How to make it count in Botswana?
Im really at a total standstill on what Im about to embark upon. I've never really imagined myself spending more money than my budget can reasonably afford on any hunt for myself. However I now find myself in this exact position. Let me give you guys a little background on my situation before I get any replies.
My wife and I decided to attend Reno SCI at last minute this year just to get away from the stress of self employment for a few short days. I already had what I consider and expensive elk hunt booked. In addition I booked a last minute leopard hunt as I felt it may be my last chance to hunt leopards with dogs.
So back to the topic. My wife and I find ourselves wandering the floor of the sci main show. We love shooting the breeze with all the outfitters and dreaming of "one day". On Friday I was off day dreaming when my ph, who was with my wife, phones me and tells me they have a great deal on a cancelation hunt for eland and bongo. I decided to bite on their little game for curiosity sake. I wander over to the booth and find out that a cancelation just occured on a combination eland/bong hunt in the CAR. I could get the entire package for $20,000 off. Since this is my dream hunt Im estatic that my wife would consider such a bold move. I sit and discuss all the details and wander off to think about my decision that night before I decide If I can afford this hunt and how I will pay for it. Well the next day I procrastinated and shot the breezed with more outfitters before I planned to wander over to the outfitter and hand him my hard earned money and sign my life away.
Well in the process of heading to the booth we walk past the chifuti safari booth and my wife saw Ivan Carter standing there. She instantly started begging me to let her talk to him and get some pictures. I decided one last detour wouldn't hurt and that maybe Ivan would be nice and oblige her in her quest to get as many pictures with celebrities as she could. Well one thing leads to another and within 5 minutes Ivan is trying to help me recover from a bad experience I had in Africa last year. He tells me that I need to give him one chance for him to show me what Africa is all about. I told him that from what I've read and seen of him on tv that I think he would definitely be a person I would listen to and give vaule to his opinion. He then tells me he wants to set me up with the greatest opportunity of my life and present me with something that is never going to happen again.
Well next I find myself, my wife Terra, and Ivan sitting around a table talking with Johan Calitz. Apparently 5 minutes before Johan had a cancelation for a trophy elephant for his ng41 block. I've never been one to even consider an elephant hunt as the price is well out of my range and the hunt has never entered my thought process as Im just not the "rich" person who could ever consider an elephant hunt. Within 5 minutes I am brought up to speed that this is the best elephant hunt on the planet and that once my hunt is over that the area will be closed down permanently. They had also relayed a feeling that this hunt would be the most thrilling experience that I will ever embark upon. The excitement level at this point was more than I could imagine. Still I had to say no. Against my better judgement my wife looked at me, pulled a check out of her purse and wrote a check that I'm still hyperventelating over. She didn't give me the option to decide. There was no discussion. She looked me straight in the eye and said you deserve this and your going elephant hunting. This is something I will ever do again. Not only can my resources not afford this but legally this hunt will never be allowed again.
Now here is my real question. I am about to spend more money than I should even consider. Im not going to deny my wife the opportunity to express her gratitude and love and so for this reason I am going and I am going to make the most of it.
Here is my take on what to expect. I'm being told I will see more elephants on this hunt than in anywhere else in the world. It sounds like every single passing minute will be one thats full of excitement and adrenaline. I'm wanting to get the most out of my hunt. Ivan said he would set me up with an "EXPERIENCE" and he did stress the word experinece. Thats exactly what I want. I realized many years ago that I don't like tagging out on any hunt early but that I'd rather enjoy the hunt and the experience and tag out on the last day. I have followed through with this thought and have learned to love my hunts even more. For that reason I decided that my 14 day hunt would be fully utilized. I've discussed with several ph's who have hunted this area. I told them that if my elephant didn't go over 80lbs on the first 12 days that I wasn't going to shoot. after that I would be happy with even a 30lb elephant as I've never seen a wild elephant much less shot one. I told them I would be perfectly content. The responses I got where definitely not what I expected.
Apparently many of the ph's have worked their entire lives to be guides for Calitz in this area. It is personal love of the hunt and pride of a ph that is at stake. They re-iterated that this is THE last time a hunter will ever be in the elephant hunting paradise of the world and that to take a 30 lb elephant would be completely and utterly a let down on the largest scale. THe men I spoke with said this last hunt will be their all out effort and that they want to go out with a bang. So now Im left with the question of what to do on this hunt and how to ensure that the final hunt of the Botswana giant and my first and last elephant hunt is the best it can be. On one hand I want the "EXPERIENCE". On the other hand I'm going to have a ph's passion on the line and my "all or nothing" style may just not be the correct answer in this case. Im thinking that a 70 lb'er on day 5 may be the answer? Or should I hold out for that true monster and let these ph's end their dream on a high note? I'm really not sure what to do here as I have zero background in this area and I have ZERO experience with elephant hunting. Just realize I'm not one who will ever afford something like this again.