ZIMBABWE: Wonderful Oct Zimbabwe safari

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports' started by Kilimanjaro, Oct 26, 2010.

  1. Kilimanjaro

    Kilimanjaro AH Senior Member

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    DATES: Oct 10-19

    AGENT: Terry Wagner Worldwide Hunting

    OUTFITTER: Touch Africa Safaris, Jonathon Collett

    TRAVEL: Frosch Travel

    RIFLES/AMMO: Chapuis .470NE with 500gr Woodleigh softs & 500gr Federal Trophy Bonded Sledgehammer solids. Winchester M70 lefty Safari Express in .375H&H with 300gr Swift A-frames & 300 Fed. TBSH solids.

    HUNTING LOCATION: Mjingwe, Bubiana Conservancy (渡extdoor to Lemco), West Nicholson, Zimbabwe.

    GAME/SPECIES HUNTED: Cape Buffalo, spotted hyena, klipspringer, Sharp's grysbok.

    GAME/SPECIES SEEN: Cape buffalo, Livingston eland, kudu, impala, zebra, blue wildebeest, waterbuck, Limpopo bushbuck, steenbok, duiker, grysbok, giraffe, warthog, leopard, brown hyena, spotted hyena, klipspringer, baboon, civet, sable.


    Just returned from my 7th African safari, and this one was one of the best ones yet. It went was smoothly as any I致e ever been on, not to mention the amount of non-stop fun we had while there. It was a blast! One of my best buds accompanied me on his very 1st African hunt. His plans were to hunt plains game and go along with me while we chased buffalo. Another buddy also came on the trip to hunt buffalo along with his 74yr old dad coming along as his observer. They were both African 1st timers as well.

    As a forerunner to the story, I値l start with this.. I spent all summer in preparation for this hunt spending a great deal of time at the range getting intimately familiar with my Chapuis.. I ran A LOT of cash through the barrels of my double getting her figured out. Also thanks to my buddy Andy for loading all those Woodleighs for me and getting the regulation dialed in on the gun..
    I had ordered one of Moja's lifesize buffal targets in late spring.. By the time the trip came around, it was pretty well shot up. I will say that it helped tremendously though with the visual aspects of hunting buff with open sights. Time and money well spent. Good product, Marc.

    In the AZ desert practicing..
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    We began the trip with the flights getting us to Jo-burg.. SAPS went without a hitch and I got everyone through in no time. Once we cleared, Africa Sky guesthouse was there waiting for us. After reading the numerous positive reports on the place, I decided to try them out. All the reports were spot on. First class in everyway.. The food was superb with one of the best steaks I致e had anywhere, Africa or otherwise.
    We had initially booked a single room with double beds, but when we arrived they had a spare room available and gave it to me for absolutely no extra charge instead of having us double up. Unheard of in this day and age.. Breakfast the next morning was a full spread of fresh fruit, a full menu,awesome coffe (NOT instant!) etc. After this stay, they will be my 1st choice anytime I have to stay over in SA. I highly recommend them.

    The main entrance..
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    After the rush through Tembo and then the last quick flight to Bulawayo, we quickly cleared Zim customs and were then on the way to the Bulawayo Club downtown to meet up with John Greeff for a lunch and a few cold ones. As most everyone now knows, John was chewed up pretty badly by a wounded leopard in Tanzania a few months back. Well, I知 glad to report that he's getting along just fine. He still has a way's to go (learning how to shoot lefty, etc.) but he's a tough cuss and is getting by just fine! We had a few beers and sat down with John to hear the story firsthand of how that dreadful hunt played out. Hearing it straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak, puts a whole new perspective on the hunt. It could happen to any of us who enjoy hunting dangerous game. It's part of the game. John, glad to see that you are getting along well. It was a pleasure.

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    We then had the grand tour of the Club grounds, from top to bottom. We even got to go down in the cellar where there were rows upon rows of vintage bottles in their racks. Very cool to be able to go down there. You could smell the history of the place. If you are ever in Bulawayo and have a few hours to kill, go there. You won't regret it.

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    the top of the club over looking downtown Bulawayo with the blooming Jackaranda trees..
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    Once we finished, it was a 4 hour ride into camp. We arrived tired, dusty and ready to hit the sack.. A cool shower and a bed was nice after all the travel.. The next day, the hunt began in earnest as we formulated our plans over a good breakfast and got our fisrt good looks of the place.. What a sight!

    Our room.
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    The grounds around the lodge..
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    And the view from the chalet..
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    We looked over a few herds of buffalo and got into them thick but we weren't really hunting them too hard, just warming up and stretching the legs. Rich was also able to take his very 1st African trophy, a good 22 impala ram. He took him from about 120 yards with his .300WBY with 180gr. Barnes. DRT.

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    I won't go into a day to day detail of the next ten days.. Rather, I will just give a good overview of how the hunting played out and how the days were filled..

    We chased buffalo in the heat on foot looking for the right bull. I told Jonathon that I wanted an OLD buffalo.. Spread means little to me.. What I wanted was to get in close and have a good hunt and try to find an OLD buffalo. I知 not an inches counter. He liked that. We got into numerous herds bumping and playing with them seeing if the 途ight bull was amongst the cows, calves, and green bulls.. He wasn't.

    We found 溺r. Right in a group of 6 bulls loafing under some thorny scrub in the HEAT of the day. I知 not sure if this was 100% true, but this day was an all-time heat breaker in Zim. We had a registered thermometer reading of 49 degree C on this day.. It felt like a blow dryer in your face. Luckily, there was 0 humidity, so while hot, it was not unbearable. In fact, it felt like a hotter than normal day right here at home in Tucson. Still hot as hell though and not THAT much fun to be in!

    Anyhow, the bachelor herd was pretty content in the sparse shade, paying little mind to little else other than staying in the shade and letting the oxpeckers do their duties. We played the wind right and quickly found ourselves 40 yards from the unsuspecting bulls. In amongst the 6 were a couple of younger bulls not yet in their prime, a 塗erd type bull who would stretch the tape over 40 although a bit green in the front still, and a couple of contenders who now had my FULL attention! Jon and I both agreed on the same bull when we saw him. Old, crusty, grey faced with no hair, hard smooth bosses from years of wear, tips wore down to the size of a man's fist, mangy coat with large missing patches of scraggly hair.. My kind of bull. No record breaker, but he was exactly what I had hoped to find and get a chance to take. He was slowly milling about from shade patch to shade patch and I had picked my spot that was clear of any brush. Once he stepped into the 奴one broadside, I let fly with the Chapuis. The right barrel hit him square. He gave that jump/skip/bellow of a mortally hit buffalo. Once he cleared another bull, I let the left barrel roar. This one hit him a little further back (he was moving in a hard quartering to manner) and blew threw his liver and out the exited his opposite side. I quickly reloaded the double and hit him again with another. This one put him on the dirt, hard. He was now inside 20 yards and was hurt badly. Although he was dead (he still didn't know it), I gave him two more to speed up the ghost. Death bellow sang from 20 yards away and he was mine. I could not have been happier. Jon smiled and showed that he hadn't even had to unsling his Lott from his shoulder. It was a day that I値l replay over in my head for the rest of my days.

    just a minute or so after it was over..
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    A happy hunter.
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    Of course little Ernie had a front row view of the hunt.
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    The following days were filled with MUCH cooler temps after a cold front pushed through and hunting in every shape and form. Rich took a big bull giraffe with the double rifle and we used the torso of the carcass to set up a bait for spotted hyena. After the buff, this was the animal I was really hoping to get a crack at. We constructed a couple of good blinds and sat six of ten nights. While in those blinds, we fed numerous Brown hyenas, a couple of leopards, and an army of civets and genets! While we heard the spotted each night, they were always 1 step ahead of us on the bait. I had taken a FoxPro caller with me, and we tried one evening to call in a spotted just before sunset.. While no hyena came in, we did call in 3 African wild dogs into 50 yards. It was a wonderful experience seeing them come in. In the end, I came up empty on the hyena, alothough not from a lack of trying.. In fact, we put in more time for Impisi than any other animal on the entire hunt.. But he won this round.

    Rich's giraffe bull taken with the double (which he double tapped!)
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    In the hyena blind (AKA the 'Ritz")..
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    shooting hole aimed at the bait..
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    I ended up taking a nice Klipspringer ram while there. It was one that was high on my list. There were numerous klipies everywhere on the property with the countless kopies and jumbled boulders that cover the place. It was just a matter of getting out and getting a good ram to hold still. This one did. I took him with a .223 with FMJs from about 100yds off the sticks.


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    Along with Klipspringer and spotted hyena, I had my heart set on trying for a Sharp's grysbok. I love hunting the pygmy antelope species as much (if not more) as the big stuff. They are what usually gives me my run for my money (I got skunked in the Cape in May by those blue duikers!) and are most always a challange.. Jon made it clear that while the chances of success were low, there are plenty around. Fast forward to day 6 and we are making our way to get in a few hours of fishing and francolin shooting in.. We fly by a big Mahogany tree near the road and one of the trackers gently taps on the hood. 釘aas, there was a grysbok bedded at the root of that tree. 泥id it have horns? 添es.. Well turn around! Out comes the .22 mag.. Sure enough, there he is! The little 22 cracks and I have one of Zimabawe's little gems to take home. I値l take good ol luck anyday. Even if it was a 2:30PM and cut into my fishing time!


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    On the return to the lodge from another one of our fruitless nights in the hyena blind, a few kudu bulls cross the road in front of us as we were headed back to catch a bite and a nap.. The rear bull was a one of those rare heads that instantly make you go a little nuts, knowing that what you just saw was a specimen that defines what a trophy is.. I made sure NOT to tell Rich this! Kudu was his #1 on his wish list and I didn't want to add to his pressure. The bulls made their way around a small kopie and out of sight. We scrambled up to the top and sure enough, there they were below us still looking back towards the road and not at the danger now above them. A quick shot with the WBY and he was down. When we walked up, Rich knew what he had just taken by the expressions in my, Jon's, and the tracker's faces.. A dream kudu for anyone. I致e seen A LOT of kudu shot, and some even longer than this one, but none prettier. It had those long, elegant splayed out ivory tips that one can look for in a bull for years of hunting. Rich, you got your dream bull! Congrats, amigo.

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    In between our now routine stints in the hyena blind, Rich also managed to take a good blue wildebeest, and one helluva warthog! I had the gun but passed it to Rich when this boar stepped out. He was basically frothing at the mouth when he saw the pig! I hope this move gives me some good hunting karma down the road on some other hunt because once we were taking pics of the downed boar, I told Rich that had I known that he was THIS big, I would have taken the shot!! That being said, I was glad to see Rich having a dream 1st safari. He was having a blast.

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    With all the wish list pretty much wrapped up (minus the hyena, of course, which we sat for up until the last possible night), we had plenty of time to kill.. Luckily, Mjingwe has a deep 30 acre lake that they stocked with black bass and tilapia. We took the boat down and slayed them day after day! We all caught plenty of 4-6lb.ers and I hooked into the new Zim record but she broke me off. I wish I had landed that one..no telling how big she was! We also tore up the tilapia that hung in the deep water near the dam. We ate like kings on fresh grilled fish with cold Zambezis and Lion Lagers.
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    In addition to the fishing, we shot our fills of francolin and guineas during those days we had time to kill.. The place was crawling with them in insane numbers. Being a bird hunting fanatic, I was in heaven each and every day! We took Natal, Swainson's, and Crested along with big covies of guineas to run & gun. I also introduced our Zimbabwean brethren on how we cook dove and quail back home in Texas and AZ.. Breast meat with green pepper (had to substitute for the lack of jalape?s) , and onions wrapped in bacon and cooked over mopane coals. Needless to say, it was an instant hit.

    We also gave the dog baboons hell inbetween our blind sitting stints.. Rich made good on a marginal shot and ended up with a big dog to take back to AZ. I fluffed my only chance at a big dog and educated him as to what a 180 grain Barnes sounds like burning the hairs off his back from a .300WBY!!

    On the last day, we rounded up all the trackers, skinners, kitchen staff, patrol staff, etc. and had the 1st annual Mjingwe Olympics al-a- Saeed style! We had rifle shooting, dry river sand 100 yard sprints, dizzy relay races (run 50 yrds, go around a stick in the sand with your forehead ten times then run back the 50 yards), ect.. We had the entire staff in stitches with our games. We burned a lot of 300WBY and .223 lead and had more laughs than I致e had in years.. We gave away binos, cash, knives, etc. to the winners. The staff had an absolute blast.. I suppose I owed them.. I gave them all hell the entire time I was there. I had packed a 4ft. rubber snake with me this trip (thanks Shakari!!) that looked terribly like a black mamba! I scared the living poop out of each and every staff member we had over the couse of the 10 days! Snake in the hamper, snake in the shower, snake in the cooler, snake in the front seat.. You get the idea! I think I had a bounty on my head by the time the hunt was over!

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    In closing, I値l say this.. I had one of the most enjoyable hunts I致e ever been on this trip. It was a combination of having one of my best friends there, the fantastic animals we ended up taking, getting to realize a dream of mine to hunt buff with a double rifle, the wonderful scenery and terrain of southern Zim, the great staff and hunters of Mjingwe, the great attitudes of all there, etc. all added up to make a hunt that will be hard to match. I cannot say enough good things about the way this hunt turned out.
    I値l be back just as soon as I can for safari #8.. I will be back with Jon after a big sable bull, another tuskless elephant, a big eland bull, and of course a try at redemption on those darn spotted hyenas!

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    On a side note, my other buddy Mark took his buffalo bull as well as a brute of an eland bull with an old Win M70 .375 redone by Griffin & Howe (beaut of a gun) back in the 50s but that is his story to tell! They had a great hunt as well.

    Thanks for taking a minute to read, guys and gals. Take care.
     
  2. Mike70560

    Mike70560 AH Fanatic

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    Very nice and well done. I especially like the old gnarly buffalo.
     
  3. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    Great hunting report! Thanks for sharing your pictures and memories! Awesome hunt!
     
  4. monish

    monish AH Elite

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    Scotty,

    Wonderful trophy heads you got there & great hunt report , Congratulations !! for a successful safari....

    Monish
     
  5. Spiral Horn Safaris

    Spiral Horn Safaris AH Fanatic

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    Hi Scotty

    Thanks for the hunt report that kudu Rich took is great!

    Best Regards
    Louis van Bergen
     
  6. nkjonas

    nkjonas AH Senior Member

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    Wow! Thanks for sharing your hunt with us! Congratulations on such a wonderful old buffalo.
     
  7. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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    Scotty, really enjoyed your hunt report and pictures, thanks for sharing your journey with us!
     
  8. chixy

    chixy New Member

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    I can see why you have done 7 trips with memories like that. I hope my first hunt in Africa due for next year contains similar memories.
    Well done!
     
  9. Thunder head

    Thunder head AH Enthusiast

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    I think everyone has there own vision of what a perfect buff would look like. Yours fits me too a tee. Congratulations on a fine hunt.
     
  10. Kilimanjaro

    Kilimanjaro AH Senior Member

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    Thanks guys.. I certainly do appreciate the kind words..
    This was just one of those hunts that came together great and we had a blast with no stress or worries for the entire hunt. A fantastic time.

    Thunder head,
    you and I must think alike.. I was completely happy with him!
     
  11. davidarizpe

    davidarizpe AH Veteran

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    I am still thinking in the rubber snake!!!!!!!!!!!
    I am sure none of the staff people will ever be able to forget you.....and then the Olympics,,,,,,, Congratulations ond your great human sense,,,, A Dram Hunting Trip.
    Keep them coming....
     

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