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Well-known Canadian guide killed by buffalo

Veteran British Columbia outfitter Bob Fontana was hunting in Africa

By Lynn Burkhead associate editor — July 21, 2004

Acclaimed British Columbia hunting outfitter Bob Fontana lost his life on Monday after a rogue Cape buffalo bull attacked him while hunting in Tanzania, Africa, according to a Canadian guiding colleague.

Fontana, a resident of Cranbrook, British Columbia, and owner of Elk Valley Bighorn Outfitters, was on his third hunting trip to the Dark Continent, this time pursuing eland or kudu, according to his longtime guiding friend, Clay Lancaster of Nahanni Butte Outfitters, also in Cranbrook.

While reportedly checking a salt lick for game activity, the rogue Cape buffalo apparently charged out of the brush, striking and killing Fontana almost instantly before the professional hunter accompanying him could fire a shot at the animal.

"Yeah, it was an awful shock," Lancaster said. "Somebody of Bob's stature and ability in the bush, you just don't expect something like that to happen and for him to go out the way that he did.

"We were all getting ready to see his pictures and to see how his hunt in Africa went."

Lancaster described his friend as a hard-working outfitter who wasn't afraid to speak his mind.

"He was the kind of man that once you got to know him, you would have done anything for him," Lancaster said.

With sheep-hunting seasons scheduled to begin over the next several weeks across British Columbia, Lancaster indicated that a local guide will be working to help ensure that Fontana's 2004 clients are able to make the September hunts they scheduled with the late outfitter.

Fontana, who was 45, is survived by his wife, Anna, and two daughters, Kaitlin and Kallie, from a previous marriage.

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