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What is With Trigger Happy PHs

This is a discussion on What is With Trigger Happy PHs within the Fishing Worldwide forums, part of the FISHING category; This is actually a pet peeve of mine, PHs who are trigger happy! Maybe we are only able to see ...

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    safari hunter's Avatar
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    Default What is With Trigger Happy PHs

    This is actually a pet peeve of mine, PHs who are trigger happy!

    Maybe we are only able to see how prevalent this is now that we live in a new media world but it seems to me that there are an awful lot of Professional Hunters who are too eager to pull the trigger as a "backup shot" immediately after their client's first shot has been made which is completely uncalled for and in my eyes unethical. It just seems to me that a PH is there as a back up shot if the shit hits the fan, he is not there to make the kill shot to save time if the animal was just wounded and had to be tracked or to fulfill his own desire to hunt. I actually overheard a young PH bragging about the number of Leopards that he took last season, he said "out of six Leopards that my clients took 4 of them were mine"... If I hunted with a PH who did that, I personally would be pissed off, feel cheated and as if the animal was not even taken by me and the trophy not even mine. It would rob me of the satisfaction of the hunt to have my PH shoot my trophy for me.

    I have posted a video example of exactly what I am talking about. Am I the only one who sees this going on? I would really like to hear from other members about this phenomenon.


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    Hunt of a Lifetime is offline AH Member
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    It doesn't look like the client had a problem with it. Actually looks like it was well rehearsed plan. just my .02 worth.
    I would be pissed if the plan wasn't discussed with me ahead of time. but safety has to come first and I would think every DG hunter would know that.

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    Default Trigger happy...

    A"trigger happy" Ph is a real 'slap in the face' to the client.I have had a Ph shoot my gold medal Red Hartebeest where it was laying dying under a tree, my arrow struck to far back, and following up the Ph was way out in front of the trackers walking in the general direction the animal took when he shot it WITHOUT my instructions to do so. Reaching my downed animal I shook the Ph's hand and congratulated him on HIS big Hartebeest.I never did take the animal and I refused to pay for it after the hunt.
    Lammie Potgieter
    lammie@pga.dorea.co.za
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    Dare To Bowhunt, South Africa

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    With Dangerous Game this has the potential to be a sensitive topic, but in general, PH's should only shoot when absolutely necesary, or the circumstances call for a shot for the safety of the hunters and mercy to the animal. The hunting circumstance and environment usually determine the need for such action, but indeed, such scenario's should be discussed as a matter of posibilty between the PH and client and the PH should not allow doubt to enter the clients mind when he/she takes action. RESPONSIBILITY is key. At the end of the day, there is nothing worse than having a lost wounded dangerous animal in the field, when there was an opportunity to take it down. I cannot repeat it enough - the FIRST shot is crucial! Back-ups are insurance and take downs are necessary.
    Ryan Shallom
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    Default Elephant hunt video seemed rehearsed

    I think this video "take down" seemed pretty planned. I don't think that guy seemed surprised or upset that his PH also shot at his Elephant. I mean I guess at the end of the day it's all about the client and safety. Having said that if my PH said he thought it was a good idea under certain circumstances that he take a back up shot I would not be opposed, after all you are using a PH for his expertise because he knows the game and is doing that day in and day out. I would value his opinion and instincts before my own... I guess if I felt as strongly opposed to back up shooting as Safari Hunter than I would discuss that with the outfitter/PH before booking with him to make sure that we were in agreement. I really think all of it comes down to communication, say what you want and expect and what is important to you and what you will not tolerate, you are more likely to get what you want...BTW that applies to all areas of life.

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    I would find it unacceptable to have a PH shoot an animal that i had just shot, I am aware of the guidelines regarding client safety, but where that is not a concern there is no room for a PH pulling the trigger. Clients go on Safari knowing that a wounded and lost animal is one they still pay for.

    I have Death by the ton by mark Sullivan, and he spends a good period of his time shooting game the client has just shot, even when it is obvious the round is well placed and the animal is mortally wounded - I have no tolerance for this.

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    Interesting to hear what you all think on this subject.

    I see what Ryan is saying which is much of the gray area and it is not easily defined like what is "mercy to the animal" and at what point in the hunt does that come into play. These are the things that should be discussed and ideologies should find common ground and be agreed upon between hunter and PH before the hunt takes place. What might be acceptable to one hunter may not be to another. But that is not what I meant when I started this thread, I was referring to what I see to be very black and white situations of completely unnecessary and unwarranted shooting by some PHs.

    GWH, THANK YOU for pointing out Mark Sullivan, he is the epitome of a trigger happy PH. He seems to shoot for no other reason than his own glory in most cases. It's as if his clients are merely just tagging along on his hunting safari. I guess some hunters don't mind paying their PH to do their hunting for them, it's just not me!

    Good for you Lammie for having the balls to say what you did to that PH and refusing to pay for that trophy, I applaud you. Plenty of hunters have felt the way you did and have said or done nothing about it and probably have a little twinge of disappointment every time that they look at "their trophy".

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    I think I see this a bit differently as I have been on both sides of the coin in this case. As a PH in South Africa and a US Citizen that has hunted in many countries where I was not licensed.

    From the hunters side I can see where I would be pissed if a PH pulled the trigger on a animal of mine without being asked. Now in the case of dangerous game you need to keep in mind that there job is to protect you and them so a follow up shot isn't always a bad thing. I shot a Buff in 2005 and the PH pulled .05 seconds after I shot him. The shot was not needed as I skull shot him and he was standing dead already. Now this was a bit of a battle but I understood why he did it. We were 30' away and he was facing us beginning to move forward. I knew his follow up was due to fear more than anything. Now for some that would really start a shit storm but for me I knew he was dead already so it wasnt like he killed it for me.

    Now as a PH I have pulled on many animals for clients but there are a few sets of guidelines that I adhere to personally that many PH's don't. When a client arrives in SA I traditionally pick that client up at the airport and drive them into camp. During that trip and depending on what they are hunting we discuss fully there hunting technique or intent. Now if hunting for Dangerous I tend to get right down to brass tacks upfront. I specifically ask them what there thoughts on follow up shots of back up shots are. In most cases I will refrain until I see fit but if the client stipulates that he does not want a follow up then I will not pull unless they or I are threatened and the client cannot or has not followed up properly.

    Things you must also keep in mind are Degree of Danger, Potential for Loss, time of day, etc. If a client is hunting 45 min before he departs I will typically ask to be allowed to place a follow up shot to eliminate the possibility of a lost animal and no time to track. If the client is hunting dangerous game where there is a high degree of danger from poorly placed shots or dangerous tracking scenarios I will make a case for a follow up shot.


    Now personally as a hunter I NEVER want anyone pulling on a trophy unless I physically cannot make a follow up shot or am in big trouble. THAT IS NEVER THE CASE on any animal other than Elephant, Buff or Hippo. Plains game is never to be shot unless I tell them specifically to.


    I hope I didn't ramble too much for you. I am in bed on painkillers after surgery but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to expound on my experiences.
    If you can legitimately say that Guns kill people then I can legitimately blame misspelled words on my pencil... :rolleyes:

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    Hello,

    Well yes i have heard and seen many PH's taking shots like that and its makes me mad. In that video the elephant was far away and not charging at all, thats was unfair of the PH. Anyway all PH's are differnet some follow up asap and others only wen it charges....

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    Safari Hunter... In a clear-cut situation, I could not agree with you more - if there is no need for a PH to take a shot, then it should not be taken and thats that. I have watched unnecessary shots being taken on hunting video's and also been on hunts where some PH's are always itching to take a shot - bottom-line is that a PH should only shoot when absolutely necessary.
    Ryan Shallom
    www.greenleaf-tanzania.com
    Tanzania, East-Africa

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    Fortunatly the practice of PHs shooting the clients game is not rampant and if fact is the exception rather than the rule...I do believe the newer bunch of PHs that combine farming with Ph-ing tend to be a bit quick on the trigger, but its up to the hunter and/or his booking agent to clear that up before it takes place. A clear understanding is needed prior to bookings..

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    I've always made it clear to my clients that I'll only fire a follow up shot if the client makes a poor one. Here in Germany a "poor" shot is considered anything outside of the boiler room or a solid bone breaker. We consider it unsporting to mortally wound an animal that could be cleanly killed with a follow up. The intention is to keep the animal on the revier he was shot on and to eliminate the need for long tracking or bringing in the tracking dogs. It is a cost saver to the client and a matter of professional courtesy to the revier owner and his neighbors. When hunting driven boar I make it clear that I'll usually follow up the clients shot as a matter of safety to the drivers and the dogs unless he cleanly drops the boar in his tracks.

    Ultimately my clients have a very few days for a hunt as compared to African hunts, having to spend most of a shooting day following the dogs isn't good for business. I subscribe to Capstick's phillophy "always spend the second round". My two cents.
    Macs Burke
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    Communication is the name of the game!

    Last year spending 200 days guiding I shot one impala for a client that didn't want to take the finishing shot on a impala he wounded and that was it for the whole season.

    I try as hard as I can for the client to finish what he started but if I see that the game is getting away or will go over a boundary then I will step in.

    On the same note as soon when I see the game is going to get away I always ask before I fire it takes less than half a second and when I hear the word yes then fire only. But before any of this happens explain to your client that a scenario like this could happen back in camp so everyone can feel comfortable and if the client says it's fine if the animal gets away and the PH cannot shoot then let it be but I have never had someone say no when lots of money is running away.

    As for DG if it charges there is no second option and if the client should ask his PH to back up no problem.
    Frederik Cocquyt, Outfitter and Professional Hunter
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    Calhoun is offline AH Enthusiast
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    Frederik .. That is exactly what is needed communications!! If that was handled that way before all safari's started this problem probably wouldn't exist. I have never had this problem but I have heard it from other hunters so I know it exists!
    Thanks for your great response!!

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    Default Should the PH fire ???

    Yo!!! On a trip to Angola/Namibia in March I did a bit of hunting in Namibia. My PH was doing his first day guiding for the outfitter. I whacked a juicy gemsbok bull and it ran into the thorns ... We ran over there .. the young PH was ahead of me and suddenly he throws up his 303 (!!) and shoots at a running gemsbok ... and shoots it right through its head ...at about 40 yards .. He was pretty proud of himself until we turned the gemsbok over and found out that he had shot a healthy one ... Later he missed my wounded gemsbok twice and I told the kid to let me shoot !!! He stepped aside and I gave the poor beast a Texas heart shot with the borrowed 416 Rigby I had been lent. Later he was trying to identify trees in the dark so that the animal could be picked up later .. I handed him some Kleenex ... He is young.

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    Scruffy... seems you got the other kind of PH. "Professional Hustler"
    Ryan Shallom
    www.greenleaf-tanzania.com
    Tanzania, East-Africa

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    Default The guide as hustler .. ??? Never thought of that ...

    I only hunted with the young guy for the last day ..and did get a great warthog and that oryx .. . Over the years I have had other young guides ... one was 21 ... and another was 24 ... Nice guys but I would wayyyyyyyyyyyyyy prefer someone with another ten years of experience or more ... I could go into details but it is such a nice shiny morning up here in the Great White North ... why spread misery from long ago recollections ..

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    Gentlemen, I think there are times when one must simply trust the PH's judgement, but that is not a license for him to do your shooting for you!

    Haveing said that, The only time when I've been involved in a PH fireing on what was finally my animal, was in the Luangwa Valley's Upper Lupande, in Zambia. In that case my PH and I with one tracker had been following a spoor of about ten buffalo from a water hole, and we were about 2 hours behind them. We spotted a real buster of a Cooksons wildebeast bull off to our left about 200 yds away. We glassed the bull, and the PH asked if I wanted to take him, stateing that we were still a long way from our buffalo. I said sure, and we started a stalk in fairly tight combretum, and mopani. We had moved about 100 yds when we heard a buffalo snort, and start off to our right, but couldn't see him. We turned to face the sound, and got ready. When we finally saw him he was about 15 yds and coming fast. I was carrying a 500/450 NE double rifle, and my young PH was carrying a BERNO 375 H&H bolt rifle. We fired similtainiously, both bullets hitting the bull in the chest where the neck joins the chest, no visible effect, the next two were at his face just between his eyes, at the top of his nose, putting him down for the count, with momentum slideing him right up to within 5 feet of where our shoes had been. Needless to say our shoes were not there when he stopped. This is a justifyable back-up of a PH without anyone's permission! I don't think there is anyone who would have a problem with this shooting by the PH! IMO Thank God for his help!

    The bull was alone, and not wounded in any way! It is said that a buffalo will never charge without provocation, but, my friends, the buffalo is the one who decides what constitutes provocation!

    This was justified , because we were both in real harms way. However, a PH simply shooting my animal simply because he wants to shoot is not going to fly very far with me!
    DUGABOY1 www.doublerifleshooterssociety.com
    "If I die today I have had a life well spent, for I have been to see the elephant, and smelled the smoke of Africa" qt by Damon(mac) McCartney

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    Dugaboy1,
    Good to see you over here and welcome, it is the gentlemans blog..Nice polite folks and you will enjoy it here..
    RAY ATKINSON

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    Quote Originally Posted by safari hunter View Post
    ...have posted a video example of exactly what I am talking about. Am I the only one who sees this going on? I would really like to hear from other members about this phenomenon.
    safari hunter, the video you posted is not a good example in my opinion. I agree, some PH's shoot too quick, and sometimes unneccicary. But the posted video is not an example. The hunter clearly went for the brain, and missed it. I know very few PH's (propably none), that would NOT back up such a shot, as an elephant with a missed brain shot that starts to run, will in all likelyness never be seen by the hunters again. It is also our moral and legal obligation to follow up and destroy a wounded dangerous game animal, with or without the client. So say that the above happened to you, and it was your 2nd day of a 14 day hunt for elephant, buffalo, maybe lion or leopard. Now all hunting seizes to track and follow a animal that you have no hope of catching. When do you abandon the chase, if ever, and start hunting the rest of your "wishlist"? When do your PH declare it impossible to catch up with, and start writing his report why he lost a dangeroius game animal wounded. Are you gonna take care of him and his family if the authorities decided to revoke his PH licence?

    BTW, I am not trying to start a fight, but please try and put yourself in our shoes for just a moment, and a little less in the shoes of someone with an inflated ego. Not all back-ups are bad...

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