It sits on our north wall and acts like the proverbial elephant in the room. People who have been coming into the store for a long time will suddenly stop and ask, “When did ya’ll get that in here?!”
And YES, it’s real!
Our store is covered wall-to-wall-to-wall in critters from almost every continent, but the elephant is arguably the crown jewel of the lot. The behemoth was originally shot in 1949 by F. Kirk Johnson, II , of Ft. Worth, TX. He and his family hunted almost every year in what used to be British East Africa, (now Kenya).
The elephant’s tusks weighed 154 and 156 pounds, respectively, for a total of 310 pounds of ivory – the 7th largest elephant on record at the time. It is still the 13th largest on record today. The family of Mr. Johnson retains possession of the original tusks, and the mount in our showroom has exact fiberglass replicas of the originals. It’s quite an impressive animal. The Black Rhino on our east wall was also shot by him a year later in 1950.
The gun used for both the rhino and elephant was a Best Grade Side-lock Rigby double rifle in .470 Nitro Express.
Kenya has been closed to hunters since the 1950’s.