A hunting video National Rifle Association (NRA) boss Wayne LaPierre tried to hide has revealed how he failed to kill an African bush elephant after shooting the animal four times in the wrong place.
The never-before-seen footage, published by The New Yorker magazine and non profit news organization The Trace, shows LaPierre hunting the elephants during a trip to Botswana’s Okavango Delta back in September 2013 with his wife Susan. The animals have since been classified as endangered.
While the disturbing clip shows the NRA boss repeatedly bungling his shot, spouse Susan appears to have a better aim as she is caught on camera laughing after killing a second elephant by blasting the tusked creature in the face. Her mirth was still evident as she hacked off its tail and brandished it in the air.
The hunting trip was filmed for the NRA-sponsored television series Under Wild Skies as part of an effort to boost the gun rights advocacy group’s profile among hunters.
But the footage never saw the light of day, reported the outlets. It reportedly sparked fears that the killing of the elephants – not to mention the poor shot for a man at the forefront of the fight for Americans to carry firearms – would be a public relations disaster, the outlets reported.
Its release eight years on comes as new details have also emerged about LaPierre’s sworn testimony in September 2019 as part of a bitter back-and-forth legal battle with former advertising firm Ackerman McQueen.
LaPierre was questioned about his lavish spending including around $300,000 spent on his behalf on luxury Ermenegildo Zegna suits and $17,000 to hire a makeup artist used by Taylor Swift for the event.
The NRA is currently embroiled in a high-stakes bankruptcy trial as the 71-year-old boss filed for Chapter 11 in order to move the organization from New York to Texas. He did so after New York State Attorney General Letitia James sued the NRA for corruption and money mismanagement.
A hunting video National Rifle Association (NRA) boss Wayne LaPierre (pictured in 2013) tried to hide has revealed how he failed to kill an African bush elephant after shooting the animal four times in the wrong place
The graphic video released Tuesday shows LaPierre repeatedly trying – and failing – to shoot an African bush elephant in the right place to kill it as the animal lay maimed on the ground.
It begins with LaPierre walking through the bush, sporting an ‘NRA Sports’ baseball cap, with Tony Makris – a top executive at Ackerman McQueen – and several professional hunting guides.
When the group spots an elephant nearby, LaPierre is given advice from a guide how to go about shooting the animal.
The guide is heard telling him to wait but the NRA boss, who is wearing earplugs – ignores him, and pulls the trigger on his rifle.
The elephant falls to the ground and LaPierre asks: ‘Did we get him?’
When the group approach the elephant, they realize it is only injured and not dead. The ailing animal’s raspy breathing can be heard in the background as it lays wounded.
The guide then tells LaPierre he must shoot the animal again telling him he will ‘show you where to shoot.’
He crouches down beside the elephant and pinpoints a place near the animal’s ear to indicate LaPierre’s target.
He also advises LaPierre to shoot low.
LaPierre is seen firing his weapon again but misses the spot. The elephant remains on the ground, and can be heard continuing to struggle to breathe after being shot a second time.
The guide then tries to coach LaPierre for a third time to shoot the animal dead, moving him into the right position as the NRA boss asks if he should aim for the ‘same spot.’
He fires a third shot, missing the mark yet again.
At this point, the guide suggests Makris should step in to finish the animal off.
The never-before-seen footage, published by The New Yorker magazine and non profit news organization The Trace, shows LaPierre hunting the endangered elephants during a trip to Botswana’s Okavango Delta back in September 2013. He is pictured on another hunt in 2014
The video shows the gun enthusiast struggling with his marksmanship, Susan (pictured together in 2012) appears to have a better aim as she is caught on camera laughing after she killed a second elephant, cut off its tail and brandished it in the air
‘I don’t think it’s quite done yet. Do you want to do it for him?’ he asks, before turning to LaPierre and questioning his marksmanship.
‘I’m not sure where you’re shooting,’ he says.
LaPierre fires back defensively: ‘Where are you telling me to shoot?’
The guide again walks over to the wounded animal and pointed to the same place to aim for by its ear to which LaPierre replies: ‘Oh, OK. All right, I can shoot there.’
But, despite his confidence, the NRA boss took another shot – his third at point-blank range and fourth overall – which he again botched.
In the end Makris takes over, firing one shot that finally puts the animal out of its misery.
The footage later shows Susan hunting another elephant.
A guide tells her to aim between the creature’s eyes and she takes aim, striking it with one shot in the head.
Susan then fires one more shot into the animal’s chest saying it is for ‘insurance’ before she celebrates slaying the endangered animal.
‘That was amazing,’ she exclaims, adding that she feels ‘great.’
She laughs as she looks at her kill saying: ‘Beautiful animal. You’re a good old guy. A real good old guy.’
The NRA is currently embroiled in a high-stakes bankruptcy trial as the 71-year-old boss filed for Chapter 11 in order to move the organization from New York to Texas
She adds: ‘What an experience this is. Once in a lifetime.’
The video later shows Susan cutting off the elephant’s tail.
‘Oh, it’s like a fish almost, with the center cartilage,’ she says.
She then brandishes the tail in the air while laughing: ‘Victory! That’s my elephant tail. Way cool.’
According to The New Yorker, the couple then shipped the two elephants’ body parts to the US to have their front feet turned into stools for their home.
The couple appeared to have done so discreetly, with a man apparently traveling two hours to ensure the packages were not sent under their names.
A spokesman for the LaPierres said the hunt was completely legal, and that the leaked footage was unrepresentative of the entire trip.
The emergence of the footage comes as the New Yorker also released new details from LaPierre’s sealed deposition over one of the legal battles involving Ackerman McQueen.
The outlet reported that LaPierre was confronted about $300,000 worth of payments that Ackerman McQueen made to men’s fashion retailer Ermenegildo Zegna for clothes for LaPierre between 2004 and 2017.
New York Attorney General Letitia James sued the NRA for corruption and money mismanagement
LaPierre claimed Angus McQueen of Ackerman McQueen got him the clothes and that his job required ‘looking good on TV in terms of your image’.
During the sworn testimony he was also asked about spending related to his wife who is said to be an unpaid volunteer for the group and does not take a salary but runs the Women’s Leadership Forum for major female donors.
The sealed document reveals he was confronted about $17,000 in payments in 2016 to Brady Wardlaw – a makeup artist to stars including Taylor Swift and LeAnn Rimes.
LaPierre allegedly said he didn’t know if his wife had requested the makeup artist and that Ackerman McQueen ‘recommended the makeup’.
LaPierre said his wife then stopped the service when she learned of the price.
The New Yorker report has wrought more questions about LaPierre’s leadership of the NRA at a time when he and the group are facing close scrutiny.
New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit against the NRA in August accusing the group’s leadership of using the organization as their ‘personal piggy bank’ for years.
Donald Trump and LaPierre in the White House in 2017. New details have also emerged about LaPierre’s sworn testimony in September 2019 as part of a bitter legal battle with ex- advertising firm Ackerman McQueen
She sought to have the organization dissolved and its $200million assets redistributed saying its top leaders had illegally diverted millions of dollars away from the charitable mission of the organization ‘for personal use by senior leadership.’
She claimed that LaPierre and three other top executives used tens of millions of dollars from NRA’s coffers to pay for trips for themselves and their families to the Bahamas, all-expenses-paid African safaris, private jets, and expensive meals.
The NRA filed for bankruptcy in January as part of a restructuring plan in a bid to leave New York in favor of Texas.
James claimed the bankruptcy claim is improper, inappropriate and merely an attempt to avoid having to pay any kind of settlement if she wins her suit.
At a bankruptcy hearing in Texas earlier this month, LaPierre admitted he had filed for bankruptcy because he wanted to move the organization to Texas where it will receive a friendlier welcome from Republican lawmakers.
He also tried to justify some of the spending within the organization saying hunting wildlife was a justifiable business expense so justifiable.