A Turbulent Lion Hunt in Central African Republic This story has been translated from French to English by Google translate. The original French version can be found below. Safari is my fifth season and my hunter, Hamp W., an American citizen, arrives at Sangha on our hunting territory in late morning by chartered plane. The camp being only 12 kilometers from the airfield, he was soon installed in his boukarou. We know and he confirms the essential aim of his safari: to approach and shoot a lion, despite difficulties in walking (he box after a knee operation). We have 18 days of hunting ahead. His visit was planned in the northern zone (zone hunting Bahr Aouk-Ouandja-Vakaga) where the density of lions is strong. Events and insecurity in the region require us to drive on the middle area (area of hunting Idongo-Ba-Bangoran) rich in buffalo, eland Derby, bongos, but where the population of lions seemed quite low. But we are confident because during the season I found several indications of presence and a few days before the arrival of Hampton, a beautiful lion was met by another guide and hunter. The challenge is interesting, the morale high and the hunt particularly fascinates me. The hunting methods are conventional: Meet at the lookout on baits, tracking and appeal, the Central African trackers are very strong in the latter technique (they amplify the sounds using a " metal horn "). After lunch and siesta rigor, we will check the setting of his rifle on target and make a turn in the plain on the banks of the river Bangoran, just to get into "the atmosphere of the bush", to familiar with the landscape and vegetation, approaching the first animals (Hamp draws a nice warthog), but already the birds, the sounds of the bush subside, dusk is not far, it's time make the first call (guttural sounds, while shades that simulate the roar of a lion hunt going on) but the king of animals not to go that day. The following days, Hamp will take an old solitary buffalo, a buffalo and a superb antelope Roanne. I note that my hunter shoots well, it is fast and precise and the entire team to trust him. This is important but it should also control his emotions at the time of contact with his first lion. We speak quietly. Experience proves that without it the animal is often injured. But the research of lions is unsuccessful, the carriages on the carcasses of buffalo and warthog, tracking a fresh track, calls do nothing ... But the 4th night we wake up trackers "Patron lions are there ... "they roar in the night is impressive. The hope is reborn. The next morning the trackers found the carcass of a freshly killed river hogs, but the look and appeal of my tracker Dé§‘ are still unsuccessful, the cats will not come. The doubt begins to settle. Only a few days later we will see our first lion, a female and her young on the vast plain of Ndiri, then two beautiful lionesses approached to 35 yards on a bait. They feel and we disappear silently into the straw. A tracking from traces detected on a track we can, an hour later, straws, falling sharply on a female and her calf. The charge of intimidation of the mother makes us recoil with great care, his heart beating wildly. And then the rain starts by tornadoes in the game. The rotting bait, animal hide, not even the hyenas roam over and we find more clues. It seems that the bush will be cleared. These are the vagaries of the hunt. But we must keep hope. The fourteenth day, early in the morning, we are on the plain Ndiri. A flight of dozens of vultures and turn our attention. We decide to make the approach. The rifles are loaded. Demetrius is next to Hampton with the shot stick, Hassan, and his unique look is at my side. We move slowly, scanning the bushes and straw, ears alert. But already the vultures are raised and agitated on a fresh carcass. This is a hyena killed in late night by lions near a pond. The animal was emptied of its viscera. The traces show a large female and a male (his record is 17 cm long). The emotion was high because they are probably not very far. Have they been disturbed in their feast? Will they come back later? After discussion, we decide not to follow the footsteps but to lure the goat alive that we carry and mount a summary edge about 50 meters. We withdraw and silently, 16 hours 30, we're back in the carriage, all hopeful and very concentrated. An hour passed and suddenly I see the goat motionless, looking tense and nervous in the opposite direction on the lookout. In a cloud of dust, no noise, in a twinkling the lioness jumped on the goat killing him instantly, lagging in some straw yards away and quietly, without bothering us, begins to table. What a sight! But already, the day decreases and the lion is still not out, yet we know it is there, not far ... The female was eclipsed. I asked Demetrius to the call for a last chance before nightfall. And suddenly he was there, I hear drinking. I get up for a better view. He laps, lying on the ground, shoulders emerged, fawn in the last rays of daylight. The head, huge rises, eyes toward the lookout. Hamp shoulder but can not aim properly because the straw hamper. We leave the lookout, the lion got up and moved a few feet joined by the female. The male stops "through full, majestic, huge, he seems to stare. Hamp pulls arm franc, the lion jumped huge folding in half and roaring, he disappears into the straw, the female followed. It touched the ball but is it good? Hamp said he suffered the extraordinary tension that creeps in when the hunter shot his first lion? Immediately we find the blood but the straws are very tight and now it's already dark, tracking is too dangerous. The heart still packed we return to camp with the bitterness of unfinished business. After the story Matthew hunting, the director of the camp, managed to convince us to return at night with a headlamp, because a wounded animal is very dangerous cons but if it dies in the night, the hyenas may devour. Our nocturnal expedition, by giving courage, will remain fruitless and the rest of the night, lying on the cot, sleep is restless, jostling thousand questions in my head and one recurring: Is well received and Will we return? The next morning, very early, with Matt and the team we return to the firing point and we easily follow the trail of blood from the large male to where he slept during the night and where the female has joined. The lion is hurt and that the traces of his left front leg that drags the ground shows that it is broken, but gradually drops of blood are spaced and eventually disappear. Our research task looks difficult: a hunt for two long days had just begun! The trackers do an outstanding job and we follow the couple to a bako (dense gallery forest) where they took refuge. We split up for the bako by side and I hardly clears my way to the center. It is 10 o'clock in the morning for several hours and we are progressing slowly but the trace is lost ...! However, we stress again and one of the trackers is found, the lions are out of bako thwarting our vigilance. We resume training tracking and after 2 miles they return in another bako. We know they are in and we approach slowly, peering at the slightest movement, listening to the slightest noise. Ten yards from the border they are there, growl, roar, but indistinguishable from the patient. I move to find an angle that would allow me to better see, there is nothing they sank into the vegetation, like shadows. We try several maneuvers around bako 1 kilometers which is 500 long by 300 meters wide, without success. I try to resume the trail with my tracker, but leaves the mask and make too much noise. I know that while we are there they remain hidden in the impenetrable bako, the patient can not go far on his paw hurts, he stopped often and fever forced him to stay near water The female guide and support without question. I think I must get back in to redo this bako contact anyway because he can not eat and soon the female will abandon him, he was sentenced. We returned to camp late afternoon exhausted and disappointed and no one speaks. When the rain begins to fall, a great despair seized the whole team. Everyone thinks "it's over." After dinner quieter than usual Hamp said, "what do we do tomorrow, we have no chance." I said "we'll see tomorrow." These two words "no chance" struck me so hard I thought all night, trying to find the mental resources to understanding the behavior of the wounded animal while keeping my focus and my lucidity. The night was very short, 2 hours of sleep only because the nerves are alive. Hamp I wake up early and said simply: "here we go, we'll find your lion. We reach the edge of bako and walk several hours on the ground still wet from the rain fell yesterday, but devoid of any trace. I lead the hunt after my goal, checking every bush and trying to cross the tracks. Suddenly Hassan farm walk name "Boss, the lion! This is the trace of the female. From that moment my firm intuition that we will get the wounded. We follow the track of the lioness, she joins the male, it's him! He stops at a pond formed by rain, he was drunk and was lying in the shade, then flew off towards the great bako. The tracks are now easy to follow, they enter a big bush that I'm around. He is here before me and starts to fifteen meters and disappears again and I can not shoot. He returned in bako, and I'm losing track. Hamp with trackers walk on the edge. 40 minutes to follow and I do not see anything, leaves, vines, trunks, dead wood limit my field of vision that does not exceed 5 to 6 meters. Exhausted I turned around when, by chance, I picked it disappears again as a real ghost. At that time "I know" he did not attack me but I also understand that only in bako my mission is doomed to failure. We decide to go for help. Matthew and his team, Francis, give us a hand. Matthew with his two trackers following the trail, accompanied by Hamp Dé§‘ located along the French bako and the opposite side. I go in bako with Hassan to join Matthew. Progress is slow and difficult, I am often crouching or crawling, visibility near zero but a firm belief inside me. Matthew is calling me, he heard a slight noise, our communion is complete. That is our ghost, I'll never let go. I establish a first contact to 6 yards but the shot of my 458 Lott is stopped by a bush. I resume my progress, the second contact is identical to the first, I feel his movement and I even closer. Three hours now that we live in this bako. Cramps bother me, the mellipones revolve around my head and invade my eyes at every stop, I sweat profusely. He still parade. At the third contact my ball is still blocked by vegetation, but the fate of the lion roaring in bako no one can reach it and plunges into the straw. But the animal is tired, perhaps resigned, and quickly stops after 200 meters. I guess his silhouette in the vegetation on my rifle shot he falls, rolls but plunged back into the straw with a roar. I try to work around not left thinking he would do against other fighters but he expects me straight in the eyes, I'm not sure some of my shooting and 15 meters around the sights of my gun is in his yellow eyes staring at me one last time. The great lion fell and never recovered. Bamara akwe awe boss. A long hunt full of suspense and excitement was over. It has strengthened the bonds of our team. Hamp and Dé§‘ arrive all smiles. Crouching Lion near his hand on his head Hamp exclaims "oh my God, it is beautiful (3 meters to 200 kilograms), he warmly thanked the entire team in a religious silence. On the way back we met three herds of buffalo in plain Ndiri they remain motionless, as if to greet once more the master of the plain.