He Called In Trouble
from the book, "Our Fascinating Earth"

Our Fascinating Earth

He Called In Trouble

It is not unusual for human hunters to use imitative sounds to lure prey within range of their guns. Among large carnivores there are also a few that make use of imitative sounds for hunting; the tiger is one of them. It is very efficient in imitating the call of a stag and is able to entice deer to come within reach of its fangs and claws. This type of hunting can become complicated, particularly when no one has determined who is the hunter and who the hunted. An incident that occurred during the 1930s in the forest of India attests eloquently to this type of confusion.

A native hunter was using a stag horn to try to bring in a deer. His prey answered with, he noted, and unusually clear voice. The man slowly moved in the direction of the "deer," stopping on occasion to blow his horn and keep the prey interested. The prey continued to give a deerlike response and was getting noticeably closer.

And so the stalking continued, with the hunter stopping and calling periodically and always receiving an answer. Finally the hunter moved into a clearing. There he froze in midstep; stalking toward him and still in good voice was the animal he had called in — a full—grown tiger!

Fortunately the tiger was not a man—eater, although it is very likely that for a short time he considered becoming one. Voicing his displeasure in undisguised tiger tones, the tiger turned and walked to the edge of the clearing, where he stopped and again snarled his vexation. The man fainted. When he regained his senses, he was alone; the tiger had gone.