One of my favorite movies of all time!  The Ghost and the Darkness is timeless and the story remains intriguing to this day . . . The rifles that killed the man-eaters of Tsavo 

New evidence has been uncovered supporting claims that the lions depicted in The Ghost and the Darkness regularly ate humans.

Lt. Col. John Henry Patterson, the British engineer in charge of building a bridge across the River Tsavo who eventually shot and killed both lions, reported that the lions had killed and consumed, at least partially, 135 people, but that number has long been questioned.

A 2009 study of chemical traces in the lions’ teeth estimated that the two consumed about 35 people—but the lions still had human on their menu often enough for it to show up in their teeth about 120 years later.

But there was more to uncover . . . 

The study also confirmed what has long bee suspected, that at least one of the Tsavo lions had a severe jaw injury, which likely prevented it from hunting their typical prey. They therefore resorted to the comparatively soft and easy-to-take-down humans, who were in abundance at the work camp for the bridge and railroad construction.

Regardless of the actual death tally for the Tsavo lions, we do know what kind of guns the real Patterson used while in Africa.

From his book, The Man-Eaters of Tsavo, which you can get as an e-book for free, Patterson says of his firearms, “the battery, to be sufficient for all needs, should consist of a .450 express, a .303 sporting rifle, and a 12-bore shot gun; and I should consider 250 rounds of .450 (50 hard and 200 soft), 300 rounds of .303 (100 hard and 200 soft), and 500 12-bore shot cartridges of say, the 6 and 8 sizes, sufficient for a three months’ trip. Leather bandoliers to carry 50 each of these different cartridges would also prove very useful.”

In modern terms, that translates to a .450 Nitro Express, a .303 British, and a 12 gauge shotgun.

Can someone please explain how someone could be so dumb as to put their head into the mouth of a crocodile? Oy vey . . . Malaysia legalises hunting deadly wild saltwater crocodiles

Officials in the eastern Malaysian Sarawak region are hoping that grim tales of limp fishermen’s corpses wedged between the jaws of giant crocodiles will soon be no more after granting 45 licences to hunters on Friday.

“Those who have obtained their licences from us can start harvesting crocodiles in the wild,” said Engkamat Lading, a local forestry department official.

 Most of the permits will only allow hunters to sell crocodile meat locally, with three applicants for licences to export meat, skin or hatchlings under international rules governed by the Conventional on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna, or CITES, according to the Borneo Post, a local newspaper that carried the official announcement.

The hunters will not get any official support beyond the granting of the licence, said Mr Lading, and the limited number of permits suggests that Sarawak will not yet be opening its jungles to troupes of croc-hunters on the lookout for a toothy trophy.

But Sarawak’s croc population is booming, leading to an increasing human toll.

Speaking of crocodiles and bad choices did you know that there was a real life Crocodile Dundee?  The astounding yet tragic tale of the real-life Crocodile Dundee

Despite the popularity of the movie’s titular character, few people outside of Australia knew the story of the man who inspired the character: Rod Ansell.

A decade before the film exported the Australian Outback to the rest of the world, Rod Ansell grabbed headlines in his home country by surviving a 56-day ordeal in the bush. What followed were interviews with the press, book deals, TV coverage, and eventually that very popular movie.

Ansell never saw a dime from the movie though, and the fame that he never asked for eventually contributed to his unraveling and eventual death during a shootout with police in 1999.

Twenty-two years earlier, the incident that made Rod Ansell an unlikely celebrity in Australia occurred when the then 23-year-old set out alone on a fishing trip — though he would later admit that he was poaching crocodiles — and became stranded after his boat capsized in an isolated part of Western Australia.

Ansell had told his girlfriend that he’d be gone for a few months, so when he became lost there was no one to sound the alarm. Alone with only his two dogs, a rifle, knife, roll of bedding, and a few cans of food survive on, Ansell found himself isolated on a deserted stretch of the Fitzmaurice River.

More than 120 miles from the nearest human civilization, Ansell recalled hunting wild buffalo, sometimes drinking their blood to stave off dehydration, and sleeping in trees at night to avoid detection from large crocodiles and dingos.

Emaciated but otherwise healthy, he was eventually rescued when he heard horse bells and found three Aboriginal ranchers and their cattle manager.

Lonestar Boars with Todd Huey – This Texas LEO is an expert at exterminating hogs. Equipped with the best in night optics, firearms and hunting tactics, his youtube channel is a wealth of information. Also, I get to go hunting with him next month (woohoo).

There’s a dark side to hunting and it’s called night vision. Night hunting is for those hunters that are not morning people and prefer to sleep in. It also prevents hunting depravation depression disorder or HDDD during off-season. Or if you’re a romantic just think of it as a way to spice up your marriage with hunting (wink wink) . . . Best Night Vision Rifle Scopes for AR15 and other Tactical Rifles –

One of the most common questions we get asked by our customers is to suggest the best night vision riflescope for their tactical rifle setup.  The answer to this question is not simple. There are many factors involved in this decision.

On this page we will outline several options and point out their strengths and weaknesses. Then you decide. No matter which scope you decide to buy for your AR15 type rifle, rest asured that you will receive the best possible service and lowest possible price when shopping with the Night Vision Guys.

Got hogs? In Texas, It’s not uncommon to kill multiple hogs at one time. These creatures must be exterminated but you may not feel like butchering 10 hogs in one night. Recently, I learned of a company —Wild Boar Meat Company— that will pick up your dead hogs. They turn the meat into food products including dog food. There are a few rules of course . . .

  • Gut wild boar within 30 minutes of kill
  • Heart, lungs, and liver remain on carcass; for images click here
  • Get carcass to processing plant within 8 hours of kill

31 Responses to Liberte Austin’s Hunting Digest: Man Eaters, Croc Control and Hogs After Dark

  1. “One of my favorite movies of all time! The Ghost in the Darkness is timeless.”

    It’s actually “The Ghost and the Darkness”. Really one of the scariest movies ever and it’s a true story.

  2. All he had to survive with was a knife, 2 dogs, a rifle and canned food? Most of us call that a hunting trip.

    Now, if he had crawled out of a broken plane with a broken arm and a swiss army knife, that would have been a tale.

    Poachers suck.

  3. That is a great movie. Val kilmer is often underrated I think. In Heat he was awesome, he was great in the above mentioned movie, he was great in Tombstone, then there’s the awesome Elvis scene in True Romance.

  4. Patterson’s The Man-Eaters of Tsavo is in my Kindle library and a favorite. The style is delightful but the content is what makes the book such a fine read. Patterson was a very remarkable man, much to be admired.

    I think it’s about time for a second reading…

  5. JWM
    He was poaching crocodiles and his boat was flipped so he lost fishing rods and most other gear. I don’t agree with poaching but 56 days by yourself is more than most people can handle with planning let alone survival situation.

    In the first series of “Alone” the winner made 56 days with gps panic button and a crew in the background. One contestant a police officer dropped out in the first day. I have been out for a week by myself but 56 days no way.

  6. “Recently, I learned of a company —Wild Boar Meat Company— that will pick up your dead hogs”

    Roughly what do they pay on live-dead piggies?

  7. I’m probably alone (very alone) here, but…I never cared much for the Crocodile Dundee movie. It was okay, but I didn’t think it was the best movie of the year or anything.

    Of course, that was the same year that Highlander (i.e. The Greatest Movie Ever Made) came out, so everything else paled in comparison….

    • I am Connor MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod. I was born in 1518 in the village of Glenfinnan on the shores of Loch Shiel. And I speak with a French accent.

      • There’s a couple of places I’ve been. Glenfinnan is where Bonnie Prince Charlie landed and met the chiefs of the clans supporting the “Rising of the ’45”. There is a tower there to mark the occasion with a statue atop it of Charlie (and thus far nobody wants to tear it down). Getting to the top of the tower would be nigh impossible if you’re claustrophobic as the stairway is as narrow and tight as any I’ve ever seen.

        I’ve also been to Dunvegan Castle on the Isle of Skye, the ancestral home of the MacCleods. I managed to get a photo of it with a rainbow arching over it. It is also the home of the “Fairie Flag”, a relic of which it is claimed that the MacLeods will never be vanquished in battle as long as it exists.

        There, boys and girls. You now have your trivia lesson for the day. You will amaze friend and foe alike if you can work this into a conversation. I’ve not the least doubt that Ralph can do it..

        • Never having been there, I’d not be qualified to offer a comparison. All I can offer about Glenfinnan is that the passage is somewhat less than wide enough for one person at a time to navigate its winding course.

        • I should have clicked the link and watched the video first! I would proffer in return that not only would none of those fat people make it to the top of the Glenfinnan Memorial, it would be a tight squeeze for Colin’s friend!

  8. The man eating lion pair in Tsavo might have had some other “issues” as they were males but maneless. Would be nice to know more.

  9. Patterson killed one of his lions with a Martini, which is a long way form an ideal game rifle. It is a slow rifle to reload under stress.

    The .450 Express called out by Patterson might not have been the .450 Nitro Express. “Nitro” in a cartridge name in that era meant “smokeless powder.” From Patterson’s book, we find that he experimented with double charges of powder in his 12 gauge shotgun – which leads me to believe that he was shooting black powder loads in his shotgun and, I believe, the .450. A double charge of smokeless powder will blow apart just about any shotgun then or today – but a double charge of black powder results in more smoke, more noise and a modest increase in velocity. The .450 Nitro Express came out in (I believe) 1898, which is the same year as when Patterson was posted to Tsavo. Due to logistics and expense, I’d assume that Patterson was using the .450 Express, a black powder round which had been around for awhile by that time.

    The .303 he used he commonly referred to as “the magazine rifle” in his book. Martini’s are single shots, the Express rifle would have been a SxS double rifle, and his 12 gauge was most likely a SxS as well.

  10. I hunt hogs almost exclusively at night, and this summer has been a good one for pork. The only hog hunting worth a damn during the day is in the winter and early spring, when the cool temperatures and depth of their food sources gets them moving around. Take your time and you can get right up on them.

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