Did You Know Archduke Franz Ferdinand was an Avid Hunter?
Archduke Franz Ferdinand is best known for his assassination in 1914, which set events in motion that led to World War I. He was also obsessed with hunting. As one person explained it, “Anything that moved, he was ready to shoot.” In his journals, he kept track of his kills, which totaled 272,511 according to one historian. His maximum tally in one day was 2,140. If he shot for eight hours that day, he would have needed to shoot an animal every 13 seconds. How did he do this? He traveled by train, shooting out of a window, with aides on each side reloading his rifles. Another train would follow the one he was on, picking up everything that he shot. His uncle, Emperor Fanz Joseph, described his nephew’s hobby as “Mass murder.”
In addition to game found within the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Archduke traveled far and wide for more exotic game. At his Konopiste Castle, he had about 100,000 hunting trophies. He had both a wastebasket and an ashtray made from the feet of elephants he had shot. One had to be careful walking the halls to avoid impalement on antlers. In India he shot tigers. In Australia he bagged kangaroos, emus, koalas and a platypus. His visit to the American west was a disappointment – He was unable to find a grizzly bear.