History


The Shikari Lineage can be traced back a thousand years to the ancient jungles of India where the transition from a traditional hunter gatherer lifestyle to one based on agriculture was taking place. It was here under the shadow of the majestic Himalayas in primordial habitats teeming with life, including the world’s apex predators, where the continents most ancient civilizations thrived. To these Ancients the jungle was, and still remains, home. It was the tracking, awareness, survival and scouting skills of these Indigenous Guides that earned them the title and position of ‘Shikari’. The Shikari skills became so revered throughout India that an official post of Shikari District Manager was created for every region in Northern India.

Famous author and Kumaon Shikari District Manager Jim Corbett states, “No mention is made in government records of man-eaters prior to the year 1905”, meaning, there were no incidents to report. This is a true testament to the ‘Jungle etiquette’ that Jim Corbett writes so beautifully about. However, human expansion was relentless throughout the 20th century putting overwhelming pressure on the hunter gatherer population as well as the remaining apex predators.  These big cats were surprisingly peaceful in yielding their territory. Except for the rare occasion that a big cat was wounded, whereupon under great distress, they would resort to the practice of hunting man. Upon experiencing this ‘easy prey’ there was no turning back. The legendary Temple Tiger killed over 300 people in his 20 year reign of terror before finally being tracked and brought down by Jim Corbett on his third attempt. Time after time it was the skills of the Shikari that served to guide and protect man.

A Shikari is a Wilderness Guide. Their skills are called upon to Lead, Protect, Provide, even Heal. 

The Shikari Lineage accounts for the first western documentation of inter-species communication, not as a scientific theory but as common survival knowledge and an integral part to maintaining “jungle etiquette”. 

The Shikari Lineage also holds the honor of bringing about modern conservation in India. Much like the majestic Yosemite, preserved by the  ‘Grandfather of Conservation’ John Muir, India’s Jim Corbett Nature Preserves are a testament to his love and passion for nature. Were it not for the Shikari Lineage it’s doubtful any big cats would remain in India. 

Matt’s Grandfather Ernie Shull, spent 20 years in India as the Dangs District Shikari Manager. Here Ernie’s skills were called upon routinely, including in the harvest of the infamous Man Eating Leopard of Subir.  This is where Matt’s father Dan was born and raised. For 25 years Ernie mentored Matt in the core routines of Shikari. More importantly Ernie  provided an example of a life filled with passion, connection and purpose with the Natural World.  As a result, Ernie’s life and teaching, like all Shikari’s, will live on for generations.  It is a  great honor for us to offer this unique training system, we hope you will find the same passion, connection and purpose that has inspired us.