Proper Dangerous Game Rifle followup when the client can't followup?

A propos rat calibers and big bores, it's better you are well armed for all borderline actions.

In Burkina Faso once again, three hunters were hunting together buffaloes with locals, one experienced and two inexperienced hunters, all three only armed with rifles caliber 375 H&H Magnum. The buffalo shooting did not go as planned and the buffalo attacked all three. After a hail of bullets caliber 375, the buffalo was finally killed. Result of the action; 2 hunters light wounded, one hunter seriously injured who ended up in the hospital, but recovered very well, and a broken rifle that briefly served as a shield against the buffalo at a critical moment. Use enough gun is maybe a better option.
I suspect it would not have made any difference if those guys had been armed with double cannons. They didn't have enough experience.

I recall watching two videos where clients were armed with mega bore double rifles and buffalo were shot multiple times. The one video has PH standing over dead buff exclaiming it was shot seven times. And another hunter who has posted here also admits to shooting a buff as many times with his double rifle. I'm not sure how many times the buff in the second video was hit but I counted nine times guns were fired before the PH finally toppled it as it broke across a road. I used just one rat caliber round to kill my first buffalo. It didn't run thirty yards before tipping over. Same gun used to kill my second buffalo. It ran less than two hundred yards before turning to face us blowing blood from his mouth and nose. I put another shot in the chest but probably not needed. That bullet exited into its left knee. He spun around a couple of times, sat on his butt, then fell over. Both bullets retrieved and both weigh just under 250 grains. A 375 is plenty enough gun ... with the right bullets and in the hands of someone with some experience shooting and a bit of moxie.
 
I suspect it would not have made any difference if those guys had been armed with double cannons. They didn't have enough experience.

I recall watching two videos where clients were armed with mega bore double rifles and buffalo were shot multiple times. The one video has PH standing over dead buff exclaiming it was shot seven times. And another hunter who has posted here also admits to shooting a buff as many times with his double rifle. I'm not sure how many times the buff in the second video was hit but I counted nine times guns were fired before the PH finally toppled it as it broke across a road. I used just one rat caliber round to kill my first buffalo. It didn't run thirty yards before tipping over. Same gun used to kill my second buffalo. It ran less than two hundred yards before turning to face us blowing blood from his mouth and nose. I put another shot in the chest but probably not needed. That bullet exited into its left knee. He spun around a couple of times, sat on his butt, then fell over. Both bullets retrieved and both weigh just under 250 grains. A 375 is plenty enough gun ... with the right bullets and in the hands of someone with some experience shooting and a bit of moxie.

I know the experienced hunter and he told me this story at the camp in Burkina Faso at a later date.

Too many people are convinced of the absolute effectiveness of the cartridge 375 H&H Magnum on big game, but they are wrong because they have no experience with the working of the big bore rifles on this game. I quoted the last story just to say that you can involved a lot of people in case of a dangerous situation, but if this don't have a suitable equipment, things can also go wrong. Unfortunately, accidents happen because in the case of many acutely dangerous situations, there is not enough time to think long about how to proceed and what else would be needed. You have to do something quickly, things often go well but unfortunately not always. Ultimately, a lot of things are destiny.
 
I know the experienced hunter and he told me this story at the camp in Burkina Faso at a later date.

Too many people are convinced of the absolute effectiveness of the cartridge 375 H&H Magnum on big game, but they are wrong because they have no experience with the working of the big bore rifles on this game. I quoted the last story just to say that you can involved a lot of people in case of a dangerous situation, but if this don't have a suitable equipment, things can also go wrong. Unfortunately, accidents happen because in the case of many acutely dangerous situations, there is not enough time to think long about how to proceed and what else would be needed. You have to do something quickly, things often go well but unfortunately not always. Ultimately, a lot of things are destiny.
Wally Johnson made a 375 Model 70 work for countless elephant and buffalo. And he didn't have modern bullet technology available. Harry Selby declared the 375 to be the ideal client rifle for dangerous game (though he preferred a semi-rat caliber 416 for PH backup). Those guys weren't movie stars or novel writers. They actually made their living hunting dangerous game. And double rifle cannons were available. They just didn't consider them the best option. Hmmm.

I agree, I wouldn't hand my 500 double rifle to just anyone to clean up its mess. But then I will never have a 500 double rifle in my hands anyway. I would not hesitate to hand my beloved 404 to a tracker if it might save a life. If it wasn't legal I might hesitate ... briefly. If he wasn't gun savvy, no way. But I find it hard to believe a tracker who may have spent decades following and watching hunters and PHs would not know which end of a rifle is pointed at the animal. Of course, ultimately I do as I'm told by PH. Have I ever given my rifle to a tracker? Don't ask me that question. I might have to lie. :D
 
I think that many PH, or no matter who are looking for the wounded game, do the search often alone. This situation will not have been that unusual. Equipping a tracker with the rifle of a client is but unusual and imho not a good idea. Some reasons have already been cited.

I would like to read the opinions of several PH's before I write something more on the topic.
I agree the PH perspective is needed here. All I know is that these dangerous situations worry me since I’ve been in one.
 
With a .22 rifle under our immediate control, we will supervise two of our trackers to shoot a few rds. at a iron gong target. This does not constitute a high stress moving target engaged in killing a PH.

I realize most of the example of incident take place in RSA. Different world from Zim.

This will vary from PH to PH & camp. We employ a learner who is legally allowed to own a firearm. His job covers everything from fixing tyres to assisting a PH in a situation as described if the vehicle was close he would get the client to the vehicle, then assist the PH. Client safety is number 1.

Our learner who grew up on a Rhodesian farm and serving as a Selous scout qualifies him as being able to handle any firearm in a high stress situation.

Lon
 
A lot of what ifs. This is what I would have done if I was the hunter. Why this was not done like this, and not like that, etc, etc. The bottom line is we were not there, and we don't have all the details, and it's easy to criticize from the comfort of our keyboards. Just because the hunter couldn't follow up the PH into the situation, is not a reason to tell the hunter, you can't hunt DG anymore because of your disabilities. The hunter has bad hearing from serving in the military, and that is a disability specially if you are trying to be quiet, especially in a stressful situation like this one. The PH ultimately made the decision to leave him behind, and it was the PH's call. We've all made a bad shot, and those who claim they have not. Well, you may be the exception to the rule. :unsure:
 
I know the experienced hunter and he told me this story at the camp in Burkina Faso at a later date.

Too many people are convinced of the absolute effectiveness of the cartridge 375 H&H Magnum on big game, but they are wrong because they have no experience with the working of the big bore rifles on this game. I quoted the last story just to say that you can involved a lot of people in case of a dangerous situation, but if this don't have a suitable equipment, things can also go wrong. Unfortunately, accidents happen because in the case of many acutely dangerous situations, there is not enough time to think long about how to proceed and what else would be needed. You have to do something quickly, things often go well but unfortunately not always. Ultimately, a lot of things are destiny.
I own .375, .404, 500/416, and a .470. I shoot them all very well. I prefer to use a scoped .375 for buffalo because it provides me, the client, with the highest likelihood of putting that critical first shot in exactly the right spot. It is absolutely effective in that role. Were I the PH, I would carry a stopping rifle.
 
I’m certainly not judging the gentleman who wounded the buffalo, if you hunt long enough you will eventually make a bad shot period. Practice, familiarity with your chosen weapon and being in the best condition that you can be in will help to mitigate this, but don’t forget we’re all human. In my career in the military and law enforcement, I’ve seen that even the most highly skilled operators can make a crucial mistake, it happens. For instance, you could have over a hundred perfect buffalo kills under your belt but you’re only as good and you’ll be judged by the last one you shoot.

I’m interested in the PH responses. I would think they would use every tool available (if available and practical ) to go after a wounded DG animal, tracking dogs, trackers, additional PH or assistant and apprentice PH, hell even drones, IR, etc. Reading about elephant hunts, it’s seems that if it’s not a brain shot but shots to the body, ALL join in (all the PH ‘s) shooting with follow up shots to the elephant. Is it appropriate for the PH to followup with shots to the Buffalo? Could the PH perhaps assess his client and perhaps workout an agreement to join in? Follow up shots may not be doable but if they are and near heavy cover, should the PH attempt an insurance follow up shot?
 
With a .22 rifle under our immediate control, we will supervise two of our trackers to shoot a few rds. at a iron gong target. This does not constitute a high stress moving target engaged in killing a PH.

I realize most of the example of incident take place in RSA. Different world from Zim.

This will vary from PH to PH & camp. We employ a learner who is legally allowed to own a firearm. His job covers everything from fixing tyres to assisting a PH in a situation as described if the vehicle was close he would get the client to the vehicle, then assist the PH. Client safety is number 1.

Our learner who grew up on a Rhodesian farm and serving as a Selous scout qualifies him as being able to handle any firearm in a high stress situation.

Lon
Chris R ?
 
I have followed up buffalo as a learner hunter with a PH and also behind 2 PHs with a camera. The camera follow up was a certain wounding and the PH called in a second PH on the property + clients. Both fired shots when we caught up and then later the buffalo was shot from a tree by the PH, where he had climbed to see into the thicket.

Most PH s will ask for help if there is any available. However they will do what is necessary, calling in help is not always practical They will usually work with their trackers as a team, each doing his job. I remember one tracker telling the PH to stop looking at tracks and look for the buffalo while he looked for the tracks. The tracker is usually up front and head down, if something happens he bails out left or right and gets out of the way. If he were to stand and try to shoot, he would be in front of the PH. So you would have an inexperienced shooter front and centre. And most trackers are not great shots, they don't shoot much at all. So each to his job. However they are brave men and as evidenced by the story that prompted this, can definitely help. But I think that sticking to plan and everyone having defined jobs helps in dangerous situations.
 
OK, .....I'm going to be the asshole here and say if you have those types of physical impairments or disabilities that prevent you from finishing the game should this scenario arise, you shouldn't be hunting dangerous game.
I came here to say that too.

Cheers

503
 
I have followed up buffalo as a learner hunter with a PH and also behind 2 PHs with a camera. The camera follow up was a certain wounding and the PH called in a second PH on the property + clients. Both fired shots when we caught up and then later the buffalo was shot from a tree by the PH, where he had climbed to see into the thicket.

Most PH s will ask for help if there is any available. However they will do what is necessary, calling in help is not always practical They will usually work with their trackers as a team, each doing his job. I remember one tracker telling the PH to stop looking at tracks and look for the buffalo while he looked for the tracks. The tracker is usually up front and head down, if something happens he bails out left or right and gets out of the way. If he were to stand and try to shoot, he would be in front of the PH. So you would have an inexperienced shooter front and centre. And most trackers are not great shots, they don't shoot much at all. So each to his job. However they are brave men and as evidenced by the story that prompted this, can definitely help. But I think that sticking to plan and everyone having defined jobs helps in dangerous situations.
Spot on

Lon
 
I came here to say that too.

Cheers

503
I believe this is up to the individual. Growing up the man that lived across the street from us had gotten polio and was a paraplegic, he was the toughest old codger I ever met. He would butt scoot 200yds to his deer stand and butt scoot up the stairs sit all day and do it all again the next day.
We would also drop him off at a downed tree with a chain saw and some gas. His son and I would come back 8hrs later and load all of the wood he had cut.
He never had any aspirations to go to Africa but if he did I wouldn’t put it past him to do what ever needed to be done.
On a side note he was the head of the biology department at Auburn.
 
I was just re reading my poorly written response. What I meant was on the hunters first initial shot at say a Cape buffalo, is it appropriate for the PH to immediately follow up with insurance shots if it’s doable? I’ve read and seen (on video) this done on elephant quite often unless it’s dropped immediately with a brain shot.
 
With regards to a client being asked to stay behind, I think we have to accept that it was not planned to have a wounded buffalo to follow up. So you can be in good shape to hunt but poor shape for a follow up. The PH recognised that the situation had changed and asked the client to sit this one out. I have no problem with that.

Following a buffalo in mid day heat would put pressure on even the fittest of us, and you don't want to go back to the vehicle when your client develops heat stroke 7 or 8 miles into the follow up. So by all means, get in the best shape for your hunt and be ready for unfortunate circumstances. But I don't think we should be hard on the PH or client.
 
I was just re reading my poorly written response. What I meant was on the hunters first initial shot at say a Cape buffalo, is it appropriate for the PH to immediately follow up with insurance shots if it’s doable? I’ve read and seen (on video) this done on elephant quite often unless it’s dropped immediately with a brain shot.

I think that PH's in particular should answer because there are different concepts when it comes to backup. I don't know any general rules.

I think but that we are all assessed in advance through our PH who take a lot of things into account, including our physical shape and how we can handle the rifle that we will use. Accordingly, many PH's will certainly decide what to do at the moment of the first shot or immediately afterwards. As a PH, I would do it this way in all cases and discuss the matter with the client in advance.
 
I was just re reading my poorly written response. What I meant was on the hunters first initial shot at say a Cape buffalo, is it appropriate for the PH to immediately follow up with insurance shots if it’s doable? I’ve read and seen (on video) this done on elephant quite often unless it’s dropped immediately with a brain shot.
I think that depends on the client and I think you should tell your PH to shoot if he thinks it is getting away. All the PHs I know don't like to shoot unless necessary so if they think the shot is good, they will not shoot.
 
"Our learner who grew up on a Rhodesian farm and serving as a Selous scout qualifies him as being able to handle any firearm in a high stress situation."
If he served with the Selous Scouts, he is a hard man indeed. Good for him! Might be more comfortable with an FAL instead of a dbl rifle, lol.
 
@BJH65

You also have to think about what a insurance shot should be, it's not that simple, except the elephant is coming towards you. According to what previously were discussed with the client, for a good shot placement after the first shot has been fired, you have as backup to be in advance also in a perfect shooting position, with the aim well acquired, in order to shoot immediately after because there is no much time to decide whether a second shot is necessary or not. If you only notice after the first shot that something went wrong and the buffalo or the elephant does not stand on the place, you have often only enough time to shoot at a fleeing game with all the uncertainties that come with that. For this reason, if the PH does not shoot simultaneous with the client, the big game has in the most cases to be followed with unfortunately all the dangers that come with it. Whether you should immediately follow up a game that has been wounded is another topic. We in our countries don't do it for many reasons.
 
I was just re reading my poorly written response. What I meant was on the hunters first initial shot at say a Cape buffalo, is it appropriate for the PH to immediately follow up with insurance shots if it’s doable? I’ve read and seen (on video) this done on elephant quite often unless it’s dropped immediately with a brain shot.
I prefer to do the insurance shot myself even when not needed.

 

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