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You Are a Wimp Compared To: Alexander "Sasha" Siemel

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May 05, 2010
You Are a Wimp Compared To: Alexander "Sasha" Siemel - 24

Outdoor Life correspondent Gayne Young looks to the past and the present to find the outdoor personalities that prove just how wimpy the rest of us really are.

Alexander “Sasha” Siemel took over 300 jaguars in his hunting career.

With a spear.

In the very confining quarters of the South American jungle.

How many cats have I taken?  One.  A bobcat, in the South Texas Brush Country with an old hound man that was more interested in telling me about his recent prostrate operation than he was in running his dogs.  I actually shot the bobcat in an effort to get away from my guide and his constant warnings to get checked “soon and often.”  For putting up with my guide as long as I did I don’t know that I can truly label myself a wimp.  But compared to Sasha Siemel and his life, yeah, I’m a wimp.

Born in the small European country of Latvia (Yes, I had to look up where Latvia is) in 1890, Siemel moved to the jungles of Brazil at age 24.  While working as a gunsmith and mechanic in the diamond mine boomtowns, he met and trained with a native who showed him the ways of the Tigrero – a person that hunts tigers (jaguars) with only a spear. When his training was completed Siemel moved to the Pantanal region where he became a spear for hire to ranchers losing cattle to jaguar.  It was during this tenure that he faced the most dangerous cat of his career; a man killer known as Assassino.

Meaning assassin in Portuguese, Assassino was responsible for killing between 300 to 400 cattle.  Ranchers, hunters, and vaqueros alike had all tried to kill him and failed.  When José Ramos went after him with a muzzle loader, Assassino circled back on his trail and took the man from his horse.  One lightning-fast bite to the skull ended his life.  Siemel found his body the next day in his search for the famed killer.  With Ramo’s body a fresh kill it didn’t take Siemel long to find him.

Siemel and his dogs trailed the cat to a narrow opening.  The monstrous animal lunged forward and Siemel caught him the neck with his spear.  The cat broke free from the tip knocking Siemel off balance and to the ground.  He scrambled to his feet just as the huge cat lunged again. Siemel thrust his spear forward to meet the animal and caught him once more in the neck.  A frenzy of thrashing pain and taunt muscle spun the animal toward Siemel as he fought to push himself and the spear forward.  The metal tip drove downward and into the chest.  Blood frothed and spurt taking with it the cat’s strength and giving promise that the melee would soon end.  Only when the cat fell and his strength returned did Siemel realize just how large the animal was.  At over 10 feet in length it was one of the largest cats he had seen let alone killed. 
 
  For more than three decades after, Siemel’s exploits appeared in books, articles, and even in the 1937 movie Jungle Menace with Frank “Bring ‘em Back Alive” Buck.  Siemel parlayed his fame into many ventures including The Sasha Siemel Museum and Store which he opened in Perkiomenville, PA in 1963.  Siemel’s fame continued until his death at age 80 in 1970.

So, what do you think?  Could you take a 10 foot jaguar at close quarters with a spear?  Should Gayne get his prostate checked – again?  Comment below!

Comments (24)

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from Hans Widjaja wrote 46 weeks 5 days ago

He didn't exactly kill 300 jaguars with a spear ONLY, if my memories of Capstick's book serves me correctly he killed around 30 with spear, some 50 with bows and the rest with rifles (44-40 winchester carbines most likely). Siemel started hunting with rifles, then proceeded to the spear after meeting his "teacher", adding the bow for fun.

With Assassino he was initially very reluctant to take on the "case", but eventually went ahead when the rancher he turned down was killed by the cat. It might be a bit of a dramatization on Capstick's part, but the Assassino "mission" cost Sasha the life of his three hounds, and nearly his own.

Still a complete badass compared to anyone I know....

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bo wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

Because of this post, I went through my library and pulled out Captick's "Death in the Dark Continent" and am re-reading it. When I am finished wit it, I will re-read "Maneaters of Kumaon" to be followed with Corbett's "The Jungle Tiger" All of them great reads in my book. (Sorry, I just could not not say that.)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Kody wrote 4 years 9 weeks ago

Bo and Captain, I have read and reread many of those books and 'Maneaters of Kumaon' grabs my full attention every time. Corbett's modest telling of the tales make them even more endearing. Remember the man paid a price for those terrifying encounters as his nerves suffered in the end. He was a courageous man made only more evident by his admission of weakness. Indians pay homage to the man for his service but also in recognition of his contribution to conservation and his vast knowledge of the jungle, its plants and creatures. He was a multi dimensional man worthy of great respect. I wish I had the opportunity to sit down for a cup of tea with that gentleman, I'd have invited you fellows along! We were all born a little too late for that visit.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from MARINESNIPER44 wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

Death in the long grass is an excellent book

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Old Salts wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

I guess it goes to the definition of what a wimp is, is! LOL!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gayne C. Young wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

Be on the lookout for a Sasha Siemel gallery coming soon

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from The Captain wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

Kody, Bo, you are both right on these books being required reading for the outdoorsperson (not to exclude outdoorwomen). My wife has actually read a couple of these stories and enjoyed them... and also told me I was not allowed to do any of that stuff, commenting that my present job is hazardous enough... nevermind I have always thought I would make a good Professional Hunter, Smoke Jumper, Bear Wrestler, and Rodeo Clown.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bo wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

Kody, Amen to what you have said. I have a collection of Corbett's and Capstick's books. I think the best is "Maneaters of Kumaon" and have read it many times. Anything that Cpastick writes is excellent also. You are correct, if one is a hunter and has never read those books, yeah, they are cheating themselves. They will grab your attention and hold it. I could feel tension and hear the animals n the jungle with Corbett. Gives me the chills to think back on the first time I read it, almost fifty years ago. It was instrumental in my pursing the outdoor life.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Kody wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

If you want a good read try Death in the Silent Places by Peter Hathway Capstick. He devotes a chapter to Sasha Siemel as well as five other incredible gentlemen. These were fearless men of indomitable character who cheated death time and time again. Of course there are no better hunting stories than those written by James Corbett. If you have never read one of Corbett's account of hunting down maneating tigers and leopards you are cheating youself.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ishi wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

There is a fine line between brave and insane.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from HawkEye wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

WOW. That is hardcore hunting! I'd love to see a vidoe of someone doing it, but no I don't think I'll be trying it anytime soon.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Old Salts wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

You Are a Wimp Compared To?

Guess it depends what your version of a wimp is, is?

I remember in my younger days professional hunters preferred the spear over the rifle!
-
http://www.bing.com/videos/watch/video/lion-hunting-video/60b54be1e5b005...
-
http://www.bing.com/videos/watch/video/stupid-antelope/1c023576bcf6c88de...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Phillip Higgins wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

Truly inspiring, I thought i was tough just from bow hunting kodiaks on the northern loop. The author of this fine article has convinced me to take my hunting to the next level.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from reignbow jampants wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

a wimp i once gave a kangaroo a heartattack with a stare. btw i hope the possuem gave you rabies, which explains your hair.;)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from patrick88 wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

im still not a wimp this guy was a fool.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from www.dropjhook.com wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

what about trying hunting jaguar with a elephants leg bone under the torches light

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MARINESNIPER44 wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

The only way I would try that, is if I could carry a Dan Wesson 44 mag, 454 casul, or 445 supermag as a side arm.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gayne C. Young wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

Yes, it is "prostate." However having yours checked can leave you "prostrate."

Rest assured I have fired my proofreader - even though it's my wife.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from rancid wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

I met Siemel and saw movies of his hunts with a spear in the early 1950's when he was touring and lecturing. Suffice it to say he was no wimp. He would goad the jaguar into attacking and would place the spear with its but end to the ground and impale them when the charged. Once impaled he would hold them to the ground until they expired. Someone should find those old movies and restore them and put them on TV. He and Jim Corbett were my heros growing up in the wilds of suburban Chicago.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from czech444 wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

As for a spear against a jaguar? I'd attempt it with a Winchester model 1300 Defender loaded with 00 buck. With a spear? No way...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from czech444 wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

Gayne, I don't mean to be a ball-buster, but I feel it is my duty to correct you on this one. You seem to make the same mistake my mother makes when refering to my step-father's "prostrate" operation. It's a "prostate gland" not a "prostrate gland". Prostrate means "to lay flat on the ground". Sorry, I'm just a stickler for grammar...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Horn of the Hunter wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

All I gotta say is "damn!"

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from The Captain wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

I would try it in a heartbeat! After killing boar with knife and dogs, I can only imagine the thrill of jaguars with spears... just don't tell my wife as my hide would be hanging on the wall as well.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Orange Grove wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

A spear against a jaguar---yeah, I's a wimp

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment (200 characters or less)

from The Captain wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

Kody, Bo, you are both right on these books being required reading for the outdoorsperson (not to exclude outdoorwomen). My wife has actually read a couple of these stories and enjoyed them... and also told me I was not allowed to do any of that stuff, commenting that my present job is hazardous enough... nevermind I have always thought I would make a good Professional Hunter, Smoke Jumper, Bear Wrestler, and Rodeo Clown.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bo wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

Kody, Amen to what you have said. I have a collection of Corbett's and Capstick's books. I think the best is "Maneaters of Kumaon" and have read it many times. Anything that Cpastick writes is excellent also. You are correct, if one is a hunter and has never read those books, yeah, they are cheating themselves. They will grab your attention and hold it. I could feel tension and hear the animals n the jungle with Corbett. Gives me the chills to think back on the first time I read it, almost fifty years ago. It was instrumental in my pursing the outdoor life.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Kody wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

If you want a good read try Death in the Silent Places by Peter Hathway Capstick. He devotes a chapter to Sasha Siemel as well as five other incredible gentlemen. These were fearless men of indomitable character who cheated death time and time again. Of course there are no better hunting stories than those written by James Corbett. If you have never read one of Corbett's account of hunting down maneating tigers and leopards you are cheating youself.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Kody wrote 4 years 9 weeks ago

Bo and Captain, I have read and reread many of those books and 'Maneaters of Kumaon' grabs my full attention every time. Corbett's modest telling of the tales make them even more endearing. Remember the man paid a price for those terrifying encounters as his nerves suffered in the end. He was a courageous man made only more evident by his admission of weakness. Indians pay homage to the man for his service but also in recognition of his contribution to conservation and his vast knowledge of the jungle, its plants and creatures. He was a multi dimensional man worthy of great respect. I wish I had the opportunity to sit down for a cup of tea with that gentleman, I'd have invited you fellows along! We were all born a little too late for that visit.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Horn of the Hunter wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

All I gotta say is "damn!"

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from MARINESNIPER44 wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

Death in the long grass is an excellent book

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ishi wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

There is a fine line between brave and insane.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from The Captain wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

I would try it in a heartbeat! After killing boar with knife and dogs, I can only imagine the thrill of jaguars with spears... just don't tell my wife as my hide would be hanging on the wall as well.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gayne C. Young wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

Be on the lookout for a Sasha Siemel gallery coming soon

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from MARINESNIPER44 wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

The only way I would try that, is if I could carry a Dan Wesson 44 mag, 454 casul, or 445 supermag as a side arm.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bo wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

Because of this post, I went through my library and pulled out Captick's "Death in the Dark Continent" and am re-reading it. When I am finished wit it, I will re-read "Maneaters of Kumaon" to be followed with Corbett's "The Jungle Tiger" All of them great reads in my book. (Sorry, I just could not not say that.)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from www.dropjhook.com wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

what about trying hunting jaguar with a elephants leg bone under the torches light

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from czech444 wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

Gayne, I don't mean to be a ball-buster, but I feel it is my duty to correct you on this one. You seem to make the same mistake my mother makes when refering to my step-father's "prostrate" operation. It's a "prostate gland" not a "prostrate gland". Prostrate means "to lay flat on the ground". Sorry, I'm just a stickler for grammar...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from czech444 wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

As for a spear against a jaguar? I'd attempt it with a Winchester model 1300 Defender loaded with 00 buck. With a spear? No way...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from rancid wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

I met Siemel and saw movies of his hunts with a spear in the early 1950's when he was touring and lecturing. Suffice it to say he was no wimp. He would goad the jaguar into attacking and would place the spear with its but end to the ground and impale them when the charged. Once impaled he would hold them to the ground until they expired. Someone should find those old movies and restore them and put them on TV. He and Jim Corbett were my heros growing up in the wilds of suburban Chicago.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gayne C. Young wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

Yes, it is "prostate." However having yours checked can leave you "prostrate."

Rest assured I have fired my proofreader - even though it's my wife.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Orange Grove wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

A spear against a jaguar---yeah, I's a wimp

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Old Salts wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

You Are a Wimp Compared To?

Guess it depends what your version of a wimp is, is?

I remember in my younger days professional hunters preferred the spear over the rifle!
-
http://www.bing.com/videos/watch/video/lion-hunting-video/60b54be1e5b005...
-
http://www.bing.com/videos/watch/video/stupid-antelope/1c023576bcf6c88de...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Old Salts wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

I guess it goes to the definition of what a wimp is, is! LOL!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from HawkEye wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

WOW. That is hardcore hunting! I'd love to see a vidoe of someone doing it, but no I don't think I'll be trying it anytime soon.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Phillip Higgins wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

Truly inspiring, I thought i was tough just from bow hunting kodiaks on the northern loop. The author of this fine article has convinced me to take my hunting to the next level.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from reignbow jampants wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

a wimp i once gave a kangaroo a heartattack with a stare. btw i hope the possuem gave you rabies, which explains your hair.;)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hans Widjaja wrote 46 weeks 5 days ago

He didn't exactly kill 300 jaguars with a spear ONLY, if my memories of Capstick's book serves me correctly he killed around 30 with spear, some 50 with bows and the rest with rifles (44-40 winchester carbines most likely). Siemel started hunting with rifles, then proceeded to the spear after meeting his "teacher", adding the bow for fun.

With Assassino he was initially very reluctant to take on the "case", but eventually went ahead when the rancher he turned down was killed by the cat. It might be a bit of a dramatization on Capstick's part, but the Assassino "mission" cost Sasha the life of his three hounds, and nearly his own.

Still a complete badass compared to anyone I know....

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from patrick88 wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

im still not a wimp this guy was a fool.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment (200 characters or less)