A day hunting in Tanzania.

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H&Hhunter

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I thought some of you may enjoy this as it is a description of a typical day hunting in wild Africa. I leave for Zimbabwe in two and half months and I wrote this kind of as a primer, a reminder of why I love this type of hunting so much. Please don't take this to be a teaser or a brag. It's just an attempt at putting some mental pictures and feelings on paper. I hope you enjoy it......


I was awoken on the second day of the trip by Marcus in his thick Swahili accented voice. "please wake up now" he politely asked for possibly the third or fourth time as my head was in a daze from a combination of jet lag and a bit of a hang over from last night celebrating. As the sounds and smells of life in a tented camp all started to come to life. It was dark except for the now hissing hurricane lantern outside my tent.

I stiffly swung my feet out of the comfortable yet utilitarian bed, briefly stretched and took a moment to savor yesterdays successful hunt. It was my first ever Buffalo and things had gone quite well. We had "ashed" into a herd after about 5 miles of hiking and one unsuccessful stalk. As we waited in ambush in the edge of the long grass the herd had spooked our direction and we had been in the middle of them by the time I finally got a shot at the scared old bull. Cows and young bulls within mere feet of our position when I finally took aim and fired. A hell of an introduction to buffalo hunting. I had made a good shot and placed the 500gr woodliegh squarely into the middle of the forward facing bull. I was then able to place three solids up his backside as he broke from the cows at over 150yards. I was slapped on the back and given a compliment of "bloody good shooting". The bull had layed down in the long grass but stood as we neared giving the classic "You owe me money glare". I quickly placed one last 500gr solid woodliegh just under his right ear as he turned ending his mortal worries. The day had been superurb and everything had turned out just perfect. The salt bin now had a 39" heavy bossed bull head in it.

I was feeling pretty damn good about myself despite the castle lager and Malted scotch fumes that were still swirling around in my head. I had been asleep less than 5 hours.

After a quick shower I dressed and grabbed my custom stainless M-70 .458Lott and walked the short distance to the mess area enjoying the clean cool morning air. Something splashed in the river below the foot path and I was just able to make out a crocs eyes in my light when I shone it into the lazy muddy waters flowing below the path. In the distance a hippo made it's strange horse like sneezing sound and flopped into the water upstream.

After a quick breakfast we boarded the boat which I had named the Kilombero Kagnu the day before and proceeded down river to try and find a better bull. I was becoming more picky by now as my buffalo virginity had now been violated the stress was off we had 6 days to hunt. I felt no pressure to shoot anything but a real trophy.

As the sun rose I found the effects of last nights celebrations taking effect and was soon soundly asleep on the bottom deck of the "KK". I don't really know how long I was asleep but what awoke me was the tangy feed lot smell of cattle. I awoke to a now high on the horizon tropical sun beating down on my face. I sat up a and stretched, and asked Saiete the driver if he smelled it too by pointing to my nose and saying "inyate?" his resopnse was a toothy grin as he pointed to a large herd of buffalo not 40 yards away in the grass. I was now fully awake..

We drifted by the herd and beached the "KK" 8-900 yards down wind from the buffalo. I grabbed my rifle and my samll day pack and jumped off the bow of the boat onto the high river bank only to be greeted by a young buffalo bull not 20 yards distant just over the river bank. I immediatly dropped to the ground but the game was up and the bull trotted off with a snort and dissapreared into the long grass.

Stalking buffalo in the Kilombero is an exercise in crawling, slogging and slithering. We crossed two small muddy streams one of which was chest deep to my 6'4" frame the other had a muddy bottom that tried to suck my boots from my feet and caused me to sink in to my lower thighs. (note to self ; next time I hunt the kilombero I'm not bringing leather boots!!!Merrel water shoes like rafters wear would be just the ticket.)

In any case we stalked into the herd and I mean into the herd we were once again mere feet from the nearest cows slithering on our bellies looking for a good bull. At one point we had a stand off African style with a cow and a calf. It ended peacfully as she decide we weren't worth trampling. After an hour or so of slithering glassing waiting and slithering some more. We backed off and returned to the boat. There were no outstanding bulls in the herd.

When we got back we cruised up stream until we found a nice little mette' thicket. We sat in the shade for lunch which consisted of a salad, fried chicken, cookies and fresh fruit. Not fancy but a very suitable and appreciated meal.

The afternoon consisted of cruising the numerous tributaries and looking for white cattle egrets which stay with the buffalo. You can't actually see the buffalo in the long grass most of the time but the egrets give away their position so when you see these bird flying around you take a little walk. During the days cruise we'd seen many crocs slide from the bank into the water some of which were absolutely huge! Hippos were everywhere and we'd seen so many puku that I had quit pointing them out the day before.

As we went up stream we turned off into a small tributary that had some egrets flying up the way. As we got closer we discovered fresh elephant spoor as well as fresh buffalo spoor. It was decided that we should go and take a look. Not 30 yards into the hike I was startled by a large animal moving to my left and very close and fast. My rifle came to my shoulder and the front sight naturally came up to where large animal that was crashing through the grass at what seemed a direct collison course with me. As the the animal came crashing into view for a split second then he was gone. I doubt that I could have stopped it if I'd needed to. The mystery animal was a bull hippo heading for the safety of the water behind us. He made a huge belly flopping splash as he dove into the river and safety.

After about twenty minutes of walking I saw a strange fluid motion off to my left. It didn't take long to register. The swish was an elephants ear. I grabbed Wayne my PH by the shoulder and pointed to the elephant. All of a sudden there was a tense silence among our small group. Wayne being shorter than I hadn't seen the elephants yet and none of the trackers or the game guard had either. We now turned to face the cow and she did the same. She was probably 50 yards away. I was to ignorant to be worried. But I could sense the tension in the trackers. The wind had been blowing stiffly into our faces and had allowed us to get very close to this herd of elephants.

After what seemed a long time I suddenly started to hear the other elephants all around us making strange low grumbling noises. The cow stood transfixed trying to make us out. Her ears had stopped flapping and were now pinned back. She made a tentative move in our direction and I heard a rifle safety snap off somewhere behind me. The cow swished her head several times and false charged into about 30 yards or so, she then spun and thundered off in to the grass along with the rest of the heard which we could hear but not see. Shabu the game guard looked at me and said "we are going now" to which we all agreed. During the whole event my rifle never even came up as it didn't occur to me that we would shot this elephant under any circumstances. I know better now.

The ride back to camp was an enchanted slow cruise. I watched as crocs swilled in the water or dove from their perches into the river. Hippos would duck under and run along the bottom of the river leaving a large bow wake on the surface. It was a great day filled with sights, sounds, smells and that edgy hypersensitive, glad to be alive missing nothing feeling that comes from hunting. It is just all that more powerful when hunting dangerous game.

That night before dinner we sat around the fire sipping a beer and recounting the last two days events. when dinner was served that night it was a fresh buffalo tail soup and buffalo tenderloins in garlic sauce and rice. All of it freshly killed the day before. ;)

the next day was to bring an even higher level of excitment and a truly dangerous situation with a wounded buff in the long grass. But that's another story.

Zimbabwe will be my last African hunt for awhile so it holds some very special emoitions and feelings for me. I plan on throughly enjoying it and I can't wait for the day to arrive when I have the good fortune to stalk into a herd of buff .470 in hand....
 
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Dang it H&H, now you've made me want to go! What's the cover charge for an experience like that? I'm guessing some multiple of $10K (including airfare, PH expenses, permits, and anything else directly involved).
 
Dang it H&H, now you've made me want to go! What's the cover charge for an experience like that? I'm guessing some multiple of $10K (including airfare, PH expenses, permits, and anything else directly involved).

Sumpnz.

You can do a hunt like this for around $10,00 minus airfare trophy shipping and taxadermy.
 
Well, it'll be a few years at the minimum before I can even think about spending $10K plus airfare and trophy shipping on a hunt (right now I'm wonding about affording the tags, new scope, and whatnot if I get drawn for deer or elk this year - about $0.5K :fire: ).

You are an evil, evil man :evil: As was mentioned on another thread, you ought to be quarantined.
 
Sumpnz,

Good luck on your draw this year.........let me know what you get, belive it or not an Arizona monster bull is really high on my wish list!!!
 
:scrutiny: Well H&H don't keep us waiting for part two, although it would be just like your evil self to keep us waiting. :evil:
 
H&H - I'll be putting in for Mulie and whitetail, with the mulies on the top of the list (I'll only get one deer tag, if any). For elk, I was thinking about putting in for a cow tag. They're MUCH easier to get tags for than the bulls, and success rates seem to be higher for the cows too.

If I get drawn for one or both, I'll certainly be posting here for some advise. Good luck on your upcoming Africa hunt.
 
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