in these forests. 

Bees and wasps were legion, as were many of the forms of 
small bugs and beetles which form so large a proportion 
in numbers of the animal world of the Indian forests. 

Down in the river-bed, but a short distance from my stand, 
I sa\y a number of irregularly spaced circular holes in the 
sand, cone-shaped or terminating in a point at the bottom, 
the sides consisting of shelving sand. Well known to me were 
these as the abode of the curious insect known as the ant 
Uon. The mature insect is a harmless winged fly with four 
large, colourless, net-veined wings with black splotches on 
them. It is from the grub that the insect gets its carnivor- 
ous name. This grub is a curious-shaped object, consisting 
of a swollen body and small head, the mouth being furnished 
with an enormous pair of shear-like jaws. The grub makes 
the orifice in the sand and then buries himself at the -bottom 
leaving only his black jaws protruding from the sand. An 
insect, moving along the surface of the sand above, reaches 
the edge of the hole before he is aware it is there and 
tumbles down the shelving sand to the bottom where 
he is immediately seized 
in the large jaws of the ,^., ....jT , , ,,•■ / ,^ 

grub and devoured. I lW^'^.!jf'-,f-^''J->0-'^^ 
had counted as many as IW.V'?-.'-!^ •-' " 
ten insects which'had gone 
to their fate at the bottom 
of the holes I was watch- 
ing, when I felt a touch 

on the arm and, looking .,./ ixyu » w, *< - 
up, started violently. ■V\r\n/^'j^%ii//' 

I thought I must be ":'^^X'.r<^ ^''^'^ 
dreaming. There in front '-''y. .. "" Zj^'^J^''Ai'^^ 

of me were three chita/ 

stags, one of large size, or so it appeared to me. I had 
heard no sound and for some seconds I gaped at them 
mechanically without realizing that what I had come out 
for stood before me. 

The deer were crossing the ravine at a sharp walk, but 
were in no way alarmed. Suddenly one stopped and 








i6o DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

looked steadfastly in our direction and this brought me 
back to the world of reahty. 

" Quick, sahib, the burra singh waUah (the large-horned 
one) on the left," whispered the havildah excitedly, " Quick, 
he is going to run." 

And in truth it was time. The stag whose suspicions had 
been aroused changed its walk for a trot and its smaller 
companion followed suit. The big stag halted and also 
gazed with his head in our direction. I had a clear bull's- 
eye to the shoulder. It was an easy shot, as from my 
position behind the leafy screen we had erected I was able 
to rest the rifle on a forked branch. Hurriedly sighting 
on the shoulder I fired. The stag stumbled and then 
bounded in the air and set off at a smart pace for the 
jungle into which the other two were disappearing. 

" Again, sahib, shoot again. Quick, quick," yelled the 
orderly, obHvious of the definite instructions I had given 
him as to talking when out shooting. 

I jumped up from my kneehng position, raised the rifle, 
and let fly at the rapidly moving animal. At the report the 
stag gave a great bound in the air and fell on to its side, 
half-raised itself up and then rolled over. 

" He's dead, havildah. He's dead." 

But the Gurkha paid no attention. Speeding across the 
interval in furtherance of a promise to make the meat 
" clean for the faithful followers of the Prophet " (a 
process known as "hal-lal"), he whipped out his kukri 
and made it over to his native companion who was a 
Mohammedan. The latter went down on his knees and, 
ignoring the fact that the stag was as dead as a door 
nail, cut the throat open and saw that at least a drop of 
blood flowed out. 

" He is alive. See, the blood flows," and he repeated his 
formula. 

" He lives, Bhai. He lives yet," said the Gurkha, to whom 
it was a matter of supreme indifference whether the animal 
was alive or dead for the meat was good meat to him in 
either event. But the Mohammedan may only eat the flesh 
of animals who have still hved whilst the throat has been 
cut to allow the red blood to flow and consequently many 
an animal shot through the head or heart and stone dead 
promptly has the throat cut if a Mohammedan is present. 
This must be done by a Mohammedan or the meat is not 



SPORT IN THE JUNGLES 'OF N. INDIA i6i 

considered clean. This custom is a great nuisance as the 
cut is often made so high up on the neck that the trophy is 
spoilt for mounting purposes as there is no neck skin left.. 
This is the reason why one sees so many Indian trophies 
ruined ; for even a first-class taxidermist, in the absence 
of the neok skin, finds it is impossible to set them up 
properly. My order as to the point at which the knife was 
to be put in to make the meat clean was very definite and 
I consequently secured heads which could be properly 
mounted. 

Meanwhile I was standing over the fallen stag. He is a 
beautiful beast, his colouring harmonizing perfectly with his 
surroundings. But I never killed one without a feeling of 
compunction afterwards. The head in this case was a 
good one, nearly clean ; but not a record. The quest for 
that record still remained. 




M 




CHAPTER XIII 
A morning's stalk after black buck 

stalking black buck — Glorious scenery — ^Description and habits of black 
buck — ^Methods of stalking — Experiences with buck — ^The villager 
shows the way — ^A disappointment — ^A difl&cult stalk — ^The lord of 
the herd — ^The alarm — ^A patient wait — ^Move forward again — Fire at 
the buck — ^A marvellous performance — ^The buck drops — A fine head. 

1LAY ventre a terre on the grassy plain barely 
hidden by a small patch of the thorny ber plant. 
Behind me the havildah was similarly extended some 
hundred paces away. 
The sun had been above the horizon about an hour, but 
the dew lay heavy upon bush and grass, sparkling and 
scintillating l;ke pearls in the low slanting rays. To the 
north the hills stood up in bold relief, their bases enveloped 
here and there in filmy masses of mist. Stretching away 
from the foot of the hills lay a dark green belt of forest 
land, the famous Terai jungles towards which my camp 
had been slowly journeying for some days. In that direction 
my hopes of good sport were centred. For with moderate 
luck I expected to be able to bag at least one tiger and 
perhaps more. 

I had left the camp that morning at dawn with the object 
of stalking a herd of black buck which contained a buck 
with a fine pair of horns, fine that is for this part of India. 

The black buck is one of the most beautiful and dainty 
of the Indian antelopes, as unhke its great clumsy heavily 
built cousin the nilgai or blue bull, which resembles a pony 
more than anything else, as it would be possible to conceive, 
The old black buck males are black on the back and whitq 
beneath, and possess a pair of beautiful spiral blackish 
horns which are hollow and are not shed as are the antlera 
of deer. 
The a,ntelope live out on the great plains of India and 

163 



A MORNING'S STALK AFTER BLACK BUCK 163 






H\'' 



are never found, save on the outskirts, in the big forests. 
They Uve in herds of varying size usually consisting of an 
old buck and several smaller ones, and a number of does 
and youngsters. 

They are wonderfully lightly and gracefully made, and 
possessed of considerable speed 
and of jumping powers which 
have to be seen to be credited. 
When alarmed the whole herd 
wiU go off at speed across the 
country in a series of marvellous 
leaps and bounds and rapidly run 
out of sight ; for their colouring 
harmonizes so well with the 
country they live in that it is no 
easy matter to make them out 
when several hundred yards away. 

In fact as I had discovered when 
making my first acquaintance with 
these dainty animals the shikari 
has to learn to pick them up 
out of their surroundings, an art 
which requires some practice and 
patience. 

When not much shot at buck are approached compara- 
tively easily, and the acquisition of any number of " head " 
is not a difficult matter. Things are different, however, in 
those parts of India where the little animals are constantly 
pursued by sportsmen. The herds then, become very wary 
and difficult to approach. 

Sportsmen often make use of the country bullock cart to 
reach a herd in such cases. Living as they do in the culti- 
vated lands, the antelope pay no attention to the villager 
engaged in his occupation in the fields or to the country 
bullock carts slowly making their way along the main road 
or village feeder roads, or along the fair weather roads 
across the fields in the cold and hot weather months. 

Consequently by having a country cart driven across the 
fields, which are not separated by hedges as in England, 
but merely by a small ridge known as a " bund " or by 
small boundary stones, and keeping under cover on the far 
edge of the cart a sportsman can often approach a herd well 
within range and thus secure an easy shot I did not much 




i64 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

care for this method of steaUng unperceived upon the animals, 
infinitely preferring to pit my skill as a stalker over open 
ground against the natural wariness of the antelope. 

I had been out several times after buck before the 
morning dealt with here, but had only achieved success as 
yet on one occasion when the head secured had been a very 
small one ; for I had not had the patience to wait till I got 
near the big buck of the herd. On subsequent occasions I 
had missed other heads all stalked fairly in the open : 
sometimes I was seen by the graceful Httle animals who 
were ever on the qui vive in these parts — at others I had 
made bad misses. 

This morning I was determined to take no chances as on 
the morrow the camp was leaving for the big jungles and I 
would probably not have another opportunity at buck that 
year. 

As has been said the havildah and self had set out from 
the camp with one attendant at dawn, leaving instructions 
that we should be back to breakfast not later than eleven 
o'clock. I had ridden a pony to a place three miles from the 
camp where buck were usually plentiful, and where informa- 
tion had been obtained that one of the herds contained a 
good head. 

On arrival at the rendezvous a villager was found await- 
ing us. I dismounted and teUing the syce to wait with the 
pony in the shade of a clump of trees, I set off, preceded 
by the villager and followed by the havildah. The man 
who had accompanied us from the camp was ordered to 
follow at a distance and to sit down the moment the buck 
were seen. We had covered a bare quarter of a mile when 
we turned into a sunk mud road with prickly-pear bushes 
growing on the banks on either side. A little way along 
this the villager climbed on to the right bank and looked 
through the bushes. 

He made a sign and I clambered quietly up. Looking in 
the direction pointed out I saw a herd of some fifteen buck 
about three hundred yards away in the open fields. Two 
hundred yards beyond them the fields dropped into a wind- 
ing narrow ravine, the cultivated lands stretching for some 
hundred yards on the far side of the ravine. • 

At first the stalk appeared quite an easy one, as if I got 
into the ravine I could creep up and wait tiU the antelopes 
approached and get a pot shot. 



A MORNING'S STALK AFTER BLACK BUCK 165 

I whispered this to the villager. The latter, however, 
pointed out that the part of the ravine we saw was really 
the top of a narrow horseshoe bend, and that it would 
naean a long detour to get into the ravine without being 
seen by the herd. The buck would probably have got in 
before we did, when we should see them no more. 

" For several mornings I have watched this herd, sahib," 
said the man, " and they always leave the fields by that 
ravine and lie up in the shelter of bushes at some distance 
from here. I had hoped they would have been nearer to 
us when I looked through. On two mornings recently they 
have been within fifty yards of the place we are now in 
when I arrived. It is bad fortune to find them so far." 

" What should I do then ? " I enquired. 

" You will have to stalk them, sahib," said the havildah. 
" See, over there we can approach behind the bamboo clump 
for some yards in safety, and then you will have to crawl 
up to them. He has big horns the black one to the left, he 
is the one to kill." 

I had acted on the havildah's suggestion, leaving the latter 
behind the bamboo clump when I started off into the open. 
After my departure the wily Gurkha, however, noticed a 
place from which he might intercept the antelope and send 
them back to me, should fhey move off in a direction which 
was not anticipated, and so had crawled and wormed his 
way in snake-like fashion into his present position. 

After very hard work I had negotiated about one hundred 
yards and was now wondering how the remaining distance, 
roughly about one hundred and fifty yards, was to be 
accomplished. Fifty yards was my desired firing distance. 
I had loosed off at longer distances without result before, and 
determined to get as near as possible before taking the shot. 

I had come the greater part of the distance on my 
stomach, puUing myself along with my hands stretched out 
at fuU length in front of me and dragging the rifle up after- 
wards^a most arduous performance as all know who have 
tried it. The grass and stuff crawled over was wringing 
wet, and I was already soaked from head to foot with dew 
and perspiration. My shoulders began to ache consider- 
ably, but I had been through all this before and knew what 
to expect. 

I now lay watching the buck, my head screened by the 
ber bushes. 



i66 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

The antelope were still feeding unconsciously, cropping 
the short grass in eager mouthfuls. Now and then one or 
other would raise its head abruptly and cast a keen look 
around, but they were evidently unaware of the danger so 
near to them. The lord of the herd was a fine old black 
fellow with a glorious pair of horns set rather widely apart 
at the tips. 

" I must have him," I muttered. " I must, he's a 
beauty." Again I recommenced my painful journey. 
Ahead of me there were two other small patches of the 
thorny bush, and in another ten minutes I had succeeded 
in attaining the nearest of these ; on reaching its shelter I 
lay gasping for breath for a minute and then cautiously 
raised my head. 

A glance was sufficient. All was not weU. 

Something had alarmed the herd. The majority were 
standing stock still, their noses snuffing the air, for wind 
there was none. The old buck who was almost the nearest 
to me was still feeding, but even he seemed to be uneasy, 
and as I looked at them the animal raised his head and 
stamped a hoof into the ground in irritation. 

I was not ready to fire as the rifle lay on the ground at 
my side. I dare not move it, so could do nothing but He 
still. 

Suddenly they all turned with one accord and looked 
away to the left. Raising my head slightly higher I looked 
in that direction and saw a country cart slowly trundling 
across the plain. After watching this steadfastly for a few 
minutes the antelope were apparently reassured as they 
resumed their feeding, but slowly moved off to the right. 

At first I was in despair at this move, but learned to 
bless it as by degrees they brought the bush which was 
slightly to my tight in line with me. 

I at once saw my opportunity and took it. 

Leaving the sheltering bush I crawled as rapidly as 
possible towards the one which was now ahead of me and 
just got up to it before the first of the does arrived at a 
point which would have made the movement an impossible 
one. 

But by now I was reduced to a palpitating mass and 
could do nothing but Ue and gasp, eyes blinded by the per- 
spiration pouring into them, and my spine hke a red-hot 
iron bar. 



A MORNING'S STALK AFTER BLACK BUCK 167 

Gradually my breath came back, and I ventured to raise 
the head. My heart leapt to my mouth, and a thrill of 
excitement and covetousness ran through me. 

There broadside on with head down, cropping the grass, 
stood the old buck, a splendid bull's-eye, and, as far as could 
be judged, within the stipulated fifty yards. 

Quietly I drew up the rifle, pushed it through an opening 
in the thin bush, and brought the stock into the shoulder. 

The thought of past misses unnerved me for a moment, 
but never had I had such a bull's-eye to fire at before. 
Drawing a breath, I aimed at the shoulder and pulled the 
trigger. 

The effect was instantaneous. The whole herd as one 
bounded into the air, dropped on to their feet, and for an 
instant stood as if turned to stone. Then they swung 
round as one and went &ying across the fields in a 
series of most extraordinary leaps, making tracks for the 
ravine. 

I was lost in admiration at the sight, and for the moment 
did not even think about whether I had missed or not. 
The marvellous jumping powers of the light graceful ante- 
lopes held me spellbound. 

The vanguard reached the edge of the ravine and sprang 
down into it, the youngsters taking 
the drop as easily as the older hands. 
Now the old buck, upon whom my 
eyes were fixed, for some of his 
leaps had been extraordinarily high, 
was within twenty yards of it, 
fifteen, ten, and then he suddenly 
crumpled up on to the ground and 
was seen lying struggling on his 
side. 

The havildah's voice came to me as the man started 
to rush across the fields. 

" He's down, sahib, he's down, reload and run and fire 
at him again." 

The voice brought me back to reality, and jumping up 
I started across the fields, opening the breech and jerking in 
another cartridge from the magazine as I did so. 

I was more than half-way towards the buck, who struggled 
still to gain his feet, before I stopped and raised the nfle. I 
was shaking badly, but noticed that the buck had half 




i68 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

risen on his front legs. I must fire I thought. But it was 
unnecessary. 

Even as the idea presented itself to my mind, and when 
about to press the trigger the buck suddenly coUapsed in a 
heap. 

" He's dead, sahib, he's dead," panted the orderly, " no 
need to fire again." 

It was true. When I got up to the antelope he was 
lying on his side, the black and white of the coat contrast- 
ing sharply in the brilliant sunlight, whilst the upper horn 
swept upwards in a wide outward sweep. 

I was overjoyed. The perfect symmetry of the animal 
was something to marvel at. 

" We should have lost him, havildah, had it not been for 
that cart. They were uneasy about something." 

" They are often hke that, sahib. They are so often 
startled that they are off at the smallest thing. It is a 
good head." 




CHAPTER XIV 

THE HAVILDAH's STORY 

The man-eater — ^The Nepal jungles — ^The havildah commences his story 
— ^The animals of the Nepal jungles — ^An expedition in the rains — 
Good hunting — Return to village — ^The man-eater's victim — The 
boy's grief and frenzy — Set out to search for the man-eater — ^Discover 
traces of victim — ^The plan of campaign — Ascend the ravine — Reach 
the cave— The man-eater appears — Face to face — The shot — Death 
of man-eater — The boy's mad rage. 

" "^ l^QU have often asked me, sahib, to tell you the 

^^/^ story of how I saw my first tiger," said the old 

I havildah, one depressing afternoon in the 

-^ rains. We were all up in the hill station, and 

it had been raining on end for weeks. I was lounging in 

the verandah watching the man clean the rifles and 

guns, the whole battery having been got out to see that the 

excessive moisture in the atmosphere was not attacking 

the barrels. 

" Speak, havildah, and tell me the story. It was in 
your own village, and the beast was a monster, was it 
not ? " 

" Yes, sahib, a very bad man-eater, and I who speak to 
you suffered heavily from the shaitan. But I dipped my 
hands in his heart's blood afterwards, and tore out the heart 
of the evil one, that I did." And the old man's eyes gleamed 
vindictively as he spoke. And then his face grew sad as 
reminiscences of the past crowded on his memory. 

169 



tiU. k> 



170 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

" It was before I enlisted, sahib, before I left my native 
village — I have scarcely been near the place since — that 
I first met a tiger face to face on foot ; and this was the 
fiercest and most devihsh of all the beasts of my own country 
of Nepal." 

" Well, havildah, let me have the story. It was in the 
rains, was it not ? " 

I went on meditatively — " How fine the jungles must 

look now with the tall bright 
green grass still growing up- 
wards, and the flower-heads 
just beginning to swell out. 
One could not see to shoot 
much now in the grass jungles, 
not even from the back of an 
elephant ? What a happy 
time the animals must have, 
with plenty to eat and drink 
everywhere, no long journeys 
to make to search for succulent 
grass and water-pools, as they 
have to make in the hot 
weather." 

" Yet there is danger from other animals, sahib. The 
tiger and leopard are just as dangerous, and can ap- 
proach without a sound when the wind is blowing through 
the grass stems and the rain is pattering and swishing 
down. It was during a break in the rains in this month 
that the man-eater I am telling you about visited our 
village." 

" But you have not begun the story yet, havildah," I 
said, wishing to keep the old man to the point and get this 
yarn out of him if possible. 
" Huzur, I will commence." 

" It was long years ago now, and I was sixteen years of 
age at the time. I was not thinking of 'listing then. My 
father owned a good house and several fields and a consider- 
able number of cows and goats. He was a big man in the 
village. I was his eldest son, and already I took a consider- 
able share of the wOrk in the fields. But my chief pleasure 
was hunting. Like you, sahib, from my early youth I was 
very keen on shooting animals, and was a firm friend of our 
village shikari, an old man who had shot every kind of animal 




THE HAVILDAH'S STORY 



171 



living in our parts, and you know, sahib, that the jungles 
of Nepal are full of beasts. Tigers are common, so are 
leopards, the rhinoceros roam about the jungles, and 
buffaloes exist there and are very fierce. All the deer tribe 
are plentiful and mighty sambhar are killed at times. I 
never had any difficulty in persuading old Sher Bahadur 
(the Great Tiger, as he was called) to take me oul, once 
I had grown strong enough to be able to keep up with 
him. And, sahib, you should see the jungles of Nepal. 
Perhaps some day you may be lucky enough to do so. 
They are a shikari's paradise. Great stretches of tiger 
grass, interspersed with high sil forest, with open 
savannah-like grassy plains where you may count the 



'*» 



fAH.ii,niJ. 




herds of chital in hundreds and sambhar and barasingha 
in scores. 

One day we set out from the village on a shooting excur- 
sion to the lower jungles, to procure meat for the village, 
and such skins and horns for sale as our luck gave us. It 
was in a break in the rains, and for two days the sun had 
been shining brightly and the heat was very great. It 
would be hotter lower down, we knew, but what cared we 
for the heat when there was shikar to be had. Our village 
was situated at about four thousand feet in the hills, 
and looked like the villages you see out in the district 
round here. It consisted of some twenty-five houses, 
and to me it was not only home, but it contained the 
thing I most valued on earth, for I had recently been 
betrothed to the most beautiful girl in our village or in 



172 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

any other for fifty miles round, and. we were to be married 
very soon. 

" The sun shone very brightly for me on that morning, 
sahib, and I laughingly replied to a remark made by a 
friend, to the effect that we would bring back the skin of a 
noted man-eater of those parts if he dared to come across our 
tracks. 

" To speak true words, I, in common with most in the 
village, stood in considerable awe of this beast. Not that any 
of we youngsters would have minded so much a fair stand-up 
fight with our kukris in hand. But that was not the way of 
this skulking brute. Although he had already taken a 
number of lives, his victories had all been won on old men, 
women, or boys, and he had invariably lain in wait for them, 
crouched in some low piece of jungle, and sprung on to them 
without warning from behind. At least, this is what the 
tracks and marks showed, for no one attacked by this devil 
had up to then escaped to tell the tale. Portions of their 
bodies, a hand or arm or part of a leg or bits of clothing were 
all that had ever been regained of his numerous victims. 
A reward had now been placed upon this tiger by the Sirkar 
(Government), and several sahibs had been out after him. 
In fact, though the reward could not be claimed, as no real 
evidence was brought forth, it was thought that the beast 
must have been killed or died somehow, as nothing had been 
heard of him for six months at the time I speak of. His 
pugs were easily traceable, as he Umped on his off hind leg, 
from an old bullet wound, it was thought inflicted either 
by a native shikari or by some sahib during, one of the big 
tiger beats which took place every hot weather in the great 
jungles below. 

"So I answered my friend that morning with small 
thought that* we were all so soon to- renew acquaintance 
with this dreaded scourge. 

" We were away five days. It was scorching hot in the 
great grass jungles, so hot and heavy was the moist steamy 
air, that we both had a touch of fever before we had bagged 
all the animals we required. In this latter we had Uttle 
difficulty, as the jungles positively teemed with deer, and 
we secured some good chital horns and picked up, I remem- 
ber, four very large shed sambhar horns, besides some smaller 
ones. They were heavy loads each man had to carry back, 
but our hearts were light at the success of the outing, as we 




THE HAVILDAH'S STORY 173 

breasted the steep slopes on our last march back. To avoid 
the great heat of the day, for the break in the rains still 
continued, we marched at night, and it was close on dawn 
when, weary and jaded, we struck into the path which led 
up the last slope to the village. 

" The dawn was steaUng over the hills as we approached 
the village, and we looked to see if there was any sign of 
hfe about. We reached a corner, I with my heart beating 
high at the thought of a near meeting which. I had not had 
out of my mind during the 
whole of the trip, and there 
lay the village a quarter of a 
mile or so away. 

" But, sahib, it was not 
the village as we expected 
to see it. All the villagers 
seemed to be awake and out- 
side of their houses. Some '''/, •\ '^^-"" .' -— ^ ■*"- ■''^ 
were running about, others 
were collected at the village 
meeting-place, and even from 
here as we hurried on, voices could be heard, and as we 
drew nearer these voices sounded as wails. 

" ' What is the matter ? Sher Bahadur, what is it ? ' 
I cried anxiously. 

" ' I know not,' he rephed, ' I know not,' and there was a 
note of anxiety in his voice. 

" A thought struck me, and my blood turned to water 
and my legs seemed to fail under me. 

" ' The tiger, the man-eater, O, Sher Bahadur. It cannot 
be that the man-eater has visited our village ? ' 

'"We shall soon hear,' was the grim reply. 

" What I feared, sahib, as I hurried along, I know not, 
nor why I feared. I seemed to have a presentiment that 
I was to suffer that day — that the sight before my eyes was 
to affect me most of all, and I could have cried aloud in 
iny pain. 

" We hurried forward, scarcely feeling the weight of our 
loads, but now so heavy, in our great anxiety. We were soon 
seen, and a sudden hush fell upon all the throng. ' What is 
it, speak, oh, Jitman, speak,' said Sher Bahadur, and even 
as the words fell on my ears I seemed to see all eyes turned 
with looks of pity upon myself. As for me, I was speechless. 



174 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

my heart was as water and my legs tottered beneath me. 
I felt as if I knew the words that were to be spoken. 

" ' The tiger shaitan has been here, and Kah, the beautiful 
KaU, has been taken, but half an hour gone. Some of the 
men have already followed on his tracks. He has made for 
the jungle.' 

" I dropped my load and sank on to the ground on top 
of it. Kali, my beautiful girl, Kah, taken by the tiger, 
I could not and would not beUeve it ! I was soon brought to 
myself by the women, who started waihng again. My 
weakness departed from me, and I sprang to my feet. A 
black, blind rage filled me, I frothed at the mouth and 
shrieked at the men to be told the direction the devil had 
taken. I would save her, I said, though the looks of the men 
told me there was little hope of that. I would have the black 
devil's heart's blood, and that before I was many hours 
older, or I too would die. 

" Remonstrance was useless. They offered me food, I 
vomited at the sight, and grew so fierce that old Sher 
Bahadur said he would go with me. Soon two others 
volunteered to accompany us, and taking the few remain- 
ing matchlocks left in the village and our kukris, we set 
out. 

" Of that journey I remember nothing. Sahib, I was as 
one demented. We took the- downward path, and after an 
hour arrived at a dense patch of grass jungle, situated in a 
small valley, shut in by steep hiUs, having at its bottom a 
small torrent. On the edge we came upon the party of men 
who had started before we arrived at the vUlage. I was in no 
condition to understand the conversation that followed. 
Had I not been held back, and it took several men to hold 
me, for rage had given me the strength of many men, I 
should have gone straight into the gra.ss, and doubtless have 
been killed or frightened away the tiger, for he was filled 
with the cunning of all the devils. The tracks had been 
followed to a point some two hundred yards lower down, 
at which they entered the grass. 

" A hurried council was held. The sun had become over- 
cast, and there was need of haste, as rain was imminent, 
and if it fell, the marks would be all washed out. Jhat 
Kali had been brought here was proved by a piece of her 
clothing still adhering to a thorny shrub at the place where 
the tiger had entered the jungle. 



THE HAVILDAH'S STORY 175 

" Old Sher Bahadur here showed his worth, and no finer 
shikari could you find, sahib, than that old man was. He 
said he knew of a cave at the foot of the opposite hill 
where it dropped to the watercourse, and that our best 
plan would be to move lower down our side of the valley, 
get into the stream bed and make our way cautiously 
up it. 

" This we proceeded to do. We were a party of twenty. 
Six men were sent to a point on the stream some five hundred 
feet above us and told to take up safe positions there and 
watch, should the beast try to escape in that direction. 
The rest of us went downwards. As we passed the place 
where the tiger had entered the jungle, I took the strip of 
Kali's dress from the thorn bush and placed it in my pouch, 
and vowed that her slayer should not Hve to see another sun 
rise, or that I would not. I cared not which it might be. 
On reaching the water course, a careful examination was 
made for tracks of the tiger, but none were visible. Six 
men were left here with instructions to climb into trees and 
keep a sharp look-out. We eight then commenced to care- 
fully wend our way up the torrent bed. I went in front with 
old Sher Bahadur, as plucky an old man as you will ever meet, 
sahib. May he rest in peace ! The other men, three on each 
side, followed behind us. Very slowly we went, I in a fever 
of impatience, but wordless and with my senses on the 
stretch and eyes blazing like fire. I was mad, sahib, on 
that day, quite mad, and would have faced fifty tigers 
single-handed." 

The old man paused and gazed with unseeing eyes at the 
rain, which was steadily pouring down outside the verandah. 
I, with my breath coming rather quick, as I pictured the 
scene, watched the speaker with fascinated gaze. There 
was silence for half a minute. 

" It was I who found Kali, sahib, what had been Kali. 
It was part of her only. A bright piece of red caught my 
eye. I knew it for her dress. It was on a Httle sandy spot, 
beneath a large overhanging rock which formed the outer 
portion of the cave. 

" At the sight I lost what little sense I still possessed. I had 
a heavy old matchlock with me, down the barrel of which 
I had crammed two large bullets and a double charge of 
powder. As I caught sight of the dress, I felt my blood turn 
to ice in my veins. Another iopk, a,nd my eyes ma,de out a, 



176 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

portion of a woman's body, poor Kali's body. Without 
thought of the consequences to myself or my companions, I 
started forward with a shout of frenzy and rage, and sprang 
for the cave opening. I jumped, half crouching, on to the 
sandy entrance, and as 1 got there, a dark yellow shape 
came from the interior of the cave. With a shiver of joy I 
found myself gazing into the dark green, fiery eyes, the snarl- 
ing mouth, with its poisonous breath and enormous yeUow 
fangs, of the tiger. What my face was hke I know not. 
Surely it must have been as a devil's, for, sahib, the tiger 
quailed for a second before my glance. They say I shouted 
again. I may have done so, for I read in those devihsh, 
cruel eyes that my days were numbered, and at the same 
moment I fired off my matchlock point-blank at the snarling 
jaws. I had not brought the weapon to the shoulder, I 
fired it as I carried it, with part of the stock beneath my 
right armpit. I remember a snarhng roar, a deafening 
report, and a dull thud on the head. 

" Some time afterwards I came to myself, to find old 
Sher Bahadur leaning over me with an anxious look in his 
eyes. He told me afterwards that he thought I had gone 
mad, and that the tiger's spirit had entered into me, as I had 
been raving ever since I fired the shot. And I raved then, 
for my eyes feU on the form of the tiger. My bullets had 
brained it and the recoil had shot me into the torrent bed 
with the tiger on top of me, for he must have sprung as I 
fired. 

" Jumping to my feet, I fell on my foe and with my kukri 
slashed the body to pieces in a wild frenzy. After my 
first mad transports I proceeded more methodically, and 
ripping the breast up I tore out the heart, as I had vowed 
to do. 

" Then rag^ left me and I went to the remains of her whom 
I loved so dearly. Collecting them together, I took ofE my 
coat, bound them carefully up in it, and then dropped to the 
ground. 

" It was weeks before I was about again, sahib. I got the 
brain fever very badly and all thought that the tigers' 
spirit had got hold of me, that I was bewitched and that I 
should die. , 

" I did not die. Gradually I got weU and strong again. 
But with my strength a feeUng of restlessness entered into 
me — I could not stop in the village. So I arranged for my 



THE HAVILDAH'S STORY 177 

second brother to take my place in the fields and house, 

and sajdng good-bye to the village, I set out from and 

enhsted. 

" That is how I met my first tiger, sahib, and I have 
never forgotten it," 





CHAPTER XV 

BACK IN THE JUNGLES AGAIN 

Back from furlough — ^The jungles again — ^The great grass jungle at the 
end of the rains — ^The animal inhabitants — Insect life — On foot in 
the grass — A moonhght ramble on an elephant^An early morning 
start — ^A fishing expedition — Forest spiders — Sambhar, hogdeer, 
and pig — Chital — ^A tiger episode in the Dun— Sitting up on a tiger 
" run " — Jungle denizens in the evening — Hear a tiger — ^The tiger 
approaches — Anxious moments — Fire at the tiger — ^The tiger drops 
— Gets up and disappears— Return to camp — The Raja Sahib- 
Appears next morning — Go in search of tiger — ^Death of tiger — ^The 
Dehra Dun Fishing Club — Glorious days — Disappearance of game in 
the Dun — Closure and game protection needed. 

THOSE of us who have fallen under the glamour 
of the jungles of India will understand the 
feeling with which I left the Station one afternoon 
in late September for the high-grass jungles and 
the glorious rivers of the United Province Terai. 

Well over a year and a half had elapsed since I had last 
seen them. It was in February of the previous year that 
I left the beautiful Dun and the Mussoorie Hills, a transfer 
taking me to Calcutta. After nearly a year in the City of 
Palaces, I applied for furlough and had a spell of leave at 
home. I rejoined at Dehra early in September and a few 
days' hoUday occurring towards the end of the month saw 
me eagerly setting out for the jungles accompanied by a 
friend. We had two elephants and I had a modified 
cordite -500 Holland and Holland rifle and a new gun, both 
of which I was thirsting to try. We arrived soon after 
four o'clock at a small bungalow in the heart of the forest 
and never shall I forget the thrill with which I sniffed agEiin 
the odours of the great jungles. . 

The rains were over and we could count on fine weather. 
Already there was a touch of the glorious winter cold in the 
early morning and evening air, and for the midday heat we 

178 




A CORNER OF THE SACREU CITY OK HARDWAR LOOKINl 
THE GANGES 




M.li.Sfa,l.;i,/,ln'o 

SCEN'ERV IN THE 



heauti] ri. dun. the mussoorie hills 

IN THE BACKGROUND 




BACK IN THE JUNGLES AGAIN 179 

cared nothing. With luck the fishing should be good and 
the great grass jungles alive with game ; though it was 
doubtful whether we should be able to see anything to 
shoot owing to the great height and density of the grass ; 
unless we had the good fortune to stumble across a tiger or 
leopard. 

Have you ever been out in the great grass jungles, the 
tiger-grass jungles, at the close of the rains ? They are a 
stupendous sight as seen from the back of 
an elephant. A sea of green spreads all 
around one with, rising above it, the tall, 
graceful, nodding stems of the flower- 
heads, each ending in a long, elegant, 
white, feathery spike. They bend and dip 
as the wind whispers through them in a 
most delightful fashion. As far as the eye 
can reach stretches the giant grass with 
here and there a great tree rearing its lofty 
crown far above it. Down below, fifteen feet 
below, who can tell of the innumerable life 
which finds its home in the grass jungles at the end of the 
rains ? As the elephant slowly forges its way through the 
dense mass you hear sudden rushes, but can perceive nothing. 
Only by the intensity of the sound can you make a shrewd 
guess as to the identity of the fugitive. Sfimbhar, spotted 
deer, hogdeer (Cervus porcinus), swamp deer or barasingha 
{Cervus duvauceli), it may be any of these. As for pig ! You 
will know him right enough by the noise of his indignant 
protests at being thus disturbed, and by the disgust of the 
elephant at his near presence. But neither tiger nor leopard 
are likely to advertise their departure. They will recognize 
the presence of an elephant long before he is near them and 
will silently get out of his path ; since they know it is both 
useless and unwise to provoke him. Of the smaller 
mammals — jackals, foxes, civets, wild cats, hyenas, wild 
dogs — numbers must be at present roaming the grass jungles, 
for it is here that the greater bulk of the animals on which 
they prey are collected. As you move along pea-fowl, jungle 
fowl, partridge, and quail wiU rise with startled squawks above 
the grass-heads, fly skimmingly over the surface for a short 
distance, and go to ground again, lost at once in the dense 
sea of green. Of smaller birds numbers wiU be seen clinging 
to the tall flower-heads, pecking at the developing seeds or 



i8o DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

searching for minute insects. And of insect life you will 
find a plethora in the grass jungles. In the brilliant sun- 
shine great gaudily decked butterflies float on burnished 
scintillating wing, now flirting with the curts5dng grass- 
heads, now darting suddenly forwards, hovering for some 
seconds and then sinking to rest on a shimmering leaf-tip. 
Fast-flying skippers will flash past going at the hurrjdng 
pace these insects appear to affect and which, combined 
with their high-fljnng proclivities, makes their capture so 
extremely difficult. Brilhant dragon-flies hawk over the 
grass, their wings flashing in the sunlight as they swoop on to 
their prey. And low down, down in the depths of the grass 
masses, who can say what myriads of at present unclassified 
insect life exist — life which, should it survive to reach the 
systematist's table, may cause unconceived changes in his 
classificatory systems. 

If the grass jungle is wonderful as seen from the back of 
an elephant, it is Uttle short of bewildering if one gets down 
into it. Order the mahout to stop the elephant and make 
him sit down. Shp out of the howdah or off the pad and 
stand amidst the jungle itself ; sending the elephant and 
mahout a short distance on, not too far if you ever wish to 
get out again. Around you now rises a green waU pressing 
on to you on every side. Far away above you as the breeze 
blows over the tops you see the waving grass-heads, and 
above again small patches and rifts of a deep blue sky. On 
every side as you endeavour to pierce the screen you see 
nothing but a dead green barrier of the thick grass-stems. 
You can note that the grass grows in giant bunches, so to 
speak, each great clump starting from a centre, its stems 
radiating outwards and bending over as they reach the 
upper levels. But so close are the clumps together that the 
mass forms a continuous screen or wall. Move forward ten 
paces, forcing your way between the clumps. The horizon 
is the same on every side and you quickly reahze that were 
you to be left to your own devices in a big grass jungle, or 
even in one of moderate size, you woidd stand a small 
chance of getting out aUve owing to man's extraordinary 
tendency to walk in a circle if he has nothing he can recog- 
nize to guide him. Soon a feehng of suffocation takes hold 
of you, a dread that you will never get up out of this 
appalling grass, and it is with a feeling of relief that one 
phmbs once again on to the back of the elepliant. 



BACK IN THE JUNGLES AGAIN i8i 

What the feeling would be in the night, alone down below 
at the foot of the grass clumps, I have never tried. There 
are various reasons why one would not try it perhaps. But 
from the back of the elephant the grass jungle at night, on a 
moonlight night, is a most eerie place to be in. The tall 
white heads look ghostly under the moonbeams, a filmy 
white mist is usually floating just above the jungle, and 
the night birds, owls and their kin, flitting silently by or 
with a sudden squawk of terror are uncanny. Great night 
beetles drone by with humming sound and moths of a size 
which appears gigantic flap up out of the depths, often 
considerably disturbing one's serenity by blundering into 
the face. A variety of queer cries rise on the still air — 
cries of the night jungle folk which sound more Hke the 
unearthly shrieks of mortals in pain, setting one's nerves on 
edge, than natural cries and calls. Fine, it must be admitted, 
very fine, are the grass jungles at night but not to be com- 
pared with their glorious beauty by day. 

And so I thought on the night of our arrival in camp that 
September. For immediately after dinner I ordered up an 
elephant intending to have an hour's stroll through the 
grass jungles before bed. My companion, stretched at 
length in an arm-chair with a cigar between his lips, thought 
I was mad, as did the much-disgusted mahout, who had to 
quit the camp fire and the circle of talkative servants to 
accompany me. But then neither of them had been away 
from the jungles for over a year and a half and could not be 
expected to understand or sympathize with my frame 
of mind. 

We had no adventures that night. I do not think that 
the mahout was out for any if he could help it. I left the 
route to him, merely telling him that I wanted to be out 
a good hour. For myself the pleasure at finding myself 
back again in a real big jungle after so long an absence was 
sufficient for the present and, as I sat swaying on the pad, 
perched up behind the mahout, I drank in with gusto the 
smell of the jungle, malarious though it was, and hstened to 
the well-known night sounds with keen interest. 

And so to bed and a dreamless sleep. 

The next morn soon after dawn and before the sun had 
climbed above the hills we were engaged on a substantial 
chota hazri in the verandah. In front lay the small clearing 
which was dignified by the name of the bungalow compound 



r82 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

and beyond the jungle — scattered trees interspersed with 
masses of the tall tiger grass. This stretched for half a mile 
to a white dense line of mist which hung above and pro- 
claimed the presence of the river. Above the mist the 
upper part of the hills, the outer spurs of the Himalaya 
distant about six miles or so, stood up dark green and blue, 
their tops now gilding under the rays of the rising sun. 

Away to the north the higher ranges stood out sharp and 
clear, their bases and lower ridges enveloped in a dense 
white pall of vapour. 

The whole camp was astir and as we discussed our meal 
the confused medley of sounds which I knew so well and 
which I had not heard for so long rose on the still air. 
Mahouts' boys getting the elephants ready, syces grooming 
the ponies, peons getting out the rifles and guns and rods, 
whilst the servants fussed about putting the final touches 
to the tiffin-baskets, for we were to be away aU day. And 
each and every sound was music to ears which had listened 
long for the well-remembered bustle. 

The elephants lounged up to the verandah in their slow, 
lazy, silent fashion. Even they seemed alert, however, for 
they had done nothing but eat their heads off during the 
past three months and they knew as well as the rest of us 
that this was the beginning of business once again. They 
knelt down and we climped into the howdahs already 
packed with our paraphernalia for the day's outing. Slowly 
rising to their feet the great beasts left the compound and 
we were straightway in the jungle. 

Our destination was a good reach of the river some five 
miles away, where we hoped to have some sport with the 
mahseer, now on their way down-stream from the higher 
shallow waters where they had spa\<Tied. Once in the 
jungle the tw® elephants separated, we having previously 
arranged to meet at the rendezvous. My friend took a 
circuitous route as he had a place to inspect. I was out 
chiefly for pleasure and my mahout had instructions to 
proceed straight through the forest and high grass areas for 
the distant reach. 

How distinctly the memory of that morning comes back 
to me. The dense high jungle which had reached its 
culmination of growth at the end of the rains, the intricate 
tangle of matted shrubs and creepers forming the under- 
growth of the high sdl forest, the glorious fresh greenness 



BACK IN THE JUNGLES AGAIN 183 

of the latter after its long cleansing by the monsoon rains, 
the giant, sticky, gossamer-like webs of the big forest 
spiders stretched across between the tree-trunks and 
glittering with sparkhng drops of water from the past night 
mists, and the slanting beams of the sun throwing into fierce 
relief bright patches of tangled growth, tree-trunks and 
shining foUage. 

Out from the shadows of the forest we came into the full 
blinding glare of the open and moved slowly through a wide 
grass savannah. A swarm of green parrots fly screeching by 
us as we enter the grass and a pea-fowl, an old cock bird who 
was finishing his morning meal, gets up at the feet of the 
elephant with an indignant squawk, a tremendous flurry of 
wings, and wheels back into the forest. 

As the elephant slowly forges through the grass the 
drops of water fall in miniature sprays, like handfuls of 
shining jewels, from the grass-heads and the filmy mist winds 
itself up into the fleeciest of shawls which vanish under the 
sun's rays even as one watches them. There is a sudden 
rush and three dark backs go by and disappear at once, 
sambhar by their height, but it is impossible to say for 
certain. A partridge goes whirring by to the left and a 
jungle cock on the right. They go free. We are looking for 
bigger game than this and our fingers are closed round a 
rifle, not a gun. 

Further on we come to a small opening covered with a short 
tussocky grass and half-way across this a hogdeer jumps up 
and dashes for cover. I did not fire, I only had the briefest 
glimpse of him ; but in any event the horns were still in 
velvet. The rush of the hogdeer disturbed two doe sambhar 
which were wading belly-deep in the rank vegetation, their 
rough coats plastered high up the sides with thick mud. They 
got out of the marshy ground and into the high grass with 
wonderful celerity considering their heavy build. On re- 
entering the grass the elephant showed signs of uneasiness. 
Is it a tiger afoot ? The thought flashes through the brain 
and high hopes rise only to be almost immediately dispelled. 
A series of short rushes in the jungle ahead and a babel of 
grunts and squeaks proclaims a sounder of pig. The 
elephant went distinctly short in his stride, giving one 
something of the feeling produced by a horse who has no 
stomach for the jump in front of him and who is making up 
his mind to refuse. The stilted stride of the elephant is most 



i84 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

unpleasant in a howdah and makes it diificult to shoot from. 
Not that there was any chance of a shot on the present 
occasion. The sounder must have been a big one for we 
appeared to have pigs all round us, and from the deep notes 
of the irascible grunts of some of the animals there were 
several old boars in the party. The havildah in the back 
seat of the howdah was in a state of tense excitement. He 
wanted meat and was straining his eyes into the depths in 
the hopes of seeing something which he could point out as a 
fair mark. I doubt whether even his sharp eyes saw any- 
thing in the thick tangle below. The attitude of both 
mahout and elephant was one of intense disgust at being so 
near the unclean beast. After this interlude we shortly 
again got into the forest and proceeded through it for a 
couple of miles without incident save that we passed a 
, small herd of chital. There were three stags in the herd, one 
with a fair head, but of course aU the horns were in velvet. 




The deer were standing in a Httle glade almost free of under- 
growth and as the elephant forged slowly ahead they 
watched him curiously, apparently taking the howdah as 
part of the animal itseK. We advanced slowly almost on to 
them, our path keeping slightly to the right. When almost 
abreast the does started edging away, but quite slowly. 
Beautiful animals, with their Ught fawn colouring with the 
Unes of white spots running down the ground colour. Very 
small they looked from my elevation, but eminently 
graceful. 

We soon afterwards left the forest and advanced over a 
broad stony nullah bed interrupted by two or three islands 
covered with shisham and khair trees and patches of tall 
grass. On one of these islands I recognized the tree in which 
I had sat up for a tiger on several occasions in the hot 
weather two years back, my second in the Dun, on which 
occasion I made a tour round the whole of it, both western 
and eastern, and had a most enjoyable seven weeks which 



BACK IN THE JUNGLES AGAIN 185 

were followed by a glorious two months' tour in the 
Himalaya. 

The episode in question took place in May. As I have 
previously mentioned in these notes I was given to sitting 
up for game in a machan or otherwise owing to the facilities 
this method afforded of watching the jungle inhabitants 
going about their several ways under undisturbed conditions, 
I had already got rather bored with the monotony at night, 
but as long as dayUght lasted I enjoyed it. On the trip in 
question through the lovely Dun (SiwaHk) forests I did a 
good. lot of sitting up and at the instigation of my shikari I 
tried a method for tiger which I had not practised before. 
These Dun shikaris knew a great deal about the habits of the 
local tigers, then more plentiful than now. They knew 
their haunts and the paths by which they went on their 
nightly search for game. They could thus place a rifle in a 
likely spot from which he might be able to watch the tiger 
on his evening prowl, which to me was worth any amount of 
sitting up over " kills." I tried this method several times 
and twice saw tiger and once a leopard. Only once, however, 
did I get a shot, on the occasion I will now recount. It was 
on the island I referred to above. I spent a week in the 
neighbourhood on some investigation work I was engaged 
upon at the time. There was a forked tree situated at the 
northernmost point of the island standing on the edge of the 
stony nullah bed. The fork was situated about twenty-five 
feet up and was of such a nature that with the addition of a 
piUow (covered in a khaki pillow-case) from my camp bed 
it made a most comfortable seat with convenient rests for 
my feet. It was better than any machan and had the 
additional value that it left the place entirely undisturbed. 
Building a machan even of the flimsiest means men about 
chopping branches and making a noise, the proceedings 
being quite sufficient to scare away a tiger in the vicinity. 
There was a glorious moon that week and twice I had 
adjourned to the tree at four o'clock in the afternoon and 
stayed there till about ten o'clock without result. That the 
tree was close to a tiger walk was shown by the footmarks 
passing and repassing on a small path which ran across the 
nullah just missing the spit of the island. On my last night 
but one I determined to try again and cUmbed up into my 
tree at about 4.30 p.m. It was far too hot to make it neces- 
. sary to go any earlier as no tiger would be on the move till 



i86 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

much before dusk. The shikari esconced himself higher up 
the tree and we waited in silence. Very soon afterwards a 
pattering over the stones announced an arrival and two 
chital stags came along the run and passed close by us — 
one carrying a fine head. One always sees the best heads 
when trying for lordlier game ! They disappeared in the 
direction of the water and were shortly followed by some 
sambhar, all does. These went by in Indian file, meandering 
slowly along with heads held low, nosing here and there for 
a tuft of grass and wandering off the track for a few yards 
in an erratic fashion. Half an hour passed. A faint patter- 
ing some way out and three pea-fowl were crossing the 
nuUah for their evening drink, every now and then halting 
and craning their necks about on the look-out for danger. 
A most wary bird is this fowl. Then silence for a time. The 
eastern sky was now reflecting the gorgeous colouring of the 
west, where the sun was setting, and I realized that the 
daylight would be shortly struggUng with the hght from 
the rapidly rising moon. Suddenly I caught a faint sound, 
half gurgle, half hum. It ceased. Then I heard it again a 
little more definite, but still some way off. I had heard it 
before and thought I recognized it. I caught the faintest 
whisper behind me. " Tiger, sahib. It's the tiger." 
I nodded and ,waited in suspense. Which way would he 
come ? There was, of course, no certainty of his passing 
my tree. He did so often as the pugs showed, but he had 
other runs to go by as was evidenced by our not having seen 
him on the previous occasions. Again the noise, now 
nearer and sounding Hke a fretful half whine, half growl. 
He was evidently approaching in our direction. I looked 
round. Objects were still quite distinct, but the night was 
faUing and there is Httle twilight to depend on in these 
regions. And the struggle between day and moonlight 
always produces, at least to my eyes, a more or less indistinct 
compound of the two, if I may so express it. Quite suddenly 
the noise sounded loud and distinct. The tiger was on the 
edge of the forest standing probably just within the fringe 
of grass on the edge of the nullah and survejdng the broad 
expanse of stones and tufts of grass in front of him. Tigers, 
like other jungle denizens, are ever suspicious of the ©pen 
and scan such places narrowly before they venture out into 
them. Another low growl and then dead silence. I fixed 
my eyes on the little run. Would he come or would instinct 



BACK IN THE JUNGLES AGAIN 



187 



^•^"V 



warn him of danger. The suspense was painful. I was just 
giving up hope when a greyish shape appeared below me 
without a sound. It was the 
tiger. He loomed enormous 
though indistinct in the 
struggling light, stepping as 
lightly as a tomcat walking 
over a lawn, his tail swinging 
from side to side. The night 
was absolutely still, not a 
breath of air was moving 
and he evidently had no 
idea of our dangerous neigh- 
bourhood, for he was looking 
straight ahead. In spite of 
the light I felt quite con- 
fident of the shot, too con- 
fident perhaps as it appeared 
such an easy one. I had 
brought up the rifle very 
near the position of firing 
before the animal appeared 
to avoid attracting his 
attention by a movement, 
the frequent cause of so 

many missed opportunities : for the eye of the jungle 
inhabitant is extraordinarily quick at catching any un- 
toward movement to which he is not accustomed. I 
had only to raise the rifle a few inches to sight on 
the animal and as soon as I was on I pulled the 
trigger. The report was followed by a loud roar and the 
tiger, who was dead in front of me, reared up on end and 
nearly fell over backwards. He righted himself, however, 
and came down on all fours, falling over on his side as he 
did so. I refrained from firing again thinking he was 
finished. To my astonishment, however, the beast was up 
again in a trice, whisked round, and bounded away. I 
hurriedly aimed on his grey shape and fired again, the report 
being followed by a loud growl. A swish of grass and a 
crash of bushes followed as the tiger entered the forest 
again on the side from which he had emerged and then 
sUence. " The sahib should have fired his second barrel 
sooner while the tiger was on the ground," came from 




i88 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

behind. I was mad with rage and vexation at the contre- 
temps and this was the last straw. I had heard a delighted 
" Laga, laga hai " (Hit, he is hit) from the shikari whilst 
the tiger was on the ground, and I felt sure that the shikari 
had thought the brute was done for as I had. And one does 
not want to spoil one's skins with unnecessary bullet-holes. 
I quickly silenced the shikari, therefore, and proceeded to 
possess my soul in patience. There was nothing to be done 
then, anyway. The orders left in camp were that if shots 
were heard a party of men, after waiting half an hour, should 
then make straight for the nullah bed which was fairly close 
to the camp and come straight down it to my position. 
They were to bring as many lanterns as they could lay 
hands on. About an hour later the procession hove in view, 
talking loudly and frightening every hving jungle inhabitant 
within a mile or two. I returned to camp and wrote an 
urgent and pressing appeal to a neighbouring Raja with 
whom I had a passing acquaintance and who was a thorough 
gentleman and first-rate sportsman, asking him to bring out 
or send out to me one of his elephants to beat up the wounded 
tiger, if it was not already dead. I had dinner and turned in, 
passing a hot and restless night. At first dawn I heard a 
mahout's voice cursing his elephant's clumsiness and I knew 
that the Raja had turned out trumps. Nor had I had any 
doubts as to what he would do. I sprang out of bed and 
was donning my jungle kit in haste when a servant appeared 
at the door of the tent with a cup of tea and the announce- 
ment that the Raja Sahib had himself arrived. I was out 
in a twinkling, profuse in my thanks to such a first-rate 
sportsman. We hurriedly partook of tea and were off for 
the scene of last night's episode. Below the tree was found 
a pool of still wet but half-congealed blood. A couple of 
patches were found between the tree and the forest in which 
the tiger had entered. Then our difficulties commenced. 
We first made a wide circle with the object of picking up any 
bloodstains should the tiger have travelled far. None were 
found, however, and the Raja, who was well acquainted 
with the area, nearly as well acquainted as the shikari, and 
the latter then held a consultation. It was finally agreed to 
commence at the spot at which the tiger had entereli and 
work on the fine they had mutually agreed as being the 
probable direction of flight. Slowly the elephant forged 
ahead through the dense matted jungle and for a time 



BACK IN THE JUNGLES AGAIN 189 

nothing occurred. Then the elephant coiled up her trunk 
after first tapping the ground with it. At almost the same 
instant a roar resounded through the forest and a yellow 
mass sprang up out of a patch of grass and sank back into 
it again. It was the tiger. I had asked the Raja to take 
•the first shot should we come upon the animal still ahve as 
I wanted to repay him to some small extent for his kindness. 
The elephant was put into the grass patch and a second 
time the game tiger rose up with a roar. But it was his last 
effort, and he fell back with a bullet through the brain from 
the Raja's rifle. He was a game beast, for he had a fearful 
wound from my first shot which missed the heart by a little 
only. The second shot had hit him in the pad of the off 
hind foot. 

Such was the episode which my brain conjured up as we 
passed close to the tree on this September morning. " Any 
khubbar of tiger about here, mahout ? " I asked. " They 
were saying in the camp last night that a monster tiger had 
his beat in these parts, last hot weather, sahib. But who 
knows ! Several of the sahibs from the Station were out but 
they never saw him. It was probably village hes ! " Thus 
the mahout, whose opinion of the jungle villagers is ever 
small. 

Shortly after we reached the rendezvous. I spent the 
rest of the day on, or I should say in, the river, as also the 
following two days, and my friend and self had quite fair 
sport with the mahseer. The Dun rivers, as are others in 
the north of India, are under the protection of a Fishing 
Club whose headquarters is at Dehra Dun. I was a member 
of the Committee of this Club for several years and most 
interesting were the questions which came up for decision and 
settlement. Owing to the heavy water which comes down 
these rivers in the monsoons and in the larger ones, the 
Ganges and Jumna, in the spring with the melting of the 
snows in the Himalaya, a river may change its channel, for 
distances which vary from a few hundred yards to a mile or 
two. The new channel is sometimes a matter of yards only 
or as much as a mile or two away from the old. Good/eaches 
and pools may thus be entirely ruined and with them the work 
and money expended on building small bunds and revetment 
walls out into the stream to improve a good reach or pool. 
Considerable judgment, with these vagaries of the river to 
be bgrne in. mind aijd the comparative smallness of the 



1^0 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

funds at the disposal of the Club, has to be exercised in 
choosing the sites of the small fishing huts, of which a few 
were in existence. Although we were usually under canvas 
when on a fishing trip, the huts were a great convenience for 
members who wished to run out for a night or two without 
going to the trouble of taking out camp paraphernalia ; as 
also for non-district members who came from a distance to 
spend a ten days' leave on these lovely rivers amidst 
scenery that could scarcely be surpassed. Glorious days these 
were passed thus on the river. On the occasion in question 
the hot September sun burnt all the skin off my arms, knees — 
we wore khaki shorts — neck and face, raising great and 
exceedingly painful yeUow bhsters. My year and a half's 
absence had made me soft, but the subsequent fortnight's 
painful morning and evening anointing with glycerine by 
my bearer was fully worth the ideal time we had of it. 

We did not see much game, however, in the jungles. 
Nothing to what would have been a certainty at the end of 
the rains in the old days. 

On our way back to camp on the last day I made some 
remark to the mahout about the curious absence of the 
large quantities of animals which at this season of the year 
could certainly have been found here a few years ago. 
" Oh, sahib, the Gurkhas were here last month," was the 
reply. " How many ? " " From fifteen to a score," the 
mahout answered. That explained matters which subse- 
quent investigations in following years were able to confirm. 

This Gurkha question was not a new one, nor indeed was 
the case of the troops generally throughout the country, 
where shooting and the fauna was in question. But the 
Gurkha is the most typical case as instancing the harm 
which can be done, unintentionally done one would hope, by 
the grant of fights and pre-emptions which can only result 
in the extinction of the thing granted. Shooting rights in 
the jungles in the neighbourhood of their cantonments were 
originally granted to the Gurkha regiments when they were 
first settled in their present cantonments. This was an 
inducement to recruiting since the Gurkha is a great hunter. 
At the time the rights were granted the jungles swarmed 
with game and no one bothered their heads about the 
possibility, nay, probability, of this game decreasing to 
such an extent that it would come perilously near extermina- 
tion in these parts. And yet this is exactly what has hap- 



BACK IN THE JUNGLES AGAIN 191 

pened in the neighbourhood of all the large cantonments in 
India. It is what has happened largely also in the neigh- 
bourhood of the Gurkha cantonments occupied by regiments 
who do not move their headquarters. These Gurkha 
regiments or battalions are situated on the outer spurs 
of the Himalayan range from the banks of the Sarda on 
the frontier of Nepal to the banks of the Indus. They 
number some fifteen thousand men,^ all keen shikaris. 
Their chief opportunities of private shikar, i.e. as opposed 
to the occasions when they are out with their officers when 
their part is not the killing part, is duriijg the monsoon 
months. During these months the sahib does not go out 
into the jungles which are very malarious. Not so the 
Gurkhas. This is their opportunity. From June to Septem- 
ber it is comparatively easy to obtain leave, and a party of 
ten to twenty men proceeded to a jungle and syste- 
matically beat it, slajdng everything that got up in front 
and that could be hit. This sort of thing took place year 
after year, in addition to the numbers of animals killed 
from machans on the outskirts of the forest 
by a sportsman who was out on his own 
and could not tackle the game in any other 
way. There can be Uttle doubt that the 
Gurkhas decimated the animals in the neigh- 
bourhood of their cantonments, and this 
neighbourhood may be taken to be a radius 
of some thirty miles or more. It was most 
difficult to see how it could be stopped. The 
men had the permission from Government. 
It was one of the guarantees upon which 
they were enUsted in Nepal. Some of the 
finest shooting-grounds on the five hundred miles of country 
between the Sarda and Indus have been entirely ruined by 
this so-called shikar, and the sufferers are not only the 
Gurkha rank and file themselves, but their officers and the 
civil officers of the stations situated along this extensive 
line. 

In many cases nothing but closure and the creation of 
considerable game sanctuaries will enable portions of these 
fine forests to become rehabitated to some extent. They 
are unhkely ever to form the shooting-grounds they once 
were. Nor will the old free shooting of the forest be seen 

• This was written before the Great War. — E, P. S, 




192 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

again, in our time at least. Close seasons all sportsmen 
would wish to see. Indiscriminate slaughter of animals, 
large and small heads and does, is simple blood-thirstiness 
and cruelty. But it is a restriction in India to those who 
have enjoyed the shoot-as-you-please fashion to be limited 
to a total of so many head, to find species barred to all 
shooting, and so on. 

This state of affairs is attributable to the unchecked, 
indiscriminate slaughter of the past; to the extremely 
inefficient game laws and rules in force in the different 
Provinces ; to the carelessness Avith which gun hcences 
were issued and the deplorable absence of supervision which 
was maintained over those who received them ; and last, but 
not least, to the unchecked snaring and trapping of animals 
by methods which often exhibit a maximum of deviUsh 
cruelty. These matters are dealt with in Part II. Brilliant 
exceptions there were especially amongst the magistrates 
and forest officers who were themselves real sportsmen ; 
but, in most cases, of real supervision there was none, and 
the fauna of the country has suffered terribly accordingly. 




V)M(|!ii''/1j; 




..,^/^*^ 



CHAPTER XVI 



AN ADVENTURE WITH A LEOPARD 



An afternoon tryst in the Siwaliks — Proceed to the savannah — ^A herd of 
chital leaving the forest — Deer plentiful in the United Provinces in 
old days — ^Not so plentiful now — Sit and watch the deer — Sambhar 
appear — ^Youngsters engage in sparring match — ^A big stag appears 
— ^Night coming on — ^A dilemma — ^A new actor appears on the 
scene — ^Leopard stalks a hind — Kills her — ^The havildah misses a 
stag — I fire at leopard and wound it: — ^Leopard bolts into forest — 
An anxious journey back to camp — Search for the leopard next 
morning. 

I CANNOT count the occasions when I have had the 
opportunity of watching a leopard on " his own " in 
the jungle on both hands. In fact they are limited to 
three, and one of them I have already described 
elsewhere. One of the others was certainly not the least 
interesting of the encounters however, and I propose to 
narrate it here. 

I was out in the jungles in the south of the Siwaliks early 
in April, and the weather, though commencing to get a 
trifle hot perhaps in the daytime, was still ideal for my 
purposes. 

Before leaving the camp one morning early on some 
work, I gave the havildah orders to meet me 
at four o'clock in the afternoon near a big 
banyan tree at the edge of the forest, about 
a mile away. 

" The cook wants some meat and we'll 
see if we can stalk something before sun- 
down, so bring the rifle and shot-gun." 

" Very good, huzur." 

I was up to time and found the havildah 
duly awaiting me, squatted under the banyan ^ 
tree. I took the rifle and we set off down ' 
a narrow path through the forest, which led 
to an open savannah-like grassy tract of considerable 
extent and completely encircled by green forest, tongues 

o 193 




194 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

of the s41 forest jutting out here and there into the beautiful 
green plain. These open, grassy areas are common in the 
jungles in this district and are burnt annually by the Forest 
Department Officials to prevent danger of accidental fires 
originating in the high grass, with which they become 
densely covered in the rains, and spreading into the adjacent 
valuable forest tracts. It is almost needless to state that 
they formed ideal areas in which to search for game. 

We moved along noiselessly as I was wearing rope-soled 
boots which, with practice, permit of a quiet progression. 
A Gurkha out himting is always noiseless. On our way to 
the grassy area we kept our eyes and ears wide open for sight 
or sound of animals, but saw and heard nothing. We were 
walking in Indian file. As we approached the savannah the 







trees opened out in front, but the taU grass was stiU too 
thick to see through until we reached the extreme edge. I 
then sank down silently, the havildah following suit and 
dropping in his tracks. He crawled forward and we looked 
out on to the plain-Uke expanse in front of us. 

About fifty yards distant a small herd of chital were 
grazing. These animals had evidently issued from a small 
piece of forest which jutted out some distance into the 
plain on our right hand. Others were closer to the forest, 
whilst the rustle of leaves and the cracking of a twig now 
and then showed that some individuals of the heiW were 
still inside. 

At the time I write of these animals, together with 
sambhar, hogdeer, and swamp deer or barasingha, were 



AN ADVENTURE WITH A LEOPARD 



195 



exceedingly plentiful in the plains and forests of the United 
Provinces. Numbers still exist, but to nothing like the 
same extent as formerly. Nor are the big heads to be 
obtained now in the numbers which were comparatively 
plentiful in the gorgeous days of old. 

Two decades ago, from the tent door or verandah of the 
forest bungalows in the early morning great herds could be 
seen feeding on the plain in areas where they were not often 
disturbed. One encountered them fiUng or jumping across 
the forest rides as one rode along on the pony or elephant 
on the march or inspection duty. In the early morning or 
evening one could watch them feeding out on the savannah- 
like expanses of grass where cut or burnt ; or entering or 
issuing from the neighbouring forests like troops of miniature 
cavalry. One could pick out and shoot a decent head with 
ease ; men shot several head of a morning or evening, good 
and indifferent (more's the pity). There were no rules and 
regulations in those days ; rules and regulations which 
are now so necessary if the game of the country is to be 
protected. A fat young buck or hind was shot without 
contravening any rule. In fact, for the Forest Officer it 
was a necessity, since he 
was often away in the 
jungle weeks on end by 
himself and dependent to 
a great extent on his rifle 
for his meat supply. And a 
record head is not usually 
accompanied by a delicate 
and tender flesh ! 

But those days are gone 
for ever and, as we shall see 
later, many causes up here 
have tended to produce the 
present state of affairs. 

The sun was sinking as we sat and watched the deer at 
present visible. Already the sky was changing colour 
and a small cloud near the west took on a crimson 
tinge. Away in the forest the pea-fowl were calling from 
the trees, having already commenced to seek their roosting 
perches for the night in the darker shadow of the forest. 

I was not out for a record this evening — not unless 
something exceptional in the way of a head appeared. 




196 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

Sufficient meat for the camp was all that I intended to 
obtain, and that would be an easy matter — so I thought ! 
In the meantime I was exceedingly interested in the move- 
ments of the animals in front of me. 

As we sat there the first deer seen gradually fed further 
out into the plain. They were mostly does with one or 
two small stags amongst them. Others meanwhile issued 
from the tongue of forest, and it was in this direction that 
we maintained our watch. Only once did we remove our 
eyes, and then turned sharply to the left as a heavy animal 
broke out from the forest in that direction, followed by 
several others. 

They were doe sambhar with two young ones at heel, 
and after satisf5dng ourselves that a stag was not with them, 
which was unlikely at that season of the year, we again 
turned our gaze to the right. 

Two of the youngsters were now engaged in a sparring 
match, banging their foreheads together with a smack and 
pushing against each other for all they were worth, occasion- 
ally rearing up on their hind legs and sparring. I was 
watching them amusedly, for they were so thoroughly in 
earnest, when I heard a slight hiss from the havildah, and 
glanced quickly at him and then to the right. A bigger 
stag than any we had yet seen had left the forest quite 
quietly and was cropping the grass in short, quick mouthfuls. 
Two good-looking young does were just in front of him. 
As I looked a heavy rustle and clatter on the edge of the 
forest took place and out stalked a lordly stag. Even a 
cursory glance showed him to be of enormous size, and at a 
low muttered exclamation from the havildah I glanced at 
him. One look was enough. He was as excite;d as I was, 
old hands as we were at the game. 

"Koup Tjurra singh waUa, sahib" (An enormous head, 
sahib "), whispered the havildah. 

I nodded. " It is thirty-seven inches and perhaps more," 
I thought. " What is to be done ? " 

And truly the stag was well worth the excitement he 
created. The white spots glistened hke satin on- his beautiful 
fawn-coloured coat, whilst the horns swept magnificently 
upwards from the head, the brow antler long anfl sharp, 
the lower part of the main shaft roughened, and the two 
upper tines sharp and white. 

The position was, indeed, an anxious one. The sun was 



AN. ADVENTURE WITH A LEOPARD 197 

setting behind the tree-tops of the forest to the west. There 
was not too much daylight left. The smaller stag, if he 
continued to feed in his present direction, would come 
within range, but it would be dark before the big one got 
there, and if the latter remained where he was he would be 
a difficult shot once the light began to go. 

Since we wanted meat, I told the havildah to place a ball 
cartridge in the smooth-bore and to be ready to fire at the 
nearest stag when I gave the word. At the same moment 
I would let drive at the big stag. It was not an ideal 
solution, but nothing better seemed to offer itself, unless 
the big stag moved much nearer to us, in order to enable 
me to make a certainty of meat and of horns to boot. 

We then concentrated our attention on the two stags, 
and neither party saw the third actor in this vivid drama of 
the forest. 

And yet there was one, and this no less than a fine male 
leopard, which was just leaving the forest some forty yards 
to our right. Quite unaware of the near proximity of his 
mortal foe — man— the leopard was intent on securing his 
evening meal, and for this purpose had selected a young 
doe which had straggled away from the main herd and was 
feeding towards, and some sixty yards from, the leopard's 
position. 

On leaving the forest the leopard lay flat on his stomach 
and crawled stealthily along in the direction of the doe, 
who had suddenly altered her position and was now facing 
towards her companions. Whether instinct had warned 
her it is hard to say, but she stood at gaze for some seconds, 
the leopard meanwhile crouching motionless, flat in the 
short tussocky grass and absolutely indistinguishable from 
his surroundings, and then down went her head and she 
recommenced feeding. 

The leopard still waited, and then once again began that 
slow crawl. It was difficult, indeed, to perceive that he 
moved at all, save that tussocks of grass that had been in 
front of him were left behind. Gradually the distance 
shortened, till but twenty-five yards separated him from 
the young, unsuspecting doe. Slowly he gathered himself 
together, and then with a few strong, supple, noiseless 
bounds he sprang on to the startled animal and struck her 
to the ground. 

The tragedy was a matter of seconds, and yet its effect 



198 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

on that quiet, peaceful, grassy arena was instantaneous. As 
the leopard lay tearing at the throat of his victim, startled 
squeaks sprung from the throats of the spotted deer, hoarser 
sounds from the sambhar, and two startled bellows from 
the two spotted stags. 

A shot snapped out and the smaller stag bounded forward, 
as a bullet whizzed close over his head, and made for the 
forest. The big stag was already entering it unimpeded. 

I had turned my attention to the more dangerous animal' 
and the big head went scathless. 

At the sound of the smooth-bore the leopard sprang to 
his feet snarling, and stood broadside on with his head 
turned towards us. A rifle shot rang out and the beast 
sprang into the air with a roar and made for the forest hne. 
A second shot, but the animal held on and the light was 
bad. Crash ! the leopard had reached and bounded into 
the long grass with a last snarl. 

I heard a groan as the leopard disappeared. It was 
from the havildah, but whether at his own miss or not I 
did not ask. 

The sounds of the leopard, undoubtedly badly wounded, 
died away ; the deer in a maddened stampede were already 
far away, and the grassy plain now darkening rapidly lay 
tenantless, save for the dead body of the young doe. Over- 
head the brightening stars winked down on this tragedy of 
the forest. 

We got silently to our feet, listened intently for a few 
minutes, and I then whispered to the orderly to reload the 
empty barrel of the smooth-bore. I reloaded my rifle, 
and this done, motioned my companion to the front and 
signed to him to move cautiously. 

We had an anxious j ourney back to the camp. A wounded 
leopard aboyt in a dark jungle is no joke, and I think we both 
had one of the worst half-hours we had had in our Mves. 

To this day I have not been able to make up my mind 
whether I was right in firing at the leopard. I feared 
that the animal, hearing the havildah's gun and maddened 
at being interrupted in his meal, might be about to charge, 
and in the bad light thought I had better take the standuig 
shot. There was, also, that temptation which always 
assails the sportsman never to let off one of the larger cats 
when he offers a decent chance. I fancy that I should act 
in exactly the same way given another chance. 



AN ADVENTURE WITH A LEOPARD I99 

We did not speak much till we got back to camp. On 
arrival there, " What do you think, havildah, shall we 
get him ? " 

" He was badly hit, sahib." 

" So I think," I replied. " Have the elephant ready at 
dawn." 

We found the beast next morning stone dead at the foot 
of a tree two hundred yards from the place where he had 
sprung into the forest. 




£.P.S 



^^.s.^.^><.'^ 'l^'^l^^C-^- 



CHAPTER XVII 

JUNGLE LORE 

The lore ol the jungle a fascinating study — Jungle warnings — The crows 
— The advance picket — Crows' food — The tiger and leopard's kill — 
Crows, vultures, hyena and jackal — Wild cats — The owner advancing 
to his kill — Demeanour of birds and monkeys — Unenviable notoriety 
— Attitude of deer — Uses of the machan — " Picking out " animals in 
the jungle — Jungle kit — Knowledge of country necessary — ^Tiger 
and leopard — Methods of hunting them — Manner of securing their 
prey — ^Tracking — Physical fitness necessary — Jungle voices — ^Attitude 
of animals towards each other — Homeric fights. 

THE lore of the Jungle ! What a fascinating 
subject it is ! There are so many aspects of 
jungle life to study, and the more deeply one's 
researches go the wider the field which opens 
out before one, until at length the at first faintly con- 
ceived surmise gradually grows into a conviction that the 
enquirer into jungle lore will remain at school all his days. 
Herein hes the fascination. There is always a new page to 
turn and invariably something of high interest to be obtained 
by perusing it. 

Take for instance one of the first aspects of jungle hfe 
to which the attention of the sportsman is attracted : the 
warning which the jungle folk pass on when danger is 
approaching. This warning, though intended for the friends 
of the utterer, is understood by the whole community even 
though amongst themselves they may be respectively the 
oppressor and oppressed. 

Most of us know, all boys know, the frightened screech 
emitted and passed on by the blackbirds, crows, and so on, 
when danger in the form of a youngster armed with a 
catapult is discerned lurking in a clump of bushes. -The 
denizens of the Indian jungle behave in exactly the same 
way. The approach of tiger or leopard or man himself, is 
heralded by certain birds and mammals in a manner quite 

200 



JUNGLE LORE 2oi 

Unmistakable once the eyes and ears are opened to the 
meaning. It is simple jungle lore, but none the less its 
acquisition is imperative on the part of the shikari if he 
wishes to enjoy sporty apart from the mere kilhng, or 
target practice. 

I have mentioned the crow. He is probably one of the 
most useful of the jungle birds to the sportsman. Once 
the crow's actions and the crow's warning notes are under- 
stood, the presence of a kill in the neighbourhood, or the 
advance of a tiger or leopard to a kiU, can be read with 
certainty. The crow is the advance picket in the jungle and 
worthily he fulfils the duties of the post. Crows feed on 
meat (when they can get it), and a dead animal holds 
out to them the promise of a fine meal. When the 
animal is a villager's dead cow or jungle animal which 
has died through, some cause other than sudden death 
beneath the claws of the larger carnivora, the crow 
considers he has as much right to his share as any- 
one else and disputes with magpies, vultures and others 
to get it. But matters are very different when the 
dead animal is a kill made by tiger or leopard. The 
crows then know perfectly weU to whom the kill belongs, 
and that the owner is somewhere in the vicinity. They 
either sit dejectedly in the trees. near by, or vociferate 
noisily to one another ; one or two bolder than the rest will 
fly down, have a hurried peck or two at the carcase, and 
then in fear fly squawking back to their perches. If one is 
sitting in a machan in the neighbourhood, the crows are 
perfectly aware of one's position, and will do their best, 
by raising the alarm note, to lure the owner of the feast 
back to the carcase, in the mistaken belief that a marauder 
is feeding on it. For both tiger and leopard know that 
there are lesser beasts and also birds of the jungle who 
will take their fill from the carcase if they can summon 
up pluck enough. They both lie up in the neighbourhood 
of their kills to protect them ; the leopard, with his greater 
cunning, hiding the carcase if possible. 

The vultures collect with the crows and sit about in trees. 
One can make certain of the fact that there is a dead animal 
in the forest or neighbourhood, and. judge with accuracy its 
position by observing the vultures. If they are seen quitting 
their stations up in the sky, where they wheel in great circles 
ever on the look-out, shooting towards a point and gradually 



202 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

planing down to earth, the rendezvous is probably a dead 
animal. All round the horizon, vulture on vulture- will be 
noted, drawing in and planing down to the spot. But the 
vultures will not venture down to the kill. They are heavy 
birds and can only resume flight after landing by taking a 
short run accompanied by a vigorous flapping of great 
wings before they can launch themselves into the air and 
soar upwards. Consequently, unlike the agile crow, the 
vulture would, if he had the temerity to come down, risk 
a buffet and death at the hands of the carnivorous owner, 
should he suddenly appear. The vultures sit round in the 
trees and wait. Amongst the mammals the jackal and 
hyena are ever on the look-out for a vicarious meal. An 
individual of either of these species may sUnk out of the 
neighbouring thicket, approach the kill in a furtive manner, 
and have a hurried pull or two at it — then start away a few 
paces, with ears laid back and hps drawn up in a snarling 
grin — the very embodiment of cowardly fear. A shriU 
warning from the crows overhead that the owner is approach- 
ing, true or untrue (how the crows must enjoy sounding a 
false alarm to these skulking brutes !) and the craven 
intruder fades away into the forest. 

More rarely a wild cat may turn up. He is bolder and 
will make something of a meal of it, if given an ordinary 
chance, and will continue his stolen feast longer, even after 
he reaUzes that the owner is approaching ; but this may be 
due to the fact that the cat is of the same family as the tiger 
and leopard and therefore can more accurately gauge the 
exact moment at which it will be imperative to leave his 
cousin's neighbourhood. 

Whilst sitting in the machan and watching this daily life of 
the forest, a most amusing comedy when one is able to follow 
the words, ong has often been led astray by the crows — ^had 
the leg pulled, in vulgar parlance — and sat ready for the 
appearance of the owner before he has been anywhere near. 
For when he is on the move and advancing towards his kill 
from the spot where he has been Isdng up during the day, 
there is usually no mistake about the matter. He advances 
with an overhead escort which shouts out his title and the 
fact that, temporarily at least, he owns this bit of juggle. 
Birds of all degree shriek excitedly as he passes, or flutter 
overhead, keeping pace with his line of march. The crows 
are loudest in their homage, for they hope tp have the 



JUNGLE LORE 203 

remains of the feast. If monkeys are in the neighbourhood 
they swing along from branch to branch, jabbering and 
cursing down at him. In inclement weather the animal 
has a better chance of approaching his kill unperceived as 
most of the jungle folk are then hidden away under shelter. 
This was the case in the incidents of my first tiger already 
related. Neither tiger nor leopard ask for, or like the 
notoriety forced upon them. They do not perhaps mind it so 
much when they are advancing to the kill, though even then 
one will see them look up occasionally and show their teeth in 
a vicious snarl ; but they dishke it immensely when they 
are on an evening prowl, looking out for their next meal. 
For, from the moment they are descried, and they take the 
greatest pains to remain undiscerned, every animal in the 
jungle is put at once on its guard by the performance of 
the birds and monkeys. The deer know perfectly well 
what it portends and remain on the alert till their enemy 
has left the neighbourhood. In fact it is quite common for 
a tiger or leopard, once he has been discovered in a jungle, 
to be fairly mobbed out of it ; for he knows that once all 
the jungle, animals have been informed of his presence he 
has a poor chance of getting even a plump young doe to 
make his meal off. 

Pea-fowl, after they have retired up on to the trees to 
roost, also give warning of a tiger on the prowl by suddenly 
giving voice to their " Hank ! Pa-66 ! Pa-66 ! " in the late 
evening or at night. 

From what has been written above it will become apparent 
that the best and surest way for a newcomer into the Indian 
jungle to set about picking up jungle lore, is to sit silently 
and motionless in a machan placed in a convenient tree, 
with a sufficiency of branches to hide him without interrupt- 
ing the vision. Both silence and rigidity are imperative ; 
the least sound will be heard by, and the least motion per- 
ceived by, the hundreds of ears and eyes of the jungle folk, 
ever on the alert and pr5dng for danger. The motionless 
position becomes extremely irksome, even for an hour, and 
one has often to spend several hours in the machan. If 
awaiting the appearance of a leopard the rifle must be held 
in such a position that it can be brought to the shoulder 
with the smallest possible amount of movement, for it is 
necessary to aim and fire a fraction of a second after making 
the movement. The leopard, who is very prompt in decision, 



204 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

will catch the movement at once and be off in a flash. This 
is not so necessary with the tiger who is not so prompt in 
decision and will wait to have a second look. He does not 
make up his mind with the hghtning speed, nor has he any- 
thing like the cunning, of the leopard. As a general rule 
reduce the motion necessary to get the rifle to the shoulder 
to the minimum possible. Having picked up in the machan 
much of the jungle lore I have been able to assimilate, I 
have no hesitation in recommending it as the best educator 
available for the object in view. 

A very brief introduction to the jungles and their denizens 
impresses upon the newcomer one factor — the great difficulty 
experienced in " picking up " the animals in their natural 
surroundings. Even when on the move it is by no means 
easy at first to pick them out from the background against 
which they are moving, and when they are halted the diffi- 
culty becomes immeasurably greater. This appUes generally 
to all the jungle animals, from the elephant to a partridge 
or quail. Even a large animal hke the tiger can move along 
in his surroundings in an almost invisible manner. His 
outline becomes merged in the general colour of the grass or 
scrub jungle but there is nothing definite to pick up, and 
when he is motionless he is almost invisible, if not quite, 
to the untrained eye. In the same fashion a leopard may be 
stared at, at comparatively close quarters, without the 
untrained eye being able to pick out its outline from the 
surroundings. It is usually the eyes of the animal which are 
first perceived if it is facing the observer. Other animals, 
sambhar, chital, and so forth, are easily quickly lost, after 
being picked up, owing to the extraordinary protective 
colouring which so blends with the colour of the jungle as to 
enable them to fade away whilst being watched within a 
comparatively short distance. The " jungle eye " is not 
born with the man of the higher civihzation. Much patience 
and perseverance is required to acquire it up to a certain 
point. You will never emulate the jungle-man ; and even 
the latter may be beaten by the leopard who is a past- 
master in the art of hiding behind a tiny grass tussock and 
in sneaking out, ventre d terre, between closely advancing 
beaters, remaining perdu whilst they walk over him, op in 
slipping out between the rifles, the easiest task of aU. 

Whilst therefore, in a new environment and with an 
untrained eye, the newcomer finds some difficulty in picking 




Sir- y. p. Heri'ett. photo 

HEAD tii;rr in the hi(;h grass jungle where it fell on i:ei\(; 

SHOT. THE COLOURING AND MARKINGS OF THE AMMAt, RENDF.R IT 
ALMOST INDISTINGUISHABLE AT A SHORT DISTANCE AWAY 



JUNGLE LORE 205 

out any of the animals in his neighbourhood from their 
surroundings, the reverse is the case with the jungle folk. 
They will hear, smell, and see him, seconds, even minutes, 
before he has any chance of getting on terms with them. In 
order to reduce to the smallest dimensions the risk of being 
seen, the sportsman must take a leaf out of the jungle's book, 
and disguise himself in the protective colouring of the jungle. 
For the drier parts of the country, khaki is always worn, 
with no white collar or shirt o^ wristbands which will be 
visible many yards off. Also a khaki-coloured topi. In 
the moister, evergreen forests, such as Assam, Chittagong, 
Madras and Lower Burma, green shikari cloth is worn with 
the same coloured topi. Do not wear an uncovered wrist 
watch. It is apt to send helio signals to the animal you are 
trjdng to stalk. 

Since the Anglo-Indian shikari in the jungles of the plains 
of India spends a good deal of the time he devotes to sport 
in endeavours to meet tiger and leopard face to face, a few 
words on the modes of life of these two animals, and how 
to circumvent them, may now be in place. 

As a first necessity to successful sport a thorough know- 
ledge of the country in which it is to be obtained is a sine 
qua non. One must endeavour to know one's locality intim- 
ately. If, from a variety of reasons, the necessary time for 
this purpose is not at one's disposal, one must find some 
trustworthy person who does, and has at the same time the 
requisite knowledge of the habits of the animals one is out 
after. 

Tiger. There are several ways of endeavouring to arrange 
a meeting with tiger : With a line of beating elephants, as 
described in a subsequent chapter : or beating with coolies, 
as done in the Central Provinces, which is similar but more 
dangerous. Other methods are by t jdng up for him and track- 
ing on foot. A tiger's beat is of necessity an extensive one. He 
has, as we have seen, to endeavour to ensure privacy, in other 
words to keep himself hidden from the jungle folk on whom 
he preys, and from birds and monkeys, and so forth. Once 
his presence is known in a jungle his chances of obtaining 
food are smaU and he will have to repair to another jungle 
in which his presence is unsuspected. An animal a week 
may be taken as his ordinary meat ration, and he endeavours 
to kill it conveniently near dense jungle, into which he can 
drag it, and near water. A knowledge of these habits 



206 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

necessary to the sportsman if he is tying up " kills," i.e. 
buffaloes over which, when killed, he proposes to have a 
machan erected and to sit up to catch the animal when it 
returns to feed. The tiger starts out on his quest for food 
in the late afternoon. In the darker days of the monsoon 
period, when the sky is heavily overcast, he will start earlier 
in the afternoon, but at other periods he does not commence 
his round till within an hour or two of sunset, and knocks off 
an hour or two after sunrise, when he lies up for the day in 
some quiet retreat where shade and water are obtainable. 
He spends the day mostly in sleep. If he has been successful 
his kill is somewhere near him, where he can protect it from 
the flesh-eating predatory smaller fry of the jungle. For, as 
we have seen, they will know all about his presence and the 
kill. 

In the early morning the sportsman will visit his tied-up 
buffalo, or buffaloes if he has several out. The animal is 
tethered by a rope to a foreleg and provided with fodder. 
The spot must be carefully chosen, a shady tree being selected 
and the surroundings left entirely untouched. All of the 
jungle animals are extremely suspicious and anything out 
of the way will at once make them shun the spot. Tiger 
and leopard are more than ordinarily suspicious, and tie-ups 
are left untouched for no rhyme or reason so far as the sports- 
man can understand. In fact in the case of an old tiger, 
who is not ordinarily a cattle feeder, it will often only be due 
to its non-success in securing a wild animal that will at 
length drive it by the insistent pangs of hunger to slay the 
tie-up. As soon as it is seen that the kill has been taken 
and dragged away, men are summoned, the wide trail is 
followed up and a machan erected some fifteen feet up in 
the most convenient tree. In placing the machan it is 
essential that the line of fire covers the kill. This is not so 
easy as it may appear at first sight. Branches and leaves wiU 
interfere, and yet it may be imperative that they should 
be left in order to hide one. And the impossibility of seeing 
behind, for one cannot move, always remains an aggravating 
factor. If sitting up in a tree without a machan, great 
difficulty is usually experienced in aiming at an animal 
passing to the right. It may be possible to obviate fhis 
difficulty by choosing a position which will enable you to do 
this. The best solution is, of course, to learn to shoot from 
the left shoulder. I have not met many who possessed this 



JUNGLE LORE 207 

useful accomplishment ; and fewer still who would risk 
losing a tiger by trpng the left-shoulder shot . The higher up 
the tree you sit the more difhcult will be the shot ; ten feet 
gives an easy shot, but the tiger, who can rear up to this 
height, will be able to reach you there if he gets to close 
quarters through mischance or bungling. Twelve to fifteen 
feet is the most usual height for tiger. A great deal has been 
written on the subject of the jumping powers and climbing 
powers of the tiger. He can leap up a certain height, and 
more especially should the lower parts of the stem have 
knobs and excrescences upon it (a not uncommon thing in 
parts of India), enabling the animal to get a purchase for 
his feet. By this means, and if the trunk were bent to one 
side from the vertical a little, a tiger could probably ascend 
to fifteen feet if charging and furious, and might succeed 
in pulUng one down. But a tiger is far too heavy an animal 
to be able to climb, and in this respect is unlike the panther. 
That a tiger can reach up nine or ten feet is evidenced by 
the claw marks one sees in the bark of trees — ^long scratches 
made by the nails when the animal is stretching himself. 

One occupies the machan in the afternoon, proceeding 
there quietly an hour before there is any chance of the tiger 
moving from his retreat. Success will now depend on the 
tiger coming back to the kill. If he has the least suspicion 
that anything is wrong or unnatural about the surroundings 
he will, after reconnoitring, make off. If he arrives it may 
be after dark, and should the moon, on whose fitful light one 
is depending for the shot, become overcast, one will hear the 
beast at his meal but a shot will not be possible. It is no 
use firing at the sound. We have all done that in the days 
of our inexperience ; sat in agonized suspense for the rest 
of the night, perhaps, and found nothing in the morning. 
But if one has not disturbed him a second chance will be 
offered, for the tiger returns to his kill till he has consumed 
aU he cares for, and a second night's sitting may give 
one the prize. If it is remembered that almost from the 
moment the tiger has killed until the time at which he moves 
off, replete from the remnants he has no use for, his whole 
actions are known to and watched by the bulk of the animal 
community in the neighbourhood, and that this knowledge 
on their part is loudly proclaimed to all, it will become 
obvious that the tiger's whereabouts will not be difficult to 
ascertain. The tiger is not a pretty feeder. He bites and 



2o8 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

gnaws great chunks of flesh, including hair and skin, from 
the carcase and gulps them down, making hideous noises 
the while. In this respect he differs from the leopard who 
is far more fastidious and dislikes the hair and skin of its 
victim, removing it from the portion before feeding on it. 
In the case of the tiger who has become a pure cattle-slayer, 
either due to the fact that he has got fat and lazy or to 
some injury, usually to a foot, which reduces his chances of 
securing the alert, faster game animals, it may be unnecessary 
to tie up " kills." As soon as a villager reports the loss of 
an animal from his herd a search is made for the carcase 
and a machan built over it as already described. 

Of course it is no use t5dng up Mils in a jungle until by 
tracking it has been ascertained that a tiger is in the neigh- 
bourhood. An exception to this rule is made when the 
sportsman is resident for some time in the neighbourhood 
of a portion of an area known to be frequented by a tiger. 
The latter will return to the locahty sooner or later and 
perhaps take the kill. In such cases buffaloes so tied up 
wiU be watched by one of the local villagers told off for the 
purpose, or one's own shikari is sent out. The latter is 
preferable since the villager is very unrehable in this respect.i 

Tigers and leopards who have taken to killing human 
beings and feeding upon them, are known as " man-eaters." 
Once the animals have taken to this practice they develop 
a taste for human flesh and eat nothing else. The making 
of a man-eater is probably usually due to the fact that 
through injury or worn-out teeth, due to old age, the animal 
is no longer able to kill wUd animals, and finds man an even 
easier prey than village cattle. A wound in the pad or foot 
which results in lameness, owing to a badly placed shot, 
may easily result in a tiger talang to man-eating. Man- 
eaters of both species are usually thin mangy brutes and 
develop a wicked cunning. 

Leopard. The leopard or panther is almost an animal of 
the village, for he is continually prowhng round the Aollage, en- 
deavouring to steal a dog, goat, baby or small pony. His ways 
are consequently well-known to the villagers. The method 
of sitting up for leopard has been already described at length 
in previous pages. In all dealings with this animal, if success 
is to be made reasonably secure and even then it is far from 
assured, the main point to be borne in mind is the extra- 
ordinary craftiness of the animal. Sitting up in a machan 




Sir y. P. lieieett, fihoto 

DEAD LEOPARD IN HIGH GRASS JUNGLE IN POSITION AFTER BEING SHOT. 

ITS PROTECTIVE COLOURING AND MARKINGS RENDER IT EVEN MORE 

DIFFICULT THAN THE TIGER TO PICK UP 



JUNGLE LORE 209 

over a goat or dog used as a bait, the former the most useful 
and more preferable, is the chief method. In beating the 
chances are a hundred to one in favour of the leopard sneak- 
ing out unperceived. For he is extraordinarily difficult to 
pick out from his surroundings and can hide under the 
smallest bush or in tussocky grass. Being- an adept at 
climbing, he frequently sleeps on a branch and is not uncom- 
monly shot in trees ; when pressed in a beat he probably fre- 
quently climbs up a tree and hides amongst the foliage, allow- 
ing the men to pass beneath him. The elevation at which 
the machan is prepared is according to taste, bearing in 
mind that the leopard chmbs with ease, unUke the tiger. The 
sportsman occupies the machan and the goat is then brought 
and tethered beneath, the animal being unaware that the 
sportsman is sitting above him." One commonly makes the 
mistake at first of getting into the machan after the goat 
has already been tethered out below. The animal, as it then 
knows it has company, will sit down and go to sleep or feed 
if there is anything to eat ; and the goat is quite impartial 
in its tastes in this respect. The goat is there to bleat and it 
will do so as soon as it considers it is forlorn and desertedj 
If a leopard is in the neighbourhood the bleats will soon 
attract it. But this does not mean that it will at once 
advance and seize the bait. Far otherwise ! In any event 
its suspicions will be aroused and it will cruise around in 
the ofhng for a varying period before it has made up its mind. 
But once decided it wiU act with promptness and advance in 
bounds till it almost reaches the animal. If one reserves 
one's fire, the leopard seizes the goat, kills it, and drags it 
away, placing it for safety in the branches of a tree where it is 
safe from vultures who cannot get at it in this position. 
Like the tiger, the leopard keeps watch over it to prevent 
the smaller fry steaUng the meat. The remains of his feast 
he wiU cover up with twigs and leaves in a manner similar 
to the way a dog buries bones. 

The methods by which tiger and leopard capture their 
prey differ. The tiger is a heavy, powerful animal but has 
considerable pace for a short distance, even over the roughest 
ground and uphill. He is well aware that the fleet deer, 
once they have got into their stride, can outrun him in a 
very short distance. Hence the need of secrecy and the 
careful stalk which precedes the rush on to the animal. On 
getting alongside of the deer the tiger either jumps for the 



210 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

throat or strikes it down with the powerful forearm, the 
nails lacerating the flesh. In the case of larger animals, 
such as the buflalo, his procedure is different. To approach 
alongside would be to court injury or death from the horns 
of the beast. The tiger therefore comes from behind and 
springs upon the animal, bringing it to earth by the sheer 
force of his pace and weight, his claws scoring down the 
withers whilst his fangs are fixed in the neck which he 
wrenches backward in order to break it. This mode of attack 
is usually successful but it requires a nicety of calculation 
and approach, for if the tiger does not land in exactly the 
right position on the animal's back, a beast so powerful 
as the buffalo will shake off the hold, and there is then either 
a battle royal or more commonly the tiger sHnks away. For 
a tiger must entirely depend on the full play of his several 
parts, in fact, on bodily perfection, to secure his daily food 
and consequently dreads an injury which may mean slow 
starvation ; unless driven to desperation by hunger he 
never takes unwarrantable risks. 

A panther seizes its victim by the throat, worrying it to 
death in this fashion, four deep holes being left by the canine 
teeth. 

The wounds received by a man when attacked by a tiger, 
usually after the latter has been wounded and the animal 
gets to close quarters, are very serious. The tiger bites deep, 
and in addition the claws score deeply into the flesh. The 
teeth and claws of the tiger are poisonous and gangrene 
sets in rapidly, resulting in death. Should only a limb be 
affected, by removing the attacked portion within a short 
space the poison may be prevented from spreading to the 
rest of the system. Sticks of caustic should be carried by 
sportsmen and the wounds immediately washed and treated 
with them. , 

The leopard, other than the man-eater, if he gets home 
after being wounded and mauls a man does not usually bite, 
the wounds being chiefly claw marks. These wounds are 
not generally fatal and the man recovers. In fact men have 
had hand-to-hand encounters with leopards and have even 
killed such by throttUng them with their hands, and 
recovered from the wounds received. But they rarely have 
the same health afterwards. The golden rule should be to 
reduce the risk of ever getting mauled by the camivora 
by being always suitably armed. 



JUNGLE LORE 211 

Tracking. The first golden rule when tracking dangerous 
game is to be suitably armed. If not so armed, not only does 
one take a foolish risk oneself but imperils the lives of one's 
attendants. The sportsman should have two rifles with 
him, of which one at least should be of heavy calibre — such 
as a -500 or "577 cordite express. The second will probably 
be one of the lighter calibres, of which there are now numerous 
different makes. The second rule is to remember that 
the safety of the men who accompany one is the first con- 
sideration. You are out for pleasure. They are out on 
duty or to earn their daily bread. In the case of a wounded 
tiger or leopard, whether you proceed to track it on foot or 
mounted on an elephant, none of your attendants, the 
trackers and so forth, should remain exposed in such a 
position as to be uncovered by a rifle. If an elephant is 
procurable, once the trackers have located the patch of 
jungle — it will often be very dense — in which the tiger has 
taken up his position all the men who cannot be taken up on 
to the elephant should be sent up into trees before the ele- 
phant advances. In the Central Provinces and elsewhere, 
where, in the absence of elephants, one tracks up the 
wounded animals on foot, no precaution and trouble are 
too great to reduce to a minimum all risk to the men accom- 
panying one, whose only weapons will probably be a httle 
axe, bow and arrow, or antiquated musket. To have a man 
who comes out to assist, you, whether for the pure love of 
adventure or merely to earn a wage, mutilated or killed, is, 
if due to negHgence on the part of the sportsman, unpardon- 
able. Accidents will occur of course. In sport it is im- 
practicable to eliminate them altogether. But they should 
come under that category ; the sportsman can then be 
commiserated on his bad luck. 

I have often been asked " What will a tiger do when he 
is wounded ? " My only answer is " I do not know." He 
may charge or he may run away ; but usually, not invariably, 
he will charge in the direction he is facing. Only if he is a 
cur will he turn sharp round. So do not fire at his head if 
you meet him face to face on a path. Stand steady and 
stare him out but do not fire. 

I have already discussed bison tracking. Unless suitably 
armed one has little chance of bagging bison. There are 
other points, however, connected with this sport. It 
necessitates absolute physicc^l fitness. This can only b? 



212 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

attained by drinking as little as possible whilst actually 
tracking in the hot sun, and not more than is absolutely 
essential on return to camp. Some stimulant is required in 
a climate hke India, but reduce the amount taken to the 
lowest whilst on shooting expeditions which entail days of 
hard tracking. And the same appHes to smoking. Although 
a smoker, I personally found that of necessity, and without 
suffering inconvenience, I gave up smoking aU day, confining 
myself to a smoke after dinner. Of course smoking when on 
a hot trail is impossible. The risk of the animals scenting 
it is too great. After considerable experience and triab 
I found cold weak tea without milk (the milk always turns 
sour in the heat) or sugar is the best thirst quencher. Do 
not drink at every stream you reach whilst on a long track. 
You become much hotter by so doing as you climb the 
opposite hill and the perspiration pouring down your face 
bUnds you. If you then run into your bison you run a strong 
chance of missing him. In addition the constant drinking 
reduces your powers of endurance and you become flabby 
and useless by the early afternoon. I admit that it is very 
hard at first to resist the temptation to drink at every 
stream. The water of the hill stream is so invitingly 
sparkhng. But by dint of exercising restraint it is astound- 
ing how soon one finds the temptation diminish until in 
the end you do not feel an inclination to drink. 

On the subject of the art of tracking itself ! One could 
write a book on it alone. It is too large a matter to be treated 
of here. Of one thing one may be positive. The European 
brought up in civihzation can never hope to vie with or 
emulate the jungle-man who has spent his Ufe in the forests, 
learning the woodcraft of the forest, and having at his back 
a long line of ancestors who Uved a similar hfe. Our own 
ancestors, it is true, lived in similar fashion in the forests 
of Britain fifteen hundred or so years ago. But the senses 
of the jungle-man, which those ancestors of ours hkewise 
possessed, have become atrophied in us by centuries of 
disuse. This is not to say, however, that we cannot, by 
giving our whole attention to the matter, absorb some of 
the jungle lore of the jungle-man and learn something of 
his marvellous tracking powers. Learn to pick out th&tracks 
of the different jungle denizens ; learn to estimate the 
period of time at which these tracks were made — the hours 
which have elapsed since the anima,! left them behind him ; 



JUNGLE LORE 213 

learn to note on hard rocky ground a small overturned 
stone, showing a slightly darker, because moister, surface 
than its neighbours ; learn to read the marks left on foliage 
and bark by the teeth as the animal browsed, and so estimate 
by the oozing sap or its stoppage and the browning of the 
cut edges, the length of time which has elapsed since his 
passage. 

Other signs which afford evidence are the peeling of the 
bark of saplings by deer ; rubbing the bark to allay the 
irritation set up when the velvet is peeling off the horns ; 
and the scoring of the bark with their claws by bears, either 
in stretching themselves or to cause the sweet sap to flow. 

It is a wonderful thing to watch a first-class tracker carry 
the trail over all sorts of ground. Up to a certain point 
much can be learnt by hard work and persistent attention. 
It is one of the finest parts of the lore of the jungles. It 
may be commended as an art worth the serious study of all 
who wish to enjoy to the fuU the joys of the Ufe of a shikari 
in India's glorious jungles. 

I remember hearing it said by an Anglo-Indian, before I 
first went to India, that the peculiarity of the Indian jungles 
was their extraordinary silence. I do not think that he was 
a shikari man, and perhaps he only went into the jungles 
during the hotter part of the day. Most of the mammals, 
as also the birds, are then taking their siesta ; but even so, 
there is still noise enough, for the cicadas, grasshoppers, 
crickets and others of the clamorous portion of the insect life 
of the jungles, are awake and talking or singing after their 
fashion. But, if we omit the hotter portion of the day, in 
the morning and evening (and at night) the jungles are full 
of sound. In tigerish parts the animal may often be heard, 
either voicing his vexation in short angry growls when he 
has missed his quarry and has to seek a fresh neighbour- 
hood ; or when on his way to his kill, uttering short roars 
varpng in degree or snarUng with rage at the birds 
overhead. Temper, i.e. the feelings uppermost at the 
moment, may have as much to do with the manner 
of approach as anything else — that and temperament. 
During the mating season the males are particularly 
noisy. But this is common to other animals, and the cat 
tribe are often very rough to their own mates. Stags, as is 
well known, are at that period full of fight and I have 
heard many a time and oft the hoarse challenge of the 



214 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

sambhar stag, the sharper one of the chital, and witnessed 
fights of no mean order between the claimants to the favours 
of some fair hind. Whilst grazing, deer, especially the hinds, 
constantly emit sharp yelps or squeals, or high-pitched notes 
of various cadences, which doubtless in deer language 
signify endearments, repartees or merely tittle-tattle and 
scandal-mongering. The one note about which there is 
never any doubt is the note of alarm. It is the females in 
the deer tribe, and in fact all homed animals of my acquaint- 
ance, who do the sentry-go for the herds — usually old, 
experienced females. In stalking this fact has to be remem- 
bered. It is essential to mark down the sentries and also 
any young and foolish members of the weaker sex who may 
stray far in front of the herd whose lord and master, ever 
in the rearguard, is the object of the stalk. Failure to omit 
this necessary precaution will cause the miscarriage of many 
a stalk begun with rosy promise. 

Deer feed chiefly at night, leaving the forest just before 
sunset and returning to it soon after sunrise. Chital require 
a lot of water and consequently will be certain to visit the 
water nearest to their haunts in the morning and evening, and 
they will keep to the plains forest ; but the larger and older 
sambhar stags prefer the foothills forming the base of the 
mighty Himalayan range or the hilly parts of the great 
plains of India. Consequently, if one wishes to secure a good 
sambhar, it is to the hills that one must resort to stalk the 
animal. It is astonishing what rough rocky ground this 
heavy stag will negotiate with ease and speed and the extra- 
ordinary, narrow knife edges along a crest which he can 
gallop over. When alone in this fashion and depending upon 
himself, he becomes most wary, usually taking up a position 
for the day on some commanding vantage point from which 
he can watch all approaches. 

As regards the attitude of the larger animals of the 
Indian jungles amongst themselves, the carnivora, tiger and 
leopard, never willingly interfere with anyof the more danger- 
ous species, such as elephant, bison, buffalo, rhinoceros, 
bear or boar ; and they probably usually refrain from 
attacking the larger stags of the deer tribe. When aware of 
the near presence of the former, tiger or leopard will usually 
move silently in an opposite direction. This is not to say that 
homeric encounters do not take place between the carnivor- 
ous cats and the other species if through unforeseen circum- 



JUNGLE LORE 215 

stances they encounter one another, and when one of the 
two is in a particularly irascible mood — ^more especially if 
wounded and maddened by pain. Of course, as we have 
seen, the species fight amongst themselves, most commonly 
in the mating season. But this is usual with most animals 
when two males wish to win the favours of a particular 
female. I have heard tigers at night, and seen two male 
leopards fighting for this reason, though unfortunately it 
was the tail-end of the fight only. But I never had the good 
fortune to witness a combat of this description between 
elephants, bison or buffaloes. 

Of far greater interest would it be to be present at an 
encounter between a tiger and an old boar or irascible bear, 
or an old bull bison or buffalo. Such combats are veritably 
the fights of giants. Native shikaris who have witnessed (more 
often heard them only) such encounters have told me that 
the noise of the growls, bellows or grunts is prodigious, the 
ground all round being ploughed up and bespattered with 
blood. The tiger counts on his activity, and endeavours to 
get on to the back of his enemy. Bison and buffalo depend 
chiefly on their horns, trying to pierce and gore their foe, 
to whom they ever present a wary front, circUng with every 
movement of the tiger tr5dng to take them in rear. The 
bear exerts himself to get to close quarters, with the 
object of securing a purchase and hugging the Ufe out of the 
enemy. The old boar places his faith in his powerful tushes, 
and trusts to short rushes with the lightning side twist of 
the head and vicious upward cut of the tush which, if it 
gets home, wiU rip up and disembowel the foe. 

Bears and old boars are probably the two animals which 
are most prone to take on or start a contest of this kind. 

It is probably rare for an old tiger to ever risk such an 
encounter, save in exceptional circumstances, since with 
the wisdom and discretion of years he is aware that, 
even if he comes out victorious, the wounds inevitably 
received will probably incapacitate him from being able 
to procure his food. Young males in the pride of their 
strength and ignorance are the ones who apparently fall 
victims to their tempers in this fashion. The end of such a 
fight must depend upon a variety of minute circumstances, 
but if carried on for any length of time by two determined 
opponents the result is usually probably the death of both. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

JUNGLE LORE — Continued 

Local distribution of animals varies with water available — The mon- 
soon, cold-weather and hot- weather seasons — Forest fires — Flowers of 
mhowa tree attract bear and deer — ^Wild dogs and game animals — 
Crops attract animals — Insect Ufe — Defoliation of teak forests and 
effect on game — Defoliation of s&l forests — Locust invasions — ^Areas 
of trees killed out — ^The big bee in the jungles — ^Attacks of the bee — 
Red ant and the sportsman — Red ant's house-building methods — 
Advice to sportsmen — ^Wood and bamboo " shot^hole " beetle borers 
in the bungalow and in furniture — ^The study of insect Ufe in the 
jungles — The white ant or termite — The white ant heap — ^Habits — 
Ant heaps a shelter to sportsmen — The wounded bull bison. 

IN the preceding chapter one aspect of jungle lore has 
been considered, the habits, idiosyncrasies and atti- 
tudes of some of the animals of the jungle. A study 
will show that there are other factors to become 
acquainted with, some of which have a direct influence 
on the distribution, or even the presence, of game animals 
at certain seasons in a locality. 

The most striking illustration is the presence or absence 
of water. During the monsoon period water is to be found 
in abundance everywhere, and consequently the animals 
become widely distributed over a locality. During the 
ensuing cold weather water is still plentiful in the streams, 
but in the hot season which follows these streams dry up 
and even the larger ones may contain but a small trickle. 
Lakes and tanks also have a greatly diminished water 
supply. The drying up of the water supphes in common 
use by the jungle folk has inevitably a very considerable 
influence on their distribution in a locaHty. Most of the 
animals — not aU, the Uttle chinkara or gazelle is an excep- 
tion — require to drink daily. The chital, as has been men- 
tioned, will drink twice and even thrice a day. A knowledge 
of the places where water is to be found in the hot season is 

3Wi 



JUNGLE LORE 217 

therefore essential to the sportsman who wishes to enjoy 
sport and study the fauna. And the latter purpose can be 
carried out admirably at this season. 

Forest fires form another illustration. In the Govern- 
ment Reserves the Forest Department, by dint of hard and 
assiduous work, have now reduced to small limits the vast 
fires of former times by which whole jungles were burnt 
out, being thereupon deserted by animals and birds until 
the rains of the monsoon resulted in the area being re- 
clothed with herbage and young growth. Outside the 
Reserves large areas of jungle are still annually burnt by 
the villagers in order to provide, under the influence of the 
first rains, a plentiful supply of young grass for their cattle. 
And in the great Native States the heavy forest is stUl 
subject to bad fires in the dry season. A knowledge of 
jungles which may have suffered from this calamity during 
the season, is therefore necessary to save the hot-weather 
sportsman going on some wild-goose chase to an area which 
the animals have deserted. 

These are two instances affecting local distribution due 
to causes which are easily ascertainable. But there are 
other factors, a knowledge of which the sportsman must 
acquire of his own initiative. Some acquaintance with the 
flora of the district and the food it affords to the game at 
certain seasons is demanded. The instance I have already 
quoted in these pages is a case in point. Both bear and deer 
are very partial to the sweet blossoms of the mhowa tree 
which flowers in March and April in different parts of India. 
The tree is usually found scattered sparsely over a locaUty 
in which it grows ; but here and there in a particular area 
more suited to it a number of individuals wiU be found 
flourishing in close proximity to one another. In the season 
of flowering the deer and bear from a considerable radius 
will be found gathered in the neighbourhood of this plentiful 
supply of a favourite food, coming out to feed at night. 
And tiger and leopard wiU foUow the CervidcB. If the 
sportsman knows his country and jungle lore he will be 
aware of this fact, and by visiting the spot enjoy unique 
opportunities of securing good heads or skins, and for 
studying the animals. If in ignorance of this trait or un- 
acquainted with the locality he may select for a visit the 
areas from which the animals have migrated for the time 
being and draw a blank. 



2i8 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

A similar but more unavoidable contretemps will be 
experienced if the sportsman has the bad luck to hit on a 
jungle which has been selected for operations by wild dogs. 
These animals are the curse of the Indian forests. Once 
the fact that a pack has arrived in a jungle becomes known 
to its inmates, the deer, they will hurriedly quit the area, 
being followed of necessity by the tigers who have no use 
for the wild dog. In fact most animals appear to have an 
innate dislike for this animal and desert the area once they 
are aware that a pack has made its appearance in it. I 
suffered on several occasions from this curse myself. 
During my first experiences I was unaware of the cause of 
the sudden extraordinary absence of animals in a jungle well 
known to me. On one of the last occasions in which I met 
with this experience — I had left the Station at the end of the 
rains to visit a famous jungle a few marches out — I was so 
annoyed at my bad luck that I devoted three days to the 
dogs, and although I only picked up three dead I think the 
tally was larger by several more. I never felt any com- 
punction in kiUing this scum of the jungle, for every 
animal they secure, to support what appears to be a worth- 
less existence, ends its life in horrible torture. 

In areas in which wild dogs have become very numerous 
efforts have been made to poison them. Ordinary poisons 
such as strychnine and so forth appear to have httle effect 
on the wild dog. He vomits up the poisoned flesh and goes 
on his way apparently untroubled by the experience. 

When the crops are coming up in the fields, especially in 
areas of cultivation more or less surrounded by heavy 
forest, or which are bounded on one or two sides with 
conterminous heavy forests, the cultivated land stretching 
away for miles on the other sides, the herbivorous animals 
and the camivora which prey upon them will be found to 
congregate in the forest adjacent to the fields, to which 
they resort at night to feed. Away back in its deeper 
recesses the forest will be found, in consequence, to be 
almost deserted for the time being. In this connexion the 
bear must not be forgotten, with his sweet tooth and 
partiality for the villager's succulent crops. Even the 
sambhar, who is chiefly a browsing animal, is much addicted 
to leaving the recesses of the thick forest, or the hills, in which 
he spends most of his Ufe, to descend to the forest adjacent 
to the young crops on which he comes out to feed at night. 



JUNGLE LORE 219 

We now come to the next branch in the study of the lore 
of the jungles — Insect Life. 

It may not at first sight be apparent that any knowledge 
of the iiisect life of India's jungles is necessary to the sports- 
man, or that insects and their habits should find a place in 
woodcraft. Yet I hope to be able to show that a certain 
knowledge of the modes of hfe and powers of offence of 
some of this section of animal hfe will be found of use and 
interest, if not an essential addition in some cases, to the 
knowledge of the jungle lover and sportsman. 

In my study of the insect life of the forest, to which I 
devoted some years of research in India, I was led to form 
certain conclusions, with reference to insects and game 
animals, which I have nowhere seen recorded. 

One has reference to the local distribution of animals in 
particular areas at certain seasons. I have alluded to the 
fact that water, fire and the incidence of a particular 
food in a certain locality may affect this distribution 
for a certain period. Insects under certain circumstances 
may exert a similar influence. For instance, there are 
two small caterpillars of the moths, known to science 
as Hyhlcea puera and Paliga damastesalis. These cater- 
pillars defoliate the teak trees. Great blocks of forest 
and whole hill-sides may be seen to be leafless at 
certain seasons of the year, the entire foliage having been 
stripped from the trees by the hordes of tiny caterpillars. 
The effect to the eye, in the case of the Paliga which 
skeletonizes the leaf, is as if a fire had swept through the 
forest, scorching and turning the leaves brown. And this 
defoliation may be repeated more than once in the same 
year. Such attacks may be seen in the Central Provinces 
teak areas, in the Bombay and Madras Presidencies and in 
Burma. My investigations into the operations of these 
pests led me to the conclusion that they had the effect 
of limiting the number of animals in the forest subject 
to the attacks. That, in other words, the animals, deer 
especially and the carnivora, deserted the leafless jungles 
for those which still retained their leaf canopy. The reason 
for the exodus of the herbivorous animals I attribute to the 
fact that the leafless forests become fully exposed to the 
hot sun and hot winds, thus affording the animals httle 
food, the undergrowth becoming scorched and withered; 
shade or cool shelter during the hot hours of the day in 



220 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

which they lie up is also absent. I observed very much the 
same thing, although over a smaller area — and therefore 
my observations were not so conclusive — ^in the hot weather 
of three different years in parts of the Dun and Terai 
forests of the United Provinces, where the s41 trees were 
defoUated under the attacks of the caterpillar of a moth, 
and a scale insect (Monophlebus). Now if this observation 
is correct, and it remains for other sportsmen to cor- 
roborate it, it becomes obvious that it is useless making a 
shikar trip to a block of teak or s41 forest at a period when 
the area is completely defoliated. If you are under canvas 
there is the added annoyance and discomfort that arises 
from the habits of some of these caterpillars.. Descending 
from the trees by means of millions of silken threads, on 
reaching terra firma they invade one's tent, get into one's 
food, drinks, clothing and bed, and render life for the nonce 
unsupportable ! I and others had the same experience one 
year in the Dun with the scale insect above mentioned. 
This insect, a large white apparition resembhng a giant 
wood louse, was hterally in millions in the forest, and 
appeared in its thousands in and aU over everything we 
possessed. And he was followed in his peregrinations 
by a lady-bird beetle (Vedalia) and its grub which prey 
upon the scale insect with avidity. This insect carried out 
his shikar parties all over the precincts of the camp to 
my great discomfort. In the end I had to shift the camp 
outside the forest Umits to get quit of these pernicious 
attentions. 

Locust invasions, visitations that luckily only occur at 
intervals which at present cannot be forecasted, may result 
in areas of forest being completely stripped of leaves, green 
bark, etc., aU the undergrowth being cleaned off. I have 
seen a block of forest treated in this fashion. It is, perhaps, 
needless to add that it remained deserted by animals for 
some time. I remember trying the locusts at dinner. The 
natives spit them on Uttle wooden skewers, a dozen or so 
together, and then roast them. They proved very tasteless. 

More rarely, in the case of broad-leaved trees, an area of 
forest may be killed outright as the result of insect attacks. 
In the case of an extensive tract treated in this fashion, the 
death of the trees wiU lead to the migration of a certain 
part of the fauna. This is commoner and occurs over wider 
areas in the case of coniferous forests. 



'»'' ■.*/«/. 




M. J'. Slrl'Uns, pli.^lo 

ON THE JUM.N'A KIVEK, WHERE 11 LEAVES THE HIMALAYA IN THE 
WESTERN SIWALIKS. A FAVOURITE FISHING SPOT 




i?ry. /'. Hewftl. photo. 
I'Al) KLEl'HANT PROCEEDING THROUGH DENSE TREE FOREST IN THE TERAI, 
UNITED PROVINCES 



JUNGLE LORE 221 

There are other insects which may cause one discomfort 
or even worse by their undesired attentions if by accident 
they are unwittingly disturbed. One of the best known to 
sportsmen in parts of India is the big bee {Apis dorsata). 
This bee has a vicious sting, particularly virulent in the 
hot weather, at which period its temper appears to be at 
its shortest. The bee builds large, semi-cylindrical nests 
which may be several feet in length, attached to the under- 
side of branches of tall trees, e.g., the cotton tree (Bombax), 
in some forests of India, in the Central Provinces for instance. 
Or it builds in rocks, as in the case of the famous Marble 
Rocks on the Nerbudda River near Jubbulpore, and in the 
caves of Ajanta on the Bombay side. 

In the hot weather the fact that the nests may be fifty 
to sixty feet up on the branch of a lofty tree, is no absolute 
safeguard against attack. Smoking a pipe at the foot of a 
tree bearing several of the nests on its branches will bring 
the bees down upon one as I discovered once to my cost ; 
and Ughting a fire will of certainty draw them. 

A Kol shikari (Bishu) of mine opened my eyes to one way 
of escape on the occasion above alluded to when I formed 
one of a party upon whom the bees descended. We all 
bolted for the open country about one and a quarter miles 
ahead, pursued by the infuriated bees. Bishu quietly stepped 
off the road behind a tree and let the routed and their 
pursuers storm through the forest. He turned up later 
without a sting ! The routed had had quite a bad time of 
it. Europeans attacked and badly stung by this bee in the 
hot weather have died from the effects. 

In Northern Indian jungles the nest is more commonly 
attached to a low bough in a thorny thicket, and it 
is in such cases that the sportsman runs the greatest 
risk of rousing the bees. The elephant on which he is 
sitting may inadvertently push through such a place, the 
mahout not having spotted the nest, and brush or blunder 
on to it. The bees at once sally out to the attack. The 
only safety for the riders on the elephant is to at once 
get under cover themselves, and for this purpose a 
blanket or two is always carried in the howdah or on the 
pad. The mahout sits on his. The elephant shuffles away 
from the neighbourhood as quickly as he can, his human 
freight remaining perdu under the blankets till the bees 
have given up the pursuit. 



222 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

Another insect to beware of is the red ant — a most 
pestilential inhabitant of the forests of the country. This 
ubiquitous insect bites with a most vicious nip and the acid 
injected irritates and invites scratching which may result 
in festering sores. The red ant lives in the trees and builds 
nests of the leaves. Such nests are a common sight in the 
sil forests. The nests are constructed in an ingenious 
manner, the edges of the green leaves being gummed 
together. The mature ant does not possess any material 
with which to perform this work. His gum bottle he finds 
in the immature ant which has glands secreting a sticky 
substance. Several of the adult ants hold the leaves to- 
gether whilst another seizes a youngster between its 
mandibles and uses him as the brush of the gum bottle. 
It shows either a high form of civihzation or a low form of 
sweating to thus make the children share in the labour of 
house-building ! 

The fact that these ants live in trees is very soon made 
evident to the shikari man, whether on foot, in the machan, 
on the elephant, or modestly consuming his simple lunch 
on the ground in the shade of a tree. The ants are every- 
where and ready to dispute for place and meal, and nip if 
one objects. Until one becomes careful and knowledgeable 
in their ways they will get down the neck, up the sleeves, 
through puttees or stockings, and nip fiercely when in 
endeavouring to eject them one incommodes or wounds 
them. The elephant occasionally blunders into a nest, the 
act resulting in a perfect cataract of ants which may pene- 
trate into the recesses of the clothing before one is aware of 
their presence. Nothing but a hurried strip in such a case 
will get rid of them. 

Trouble may be experienced with this ant when sitting 
up in machajis, should the latter have been placed in a tree 
occupied by nests. In such cases the ants often attack the 
intruder, and the position may be rendered so untenable that 
there is nothing left for it but to beat a hurried retreat. I 
have heard of cases when during a tiger beat the occupants of 
one or more machahs had to vacate their posts and take up 
positions at the foot of the trees, being routed by the red 
ants. The unknown possibilities down below being prefer- 
able to the living torture up above. 

I drew up the following cautions with reference to this 
insect a few years ago. Here they are : — 



JUNGLE LORE 223 

Don't lay out lunch or sit down to it in the close neigh- 
bourhood of this ant. 

Don't run into his nest when out on an elephant in the 
forests on shikar or any other purpose. 

Don't have a machan built in a tree infested with the 
red ant nests. 

Don't, when waiting for a beat, admiring a view, or 
merely taking a rest, lean against a tree-trunk without first 
carefully scrutinizing it to see whether or no a column or 
two of these vicious insects are ascending or descending 
from a nest in its branches. 

Even this ant has its uses. In Kanara and some other 
parts of India and throughout Burma and Siam a paste is 
made of him which is eaten as a condiment with curry ! 

There are some groups of minute wood and bamboo 
" shot-hole " borers in India, so-called because timber and 
bamboos infested with them have the appearance of having 
been fired into with a charge of anything from No. 4 to 
No. 9 shot. These beetles belong chiefly to families known 
as the BostrychidcB, Scolytidce and PlatypodidcB. In bunga- 
lows with wooden roofs, if unprovided with ceiling cloths, 
one is annoyed by the operations of these little borers, 
owing to the fact that tables, chairs and floors become 
covered with the sawdust particles ejected under their 
operations. This is a common experience in many of the 
forest rest-houses out in the jungles of India. 

The BostrychidcB are the chief culprits in the case of 
bamboos. Bamboo roofing and bamboo furniture and 
chairs and tent poles become so pitted by these insects, 
who tunnel out the interior structure, that under the attacks 
they one day suddenly collapse. The infestation can be 
prevented or stopped by soaking the bamboo in crude 
Rangoon oil. As a result of investigation work which I 
carried out in the Indian Museum at Calcutta, the bamboo 
telephone posts which went up with the Thibet Expedition 
(1903-5) were so treated. They remained unattacked 
throughout. They were as sound as ever when I inspected 
them three years later, after they had been returned to store 
in Calcutta. Had they not been so treated they would 
have been infested by the beetles before they reached the 
foot of the Himalaya on their way up, and have become 
useless for the purpose required. Wooden poles would have 
been too heavy to carry up ; for the precipitous slopes up to 



224 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

the Thibetan plateau, fifteen thousand feet in elevation, 
are, as a Tommy put it, " like going up a ladder." 

Some allusion must also be made to fUes and the mosquito. 
The common house fly is extremely abundant in the jungles 
in the hot-weather season. He is an unmitigated curse at 
this period, but in the absence of a remedy has to be put 
up with and endured with as much patience as one is 
capable of. 

The horse flies in some jungles also become a serious pest 
at this season. In fact in some areas the ponies are so 
badly bitten that one has to send them out of the jungle 
into the open country and, in the absence of an elephant, 
do one's shikaring or work afoot. Even the elephant gets 
severely worried by these insects, and the wild ones ascend 
into the hills or climb up several thousands of feet into the 
Himalaya to get beyond their zone. 

The Uttle " eye-flies " are also a great nuisance out 
shooting in some localities. They have a habit of hovering 
just in front of and quite close to the eyeball and may thus 
spoil one's aim at the critical moment. Ordinary sun- 
glasses should be worn to defeat this annoyance. These 
glasses should also be put on during the hot weather as a pro- 
tection against the bright glaring light in the open country, in 
open forest, and when travelHng in river steamers or other- 
wise on rivers and lakes. It is also advisable to wear them 
when fishing in the hot weather. A youngster does not like 
to wear glasses — I was obstinate in the matter myself. But 
experience of their comfort and value led me to regret that 
I did not get over my prejudice and wear them sooner. 

The mosquito and its malaria-giving procMvities is too 
well known to require comment here. Always sleep under 
mosquito curtains when in the jungles, no matter how hot 
and uncon^fortable they may make you. One soon becomes 
accustomed to the curtain, and it saves many a go of 
malaria which would otherwise incapacitate one and inter- 
fere with, if not put an end altogether to a weU-planned 
sporting trip. In connexion with jungle malaria, some forms 
of it, it is not only from the mosquito that one gets it. 
Drinking water and bathing in the streams, no matter how 
clear and pellucid they may appear, is a sure way to get a 
bad go of jungle malaria. This assertion is made from my 
own personal practical experience. Do not drink the water 
unfiltered and unboiled, and do not bathe in the streams. A 



JUNGLE LORE 225 

hot tub on return to camp is the best bath in the Indian 
jungle if one wants to keep fit. This experience appUes to 
the Central Provinces and Bengal. Before I went to other 
parts of India I had learnt neither to drink their water nor 
bathe in their streams. 

A great deal could be written about the forest lore of the 
insect world in India, on which subject we are only at the 
commencement of our study. I have written upon it else- 
where and it does not fall within the purview of the present 
consideration of jungle life. But to those who dip into the 
study I can confidently promise a fascinating pursuit. For 
mammal and bird form but a fraction of the teeming 
life of the Indian forests. Hidden beneath the bark and 
in the wood of dead and dying trees, feeding on the 
leaves and in the fruits and seeds of healthy living 
trees, or living in the humus of the forest floor, a vast 
concourse of insect hfe is to be found, a considerable pro- 
portion of which is probably unknown to science, ^yhose 
habits and modes of existence are so infinitely varied and 
marvellous as to take one into a veritable Wonderland. 
And but the fringe of the veil which enshrouds them has as 
yet been lifted. And here you meet again the inexorable 
rule of the jungle of the oppressor and the oppressed. For 
there are an infinite variety of insects which prey upon their 
fellows. 

In conclusion I will mention one other insect occupant of 
the forest which will be commonly known to the shikari man 
as it is known to the dweller in the Stations throughout the 
plains of India — I allude to the termite or white ant. Its 
great pyramidal earthen heaps form one of the commonest 
sights of the forest. The termite is not a true ant, though 
it has the appearance of one and possesses many of its 
habits. They are wonderful erections, these ant heaps, 
six or more feet in height and extending in ramifying tunnels 
and chambers deep into the soil. The termite does not live 
in dayhght. Wherever it goes it builds an earth tunnel to 
keep out the light. The bark of the great trees may often 
be seen coated with these tunnels, carried up by the 
ants to reach some great dead bough many feet overhead. 
This bough they wiU hollow out completely, leaving only 
just sufficient supports here and there to prevent the super- 
structure caving in on top of them, the wood material taken 
put being replaced by earth, This action on the part of the 



226 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

termites often completely alters the aspect of the forest, all 
the trunks of the big trees being coated with the soil of the 
locality. For instance, in parts of Chota Nagpur where the 
soil is a deep red, the prevaihng colour of the bark of the sal 
trees was red. One came to associate this colour with the 
. stem of the tree, and a transfer to another part of India, where 
the trees were grey, or higher up in the foothills their own 
natural colour, came as something of a shock. The termite 
has its uses in the Indian forest, for it rapidly disposes of 
the vast amount of refuse branches and dead fallen stems 
which without its aid would accumulate on the forest floor 
and greatly add to the risk of fires and increase their intensity 
when they took place, in addition ta making progression 
impossible for man or beast. 

The bear is. very fond of the termites, breaking down the 
heaps, inserting his nose and snuf&ng up and devouring 
himdreds of the httle insects at a gulp. 

And to the sportsman the ant heap has its uses. For it 
affords an excellent shelter behind which to take cover when 
a badly placed shot at one of the dangerous animals results 
in a vicious charge. For the character and density of the 
jungle one is in must of necessity determine the target 
afforded, and one's luck is so often " out " in this respect. 
I have, perhaps, an especial affection for the domain of the 
white ant, as one of the erections saved me from a charge 
of an infuriated bison on an occasion when fortune went 
against me at the first encounter. My subsequent strategy 
and tactics, ending in the death of the bull, were based 
upon and continued round several of these architectural 
structures. 

With this end in view I recommend them to the sports- 
man. 



CHAPTER XIX 

A REAL TIGER STORY 

Told round the camp fire — ^The camp in the forest — Feeding the elephants 
— ^A tiger shooting party in May — ^Tigers very numerous in old days 
— Scarcer now and will require protection — Blank days — ^A day with 
tigers — The morning start — ^Tigers break out — Crusty sportsmen — 
Advice to youngsters — Plan of campaign changed — Placing the 
howdah elephants — The beat commences — ^A tiger's head appears — 
Fire at tiger — ^An excited elephant — A second tiger's head appears — 
Grass — ^A shot at the tiger — ^Tiger reappears and charges elephant — 
Gets on to elephant's head — ^Exciting moments — Death of the 
tiger — Elephant takes charge — A hot time — ^The Collector's luck. 

" "W" T was a blazing hot day in May several years ago, 
I that I had the best fun I have yet had with tigers," 
I said a friend one evening, as we sat round the camp 

-*- fire in front of the tents. " You have often heard 
me mention that day, and I have promised to teU you the 
story. So here goes for the yarn." 

The Collector of the District, a fine sportsman, lay back 
in his deck-chair, took a pull at his cigar, and became 
reflective for a space. 

Night had faUen, the camp was pitched near a small 
forest bungalow in a clearing in the forest. As the fireUght 
danced and flickered, the trunks of the nearmost trees 
stood out straight and columnar, and the grass heads 
gleamed white on their greenish-yellow stalks against the 
dark depths of the forest behind, whilst overhead the 
heavens were lit with a brilliant scintillating mass of stars. 
Now and then a dull rumble, as of thunder, came from the 
quarter in which the elephants were picketed. The great 
animals were contentedly chewing their evening forage ; 
a great mass of green boughs of the pipul tree, having 
been brought in earher in the day by one of their 
number for the night's meal ; for the elephant sleeps and 
eats alternately throughout the night. At sundown his 

337 




228 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

mahout gives him his chief meal, a round number of pounds 
of grain. This has to be fed to him, for if left to himself he 
will scatter it about and lose half, for the animal is a waste- 
ful and improvident feeder. To prevent this, the mahout 
binds up a wisp of straw into a mass Uke a bird's nest, 
about a foot across, fiUs this with the grain and places it 

in the elephant's mouth, the 
latter advancing a step or two 
and bringing down its head to 
receive it from the mahout, 
who is squatting on the ground 
the whole time and does not 
trouble to move. As soon as 
the mass is placed inside his 
mouth, the elephant backs a 
step or two and slowly chews 
it, straw and grain together. 
This nightly operation is 
usually carried out in front of 
the tents, so that a watch 
may be kept on the mahouts ; 
otherwise the men consider they are within their rights in 
feeding the whole of their family and relations out of the 
grain provided for the elephants, and the latter suffer a 
shortage in their daily meal. And the elephant is perfectly 
aware of the shortage and pUfering, and is in his way gratefid 
for the sahib's care. For the elephant is one of the most 
inteUigent of beasts, and rarely forgets a kind act done to 
him. 

At the opposite side of the camp to that where the 
elephants are situated, is the horses' encampment. Here 
are to be found the horses' attendants, a man and a boy 
to each animal, with two or three small single-fly tents, 
the horses picketed out with heel ropes to prevent them 
stampeding when a leopard prowls round the camp, or 
wandering or engaging in plaj^ful kicking matches, a 
game at which some ponies are past-masters. Earher in 
the evening I had myself personally inspected this camp, 
to see that my favourites had been properly fed and 
groomed : for a perfect understanding should exist between 
the master and his four-footed friends. 

Hard by is the small camp, in which the havildah and the 
shikari reign supreme over a swarm of lesser camp attend- 



A REAL TIGER STORY 229 

ants. The two great men sleep in tents, but the satellites 
have to be content with the camp fire for their shelter and 
warmth. To one side, and in the rear of the main tents, are 
a couple of poMce tents, for the police guard which always 
accompanies the Collector on tour. But a short distance 
from these, and exactly behind the mess tent, the cook 
and house servants have their headquarters. It is here 
that the appetising dishes the Indian cook can turn out in 
the face of difficulties, which none of his European con- 
freres would dream of facing, are prepared. With several 
holes in the ground, flanked by large stones and filled with 
burning sticks, and a charcoal brazier or two, the Indian 
chef will prepare culinary marvels which would not disgrace 
a first-class London hotel. 

A hum of conversation arises on the night air from these 
different encampments, at all 'of which, with the exception 
of the cook's, the evening meal of the men is in course of 
preparation, chaff is being exchanged, and the incidents 
of the past day — and there are always incidents, amusing 
and otherwise, in camp life— are discussed. 

As I sat and took in the familiar scene, so well known, 
but one which never lost its fascination, my friend con- 
tinued : 

" You know the Jungles ; you were there last year 

for a day or two, if I remember rightly. Well, it was in that 
neighbourhood that I had the best and most exciting time 
of my life. It was in May, one of those real scorching days, 
that the incidents I am going to relate occurred. We were 
a party of four rifles, and had already had fair sport. For 
tigers were far more numerous then than they are now, 
and there will be precious few left for generations to come, 
unless some form of protection is. extended to them, or to 
those of the species who are game-killers pure and simple. 
No one wants to protect a man-eater, of course ; he is a 
pest to be stamped out as early as possible. Nor should 
the cattle-lifter, the animal who confines his attention to 
the cattle of the villagers and makes them his chief food 
supply, receive any countenance from sportsmen. But 
the pure game-kiUer, i.e. wild animal killer, falls within a 
different category, or so you yourself and I and others who 
have studied the question think, and he might weU receive 
such protection as would be afforded him by closing some 
of the blocks of heavy jungle for a few seasons at a time. 



230 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

But I know you agree with my views on this game protec- 
tion question, so I'll get on with my story. 

" As I have said, we had had fair luck and had bagged 
some dozen tigers and four or five leopards by the day I am 
speaking of. We had, however, had several blank days 
just previously, and though the khubbar was good, we were 
not over sanguine as the party left camp about nine o'clock 
in the morning. We had a ride of five miles in front of us, 
and accomplished this on a couple of pad elephants, the 
howdah elephants having, of course, been sent on ahead. 

Part of the ride was up the hard bed of the River, 

and we were pretty weU roasted by the time we reached the 
rendezvous. 

" The plan of campaign for the day included four beats, 
two in the morning and two in the afternoon. You know 
the big block of sil forest, with open patches of tall grass 

that runs alongside the Forest Road. It is intersected 

by a rather deep ravine, filled for the most part with tiger 
grass, and a few scattered copses of the sissu and khair 
trees. The idea was to beat the two blocks of jungle in two 
separate beats, each towards the ravine, the first beat to 
come out in the upper part of the ravine, the second in 
the lower and towards the road. Jitman knew the country 
perfectly, as, in fact, did another man and myself, and we 
had the stops, consisting of elephants and also some men 
posted in trees, placed at the points where a tiger would be 
Ukely to try and quietly leave the beat. 

" During the first drive the four howdah elephants were 
placed in the ravine, and none of us had a very nice stand. 
The grass was too high and thick. The winter had been a 
wet one, and rain had fallen in the hot weather, with the 
consequence that the grass had not died down or opened out 
to anything like the usual extent. Also we feared we had 
scarcely enough beating elephants to make success certain, 
for the area to be driven was a large and dif&cult one. As 
it turned out, we Were right. Certainly one tiger was afoot 
in the first beat, but he got past us in the long grass. The 
same thing occurred in the next, and we were pretty savage, 
all of us, by the time we reached the lunch rendezvous. 
Two of the men turned rather crusty, in fact, lost their 
tempers, and began to swear at the shikaris and mahouts." 

There is one piece of advice I would offer to a youngster 
commencing his career in India, or anywhere else for that 





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THE LINE OF ELEPHANTS CROSSING A KIVEK £i\' ROUTE TO THE 
TIGER JUNGLES IN THE UNITED PROVINCES TERAI 




Sir -y. ^. JfewE/l. pholi) 

HOWHAH ELEPHANTS LINED UP FOR INSPECTION BEFORE 'IHE START FOR A 
day's TIGER SHOO|■I^G 



A REAL TIGER STORY 231 

matter. Never lose your temper if you can help it, especially 
when out with a party. There are bound to be contretemps. 
Mistakes wiU be made, and you may be the sufferer. But, 
save in flagrant cases of disobecHence, never swear at 
your men. Bear in mind the fact that they know infinitely 
more about the jungle lore of the forest than you do. Very 
often they wiU carry out your orders about the direction a 
beat should be taken, or as to beating a certain jungle, 
when they know beforehand that the result will be failure, 
or that there is nothing in the jungle to come out. This 
being so, you cut a rather sorry figure in their eyes, and also 
lose their respect, if you swear and browbeat men who 
could have foretold the result before the beat started ; 
besides displaying your great ignorance of the habits of 
the animals you are out to shoot, and of perhaps the 
commonest rudiments of jungle lore as known to the local 
men. The Collector's story illustrates this point to per- 
fection. 

" Lunch," he continued, " was a poor affair that day, 
made uncomfortable solely by the ignorance of two of the 
party. And you don't want displays of petty temper when 
the thermometer is standing in the neighbourhood of no 
degrees in the shade and the hot wind is blowing with a 
furnace heat. 

" The first beat after lunch was about a couple of 
miles from those of the morning. The plan of campaign 
necessitated the four rifles on the howdah elephants 
taking up positions so as to command a small ravine 
and narrow path right at the foot of the outermost of 
the foothills, for which a tiger, on being disturbed, would" 
assuredly make. A strip of sal forest, and a considerable 
patch of grass, with two small areas of sissu copse, through 
which ran the small stream of water which formed the whole 
' river ' at this season — the greater part of the great river- 
bed being a waste of shingle and grass — formed the country 
to be beaten. As the beat had been arranged, the ravine 
and path could just be covered by four rifles. When this 
disposition was explained, however, the two men who had 
fallen foul of the shikaris before lunch, asked to be allowed 
to go in the line of beating elephants, as ' they might then 
see something of a tiger, if one was afoot,' which was their 
method of expressing that they did not think much of the 
way the beat had been arranged. To avoid disagreements, 



232 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

this was assented to, and my friend and myself proceeded to 
decide how we should station ourselves, in order to command 
as much as possible of the ravine. Having settled this, 
we tossed for positions, and to me fell the nearest one, the 
other man commanding a part of the ravine and the path. 
My position was an ideal one, provided a tiger broke my 
way. A narrow offshoot nullah ran down between steep 
sil-covered hills, which dropped abruptly into the ravine 
on either side. The offshoot nullah formed the chief, and, 
in fact, only easy passage into the hills from the ravine. I 
had only to command it, and this I did. Instead, however, 
of placing my elephant in the ravine itself, I elected to take 
up a position a few yards up the offshoot nullah. By this 
means I not only blocked it, but commanded a wider range 
of the ravine itself, and had a larger outlook over the tangle 
of tall grass which here separated the ravine from the wide 
river-bed. 

" So far as I could see, the matter resolved itself into this : 
If a tiger was in the big sal forest, one or other of the rifles 
with the beaters might get a chance at and bag him. They 
were both good shots. If he was lying up for the day in 
the sissu copses near the water, as was more likely, we stood 
the best chance of seeing him, as he would probably leave 
before the beating elephants got up to him. 

" The beat began, and indistinct sounds and noises came 
to us very faintly, too faint to be able to distinguish any- 
thing. I was on a fine staunch tusker, not unUke our friend 
Jung Bahadur over there. He was an old campaigner at 
his business, and had certainly been in at the death of over 
one hundred tigers. A magnificent beast he was, with his 
forehead painted in fantastic white designs, and his great 
tusks cut down to half their length and tipped with massive, 
engraved silver knobs. He had been lent to me by a Raja 
friend of mine, and a rare good sportsman himself. Many a 
jolly day had we spent together ; for as you know there 
are no finer gentlemen nor greater sportsmen than some of 
the old Indian famihes of Northern India can show. 

" Well, the great elephant stood hke a rock. He and his 
mahout below me were two Uving statues, and only by 
their eyes could you have known that they were ahve. t My 
orderly, just as keen, was sitting in the seat behind me, 
also motionless. 

" What thrilling minutes those are spent in the howdah 



A REAL TIGER STORY 



233 



during a beat for tiger. The terrific heat is unnoticed. 
For to the real sportsman there is so much to study during 
the wait whilst the beating elephants are still distant. I 
was very interested, I remember, in the movements of some 
tiny tree creepers in the grass below me. Tiny little birds, 
as you know, their movements are extremely fascinating to 
watch. As they climb up the stems of the great grasses, 
prying their beaks into the sheaths, one wonders whether a 
tithe of the insects they make their daily meal off are known 
to science. The little beggars were searching systematically 
the various parts of the stems and flowers and seeds of the 
tall elephant grass — the tiger grass, as I like to call it — 
for to my mind there is no fairer sight than to see a tiger 
coming open-mouthed and roaring at you through it. 

" Meditating on these things, my attention was suddenly 
attracted by a slight rustle in the grass on the other side of 
thp ravine ; or I thought it was a rustle different from that 
of the wind in the grass, from which we were somewhat 
protected here. I concentrated my attention on the spot, 
and held my breath, my whole body stiff and motionless. 
Suddenly, without a sound, 
a tiger looked out of the 
edge of the grass, just 
where it dipped somewhat 
into the ravine. Only his 
head appeared, the head 
of a fine, nearly full grown 
male tiger, framed in the 
long grass. He must have 
been on higher ground, or 
up on a stone, for he was 
far higher than I had ex- 
pected to see an animal 
appear; in fact, for a 
moment the thought 
crossed my mind that he 
was climbing up the grass 
stems. This notion was, 
of course, only momen- 
tary, and was replaced at once by my surmise of higher 
ground. As I recovered from my surprise, the head 
disappeared and silence reigned. None of us had 
budged an inch. The elephant very quietly coiled up his 




234 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

trunk as soon as the tiger disappeared, or may have rolled 
it up before, as he was probably aware that a tiger was 
afoot long before it actually appeared. I had time to feel 
annoyed at being taken by surprise in such a manner^ 
though anyway I should have had no more than a snap 
shot at the brute. We kept a close watch on the grass, 
but not a sound or movement betrayed the direction or 
position of the tiger. Suddenly a rifle snapped out on the 
right. I muttered something below my breath, in vexation, 
and at the same moment we heard the grass swishing 
violently. Something was approaching in our direction. 
Instinctively I brought my rifle to the shoulder, and at 
the same moment a tiger appeared bounding towards us. 
He did not see us at first, and made straight for the off- 
shoot nuUah, which we blocked. As he headed towards it, 
on the instant he caught sight of the elephant, bared his 
fangs in a snarl and then charged with a roar. I fired. He 
came on unharmed with a second savage roar, and leapt 
for the elephant's head, and dropped backwards with a 
heavy bullet through the brain. So close was he, that as 
he fell the tusker hfted one of his forelegs, and the tiger, 
falUng against the knee, shot off it and rolled over and over 
into the ravine, where he lay still. Silence reigned and I 
reloaded. The encounter had roused us all, and from the 
quiet movements of the mahout I understood that the 
tusker was in a royal rage and wished to go in and have 
another turn with the tiger. He pacified him by degrees 
and we waited. The beating elephants were now out in 
the big river-bed, advancing through the patches of long 
grass and sissu copses. The shots had driven the mahouts 
and elephant boys crazy with excitement, and we could 
hear the voices raised in curses, objurgations and endear- 
ments to th^r respective elephants ; the most frightened, 
both man and elephant, making most noise, the latter 
trumpeting shrilly in alarm or indignation or pain, as they 
felt the goad battered down on their heads, giving off a 
dull, drum-like sound, or as its sharp point pierced through 
the skin behind the ear. The infernal pandemonium which 
always arises near the end of a beat, especially if it is known 
that one or more tigers are afoot, sets the blood dancing 
through one's veins, and makes it hard to keep the muscles 
tensely braced and the nerves quiet. I could see one of the 
howdah elephants on the wing coming through the tall 



A REAL TIGER STORY 



235 



grass, the man in the howdah bending over now and then 
and looking downward into the long grass, his rifle half up 
to his shoulder ready for a snap shot. I began to think that 
it was all over, as I felt confident that no tiger could have 
remained out there so long, with that din on top of it. 

" Again, the grass on the far side of the nullah swayed 
slightly, and from almost the exact spot at which the 
tiger had looked out shortly before, another and very large 
tiger's head appeared. I could not have put my feelings of 
absolute astonishment into words, had I tried. But it is 
ever the unexpected that happens in sport. For an instant 
the big tiger stood at gaze and then came out of the grass 
and disappeared. There was a drop there, and I now under- 
stood the configuration of the ground. He had sprung 
down this and was in the long grass of the ravine. Whether 
he had seen the elephant or not I could not say. We were 
in shadow, so I think not. We traced his stealthy approach 
by the waving grass heads. Suddenly I saw a patch of him, 
and fired on the 
instant. A roar 
answered my shot, 
and I saw a bound- 
ing streak of yellow, 
at which I fired 
again, and it seem- 
ed to disappear. 
Before I had time 
to make up my 
mind as to what 
had happened, how- 
ever, a second roar sounded on my ears, 
the empty rifl e and seized hold of my second in the rack. As 
my hand felt and grasped it, an undulating yellow streak came 
out of the grass and flung itself at the tusker's head with a 
blood-curdling roar. The elephant never moved, but raised 
up his head to endeavour to get the tigress, for she it was, on 
to his tusks. The movement unsteadied me, and I gripped 
the railing of the howdah with one hand to get my feet 
again, whilst I lifted up the rifle with the other hand. The 
tigress was now on the base of the elephant's trunk, 
endeavouring to make good a purchase, and the tusker was 
shaking himself in the endeavour to get rid of her. Only 
those who have been on an elephant in a howdah when the 




I hurriedly dropped 



A REAL TIGER STORY 237 

exhaustion. To be played battledore and shuttlecock with 
in a hard-sided howdsJi, with the thermometer over 100 
degrees in the shade, and that immediately after being 
charged twice by two different tigers, was an experience it 
is not given to many to go through. With difficulty I 
retrieved the rifles and put one of them to safety. Why 
that rifle had not gone oft when it had been tossed about at 
full cock in the howdah is one of the mysteries I shall never 
be able to solve. 

" As soon as I was capable of understanding anything, 
and that was not until I had had a long and exceedingly 
nasty hot drink — for it was before the days of the thermos 
bottle — I heard from my friend, who had come up, that 
two tigers had been found dead in addition to the mass of 
pulp which was all that the tusker had left of the tigress. 
An examination of the second tiger I had fired at, and 
which I had thought at the time had dropped in the grass 
to my second shot, showed it to be the fine big male, and 
this solved the riddle. As he dropped, the tigress, who 
must have been just behind him in the grass on the far side 
of the ravine, maddened at his death and at finding her 
retreat barred, came out bald-headed at us, and very 
nearly had her revenge for the loss of husband and son. 
They all came out at the same place, and were evidently 
using a well-known and familiar line of retreat to the 
hiUs. 

" But for all that, it was the most wonderful piece of 
luck man has ever had, to have them aU three at once and 
to get them all charging. 

" The congratulations I received were hearty and sincere, 
as you may guess, and the skins of those two tigers, with the 
tail of the tigress, are amongst my most treasured sporting 
trophies." 




PART II 

GAME PROTECTION AND THE 
PROVISION OF SANCTUARIES FOR THE 
PRESERVATION OF THE INDIAN FAUNA 



CHAPTER XX 

THE INDIAN POACHER AND HIS WAYS 

The Indian poacher without firearms — Decrease of animals owing to his 
methods — Elephant pitfalls — Bison, deer and other animals caught 
by pitfalls — Sambhar nooses— Light and ring method of trapping 
chital — ^Black buck nooses and fish-hook method — Netting pig — Use 
of poisoned bows and arrows — ^Light and bell method for hare — Net- 
ting hare — ^Trap-door cage for porcupine — Bow and arrow method for 
. tiger — ^Trap-door cage and goat for leopard — Gun trap for leopard- 
Cage for jackal — Call method for jackal — " Flying-fox " netting — The 
snaring of birds — Liming for insectivorous birds — ^The peacock tail 
screen for pea-fowl — Nooses for pea-fowl — And hook and Una — Call 
birds and nooses for partridge — ^The line of nooses — ^Netting — 
Methods of netting for quail — ^The basket trap for quail — ^Noosing 
pigeon — Nooses for duck — Bird-liming — Snaring the kingfisher — 
Egret killing. 

BEFORE treating of the question of Game Sanctu- 
aries and the Protection of the Fauna generally 
I propose to give a brief description here of a few 
of the methods employed by the Indian poacher 
without firearms to capture some of the mammals and birds 
to which protecti:n is supposed to have been given in the 
past by the Game Act and Rules. 

A great deal of discussion has taken place in India during 
the past couple of decades on the subject of the decrease of 
game animals in the country and their future preservation 
by the formation of Sanctuaries. The decrease has usually 
been attributed to the inadequacy of the Game Act and 
Rules made under it ; to the increase in the use, effective- 
ness and cheapness of firearms, and the ease with which the 
community, including the villager, can secure them, owing 
to the slackness with which permits for the possession and 
use of firearms are issued to all and sundry on the easily 
preferred pretext that they are required for the protection of 
crops from the depredations of animals ; to the former laxity 
in supervision over the sale of powder and shot ; and, finally, 
R 341 



242 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

to the decrease in the areas of jungle capable of affording 
asylum to some of the larger animals owing to the extension 
of agricultural lands, the development of the mineral wealth 
of the country, the building of railways and roads, and to the 
conservancy operations of the Forest Department through 
which the jungles are constantly disturbed. 

All of these are, it may be admitted," factors leading to a 
decrease in the fauna and especially in the game fauna of the 
country and wiU be treated of in a subsequent chapter. But 
as important a factor, perhaps a more important one in its 
effects on the great decrease which is imperiUing some of 
the species in the country, is to be found in the operations 
of the Indian poacher. The poacher has remained outside 
the notice of the Government and has had a free hand to 
perpetrate his nefarious practices. I propose to deal 
briefly with some of the methods by which this inhuman 
class of slayers carry out their operations. They will speak 
for themselves. Considerable ingenuity is displayed in many 
of the methods employed by the poaching fraternity. But 
any admiration one may feel for the cleverness is over- 
whelmed by horror as one reaUzes that both animals and 
birds are often done to death by methods the brutal callous- 
ness of which has to be witnessed in order to be credited. 

A few of the common practices in force are enumerated 
below. Some of them I have myself seen and investigated 
personally. For others I am indebted to Messrs. Douglas 
Dewar and P. Wyndham, both of the Indian Civil Service ; 
and to Messrs. P. H. Clutterbuck, CLE., and W. F. Perree, 
CLE., of the Forest Service, aU well-known authorities who 
have studied this game- and animal-protection question. 



Some Indiah Poaching Methods of Trapping and Securing 
Animals and Birds 

I. ANIMALS 

Elephants 

Pitfalls. — A barbarous method of catching elephants used 
to be commonly in force, and still is in parts of the country. 
Pitfalls are dug on the elephant tracks in aJl sorts of 
ground and carefully concealed. In spite of this animal's 



THE INDIAN POACHER AND HIS WAYS 243 

great sagacity and caution it falls into them readily. The 
pits are dug — 

(i) In a confined area such as a narrow pass over a range 
of hiUs, the pit being dug at a season when the elephants are 
absent from the area. 

(2) Under certain trees which elephants are known to 
visit to eat the leaves or fruit. 

(3) In groups in areas frequented by elephants. 

The arrangement of these pits is very skilful. An open 
one is often left exposed whilst one or two others, dug 
close by, are carefully covered up with a light branchwood 
lattice-work which is overlaid with earth, twigs and leaves, 
so as to closely resemble the rest of the forest floor in the 
neighbourhood. In avoiding the open pit the elephant falls 
into one of the concealed ones. Or, again, a group of pits 
are dug at varying intervals in a comparatively smaU area. 
When an elephant falls into one of these some of the rest 
of the herd, in scattering panic-stricken, fall into neigh- 
bouring ones. 

Or, again, the pit may be dug at the end of a large fallen 
tree. The elephant in going round the tree falls into the pit. 

In Mysore the pits dug by the natives are ten and a half 
feet long by seven and a half feet broad and fifteen feet deep. 
This space by no means gives too much room to the elephant 
falling in, especially if it is a large one. The reason for 
keeping the pits small is to obviate the risk of the tuskers 
being able to use their tusks to dig themselves out by 
scraping down the sides of the pits. If left undisturbed for 
a couple of days after falling into a pit, male tuskers are 
said to be usually able to perform this operation and so 
escape. To prevent the animal sustaining injury in the fall 
either through broken limbs or internal inj ury due to the great 
drop to the bottom of the pit or to minimise this danger 
so far as possible, a strong bar is fixed across the mouth of the 
pit, about the centre, upon which the neck of the elephant 
usually strikes. The bar generally breaks under the great 
weight or at least bends, but its presence causes the animal 
to fall more or less horizontally on its feet. The shock of the 
fall could also be reduced by means of a thick cushion of 
branches placed at the bottom, but the natives digging the 
pit rarely bother to take this precaution owing to the extra 
labour involved. 

Both in Mysore and in Madras in former times a large 



244 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

number of elephant pits used to be kept up, in which 
many of the animals were caught annually. A very high 
percentage of the elephants so trapped died as a result of 
this barbarous method of securing them. In fact it may be 
said that as a general rule only the smaller animals on whom 
the shock of the fall was not so severe survived. Another 
cause of the high mortality was due to the inefficient super- 
vision maintained over the pits by the jungle-men who were 
responsible for watching them and carr5dng information to 
the elephant-men. Owing to this carelessness many of the 
elephants so trapped died of starvation. 

Both the Commissariat and Forest Departments in 
former days used the pit method to trap elephants, with the 
indifferent success which might be expected from such a 
practice when the great weight of the animal it was sought 
to trap is taken into consideration. The method has been 
given up, but in Mysore and Travancore Native States it 
was in force till lately, if it is not stiU in use. 

In Mysore, for the sake of catching a few elephants 
annually to be utilized for State purposes, scores of animals 
are, or were, kiUed by this most cruel and barbarous plan. 

Bison 

Pitfalls. — Many other animals besides elephants fall into 
the pits which are primarily dug to secure the larger animal. 
Bison, boars, sambhar and other deer, are often the victims 
of the pitfall system. These animals, when found in the 
pits, are killed and eaten by the jungle-men. In fact it is 
the hope of obtaining the flesh of these animals incarcerated 
by bad fortune in the pits which forms the strongest induce- 
ment to the jungle-men to maintain an efficient watch over 
their charge. I have heard it said on good authority that in 
the past cbnsiderable numbers of bison were annually killed 
through falling into elephant pits and that these latter 
alone have led to a decrease in the numbers of this fine 
animal. In the interests of the preservation of this species, 
if we omit the question of cruelty, the pitfall system should 
be rigidly put down throughout India. 

Cattle grazing in the forests also fall into the pits, sus- 
taining broken limbs or backs. • 

Sambhar 
Pitfalls. — Pitfa,lls are also specially dug in some parts of 



THE INDIAN POACHER AND HIS WAYS 245 

the country, particularly in the south, to catch sambhar and 
other deer. The spots chosen for the pits are often on the 
edge of the cultivated tracts in the neighbourhood of the 
forest boundary. The pits are usually about four feet deep, 
narrower at the bottom than the top, with a stout sharp- 
pointed stake driven firmly into the soil at the bottom, its 
sharp end projecting upwards. 

Sambhar come out at night to feed on the crops in the 
fields, retiring to the forests at dawn by one of their 
accustomed " runs." The animals fall into the prepared 
pits, becoming impaled on the stake where they remain in 
agony until the arrival of the inhuman beings who have 
prepared the trap. 

The Noose. — In the United Provinces large grass nooses 
are placed in holes in fences in order to catch sambhar as 
they go in and out when making their nightly foray on the 
crops. Mr. P. Wyndham records this method and I have 
seen it practised in other parts of the country. 

The above methods, it will become apparent, have no 
regard for the sex or age of the animal taken, nor for 
the season at which it is slaughtered. The Indian poacher 
counts these points as nothing in spite of the rules in 
force. 

Spotted Deer or Chital 

Pitfalls. — The pitfall system as described under sambhar 
is also used to catch the graceful spotted deer. 

The Light and Rings. — The curiosity of the deer tribe is 
proverbial and advantage of this trait is taken by the ' 
native to kill the chital. This beautiful Uttle deer is found 
in the more open parts of forest lands, as also in the dense 
jungles in many parts of India. The following methods are 
in force for trapping it. 

Two men go out at night armed with the following 
apparatus : a lighted bull's-eye lantern and a bamboo some 
eighteen inches in length on to which two iron rods, bent 
to form arcs, are fixed. Six or seven iron rings are slipped 
on to each rod before it is fixed to the bamboo. 

The men go out at night into an area frequented by chital, 
and, taking up their position, display the lighted bull's-eye 
and swing the bamboo gently, causing the rings to run up 
and down the rods. A curious grating noise is thus produced. 



246 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

The curiosity of the deer is excited by the light and the 
unusual sounds and they come up to investigate the 
strange phenomenon, when they are promptly clubbed to 
death or shot without reference to age or sex. 



Black Buck 

The Noose Snare. — The black buck is a dainty little 
antelope inhabiting the plains of India, and frequenting the 
cultivated country. The natives have various methods of 
trapping this beautiful httle beast. 

A common method is to tether on the ground a system 
of nooses. A large number of pegs, to each of which a 
noose made of gut is attached, are fixed to a hne which may, 
be two hundred yards in length. The line of nooses is 
pegged out some hundred yards from where a herd of buck 
are feeding. The men then make a detour so as to get the 
animals between themselves and the nooses. The buck are 
then driven on to the nooses in which some of them get their 
feet entangled. The snarers then run up and knock the 
struggling animals on the head. 

The Fish-hook. — A common device employed in the 
Pilibhit district and elsewhere is infinitely more diabolical 
and displays a fiendish cruelty. The apparatus is simple 
and consists of a strong fish-hook baited with the bael fruit. 
The hook is attached by a small piece of strong string, about 
eighteen inches in length, to the middle of a small piece of 
wood similar to that used by boys in England for playing 
tip-cat. A number of these baited hooks are prepared and 
scattered about in areas in which black buck are known 
to feed. 

The httle antelope is very partial to the bael fruit and 
takes the bait greedily. The strong hook gets firmly caught 
in the side of the mouth. To get rid of it the wretched 
animal makes frantic efforts, pawing at the place with his 
forefeet. This action sooner or later results in the string 
attached to the hook slipping into and up the cleft of the 
hoof, the piece of wood eventually stopping its further 
progress. The impact of the wood against the hoof drives 
the hook deeper into the flesh, at the same time causing the 
tortured animal to faU to the ground where it lies struggling 
convulsively until the fiends who are practising this devilish 
form of hunting run up and club it to death. 



THE INDIAN POACHER AND HIS WAYS 247 
Pig 

Pitfalls. — Pig, the wild boar and his female companions, 
commit serious depredations in the villagers' crops and oui 
sympathies are with the latter in their efforts to stop the 
damage. But no countenance should be given to methods 
which result in torture or a lingering death. 

The pitfall system, as practised for sambhar and spotted 
deer, is also used to trap pig. 

Nets. — Pigs are also snared by being driven into a system 
of nets erected on the line of route they wiU take on returning 
to the forest after their foray into the fields. The nets are 
stout ones with a mesh of four inches by four inches. The nets 
erected, the men go round and stampede the pigs who bolt 
blindly for the forest and get enmeshed, when they are 
speared, knifed or shot. The flesh is eaten or sold in the 
bazaar. 

This trapping of animals into nets with the object of 
obtaining the flesh, hides and horns, is very commonly 
practised in India, especially at seasons when the animals 
are collected together in numbers in a tract of jungle, e.g., 
during the hot season, near the only available water or in 
the monsoon when large tracts of country are inundated' 
Great drives are undertaken in which animals of both sexes 
and all ages are slaughtered in large numbers. 

In Assam at certain seasons such drives are carried out, 
and great skill is exhibited in driving the animals into the 
nets placed on the outskirts of some thick patches of jungle. 
The animals stampede and get entangled in the nets in a 
frightened, struggling mass, and are then knocked on the 
head in a barbarous fashion. 

Bows and Poisoned Arrows. — In some parts of India, more 
especially amongst the jungle tribes, trapping is not much 
resorted to but poisoned arrows are used for killing deer and 
pig, and even larger animals such as bison. The poison used 
is either decocted from some poisonous plant or shrub or 
rotten meat. 

Hare 

The native exhibits both ingenuity and his knowledge of 
the habits and idiosyncrasies of the animals he pursues in 
his methods of killing hares. 

The Light and Bell. — The hare in Pilibhit is trapped in a 



248 DIARY OP A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

manner somewhat similar to the method employed for 
chital, advantage being taken of its bump of curiosity. 

The apparatus employed consists of a bull's-eye lantern, 
a rug, a beU, and a stout club (lathi). 

Two men go out at night. On arriving at a suitable 
locaUty they take up a position in Indian file, bend down 
and throw the rug over them so as to simulate a horse 
moving slowly along. The first man has the hghted buU's- 
eye and the beU, the second the club. The fight and the bell 
excite the curiosity of the hare who approaches to investi- 
gate and is promptly clubbed to death by the rear man. 

A modification of the above is to carry the light and bell, 
or a jingfing apparatus, on what is known in India as a 
banghi — a long stout stick carried across the shoulder. The 
fight hangs from one end and the bell or other jingfing 
apparatus is suspended from the other. The man carrying 
the banghi walks ahead and the second, armed with a thick 
stick or club and a clap net, behind. The hare, attracted 
by the fight and jangfing, approaches and sits up to investi- 
gate. The second man claps the landing net over him, or 
clubs him, whichever is easiest of accompfishment. 

Nets. — Clap nets are also erected at the corners of fields 
to catch hares, the net being placed on the run. 

Porcupine 
Trap-door Cage. — The trap-door cage in common use 
against panthers is also used to secure porcupines. It is 
described under panther below. 

Tiger 
Bow and Arrow. — In Chota Nagpur and the Central 
Provinces, and perhaps elsewhere, the jungle-men occasion- 
aUy kiU tigei; with a large powerful bow. The arrow has an 
iron tip which is dipped in a deadly poison. The bow is 
fixed horizontaUy, at the height of a tiger's shoulder when he 
is walking, at a few yards to the side of a path the animal 
is known to use. The arrow is placed in the bow, the latter 
drawn to its full compass, and the whole fixed in an ingeiuous 
manner, so that a sfight jar will set free the arrow. This jar 
is given by the tiger unwarily touching a fine fine which 
is stretched across the path, being attached to the springing 
apparatus on the bow on the one side and to the base of a 
tree-stem on the other. The tiger springs the trap and the 



THE INDIAN POACHER AND HIS WAYS 249 

arrow is shot into its side, with the result that its death is 
certain provided the poison is virulent enough. The bows 
used are of tremendous strength and size, and success is 
achieved on occasions, but the trap is by no means a 
certainty. The tiger sometimes becomes suspicious and 
quits the path before reaching the stretched line, or may 
even have the luck to walk over it without springing the 
arrow. The plan is more especially employed to endeavour 
to get rid of a man-eater or a cattle-lifter who has taken a 
higher percentage of the cattle than even the lazy jungle 
folk can suffer with equanimity. Ordinarily these men are 
far too lazy to take the trouble to set traps to kiU tiger. 
This form of snare is very dangerous. Of course all the 
villagers in the vicinity are aware that it has been set but 
this does not apply to the casual passer-by. The villagers 
may forget to warn him or may not know of his presence, 
a stranger being a rarity perhaps in such remote parts. 
I beheve this form of trap has, in fact, been prohibited, 
though it was in use when I first went to Chota Nagpur. 

Leopard or Panther 
The Trap-door Cage. — ^The panther is amongst the 
wariest and cutest of the jungle animals — so wary and so 
cute that the possibility of its being practicable to catch him 
in a cage would appear to be remote to those acquainted 
with one side of his character only. But the native of India 
alongside of whom he Uves, and of whose stock in goats and 
dogs he is inordinately fond, is also possessed of very 
considerable ingenuity and the feud between the two is now 
several thousand years old. The leopard's great partiality 
for the goat is well known to the villager and affords the 
latter the chance of getting even with the animal. He 
builds a stout cage with a trap-door provided with stout 
iron bars and worked by a spring. The cage is set up in a 
suitable locahty in the neighbourhood and a goat tied 
inside. The trap is in the nature of a sacrifice of old, for the 
goat is the propitiatory offering to be sacrificed. The 
apparatus being set the men retire and the goat left alone 
commences to bleat. The sound attracts the leopard but 
does not always result in his capture. This latter depends 
on how hungry he may be and whether hunger or greed will 
ultimately overcome his excessive bump of cautiousness and 
cuteness. If the former gets uppermost he enters the cage 



250 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

and seizes the goat. The action releases the trap-door, 
which clangs down and the animal is a prisoner. His ulti- 
mate fate will then depend upon whether he is more 
valuable dead or alive. If he can be sold to a neighbouring 
Raja, many of whom keep menageries,, his Hfe will be 
spared ; otherwise his death follows on capture. I have 
seen leopards caught in this manner. It is common. The 
expression on the trapped animal's face is usually more of 
baffled rage mingled with shamefacedness that he should 
have been outdone in cunning by man, than of fear. 

A simpler contrivance is a stone or log, so placed that a 
goat can be tethered under it. The least attempt to puU at 
the goat results in the stone crashing down and killing the 
leopard. This method is very commonly practised. Mr. 
Wyndham tells me that a man in Kumaon recently brought 
him in three leopards he had killed by this means. 

The Loaded Gun Trap. — Sir S. Eardley Wilmot mentions 
this trap as in use in the United Provinces. The leopard's kiU 
is placed in a zareba of thorns. Across the opening a gun 
loaded with buckshot is placed in position and sighted. To 
the trigger a long" silken thread is fixed and stretched across 
the front of the zareba at the height of the animal's chest, 
the other end being tied to a tree or other convenient 
purchase. As the leopard comes up to the kill the pressure 
of his chest against the thread fires the gun and the charge 
is sent into the animal's side. If the leopard has achieved the 
reputation of being almost superhumanly cunning, instead 
of the thread a weight may be arranged to fall at the least 
touch on to a tight cord attached to the trigger. 

Jackals 

The Traptdoor Cage. — Jackals are trapped by the trap- 
door cage method already described under the leopard. 

The Call Method. — In the United Provinces a practice in 
vogue amongst the Kanjars and others for killing jackals is 
by calling them up. A native takes up his position outside 
a cane field armed with a branch of a tree, a call, and a 
couple of dogs whom he hides. He then starts caUing to the 
jack, waving the branch in front of his mouth. This4atter 
action breaks the sound of the call and renders it more 
natural. As soon as the jack comes close enough the dogs 
are set loose at him. 



THE INDIAN POACHER AND HIS WAYS 251 

The " Flying-fox " or Fruit-eating Bat 

Mr. Douglas Dewar has given me the following note on 
the method of trapping that loathsome mammal, the fruit- 
eating bat, which Europeans in India commonly call the 
" Flying-fox." 

" Certain natives of India consider that Flying-foxes are 
good to eat ; while the fat is said to be a remedy for 
■rheumatism and impotency. As everyone knows, these 
creatures feed at night on whatever fruit happens to be ripe. 
Selecting a tree which from observation the men know will 
be visited after sunset by a colony of flying-foxes, they 
proceed to rig up a net in front of it, in the direction from 
which they know the bats wiU come. In or^er to put up the 
net it is necessary that there should be two trees taller than 
and on either side of the fruit tree the bats will visit ; over 
one of the higher branches of each of these trees a long rope is 
thrown. Care is taken that neither rope becomes entangled 
in any twigs. It is essential that both may be readily pulled 
backwards and forwards. A net is then attached to one of 
the ropes and the two latter are tied together so that there 
is now but one length of rope that runs over both trees with 
a net in the middle. If a man goes to each of the loose ends 
of what is now one rope, and pulls them, the net is raised 
and hangs in front of the fruit tree. The net is thus raised 
just before the bats are timed to appear and is held in 
position until the first of these arrives. It is caught in the 
net. The men holding the sides of the rope let them run 
through their fingers so that the net with the entangled 
flying-fox falls to the ground. A third man secures the bat 
and as soon as it is removed the net is again pulled up in 
readiness for the next victim." 

A very similar method was practised by the men who had 
to protect the crop of hchis and mangoes in the large 
compound of the house I occupied at Dehra. The bats used 
to arrive in flocks when the fruit of these trees was ripening, 
and were a great nuisance. 



II. BIRDS 

A large number of birds are destroyed annually by the 
natives without discrimination of species, season or close 
time, or the fact that the destruction of the parents in the 



252 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

breeding season results in the young ones perishing in the 
nest. The damage resulting is of varying importance. The 
common practice of bird-Uming by the " chirya walla " 
might almost be looked upon as an occupation or trade. 
Hundreds of thousafids of useful insectivorous birds of the 
highest economic importance to the agriculturist must be 
destroyed yearly by this class of bird poacher. Other birds 
are snared for their plumage or for sale for food purposes. 
The methods commonly employed are those of the 
poacher pure and simple. In England such methods are 
met by prosecution and punishment. It is high time that 
many of the practices in force against bird hfe in India 
should be dealt with in the same way. The following are 
but a few of the methods in force. 

Pea-fowl 

The Peacock-tail Screen. — The man who thought of this 
was an ingenious dog. It depends, as in so many other 
instances in India, upon the natural pugnacity and fighting 
procUvities of the cocks and a knowledge of how to turn 
this trait to advantage. A screen or shield is made of the 
head and tail feathers of the peacock. With this screen and 
a stout heavy stick the man repairs to a spot in the neigh- 
bourhood in which he knows pea-fowl abound. As he 
approaches the locaUty he holds the shield in front of him 
with one hand, grasping the stick in the other. The man 
dances the screen, which completely hides him, up and 
down, thus making it look Uke a live cock bird full of fight 
and ready to take on aU comers. The challenge is soon 
taken up by a wild bird who advances in battle order to 
fight and when within distance is knocked over by the man. 

The Line of Nooses. — ^To a long hue, which may be as 
much as two hundred yards in length, wooden pegs are 
attached at intervals. To each peg is tied a noose of twisted 
horsehair — the sinews of black buck are also used for the 
nooses — sixteen inches in diameter. The snarer proceeds 
with a pony to a spot which he knows to be frequented by 
pea-fowl. As soon as he sees a cluster of the birds feeding 
he crouches down behind his pony which continues to walk 
forward, and pays out his line of nooses, which is cgirried 
on the wrist. Each peg is stuck into the ground, the stift 
noose projecting vertically upwards. When all the line has 
been paid out it stretches more or less tautly in a straight 



THE INDIAN POACHER AND HIS WAYS 253 

line along the ground, the nooses at the end of their pegs 
projecting vertically from the ground surface. The man 
then continues on with the pony until sufficiently far away 
from the fowl to be able to make a detour, when he reappears 
on the far side and drives the birds on to the nooses. With 
luck he makes a good haul in this fashion. 

Hook and Line. — Another method employed is to " fish " 
for the birds with a hook, baited with fruit, fixed to a long 
length of Une. 

Partridge 

Call Bird and Nooses. — A tame partridge is placed in a 
wicker cage to which three or four double horsehair nooses 
are attached. The cage is set down in a locality known 
to be frequented by the birds and a network of similar 
nooses is pegged out all round the cage. The man 
then hides himself close by. The partridge is a pugna- 
cious bird, always ready for a scrap. The bird in the cage 
commences calling and soon attracts a bird who considers 
the ground belongs to him. He commences attacking the 
caged bird unless previously snared, and soon gets caught 
in a noose. Others come up to join in the fray and the 
snarer is often rewarded by a good catch. As previously 
mentioned, and the point bears insisting upon, no respect is 
paid to season or sex by the men who ply this business. 

The Line of Nooses. — 'This has already been described 
under pea-fowl. Crows are also trapped in this way. 

Netting. — Clap nets are also set up at the corners and 
edges of fields with the object of taking partridges. 

Quail 

Netting. — Quail are probably more poached by netting 
than almost any other bird in India. Call birds are com- 
monly used, the part of the field in the neighbourhood being 
netted. Another method is to draw a rope, held at each 
end by a man, through the standing crop (dal), the birds 
running before it being netted at the other end. 

In a kodo field the net is drawn over the crop till the end 
of the field has been nearly reached. The net is then stopped 
suddenly and held down and the birds beneath it caught. 

In the Central Provinces, according to Mr. Clutterbuck, 
the following method is employed, and I think in parts of 
Bengal also. 

The Qul-de-?ac Net, — The term best describes this 



254 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

ingenious method of snaring quail. Two lengths of net, 
each about thirty feet in length and four and a half inches 
in height, are pegged out on the ground at an angle of about 
130 degrees, a small opening being left between the two 
interior edges of the nets. A covered net about six feet in 
length is then pegged out, the opening ends joined on to the 
interior edges of the long nets, the rest of the net being 
stretched backwards from the latter so as to form an 
elongate conical channel, joined at the top and upper end, 
forming a cul-de-sac. The man commences operations by 
imitating the quail call and as soon as he gets a mmiber of 
answers and hears the birds coming up, he pegs out his 
nets and then makes a detour so as to get the quail between 
himself and the nets. He then walks forward slowly in a 
zigzag manner towards the nets and when near enough 
drives the quail on to the nets. On reaching the two long 
nets the birds run along, seeking an opening instead of 
hopping over. Those that turn inwards, and they prefer- 
ably run along the outward slope, eventually reach the 
opening into the cul-de-sac^ into which they run and are thus 
trapped. 

The Basket Trap. — The basket trap is another method 
made use of. An elongate basket with a hole at the top 
through which the hand can be inserted is used. The man 
ascertains, by careful observation and search, the bushes 
under which quail roost on the ground at night. This is 
determined by their droppings. He proceeds in the evening 
towards the spot marked down and as soon as the quail are 
asleep, a Uttle after sunset, he approaches and drops the 
basket over the bush. He then inserts his hand and with 
luck will have the lot. 

Pigeon 
Noose. — A common method is to catch the pigeon round 
the leg whilst sitting on a tree, by means of a fine horsehair 
noose affixed to the end of a long thin rod like a fishing-rod. 

Duck 
Noose. — Strong bamboo uprights are pushed firmly into 
the bottom of a jhil (lake). These bamboos project some 
six feet above the water. They are connected together fey a 
strong line tied to them about four or five feet above the 
surface of the water. From this horizontal line a row of 
nooses is suspended, about two feet apart, the noose being 



THE INDIAN POACHER AND HIS WAYS 255 

about ten by seven inches. When the duck are flighting in 
the evening or early morning those passing just above the 
water in the direction of the snare are, unless they spot it 
in time and rise over it, caught by the neck and hang in this 
position until the snarer comes to fetch them. The method 
is successful, since it is not easy to see the line in the gloaming 
until the birds are up to it and almost impossible to perceive 
the much finer nooses. 

Another method is to peg down a line, or lines, of horsehair 
nooses on the edge of a jhil and place a little rice in each 
snare, the snares being of course on the ground. The Unes 
of nooses are aU attached to a strong main line. This method 
does not appear to be quite as successful in its results as the 
former since it is common to find many more coots in the 
snares than duck. 

Kingfisher 

Liming. — I have already mentioned the bird-man 
(chirya walla) whose occupation is catching birds by liming. 
He is a common sight. He uses a long pole which can be 
extended to a considerable length by jointed pieces. It 
would be of very considerable interest, as it is of importance, 
to know the number of useful birds which this professional 
bird-catcher secures in the year. 

He catches the large kingfisher by staking out a captured 
bird near the water and placing sticks of bird-Hme close by. 
The free bird comes down to fight the staked one and is bird- 
limed and taken. 

Egret 

Net. — Some species of egret are of value for their 
plumage. A merciless war has been waged upon them and 
there is every danger that the species AviU become extinct. 
Since the plumage is borne in the breeding season the 
indiscriminate destruction of the birds by netting, shooting 
and so forth results in the young nesthngs who have lost, 
their parents inevitably dying. No species, however 
abundant and prolific, can stand this sort of merciless 
warfare waged on it without disappearing. If the plumage 
sellers are really concerned in maintaining the supply of 
articles of this nature for their commercial operations, 
it is time they asked the various Governments in the 
countries from which they draw them, to institute such 
methods of collection as shall ensure the proper preservation 
of the species. 



CHAPTER XXI 

GAME SANCTUARIES AND GAME PROTECT-ION IN INDIA 

Necessity for the protection of the game and fauna generally — Abundance 
of game in former times — Causes of decrease of game — Opening up 
of the country — The sportsman — ^The native shikari — The unarmed 
poacher — Attitude of Supreme and Local Governments in former 
times to game preservation — Present attitude — Government of India 
the owner of the game — ^Attitude of villager in matter — ^The Game 
Sanctuary — ^Description of types of Game Sanctuaries — Game 
protection in the Central Provinces — Policing of Sanctuary — ^The 
New Indian Game Acl;? — Some reflections on the Act — ^The outside 
sportsman in the district. 

IN this chapter I propose to treat of the question of 
Game Sanctuaries and Game Protection ; whilst in 
the succeeding ones the matter will be regarded from 
the economic point of view and the wider aspect of the 
protection of the fauna of the country generally. All 
sportsmen who have studied the question at all closely 
wiU readily agree that it is not possible for a country, for 
any of the countries of the world, -to continue indefinitely 
to provide either sport or commercial products unless some 
measure of protection is extended to the animals which 
yield them. Our own islands form an apt illustration. 
Had not a vigorous protection been aflEorded to the 
animals combined with the formation of extensive sanc- 
tuaries — the New Forest and Forest of Dean were Royal 
Sanctuaries in olden times — some of our formerly existing 
wild animals would have been exterminated at a far earlier 
date than was the case ; and nowadays all sport necessitates 
the closest protection, combined with artificial rearing, to 
maintain the required head per area. And the bulk of the 
animal life so reared and protected, deer, birds and fish, is 
sold for human consumption after it has been shot or 
captured. 

25$ 



GAME PROTECTION IN INDIA 257 

It might have been thought that a country so extensive 
as India would not have required that protection should be 
extended to its fauna for many a long year to come. Yet 
a perusal of the incidents and deductions contained in the 
previous pages will, I think, prove that this is by no means 
the case. 

I propose, therefore, to lay down the rifle and consider 
the beautiful jungles of India from the point of view of the 
steps which appear necessary to ensure the maintenance of 
the game and fauna generally, in the threefold interests of 
its health-giving capacity and enjoyment to the hard- 
worked Anglo-Indian, in the interests of its revenue-produc- 
ing possibilities, and in those of zoological science. 

During the past decade or so it has become increasingly 
evident to the keen sportsman in India, to the man who is 
not alone animated by the mere desire to kill, that the game 
of the country is in many parts in serious danger of dis- 
appearing owing amongst other causes to the extraordinary 
developments in modern sporting rifles, to the greater facili- 
ties in communications and to the increasing numbers of 
those out to kill. With many others — it would be invidious 
to mention names since there must be many with whom I 
am unacquainted — I have given this question careful study 
for some years. As a result of observations carried out 
personally, and enquiries made in many parts of India, I 
have been gradually led to the conclusion that it is not only 
the game animals that are in jeopardy, but the fauna as a 
whole and especially that very interesting portion of it 
which has its home in the jungles and great forests. Under 
the orderly and systematic conservation of the forests by 
the Forest Department it has become evident that a pro- 
portion of the shier members of the fauna, those who 
require large areas of untouched primeval forest to dwell in, 
must without adequate protection inevitably disappear. 
Now this is an important matter, and admittedly opens 
out a very large question ; but it is one, I think, which is 
not beyond the scope and power of the Government of 
India to grapple with aided by the advice of its scientific 
experts, combined with the help which the true sportsmen 
in the country will be only too ready to offer. And it has 
its economic side, a not unimportant one. This aspect of 
the question, which it is probable wiU require similar 
consideration and treatment in America, Africa and 



258 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

elsewhere, will be considered later. We will at present 
confine ourselves to the protection of game animals. 

The most natural way to afford an asylum to animals 
which are in danger of extinction from overshooting, is by 
the closure of tracts of country of varying size to all shooting 
in order to allow them unrestricted rest to breed and increase 
in numbers. In this manner the recognized Game Sanctuary 
came into being and such exist in India, America, Africa 
and elsewhere. 

In India we are only in the initial stages of this form of 
protection, and much yet remains to be done. By the 
placing on the statutes of the " Wild Birds and Animals 
Protection Act of 1912," to be dealt with shortly, the 
Government of India practically placed the whole respon- 
sibiUty for the protection of the game in the country in the 
hands of the Local Governments. 

On October 24th, 1911, 1 read a paper before the Zoological 
Society of London^ entitled " Game Sanctuaries and Game 
Protection in India." Dr. P. Chalmers Mitchell, C.B.E., 
F.R.S., Secretary of the Society, took this paper as the 
basis of portions of his Presidential Address before the 
Zoological Section of the British Association at Dundee 
in the following year. I shall refer to this Address later. 

My paper dealt with the subject under various sections, 
portions of which I propose to briefly deal with here. The 
New Act of the Government of India received the assent 
of the Governor-General in Council in September, 1912. 
My paper only dealt with the draft Act which has little 
affinity with the measure actually passed into law. 



If it is desired to obtain some idea of the abundance of 
game animals in India in the past, one has only to read some 
of the sporting chronicles of old-time shikaris. What a 
glorious shikar country it was in the days of yore, and what 
a royal time our fathers and grandfathers had of it ! 

To mention but a few of these classic volumes : Fors5^h's 
Highlands of Central India, Stemdale's Seonee or Camp Life 
in the Satpuras, Sanderson's Thirteen Years' Sport among the 
Wild Beasts of India, Simson's Sport in Eastern Bengal, 
Kinloch's Large Game Shooting in Thibet, the Himalaya, and 

* Published in Proceedings Zool. Soc. Lond., p. 23. March, 1912. 



GAME PROTECTION IN INDIA' 259 

Central India, Colonel Fife Cookson's Tiger Shooting in the 
Dun and Alwar, Baker's Wild Beasts and their Ways, Pollok's 
Sport in British Burma, PoUok and Thorn's Wild Sports oj 
Burma and Assam, Pollok's Sporting Days in Southern India, 
etc., and, a more recent and admirable volume, Eardley 
Wilmot's Forest Life and Sport in India. One and all of these 
stirring reminiscences convey in language which there is no 
mistaking that up to a score or so of years ago India was a 
paradise par excellence for the sportsman. What then, 
when we contrast present conditions, do these fascinating 
volumes teach us — ^inevitably tell us ? That the game 
of India is on the decrease, on a very rapid decrease, and 
that the good old days of yore are gone never to return. 

That the modern rifle has to soine extent been responsible 
for the present state of affairs is beyond cavil — its accuracy 
and also the cheapness with which the more roughly made 
forms can be purchased. The native shikari has now to some 
extent replaced the old blunderbuss of his father's days by a 
breech-loader, and when possessed of such kills an infinitely 
larger head of game in the year as a consequence. The 
weapon itself costs 45 rupees only, but it is doubtless the 
price of cartridges which mercifully prevents the breech- 
loader from coming into as general use amongst this class of 
men as would otherwise be the case. 

But the starthng decrease which the head of game 
existing in India has undergone during the last two or three 
decades cannot be attributed only to the improved accuracy 
of the weapons with which the modem-day sportsman is 
armed. The opening out of the country and the consequent 
restriction of the animals is also largely responsible. It is 
now some years since the buffalo disappeared from the United 
Provinces forests — about the nineties of last century or there- 
abouts. Bengal and Assam, e.g., the Western Duars, no longer 
contain sufficiently extensive jungles to harbour rhinoceros 
and buffalo. The great increase in the number of sportsmen 
who visit the jungles annually on sport intent, an increase 
brought about chiefly by the greatly improved communi- 
cations owing to railway and road development, has also 
been a great factor in the case, and motor-cars will intensify it. 
The two other important factors are the native armed shikari 
and that curse of the country the unarmed poacher. It is 
probable that there are — ^because the trade is now a more 
pajdng one — an infinitely greater number of competent 



26o DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

native shikaris in existence ; I write " competent " in the 
sense merely to express their power to kill game. The vast 
majority of these men are poachers pure and simple, as 
were their fathers and fathers' fathers before them. For- 
merly, however, owing to their antiquated low-power 
weapons, the damage they were capable of doing was of a 
negligible quantity : nowadays it is far otherwise, and 
the methods to be put in force to deal with them form one 
of the most difficult problems those responsible for the 
upkeep of the game in the forests, and country generally, 
have to solve. 

The plea ever placed in the forefront by such men is that 
the guns are required to protect the villagers' crops, and this 
plausible excuse has been accepted in the past by Local 
Government after Local Government ; and we can quite 
see the difficulties that have confronted the latter, and still 
do so, in a settlement of the question. It cannot, however, 
be said to have been ever satisfactorily or fairly faced, and 
this inaction on the part of the central authority has check- 
mated the efforts of many a Collector and Forest Officer in 
his attempts to keep down the number of (poaching) guns 
in a district. A sympathetic Government was always 
too eager to listen to the tales of destruction of crops, and 
the District Officer, without local knowledge, preferred to 
err on the side of liberality, and so readily granted licences 
to applicants. 

We aU know the way these licensed gun-holders go to work. 
A machan (platform) is built on a known deer-run on the 
edge of the forest and just without its boundary, if not 
inside, with the connivance of the Forest Guard. The 
shikari occupies his post in the late afternoon — ^he is no 
respecter of a close season or of sex or age — and by sunrise 
next day several bucks and hinds may be lying round the 
machan ; the skins, horns, should there be any of the 
latter, and the flesh are taken off to the bazaar, where a 
ready sale is found for them throughout the country. The 
meat is sold locally, the skins and horns being bought by 
middlemen for export. It was a common thing to see on the 
platform at wayside stations near forest areas piles of 
skins and horns booked, and openly booked, in de4p.nce of 
all rules and regulations, to some large centre. 

I would not be understood to say that it is the native 
shikari alone who acts in this way. It is an open secret 



GAME PROTECTION IN INDIA 261 

that the native soldier of shikar-loving propensities, as also 
his British brother, will act in an exactly similar manner 
when occasion offers. Once, however, this matter is properly 
faced, the latter class of offenders can easily be coped with. 
For the non-military native offender a licence to protect 
his crops should be given only after careful personal enquiry 
on the ground by the District Officer. Also the sale of 
venison in the open market should be made a criminal 
offence. 

The whole crux of the position is, of course, the necessity 
for regulating the number of animals killed, so as to prevent 
deterioration or extermination of the game. The European 
has generally been considered to be more destructive than 
the native of the larger animals, gaur, rhinoceros, buffalo. 
But even this is doubtful, when the poaching prochvities of 
the native are taken into account. In any event rules and 
the proper control and management of shooting-grounds 
can control the European. The native is, however, not so 
easily dealt with. In order, therefore, to arrest the slaughter 
which takes place ostensibly to protect crops, some special 
measures are necessary. Wherever it can be proved that 
game is no longer destructive,, the licences should be can- 
celled and the weapons called in. In other cases where 
destruction is still being done the guns must be retained. 
Since, however, these weapons are given merely for the 
protection of the crops, they should be restricted to that 
purpose and be rendered unfit for any other. This can be 
easily done by cutting down the gun-barrel to eighteen 
inches or two feet. 

There remains the unarmed poacher. To date this man 
and his methods appear to have escaped all notice. And 
yet the part he has played in the past and is plapng at 
present is bringing about a serious decrease in the game 
— and other animals — ^which is at least as great if not greater 
than the rest of the above-mentioned causes put together. 
The Government to date has never considered this side of 
the question. And yet this is the conviction held, I beUeve, 
by many well-known authorities, such as, e.g., Mr. Douglas 
Dewar, I.C.S., P.Wyndham, I.C.S., P. H. Clutterbuck, I.F.S., 
and W. F, Perree, I.F.S. I have detailed in the previous 
chapter some of the poachers' methods, the diabolic barbarity 
and inhuman cruelty of which is beyond credence. There can 
be little doubt that with this record before one, and but a 



262 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

tithe of the practices in force throughout the country have 
been mentioned, the poacher must be put down if game 
animals are to be afforded adequate protection. 

It may be admitted, so far as the sportsman is concerned, 
that the steps taken to protect game have considerably 
improved the position. Local Governments throughout 
the country have revised their Game Rules, and in some 
cases have ordered the formation of Game Sanctuaries in 
addition to limiting the number of head of game to be shot 
in a district or block of forest to a definite number per year. 
Further, in certain provinces sportsmen are only allowed 
to kill individually a certain head of each different species 
of animal, thus eliminating the worst feature of the old- 
time sportsmen — the butcher, whose boast was not the 
size of the trophies he obtained so much as the number of 
animals he had killed. For the departures thus made 
throughout the country I think a due meed of credit should 
be accorded to the Nilgiri Game Association. Inaugurated 
about 1885, this Association has now for years not only 
protected the game of the Plateau which the sportsmen and 
the Todas between them were surely exterminating, but has 
enabled an increase to be maintained and recorded. The 
annual reports of the Association point to a satisfactory 
increase in the head of ibex or saddlebacks {Hemitragus 
hylocrius) and the sambhar {Cervus unicolor). For some 
years past the number of such to be shot by each sportsman 
has been regulated under the authority of the Association, 
directly supported by Government. The departure thus 
initiated in the distant Southern Plateau was followed in 
the far North when the game of Kashmir was threatened 
with extinction owing to the annually recurring large 
influx of sportsmen who visited the Fair Vale. Game 
Protection yi Kashmir now forms a separate Department 
of the State, and one which has fully achieved under its 
able head the objects anticipated from its inauguration. 
The late enhghtened ruler of Chamba State also took up 
the question, and prohibited all shooting except on passes 
issued on his own authority. 

Whilst such laudable commencements were thus made to 
preserve the game of areas which, owing to their peculiarly 
favourable chmatic conditions for the European sportsman, 
were threatened with extinction, the Local Governments 
in India for long remained apathetic in the matter. Game 



GAME PROTECTION IN INDIA 263 

Rules were in existence for the Forest Reserves of the 
country, but they related chiefly to a close season, the 
latter in some cases only applicable to the females, and 
the same was the case for the open country, where the 
rules usually related to birds only. These regulations were, 
however, openly broken, and the penalties in existence were 
practically rarely put into force, except by some exception- 
ally energetic officer ; and even then an appeal was often 
upheld and the orders passed reversed. 

At length, however, the apathy that hung over this 
question gave place to some show of interest, which was 
followed by activity on the part of the Government of India, 
galvanized into activity by the outcry, increasing in intensity 
each year, that the game of the country was doomed and 
that but a few years separated it from extinction. Local 
Administrations were addressed on the subject of the Rules 
and Regulations in force in their Presidencies and Provinces 
under the Forest and other Acts, and as to the steps 
necessary to be taken to prevent the extinction of the 
several heads of game, excluding carnivora. This led to 
many separate enquiries being undertaken throughout the 
country, to a prolific correspondence in the Press, of which 
desultory rumblings are stiU heard, and to many improve- 
ments being initiated in the Shooting and Game Rules 
throughout India. I am aware that I am laying myself 
open to serious attack in thus stating the case, but it is 
maintained that any and every rule that is made with the 
idea of protecting the game of a country is a step in the 
right direction, and therefore advantageous both to the 
sportsman and the game itself, however hard it may seem 
to fall on a particular body of individuals or on a particular 
individual. 

What was required was to fix the close seasons definitely, 
and the Government of India have now, as we shaU see, 
promulgated an Act to give power to fix a close season for 
different kinds of animals. 

It must be remembered that the old-time rulers in India 
were the de facto owners of all the forests and waste lands 
of the country, including all the animal inhabitants thereof. 
The Government of India are the present owners, and have, 
therefore, every right to safeguard this valuable property. 
They have done so in the case of the forests. But they 
have been slow to realize the value of the animals and the 



264 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

fact that a very reasonable profit can be made out of this 
valuable asset. 

The native of India has never made any claim to the 
ownership of game animals (mammals) or birds, since he 
has never possessed it. He only asks that his crops should 
be protected against their depredations, and legislation 
which will do this will never be resented. 

That steps have been taken in the right direction is all 
to the credit of the Administration, but a study of the 
present position renders it obvious that many of the diffi- 
culties have not as yet been faced by the authorities. I 
propose to allude to these in the succeeding sections. It 
will first, however, be necessary to consider what the 
Game Sanctuary really is and what its formation aims at. 



The Game Sanctuary^ 

The idea of the Game Sanctuary was a natural outcome of 
the indiscriminate slaughter to which wild animals have at 
all times and in all countries been subjected by man. So 
long as it was man imperfectly armed against the animal 
with its natural sagacity or fierceness to protect it, 
conditions were equal, or in favour of the animal, and 
there was no reason for intervention. From the day, 
however, of the introduction of the breech-loader and the 
repeater and a whole host of perfectly built weapons of 
every kind, enabling man to kill with comparative ease and 
certainty, the odds were against the animal and the question 
of affording some degree of protection to the game of a 
country became of paramount importance ; and, curiously 
enough, the question became most vital in the more un- 
ci viHzed, uninhabited, and wilder portions of the globe. 
Such shooting grounds were open to one and all, just as for 
centuries the shooting in India had been open, with the 
result that the modem rifle soon threatened the extinction 
of all game. That modem conditions have rendered this 
quite feasible the two well-known and oft-quoted instances 
afforded by the practically extinct American bison and the 
extinct quagga of South Africa sufficiently illustrate. 

In India we have come within measurable distance of 

1 For a list of the Game Sanctuaries of the country, both in British 
India and the Native States at that time, see my paper on "Game Sanc- 
tuaries, etc.," Proc. Zool. Soc. Land., pp. 33-46 (1912). 




IKR LUNCHEON DURING A TIGER SHOOT I\ THE HOT WEATHER 
IN THE TIRAI TUNGLES 




S/r y. I . Hewstt, photo 

STARTING OUT FOR THE FIRST BEAT AFTER LUNCHEON. 

A CHARACTERISTIC SCENE OF THE MEDLEY OF HOWDAIl 

ANI> KEATING EM;i'HANTS 



GAME PROTECTION IN INDIA 265 

exterminating the rhinoceros {Rhinoceros unicornis), which, 
together with the elephant and the gaur or Indian bison 
{Bos gaurus), would without protection probably soon 
disappear from the jungles which have known them for 
so long. 

With a view to affording a certain protection to animals 
of this kind and of giving a rest to species which have been 
heavily thinned in a district by indiscriminate shooting in 
the past or by anthrax, drought, etc., the idea of the Game 
Sanctuary was introduced into India (and in other parts 
of the world) and has been accepted in many parts of the 
country. The Sanctuary consists of a block of country, 
either of forest or grassland, etc., depending upon the 
nature of the animal to which Sanctuary is required to be 
given ; the area has rough boundaries such as roads, fire 
lines, nullahs, etc., assigned to it, and no shooting of any 
kind is allowed in it if it is a Sanctuary pure and simple ; 
or the shooting of camivora may be permitted, or of these 
and of everything else save certain specified animals. 

Sanctuaries may be formed in two ways : 

I. The area is automatically closed and reopened for certain 
definite periods of years. 

II. The area is closed until the head of game has become 
satisfactory, and the shooting on the area is then regulated, no 
further closing taking place, save in exceptional circumstances. 

I. The Sanctuary is automatically closed and reopened for a 
definite period of years. The Sanctuary is notified for a 
period of years : this period would naturally be viariable, 
but it is of importance, I think, that it should not be placed 
at too great a length, or the animals in the Sanctuary, so 
long immune from danger, would on the reopening of the 
area be so unused to the sportsman that they would be 
shot down in a very short space of time. Probably the 
period during which a block of forest is closed to aU shooting 
should never exceed, at the most, three years. Sir John 
Hewett, when Lieut.-Governor of the United Provinces, 
held the opinion that a period of five years for a Sanctuary 
was too long. He thought that the ground of the Sanctuary 
should be changed every two or three years, probably the 
former, and that the animals would soon learn where the 
Sanctuary was. He also agreed that before opening a 
Sanctuary to sportsmen the area should be beaten through 
so as to distribute and disperse the game, and not have them 



266 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

collected together Noah's-ark-fashion on a large scale for 
the first permit-holder who enters to shoot down with ease. 

Whilst, however, this system of opening and closing areas 
to shooting is best adapted to some localities and to certain 
classes of game, it is quite inadequate for the satisfactory 
protection of others. In many parts of India I would favour 
the second suggestion as being by far the most satisfactory 
in the long run and in some cases essential. 

II. The area is closed until the head of game has become 
satisfactory, and the shooting on the area is then definitely 
regulated, no further periods of closure being enforced save in 
exceptional circumstances. 

The length of time a Sanctuary should be in existence is of 
very considerable importance, and to a certain extent is 
intimately dependent upon a knowledge of the habits of 
the animals for which the Sanctuary is formed. The period 
of closure to be effective must depend : 

(i) On the condition of the head of game of the area 
when the Sanctuary is first formed. 

(2) On the nature of the animal, e.g., the rhinoceros, with a 
period of gestation of two years and a period of fifteen 
years before it reaches maturity, would require practically 
permanent closure of its haunts to produce any appreciable 
result, as has, in effect, been carried out in Goalpara in 
Assam. 

The procedure followed should usually be determined by 
the condition of the head of game on an area. There would 
be no question of fixing a definite period for the Sanctuary 
in the first instance. When the requisite effect on the 
game had resulted from its formation, careful and efficient 
rules and management should be sufficient to keep up the 
head of game, and it would not be necessary to continue 
the rigid ej^lusion of sportsmen. It would be sufficient to 
limit the number of each species to be shot each year, as is 
done in many parts of the Central Provinces. When the 
limit had been reached the shooting of the species in that 
locality would cease for the year. 

Once a sufficient head of game has been estabUshed in a 
locality, it is questionable whether regulated shooting each 
year would not have a better effect than the alternative 
proposal of closure for a term followed by a period of 
unrestricted shooting. It would certainly minimize the 
chance of the animals becoming too tame. 



GAME PROTECTION IN INDIA 267 

It may be of interest to give as an instance the procedure 
in the Central Provinces. 

As a whole, the Central Provinces may be considered to be 
one of the most advanced regions so far as game protection 
is concerned. The shooting regulations provide that areas 
or blocks of forests may be closed to shooting absolutely 
for purposes of forest management or as sanctuaries for the 
protection of game, other than carnivora, for the destruction 
of which special permits may be issued. The list of closed 
forests or blocks is prepared each year in October by the 
Conservators and is published in the Central Provinces 
Gazette, and copies are hung up in the offices of the 
Deputy Commissioner and Forest Officer. 

It will thus be obvious that the Game Sanctuaries in the 
Central Provinces are formed automatically by the closing 
alternately of different forests or blocks of forest yearly. 
As a matter of fact, however, most of the present Sanctuaries, 
though in many instances reduced in size, have been Game 
Sanctuaries since 1902, though a few others have been 
added later. It would be better if these areas were closed for 
periods of not more or less than three years. Of course, in 
the case of areas reserved for purposes of forest management 
it is possible that they are closed for a considerable period 
of years, but nothing is said on this score in the rules nor 
as to the length of time blocks are closed for purely sanctuary 
purposes. 

In addition to the automatic closure and opening of 
blocks there are other most valuable restrictions for the 
preservation of game, and I beheve that I am correct in 
stating that this procedure is now appUed to most of the 
blocks, instead of automatically closing and opening them. 
In any particular block or series of blocks only a certain 
head of any particular species may be shot. As soon as 
this number has been reached, that species is closed to 
shooting for the year. This rule might well be introduced 
elsewhere in the country. The permit of each sportsman is 
endorsed with the number of head he may shoot, e.g., one 
bison, one sambhar, two chital, four other deer, and carnivora 
ad. lib. , provided the maximum number of head of the species al- 
lowable to be shot in the year has not been already reached. This 
latter information is supplied to the sportsman either by 
the divisional officer or by the Range officers in the areas for 
which his permit is made out. Were not this latter pro- 



268 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

vision in force, one sportsman might shoot the whole 
number of, say, barasingha {Cervus duvauceli) permissible 
for the year and thus close this particular animal to suc- 
ceeding rifles for the rest of the season — a somewhat unfair 
and onerous restriction. 

The size of a Sanctuary must, of course, entirely depend 
on local conditions and on the nature of the animals to be 
protected. Such animals as the rhinoceros or gaur, which 
are of an extremely shy disposition and are given to roaming 
considerable distances, would require an area of considerable 
dimensions, whereas chital {Cervus axis) and hogdeer 
{Cervus porcinus) would require a comparatively small one. 

Pheasants, again, would not require large areas, and the 
same apphes to the hill sheep and goats — a nullah or certain 
nullahs being proscribed as closed to shooting, as, in fact, is 
done in Kashmir. 

Game Sanctuaries may then be of several kinds : 

1. Entirely closed to all shooting. 

2. Closed to beating only. 

3. Closed to the shooting of certain species of game. 

4. Closed to shooting of all game, save noxious ones, 

carnivora, pig, etc. 

The question of enforcing the Sanctuary law against 
shooting is one of some difficulty. In Reserved Forests it 
is comparatively easy, since all shooting without special 
passes in such areas is forbidden and the granting of these 
would be stopped for Sanctuaries. Outside, however, the 
matter is by no means so simple, and the people of the 
country, particularly the shooting element, wiU require a 
careful education if they are to understand and respect 
the Sanctuary, should it be formed in Government Waste 
Land. It will be necessary to fully explain the uses of 
Sanctuaries^ and the reason for closing the areas as soon 
as attempts have been made to form them. 

At present anyone may enter on land, which is not reserved 
forest, and shoot. To alter this would at once curtail what 
is a prescriptive right, and this is the main obstacle to the 
introduction of a Game Law. Rich and poor aMke enjoy 
this privilege, and although the occupier may in time come 
to learn that shooting rents can add to his income, or reserve 
his waste land for his own shooting and close it to the general 
public, as is done in some cases in the Dun below the 
Mussoorie Hills, it will be difficult to introduce restrictions 



GAME PROTECTION IN INDIA 269 

on areas in wHich shooting is practically a right in all but 
name. 

It is, we fear, hardly to be expected that the question of 
the formation of Sanctuaries and their closing will be 
received without opposition throughout the country, even 
amongst the Europeans, but I am of opinion that the 
matter is one of such great importance that the outcry of 
the few interested people opposed from personal motives 
to their formation on Government Land, both Reserve Forest 
and Waste Land, should not be allowed to blind the public 
generally to their immense value. It is conceivable that the 
Zemindar and large landed private proprietors would in 
course of time follow an example so set when its value had 
made itself apparent to them. 

The policing of the Sanctuary is a matter requiring some 
consideration. It may prove comparatively easy to check 
iUicit shooting both on the part of the European and native, 
although even this is not a facile matter in the case of 
Sanctuaries of large size in remote localities. The question 
of deaUng with the poacher pure and simple who goes to 
work without firearms is even a more difficult problem, 
whose importance, as we have seen, has as yet been scarcely 
realized by either the Supreme or Local Governments. 



The Indian Wild Birds and Animals Protection 
Act of 1912 

This Act was passed on i8th September, 1912. It is 
entitled — " An Act to make better provision for the protec- 
tion and preservation of certain Wild Birds and Animals." 

Its clauses are as follows : — 

Short title and extent. — i. (i) This Act may be called the 
Wild Birds and Animals Protection Act, 1912 ; and 

(2) It extends to the whole of British India, including British 
Baluchistan, the Sonthal Parganas, and the Pargana of Spiti. 

Application of Act. — 2. (i) This Act applies, in the first 
instance, to the birds and animals specified in the Schedule, 
when in their wild state. 

(2) The Local Government may, by notification in the local 
official Gazette, apply the provisions of this Act to any kind of 
wild bird or animal, other than those specified in the Schedule, 
which, in its opinion, it is desirable to protect or preserve. 



270 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

3. Close time. — The Local Government may, by notification 
in the local Gazette, declare the whole year or any part thereof 
to be a close time throughout the whole or any part of its terri- 
tories for any kind of wild bird or animal to which this Act 
applies, or for female or immature wild birds or animals of 
such kind ; and, subject to the provisions hereinafter contained, 
during such close time, and within the areas specified in such 
notification, it shall be unlawful — 

{a) To capture any such bird or animal, or to kill any such 
bird or animal which has not been captured before the commence- 
ment of such close time ; 

(6) To sell or buy, or offer to sell or buy or to possess, any such 
bird or animal which has not been captured or killed before the 
commencement of such close time, or the flesh thereof ; 

(c) If any plumage has been taken from any such bird cap- 
tured or killed during such close time, to sell or buy, or to offer 
to sell or buy, or to possess, such plumage. 

Penalties. — ^4. (i) Whoever does, or attempts to do, any 
act in contravention of Section 3, shall be punishable with fine 
which may extend to fifty rupees. 

(2) Whoever, having already been convicted of an offence 
under this Section, is again convicted thereunder shall, on every 
subsequent conviction, be punishable with imprisonment for a 
term which may extend to one month, or with fine, which may 
extend to one hundred rupees, or with both. 

.Confiscation. — 5. (i) When any person is convicted of an 
offence punishable under this Act, the convicting Magistrate 
may direct that any bird or animal in respect of which such 
offence has been committed, or the flesh or any other part of 
such bird or animal, shall be confiscated. 

(2) Such confiscation may be in addition to the other punish- 
ment provided by Section 4 for such offence. 

Cognizance of offences. — 6. No Court inferior to that of a 
Presidency Magistrate or a Magistrate of the second class shall 
try any offence against this Act. 

Power to grant exemption. — 7. Where the Local Goveriunent 
is of opinion*that, in the interests of scientific research, such a 
course is desirable, it may grant to any person a Ucence, subject 
to such restrictions and conditions as it may impose, entitling 
the holder thereof to do any act which is by Section 3 declared 
to be unlawful. 

Savings. — 8. Nothing in this Act shall be deemed to apply 
to the capture or killing of a wild animal by any person in defence 
of himself or any other person, or to the capture or killing of 
any wild bird or animal in bona fide defence of property. 

Repeal of Act of 1887.— 9. The Wild Birds Protection Act, 
1887, is hereby repealed. 



GAME PROTECTION IN INDIA 271 

The Schedule 
(i) Bustards, ducks, floricans, jungle fowl, partridges, 

pea-fowl, pheasants, pigeons, quail, sand-grouse, 

painted snipe, spur-fowl, woodcock, herons, egrets, 

rollers and kingfishers, 
(ii) Antelopes, asses, bison, buffaloes, deer, gazelles, goats, 

hares, oxen, rhinoceroses and sheep. 



Some Reflections on the Act 

It will be of interest to consider in some slight detail 
several of the provisions of this Act. The Provincial Rules 
in force when it was passed comprised the Arms Act, Forest 
Act and Fisheries Act. The new Act extends to all India 
with the exception of Burma, and, of course, the Native 
States. Some of these latter are, however, already doing 
excellerlt work in Game Protection and others will doubtless 
follow any firm lead set them by the Imperial Government. 

In many respects the present Act is a great improvement 
on the draft one. Instead of being confined to " game " 
animals and then endeavouring to define " game," " large " 
animal, and " specified kind " of animal it contents itself 
with the title " Wild Birds and Animals Act." The title, 
zoologically, is unfortunate, since the word "animal" com- 
prises the whole of the fauna. If only birds and beasts are 
understood the title should have been " birds and mammals." 
I use the word " animal " to include the fauna as a whole. 
Section 2 (i) of the Act makes it applicable to certain classes 
of animals and birds specified in the Schedule, but with the 
saving clause, 2 (2) that the Local Government may by 
notification in the local Gazette apply the provisions of the 
Act to any kind of Wild Bird or Animal, other than those 
specified in the Schedule which, in its opinion, it is desirable 
to preserve. Thus in this respect the onus is put upon the 
shoulders of the Local Government. This is also the case 
with reference to the " close seasons." The responsibiUty of 
declaring a close season either for a part or the whole of the 
year for any species — " Kind of wild bird or animal," as the 
Act puts it — ^to which the Act applies is laid on the Local 
Authority. 

The Schedule is the weak part of section 2 (i). It would 
have been far better either to have drawn it out in a more 
detailed form or to have omitted it altogether, the Local 



272 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

Government being empowered in clause 2 (2) to enumerate 
a list of birds and animals which might be exempted from the 
protection of the Act from time to time, when their numbers 
had become excessive or for other specified reason^ The 
periods of such exemption to be hmited to a certain maxi- 
mum, an extension of which period would require the 
sanction of the Government of India. 

But even better than this would, I think, have been the 
preparation of a list of the fauna by groups and its inclusion 
in the Act. This, of course, can be done by Local Govern- 
ments and it is a step which, I beUeve, is being undertaken 
in some Provinces. On this question I made the following 
remarks in my paper read in 1911 : — 

" If the drafters of the Act were to apply to any Zoologist 
in the country who has a practical working and sporting 
knowledge of the game life of India they could be furnished 
with detailed lists of animals both large and small ; and by 
' animals ' I here mean ' mammals ' classified, say, into 
some such groups as, e.g. — 

"(a) Carnivora. Each species in the country to be quoted. 

" (6) Herbivora. Each species in the country to be quoted. 
" The various deer, antelope, goats and sheep are aU 
perfectly well known, and the preparation of lists detail- 
ing each animal by name is an absolutely easy matter. 

" (c) Rodentia. Including the hares, porcupines, etc., the 
total extinction of which from a sporting point of view is far 
from desirable. 

" {d) A General Group which may be made to include the 
rest of the Mammalia. This would allow protection to be 
extended, should it be deemed necessary from the point of 
view of the preservation of the species in the case of rare 
species now perhaps being exterminated for the value of 
their fur or for other reasons, to animals not at present 
included in the sportsman's category of Game. 

" Turning to the Birds. There is no distinction made 
between migratory birds and non-migratory birds, and no 
mention made at all of Insectivorous Birds, and yet the 
distinction is one of enormous value in a great agricultural 
country like India, where the benefit the cultivators must 
derive annually from insectivorous birds is quite incalculable. 

" I suggest that the Birds be sharply defined into groups 
and the names of all the game birds and of all the chief 
insectivorous birds be definitely given in the Act, This like- 



GAME PROTECTION IN INDIA 273 

wise is a matter of the greatest simplicity, since there would 
be no difficulty in drawing up such lists." 

Similarly in section 3 it would have been preferable had 
the Act definitely laid down with the authority of the 
Supreme Government behind it that the breeding seasons for 
aU animals and birds should be a close time and have made 
Local Governments responsible that the breeding seasons 
for each species were definitely ascertained in their several 
jurisdictions and notified in their Gazettes. Not only 
would this have been more satisfactory in the interests of 
the preservation of all game animals, but it would have been 
a valuable aid to an extension of our knowledge of the life 
histories of many of the rarer animals and birds, since in 
order to render possible the working of the Act it would have 
been necessary to undertake such investigations throughout 
the country. Also it would have afforded certain protection 
to animals and birds other than " game " ones which run 
the chance of being neglected under present conditions. 

The extension of this close or breeding season to a longer 
period for specified reasons could have then been safely 
left in the hands of the Local Authority. From the zoo- 
logical and scientific point of view the Act of 1912 fails in 
not having officially and authoritatively recognized the 
breeding season in the interests of the fauna as a whole as a 
- close time, power being given to the Local Government to 
proscribe within a certain defined area and for a certain 
definite period any species which was becoming noxious to 
the community. 

Further, it would have been better had the Act (sec. 3) 
distinctly prohibited the killing of immature animals and 
birds, empowering Local Governments to notify exceptions 
in the case of dangerous carnivora, etc., when and only 
when considered necessary. If the Act is really intended, 
as we have no doubt that it is, to ensure the preservation of 
the fauna as a whole throughout the country certain 
definite prohibitory clauses laid down in the Act with the 
Authority of the Governor-General in Council behind them 
would surely be more likely to achieve the object arrived at 
than by placing the onus of .enacting such clauses on the 
respective Local Administrations. 

In sub-sections 3 (&) and (c) which concern themselves 
with the sale of animals and birds or parts of them killed 
in the close season, we should have liked to see skins and 



274 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

horns especially enumerated. This would have checked 
their sale in the close seasons ; for the local officers would be 
acquainted with these seasons for the fauna of their own 
Province and Districts, and would be responsible for seeing 
the Act obeyed. 

It is true that Local Governments have now framed Rules 
under sections 2 and 3, but this does not necessarily en- 
sure such continuity of action as would have been secured 
had the Government of India taken the responsibiUty upon 
themselves. 

There remains the poacher who without possessing 
firearms certainly outrivals in his power for cold-blooded 
slaughter the whole of the armed community. Neither the 
Government of India nor the Local Governments have yet 
attempted to deal with him. Clauses 2 and 3 do not reaUy 
touch him. As the chapter on poaching shows to some 
slight extent his operations can only be described as deviUsh 
in their inhuman ingenuity. To the average officer, whether 
magistrate or forest, they are unknown. Even if a District 
official has some cursory knowledge that the native is a skilled 
poacher he in most instances has no specific acquaintance with 
the methods, the common methods, in force in his district 
and he wiU never have seen them put in force practically. The 
Government of India and the various Local Govemmehts 
are, we may feel sure, unaware of their existence, or surely 
some effort would have been made to put an end to practices 
which involve appalling torture to the wretched animals 
thus done to death. 

It may be suggested that what is required is the prepara- 
tion of a schedule for each Province, detaihng the various 
poaching contrivances in force in the Province, drawn up 
district by district. The schedule should be hung up in the 
offices of the Magistrates and Forest Officers and their sub- 
ordinates, and a thorough acquaintance with it be exacted 
from all officers. Further, an annual return should be called 
for detailing the number of offences under each of the 
various poaching methods in force prosecuted in each 
district and the sentences imposed in each case. 

The preparation of such schedules should present no 
difficulties. Some of the European officers of the Local 
Governments and many of the native officials would be 
able to give such information. By whatever means they 
are drawn up there can be little doubt of their urgent need. 



GAME PROTECTION IN INDIA 275 

In this connexion the 1912 Act would appear to require 
amendment, and severe penalties be enacted on the per- 
petrators of the cold-blooded and diabolical butchery of 
inoffensive animals which annually takes place throughout 
the country all the year round. For these men are no 
respecters of seasons nor of age or sex. Male and female, 
old and young, all are treated with the same terrible callous- 
ness. A man working a lame horse is taken up by the police 
in England and fined by a magistrate. And rightly so. 
And yet far greater barbarities are perpetrated daily in 
India without notice. 

It is very necessary to stop the slaughter at present 
carried out by the native shikari, soldier and poacher 
during the close seasons, the proceeds of which slaughter in 
flesh, skins and horns finds a ready sale in the bazaars. 
Stop this traffic and you bring to an end one of the great 
incentives to kill. 

Sub-sections 4 (i) and (2) deal with penalties. In a 
country like India it has always seemed to me that there 
should be two scales of fines. Fifty or a hundred rupees 
should be a sufficient deterrent to the poaching native 
shikari. But would it stop the more wealthy European 
shikari who, for instance, wanted to be able to say that he 
had shot a bison and sooner than go back empty-handed 
would risk the penalty and shoot a female ? I . had an 
instance of this kind of thing in Chota Nagpur myself. 
A wealthy so-called sportsman came up with a permit to 
shoot and seated in a machan had the animals in the forest 
driven past him and shot a cow bison and a three-week-old 
calf ! The penalty did not stop him and he hoped by 
bluffing to be allowed to keep his spoils even if he had to pay 
the, to him, small fine. 

Section 5 empowers the magistrate to confiscate aU illicit 
spoils captured and should be fearlessly and unwaveringly 
put in force. 

Section 7 empowers a Local Government to permit in the 
interests of scientific research a departure from the rules 
in force both in and out of the close season for any specified 
animal or bird or classes of such. A short decade ago this 
would have been hailed, and rightly hailed, as an example 
of broad-minded statesmanship. Now, however, the per- 
mission will require to be jealously watched ; for the last 
few years have witnessed startfing developments as a result 



276 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

of the grant of such permissions. In fact so delicate has this 
question become that we would rather that the Supreme 
Government had kept this power in their own hands . Latter- 
day so-called scientific expeditions for the purpose of adding 
specimens to great Museums, to provide cinematograph films 
for alleged educational purposes, and so forth, have en- 
tirely altered the aspect of this question. For in some 
instances these so-called scientific missions have simply 
become glorified slaughter and butcher expeditions financed 
by a wealthy man in the name of science. The old-time 
butcher has not disappeared. He stiU exists, and with 
naodern rifles his power for slaughter as we have seen is 
infinitely more terrible. But he is held in check by modem 
restrictions. He is unable to kiU indiscriminately as he 
wants to. If he is wealthy he endeavours to get over the 
difficulty by fitting out a scientific {sic) expedition and sO 
evades the law. Events move so fast nowadays that what 
would have been a perfectly safe clause a score of years ago, 
in fact a clause marking a distinct progress by the Supreme 
Government in its recognition of the claims of science, has 
now become a danger to the very aims and objects of the 
Act. Such a permit should never be allowed to take 
effect in any Game Sanctuary and the permission to 
kill in the name of Science should be retained by the 
Supreme Government. Glorified slaughter is not scientific 
research nor is it so considered by the great Museums in 
whose name it is sometimes carried out. If such expeditions 
are necessary it should always be possible to lay down 
definitely the number of head of each species which may be 
shot or trapped, specifying age, sex, etc. Every museimi 
will agree to such a restriction, and the wealthy butcher, 
whose chief aim is to have a free hand in the forests, to 
remain unljampered by restrictions and to kiU everjH;hing 
that gets up, would be kept in check. 

Further, in the case of cinema films, the cold-blooded 
cruelty to trapped animals one sees depicted in these films — 
baiting the poor beasts to make them show their " points," 
trussing them up in most diabolical ways, etc., — should be 
absolutely prohibited and iriet by severe punishment. 

Section 8 deals with the old question of granting licences 
to protect crops. The making of rules in this respect must, 
of course, be left to Local Governments. This is obvious. 
The question is now, I understand, being trea,ted with a, 



GAME PROTECTION IN INDIA 277 

more enlightened knowledge than has been displayed in 
the past. In the interests of the hard-working ryot, a 
man of few joys, aU that can possibly be done for his 
protection should be carried out. But the village shikari 
who Mves by his gun should be discouraged. And the 
poacher should be put down with a firm hand. 

The 1912 Act makes no mention of the granting of rewards 
for the slaughter of noxious animals or birds. This is a 
departure in the right direction. The matter can be safely 
left in the hands of the Local Governments and such grants 
should be made with discrimination and discretion. In my 
paper already alluded to I made the following remarks on 
this subject : — 

" I am of opinion that Game rewards in general should be 
abolished and that no provision on the subject should be 
included in the Game Act. 

" It wovild be quite within the power of the Local Govern- 
ment to issue rewards for the destruction of a particular 
species which is on the increase and becoming a danger 
either to public Ufe or property or to the sporting interests 
of a particular area of country., 

"Also, save in exceptional cases, e.g., rogue elephants and 
man-eaters, I would abolish the giving of a reward for every 
tiger, leopard, wild dog or wolf slain. 

" Where any of these animals were becoming a pest or 
scourge to the community or endangering the head of game 
of other species in any locality, the Local Government 
should notify or empower its officers to notify a reward or 
scale of rewards to remain in force until the danger is past 
and the balance of power between man and animal or animal 
and animal is once more normal. The rewards on the 
proscribed animals should then be taken off. 

" Every shooting season nowadays sees an army of eager 
sportsmen competing for blocks and shooting-permits, and 
surely the giving of the old-time reward for a tiger is quite 
unnecessary. I would leave the grant of rewards or offer of 
rewards to the discretion of the District Officer or Forest 
Officer. They would when necessary proclaim such and such 
an animal to be a man-eater or cattle-lifter of notoriety and 
would fix a reward upon the animal, procuring, if considered 
necessary, the sanction of the Commissioner or Conservator 
to their doing so. Why Government should nowadays pay a 
reward of from Rupees 20 to R. 50 for a tiger which may 



278 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

be a pure game-eater and rarely if ever touches a cow (and 
there are numbers of such) is beyond comprehension. 
Sportsmen will not slack off if the rewards are withdrawn. 
Many a District official would be only too delighted if they 
would ! Once a man-eater or a noted cattle-lifter is pro- 
claimed, then make it worth the sportsmen's while to coUect 
to tackle him by giving straight off a large reward com- 
mencing at R. 200 and going rapidly up to R. 500. It would 
be a far more satisfactory way of working the reward system 
both from the point of view of the cultivator, the man who 
lives on the soil, and that of the sportsman ; and, I think, 
would probably be less costly to Government. 

" Or rewards might be offered only for tigers in a district 
or parts of a district where a noted man-eater or cattle-lifter 
has made his home." For every tiger kiUed in this area a 
suitable reward might be given, say, R. 50, with the larger 
reward to be paid to the sportsman who bagged the par- 
ticular man-eater or cattle-lifter proscribed. This would 
probably be the best method, since it would tempt sports- 
men to have a try for the man-eater, knowing that they 
would receive a certain reward for each tiger killed, even if 
they should not be lucky enough to kiU the proscribed 
beast." 

Lastly, the New Act omits all special mention of separate 
rules with respect to the pursuit, killing or capture of game 
by non-commissioned officers or soldiers of the Army. Only 
the Supreme Government possesses the necessary authority 
and power to grapple with such a question. No Local 
Administration has power to override military regulations 
or permits granted to the MiUtary by the Supreme Govern- 
ment, nor can such non-commissioned officers and men be 
brought within the jurisdiction of the civil courts as long as 
they are inihe enjoyment of special privileges, such, e.g., as 
those enjoyed by the Gurkha Regiments. True the Act 
section 4 (i) apphes the penalties to everyone, but in the 
absence of any direct clause this cannot obviously be made 
to apply to miUtary individuals safeguarded by special 
privileges. How are such privileges to be reconciled with 
the 1912 Act ? On this subject I made the following remarks 
in my paper and they appear to be still applicable : — 

" Allowing that it is necessary to make separate rules 
for the Army (' this was the case in the draft Act ; the Act 
as passed omitted all mention of such rules ') I think that 



GAME PROTECTION IN INDIA 279 

the Act should specifically lay down that permits may not 
be given for parties of more than, say, four to six men from a 
cantonment to go out together to shoot in any area. At 
present it is well known that at times parties of from fifteen 
to twenty or more men go out into a block of forest and 
drive the game systematically into a cul-de-sac and then 
slaughter the animals in numbers. The Gurkha is par- 
ticularly addicted to this form of ' sport ' during the raiiny 
season, when in the parts of the country where they are 
cantoned it is generally impossible for the European to go 
near the Terai forest owing to its great unhealthiness. 
Parties of mihtary men should be small and the number of 
head they may shoot should be distinctly laid down on the 
permit, and penalties be enforced if this number is exceeded. 

" I think the Game Act might embody some such definite 
ruling for the whole country." 

In past years but scant attention has been paid to the 
severe attacks of a disease having kindred affinities to 
anthrax which appears at intervals and takes a heavy toll of 
the head of game (such as bison (gaur), buffalo, sambhar, 
etc.) on the area it affects. 

Further, in years of severe drought the mortality amongst 
the wild animals of the country affected is often very heavy, 
and in the past this factor has received no consideration 
from the authorities in the interests of the wild game. 

It may be suggested that in the wake of such calamities a 
very careful and detailed inspection of the area or areas 
affected should be undertaken, with the object of ascertain- 
ing which species have suffered and to what extent. Until 
such survey has been carried out, no shooting-permits should 
be issued for the area or areas. After the survey the species 
which have suffered severely should be notified, as also the 
area affected, and this area should be entirely closed to the 
shooting of those particular species for such period as will 
ensure their multiplication to the number of head it is 
required to maintain on the area. In closing such area the 
notification should distinctly state the reason for the closure. 
No true sportsman would be found to cavil at such a 
procedure. 



And now to turn for a moment, in conclusion, to the 
question of the sportsman — ^the outside sportsman, not the 



28o DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

District official — and the rules under which he can enjoy 
sport in a District. 

The rules under which the District official enjoys sport in 
his District are, it would appear, quite fair in most if not all 
Provinces. 

I think, however, that the outside sportsman has often 
a justifiable complaint, though more often than not he goes 
the wrong way to work in making it, and so puts himself 
out of court. 

The whole matter really turns, and must always turn, on 
the number of individuals of a particular species it is per- 
missible to shoot in a given area. This number can only be 
fixed by the District Officers on the spot. There can be no 
cavil against this, as they are, or ought to be, the best judges 
on the question. 

In fact, as matters in game protection at present stand, 
and in the absence of a separate Game Protection establish- 
ment, there can be no appeal from their decision. 

Probably the best and most elastic method for the 
outside sportsman is to give him a block or blocks, depending 
on what is available on receipt of his application, and to 
enter on his permit the number of individuals of any one 
species he may shoot and the number of different species. 
This number would, of course, vary according to the length 
of time for which the permit was issued, but would never 
exceed a fixed maximum for each species. So far so good. 

But it win doubtless soon be found necessary to definitely 
limit the number of head of a species to be shot in any one 
area in a year, as is done, in fact, in the Central Provinces. 
It is in this limitation that complaints arise and causes for 
friction come in. 

For instance, supposing twelve sambhar may be shot in 
any. particular block. A military man, whose leave season 
wiU not open before the 15th April, applies for and is allotted 
a block. He arrives to find the maximum annual number 
of the animal it is permitted to kiU already reached and is 
debarred from shooting that particular species. It is quite 
conceivable that he might find more than one species in the 
same condition. In fact, the total number of head of a 
particular species might be easily shot off by the civilian 
element in the first couple of months of the open season, the 
animal becoming then de facto closed to shooting for the rest 
of the open season. 



GAME PROTECTION IN INDIA 281 

This is where the shoe pinches the heel of the military 
man very hard, as also, of course, that of his civil brother 
when shooting on areas outside of his own jurisdiction. To 
remedy a state of affairs which is undoubtedly a real grievance, 
it may be suggested that the number of individuals to be 
shot in a particular block or area in any one year should be 
allotted in a fixed proportion throughout each month of the 
open or shooting season for that animal, say, two or three or 
four per month, according to the total number notified as 
shootable during the season, any balance remaining from 
any one or more months being, of course, carried forward 
and distributed throughout the remaining months of that 
shooting season. 

This would give the hot-weather sportsmen, both military 
and civil, who in pursuit of their favourite pastime are ready 
to put up with many and decided discomforts, an equal 
chance with their civil brother who is not so tied during the 
cold weather. The suggestion is made simply with the idea 
of giving a fair chance to all. 

But I would suggest a further step. I would allot a 
certain proportion of the head of a particular species to be 
shot in an area to the local District officials, the balance 
going to the outside sportsman. The District officials could 
be left to make their own arrangements as to when their 
proportion of head was to be shot, but I think that in the 
case of the outside sportsman the number to be shot should 
be allotted throughout the shooting months, so as to give an 
equal chance to aU the block-holders. 

No reflection is intended on the District ofi&cials by any of 
these suggestions. They are made only in the interests of 
that particular quality aU EngUshmen pride themselves in 
possessing — Fair Play. - '; 



CHAPTER XXII 

THE ECONOMIC VALUE OF THE FAUNA 

The Government of India have proprietary rights to fauna — Economic 
value of fauna — Preservation of this value — The professional bird- 
snarer and poacher — ^Animals of commercial value in danger of exter- 
mination — Supervision required — Economic products of fauna to be 
treated on similar lines to minor products of forests — Forest Officer 
as gamekeeper — ^Licences required for all killers of animals — ^Royalty 
to be paid on products secured — ^Advisory Ofificers — Bird-farming — 
Inland fishery industry. 

IT has been previously mentioned that the Govern- 
ment of India, as the successors to the former rulers 
of the country, became the owners of the fauna of 
the forests and waste lands. This fauna has a very 
considerable economic value, the reaUzation of which has 
so far not been apparent. Practically the only pecuniary 
return as yet achieved has been from the sale of shooting 
licences to sportsmen. And yet the value of the flesh, horns 
and skins of the mammals annually killed throughout the 
country must be very considerable. That there is a ready 
market has been mentioned and is well known to many. The 
economic value of these products in all probability runs into 
many lacs of rupees armually. No steps appear to have 
been yet taken to tap this source of revenue. And it cannot 
be tapped until the matter is approached from the proper 
view-point. The mere passing of an Act, and the notifica- 
tion of Regulations under the Act by Local Governments, 
wiU not be sufficient to deal adequately with the question. 
The effective preservation of the mammals, birds and 
fish of a country as large as India is a matter requiring 
constant and unremitting attention if they are to be safe- 
guarded. That this matter has not been envisaged from the 
correct point of view to date is perhaps not surprising. To 
the old-time sportsman it did not occur. Why should it ? 

282 



THE ECONOMIC VALUE OF THE FAUNA 283 

The game animals and animals of economic value were in 
such abundance in the country that the chances of a species 
becoming exterminated must have appeared remote. The 
position, as has been shown, is now very different. But I 
think it can only be truly appreciated by the class of 
sportsman whose love of the jungles and of natural history 
has led him to spend much of his time in a study of the 
animal life and to draw deductions as the result of a number 
of years passed in this way. There are men in India at the 
present day who have made this study, and I have little 
doubt that they would support the view that solely from 
the economic standpoint the Government have a real 
interest in the preservation of the fauna. 

The sportsman pays for his licence to kill game and the 
laws of the Province are made to see that he only kills that 
for which he has paid and does no harm to the area whilst 
engaged on his quest. But what do the professional shikari, 
the professional bird-snarer, and the poacher pay ? These 
classes exist by the thousand throughout the country and 
their depredations go unchecked. Have the ways of these 
men been considered by the Government or are they unknown 
to them ? The Act does not show. One can only conclude 
that they are unknown and, therefore, the economic value 
of the animals annually killed by them is not realized. It 
is not merely the actual annual pecuniary value of the 
animals secured by these men which is in question. As 
they are no respecters of season, age or sex, their actions 
are resulting in depreciating to an enormous extent the 
potential economic value of the fauna, since the destruction 
of females of aU ages brings about a constant decrease in 
the numbers annually reared of each species, i.e., in a 
depreciation in the economic value of the stock year by 
year owing to the decrease in the number of the head left 
to breed. 

It is known for a fact that mammals yielding skins of a 
high commercial value and birds producing plumes are in 
danger of extinction throughout the world, owing to the 
cupidity of the commercial firms deahng in such produce. 
The valuable egret plumes of India are a case in point, the 
musk deer of the Himalaya, and so forth. The trader is no 
respecter of sex or season if he has a valuable market. 

Where possible, there is no reason why the trade of a 
country in this respect should not be maintained. But a 



284 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

trade whose existence depends on the slaughter of animals 
should be a regulated one. It requires to be under super- 
vision in order that a proper meed of protection may be 
accorded to the animal. Such supervision in India can only 
be effectually given by the Supreme Government. 

It is difficult to understand why the economic value of 
the fauna of the country as a whole has not been reaUzed. 
Most people are aware that the flora contains many species 
of high economic value, whether as timber, food and medi- 
cinal products, or other commercial articles, such as dyes, 
tannins, grasses, and so forth. Many of these come from 
the forests. The Forest Officer, for instance, is well aware 
that timber by no means constitutes the only commercial 
article which the forest produces. In fact he may be in 
charge of areas which produce no timber of commercial size 
at aU. His trees may only grow to a size which 3delds fuel, 
such as in some of the Punjab plains forests. But in most 
cases the fuel is by no means the only saleable article the 
forests contain. There will be usuaUy what the forester 
collectively designates " Minor products." The Indian 
forests contain a very large number of these minor products, 
varpng with the variations in the flora and climate. Lac, 
for instance, is the product of an insect which is now 
carefully cultivated in blocks of forest in the Central 
Provinces and elsewhere and jdelds a handsome revenue 
in the parts of the country where it thrives. Bamboos 
are a minor product which the future may see largely 
used for the production of paper pulp; for it has been 
commercially proved that they can be used in the produc- 
tion of classes of this commodity, the demand for which 
is ever increasing. Other products are grasses, also used in 
the manufacture of paper and for thatching purposes ; canes, 
dyes, tannins, resin, gums, wax, and so forth, are all minor 
products, the collection of which in the forest is weU under- 
stood and the sale of which forms a very handsome pro- 
portion of the annual sum reahzed from the Indian forests. 
These are derivable, all but lac and wax, from the flora of 
the country. Why has not equal attention been paid to the 
products which are obtainable from the fauna ? Horns, 
hides, furs, plumes and feathers, and flesh and the fislPof the 
rivers and streams. There is a good source of revenue here. 

The horns shed annually by the deer {Cervidce) in the 
forests throughout the country must represent many 



THE ECONOMIC VALUE OF THE FAUNA 285 

thousand tons in weight. It is, however, unusual to find 
more than a stray horn here and there in jungles where deer 
are numerous. They are systematically searched for and col- 
lected by the neighbouring villagers and sold in the bazaars. 
Government realizes but Httle revenue under this head. 
And yet it is a minor product of the forest and wa|te lands. 

The Forest Officer has had the duties of gamekeeper 
added to his other arduous ones in the forest. He issues the 
permits for shooting ; allocates the blocks between the 
various permit-holders, possibly finding when this distribu- 
tion has been made that there will be but a small area 
left in which he may fire a rifle himself. The revenue from 
the permits goes to Government. But it is a small return 
for the value of the large number of mammals, birds and 
fish killed and sold annually on their property. It has been 
recognized that the products of the flora belong to the 
Government and they are collected and sold in the interests 
of the revenue. The same policy should be extended to cover 
the products of the fauna. 

It may be suggested that this could be done by setting up 
a staff who should have the charge of advising on the best 
means of collecting the revenue derivable from the fauna as 
a whole. That, in fact, the fauna should be treated as one 
of the economic products of the country and that mammals, 
birds and fishes should only be killed on Ucence. The case 
of the sportsman has already been dealt with.. His object is 
to secure pleasure combined with such trophies of the chase 
as good fortune and his own skill will win by well-understood 
sporting methods. But the far larger body of individuals 
interested in the destruction of the fauna of the country are 
professionals. They kill to sell and their operations should 
be controlled by the issue of a licence permitting them to 
kill a certain number of head of the animal named in the 
permit and by the pa5niient of a royalty on the animals so 
killed, before they are taken out of the area in which they 
are secured. 

In fact they should be treated on similar lines to those 
employed in the collection of minor produce from the 
forests. In the case of the forests the hcences would be 
issued and the royalties collected by the Forest Staff 
in a manner similar to other forest produce. It would 
be essential, for the orderly management of these forests 
under the existing working plans in force, plans which 



286 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

have received the sanction of the Local Governments, 
that aU Hcences covering operations within the Government 
forest area should be issued, the licences controlled, and 
the revenue collected by the Forest Officer. In the case of 
the areas lying outside the forests in each District the 
hcences would be issued and controlled by the Collector 
The introduction of the universal licence would, moreover, 
place the Collector in an easier position with reference to 
the vexed question of the gun licences for the protection of 
crops. If animals were shot in the crops the village shikari 
or villager would have to pay the royalty on the horns, 
skins and flesh of the animals shot, and the sex and age of 
these animals would be recorded. An effective check would 
therefore be set up, for strict investigation could be carried 
out in cases where the records showed an undue munber of 
animals shot on this pretext in any locahty or the neigh- 
bourhood of any village — a check which heretofore has been 
non-existent. An efficient scheme might well be worked 
out by the Advisory Officer in the District for the protection 
of crops which would ehminate once and for all the poach- 
ing shikari and villager. 

If some simple procedure as the one here sketched were 
brought into force it would be unnecessary to set up a 
separate department to deal with the protection of the fauna 
and to obtain from it the revenue which it should certainly 
jdeld. The strengthening of the staffs in some cases might 
be necessary and officers who are known to have made a 
close practical study of the fauna of their Province (they 
would be sportsmen and naturahsts and in their own 
Province would be well known) could be chosen and 
attached to the various Districts and forest divisions for the 
purpose of advising and bringing into force the new regime. 
Where a immber of adjoining Districts or forest divisions in 
a Province have a similar fauna and methods of shooting 
and poaching, one officer would suffice to deal with the 
whole area, the revenue derivable being paid into the 
district or forest division concerned. 

In every case it should be within the power of the Collector 
or Forest Officer to refuse, or to recommend to a higher 
authority the refusal, of aU licences to kill any mammal, 
bird or fish whose numbers from whatever cause had so 
seriously diminished as to lead to the fear that the species 
might deteriorate or become extinct within the area 



THE ECONOMIC VALUE OF THE FAUNA 287 

Other work of importance which the Advisory Officers 
might undertake would be the introduction of species into 
the district which investigation showed might prove profit- 
able. I am fully in sympathy with Mr. Douglas Dewar's 
opinion on the feasibility and economic value of such a 
departure. Also his suggestion that egret rookeries should 
be leased under proper supervision ; that pea-fowl and 
monal pheasant areas might be leased in a similar fashion 
and worked on commercial Unes. The introduction of bird- 
farming on a large scale, in fact, should be quite feasible in 
the case of those birds which have a commercially valuable 
plumage, or table value as, e.g., the quail. 

As a further direct deterrent to the present activities of 
the Indian poacher and in the interests of the future, an ex- 
port duty should be maintained on horns and skins of wild 
animals, and a smaller duty on all skins and heads of animals 
cured in India and subsequently taken out of the country. 

Fish in the inland waters should be treated on similar 
lines to mammals and birds. Poaching should be firmly 
put down. The use of the dynamite charge has resulted in 
far larger numbers of fish being killed than was possible in 
former times, with much less trouble to the poacher. AU 
professional fishermen should be made to take out licences 
permitting them to ply their vocation and should pay a 
royalty on the catch. 

It is believed that the proper realization of the economic 
value of the fauna of India and its exploitation under proper 
regulations would result in a considerable revenue being 
derived. 



CHAPTEJl XXIII 

THE PRESERVATION OF THE INDIAN LAND FAUNA AS A WHOLE. 
THE PERMANENT SANCTUARY 

The Sanctuary for the preservation of the fauna generally — ^The permanent 
Sanctuary — Permanent Sanctuaries wiU dififer in constitution — 
Dr. Chalmers Mitchell on the question of the Permanent Sanctuary 
— ^The question of the permanent protection of the fauna by Sanctu- 
aries throughout the world — The formation of such in primeval forest 
lands — Shier members of fauna will only live in such — Numerous 
species as yet unclassified — ^The National Parks of the New World 
and Australasia— The necessity for the formation of permanent 
Sanctuaries in areas of primeval forest in India. 

IN a preceding chapter we have discussed the Game 
Sanctuary from the point of view of the preservation 
of animals of sporting interest, i.e., of those usually 
termed Game Animals. I now propose to deal briefly 
with the Sanctuary regarded from th6 aspect of the preserva- 
tion of the fauna of a particular area or country as a whole. 
A Sanctuary formed for such a purpose requires to have a 
permanent character. In other words, the area should be 
permanently closed to shooting and to aU and every inter- 
ruption to the ordinary habits of life of the species to be 
preserved. 

It will be obvious at once that Sanctuaries of this nature and 
their management will differ widely in different parts of the 
world. In some cases the only prescriptions would probably 
relate to shooting, poaching, egg collection, and so forth. 
It would be unnecessary to close the areas entirely to man. 
In others, however, it is certain that some of the larger and 
shier animals and birds, and, I believe, certain classes of 
insects and so forth, can only be preserved from inevitable 
extinction if Permanent Sanctuaries of considerable extent 
are maintained, solely with the object of safeguarding the 
species for which they are created. In Sanctuaries of this 
class it wiU not be merely sufficient to forbid shooting. It 

988 



PRESERVATION OF INDIAN LAND FAUNA 289- 

will be necessary to close them to man altogether, to leave 
them, in other words, in their primeval condition, to forbid 
the building of roads or railways through their fastnesses, 
to prevent the Forest Department from converting the areas 
into well-ordered blocks of forest managed for commercial 
purposes ; in fact to prevent in them all and every act of 
man. In every case throughout the world such Sanctuaries 
will require to be under supervision, but such supervision 
should be entirely confined to a police supervision to prevent 
poaching, collecting, and any entrance by man into the area. 

In a previous chapter I alluded to the Presidential 
Address delivered by Dr. P. Chalmers Mitchell, F.R.S., 
Secretary of the Zoological Society, in London, before the 
British Association at Dundee in 1912. 

Dr. Chalmers Mitchell was the first, I believe, to enun- 
ciate this theory of, a Sanctuary for the preservation, not 
merely of animals whose protection from extinction was 
considered necessary either from their sporting or economic 
value, but of the fauna as a whole. 

He quite correctly pointed out that my paper, read before 
the Zoological Society in November, 1911, onLy dealt with 
the former aspects of the question. 

After discussing the position of Europe in respect of the 
diminution or extinction of animals which were abundant 
in the past the author comes to India. 

" India contains," he says, " the richest, the most varied, 
and, from many points of view, the most interesting part of 
the Asiatic fauna. Notwithstanding the teeming human 
population it has supported from time immemorial, the 
extent of its area, its dense forests and jungles, its magnifi- 
cent series of river valleys, mountains, and hiUs have 
preserved until recent times a fauna rich in individuals and 
species." 

After pointing out that the books of sportsmen show 
how abundant game animals were forty years ago, he 
continues : 

" The one-horned rhinoceros has been nearly exterminated 
in Northern India and Assam. The magnificent gaur, one 
of the most splendid of living creatures, has been almost 
killed off throughout the limits of its range — Southern India 
and the Malay Peninsula. Bears and wolves, wild dogs and 
leopards are persecuted remorselessly. Deer and antelope 
have been reduced to numbers that alarm even the most 



290 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

thoughtless sportsmen, and wild sheep and goats are being 
driven to the utmost Umits of their range." 

After alluding to the diminution of animals in other 
countries, and especially game animals and those killed for 
economic reasons, the author continues : 

" And to us who are Zoologists, the vast destruction of 
invertebrate Ufe, the sweeping out, as forests are cleared and 
the soil tilled, of innumerable species that are not even 
named or described is a real calamity. I do not wish to 
appeal to sentiment. Man is worth many sparrows ; he is 
worth all the animal population of the globe, and if there 
were not room for both, the animals must go. I wiU pass no 
judgment on those who find the keenest pleasure of life in 
gratifsdng the primeval instinct of sport. I will admit that 
there is no better destiny for the lovely plumes of a rare bird 
than to enhance the beauty of a beautiful woman. . . . But 
I do not admit the right of the present generation to care- 
less indifference or to wanton destruction. Each generation 
is the guardian of the existing resources of the world ; it has 
come into a great inheritance, but only as a trustee. We are 
learning to preserve the rehcs of early civilizations, and the 
rude remains of man's primitive arts and crafts. Every 
civilized nation spends great sums on painting and sculpture, 
on libraries and museums. Living animals are of older 
lineage, more perfect craftsmanship, and greater beauty than 
any of the creations of man. And although we value the 
work of our forefathers, we do not doubt but that the 
generations yet unborn will produce their own artists and 
writers, who may equal or surpass the artists and writers 
of the past. But there is no resurrection or recovery of an 
extinct species, and it is not merely that here and there one 
species out of many is threatened, but that whole genera, 
families, and orders are in danger." 

The late Lord SaUsbury was one of the first British 
statesmen to take up the question of the preservation of 
wild animals. Lord SaUsbury had been a former President 
of the British Association. In 1889 he arranged for a 
convention of the Great Powers interested in Africa to con- 
sider the question of the protection to be afforded to what 
some unscientific members of the Civil Service designated 
as the " Wild Animals, Birds and Fish " (a nomenclature 
which has been continued in subsequent Game Acts) of 
Africa. This convention did some good pioneer work, but 



PRESERVATION OF INDIAN LAND FAUNA 291 

its deliberations were confined to the preservation of 
animals of sporting and economic value only. And this 
rather narrow outlook has governed the operations of the 
Great Powers and local administrators in the wilder and 
tropical portions of the globe to the present day. The 
preservation of game has always been the main factor 
underlying the action taken. The economic value of the 
fauna has only received a cursory attention ; and the 
question of the preservation of the fauna as a whole has 
scarcely received any countenance. It may be admitted, 
however, that the pioneer work done has been of the 
highest value. 

In alluding to the work in this connection which has been 
done by the Government in India Dr. Chalmers Mitchell 
added : " The fact remains that India, a country which 
still contains a considerable remnant of one of the richest 
faimas of the world, and which also is probably more 
efficiently under the control of a highly educated body of 
permanent officials, central and local, than any other 
country in the world, has no provision for the protection of 
its fauna simply as animals." 

In 1909 Lord Crewe, then Secretary of State for the 
Colonies, received a deputation arranged by the Society 
for the Preservation of the Wild Fauna of the Empire. One 
of the questions discussed was that of changes in the 
locaUty of reserves. Such changes were, I think, made 
or became necessary owing to the opening-up of the country 
by railways, extension of agriculture, and so forth. 

It was pointed put, by Dr. Mitchell I think, that a change 
of one piece of land for another, even if both were of equal 
area, might be satisfactory in aferding the protection 
desired for certain animals, either of sporting or economic 
value, but from a zoological point of view, in the interests 
of the preservation of the fauna as a whole of the locality, 
might prove the reverse of satisfactory. This is a view I 
have long held. Primeval forests and lands which have 
never been interfered with by man may contain, undoubtedly 
do contain, many small forms of animal Hfe which can only 
live under such conditions. Alter these conditions and they 
will be exterminated once and for aU. This is necessarily a 
point upon which the trained zoologist alone can speak with 
any certainty ; but if that zoologist has had the good 
fortune to spend a number of years studying the tropical 



293 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

and semi-tropical forests and lands on the ground his 
opinion is at least worthy of careful consideration. 

There stiU remains, then, the problem of carrsdng the 
preservation of animals the one stage further to include the 
whole fauna — in a word, the formation of Fauna Sanctuaries. 
Their creation so as to include some of the most interesting 
of the fauna is still possible in India, e.g., in that fascinating 
tract stretching from Assam down into Burma. 

I am so entirely in sympathy with Dr. Mitchell's opinions 
on this question that I wiU quote his concluding remarks 
before the Association. 

" There are in aU the great continents large tracts almost 
empty of resident population, which still contain vegetation 
almost undisturbed by the ravages of man and which stiU 
harbour a multitude of small animals, and could afford 
space for the larger and better-known animals. These 
tracts have not yet been brought under cultivation, and 
are rarely traversed except by the sportsman, the explorer, 
and the prospector. On these there should be estabhshed, 
in all the characteristic faunistic areas, reservations which 
should not be merely temporary recuperating grounds for 
harassed game, but absolute Sanctuaries. Under no con- 
dition should they be opened to the sportsman. No gun 
should be fired, no animal slaughtered or captured save by 
the direct authority of the wardens of the Sanctuaries, for 
the removal of noxious individuals, the controlling of 
species that were increasing beyond reason, the extirpation 
of diseased or unhealthy animals. The obvious examples 
are not the game reserves of the Old World, but the National 
Parks of the New World and of Australasia. In the United 
States, for instance, there are now the Yellowstone National 
Park with over two million acres, the Yosemite in California 
with nearly a miUion acres, the Grand Caiion Game Preserve, 
with two million acres-, the Mount Oljmipus National 
Monument in Washington with over half a million acres, as 
well as a number of smaller reserves for special purposes, and 
a chain of coastal areas all round the shores for the preserva- 
tion of birds. In Canada, in Alberta, there are the Rocky 
Mountains Park, the Yoho Park, Glacier Park, and Jasper 
Park, together extending to over nine nuUion acre^ whilst 
in British Columbia there are smaller Sanctuaries. These, 
so far as laws can make them, are inalienable and inviolable 
Sanctuaries for wild animals. We ought to have similar 



PRESERVATION OF INDIAN LAND FAUNA 293 

Sanctuaries in every country of- the world, national parks 
secured for all time against all the changes and chances of the 
nations by international agreement. In the older and more 
settled countries the areas selected unfortunately must be 
determined by various considerations, of which faunistic 
value cannot be the most important. But certainly in Africa 
and in large parts of Asia, it would still be possible that they 
should be selected in the first place for their faunistic value. 
The scheme for them should be drawn up by an inter- 
national commission of experts in the geographical distribu- 
tion of animals, and the winter and summer haunts of 
migratory birds should be taken into consideration. It is 
for zoologists to lead the way, by lapng down what is 
required to preserve for all time the most representative 
and most complete series of surviving species without any 
reference to the extrinsic value of the animals. And it then 
wiU be the duty of the nations,. jointly and severally, to 
arrange that the requirements laid down by the experts 
shall be complied with." 

To the thoughtful man this lucid exposition of the case 
places the whole problem in a nutshell. 

I think the concluding extract from Dr. Chalmers 
Mitchell's paper is one of the highest importance both in its 
wider sense and in the more confined one as regards India. 

Sanctuaries such as above sketched are the only pos- 
sible method of saving from extinction the rhinoceros, 
bison or gaur, and buffalo, to take three of the best-known 
of the big game animals requiring protection in India. But 
these Sanctuaries require to be left in their state of primeval 
forest. They cannot be , treated as commercial forests 
managed from a revenue-making point of view by the 
Forest Department. The most scientific arrangements for 
opening and closing the blocks of forest as they come up in 
rotation for felling and other operations wiU not avail to 
make such areas true Sanctuaries. I have an idea that some 
of the areas in America and Canada alluded to above by 
Dr. Chalmers Mitchell are Sanctuaries which it is proposed 
to treat as revenue-giving forests. If this is the case they 
wiU not remain Sanctuaries for a certain proportion of 
the fauna they at present contain. 

There can be little doubt that as it is with some of the 
shier mammals so must it be with a proportion of other 
forms of animal hf e living in the forests. 



294 DIARY OF A SPORTSMAN NATURALIST 

They can be preserved from extinction in an area of 
primeval forest left untouched by man and maintained in 
its original condition. Amongst insects it is, I think, 
probable that some of the forest members of the longicom, 
buprestid, brenthid and bark-boring beetles {Scolytidce), 
to mention but four families, many species of which are 
still probably unknown to science, will disappear with the 
cleaning up of the forests and their systematic management 
by the Forest Department. 

My point is that I am in complete agreement with Dr. 
Mitchell in his contention that the Sanctuary, the large, 
permanent Sanctuary, should not be regarded merely as a 
harbour for animals of game or economic interest, but that 
it should be formed in the interests of the fauna as a whole. 
I would, however, add to this the rider that in the case of 
the large Sanctuaries required to preserve from extinction 
animals either of a naturally roving disposition or of very 
shy habits the prohibition to entry should not be confined 
to the sportsman alone or to man generally outside the 
officials connected with the area. But further, that it should 
be recognized that in order to realize the objects aimed at it 
should be rigidly laid down that no working of any kind can 
take place within the Permanent Sanctuary. That in other 
words a Permanent Sanctuary does not fall within the 
boundaries of any area worked by Government officials, either 
for profit or other reasons, on behalf of the Government. 
Officials would be appointed to supervise the Sanctuary, but 
their duties would be confined to policing the area in order 
that the objects for which it was created might be realized 
to the full. 



INDEX 



Acacia Catechu, i $2 

Act of 1 91 2, Indian Wild Birds and 
Animals Protection, 269 

Act of 1912, Reflections on, 271 

Antelope, Fouf-horned, 16, 53 

Ant-lion, the, 1 59 

Ant, the red, 222, 223 

Ants, white, 37, 225 

Apis dorsaia, 88, 221 

Arakan District, 103 

Assam and Bengal Duars, descrip- 
tion of tract, 126 

Bamboo, the muli, 121 

— thorns, 145 
Barasingha, 87, 90 

Barking deer, 16, 53, 56, 102, 105, 
141 

and young, 92 

Bassia latifolia, 37 

Bear, 4, 16, 53 

Bear — ^an episode and near shave, 

47 
-^beating for, 32, 33, 38 

— beating — out of caves, 44 

— fatal shots for, 45 

— homes of, 33, 91 

— Indian black, 16, 33, 37, 141 

— the mute, 96 

— young, 94 

Bears and toddy, 142 
Bee, the big, 88, 221 
Bees, to protect from, 211 
Bengal Duars and Assam, descrip- 
tion of country, 126 
Berars, the, 68 
Bhabar grass, 6 
Bhutan Hills, 128 
Bird life in Bay of Bengal, 100 
Bishu, shikari, 5 
Bison, charged by a, 13, 60, 226 

— episode, a, 57 

— habits of, 54 

— herds of, 52 

— place to shoot, 148 

— the American, 4 

— the Indian, 4, 79, 130, 139, 141, 
142, 244 



Bison-tracking on foot, 5, 53, 211 

— " treed " by a, 63 
Black buck, 152, 162 

— snares for, 246 

— stalking, 163 

— wonderful jumping powers of,. 
163, 167 

Blue bull, 16, 152 

Boar, wild, 16, 53, 105, 106-110 

156, 183, 247 
Bombax malabaricum, 88 
Bos gaurus, 4 
Brahminy duck, 101 
Buffalo, 79, 98, 129 

— pursued by a tame, 98 
Bull, death of the, 14 
Burma disarmed, 128 

Camp, the shooting, 217 

Cants aureus, 16 

Casarca rutila, 10 1 

Cat, wild, 179, 203 

Catchment areas and their protec- 
tion, 140 

Cattle-lifter, the, 19 

Central Provinces, description of 
country, y^ 

opening out of, 79 

the hot weather in, 86 

Cervulus muntjac, 16 

Cerpus axis, 16 

— duvauceli, 179 

— Eldi, 128 

— porcinus, 1 79 

— unicolor, 16 
Chinkara, 141 

Chital, 16, 87, 154, 159, 184, 194, 

244 
Chittagong and climate, 97 

— shoots, 105 

Chittagong District, description ofj 

97 

game of, 98, 103, 104, 127 

mode of travelling, 100 

Chittagong Hill Tracts, 97 

forest of, 119, 121 

game of, 99, 103, iii, 116, 127 

Cholera and short rations, 55 



29s 



296 



INDEX 



Chota Nagpur, 3 

forest scenery of, 8 

game of, 4, 16 

the jungles of and sport in, 

3-67 
Civet-cat, 105, 179 
Commissioner's commissariat goes 

astray, 114 
Communications, construction of 

and effect on game, 78, 128 
Coppersmith, the, 156 
Cormorants, 100 
Cotton tree, 88 
Crows, 35, 38, 70, 201 
Cuon rutilans, 16 
Curlew, 100 

Dalbergia Sissoo, 152 
Date-palm groves, 141 
Deer, habits of, 213 
Dog, wild, 16, 24, 53, 179, 218 

and distribution of game, 218 

■ effect of on wild game, 24 

Duck, snaring of, 254 
Dun forests, the, 185 

Egret, protection of, 255 
Elephant, 4, 79,99,129, 130, 139,141 

— feeding of, 227 

— pitfalls, 242 
Elephants, a herd of, 144 

— shooting of, 141 
Encounters between big game 

animals, 214 
Eucalyptus plantations, 139 
Eugenia scrub, 27 

Fauna, an interesting, 116 

— economic value of, 282 

— permanent sanctuary for, 288 

— study of the game, 5 1 

Fauna of Bengal Duars and Assam, 

127 
South Lushai Hills and Hill 

Tracts, 116 
Faunistic survey, a, 1 1 7 
Felis pardus, 1 6 
Felis tigris, 16 
Fires, forest, 92 

— jhumers and forest, 112 
Fishing Club, the Dehra Dun, 

189 
Fishing trip, an unsuccessful, 117 
Flies, eye, 204 

— horse-, 1 30, 224 
Fly-catchers, 156 

" Flying-fox," netting of, 251 
Forests of Chittagong Hill Tracts, 
119, 121 



Forests, the voices of the Indian, 

213 
Forts, old — Central Provinces, 80, 

81 
Foxes, 179 
Furlough, back to the jungle from, 

178 

Game, abundance of in Chota 
Nagpur, 52 

— Act and Rules, inadequacy of 
in past, 241 

— distribution of, 53 

— distribution of at different sea- 
sons, 216 

— in the Central Provinces, 8 1 

— in the Central Provinces in 
olden days, 78 

— in the United Provinces, 195 

— preservation and shooting rules, 
87, 259, 271 

— protection and provision of 
sanctuaries, 239, 256 

— reasons for absence from forests, 
216 

— sanctuary, the, 264 

— scarcity of in the Dun, 190 
Gaur, the, 4, 11, 79, 98 
Gayal, 98 

Gazelle, Indian, 141 
Gennceus Horsfieldi, 102 

Haiderabad floods of 1908, 140 

" Hal-lal," 161 

Hare, trapping of, 247 

Havildah's story, the, 170 

Himalayan foothills, 151 

Hogdeer, 179, 183 

Hounds and old boar in a shola, 1 39 

Hyena, 16, 23, 53, 105, 179, 202 

Hyana striata, 16 

Ibex of Madras, 141 

Insect depredations and effect on 

game distribution, 219 
Insect life in the grass jungles, 1 80 

— life in the jungles, 219 

Jackal, 16, 23, 155, 179, 202, 250 

Jhuming, 103, 112 

Jungle-carp, 88 

Jungle-fowl, IDS, 115, 155, 179, 183 

Jungle lore, 200-226 

Jungles of Assam, 129 

— of Chota Nagpur, 3 

— of Eastern Bengal, 97 

— of Kanara, 141, 142 

— of Malabar, 141, 142 

— of Mysore, 141 



INDEX 



297 



Jungles of Nepal, 127, 171 

— of Northern India, 150 

— of Southern India, 138 

— of the Bengal Duars and Assam, 
126 

— of the Berars, 68 

— of the Central Provinces, "jy 

— of the Chittagong Hill Tracts, 
III 

— romance of, x, 80 

— the great grass, of N. India, 150 

— the great grass, in the rains, 1 79- 
181 

Kaleej pheasant, 102, 115 

Kanara jungles, 142 

Kornafuli river scenery, loi, iii 

Keddah Department, the, 99 

Khair, 152, 153, 156 

Khakar, 1 6, 56, 99 

" Kills," Tiger, 21, 70, 201 

and leopard, 20 1 , 206 

Koel bird, 27 

Kols and their villages, the, 4, 
5. 6 

Leech, the, 147 

Leopard, 4, 16, 23, 53, 99, 105, 130, 
141, 179, 193, 197, 201, 209, 249 

— adventure with, 197 

— habits of, 209 

— in the ruined fort, a, 83 

— method of capturing prey, 210 

— trapping of, 249 

— wounds made by, on man, 211 
Leopards, method of hunting, 23, 

32 
Lungoor monkey, 88 
Lushai Hills, South, 98, iii, 116, 

127 

Machan, sitting up in, 21, 38, 132, 

133. 185, 201, 203 
Mahommed Khan, robber chieftain, 

82 
Mahseer-fishing, 127, 151, 189 
Mainah and the evil spirit, the, 85 
Malabar jungles, 141, 142, 144 
Man-eaters, 208 
Man-eater, the search for the, 16, 

171 
Manis pentadactyla, 87 ' 
Melocanna bambusioides, 121 
Mhowa tree, the, 37, 217 
Mithan, 98, 118, 119 

— an encounter with, 123 

— tracking the, in Chittagong, 1 19, 
121 

" Mixed " shooting parties, 30 



Monas River, 127 
Monkeys and tigers, 203 

— swimming, 102 
Mosquitoes and malaria, 224 
Mug villages, 1 1 3 

Mysore jungles, 141 

Naga and Manipur jungles, 127 

Nepal, jungles of, 127 

Nilgai, 16, 37, 152 

Northern India, description of, 151 

Ootacamund Downs, 1 39 

— hunt, 139 
Oriole, golden, 1 56 

Pangolin, 87 
Panther, 16 
Partridge, 105, 179, 183, 253 

— snaring, 253 

Pea-fowl, 27, 156, 179, 195, 203 

— snaring of, 252 

" Picking up " animals in the 

jungle, 204 
Pi-dogs, 106, 108-110 
Pig, 16, 53, 156, 183, 247 
Pig-sticking centres, 10 1 
Pitfalls for game, 242 ■ 
Plover, 100, 105 
Poacher, the Indian, 241-255 
Porcupine, 153, 248 
Portax pictus, 16, 37 
Presbytis entellus, 88 

Quail, 179. 253 

— netting of, 253 

Kaja comes to my help and we bag 

the tiger, the, 188 
Rhinoceros, 98, 129, 259 
Rhinoceros sondaicus, 98, 259 
Rifles for bison, 57 
River scenery in Northern India, 

151 

Sabai grass, 5 
Salt-licks, 132 
Sambhar, 4, 16, 52, 79, 99, 102, 

105, 131, 135, 141, 143, 179, 183, 

244 

— abundance of, 52 

— calUng up stags in Chittagong 
Hills, 118 

— reason for variation in size of 
heads, 131 

— shooting, in the rains, 25 

— tracking down, 24 
Sanctuaries for game, 191 
in Assam, 128 



298 



INDEX 



Sanctuaries, game, 264 

— the permanent, 265 

Sanctuary for preservation of fauna 

as a whole, 288 
Scaly ant-eater, 87 
Seonee, 80 
Shikaris, native — types of, 5, 84, 

88, 122, 142 
Shola, the, 1 39 
Sikkim, British, 128 
Sissu, 152 

Siwaliks, the, 153, 185 
Snake swimming, 115 
Snipe, 16, 105 
Southern India, description of 

country, 138-140 

game of, 139, 141 

Spotted deer, 4, 16, 52, 79, 99, 141, 

154. 179, 184, 194, 244 
Sunn-grass, 104, 118 
Sunnldiolas, 104, 118 
Sus indicus, 16 
Swimming animals, powers of, 102 

Teak forests in flower, 80 

Terai jungles of Northern India, 

129, 151 
Tetraceros quadricornis, 16 
Thamin, 128 
Tick, the, 147 
" Tie-ups " for tiger, 206 
Tiger, 4, 16, 53, 99, 130, 141, 179, 

201, 205, 248 



Tiger, action when wounded, 211 

— and monkeys, 89 

— an exciting episode, 133 

— beating for, with a Une of ele- 

phants, 230 

— habits of, etc., 205 

— meet one face to face, 22 

— method of capturing prey, 209 

— my first, 68 

— sitting up for, 18, 20, 23, 70, 89, 
185 

— stories, 170, 227 

— walk, the, 21, 185 

— wounds made by, on man, 211 
Tigers, protection of, 229 

— the three, 237 
Tista Valley, 127, 128 
Trackers, marvellous powers of, 5 
Tracking, 211 

— bison-, on foot, 5, 53, 142, 211 
Transport of camp, methods of, 153 

Ursus labiatus, 16 

Villages, deserted, 6 
Viverra zibetha, 105 
Vultures, habits of, 35, 70, 201 

Water-holes, 53 
Woodpecker, 156 

Zareba, the sambhar and the tiger, 
the, 133-137 



Unconducted Wanderers 

By Rosita Forbes 

Demy 8vo. With over 70 Illustrations from Photographs by 
the Author and others. I2s. 6d. net 

" Unconducted Wanderers " is a very amusing travel book 
of the best sort. After a spell of war work the author and 
a woman friend went to America, and thence to the South 
Seas, to Java, the Malay States, Siam, Cambodia, China 
and Korea. The book is extremely lively in tone and fresh 
in feeling, and the observations and experiences of the trav- 
ellers, particularly in China during the Rebellion, are of 
quite unusual interest. 

" Those in search of the perfect companion for a lazy afternoon in a 
hammock will find their wants admirably supplied by ' Unconducted 
Wanderers.' Their adventures are retailed with an unfailing humorous 
touch, and the scenery and occupants of these far foreign strands are 
painted in descriptive language, which is always vivid and at times 
beautiful. " — Evening Standard. 

" Happily and frankly instructive— just gossip, compounded of obser- 
vation, humour, and the joy of the experience. Such a book is good to 
read. " — Westminster Gazette. 

"There is a freshness of its own in Mrs. Forbes' writing, due to her 
zest for life, and to the vivid manner in which she sets down the 
impressions that come crowding upon her." — Times. 



Tales Retailed of Celebrities 

By Sir Warren Hastings D'Oyly 
Demy 8vo. Ts. 6d. net 

Sir W. H. D'Oyly, who has spent a great many years in 
the Indian Civil Service, retails in this volume a series of 
amusing stories of men and things. Always bright and 
witty, he makes what he has seen and heard live again for 
us, and the book forms an admirable anecdotic history of 
life in India during the latter part of last century. 



JOHN LANE, THE BODLEY HEAD, VIGO ST., W. 1. 



BOOKS ABOUT MALAYA 



By Sir Frank Swettenham, K.C.M.G. 

BRITISH MALAYA. An Account of the Origin 
and Progress of British Influence in Malaya. 
Numerous Illustrations reproduced from Photo- 
graphs. Fourth Edition. Crown 8vo. 12s.6d.net. 

" The book is richly illustrated with photographs of great beauty. 
It takes its place as the standard work of reference on the ruder tribes 
of the peninsula." — Daily News. 

THE REAL MALAY. Pen Pictures. Second 
Edition. Crown 8vo. 6s. net 

"Sir Frank 'Swettenham understands perhaps better than any other 
roving Englishman ' The Real Malay.'" — Standard. 

MALAY SKETCHES. With title-page and cover 
designed by Patten Wilson. Fourth Edition. 
Crown 8vo. 6s. net. 

" Nothing approaching Sir Frank Swettenham's intimate knowledge 
and illuminative analysis has yet seen light about that fascinating 
country which he so well describes." — Daily Chronicle. 

U NAD DRESSED LETTERS. With Portrait 
of the Author. Seventh Edition. Crown Svo. 
6s. net. 

" ' Unaddressed Letters' is the revelation of a personality at once 
sympathetic and distinguished, imaginative, sensitive, emotional." 

» ' Daily Chronicle. 

ALSO AND PERHAPS. Second Edition. Illus- 
trated. Crown Svo. 6s. net. 

' ' When one has reached the end of the book, one undoubtedly has a 
strong sense of having been in the company of a man of extraordinarily 
wide experience and of a devouring curiosity allied with sympathy." 

Spectator. 



JOHN LANE, THE BODLEY HEAD, VIGO ST., W. i