Few sources stress Francis-Ferdinand’s passion for hunting. Yet he scoured the globe for species to kill with a zeal that far exceeded the social demands of his day. He was an early adept of the machine-gun, and would have all the animals of the forest driven into his sights. Two of his trips to Poland sufficed to bring the European bison to the point of extinction.
Norman Davies: "Europe: A History", Pimlico: London, 1997.
According to a story published in Aufbau und Friedn, a Prague newspaper, in July 1865, Archduke Franz Ferdinand once shot 2333 animals in one day's hunting. Though the article did not specify the weapon used by the Archduke, it must be presumed to have been a machine gun.
Anatol Murad: "Franz Joseph I of Austria and His Empire", Ardent Media, 1968, p78.
On board the ship Empress Elisabeth, with whom he undertook his famous voyage around the world in 1892/93, he only regretted that he was not allowed to kill whales with the on-board cannon.
Hans Werner Scheidl: "Der schießwütigste Habsburger", Die Presse, 17.05.2013
By 1914 the stock of bison had already been depleted to around 460. This was due in part to deforestation and in part to the hunting parties of the Tsar. The most damaging of these must have been when the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand decided to ‘kill two birds with one stone’ and test the latest productions from his munitions factory at Styr on the wildlife, machine gunning anything that moved.
Robin Ashenden: "Mickiewicz, Bisons and Białowieża: by Mary Lussiana", Central and Eastern European London Review, 02/05/2014.
Franz Ferdinand was an avid hunter, to put it mildly. Over the course of his life, he is known to have killed 274,899 animals.
Why do we know the number so precisely? Because he wrote it all down, in his well-kept records. And also by the thousands of hunting trophies that lined the walls of his palaces and lodges; as many as 100,000 were gathered in his estate in Konopiště in the Czech Republic.
What prompted the archduke to such hunting heights? How did he even achieve such a horrid feat? His personal record was getting 2,140 kills in one day. While that sounds very morbid and physically hard to pull off, Franz Ferdinand was a good shot and had a support staff that drove the animals to him.
PAUL RATNER: "Archduke Franz Ferdinand 'radiated an aura of strangeness,' killed almost 300,000 animals", Big Think, 30 April 2018.