A Note From Dave Fulson of Safari Classics Productions
As many of you know, I am one of Craig Boddington's partners in our two TV shows "Tracks Across Africa" and "Hornady's Africa With Craig Boddington and Ivan Carter." During a phone call with Craig this morning from Namibia, Craig asked me to post this to answer any questions on what is sure to be a well-traveled topic in the rumor mill.
Craig's eldest daughter, Brittany, is an avid and fairly experienced big game hunter with multiple safaris under her belt, several of which were targeting dangerous game. I have filmed several of her safaris for the show, and always found Brittany to be safety conscious where firearms were concerned, a result of learning under a father who stresses the point of firearm safety at all times. Last week while filming a leopard with dogs hunt with our Tracks TV crew in Namibia, an incident happened that resulted in: (1) a flat out charge from an UNWOUNDED but agitated male leopard; (2) a dog handler being savaged by the cat; (3) an attempt by Brittany to shoot what was, by the time of her shot, a wounded leopard, resulted in accidentally hitting and wounding the man being mauled.
At the time of the accident, Craig was filming in Zimbabwe, but flew to Namibia to assist as best he could, and as you can imagine to comfort his daughter from the obvious anxiety of the situation she was dealing with. The attending PH was Nic Kruger, a first rate hunter and co-owner of Omujeve Safaris. Nic is an experienced leopard man, and we have enjoyed several wonderful safaris under his and his brother Corne's care.
For those of you who have never experienced a close range charge from an infuriated leopard, trust me, it is scary as hell and it happens with shocking speed. It is easy to second guess these situations, especially when the facts of the hunt are unknown or blurred second-hand accounts. The following is the official police report as filed by both Nic and Brittany. Please read both accounts, and I believe you will reach the same conclusion as I have, that this was a very fast-moving situation that both PH and client were trying their level best to control to the best of their ability and skill.
As I said, due to the last name involved, this is bound to get some attention in safari circles. Craig thought, and I agreed, that posting the police reports would be the best method to make sure the facts were accurately portrayed. I have seen some fairly experienced hunters loose their heads under far less stressful situations than the flat out charge of a leopard at point blank range. I think Brittany did her best to stand firm and shoot what she believed to be a wounded cat. The accident was just that, a terrible twist of luck that can happen to each and every one of us that hunt dangerous game.