Caribou Gear

Toughest to die animal that I ever hunted.

Andrew McLaren

New member
Oct 31, 2003
Soutpan, Free State, South Africa
Reading JJHack's posting about the heart shot buffalo's will to stay alive made me think of a few stories that I wish to tell. I know that I am risking my reputation, but what is told here is 100.00% truth without any embellishment at all.

Years ago I guided a young hunter of about 10 years of age on his first "Hunt". He was, according to his father, already a good shot, but I was hired as a Professional Hunter to make sure that everything went well with his first hunt. Our intended prey was a dassie or known as a rock rabbit or hyrax (Procavia capensis). Weapon of choice my trusty silencer-equipped Anschuzt .22LR loaded with Ely subsonic hollow points. With that combination I could shoot many shot one-holers at 25 meters - the telescope zero distance at that time.

To tell a long story short, we ended up about 25 meters from an old big male basking on a log. We had a whole pile of rocks to hide behind and I planned the shot. Took off my sheepskin jacket and built a makeshift rest over a rock. Took off both my hunting boots to rest his elbows in for extra comfort and got him totally calm in whispered conversation. I then “loaded” with a fired empty shell and told him to put the crosshairs in the middle of the ear hole, which was clearly visible, while twigs obscured much of his body. I talked him calm and let him squeeze off, while I was closely watching for signs of flinch. He kept steady and had his aiming eye open on the click. Good sign, I thought. I questioned him on what he saw at the click. H e confirmed that the crosshairs were exactly on the ear hole at the click. So I told him most earnestly to do it exactly the same next time with a real Ely HP up the spout. Talked him real calm and let him squeeze very gently. At the shot I saw through my binoculars the dassie jerk and topple off the log into the pile of big loose rocks below. I asked my young client how the shot went off, and he again confirmed that the cross hairs were “exactly in the middle of the armhole” when the shot went off. Now I know my .22’s grouping and adjustment and the range – that means a very dead dassie.

I went to pick up the dead dassie. Nothing could be found? :confused: I went back to the rifle that was still propped up as on a benchrest. Checked where the dassie was, and went in search again. Nothing! :confused: But I knew that he had hit it, I saw it jerk, not jump in fright, but jerk on the impact! :confused: And I saw the “legs in the air” as he toppled over. :confused: Satisfied that there was nothing even near the place where it had toppled, not a speck of blood, and no matter how deep him and I climbed into the loose rocks we saw nothing. So, we went in search for another easier target.

About an hour later I was near the same place, now hunting myself with a .22LR Browning target pistol, while the father who claimed his soon was such a good shot was left to look after him at another dassie sunning-spot. I heard something rustle in the grass near my feet, and to my amazement saw a dassie moving slowly, dragging himself along with front feet only, the back legs seemed paralyzed and were dragging behind him. I immediately double-tapped two shots into his back between the shoulders, killing him instantly. Now my shots passed through him from ventrally and exited on the chest area, as I was shooting at a target just a few yards from me.

It could only be my young clients wounded dassie? Very close and very careful examination of the dassie revealed no wound, other then my two shots. I was amazed, to find a half paralyzed dassie in the long grass near where we had an hour ago lost a "wounded" one, and find absolutely no evidence of a wound was beyond my understanding. I tied it to my belt by a hind leg and continued hunting back to my clients.

On telling them the story, all three of us examined the dassie again. Now my young client had an inspired idea, he took a stem of grass and pushed it slowly into the one ear hole. Needless to say it passed through the head without any resistance. He had actually shot it so neatly through the ear holes that there was absolutely no visible wound at all, save a very small smudge on the inside of the exit side ear hole! He had told the truth when he said that on the shot the cross hairs were exactly in the middle of the ear hole! ;)

What still amazes me is how it had kept alive, and moved some 50 yards, for an hour with a .22 hollow point through the ears? :confused:

This is my second most amazing hunting experience in my 46 years as a hunter. (The most amazing story is about an animal that by all accounts should not have died, but actually did. Save that for later!)

Who else have true stories of animals that simply refused to die?

In good hunting,

Andrew McLaren


New member
Jun 21, 2001
Rural Wa. State/ Ellisras South Africa
This could turn into a gruesome thread with what has escaped and what they have gone through! Like Andrew I have seen my fair share of bizzare game reactions of various animals being shot. In this line of work you typically see a very high amount of game being harvested.

A friend of mine and I were hunting and culling Kangeroos in Austrailia many years ago. He is quite the gun collesctor and has a Weatherby in every chambering. He had a few other Americans with him that wanted to go on a shoot so we took them out and he loaded his cruiser with about a dozen different rifles and probably 1000 rounds of various ammo.

It was a daytime hunt for a change too. One animal we shot was a large roo that was about 75 yards out. It was doing it's typical hop getaway when he made the mistake of stopping and looking back to check on us. At that moment My buddy shot him with the 460 weatherby and hot loads(as if the factory loads are not enough)

The red blur through my field glasses reminded me of praire dog shooting in the states but this roo was huge by comparison. At that moment it contined hopping away, never stopped and was gone out of sight. When we arrived to the site it was standing I would estimate that 90% of it's internal organs were lying on the ground and there was a splash of blood like it was poured from a bucket.

We walked the trail for well over a couple hundred yards and saw the roo standing. Micky placed one more to the head and finished him. He was shot the first time between the front legs and the skin and body was blown apart like a big flap folded down. Everything just poured out. The lungs were purple mush and the rest was exploded. Only the heart seemed Ok.

My comment to him was if these things ate meat nobody could survive this place. I thought about what Dinosaurs must have been like to kill!

We have some significant trouble at times from Vervet Monkeys at the consession in RSA. I saw one on a fence post sitting on the top a few years ago. From the road we stopped and I took the shot with my 375HH at 250 yards. At impact the sky was white with fur as the monkey exploded to pieces. We continued on driving and stopped at the site to grab the little bugger. I wanted it for Caracal bait. There was no monkey to be found. There were chunks of meat haninging from the fence like the blacks had been hanging biltong there. The long grass was covered in white hair. About 10 yards away I saw some blood and followed it. Along the way I found much of the internal organs tangled on a branch. I followed for another 100 yards and the blood ended at a tree with some blood going up the tree. However there was no monkey up there. It was a small Knoppies doring and easily looked over. I was stunned as there was no blood anywhere under this tree and nothing else around. I scanned the area with no monkey in sight. There was one blouhaak tree about 10 feet away I walked over to get a better look and saw blood in the branches and down the side. Then a few yards away I saw the monkey sitting looking at me ratcheting his teeth togeteher so fast it was as if it were motorized. He was not running but would have charged if he were bigger and not so worn out from the escape. I walked up to him and re-directed his focus with one hand while I grabbed him behind the neck with the other. I carried him alive back to the road. Where he was still alive and bit the fence wire when I showed my partner he was still functional. Neither of us could believe this 10 pound monkey could have survived that direct centered chest shot from a 375HH, much less run well over 100 yards, leave his organs on a branch and climb and jump from tree to tree.

It's just something people need to see to believe. Nothing written or described can give you the feel for what some animals can do with no means of life remaining. Had that monkey been a leopard lying in wait imagine the damage that could have been done. Same goes for a lion or a buffalo.

My hunter one year shot a bushbuck right at dark and it ran off. I tracked it with good blood for 50 yards and heard a little rustle ahead of me. At about that instant the bushbuck was at full speed head down and right in front of me My hunter was just behind me a few steps. I moved at the last second and the tried to get my rifle into position. The bushbuck nailed the marula tree just behind me head on at full speed. There was chunks of bark removed form the tree. He laid there dead and we stood in shock and awe that that 130 pound bush buck almost got one of us. From that day forward I gained a lot of respect and even a little fear of bushbuck.

I shot my first Nyala in Zululand back in the 90's. I was hunting with a friend of mine who owned the property. I shot the big bull at about 150 yards which is a Hella long shot in Zululand. He dropped on the shot and never twitched. We walked up and stood within feet of the beautiful bull. Myself, Mark, and our black tracker/ helper. At that instant the back legs started kicking and Mark pulled his revolver and I aimed the 30/06 right at him. Mark said don't shoot again he's dead. At that same instant as he was saying it the Nyala was up and out of sight!

Natal is a brutal habitat for tracking because it's so thick. The grass was waist to shoulder high. We followed the trail seeing where the grass had been pushed down in the Nyalas escape route. There was plenty of blood on the grass too. Then about 80 yards ahead we see the Nyala standing. Is it the same one? The grass is so tall you can barely see the animals just the head. Mark says shoot him and we will see if it's the right one. I shoot and the Nyala runs and is gone again. He asked where I hit him. I said right dead center into the base of the tail. Mark said he was facing us. The grass was so tall it was difficult to tell which was which. It was 100% hit as the bullet impact could be heard.

We followed along again and saw plenty of blood. Then we came to an open area and saw a bull about 75 yards away standing near a pool of water in some trees. We looked and decided it was sick so thinking it was the one we shot I took him with a perfect broad side shot. He never moved. We slowly walked closer as he was wobbling and ready to go down. My black fella and Mark were standing 30 yards in front of him and I walked a half circle to the side to shoot broadside again if needed. At about the time I was in position to shoot the black fella and Mark were getting to be about 25-30 yards away. That triggered a final charge from the Nyala as he dropped his head and bolted right at my tracker. I drilled him again in the chest and he fell kicking and finally dead.

I recovered all 4 of the bullets. two were from the same side only an inch apart through both lungs, one through the heart entering from the hind quarter going through the body length wise including the heart and stopping in the meat of the front chest. Another was through the lungs and under the skin from the other side.

Nyala tough? Bushbuck tough? Monkeys and Kangaroos? Never underestimate anything you have down and dead!


Grand poopa
Dec 9, 2000
Boise, Idaho
WOW...... Amaising how sometimes it takes almost nothing to take down a critter and some other times it's several Very well place shots.

Good stories guys !!

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