The Dangerous Game Designation

mark-hunter

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Gents,
let me revive this old thread, as I was using search option and could not find exactly what i was looking for, and this subject is close enough:

When wounding some dangerous game, how frequently a deadly charge could be expected?
Leopard?
Lion?
Buffalo?
Elephant?
Rhino?

Or less dangerous, such as:
Wildebeest?
Chitah?
Any other...

Does a charge happen immediately upon wounding, or it happens during search in the bush?
What are the casualty rates, in average, at hunters (clients), PH's, trackers... etc on the team?

Although deadly charges by dangerous game are frequently mentioned I was not able to find some general systematically organized info, but mostly case to case examples.

Thanks!
 

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When wounding some dangerous game, how frequently a deadly charge could be expected?
Leopard?
Lion?
Buffalo?
Elephant?
Rhino?

A good rule of thumb is 5% charge rate across the board.

Or less dangerous, such as:
Wildebeest?
Chitah?
Any other...

When you least expect it. If you wound an animal, and get into it's personal space, some species might surprise you.

Does a charge happen immediately upon wounding, or it happens during search in the bush?
What are the casualty rates, in average, at hunters (clients), PH's, trackers... etc on the team?

I have never once experienced a charge immediately upon wounding. This is not to say that it does not happen. I have heard of a few occasions where the animal charges immediately. Seems to mostly happen on Lion.
Casualty rates are very low.Some of the most experienced and highly respected PH's out there, have found themselves in trouble and succumbed during charges. Ian Gibson from Chifuti Safaris is probably the most recent. R.I.P
 

rinehart0050

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Interesting questions @mark-hunter. I've never personally had an animal charge me, but I'm also not a particularly experienced African hunter.

I did read in The Perfect Shot by Dr. Kevin Robertson that sometime a wounded sable will charge! We certainly observed the toughness of sable first hand when my wife hunted hers. It took multiple well placed shots to put him down.

When we hunted our lion, we got very close (w/in 15 yds) and he did not charge us. Now, he was watching us the whole time and likely would have done something had we come closer/made a bad first shot. I would defer to the PHs, but our approach may have had something to do with him not charging. We essentially circled in, slowly moving closer. I think if we had approached the lion head-on, straight towards him, it may have been a different story. Of course, he may have also just gotten up and run off as he'd been doing all morning up to that point too.
 

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@rinehart0050, now that you mention, there may be something in body language of a person, that may cause a charge, regardless of animal being wounded (threatened), or not.
My grand father was a hunter, and living in a house all my life we had dogs - mostly bird dogs for wing shooting. So, I grew up with dogs, and had my way around them
On the other hand my wife is a city kid, never had a dog, or a cat, etc... and she is quite inexperienced with them.

Once we were visiting one of my neighbors who had a dog on a chain. (BTW - I do not like to see chained dog, but thats another story)
So, during the visit, several times I have crossed the dogs territory, within chain range and the dog never bothered to give me a second look. He was just laying in the shadow.
Once, my wife passed - having completely different way of approach, being at high alert and very tense during passing the dogs territory, the dog charged, jumped high, and bit her on the hand above elbow. It resulted only with a bruise, as it was winter and she wore a thick jacket, but the bite was painful.

So, there must be something in a way how you present yourself to the animal which may trigger an attack.

Another thing, I know about at least two cases when a hunter approached wounded roe deer, which jumped and attack with his antlers the approaching hunter. One case resulted in fatality, the other case resulted in serious stomack wounds. In both cases circumstances were to save the meat and bullet for securing shot, and approach to the animal was made from front side. And roe deer is quite the opposite of the general definition of DG...

So, I am not at all surprised about comment on Sable, that you mentioned.

Knowing all above, is the reason to ask about frequency and expectancy of DG charges....
 

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Sable, Gemsbok, Bushbuck are all willing to perforate you when they are wounded.

All the animals would prefer to run away. As Marius stated and I agree, when you get in their "personal space" you are very likely to have an encounter you will remember.

I have never seen research on the matter. It is a case by case reporting.
There is no requirement to report charges and typically those that end in major injury are reported as news.
 

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After just one hunt in Africa, I can see that without a gun or my bow, I am not much of a match for any of the animals there. They can all run faster than me and any with horns have substantially better weaponry than I do. All wild animals are dangerous, but not all are "dangerous game" in the traditional sense. Certainly the mamba is dangerous, but it isn't a game animal. If there were mamba hunting parties and mamba safaris, then they probably would have been on the list.

Of the 7 on the list now, that can all kill you with such ease that makes them exceptionally dangerous. Aside from the leopard, all are twice as large as a man or more. While we could make a case for adding the bushbuck, at some point it waters down the group and the bushbuck really isn't on the same level of dangerous as a lion or hippo. Declaw the lion and leopard, saw off the cape bufallo and rhino horns, remove the elephant and hippo tusks and take away a croc's teeth. I still would not want to tangle with any of them. A buchbuck without horns? Sorry, I would kick its ass if it came in to me.

We had a Blue Wildebeest tree a tracker. He was wounded and mean - certainly is the poor man's buffalo, but he isn't DG. He is more like Boise State (whom I respect a lot), where the D7 is Alabama, USC, Ohio State, etc. I think the hippo certainly belongs in the group with the other 5. The croc also is more like those 6 than the rest. I don't see any animals left that make it - the top of the list on the outside might be a cheetah? Certainly if there were tigers, polar or grizzly bears in Africa, they would be in the group.
 

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I have been charged by two animals, and I found both much more exciting than my PH did!

The first was a buffalo on my first hunt. I shot badly (nerves, I think) and broke a leg but not any real damage. We waited, and then began tracking. About 15 minutes into the tracking he came out of the bushes straight at us. Fortunately, I saw him first (others looking at tracks) and mentioned it to my PH, who very quickly (I have to say I was impressed with just how quickly) put a .458 Win round into him. By the time I got him in my scope I was able to give him a Texas heart shot. I may laugh now, but without the PH shooting as he did, one of us would have seriously regretted the encounter.

Second was a leopard, two years later. Using a rented gun and home made ammo. Shot was good. Ammo wasn't. The leopard didn't go far - rolled into a small gully about 5 yards from the tree. When we approached about 20 minutes later (dark by now), and we couldn't find him, I recall saying "what now", and at that moment, he came at us from about 5 yards away. Fortunately they growl. My PH emptied his Remington semi-auto shotgun into and around him, and turned him into a bush close by. Still not dead. We had to get a tracker to throw a log into the bush for him to charge us again, at which point he got more pellets as well as a round from each of a .458 and a .375. All over. I found this more exciting than the buffalo, mostly because it happened in the dark, except for flashlights. No tracker lost his nerve - lights never even wobbled. PH told others in camp that I was very brave - said most would have run. I accused him of looking for a big tip and said bravery had nothing to do with it. Too stupid to run was the only reasonable explanation - whole thing was so fascinating!

Happy to conclude that both are "dangerous" game.
 

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Maybe the dangerous part is when your wife sees the bill? Then we could add sable to the list...
 

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My PH emptied his Remington semi-auto shotgun into and around him, and turned him into a bush close by. Still not dead. We had to get a tracker to throw a log into the bush for him to charge us again, at which point he got more pellets as well as a round from each of a .458 and a .375. All over.

Sounds like you pumped a bunch of lead into him! How did the pelt handle it? Not too much damage hopefully...
 

Hank2211

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Sounds like you pumped a bunch of lead into him! How did the pelt handle it? Not too much damage hopefully...

Only downside Rinehart. The shooting really messed up the pelt, and the poor cleaning and drying of the pelt caused further damage. The result is that my taxidermist was able to create a head mount, using some of the back skin for the neck area, and gave him one cougar ear (which actually looks better than it sounds). Oh, I got a great leopard tail out of it as well.

I hope to do better next month.
 

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Using a rented gun and home made ammo. Shot was good. Ammo wasn't.
What was wrong with ammo, especially with well placed shot? Was it poor powder charge, or was it a poor bullet choice? Which bullet?
 

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What was wrong with ammo, especially with well placed shot? Was it poor powder charge, or was it a poor bullet choice? Which bullet?
This was just after Canada imposed an embargo on guns to Zimbabwe, so I had to rent a gun, and since I wasn't coming into Zimbabwe with a gun, I couldn't bring any ammo. I rented the gun and bought some hand loads from the owner of the gun.

The leopard was badly hurt - when they aren't, they generally run some distance. This fellow hit the ground and rolled into the gully, where he stayed. Had we waited until morning, he would likely have bled out and died there, but there were hyena all over, so we decided to give it a go. I think if he hadn't charged, the PH would have declined to look for him and left the trackers there with a fire to wait it out, but we never had to make that call.

The shot was well placed - the entrance wound was in the right place and given the trajectory, if the bullet had penetrated further, it should have been immediately fatal (we did a mini-autopsy (necropsy?) to try to figure out what went wrong). The bullet, though, just broke up into a bunch of small pieces and didn't quite penetrate far enough. For that to happen on a thin-skinned animal is not acceptable bullet performance. Having said that, I have no idea what these were, but after this experience, I begged and borrowed some real ammo.
 

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This sounds like performance of some non-core lokt, non-bonded, non-premium bullet on high power rifle, at short range. This is not uncommon occurrence.
 
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I have been charged by Nyala,Bushbuck and of all things a Blesbuck. All wounded and all charged when followed into the thick stuff. Only thing that ever charged directly after the shot was a Cape Cobra.
 

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Wow!
Cape Cobra!

How did it end? Did you, or somebody else had a shotgun available?

And how did go with charge, with Nyala, bushbuck and blesbock?
 

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I've been charged twice by boar, that can get quite sporty. Both were injured and I was trying to convence them to come out of thick brush. It worked! I killed both but needed clean shorts afterward. My lion tried to charge after my 5th shot but I had broken both of his front shoulders at this point. He plowed dirt for about 5 yards fell and rolled over then kinda rolled around a bush. 6th shot anchored him completely and he wasn't getting up again. 7th was insurance. Shots 1 and two were in the left shoulder, then he fell out of the tree. Shot 3 was in the center of the right shoulder as he was spinning in a circle like a top. That took some wind out of his sails. Shot 4 was in the chest when he got up. Then it was in to the previously described shots.
It was crazy, after 14 years of being a policeman I've woken up from dreams in a cold sweat where I was dreaming I was in a shooting and hitting a bad guy but the bullets weren't having an effect. Me shooting the lion felt exactly like those dreams. I knew I was hitting him, I could see the effects and the blood pouring out but it was like trying to take down a freight train. Of course those of you who have either seen the video or read the report know the story.
Had he decided to straight up charge before I had broke him down to the point he was physically unable to, at 20 yards that would have gotten aweful interesting real quick. Truth be told and all bravado aside I'm not one bit in the least sorry that when he finally tried he couldn't. Hunting lion was the most terrifyingly wonderful thing I've ever done. I certainly didn't need a full on charge to have been more of a believer. I was well aware that in a manhood measuring contest the lion had me beat, I didn't need him to show me. It's funny though, I was completely fine once I started shooting. It was a fight and I didn't have time to think about anything other than winning the fight. Before and after however there were a few times I was shittin a brick.
 

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Wild European boar, and brown bear are considered dangerous when wounded or threatened in my area. They do account for a number of fatalities, and since the boar is much more frequently hunted, it is accounted for more incidents.

It is interesting that every safari Hollywood movie gets at some point to a DG charge, and the same subject is not so frequently mentioned or discussed within community. ("Out of Africa", "The ghost and the darkness", "white hunter, black heart", etc...)

However, for me - the complete NewBie in subject of hunts in Africa, its very interesting, especially for the species not commonly known to pose a threat (plains game, mentioned above)

Gents, what I want to say - is thanks for sharing! Looking fwd to hear more experiences!
 

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Pierre Rogers @iGala Productions told me an interesting story last week of a fight he got into with a common reedbuck in Mozambique. I'll let him tell the story when he gets back but I wouldn't want to tangle with one.
On the same note, in the kalahari a hung over enraged blesbuck ("Fred") picked a fight with me because he somehow believed I was responsible for HIS alcohol problem. I was holding my own until he caught me in the cods with a tennis ball clad horn. So really IMO the most dangerous of all african game is a hung over blesbuck.
 

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As the subject develops, it looks like there is much more hazards involved with plains game, then I thought!
 

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I've seen both of @gizmo 's videos. In the lion fight, Erik is reasonably calmly standing up straight (and tall.. well, not so much) holding his own and working the situation. Cycling the bolt, aiming and firing, reloading and shooting it some more as he keeps moving into new positions as the lions moves... Fantastic stuff!

As for the blesbuck, Erik appears to be just barely holding his own until you can clearly see Fred's one horn go between his legs and then the camera shows the air under Erik's feet as they come off the ground... And it is all over.... Fred clearly won the day. ;)
 

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