Harare - A Zimbabwean professional hunter was killed by a bull elephant in the north of the country, his company said on Thursday.
Ian Gibson was killed on Wednesday by the elephant he was tracking with a client in the lower Zambezi Valley, Chifuti Safaris said in a statement posted to the africahunting.com website.
The bull charged Gibson from a distance of less than 100m, the statement said.
"Feeling he was quite close to the elephant, Ian and his tracker Robert continued to follow the tracks in the hopes of getting a look at the ivory," Chifuti Safaris said.
"They eventually caught up to the bull, spotting him at about 50m-100m. The bull instantly turned and began a full charge.
"Ian and Robert began shouting in order to stop the charge. At very close range, Ian was able to get off one shot before the bull killed him," the statement said.
The elephant was understood to be in musth, which means the bull had a surge of testerone and would have been particularly dangerous.
Fellow hunters posted condolence messages on hunting community websites.
Wrote Steve on www.24campfire.com: "Good guy; the best, actually. Godspeed, my friend. Godspeed."
Safaris said: "Ian Gibson was a fine man and one of the most experienced professional hunters on the African continent. He will be deeply missed by all."
The company also reportedly lost a professional hunter in 2012, when Owain Lewis was killed by a buffalo.