How Many Shots is Appropriate?

For some, this question is obvious. Apparently, for some it is not. Or the reality of what has just happened when you pulled the trigger is not clear.

I originally published this video on YouTube. Immediately, I started getting comments about how the hunter needed a bigger rifle and shot the Buffalo too many times. For the record, the Buffalo was shot 3 times. Twice to put him down and an insurance shot.

For any experienced, dangerous game hunters, this seems about right. A good number of shots. No charge. A hunt done properly considering he was using a 375 H&H. (Not my favorite Buffalo round, but clearly appropriate and proven round).

But for the inexperienced internet crowd, this was disconcerting. “Too many shots!” and “You need a bigger gun!”

I have a total of 6 Cape Buffalo to my credit. Not a lot in the grand scheme of things. All of them were shot with 416 or larger caliber. (470 NE and 450 Dakota). Two of the Buffalo shot with the 450 Dakota took an inordinate number of rounds to finish the job. Quite a ridiculous number in my mind, but, I kept firing as long as the Buffalo was standing.

“The internet” seems to think that one shot is plenty and let nature take it’s course. Well, “Nature taking it’s course”, may include the Buffalo killing me if I just let that one shot stand as my only shot!

I just watched an Elk and a Moose hunt on Facebook. In both videos, the animal was shot properly with the first shot. And then the hunter stood there and just watched. Waited to see if the shot would do it’s job and kill the animal. About 20-30 seconds after the shot, the hunter decided to put another round into the animal.

I have hunted Buffalo, Elephant, Lion and Leopard. One thing that is drilled into your head is to shoot as long as that animal is standing or clearly not dead. No matter how many rounds it takes. Keep shooting! Taxidermists are good with needle and thread and the wasted meat (in Africa) is not really wasted at all. Everything gets eaten. So, you are not hurting anything but your ears to keep firing.

You made a decision to kill an animal. Do you not owe it to that animal to finish the job as soon as is reasonably possible? To limit the amount of time and pain and suffering the animal has to experience? To me, there is no upside to sitting back and waiting for the bullet to do it’s job! The animal can walk away, run away and then you have a real problem! You have to put at least two people in danger of being injured or possibly killed because you didn’t finish the job! Oh what you wouldn’t give at this time to have that opportunity back to shoot again.