Vital Shots Rhino
by Captain Chauncey Hugh Stigand (1877 - 1919)
Many of our remarks on the elephant, as regards vital shots, are applicable to this animal, with the addition, perhaps, of a shot in the centre of the neck ; but this is a difficult shot, and we don't recommend it being tried at first. The brain of a rhino is very small and far back in the skull, and, if broadside on, a bullet about the earhole should reach it.
So many of these beasts have been killed with modern small-bore rifles that we think they are the best weapons to use for this animal.
Neumann, in his book," Elephant Hunting in East Equatorial Africa," mentions how deadly he found the "303 for these animals, and we know of many being killed in Central Africa with the same bore, as well as with the Mannlicher and Mauser.
They are much easier to kill than elephant or buffalo.
It is advisable to watch game being cut up, so as to exactly locate the positions of the vital organs.
A little ocular demonstration is better than pages of advice, though, until the animal has been brought to bag, a hint or two may be better than nothing.
In following a wounded rhino he will almost invariably be found head on, waiting with the head held high. In a case like this one would aim for a raking shot through the shoulder.
Rhino, when they charge, often do not turn, but hold straight on, and so may be dodged, though they have been known to turn and follow when they really meant business.
They inhabit very thick country, so shots at close quarters are the rule, but if the hunter is cool this is an advantage, for it enables him to shoot more accurately.
The question of vital shots is a most important one, for, after the game is sighted, it is necessary that the sportsman should know exactly where to hit it, so as to kill it quickly, saving the animal perhaps many days of suffering, and the hunter the time and trouble of following it up.
Nothing is more distressing to the man with humane sporting instincts than to feel that he has sent an animal off with a painful wound to die slowly, tormented by flies, maggots, and the nightly terror it will suffer from lions, hyaenas, jackals, or hunting dogs.
It would be well, then, to shoot coolly, and not to aim at an animal's whole body, but at the exact spot you wish to hit.
Never jerk the rifle off, but press the trigger gently, and, when possible, sit down. When this is impossible, if a tree is handy, rest the rifle against it, taking care to have the arm or hand between the barrel and tree to prevent jump.
It would, perhaps, be better to take the animals in order of size and the difficulty in killing them.