The Ultimate Safari Experience (Page III)

We celebrate the Old Girl's birthday and give thanks for an incredible hunt.

Bambam! Our two shots sounded as one as Michel fired his .450 Dakota and I let loose The Old Girl's left barrel. (No way could I have reloaded and aimed with a bolt-action.) Michel had responded exactly as he should have by taking a heart-lung shot on my missed brain shot. It is imperative for a PH to put in a behind-the-shoulder shot as an elephant turns if for any reason the client misses a brain shot.

Strangely, there was no blood. Or at least we didn't see any as we were running after the elephant, following the brush he'd trampled down in his bolt to escape. I reloaded on the run, keeping my eyes ahead to scan for danger. We slowed to a jog after 70 or 80 yards so we could listen better. Silence.

We followed another 30 yards, and there he was, dead. The GPS showed he had run 110 yards from where we'd shot. Michel and my shots were 8-inches apart, low in the chest just behind the shoulder—a matched pair of lung shots.

He was an incredible bull. Michel estimated him at between 70 and 75 pounds, possibly 80 if he had short nerves inside his tusks. (Like our teeth, elephant tusks contain a nerve root which can be short, average or long. You hope for a short one as that subtracts the least amount of weight from the tusk.

Two nights later, I asked our camp cook, Bobo Tino, to make a birthday cake for The Old Girl. After all, it's not too many 90-year-olds who celebrate with an elephant like the Lunda bull.

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