Rifles photo

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn more ›

A colleague of mine has taken flak recently for a mountain goat hunt on which the billy he shot tumbled into a canyon where he and his guide could not retrieve it without getting themselves killed. “Don’t you know,” whined his outraged readers, “that you always bring back what you shoot?”

I’ve been chastised on more than one occasion when I wrote about running after something, or away from something, with a loaded rifle. “Don’t you know,” whined my outraged readers, “that you never run with a loaded rifle?”

My response to this sort of criticism is, before you complain, do some more hunting, because it’s obvious that you’ve done very little. One of the first things you learn is that the sport is only partly controllable at best, and that s**t happens, and if you don’t want the aforesaid excrement to land on you, you sometimes have to break the rules.

If you go on a Cape buffalo hunt, I guarantee you that you’ll be jogging and/or sprinting, cocked and locked, before the hunt is over. If you choose, in the name of “safety,” to unchamber your round before running from 1,600 pounds of irate wild bovine only a few yards away, your epitaph, said over your unidentifiable remains, will be: “He played by the rules.”