Mike LaGrange's rifles

mark-hunter

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Harry Manners , Harry Selby , Samuel Baker , F C Sealous , WDM Bell , Wally Johnson , Finn Aagaard , Tony Sanchez Arino , Ivan Carter , Mark Sullivan ... You name it . Whenever l read about a hunter , l take the specifics down

Hoss,
I think this would be a wonderful subject to start a thread. (unless you plan to publish in a separate book)
i am also sure that many of the knowledgeable members might chime in, and update your findings!

From my side, I could offer some info, I have a book "Hemingway's Guns: The Sporting Arms of Ernest Hemingway".
On Hemingway I could make few points. For all others you mention, I am sure you have better data base.
 

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Hoss,
I think this would be a wonderful subject to start a thread. (unless you plan to publish in a separate book)
i am also sure that many of the knowledgeable members might chime in, and update your findings!

From my side, I could offer some info, I have a book "Hemingway's Guns: The Sporting Arms of Ernest Hemingway".
On Hemingway I could make few points. For all others you mention, I am sure you have better data base.
Bro , let's do it ! :D I got a huge collection ;)
 

mark-hunter

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Hoss, this is going to be great.
I am back home on friday (11.10.2019) day after tommorow from my job, so will do!!!

Expect next saturday my post on this subject!
 

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So , l just spoke to someone who was in the same station as Mike LaGrange ! :D
HERE ARE THE SPECIFICS:
1) He never did use an M1 Garand loaded with .30-06 A Square Monolithic solids. It seems to be a rumour somebody on an online thread started .
( Ganyana , AKA Don Heath mentions that his men used to use M1 Garands loaded with A Square Monolithic solids to cull cow and calf Elephants , but that their barrel life was less than 500 rounds . Some body must have confused Mike with Don Heath :p )
2. He Personally never used a .375 HH Magnum ( much ) for Culls , although he highly recommended it for Visiting sportsmen.
3) On ONE cull , he used an FN loaded with .30-06 Military surplus full metal jacket rounds for Elephant , but didn't like it's penetration.
4) Other than this , he always used a Department Issue .458 Winchester Magnum BSA rifle ( l believe they were pushfeed ) for Elephant and an FN in 7.62 for smaller game .
Well , that was informative :)
Interesting info. I the standard equipment on a cull was FN in 7.62 NATO (essentially military version of .308) for females and calves. They had a gun bearer to hand them magazines and the team would be several rangers operating together. They would aim to dispatch a herd as efficiently as possible, often only taking a matter of 2-3 minutes.They also used 458 win mag for big cows and bulls or if there was a charge. After some dodgy ammo in 458 ( which has forever blighted the 458 it seems) they started using ammo loaded by Art Alphin in the 1980s. The 7?62 ammo was military hard ball or armor piercing to make the operation cost effective. Financing large scale animal control is expensive so keeping costs down and selling the meat cut the costs to government.
 

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Interesting info. I the standard equipment on a cull was FN in 7.62 NATO (essentially military version of .308) for females and calves. They had a gun bearer to hand them magazines and the team would be several rangers operating together. They would aim to dispatch a herd as efficiently as possible, often only taking a matter of 2-3 minutes.They also used 458 win mag for big cows and bulls or if there was a charge. After some dodgy ammo in 458 ( which has forever blighted the 458 it seems) they started using ammo loaded by Art Alphin in the 1980s. The 7?62 ammo was military hard ball or armor piercing to make the operation cost effective. Financing large scale animal control is expensive so keeping costs down and selling the meat cut the costs to government.
Thanks a bunch ! :D
Hey , could you answer a question ?
A Square only made Monolithic solids in 465 gr weight for the .458 Win Mag. But my source said that the Monolithic solids Mike used in his culls were 480 gr weight :)
Did Art Alphin make a special batch of heavier bullets for the elephant culls ? :)
Also , l am unsure now now if it actually was a BSA .458 Win Mag rifle that they used. My source said that it was a .458 Win Mag , but that it was either a BSA or a Ruger 77 . Do you have any idea ?
 

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Thanks a bunch ! :D
Hey , could you answer a question ?
A Square only made Monolithic solids in 465 gr weight for the .458 Win Mag. But my source said that the Monolithic solids Mike used in his culls were 480 gr weight :)
Did Art Alphin make a special batch of heavier bullets for the elephant culls ? :)
Also , l am unsure now now if it actually was a BSA .458 Win Mag rifle that they used. My source said that it was a .458 Win Mag , but that it was either a BSA or a Ruger 77 . Do you have any idea ?
I do not know the weights but can try find out. I just remember seeing somewhere that art Alphin began helping out in the 1980’s
 

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Rifles in national parks were generally a mixed bag and often private rifles. Brno, Winchester,FN bolt action. There was an arms embargo until 1980 so they used what they could get.
 

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Rifles in national parks were generally a mixed bag and often private rifles. Brno, Winchester,FN bolt action. There was an arms embargo until 1980 so they used what they could get.
I heard that in Mike's station , they were issued either BSA rifles or Ruger M77 in .458 Win Mag but they can't verify which
 

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I am 700 miles from home and away from references, but doesn’t Mike Lagrange pop up in the A-Square manual doing rogue elephants with the 460 A-square short?
 

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I am 700 miles from home and away from references, but doesn’t Mike Lagrange pop up in the A-Square manual doing rogue elephants with the 460 A-square short?
I heard he used the dept issue .458 Win Mag rifles loaded with Art Alphin monos
 

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upload_2019-10-14_20-1-40.jpeg


Mike sitting on an elephant with a double in his hands.
 

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Elephant Culling-this is how it was done.

The modus operandi of an elephant culling operation is similar in many respects to the translocation of complete herds of elephants. Nevertheless, it requires considerable expertise to coordinate and control the shooting of several animals on one spot.

Experience in Zimbabwe over several years has shown that three hunters, one in the centre position and one on each flank side, is the best approach to cater for the various situations that may arise. The flanks on either side control any breaks from the herd before they develop, which requires considerable skill to determine which animals are likely to initiate the break. If a break occurs directly away from the hunters, it is very difficult to control. Once the animals initiating the break have been successfully restrained, the remainder of the group has no lead and consequently mills around in a confused state. The centre hunter who coordinates the cull thereafter undertakes most of the hunting.

Once in position and the cull initiated, the flanks are responsible for concentrating only on animals that are likely to break out from the side or to the rear of the herd. This will prevent the flanks from accidentally firing at one another. Occasionally, the whole herd runs onto a flank, who then carries out the bulk of the shooting as directed by the centre hunter. In certain situations, because of the terrain, animals are to be hunted in the direction they happen to be facing at the time.

This may require one of the flanks to initiate shooting in order to turn the herd favourably for the centre hunter to complete the cull. Once the team is functioning well, any deviations from the general plan are determined by the centre hunter as he sees fit to conduct the hunt to its best advantage. For this reason, an experienced pilot flying above needs to feed the hunter constantly with information on how the animals are behaving, and what terrain and vegetation composition they are in. Once the team is functioning as a coordinated group, one of the flanks may be deployed to one side to take care of, for example, a small group of animals standing some distance from the main herd under a separate tree.

The system relies on an aircraft first flying to spot suitably-sized herds in the area. Attention is given to possible recovery problems later and the numbers of animals that can be reasonably handled that day. The aircraft used most commonly is the Piper Supercub, because of its high wings and relative slow speed, which provide an excellent view of the ground below. Using full flaps, this aircraft flies sufficiently slowly to monitor the activities.

Staff on the ground consist of the hunting team travelling in a separate vehicle in front of the convoy, with the recovery team following closely behind in suitable four-wheel-drive vehicles. The convoy leaves early each day to be well in position close to the intended culling area when the aircraft commences spotting.

Although it is preferable to be out at first light to complete the hunting as early as possible in the day, spotting at this time is usually ineffective. This is because the tree canopies are in full sunlight but the ground beneath is still under maximum shadow. At this time, light contrast – and, therefore, colour differentiation – make it extremely difficult to see the animals. Invariably then, although the aircraft is airborne at sunrise, the animals are usually only spotted from 08: 00 onwards, which is 1,5–2 hours later.

Once a suitable herd has been located, the aircraft directs the vehicles in as closely as possible, depending on the prevailing wind velocity and direction. As sound travels with the wind, vehicles can approach the elephants as near as half a kilometre against the wind without them hearing it. Conversely, the animals may hear the vehicles as far as 5 km away if the wind is to their advantage.

Similar consideration should be given to situations requiring the unit to move around the herds to gain access to them. It is probably better to walk a greater distance than taking the risk of disturbing the animals. The pilot, in collaboration with the centre hunter, determines the closest approach by vehicle. The hunting team then disembarks and walks towards the herd, with the recovery team following closely behind. The vehicles are left with drivers who are in radio contact with the pilot and who can later be directed to the kill.

Control of the hunt is left largely to the discretion of the aircraft pilot, in collaboration with the centre hunter, who determines the best course of action based on previous ground experience. The pilot needs to interpret ground conditions correctly in terms of vegetation cover and terrain. The vegetation canopy is frequently misinterpreted from the air, with the height of the vegetation and forward visibility being the two main areas of confusion. What appears from the air to be thick, impenetrable bush with little forward visibility, often turns out to be open woodland with good forward visibility beneath a thick, top canopy cover. Conversely, what appears to the pilot to be low scrub offering the hunter good forward vision, may turn out to be dense scrub at head height.

To prevent such problems, pilots should familiarise themselves beforehand with the vegetation on the ground and its relative growth pattern. Conversation with the pilot, particularly new pilots during the walk-in, should include a description of the vegetation and comparisons made of how it looks from the ground compared with what it looks like from the air. The centre hunter who advises the pilot accordingly must constantly monitor wind direction at ground level, particularly when it is continually changing. In Zimbabwe, prevailing wind is generally from the east or southeast and is fairly reliable during the day. However, if it becomes northerly or westerly, it is usually prone to constant change and generally is a nightmare to work with.

During the walk-in towards the elephants, the centre hunter maintains constant radio communication with the pilot, who monitors and relays information on the herd composition and the number of calves that could be caught (usually in the region of 10% of the herd). Any adult bulls with large tusks, which are to be avoided, are also noted. The general behaviour of the animals is monitored, particularly with regard to acceptance of aircraft, and whether they are testing the wind and are feeding or resting. As the herd is approached, information as to the exact position of individuals making up the group is also given.

Obviously, the pilot must maintain the approach of the hunters downwind of the elephants, depending on the thickness of the vegetation. Thereafter, the pilot directs the flanks out from the centre position to their respective points on either side of the herd. They need to be in the best possible position to prevent animals from breaking out from the side or to the rear of the cull. Their positions should be so arranged that they do not proceed into each other’s line of fire but, at the same time, they should adequately cover the herd.

At no stage should the flanks be out of sight from the centre hunter, as this often results in the hunters shooting towards one another. The centre hunter should maintain overall control of the situation and intervene if he or she considers the positioning of the flanks to be incorrect. Preferably, though, the hunter will rely on the pilot to spot potential problems before they occur. The denser the vegetation, the closer towards the centre the flanks are positioned. Radio communication from the pilot to all hunters should cease as soon as the centre hunter spots and reports seeing the herd of elephants.

Armed with previous information as to the size, composition, placement and general behaviour of the herd, the centre hunter determines the precise moment to initiate the shooting. Generally, it is best to allow the herd to register the presence of the centre point and to challenge the hunter, effectively turning the elephants in the hunter’s direction to afford the person the best position for a good, frontal brain shot before shooting commences. The flanks usually do not initiate contact unless there is immediate danger to them, or when specifically directed to do so by the centre hunter. This usually occurs in cases where the herd has started moving onto one of the flanks. The respective flank can then initiate shooting in order to turn the herd back to the centre hunter to complete the shooting.

From a hunting perspective, shooting is most successful when the elephants are clustered close together in deep shade, where they are generally more relaxed and therefore less attentive to possible danger. From a recovery point of view, however, this generally occurs too late in the day and, for this reason, the cull has to be undertaken earlier when the animals are on the move and feeding.

Whilst feeding they are usually scattered when spotted, but a calculated pass over them with the aircraft is normally sufficient to unnerve them without creating panic, gathering them together immediately prior to the arrival of the hunters. Thereafter, the elephants become extremely alert and on the lookout for danger. More attention is required on the part of the hunters to be more careful upon approach and to remain concealed.

The choice of rifles differs from operator to operator. The author prefers to use only a .458 Winchester-calibre weapon, employing a 500 grain Hornady solid. It is unlikely to penetrate totally through the animal, causing ricochets and endangering the flanks. It is even better to use two weapons, with an experienced person reloading one while the hunter uses the other. The two weapons are identical and the hunter wears an ammunition belt of his or her own, so that at any stage a full belt of ammunition and a .458 are available for use should the reloader disappear.

Once all the adult elephants have been shot, the cull can be completed with a lighter weapon, which is more economical but equally effective in the right hands. The 7,62 mm military ball ammunition used in military configured weapons is the author’s choice for killing sub-adults and young animals. Military ammunition is adequate for the task; however, reloaded armour-piercing rounds would be preferred.

Experienced pilots are usually able to anticipate the precise moment the hunt is to begin. They then try to remain in the best position relative to the activities to observe the direction of any breaks from the herd. A break usually occurs in the first few seconds of shooting while there are adults still alive to lead it.

Obviously, breaks are to be avoided where possible, to ensure that the operation is humane and to limit recovery problems later.

A scattered herd shot in thick bush is very difficult to recover. Preferably, hunting should take place in more open terrain but, as the culling operation continues, the animals generally become more alert over time and usually enter thick bush as soon as they hear the aircraft. For this reason, large culls in excess of twenty animals should not be attempted, even with experienced personnel, until the team and the pilot have formed a closely knit, well-managed unit. Usually, this only happens after the third or fourth day, depending on the previous experience of the different members.

The use of a helicopter does have its advantages: it can move the animals towards the hunters, provided they are confident enough, and it can be on standby to dispatch escaping elephant in the event of an uncontrolled break.

Calves are captured towards the end of the hunt at the discretion of the centre hunter, who delegates one person from the hunting team to dispose of any animal still alive. The centre hunter depends on the experience of the pilot, who, during the walk to the animals, reports constantly on the terrain, the bush, herd behaviour, the status of the calves and their approximate size. Animals less than 107 cm in height at the shoulder are considered too small to catch, as they are not yet weaned and therefore difficult to rear. Elephant calves of a shoulder height between 107–122 cm are considered ideal, as they are reasonably easy to restrain and respond well to rearing thereafter. Animals taller than 122–140 cm at the shoulder, although easier to rear, can be more aggressive and difficult to handle in the early stages of capture.

The calf catchers accompany the hunting team and, at the signal from the centre hunter, they dash forward into the herd and commence catching. Calf captures are arranged in teams of two people, each team with a rope, with one person holding the noose end while the other holds the other end. At the command, they rush forward towards the selected calf, place the noose around one of its legs and tie the other end onto whatever is available. The calves are all caught manually whilst still confused. They are quickly tethered by the leg to a nearby tree or a dead elephant.

Depending on the teams’ experience, the operation is usually quick with little trauma to the calves, which are totally confused at this point and unaware of what is happening. They are immediately sedated with Xylazine

Usually, the capture of the calves is quick and efficient, and it is possible to tether even adults in this way during the prevailing confusion, with little danger to the catcher. A great deal of trust is necessary between the hunters and the staff appointed for calf capture, who are required to dash in before the shooting is completed, while the calves are totally unaware of their captors. As soon as they become tranquillised, the calves are led away outside the immediate cull area and tethered together under shade where they await transport.

The recovery team accompanying the hunters on the initial walk-in usually stops at a point approximately 200 m from the animals, when signalled by the pilot. As soon as the hunt is over, they proceed directly to the kill to commence skinning and deboning the carcasses. The vehicles may be brought in on a separate route to the walk-in, requiring that a responsible person, who is able to communicate with the pilot, be directed in. The recovery team is divided into four groups of about 20–30 people each, each group having its own leader. The cull is assessed in terms of the numbers of animals down and the distribution of the carcasses, before they are divided among the four teams.

Often the carcasses will be found stacked on top of one another, requiring them to be pulled apart before they can be processed. Using a stout rope and pulling in unison, the team members can do this either by vehicle or manually. It is important to remove the skin as soon as possible, certainly within four hours of shooting.
 

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Elephant Culling-this is how it was done.

The modus operandi of an elephant culling operation is similar in many respects to the translocation of complete herds of elephants. Nevertheless, it requires considerable expertise to coordinate and control the shooting of several animals on one spot.

Experience in Zimbabwe over several years has shown that three hunters, one in the centre position and one on each flank side, is the best approach to cater for the various situations that may arise. The flanks on either side control any breaks from the herd before they develop, which requires considerable skill to determine which animals are likely to initiate the break. If a break occurs directly away from the hunters, it is very difficult to control. Once the animals initiating the break have been successfully restrained, the remainder of the group has no lead and consequently mills around in a confused state. The centre hunter who coordinates the cull thereafter undertakes most of the hunting.

Once in position and the cull initiated, the flanks are responsible for concentrating only on animals that are likely to break out from the side or to the rear of the herd. This will prevent the flanks from accidentally firing at one another. Occasionally, the whole herd runs onto a flank, who then carries out the bulk of the shooting as directed by the centre hunter. In certain situations, because of the terrain, animals are to be hunted in the direction they happen to be facing at the time.

This may require one of the flanks to initiate shooting in order to turn the herd favourably for the centre hunter to complete the cull. Once the team is functioning well, any deviations from the general plan are determined by the centre hunter as he sees fit to conduct the hunt to its best advantage. For this reason, an experienced pilot flying above needs to feed the hunter constantly with information on how the animals are behaving, and what terrain and vegetation composition they are in. Once the team is functioning as a coordinated group, one of the flanks may be deployed to one side to take care of, for example, a small group of animals standing some distance from the main herd under a separate tree.

The system relies on an aircraft first flying to spot suitably-sized herds in the area. Attention is given to possible recovery problems later and the numbers of animals that can be reasonably handled that day. The aircraft used most commonly is the Piper Supercub, because of its high wings and relative slow speed, which provide an excellent view of the ground below. Using full flaps, this aircraft flies sufficiently slowly to monitor the activities.

Staff on the ground consist of the hunting team travelling in a separate vehicle in front of the convoy, with the recovery team following closely behind in suitable four-wheel-drive vehicles. The convoy leaves early each day to be well in position close to the intended culling area when the aircraft commences spotting.

Although it is preferable to be out at first light to complete the hunting as early as possible in the day, spotting at this time is usually ineffective. This is because the tree canopies are in full sunlight but the ground beneath is still under maximum shadow. At this time, light contrast – and, therefore, colour differentiation – make it extremely difficult to see the animals. Invariably then, although the aircraft is airborne at sunrise, the animals are usually only spotted from 08: 00 onwards, which is 1,5–2 hours later.

Once a suitable herd has been located, the aircraft directs the vehicles in as closely as possible, depending on the prevailing wind velocity and direction. As sound travels with the wind, vehicles can approach the elephants as near as half a kilometre against the wind without them hearing it. Conversely, the animals may hear the vehicles as far as 5 km away if the wind is to their advantage.

Similar consideration should be given to situations requiring the unit to move around the herds to gain access to them. It is probably better to walk a greater distance than taking the risk of disturbing the animals. The pilot, in collaboration with the centre hunter, determines the closest approach by vehicle. The hunting team then disembarks and walks towards the herd, with the recovery team following closely behind. The vehicles are left with drivers who are in radio contact with the pilot and who can later be directed to the kill.

Control of the hunt is left largely to the discretion of the aircraft pilot, in collaboration with the centre hunter, who determines the best course of action based on previous ground experience. The pilot needs to interpret ground conditions correctly in terms of vegetation cover and terrain. The vegetation canopy is frequently misinterpreted from the air, with the height of the vegetation and forward visibility being the two main areas of confusion. What appears from the air to be thick, impenetrable bush with little forward visibility, often turns out to be open woodland with good forward visibility beneath a thick, top canopy cover. Conversely, what appears to the pilot to be low scrub offering the hunter good forward vision, may turn out to be dense scrub at head height.

To prevent such problems, pilots should familiarise themselves beforehand with the vegetation on the ground and its relative growth pattern. Conversation with the pilot, particularly new pilots during the walk-in, should include a description of the vegetation and comparisons made of how it looks from the ground compared with what it looks like from the air. The centre hunter who advises the pilot accordingly must constantly monitor wind direction at ground level, particularly when it is continually changing. In Zimbabwe, prevailing wind is generally from the east or southeast and is fairly reliable during the day. However, if it becomes northerly or westerly, it is usually prone to constant change and generally is a nightmare to work with.

During the walk-in towards the elephants, the centre hunter maintains constant radio communication with the pilot, who monitors and relays information on the herd composition and the number of calves that could be caught (usually in the region of 10% of the herd). Any adult bulls with large tusks, which are to be avoided, are also noted. The general behaviour of the animals is monitored, particularly with regard to acceptance of aircraft, and whether they are testing the wind and are feeding or resting. As the herd is approached, information as to the exact position of individuals making up the group is also given.

Obviously, the pilot must maintain the approach of the hunters downwind of the elephants, depending on the thickness of the vegetation. Thereafter, the pilot directs the flanks out from the centre position to their respective points on either side of the herd. They need to be in the best possible position to prevent animals from breaking out from the side or to the rear of the cull. Their positions should be so arranged that they do not proceed into each other’s line of fire but, at the same time, they should adequately cover the herd.

At no stage should the flanks be out of sight from the centre hunter, as this often results in the hunters shooting towards one another. The centre hunter should maintain overall control of the situation and intervene if he or she considers the positioning of the flanks to be incorrect. Preferably, though, the hunter will rely on the pilot to spot potential problems before they occur. The denser the vegetation, the closer towards the centre the flanks are positioned. Radio communication from the pilot to all hunters should cease as soon as the centre hunter spots and reports seeing the herd of elephants.

Armed with previous information as to the size, composition, placement and general behaviour of the herd, the centre hunter determines the precise moment to initiate the shooting. Generally, it is best to allow the herd to register the presence of the centre point and to challenge the hunter, effectively turning the elephants in the hunter’s direction to afford the person the best position for a good, frontal brain shot before shooting commences. The flanks usually do not initiate contact unless there is immediate danger to them, or when specifically directed to do so by the centre hunter. This usually occurs in cases where the herd has started moving onto one of the flanks. The respective flank can then initiate shooting in order to turn the herd back to the centre hunter to complete the shooting.

From a hunting perspective, shooting is most successful when the elephants are clustered close together in deep shade, where they are generally more relaxed and therefore less attentive to possible danger. From a recovery point of view, however, this generally occurs too late in the day and, for this reason, the cull has to be undertaken earlier when the animals are on the move and feeding.

Whilst feeding they are usually scattered when spotted, but a calculated pass over them with the aircraft is normally sufficient to unnerve them without creating panic, gathering them together immediately prior to the arrival of the hunters. Thereafter, the elephants become extremely alert and on the lookout for danger. More attention is required on the part of the hunters to be more careful upon approach and to remain concealed.

The choice of rifles differs from operator to operator. The author prefers to use only a .458 Winchester-calibre weapon, employing a 500 grain Hornady solid. It is unlikely to penetrate totally through the animal, causing ricochets and endangering the flanks. It is even better to use two weapons, with an experienced person reloading one while the hunter uses the other. The two weapons are identical and the hunter wears an ammunition belt of his or her own, so that at any stage a full belt of ammunition and a .458 are available for use should the reloader disappear.

Once all the adult elephants have been shot, the cull can be completed with a lighter weapon, which is more economical but equally effective in the right hands. The 7,62 mm military ball ammunition used in military configured weapons is the author’s choice for killing sub-adults and young animals. Military ammunition is adequate for the task; however, reloaded armour-piercing rounds would be preferred.

Experienced pilots are usually able to anticipate the precise moment the hunt is to begin. They then try to remain in the best position relative to the activities to observe the direction of any breaks from the herd. A break usually occurs in the first few seconds of shooting while there are adults still alive to lead it.

Obviously, breaks are to be avoided where possible, to ensure that the operation is humane and to limit recovery problems later.

A scattered herd shot in thick bush is very difficult to recover. Preferably, hunting should take place in more open terrain but, as the culling operation continues, the animals generally become more alert over time and usually enter thick bush as soon as they hear the aircraft. For this reason, large culls in excess of twenty animals should not be attempted, even with experienced personnel, until the team and the pilot have formed a closely knit, well-managed unit. Usually, this only happens after the third or fourth day, depending on the previous experience of the different members.

The use of a helicopter does have its advantages: it can move the animals towards the hunters, provided they are confident enough, and it can be on standby to dispatch escaping elephant in the event of an uncontrolled break.

Calves are captured towards the end of the hunt at the discretion of the centre hunter, who delegates one person from the hunting team to dispose of any animal still alive. The centre hunter depends on the experience of the pilot, who, during the walk to the animals, reports constantly on the terrain, the bush, herd behaviour, the status of the calves and their approximate size. Animals less than 107 cm in height at the shoulder are considered too small to catch, as they are not yet weaned and therefore difficult to rear. Elephant calves of a shoulder height between 107–122 cm are considered ideal, as they are reasonably easy to restrain and respond well to rearing thereafter. Animals taller than 122–140 cm at the shoulder, although easier to rear, can be more aggressive and difficult to handle in the early stages of capture.

The calf catchers accompany the hunting team and, at the signal from the centre hunter, they dash forward into the herd and commence catching. Calf captures are arranged in teams of two people, each team with a rope, with one person holding the noose end while the other holds the other end. At the command, they rush forward towards the selected calf, place the noose around one of its legs and tie the other end onto whatever is available. The calves are all caught manually whilst still confused. They are quickly tethered by the leg to a nearby tree or a dead elephant.

Depending on the teams’ experience, the operation is usually quick with little trauma to the calves, which are totally confused at this point and unaware of what is happening. They are immediately sedated with Xylazine

Usually, the capture of the calves is quick and efficient, and it is possible to tether even adults in this way during the prevailing confusion, with little danger to the catcher. A great deal of trust is necessary between the hunters and the staff appointed for calf capture, who are required to dash in before the shooting is completed, while the calves are totally unaware of their captors. As soon as they become tranquillised, the calves are led away outside the immediate cull area and tethered together under shade where they await transport.

The recovery team accompanying the hunters on the initial walk-in usually stops at a point approximately 200 m from the animals, when signalled by the pilot. As soon as the hunt is over, they proceed directly to the kill to commence skinning and deboning the carcasses. The vehicles may be brought in on a separate route to the walk-in, requiring that a responsible person, who is able to communicate with the pilot, be directed in. The recovery team is divided into four groups of about 20–30 people each, each group having its own leader. The cull is assessed in terms of the numbers of animals down and the distribution of the carcasses, before they are divided among the four teams.

Often the carcasses will be found stacked on top of one another, requiring them to be pulled apart before they can be processed. Using a stout rope and pulling in unison, the team members can do this either by vehicle or manually. It is important to remove the skin as soon as possible, certainly within four hours of shooting.
Hey , you took this out of the book ? Thanks :D IvW
 

IvW

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Mikes own words.

Actually from © WildlifeCampus – Capture, Care & Management of Wildlife 1 Culling as a Management Option © WildlifeCampus Module # 14 – Component # 1 Culling as a Management Option
 

Hoss Delgado

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Mikes own words.

Actually from © WildlifeCampus – Capture, Care & Management of Wildlife 1 Culling as a Management Option © WildlifeCampus Module # 14 – Component # 1 Culling as a Management Option
Well , l certainly knew that they weren't yours when you mentioned .458 Win Mag and Hornady bullets :p l hate those things almost as much as you do .
 

Kawshik Rahman

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Well , l certainly knew that they weren't yours when you mentioned .458 Win Mag and Hornady bullets :p l hate those things almost as much as you do .
Hoss Delgado
I faced one problem with a magnum .458 Winchester rifle ( made by Birmingham Small Arms ) brought by a client in the 1960s decade , which was loaded with Hornady metal envelope bullets . I wrote about it in the article " The Gaur Shikar which went very terribly wrong ". I thought that it must have been a poor consignment of ammunition . However , by reading the comments of you gentlemen , l am beginning to realize that the problem may have been more frequent than l thought.
 

Kawshik Rahman

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Mikes own words.

Actually from © WildlifeCampus – Capture, Care & Management of Wildlife 1 Culling as a Management Option © WildlifeCampus Module # 14 – Component # 1 Culling as a Management Option
IvW
It is a very educational article. Thank you.
 
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Hoss Delgado

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Hoss Delgado
I faced one problem with a magnum .458 Winchester rifle ( made by Birmingham Small Arms ) brought by a client in the 1960s decade , which was loaded with Hornady metal envelope bullets . I wrote about it in the article " The Gaur Shikar which went very terribly wrong ". I thought that it must have been a poor consignment of ammunition . However , by reading the comments of you gentlemen , l am beginning to realize that the problem may have been more frequent than l thought.
The design of that round is flawed itself , Mr. Rahman. Case capacity issues :( Nothing can remedy that :( . And Hornady bullets are trash. I used em in .375 HH Magnum on an Aussie water buff once and the penetration was piss poor. What you experienced fifty years ago is still a problem with Hornady DGS bullets now :( . That's why l switched to Cutting Edge Monolithic meplat brass Solids :D and Swift A frames
 

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