Cape buffalo with Scott Guthrie and Zindele Safaris
I had my first Cape buff hunt in Sept. hunting with Scott Guthrie, Zindele Safaris, Zimbabwe. Having hunted plains game in South Africa twice, I had made the decision to rob my piggy bank, bite the big bullet, and go after Cape buffalo.
Scott met me in Bulawayo and we spent the next five hours on the road to Matesti 1 getting to know each other. Upon arrival we were informed that the concession manager had given the bushbuck permit I had paid for to another party the week before. No refund was offered, I would be allowed to substitute an other animal of similar price. Needless to say, neither Scott nor I were happy with this development, I had wanted another bushbuck to go on the wall with my Cape specimen. Sadly, this was just the start of our challenges.
After unpacking at the lodge, I reported to Scott's cottage where we were getting ready to test fire the rifles. This was when we were informed that none of the permits to hunt had been issued and we would not be allowed out of camp except to travel to Victoria Falls. Test firing the rifles was out.
Scott discussed the issue at length with the concession manager who assured him that the permits would be ready shortly or at the latest, the next morning by 10:00. Of course, they weren't. Nor were they ready by 3:00 that afternoon or 10:00 the following morning.
Scott explained why the permits weren't ready and it was not looking like there would be any relief soon. Suffice the say, the concession manager was a bit short on his duties and responsibilities. It should be noted at this point that there was another party of two hunters also in camp who had arrived with a different PH and different outfitter on my arrival day and they were in the same boat: no permits being issued, no refunds being offered. I had noticed that the camp was in poor repair, ceiling fans not working, water not running and the swimming pool appeared to be used as part of the sewage system.
At this point Scott, who had gotten on his cell and made a series of calls, said there were three options: he personally would refund my money and I could cancel the trip, he would arrange for a hunt in another area at HIS expense, or we could stay in camp and hope that somehow the permit mess would sort itself out. Having lost one and a half hunting days at this point, I opted to get the hell out of there and hunt a different area, which we did.
Scott arranged for us to drive back to his home in Bulawayo, get in his plane and fly to the Bubye Conservancy for the remaining seven and a half days of hunting, all at HIS expense.
That, folks, is a professional hunter with ethics and honor.
I spent the next seven and a half days with Scott seeing what Zimbabwe can be. I had up close encounters with dangerous game, shot a gnarly old dagga boy at 30 yards, took an old zebra for the wife's rug, shot a gnarly, old warthog, and an incredible eland after chasing those darn antelope giants around for four days. I fulfilled a dream of shooting sand grouse at dusk in front of a "jeering" squad...(no relief offered to the weak at heart) and paybacks will be hell, Scott.
I will be writing up the details of the hunt and my other experiences in Zimbabwe and on the Chobe River in my blog. Sorry, I just don't want to write them up twice.
What I will say here is Scott Gutherie is an incredible man, a wonderful PH and, most importantly, a good friend. In favor of decorum, I will reserve my opinion of the Matesti 1 concession manager, for now at least.
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