What happens with rifles when staying in a big 5 tented camp and a self defense question

SRvet

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Please excuse the novice questions…
Next year I’m hoping to travel to Africa for a second time with some friends. We plan to hunt from a tented camp located within the a big 5 area. In such a situation are there any protocols or standard practices regarding carrying rifles whilst in and around camp. Is it usual to keep your rifle to hand all of the time or are they normally stowed until actually hunting?
Also on a totally unrelated subject, if a non target animal is shot in self defense, what are the legal and financial implications? Let’s say during a buffalo hunt we were charged by a hippo…
Thanks in advance
 
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I'll be surprised if anyone pipes up and says it's standard procedure to let hunters keep their rifles immediately handy around camp.

Edit: Tented camp? I guess it would depend on how remote, how many people, how well everyone knows/trusts each other.

Just camp next to a good climbable tree.
 
I've hunted Big 4 areas several times, and I have yet to have an outfitter tell me to carry my rifle around camp. Not that it wouldn't be a bad idea I suppose, but rifles are generally left in the tent while in camp, at least that has been my experience.
 
Please excuse the novice questions…
Next year I’m hoping to travel to Africa for a second time with some friends. We plan to hunt from a tented camp located within the a big 5 area. In such a situation are there any protocols or standard practices regarding carrying rifles whilst in and around camp. Is it usual to keep your rifle to hand all of the time or are they normally stowed until actually hunting?

Also on a totally unrelated subject, if a non target animal is shot in self defense, what are the legal and financial implications? Let’s say during a buffalo hunt we were charged by a hippo…
Thanks in advance
I've been in African tent camps a couple of times. I haven't found them to be much different than tent camps in the US. I kept them cased until leaving to hunt. The case was stowed under the bed. No problem.

I can't speak about defense from a non target animal, but I would think that you do what you must. That's something you might want to take up with your PH.

Best of luck on your hunt.
 
You never know what will visit in camp, ask John Seerey Lester.
Our normal drill is we keep our rifles in our tents or rooms and for this we take a Melville and Moon gun tack, it keeps the guns vertical, visible and safe from being kicked on the floor.

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You never know what will visit in camp, ask John Seerey Lester.
Our normal drill is we keep our rifles in our tents or rooms and for this we take a Melville and Moon gun tack, it keeps the guns vertical, visible and safe from being kicked on the floor.

Pretty camp, Kevin.
 
I would ask your PH, and I would do what he recommends. I wouldn't over think this too much, enjoy your trip.
 
I’ve never been in a camp with a buffalo, at least not that I’m aware of. Lions yes. Elephants yes. Leopard, once. Hippos, often. Hyenas, lots It has honestly never crossed my mind to carry my rifle in camp. Maybe I’m just being naive. I don’t worry about a lot of things I probably should.
 
In every safari camp I have been in, as a tourist as opposed to a hunter, you require an armed escort to take you to and from your tent at night. We have run into animals frequently along the way, mostly elephant, and the guide got us safely by, often after a wait. Once it was an old buffalo bull and even the guide was atither. So I asked one of the camp owners if he puts on the askaris as part of the show and the answer was a definite no, there is a solid need for them and that they be armed, he said. So short distances around camp in lighted areas I am happy with, but on those long windy dark paths camp designers are fond of making I feel far better with a rifle or an armed guide.
 
In Mozambique 2014 in Coutada 9, we had a couple 3year-old male lions coming in to camp about every night circling my thatched chalet with screen (no glass or bars) windows and drapes while looking for food. Outfitter gave me a radio in case something happened overnight and I slept with my Lott next to me on the queen bed. In the mornings, I carried my rifle back and forth to the dining chalet. In the evenings, as soon as the generator shut off, we would rear them roaring on their way to camp. They carried off a brai grill into the high grass one night and a tire another night. Made for some sleepless periods but they didn’t stay all night.

Most camps are located near water and I’ve seen hippos come out of the water to feed around camp at night but they were gone by morning.
 
The most determined agressor I have faced in a camp was a honey badger. There were two of us sleeping in a tent and we had some biltong in there - big mistake. That badger scuffled and snorted so energetically around the perimeter that we abandoned the tent and slept on a couple of chairs in the main chalet, with the door firmly closed!
 
My 2014 experience was similar to Scott CWO, Coutada 10 we had lions fairly close to camp and one morning I had leopard tracks within 5 feet of my door. The PH‘s told me not to go out if I didn’t have to (such as mamba in the tent) and if I did take my rifle. I was the only one in camp and the PH tents were a good 1/2 mile away. Away from camp i always carried a rifle even if just going for a nature call.
 
I always discuss this with my PH. I believe that in every instance to date my gun has been on a rack in my tent/hut with the magazine loaded and the chamber empty.

If you are in a remote area, I would strongly advise against wandering away from camp without telling someone what you’re up to.
 
I've hunted Big 4 areas several times, and I have yet to have an outfitter tell me to carry my rifle around camp. Not that it wouldn't be a bad idea I suppose, but rifles are generally left in the tent while in camp, at least that has been my experience.
Same as my experience. Rifles are stored in your own tent.
 
That has been my experience also.


Cocked, locked, and ready to rock, Doc!
 
I'm glad you are asking the "novice" questions - takes me back to some of the things I thought/asked about before my first safari. On my safaris with semi-permanent tents with bathrooms attached we stored the guns in the main dining area on a rack unloaded. Also no going about at night. That camp I had a lion rubbing against the thin door a couple times. I was holding the door shut from the inside. Other camps have had a gun rack in the chalet we simply kept them open and unloaded. Some camps in the soft gun case in the room with you. Every camp has there own rules - just ask when you get there. As to the charging animal, go over that with your P.H. most will tell you THEY will handle it. No need to have a nervous client shooting at something they think is charging. I would have shot a young bull elephant my first safari but the P.H. recognized it as a bluff charge and we all got to walk away. Remember to go over these questions with your P.H. when you arrive. I even asked what to do if we ran into poachers. Enjoy your first time and don't obsess too much before you get there.
 
I think those are a couple of good questions. And the advice already offered for you to clarify with your PH is the best answer.
In the wild areas with tent camps I have hunted in Zimbabwe and Mozambique I generally took my cased rifle to my tent with me in the evening. While in the tent I kept my rifle loaded and readily available, but very unlikely to be needed.
In Moz, the lions were in camp most every night and I’m pretty sure they took sadistic pleasure in making it difficult to sleep. Not from fear, but roaring lions will rattle your tent flaps. On about night 4 I said screw it and stuffed in some ear plugs which helped some.
There are Outfitters/PH’s that have had some scary experiences in camp with loaded rifles. A PH that has experienced accidental discharges, particularly in camp, may regard a client with a loaded rifle as more of a hazard than a lion or elephant. Who can blame him? Discussing the camp rules and PH preferences is likely to help put his mind at ease.
Generally speaking it is discouraged to leave your tent at night once the generator has been turned off and the lights are out. As long as you heed this you are very unlikely to have a problem. However in certain situations and locations it may be wise to pack your rifle with you when heading to your tent after a sundowner around the fire. If so, I would expect your PH to suggest this to you.
Regarding the shooting of inbound hostiles in self defense. I’m sure the policy varies by country, outfitter and PH. Once again, make sure the rules are clear, and you and your PH are both comfortable and on the same page. I can assure you of this, while hunting in a wild area with Dangerous Game my rifle is going to be carried with a round in the chamber and on-safe. And the muzzle will always be pointed in a safe direction. Prove to your PH on Day 1 (or before) that you strongly believe in safe gun handling and he can trust you. If a PH is not comfortable with me carrying my rifle in the field with a round in the chamber I believe we’re going back to camp and hash things out ‘til we can come to an agreement.
A PH’s first priority is making sure everyone stays safe. The policy on every Dangerous Game hunt I’ve been on has been this: If threat of injury of death is imminent use whatever means necessary to neutralize the threat. If you have to shoot a non-target animal there may be some repercussions in the form of paperwork and red tape, but the PH will sort it out and it is a much better option than a stomped or chomped client, PH, tracker, etc. Also, if you’re not sure you if you are in imminent danger, you’re probably not. There’s the sticky wicket. Sometimes a client may feel like they are in danger, but the PH has things under control. Your PH is going to be mightily pissed if you shoot unnecessarily. So pay close attention to your PH. If things have indeed gone around the bend, your PH will likely either be shooting or shouting at you to shoot. He’s not going to be just standing there with his mouth agape. There could be a situation where he can’t shoot for one reason or another, but in that case he’s probably going to be trying to get into position for a shot post haste and yelling at you to shoot.
There are rare incidents that happen when the encounter is so abrupt there’s no time for anything but immediate decisive action. You’ll probably know it if you see it. Such as the elephant that no one knew was there in the thick bush at 10 paces and the first indication of it’s presence is a screaming trumpet and crashing bush coming right at you. It happens. Not regularly, but it does happen and it can happen to you. Or maybe the same thing with a hippo. In this scenario if you wait around for permission you may be pink paste.
I hope that’s somewhat helpful to you. But the best thing you can do is look at your trip as a learning opportunity. Everyone has their own first time hunting DG in a wild area in a tented camp. It’s a magical experience and your PH will guide and mentor you and help you learn the ropes. You’ll still be learning the ropes on your 20th safari. Enjoy it! Don’t hesitate to ask questions. Every unasked question is a missed opportunity. Make the most of your time and enjoy every minute.
 
I wouldn’t worry too much about problems with animals in camp.

I’ve slept under canvas on various African hunts in remote areas for 110-115 nights over the years and never had a problem. I usually have had my rifles in my tent, but only because that’s where we store them. I never keep one loaded (as in a chambered round) in camp.

We‘ve had elephants feeding near my tent; lions and hyenas fighting near the tents, leopard tracks around camp many nights, have had lions in camp several nights, hippos near the tent at night, don’t recall ever having a buffalo in actual camp though they’ve been less than 100 yards from tent during the morning a few times. I’ve never carried a gun anywhere in any camp, except between my tent and the truck.

We‘ve never had a single problem even though we’ve had some ‘exciting’ moments, especially with lions. Just don’t go out of your tent at night, always ALWAYS ALWAYS keep it zipped tight to keep any scorpions or snakes out, be aware of your surroundings early and late and you’ll be just fine.

Hunting and camping in dangerous game country, even if no DG is on license, is wonderful. A remote camp in truly wild country is something to savor. Enjoy every moment.

In less than 90 days my son and I will be enjoying a cold one while watching the sunset, along the Madaba River in the Selous. 16 days with buffalo, leopard, hippo, croc and PG on license. Sleeping under canvas, I cannot wait to return to my favorite place on earth…. Camp in DG country.
 

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