It Is With A Wounded Leopard

My Shot at


LEOPARDS ARE NIGHT HUNTERS and I supposed, from what I had read, J that getting one would be simply a matter of luck. But Mrs. Keith wanted a leopard rug, so when I arrived in Africa I laid down the 500 shillings for the special leopard license. John Lawrence, my white hunter, made no objection. He said we'd get a leopard all right—in fact, with any luck at all, we'd get ali five of Africa's most dangerous game. John is seldom wrong; we did just that.

We made camp on the 12th of November near Lake Manyara, on a low ridge overlooking the plains on one side and a strip of heavy palm timber on the other. We were there for lion and leopard, and that night I heard both—the moaning of a lion in the distance, and the harsh, grating cough of a leopard (chui, as the natives call him) not far from camp.

John was very anxious to hang up a couple of lion baits that evening, and after a hard day of stalking, we finally arrived back in camp with an Oryx which the boys needed for meat, and also a big bull wildebeest which had absorbed two of my .333 OKH bullets and two of John's 175 grain 7x64 mm's before he stopped moving. So we had our cat bait. We tied the wildebeest to the jeep, dragged him to a suitable location for a lion stalk, left half of him there, and hauled the other half to a likely spot in a group of palms.

We ran the first bait at daylight, me with my .476 loaded with soft nose, and John carrying soft nose in his .416 Rigby. Nothing had touched the first bait, but a leopard had pulled down and eaten his fill from the second. From the tracks, there were two leopards. Hyenas had finished off anything left by the leopards.

After a hearty breakfast of fresh pineapple, bacon and eggs and toast, we drove around the lower end of Lake Manyara to a farm. The farmer said a leopard had taken his dog the night before, but baboons were very bad there and he did not want the leopard killed because it helped control them. We did hunt for buffalo in the dense swamp grass and cattails there, and on the way back to camp I picked up a fine mess of guineas with the 12 bore.

That evening, we went out for another lion bait and I got a prone shot at a string of wildebeest running across my front at 350 yards. I picked a big bull, swung the cross hairs well out in front of him, and cut loose. He ran right into the heavy 300 grain slug. It took him in shoulder in line with the spine and, for a wonder, penetrated deep enough to effect an instant kill. Galu, the native tracker who was with me, gave a big smile and said, "Piga mizzuri." which, John told me, meant, "Shoot good." It was a comment I value.

We hung that beast as we had the others and found, when we visited him next morning, that a leopard had eaten a big hole in the top of one ham. John Lawrence said, "Fine, we will get him this evening."

During the day, we hunted the plains and I killed a fine Grants at 350 yards with the 333 O.K.H. Then, about four o'clock, we drove around in a circle toward the bait on which the leopard had fed.

We drove within a half mile of the lion bait, then sneaked in to the cover of a thorn tree about 100 yards down wind and slightly higher than the bait tree. Here we took up our evening vigil for the leopard. Just as it was getting dark, I saw him come in to the bait. He showed his head around the base of the tree, but each time I tried to get a bead on it in the failing light with my big rifle, he would pull back out of sight. After three such failures, I motioned to John to call it off, as it was too dark.

That evening, John told me a very interesting leopard episode. Jacky Blacklaws, one of the 17 White Hunters of Wh ite Hunters, Ltd., had a client out for leopard. He had already killed his lion, so did not want another. When they approached the bait tree, there was a big lion on the ground and a leopard up the tree. Jacky told his client to go ahead and shoot the leopard. He did, but made a very poor shot, hitting the leopard in the guts. The leopard came out of the tree in a flash and ran for a bush-choked gully, with the lion in hot pursuit. The lion ran the leopard

Old Chui, smallest of "big five," is not least dangerous. Fine trophy was taken by Marge and Don Hopkins, well-known U. S. big game hunter.

up another tree and sat down at the base of it to keep him there. Jacky told his client to bust the leopard again, which he did, and again made a bad shot, hitting too far back. Chui then jumped from the tree and charged Jacky and his client, followed closely by the lion. Again Jacky's client shot at the charging leopard, this time making a good shot that killed him. As the leopard rolled toward them, the lion pounced on it and grabbed it in his jaws. Then, deciding it was dead, he stalked off without further interest in either the dead leopard or the two men.

Frank Miller, a white hunter for Russell Douglass of Tanganyika Tours, told me of his mauling by a leopard last year. He had a couple of clients out, one of them a doctor. One of them wounded a leopard. It ran into heavy bush and big rocks on a small hillside. Frank climbed the hill with his .475 No. 2 double rifle, looked all around, and threw rocks into most of the likely cover. Then they all three circled the hill and still could not locate the leopard. Finally, Frank spotted a very dense piece of bush and decided he must be in there, so he pushed the safety off on the big rifle and went in. Chui was there alright. He jumped Frank. Frank got off one barrel of the big rifle firing from the hip, but missed the fast moving cat. The leopard knocked him down. Frank simply fed the spotted devil his left elbow while he grabbed him by the throat with his right hand. The leopard was chewing into his left arm and elbow and trying to get his hind legs up to rip Frank's belly open, but Frank got a foot up under the leopard's belly and kicked the cat clear. But Chui came right back and grabbed the back of Frank's head, with both paws and teeth.

While the leopard was chewing on Frank, the Doctor yelled for him to hold still, as he was going to shoot. So Frank simply took the mauling and held still while the good doctor fired, hitting the cat, but not fatally. Chui then charged the doctor, who missed—but the other client hit him and killed him. The doctor did a fine job of patching on Frank's scalp, and sewing it back in place, and Frank recovered rapidly. Just the same, I had no desire for any hand-to-hand fight with Old Chui.

Next morning again, we left camp before daylight, and drove to within about three fourths of a mile of the bait tree. John looked everything over as the light grew stronger, and saw nothing. Finally John said, "He is not here," and started walking up to the bait tree. The trackers and I went along.

There was a small swale in front of us and to the right of the bait tree, and as we approached to about 50 yards of the tree, out went our leopard from the grass of this swale. He ran like the devil as I dropped to a sitting position and followed him with my sights. I know I could have hit him, but John admonished me to "bust him if he stops," and Chui did not stop. He went right into the long grass in full flight and, not wanting to chance a misplaced slug, I refrained from shooting him. He was a big, heavy, thick necked leopard, a real beauty, evidently a fine old Tom. John said, "We'll run the other two baits, then come back here about three o'clock in the afternoon and wait until night for this chappie."

No lion had been near either of the other two baits, but leopards had pulled one down and devoured it all. During the day, we would string toilet paper over a bait to keep the buzzards away. Then, before evening, we would pull it off and leave the bait for the lion or leopard that might come in the night.

About 3 P. M. we drove out to the bait tree where we had twice seen the big leopard, taking about all the boys from camp with us. John had them scatter out all over the place after removing the toilet (Continued on page 45)

Keith's party used Jeep bush-car to drag long-shot Oryx back to camp; later went out with gazelle to bait area where leopard sign had been located. Sfurdy light truck is essential African vehicle.

Model I860 Colt with short barrel was given to Peron who liked to see himself as modern liberator.

Juan Peron's San Martin Colts

Revolvers with San Martin's name were given Peron as genuine relics of South America's great Liberator


San Martin Colts bear numbers in I 13,800 series, made about 1864.

LIBERATOR OF HALF of South America was the General Jose de San J Martin. The Peruvian Congress made him "Protector of Peru." Ricardo de Rojas in his biography of San Martin calls him "the saint of the sword." The liberator brought freedom to the people by breaking the Spanish rule. But after all his military exploits, he retired to France, disgusted with the way the politicians had handled the governments of the countries he had freed but too modest to seize power as a dictator. He died at Grand Bourg, near Boulogne, in 1850. Modern Argentina venerates him as the national hero. Juan Peron, as Argentina's president, had sought to identify his own career with that of the liberator, Gral San Martin.

One hundred years after San Martin's death, the year 1950 was proclaimed by Peron as "Ano San-Martiniano" and a special museum was founded to house all the relics of the great man's history. Celebrations to his memory occurred. And it was in this national "atmosphere" that the discovery of the San Martin Colts took place.

Sometime during 1950 my friend, John P., an American engineer in Argentina and a gun enthusiast, phoned me: "Have you (Continued on page 63)

Cpl. Jesse Donahue of Mullene, W. Va., and Lt. Robert W. Mayer, Mt. Vernon, N. Y.p examine MP 43. First of new items found was given to British, others went to U. S.


LEAPING AT THE GUN FAN from the pages of every i magazine these days are advertisements dealing with the sale of foreign military weapons. A brief rundown through the pages of any of today's leading outdoor magazines will show that the gun enthusiast can buy just about any weapon he needs to round out his collection. The variety is infinite, from the smoothbore flintlock musket that would tickle a Mau Mau's heart, to the 20 mm. anti-tank rifle complete with ammunition. There's no doubt about it, if a fellow has the old folding green, he can easily become a number one gun collector.

Reading through these ads, it's rather refreshing to note that the import firms handling such foreign arms are generally completely honest in describing their wares. Rifle bores are often depicted as not only rusty and pitted, but even in such sad shape that one must practically search for the remnants of rifling. Yes. friends, the sales pitch is definitely on the level—and, I might add, completely enticing for the chap who loves to put an old weapon back into presentable shape.

For example, without much more trouble than that of writing a check, one can order a rusty, guaranteed-un-serviceable military smokepole at the set price as ad-

is You'd Buy

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