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PH Survives Tusking By Elephant (Page II)

AH blogger Cameron Hopkins recounts the tale of an enraged cow elephant's unprovoked attack on veteran PH Nigel Archer.

 “Shoot!” he screamed at his dumbstruck client. “Shoot!”


The next blow connected. Curled into a fetal position as he tried to dodge the cow’s thrusts, Archer took one tusk in his calf and the other in his thigh. Both shafts penetrated into the soft earth. The cow wrenched her head and shrieked with anger, ripping Archer’s calf nearly off the bone.


Finally the client fired, hitting the elephant somewhere in the flank. The range was less than 10 paces. The cow screamed and ran away.


Smit later told Mantheakis that Archer’s rifle was found on the ground empty. It was also reported that he had fired a 500 gr. Hornady softnose. It is not known if the bullet had failed or if Archer’s shot had simply missed the brain. Regardless, a softnose is not intended to penetrate a frontal brain shot on an elephant, even at 6 yards. It remains a mystery why there was only one round in Archer’s rifle, a bolt-action. Could it be that he never reloaded it after sorting out the wounded buffalo?


“It doesn’t matter. From what the trackers are saying, he wouldn’t have had time to reload anyway,” Mantheakis said.


“Look, the cause of this is obvious,” Mantheakis added with academic detachment for Archer is his close personal friend, “like family” as he calls his longtime colleague.


“For whatever reason, Nigel was complacent. You don’t leave your rifle in the truck when elephant have been seen and, according to the trackers, they were all aware that elephant were in the papyrus,” he added.


As of two days ago when I left Tanzania, Archer was expected to make a full recovery. “His pride might be a bit bruised, but his leg will be fine,” Mantheakis said.


Postscript:  Darren Smit accompanied Archer on his medevac flight but returned to camp the next day where he immediately set about tracking the belligerent cow. Although the trackers said the Russian client had hit the elephant somewhere in the flank, too much time had passed and no blood was found. Her tracks had also been obliterated in the melee. She remains at large.


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