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Elephant hunt/ charge with injury.

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by H&Hhunter, Jun 5, 2012.

  1. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

    Folks this after action report was written by Buzz Charleton Professional hunter and proprietor of CMS Safaris in Zimbabwe. He has given me express permission to post a copy of this incident here.

    For those of you who don't know Buzz he is one of the most experienced elephant hunters alive in the world today. Buzz was using a Ruger RSM in .416 Rigby one that he's been carrying for years with no issues.

    Buzz had bought a double rifle several years ago just for this type of situation and the reliability it offers over a bolt gun. But he's been unable to take possession of it for some reason most likely licensing/import issues in his country.

    In any case here is the report of the incident.
    Hi Folks

    Just a quick post to let all the folks that I have hunted with and others know the facts surrounding an incident that resulted in my main tracker Criton getting trampled by an ele bull.

    “ I have just returned from an elephant bull hunt where my client shot and wounded an elephant bull. It was a hard shot under very trying circumstances and my clients shot was a little high. It dropped the bull unfortunately in quite thick bush. Knowing that it was not a perfect brain shot I did a back up shot as best I could. We then followed the bull for a few hours when we reached a road where my client said that he was not feeling well enough to carry on ( I must point out right away that my client was an extremely fit and capable hunter but had been suffering from a bad case of nausea for a few days and really was not well at all. The fact that he had gone this far was a surprise to me and a credit to him.) I left him with a learner hunter for Eddy my driver to pick up and continued after the bull.

    We were tracking at a very fast pace when we came up to him late evening in thick bush. He charged and I gave him a frontal brain shot at about 15 yards which had no effect on him and then proceeded to have a jam with my 416. I only just managed to jump out the way as the ele sped past me and unfortunately for Criton he had slipped on a bit of gravel and the elephant tried to trample him. It did manage to step on his waste (sp) (waist) area before I shot it off him.

    Been late in the evening we got Criton to Triangle Hospital (as Mars could not fly out been dark) and have to say the service that we had there was first class. In the morning we got MARS to take him to Harare where we had the top orthopaedic surgeons on stand by. After numerous xrays and examining Criton they decide that no operation was needed as he had a broken Pelvis but that traction for several weeks was what was required. Criton has been there for 11 days now and is recovering well and is in good spirits and we expect to be hunting ele bull again together in September.

    The reason I post this apart from wanting to let all my clients know, is that when there is no first hand info on an incident it often results in numerous interesting scenarios been thrown around- which is what I want to avoid. The facts are the facts and a fact that is worth pointing out is that my client was an excellent hunter and in no way did he let the side down and I look forward to hunting with him again.

    Please bear in mind that I have hunted elephant solidly with Criton for over 15 years now and we have been together on well over 400 kills. I mention this only to point out that unlike your average PH that does a couple of eles a season we are constantly in the line of fire as such and law of averages means that we will get ourselves in more sticky situations then average. I have also up graded now to a 500 Jeffery Blazer which I hope will give me a bit more fire power.
  2. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    Reminds me of Mario Andretti's comment about Indy: "There are two kinds of drivers at Indy. Those who have hit the wall, and those who will hit the wall."

    Or my father's comment about horses and motorcycles: "You mess with them long enough, and they'll bite you."
  3. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

    Yep there's truth in the law of averages comment....
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2012
  4. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

  5. Readyrod

    Readyrod Well-Known Member

    Saw the elephant charge video. Man, I can see how that kind of life could become addictive.
  6. Clark

    Clark Well-Known Member

    I know this guy

    I see other guys at the range getting ready to go to Africa in the summer.

    I get the impression that it costs so much to pull the trigger on an elephant, that they do not shoot broadside, but want a charge to make the experience more memorable.

    What does it all mean?
  7. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

    Wishing a fast, complete recovery to Criton.

    Charleton now has a Blaser in .500 Jeffery? Cool.
  8. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Well-Known Member

    The PH sounds like a class act guy. No blaming anyone, no excuses, just a reminder to us all as to why they call 'em "dangerous game".
  9. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator


    It's just that hunting elephant, especially tuskless cows or hunting around cow herds has an extremely high incident of charges. Cow elephant in a herd is without a doubt the most aggressive and dangerous animal in the world to hunt.

    A side brain shot is the most desirable and is what is attempted if possible.

    Hunting non trophy elephant is one of the cheapest DG hunts available. Cheaper than buffalo hunting for sure.

    Buzz is one of the best professional hunters in the business. Class act is a perfect description of Buzz.
  10. Texan Scott

    Texan Scott Well-Known Member

    "Never corner anything meaner than you are." Don't know who said it, but good advice. I'm sure I'll never go on a safari, but if I do, TP and lots of cleanup wipes are clearly going to have to be in my bag!
  11. jim in Anchorage

    jim in Anchorage Well-Known Member

    I sure would like more details on the .416 Ruger jam. Guess I will keep my 602?
  12. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

    He said he was shooting flat nosed solids that seemed to feed fine. However under the stress of an emergency reload he discovered that they would jam when feed rapidly and forcibly.

    I've found that most bolt guns will have some issues with flat nosed solids unless they've been properly modified.
  13. sixgunner455

    sixgunner455 Well-Known Member

    I just watched a bunch of elephant charge videos. Scary, but exciting. I bet it gets your heart pumping.
  14. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

    In real life the noise the dust the smells.....The first couple of them were the most terrifying/exciting things I'd ever experienced. After those they become somewhat less terrifying but it is not possible for them to ever lose their excitement.

    Edited to add that I've never had to shoot an elephant in a full determined charge. All of my elephant charges have been bluffs and warnings. Still close and personal and still terrifying until you figure out that most of those are nothing more than threat displays and the elephant just wants you to go away. Which I am more than happy to do given the opportunity!
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2012

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