Video Emerges of 'Inept' Elephant Hunt by NRA's Chief

One critic calls shooting by Wayne LaPierre 'inept' and 'clumsy'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 28, 2021 6:42 AM CDT
Video Emerges of 'Inept' Elephant Hunt by NRA's Chief
In this April 26, 2019, file photo, the NRA's Wayne LaPierre attends the NRA's annual convention in Indianapolis.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

A video shot for an NRA-sponsored TV series was hidden from the world for nearly eight years—until now. The footage, obtained by the New Yorker and the Trace, shows CEO Wayne LaPierre and his wife, Susan, shooting two savanna elephants in Botswana in September 2013. (The elephants have since been declared endangered.) The video was originally meant to be shown on Under Wild Skies to help promote the NRA to hunters. LaPierre, under the direction of a guide, wounds his elephant from a distance with his first shot, but can't complete the kill, firing three times at point-blank range but at the wrong part of the elephant. The show's host finally fires the ultimately fatal shot. Susan LaPierre, however, didn't have as much trouble, killing an elephant by shooting it between its eyes. "That was awesome." she says, before cutting off its tail. "Victory!" she says."

The footage never aired, due to fears it would turn into a PR disaster for the NRA, and now that it's seen the light of day, those fears appear justified. "These intelligent beings certainly shouldn't be used as paper targets by an inept marksman," Tanya Sanerib of the Center for Biological Diversity tells USA Today, adding that she found the video "sickening," and that it was a "brutal, clumsy slaughter." But an NRA spokesman tells the New York Times that the hunt followed all regulations and had the proper permits, and that such activity in Botswana is "celebrated" for its economic and cultural benefits. The Trace and New Yorker note that body parts from the elephants were shipped back to the US for souvenirs. Among those body parts: the elephants' feet, which were turned into stools for the LaPierres' home. More on the hunt here, including the video. (More Wayne LaPierre stories.)

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