John "Pondoro" Taylor

John Howard "Pondoro" Taylor (1904–1969) was a big-game hunter and ivory poacher[1] of Irish descent. Born in Dublin as the son of a surgeon he developed an urge to go to Africa and become a professional hunter. Taylor mainly hunted for his own account and had little interest in guiding clients. His parents paid for his passage to Cape Town. In Africa he experimented extensively with different types of rifles and calibers which made him an expert in big game rifles. He is credited with developing the Taylor KO Factor, and authored several books. John Taylor died in 1969 in London.

John Pondoro Taylor
John Howard Taylor

(1904-01-06)January 6, 1904
DiedMarch 31, 1969(1969-03-31) (aged 65)
OccupationProfessional Hunter, ivory poacher, author


Although Taylor used various firearms for his work as a hunter, he preferred the expensive, British double rifles over anything else, especially when tackling dangerous game. His fondness for such cartridges as the .450/.400 Nitro-Express, .500/.465 Nitro-Express and .375 Holland & Holland Magnum are expressed again and again in his writing. Of the 450/.400 he says,[2]

It has ever been one of my favorites. I have used it extensively on all kinds of African game from elephant down with the greatest possible satisfaction.

Speaking of the .375 Magnum (a cartridge still sold) he writes,[2]

Undoubtedly one of the deadliest weapons in existence. I've had five of these rifles—two doubles and three magazines—and have fired more than 5,000 rounds of .375 Magnum ammunition at game. One of them accounted for more than 100 elephant and some 411 buffalo, besides rhino, lions and lesser game.

Having hunted over thirty years on the African continent, Taylor killed over 1,000 elephants, many of these illegally.[3]

Taylor's personal life in later years was one of misfortune. As an alleged homosexual, Taylor was persecuted in Africa in his latter years there and was eventually forced by local authorities to leave Africa due to his continued poaching offences.[4] Taking into account his vast experience as a hunter, as well as his expertise with rifles, Taylor should have had no trouble finding a well paying job as a representative of one of the high end gunmakers in London. However, whispers alluding to Taylor's homosexual past in Africa followed him to England, and he found little work available. Taylor's last years were spent in poverty.[5]

Authored books

Among the books he wrote include:

  • Big Game and Big Game Rifles (1948)[6]
  • African Rifles and Cartridges (1948)[7]
  • Pondoro: Last of the Ivory Hunters (1955)[8]
  • Shadows of Shame (a novel) (1956)[9]
  • Maneaters and Marauders (1959)[10]

See also


  1. Petzal, David (1985). "The Well Read Rifleman". Field & Stream. 90 (3): 134.
  2. Taylor, John. African Rifles and Cartridges. Georgetown, SC., Small Arms Technical Publishing Company, 1948.
  3. Taylor, John (2000). Pondoro: Last of the Ivory Hunters. Safari Press. p. 3. ISBN 978-1-57157-164-9.
  4. Capstick, Peter Hathaway (2003). A Man Called Lion: The Life and Times of John Howard Pondoro Taylor. Safari Press. p. 260. ISBN 978-1-57157-272-1.
  5. Coetzee, Mauritz. "Regarding John Taylor's last double rifle". African Outfitter. Archived from the original on September 18, 2007. Retrieved 7 September 2010.
  6. Taylor, John (1993). Big Game and Big Game Rifles. Safari Press. p. 215. ISBN 978-0-940143-87-6.
  7. Taylor, John (2001). African Rifles and Cartridges. Safari Press. p. 431. ISBN 978-1-57157-222-6.
  8. Taylor, John (2000). Pondoro: Last of the Ivory Hunters. Safari Press. p. 354. ISBN 978-1-57157-164-9.
  9. Taylor, John (1960). Shadows of Shame. Pyramid. p. 191.
  10. Taylor, John (2005). Maneaters and Marauders. Safari Press. p. 200. ISBN 978-1-57157-311-7.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.