If a man is standing slightly to the rear, then the shot should be placed behind the shoulder; if broadside on, then the bullet should be aimed right through the shoulder. Of course, solid bullets should always be used, as penetration is the great object to be desired.
I have heard of no man who has suffered such narrow escapes from wild beasts as has Captain C. H. Stigand, for while in Nyasaland he was nearly killed by a black rhinoceros, which gored him in the chest. If the wound had penetrated a little deeper it would have reached his heart. This rhino charged him unawares, which is an unusual thing for a rhino to do, as they do not always charge even when wounded, except in parts of British East Africa, where the rhinos, I have read, often charge when they see a human being, without waiting to be shot at.
Then, soon after the goring from the rhino, the same gentleman went to British East Africa and was badly mauled by a lion. He sat up for lions close to Simba railway station, on the Uganda railway, and he shot three of them. One was only wounded, and he got down from the platform and approached it. A charge immediately followed, and Captain Stigand, although he hit the lion in the chest with his .256 Mannlicher, failed to stop or turn it. It seized him by the left wrist, and he fell with the lion on the top of him. His rifle was now useless, and with his right hand he could not reach a sheath knife he had on his belt, so he did the next best thing and began to punch its head. He found afterwards that his first bullet had broken its lower jaw, and the pain made it shift its grip further up his arm. Captain Stigand, being a powerful man, kept striking the beast with his fist, and at last it left him and: went off. He managed to get to the small railway station, and, having some permanganate of potash handy, he put some of the crystals into the bites. Next day a train came along and took him to Nairobi, where he was ill for some time. If he had not used the permanganate I believe he would have lost his arm. I may mention that the lion was finished off from the train the same day, as it was seen lying quite close. Its skin, which I saw in London afterwards, was riddled with bullet-holes, and the skull showed the broken lower jaw, the result of the first shot. I cannot say I admire the men who peppered this lion from the railway carriage by daylight, considering that a single man followed it at night. This, although a courageous proceeding, cannot be recommended, for the simple reason that the odds are too much against the man, as it is quite impossible to make good shooting with a rifle when the sights are invisible.
A year or two before these events took place Captain Stigand was knocked down by a wounded elephant in North-Eastern Rhodesia, and his clothes were covered with blood from the animal's mouth and trunk. On this occasion he managed to escape the notice of the animal by lying quiet, almost right underneath it, and I believe he eventually followed up and killed it. Again, he was upset in the Nile by a hippo, which, I think he mentions in one of his books, badly bit one of the boatmen.
I read in the Field of January 25, 1913, that Captain Stigand has been very badly injured by a bull elephant in the Sudan. It seems he was not hunting it, but trying to drive it from the natives' gardens, when it attacked him and put one of its tusks through his thigh, and then threw him some distance. All who know him, or of him, will be glad to hear he has recovered from the serious injuries he received.
I hope he will not feel annoyed with nie for describing his adventures with wild beasts; but as he refrains from mentioning these facts in his own writings, I see no reason why they should not be put on record, especially as some people who have mentioned them make mistakes in the details.
Since I have lived in Central Africa a good number of sportsmen have been killed by elephants, and a sad case was that of a Mr. Johnstone, who was killed about the year 1904, near the Luangwa river, in North-Eastern Rhodesia, by a big bull elephant he had wounded and followed up. I heard the evidence taken down which was given by some of his boys.
He wounded this elephant, and, on following, came up to it and gave it several more bullets. It then attacked him and knocked him down, and, in killing him, it broke one of its tusks into several pieces. I expect the ground was hard or rocky, and, when it struck, the tusk went right through him and hit the hard ground. Some of the natives said it also tore him in pieces, but I cannot say whether this is correct, though cases have been known of elephants treating a body in this way. Anyhow, he was in a frightful state, and his remains were brought to the native commissioner at Nawalia, and are buried there. This station has now been abandoned, and I expect the grave is untended and overgrown with vegetation. Such has been the fate of several other men I knew or have heard of.
Mr. Shaw, of the King's African Rifles, was badly hurt by a wounded elephant in Nyasaland, and he was taken to Fort Jameson hospital, twenty-two miles off, where he died shortly afterwards. This was his first elephant, and it is possible he may have acted recklessly in following it. However, men of great experience have been killed, for a Mr. Goddard, who had shot 110 elephants, was killed by the next one he fired at. I have been told that he felt his nerve going and had a presentiment that he would come to grief soon, and so it happened.
Then a Mr. Tilden, an American cotton planter near the Luangwa river, was killed by an elephant which he had hit and was following up. Perhaps these last three accidents occured through carelessness with the first shot. It is-without doubt the all-important one, for it is usually taken when the animal is standing. If a man cannot shoot straight then, the chances are very much against him doing so with subsequent shots, especially if they are taken at an elephant running.