ETHIOPIA: Northern Operations Africa 2016

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Africa' started by Hank2211, Sep 15, 2016.

  1. Hank2211

    Hank2211 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I think this qualifies you as a son only a mother could love.

    I thought of bringing the leg back to show my wife, but decided against it. I can get some pretty weird ideas when out in the bush too long.

    Couldn't agree more . . . the best part was I could make the lower part move by pulling on a tendon. What was I saying about weird ideas . . .
     
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  2. Royal27

    Royal27 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Sure done that with a deer leg before!
     
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  3. Wheels

    Wheels AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    IMG_3793.JPG

    I'm a little weird too.

    Here is mine. We didn't have rabbits, so had to improvise.

    Lucky dik-dik foot.

    A little worn, but it is around 50 years old.

    Really weird thing is I still have it.
     
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  4. Hank2211

    Hank2211 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I never thought of that - if I had, I think I would have kept the little foot and used it on a keyring! Next time . . .
     
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  5. Hank2211

    Hank2211 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Day 17 Nov. 21

    All I can legally hunt now in Ethiopia is a Hamadryas baboon, so that's what we're going to look for this morning.

    Time for educational moment. There seems to be some disagreement, but overall – at least according to Wikipedia – there are 5 species of baboons, in the genus Papio. The Chacma baboon is the one hunters in southern Africa are most familiar with, and one of the largest. The Guinea baboons are the smallest of the baboons, and live in West Africa. I never saw any while hunting Cameroon. The Olive baboon – also called the Anubis baboon – lives across a wide swath from West Africa to the Horn of Africa. You can hunt Anubis baboons in Ethiopia, but I did not - no quota. The Yellow baboon is found from Kenya and Tanzania south to parts of Botswana and Zimbabwe, but generally not as far south as South Africa. If I’ve ever seen one, I wasn’t aware of it.

    Just to be complete, there is another animal which can be hunted in Ethiopia – the Gelada baboon or simply Gelada. This monkey has its own genus, at least for the time being, so isn’t technically a baboon, although most call it that. The distinctive feature of the Gelada is that the males have a “heart” on their chests – an area without hair in the center of the chest that is bright red. It’s only found in the highlands of Ethiopia. Unfortunately, like a tom turkey, the bright red heart fades quickly once the animal dies. And even more unfortunately, I think the trophy fee is about $3,000, which is far more than I’m prepared to pay for a monkey, baboon or not.

    I skipped over the last of the five species of baboon, the Hamadryas, which is found in the Horn of Africa and across the Red Sea on the Arabian Peninsula. These are quite distinctive, with longer hair which looks like it’s been “permed.” The males also have a large red bum, which Chacma baboons don’t have.

    And it was Hamadryas we were after. We head out early, around 5.45, and drive to the same areas where we picked up the lesser kudu. Once parked, we head in a different direction, going down the river towards some low cliffs. Within 10 minutes we hear the sound of baboons arguing, and we change our direction to have a look at them.

    We can't see a big male, so we keep looking, and walking. We hadn't gone another 100 yards when we see two males about 60 yards away, on the ground, watching us. Jacques puts the sticks up and says "the one on the right. Take him." I get set up on the sticks, and take the shot quickly. I think I have him lined up perfectly, and I say so. Jacques says he ran, but it looked like a solid hit. We head to the spot, and find plenty of blood, but no baboon. We start to look up the trail, but no luck. I said to Jacques that I was sure it was a good shot. Suddenly Dean says, "here he is" from behind us. He'd leapt into a bush after the shot, and died there. I don't actually think he walked one step.

    The bullet (a Barnes) entered on the right shoulder, broke it, then went into the chest, unzipping it - most of his guts were hanging out. Clearly, he felt nothing.

    DSC00256 (1).jpg
    Not sure what he means by the hand on my knee . . . a bit forward, I'd say.

    A great way to end a great hunt. I came here with one animal as a "must do" - the mountain nyala, principally because it's only available here. It was a difficult hunt, with a low unlike any other I've experience, but equally a high unlike any other. I got the second principal animal - the lesser kudu, leaving me with only one more to complete the spiral horns. I was successful on the ancillary animals, other than the leopard. We tried on the leopard, but I think the hyena population made that almost impossible - not one hit on four to five baits up for 16 days. But that's hunting, and it's not the end of the world. I have one, and there are lots of leopard in the world. In fact, if the US moves forward on a ban on leopard imports (which does seem less likely after the recent election), there will be even more for Canadians to take!

    I wasn't sad to leave the mountain camp - there is only so much freezing I can take - but I was somewhat sad to leave the desert camp, as basic as it was. I'm not sure i'd feel the same way in the summer, but while it was hot, and I had difficulties with the heat, it was always possible to stay out of the sun and enjoy a cold St. George's. And what more can you ask for?

    Some observations on the hunt

    1. Ethiopia is full of people. They are everywhere, and at least where I hunted - and I am told everywhere else - you will run into them regularly and sometimes at inopportune times. The people are friendly in the mountains, and less friendly in the desert. The less friendly ones are often armed. There is nothing you can do if they decide to sit with you, to watch you, to follow you, or to bust a stalk. Because you will run into so many people, you can’t help but notice some things that you would likely not have seen in other countries with fewer people in hunting areas.

    To make matters worse, the population is growing at a rate of about 2.6%/yr. That adds another 2 million + people per year, who need to live and be fed. Wildlife is being crowded out.

    2. I saw no evidence of foreign aid in the mountains, although it seemed as poor as the desert. There is plenty of evidence of foreign aid in the desert (where I understand they seem to have frequent famines), especially USAID, which is plastered over buildings and signs. The UN and Save the Children are also found, among others. I don't know if there is a connection, but never once in the mountains was I asked for money, while in the desert, I was asked for money regularly from children and adults alike. Could it be that 'handouts' cultivate a culture of 'handouts'?

    3. I never saw a weapon (on a "civilian") in the mountains, but in the desert, AK-47s are commonly seen on young men, especially but not exclusively. The men here also carry knives on their belts, in fancy scabbards. These range from about 8" to things which would strike fear in the heart of Jim Bowie. In the time I have been here I have not gotten used to sitting waiting for animals with one of these young men behind me, armed to the teeth, chewing khat.

    4. Gender relations are interesting. Women are commonly seen in the mountains, but less so in the desert (both areas are predominantly Muslim). Those women you do see in the desert appear older - there is a notable absence of teenage or early twenties women in the desert. I am told they are kept at home. In the mountains, it seems everyone works, with boys and men looking after livestock and the women looking after firewood and water. Guess which carry the heavier loads?

    5. Khat is found everywhere. I'm told you have to be 18 to chew, but you also have to be 18 (in Alberta) to drink, and we know what that means. Men chew more than women apparently. People – especially truck drivers – chew on the road, and people with guns chew regularly. Perhaps I’m being overly sensitive to this, but I can’t help feeling that the truck accidents I saw might have been caused, at least in part, by truck drivers who are chewing khat to stay awake.

    6. Hunting areas are under pressure, especially in the mountains, where people are looking for new land to cultivate. While the communities do benefit from hunting, and are generally supportive of it, there simply isn't enough quota in any single area to make it a big money earner. I have little doubt that at some point, these hunting areas will come under significant pressure from burgeoning populations seeking new land. That's an unfortunate dynamic, because as the habitat shrinks, so will the animals, and then so will the hunts, and so will the positive impact of hunting, leading to more shrinkage of hunting areas. I believe the IUCN currently classifies the Mountain Nyala as "threatened", and that will only get worse as habitat is lost, or becomes ever more fragmented.

    7. The Government of Ethiopia seems not know what it wants to do with hunting. On the one hand, they seem to want to encourage it, and provide a pretty well developed hunting framework. The government charges top dollar for hunts, trying to squeeze as much money as they can out the industry (I'm told trophy fees are going up next year for Mountain nyala). On the other hand, people often see an animal and would like to take it, but rules like deciding on species in advance makes this impossible and leave material amounts of money on the table. Equally, the inability to take certain apparently common animals for bait means you are required to use domestic animals, which seems both wasteful and frankly a bit ghoulish.

    8. Lastly, a word about the language. I found very few people in Ethiopia who spoke any English. Fewer than anywhere else I have travelled in Africa, and that includes West Africa, where French is the more common second language. Most speak Amharic, which as a written language, is nothing like any Western language. I looked at my hunting permit and rifle permit, and I could not even make out my name. You must be able to rely on your team to ensure you have the right paperwork, and to make sure you abide by all of the rules and regulations for hunting. You will not be able to verify anything they tell you for yourself. This is also a potential problem at the airport. Upon my departure, Mesfin was shepherding me through the rifle formalities, and clearly a problem arose. I have no idea what it was, only that a bunch of people were crowding around arguing about something and refusing to let me go. I have no idea what the problem was, because no one could speak English. Eventually, Mesfin cleared it up, but even his English wasn’t good enough to tell me what it was. Make sure your outfitter uses a meet and greet service, and that it’s there for your arrival and departure.

    I really want to thank Northern Operations and their staff for making my hunt such a pleasure and success. Dave Rademeyer, the owner of Northern Operations, was on the phone to Jacques every day or two to see how things were going and to offer suggestions. I like an owner who is hands on, and cares about every hunt. Ad for Jacques, I’ve been very lucky with most of the PH’s I’ve had over the years, and he was no exception. Jacques Meyer was very impressive, never give up and did a wonderful job for me. I wouldn’t hesitate to hunt with him elsewhere in Africa.
     
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  6. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com AH ENABLER FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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    Thanks for all of these great posts Hank, I learned a lot! Much appreciate you sharing your journey, time, trophies, pictures and special moments in Ethiopia with us, all very very enjoyable.

    I think that anyone going to Ethiopia would want to read your incredible Ethiopian hunt report so I was going to post a link to it on the ETHIOPIA Hunting Information thread at the following link: https://www.africahunting.com/threads/ethiopia-hunting-information.14211/. If you do not mind I think that perhaps it would be more appropriate for you to do it since it is your report, thanks! (y)
     

  7. billc

    billc AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Hank that is one amazing trip and you told an equally amazing story with your posting. I even find that baboon you took one beautiful amazing trophy. I would have loved to see you get one of those bushbucks to as I am sure they are amazing also.

    Thanks for sharing your hunt and I hope that lord derby eland hunt happens for you also.
     

  8. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Amazing adventure and was easily relived in reading your tale.
    Thanks for the effort of writing the report Hank.
     

  9. spike.t

    spike.t AH ENABLER SPONSOR Since 2013 AH Ambassador

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    @Hank2211 cant sum it up better than wayne has , congrats on a seriously interesting adventure :D Beers:
     

  10. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    I would classify this as a true adventure. Thanks for taking the time to write it out and share it with us. I would love to hunt there, but I doubt that will happen. Most interesting hunt experience. Congrats Bruce
     

  11. enysse

    enysse AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Congrats, on the great hunt. Thank you for the excellent hunt report, I felt I was walking in your foot prints as you told the story. Excellent trophies!
     

  12. cpr0312

    cpr0312 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Thanks for the updates! I do think that baboon was being a bit forward with you as well..haha
     
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  13. Wheels

    Wheels AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Hank,

    Another great hunting report. Always enjoy your writing style.

    You got some great trophies that are unique for most of us. Thanks so much for sharing your memories with us!
     

  14. Hank2211

    Hank2211 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Thanks all. Great fun to do, and to write about. And I very much enjoyed all of the comments.
     

  15. Ragman

    Ragman AH Elite

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    Thank you very much for this epic report! I thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to end, though I was a little worried at the beginning when you plugged the barrel of your rifle! Just an amazing adventure that you'll never forget. Only question is "where to next"?
     
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  16. Royal27

    Royal27 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Perhaps there was some foreshadowing in the report? :E Hmmm:

     
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  17. hunting4sanity

    hunting4sanity AH Enthusiast

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    When and where is your next safari? I don't do much reading, but thoroughly enjoyed this one and look forward to the next.
     

  18. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    That Baboon picture gave me a flashback...
    DSC00256 (1).jpg ostrich.jpg
     
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  19. rinehart0050

    rinehart0050 GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Hank- thanks for another outstanding report! to share in the adventure with you is much appreciated. the detail of your reports is exceptional.

    Congrats again on your trophies- I look forward to your upcoming LDE report . ...
     

  20. christophe morio

    christophe morio AH Fanatic

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    Fantastic report, thank you for sharing your adventure.

    Best
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