Over one hundred years ago, the heir to the Astro Hungarian throne was a crazy guy called Franz. Well Archduke Franz Ferdinand to be exact, his assassination led to the turn of events that caused the start of World War I. Pulling in the Russian Empire, Germany, France, Italy, China, and the U.S. into one of the bloodiest conflicts ever seen in human history. But that is not what we are going to talk about in this article.
You see Archduke Franz was a trigger happy maniac. No matter what the animal, Franz had shot it. He had hunted tigers in India. Chased down kangaroos, emus, and wallabies in Australia. Hunted stag and deer in the forests of Hungary. And chased down any living creature in the forests of Austria. They all lost their lives to the ruler’s rifle.
It seems that anything that moved would fall into Franz Ferdinand’s crosshairs. His record was killing 2,140 animals in one day. He even tallied his kills in a massive journal. Pleasantly jotting down the massive sums of pheasant, partridge, and other animals that he had killed. Estimations from his journals put down his killings to over 272,000. The emperor at the time, his uncle, Franz Joseph, believed he was committing mass murder. And others simply thought the ruler had some form of mania.
In his estate in Konopischt, you found other 100,000 hunting trophies. It is thought that it was difficult to walk through the estate due to the sheer amount of hunting antlers around the halls. There is even a giant elephant foot that Franz was using as an ashtray. And another that he used as a trash can.
So was Franz a maniac killer or did he just love hunting? The maniac side appears to be the case. He once rode a train with his servants reloading his rifles that he could shoot anything he saw out the windows. Then a second train followed to pick up all the carcasses – this does not sound like regular hunter behavior!