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What's the best way to defend yourself if you
run into a grizzly while hunting—or if a grizzly
tries to run into you?

By Anthony Acerrano

Nearly all authorities on the subject agree that the first two words to memorize in this regard are "pepper spray." I'm fully aware that some hunters associate pepper spray with politically correct, granola-eating, New Age, tree-hugger crapola. "Just give me my gun," these guys brag, "and I'll drop any charging griz like a sack of rocks."

Other hunters are less fanatical on the subject, but simply have serious (and understandable) doubts about the efficacy of a spray can to stop one of the largest and most dangerous animals in North America. Doesn't it just make sense that a high-caliber bullet is more potent, and more effective in a life-or-death situation?

It’s a reasonable question, and by no means should hunters dismiss the power and value of their firearms, as we'll discuss later. But as is so often the case when it comes to bears, the answer is more complex than it might first appear.

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Many of today's wildlife management professionals don't understand hunting, but efforts are underway to change that.

By Diana Rupp

I remember a wildlife biology class I took in college. The class was full of people who were interested in animals, but who didn't seem to have ever spent much time outdoors. When I showed up for a field trip to a local forest one misty day wearing camo rain gear, I attracted some strange looks from my peers. My professor, however, caught on right away, asking me if I was a hunter. When I said yes, he had me point out buck rubs and deer trails to the other students, most of whom simply stared in amazement. My professor wasn't a hunter himself, but he recognized that my background had already given me a general understanding of some of the concepts he was trying to get across.

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Question:


I'm headed to South Africa next spring for my first plains game hunt with a friend of mine who is new to hunting. We'll be hunting for kudu, impala, warthog, blesbok, reedbuck, and zebra. My friend's current rifle is a .270 Ruger M77 Hawkeye and he's trying to decide what to  do for his second rifle. He's strongly considering either the Ruger Compact  Magnum in .300 RCM or the Ruger African in .375 Ruger. Do you have any experience with either of these cartridges? 

 

My primary rifle is a 9.3x62mm and I can either go lighter with a Ruger No. 1 in 6.5x55 Swede or heavier with a custom Ruger No. 1 in .500/416 NE for my second rifle. What do you  recommend? We're putting in the range time before we go and we've started shooting from sticks as well. Is there anything else we should be doing to prepare?   
 

 

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How to submit articles and photos to Sports Afield

Guidelines for Writers

Sports Afield is America’s premier hunting adventure magazine, founded in 1887. The magazine is devoted to people who share a passion for high-end hunting and shooting, especially North American and African big-game hunting. Our focus is on adventure hunts for species such as sheep, elk, caribou, moose, trophy whitetails and mule deer, bears, African plains game, and dangerous species such as Cape buffalo, lion, and leopard. Coverage of fine guns, optics, clothing, and equipment is an essential part of the magazine. To a more limited extent, we also feature stories on upland hunting and big-game hunts outside North America and Africa.

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Weatherby's new rifle for women is accurate, elegant, and fun to shoot.

by Diana Rupp

It’s not surprising to me that many of the women I know shoot Weatherby rifles. Their excellent quality and accuracy aside, Weatherby rifles are often built with Monte-Carlo-style stocks, which tend to fit women better than the more traditional straight stocks on many American rifles. Because women tend to have proportionally longer necks than men, female shooters tend to prefer a higher comb, especially on scoped rifles, since it allows for faster target acquisition.

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Question:

I'm a long time fan of yours from Australia.  I thought you would be the best person to answer a question like this: Is a .460 Weatherby Magnum, using 550-grain Woodleigh softs and solids, traveling at 2,350 fps, a good load for buffalo and elephant?

I have read that the .460 Mag is not popular in Africa. Is that because the factory ammunition is loaded too hot?  Therefore, if you were to download velocity, add more bullet weight and remove the muzzle brake, of course, would this put a smile on a PH's face?

Answer:

You are correct, the .460 Weatherby Magnum is not popular in Africa and with good reason: very few and far between are those who can shoot this cartridge with any degree of competency when full-house loads are used.

Horror stories abound…14 shots at a buffalo… big bull elephants being missed completely at spitting distances… but I will not go there.

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Less can be more when it comes to the right calibers and cartridges for Africa’s antelopes.

By Craig Boddington

The zebra stallion was about 125 yards away, quartering slightly toward us. Donna was steady on the sticks, and when her shot broke we heard the solid thunk of the bullet striking. So far that was according to plan, but then things got interesting. The zebra reared up on his hind legs, fell over backward—and that was it.

A big zebra can weigh 800 pounds; it is, after eland, probably the largest of what we consider “African plains game.” Zebras are also very tough. I’ve spent some long days following poorly hit zebras, and I’ve seen relatively few drop to the shot like that. PH Karl van Zyl, of course, has seen a lot more zebras shot than I have, and probably spent a lot more long days following them. We both wanted to be diplomatic, but our immediate conclusions were exactly the same: Donna must have pulled the shot a bit high and it caught the spine…or drifted left into the neck.

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Sports Afield
Editorial/Business Offices
15621 Chemical Lane
Huntington Beach, CA 92649
tel: 800/451-4788 or
714/373-4910
fax: 714/894-4949

You can leave a message using the general contact form below.

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Feds delist Louisiana black bears and propose the same for Yellowstone grizzlies.

As spring bear seasons get underway around North America, bear populations throughout the continent are thriving. Recent news stories highlighted the recovery of a population of black bears in Louisiana and increasing numbers of grizzly bears in the Lower 48.

In March, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced that after twenty-four years of recovery efforts by a broad array of partners, the Louisiana black bear—the inspiration for the Teddy bear—will be removed from the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife.
 

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Question:

I am having a custom rifle built and have narrowed the caliber to either the .375 H&H, .404, or the .416 Rigby. I would like to use the rifle for hunting and back up use in Alaska for brown bear, and moose and hopefully take it to Africa someday. All three calibers have their good points and I am really having a hard time making up my mind.


Answer:

I could write a book on your question. In fact I have covered all this pretty thoroughly in my latest buffalo hunting book, Africa's Most Dangerous. It has an extensive chapter of caliber and bullet selection which I think you'll find interesting.

To be honest, I think you'll get more use out of a scoped .375 H&H than you will with either of the other two you mention. Nothing beats the H&H for versatility. With 210-, 235-, and 250-grainers it can shoot as flat as a .30-06 and with modern 350- and 380-grainers it hits almost as hard as the .400s. It'll cover the whole African spectrum better than the other two will if that is what you want.

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