PH Nigel Archer Gored by Elephant in Tanzania
PH Nigel Archer Gored by Elephant in Tanzania
PH Nigel Archer with Miombo Safaris in Tanzania was gored by a cow elephant early October while hunting puku with a Russian client in the Kilombero North concession of Tanzania earlier this month.
by Nigel Archer
Company: Miombo Safaris
Hunting Area: Kilombero North. Malimba, Tanzania
Professional Hunter: Nigel Archer
Date of incident: 07.10.09
Time: Approx 16.30
Incident: Unprovoked Elephant Attack
Details: Please see below
It was approx 16.00 hours when I spotted a trophy puku approx 500m from my position. After checking the wind and ascertaining that there was a good chance of a successful hunt I explained to the client the situation and it was decided to try and hunt the puku.
As is normal when hunting an antelope, I led the stalk with the client behind me and the gun bearer who was carrying my gun and the tracker following closely behind the client. Due to the fact that lion were often seen in the area I chose to use a soft as my first round rather than a solid. The reasons for this are self explanatory, unless a precision shot is made on a charging lion solids are useless as they provide very little stopping power.
The first part of the stalk took us down a gentle slope, through some open miombo woodland to an anthill. Once we got to the anthill which we were using for cover, I glassed the area extensively looking for any dangerous obstacles, and also to locate the puku. The puku was amongst a number of other puku and various other species of game that were grazing on the open glade below.
After eventually pointing out the correct puku to the client, which was a task in itself as the client could not speak English, the client after looking at the puku through his scope decided that he would like us to try and get closer. Approx 40m in front of the anthill was a band of elephant grass approx 7 to 10m thick that surrounded the open glade to the east. To the south and south west of the glade there is literally tens of thousands of acres of elephant grass.
We slowly made our way down to the band of elephant grass and walked through it leaving a few feet of the elephant grass between ourselves and the puku to act as cover.
Again with great difficulty due to the language barrier I eventually explained to the client which was the correct puku. The client shot and missed. The client then proceeded to shoot another two times with out any success. After the third shot I heard the gun bearer called Kiondo shouting “Tembo, Tembo” (“Elephant, elephant”) To my total and utter dismay I saw Kiondo and the tracker about 40m away running down the gently sloping hill from the anthill. Leading the stalk I had not noticed that they were not directly behind us. After stepping into the open I took the clients gun, as Kiondo had mine, and together with the client ran along the edge of the elephant grass trying to locate as to where Kiondo was going to break through the elephant grass. At this stage due to the height of the elephant grass I had still not seen the whereabouts of the elephant.
Suddenly Kiondo broke through the elephant grass. I handed the client back his gun, took mine from Kiondo and upon looking up saw the charging elephant literally 10m in front of me blasting out of the elephant grass. The elephant was in full charge, totally silent, head forward, trunk twisted up and ears stuck firmly to the side of her head. These are all signs of a full on charge i.e do not hesitate to shoot.
I literally only had time to shoulder my gun and fire. The shot looked good, however obviously on an elephant frontal head shot, using a horneby soft, I did not get the penetration required in order to hit the brain.
Before I knew it the elephant knocked me flying, presumably with her trunk. My gun went one way and I went the other.
I managed to get up, tried to dodge the oncoming elephant, lost my footing in a hole and fell over. The elephant then immediately dropped onto her knees and tried to crush me into the ground with the bone on the top of her trunk. I put my legs up to try and push myself away and prevent my upper body from going under her massive head. While I was on my back with my legs pushing against her head one of her tusks pierced the top of my thigh and consequently went deep into my left buttock. I instantly lost all strength in this leg and it got trapped and crushed under the elephants head.
From the side of the elephants head I could see the client, gunbearer and tracker, who had exploded from the scene, standing approx 150m away. I shouted to the client to shoot and could see him fiddling around with his gun. After shouting for about a third time an ineffective shot was fired. The elephant eventually released my leg, I rolled over and over very quickly, got up and staggered about 10m. The elephant then got up and ran away into the elephant grass.
My leg was bleeding profusely and we used the client’s belt as a tourniquet which the client put on and it actually worked very well. Thanks to Miombo's fantastic organisation I was flown out to Dar es Salaam and transferred to the hospital where I under went immediate provisional surgery.
Just to put the record straight, it was miraculous that I am still here to tell the tale, I still do have my leg and I am looking forwards to being active in the hunting world in the not to distant future.