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#1865659 - 12/13/07 PHs, guides and practice
Royce Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 12/28/03
Posts: 4759
Loc: zip code 59602
Professional hunters in Africa and dangerous game guides like Phil Shoemaker depend on their ability to shoot quickly, cooly and accurately under stress.
The ability to handle a ten pound 458 Winchester Magnum or even bigger rifle is not something one is born with.
Typically, what type of practice routines do these professional hunters use? How often do they practice, and how do they practice?


RV 728 BP
#1865729 - 12/13/07 Re: PHs, guides and practice [Re: Royce]
Boise Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 02/05/01
Posts: 4507
Loc: Rapid City, SD, US
I've only hunted with two PHs. The first I only saw shoot once, missied a difficult shot on a dove with a 300 RUM. He had spent a lifetime of culling game and I had confidence in his ability to shoot. His son who was training to become a PH shot often and practiced a great deal.

The second took several shots while we were hunting, he was one of the worse shots I've ever hunted with. He was shooting a new Blaaaazer and wasn't familar with the rifle.

While hunting with the second guide we were driving to see the rhino herd on a RSA gamefarm. We spotted a nice impala ram and took off into the scrub for a possible shot. After a considerable time the guide asked me why I kept looking around so much. I told him I was looking for rhino, with a surprised look he told me that was a good idea. We returned to the truck and proceeded to the rhino feeding area, a short distance away.

#1865823 - 12/13/07 Re: PHs, guides and practice [Re: Royce]
1minute Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 01/28/01
Posts: 19129
Loc: Burns/Hines, Oregon, USA
I've found in nearly all fields of life, that the term "professional" is not always paired with a high level of expertise. Indeed there are some that are a true pleasure watch as they perform their duites, and there are others that should feel guilty about taking someone's $$$$.

I would never assume that a PH had any greater expertise than I. They should be more familiar with their biome and habits of the critters, but may not be a better shot. If the TV folks are an example, I do not care much for the safety aspects of some of their gun handling. I'm not fond of looking down anyone's barrel, regardless of his credentials.

Edited by 1minute (12/13/07)

#1865904 - 12/13/07 Re: PHs, guides and practice [Re: 1minute]
Ken Howell Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 12/14/00
Posts: 29348
A similar mistake that I've made more than once is equating skill with ethics. As a result, I've often been scammed by skillful artisans whom I assumed were honorable because they were masters of their crafts. For example, a couple of the most skillful stock-makers whom I've known have turned-out to be two of the crookedest crooks whom I've known.
"Good enough" isn't.

Always take your responsibilities seriously but never yourself.

#1865952 - 12/13/07 Re: PHs, guides and practice [Re: Ken Howell]
458Win Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 3006
Loc: AK peninsula
As has been pointed out, shooting ability among PH's and guides varies. Some countries like Zimbabwe actually require some degree of proficiency and a few of us are practicing rifle loonies who shoot a lot and have been at it a long time - but most are not. In N. America your guide is usually (hopefully !!) someone who knows the immediate area, game and weather patterns and how to hunt but from my experience I would say their ability to shoot is no better than the average hunter with the same level of hunting experience.

Zimbabwe PH Doug Kok made a comment to me during a hunt that summed up the ability of many long time PH's when he said "I may not be a good shot -but I am an experienced shot"
Phil Shoemaker - Alaska Master Guide
NRA Benefactor
Alaska Hunter Education Instructor

Anyone who claims the 30-06 is not effective has either not used one, or else is unwittingly commenting on their marksmanship.

#1865989 - 12/13/07 Re: PHs, guides and practice [Re: 458Win]
okie john Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 01/25/01
Posts: 1920
Loc: seattle, wa, usa
There are several excellent articles here:

"Rifle Lessons Learned" talks a lot about the PH test in Zimbabwe. JJHACK also has made some posts on this topic.

Okie John

#1866041 - 12/13/07 Re: PHs, guides and practice [Re: okie john]
Royce Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 12/28/03
Posts: 4759
Loc: zip code 59602
It doesn't surprise me a great deal, but it does seem ironic that with all the attention given to the minutia of dangerous game rifles that more attention isn't given to the proficiency of the shooter.
I would guess the odds of being able to stop a charge from a lion or bear would go up a lot faster by practicing on a weekly basis with a given rifle than by switching from a push feed Remington to a CRF something or other.
Speaking of guides,I know a few elk guides and former elk guides here in Montana. Some are excellent shots, I have hunted with one that is the worst game shot I have ever seen and actually has little interest in hunting and less in rifles. Another is a life long poacher. Some "GUIDES" guide by driving their dandies around in a Suburban and having them shoot deer out of the windows on a ranch where there is no hunting pressure due to no public access. They hunt elk about the same way. Other guides take their hunters out back of the back of beyond. Guides,like all the rest of us, fit no particular stereotype.



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