The African Crocodile and How to Hunt Them
The African Crocodile
The most deadly existing reptile, the crocodile has always been on the “Man’s worst enemies” list. It evolved over 170 million years ago as an efficient killing machine. More people are killed and eaten by crocodiles each year in Africa than by all other animals combined. Their instinct is predation, to kill any meat that floats their way. Native’s in Africa won’t eat crocodiles because they feel they are eating their relatives. That’s how many man eating crocodiles there are in Africa. To crocs, we were just part of the food chain, and man eating crocodiles are fairly common. Crocodile hunters often discover bracelets, bits of jewelry and human remains in the stomach of crocs when they clean them.
Hunting the African Crocodile
A big ‘flattie’ as crocs are often referred to by professional hunters, is a supreme test of stalking ability, patience and rifle accuracy. Interestingly enough, the Nile Crocodile is not widely thought of as a sporting animal in most hunting circles. But that is slowly changing, and with good reason. The crocodile is extremely intelligent, wary, and better adapted to a home that man finds it difficult to hunt in: water. He is widely distributed in Africa and even small pools of water should be approached with extreme caution because you just never who’s at home. Usually, crocodiles are hunted from a ground blind on the bank once a big male has been found. Have your rifle sighted in “dead nuts” because you have to hit the brain, or the spinal column just behind the skull and neither is a large target. Crocodile hunts are often done as a croc, hippo combo hunt. It’s surprisingly challenging and you should plan on at least 10 days to find and take a big one.
Most crocs are taken by baiting. Big males are territorial, which hunters can use to their advantage. Local tribesmen will know where every big croc lives, along with his preferred basking sites. Cruising by boat using good optics is another good way to find a trophy crocodile. Once a good male has been found, either a bait will be put out or a stalk will be made if the croc is on the shore. A basking croc is a prime candidate for a stalk, as that is when they are at their most vulnerable. Bait will be chained up near the basking site and blood and entrails will be thrown into the water. A very well concealed blind (crocodiles have amazing eyesight) will be built nearby, usually within 80 yards. Once a big croc finds the bait, he will defend it vigorously… and now it’s time to hunt.
Shot Placement for Crocodiles
No other game animal on the planet requires such precise first shot placement. Only two shots are effective in anchoring a Crocodile; a shot placed into his golf ball sized brain or one that hits the spinal column just behind the head.
Hunting crocodiles requires precise shot placement, and an accurate, scoped rifle is an absolute must. Do not try to take on crocodile with an open-sighted rifle under any circumstances. Large crocodiles are truly enormous, and will break up all but the best of bullets. Only premium soft-points should be considered when hunting crocs. Some pros suggest solids for the tough bone structure of a really big croc, but today’s premium bullets are capable of killing the largest of crocs, provided they are shot with an adequate cartridge.
I have tackled big crocs with my 7mm magnum, which is fine for the brain shot, but the .375 is a better choice for the neck shot, and probably the best choice for a really big crocodile. As always, consult your P.H. on caliber selection prior to your trip and heed his advice on what gun and ammo to pack for this unique safari.
Bowhunting Shot Placement
If you are bowhunting, shoot your croc just front of mid-body. If your arrow hits a bit high, it will still be solidly in the lungs, and if you are a tad low you will hit the heart. A shot just behind the shoulder as if you are shooting a North American animal misses everything.
When you shoot a croc through the lungs they quickly crawl out of the water so they don’t drown. A lung shot crocodile is easily recovered.
Man Eating Crocodiles
A hunter shot this man eating crocodile in Africa and when they were cleaning him, they found a partially digested person inside. If you have a weak stomach, beware. These photos are graphic to say the least.
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