Hunting Elephant in Southern Africa

One of the most exciting hunting safaris include hunting the African elephant, which weighs up to 14,000 lbs and stands up to 13 ft. tall at shoulder height. Male and female African elephants have tusks that they use to strip bark from trees, dig for food and water, and which the bulls use to fight. The trunk is really a long nose, which is used for breathing, smelling, drinking, grabbing, and trumpeting.

It will probably be one of your most challenging hunts, as elephants can cover great distances and you will probably spend a few days tracking your quarry.

Before the 16th century, African elephant herds of thousands strong formed vast herds on the savannah, until commercial hunters started killing them for their ivory. This practice is known as poaching and is not the same as legal hunting. By the 1980s, the number of elephants had been slashed by almost 50%. Worldwide ivory bans have since helped to stabilize elephant populations in countries that implement conservation policies.

Elephant hunting is permitted in countries with stable elephant populations that are well managed and adequately protected. The African elephant is more likely to disappear due to human encroachment, rather than as a result of trophy hunting. Due to their large appetite, deforestation and human encroachment pose a threat to the survival of the African elephant species.

Elephants are continuous feeders, consuming up to 300 lbs of food per day. They would seek shelter under shady trees when it gets too hot, and then set off in search of lush vegetation when hungry. These large mammals are destructive to their environment, destroying hundreds of trees in search of the most succulent leaves. This behavior presents a serious problem for the success of conservation efforts.

African elephant herds are led by a matriarch. Older bulls tend to form smaller bachelor herds. These giant mammals travel extensive distances in search of food and have to drink water daily. During droughts, they would chase other game away from the watering holes. However, they would also dig up dry riverbeds to create pools for other animals.


The African bush elephant can weigh up to 6000 kg and live up to 70 years


African Elephant Fact Sheet

Scientific Name: Loxodonta africana
Gestation period: 22 months
Weight: 6 000 - 7 000 kg
Height: 3.3 - 4 m
Lifespan: 60 - 70 years


Elephant Hunting Considerations

As mentioned, elephant hunts can be time-consuming and require much patience, since the elephants travel fast and far, following seasonal routes that cover hundreds of miles. They tend to prefer hiding out in the thick cover of the African bush where they are hard to find.

Our trackers will follow the African elephant herds on foot, in search of fresh spoor, which is usually a good indicator of the size of the animal, and - if we're lucky - the trophy size. Expert trackers can often determine the age and size of an animal by its spoor and its dung.

It is not uncommon for elephants to charge at hunters. In most cases, it will be a mock charge, with loud trumpeting, fanning ears and violent bush breaking to display its dominance. A genuine charge is quiet. The elephant's ears will be pinned against its head. Many hunters have been killed because they either did not know the signs, or were unable to get away.

Professional hunters recommend a caliber of .416, .458 Magnum upwards with heavy double rifles and 400-500 grain solid bullets as the best choice for hunting African elephant. Most shots on African elephant are taken at 20-30 yards.

Shot Placement

Once sighted, it is crucial for the hunter to know the exact position of the African elephant's brain and vitals from a range of angles. A poor shot will do nothing more than annoy the African elephant, which is known for its dislike of people and its tendency to charge.

Presented with the broadside, the African elephant's heart is located right at the spot where the front leg meets the the body. A properly placed shot with the right ammunition should bring it down right away.

The area in the middle of the head, behind the eye, where the ear meets the head, is ideal for a headshot.

When presented with a full frontal head shot, place it right between the eyes.



Hunting Elephant in Southern Africa

Elephant Shot Placement


Hunting Elephant in Southern Africa

Elephant Shot Placement


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