Safari Super Shots

I’ve made it a point, over the years, to quiz PHs about their clients’ shooting, because they get to see more people use guns on game than anyone else, and Buzz and Myles were no exception. The question I put to them was: Of all the hunters you’ve taken on safari, how many were exceptional shots?

Both men have been PHs for 20 years. Both have guided around 200 clients (the number is not higher because a lot of their clients are repeaters) and the answer, from both, was four. Four people out of 200; eight out of 400. Buzz and Myles both pointed out that almost all of their clients are elite shooters to begin with. Almost all of them have years and years of hunting experience in their own countries, and have several safaris under their belts in addition. They use the best equipment. But only four each got into the winner’s circle.

What defined them was, they never missed. Ever. They hit all their routine shots, and no matter how difficult or odd the other targets were, they got them, too.

Buzz put it this way: “A superior shot is a hunter who has the knowledge to see an opportunity and the self-confidence to take advantage of it.”

Myles’ answer was unnerving because he said exactly the same thing I have written on more than one occasion, and said it almost in the same words: “Superior shots are very fast, but they never seem rushed. There’s no fooling around, no twirling of dials or forgetting to flip the safety. It’s all economy of movement. They’re like the great quarterbacks who get rid of the ball almost instantly, but make it seem like they have all the time in the world.”

Much African shooting is snap shooting and almost all of it is offhand. You get one chance at something that appears and vanishes in a second or two, and that’s it.

As they say at Gunsite Academy, “A good fast shot is better than a slow perfect shot because you’re never going to get a perfect shot.”

Apparently this is a universal truth.