MOZAMBIQUE: Majune Safaris 2016

thi9elsp

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Day 9 (November 2)

Breakfast – I get carrot cake with chocolate icing for the second day in a row and Ann doesn’t fuss at me. Does it get any better than this? She quotes Bill Crosby’s skit “Dad is great, we get chocolate cake!” Manuel must think we are some crazy Americans.

Sunrise leaving camp

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Off to buffalo land looking for Eland along the way. I sway to the rhythm of the truck and Nipito’s tsetse fly dance. Tap, tap, tap – Geraldo – Eland!!!!! Grande!!!!! In the woods to the left of the track. I bail out right, Nipito hands me the 375 and Jacinto hands Manuel the sticks. We move around the hood of the truck and setup the sticks. He’s in the woods about 175 yards away, broadside facing to the right. I cock the rifle, get on him and squeeze. We all hear a solid thwack with a second thwack.

The woods looking from the truck to where the Eland was when I shot
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Yup, one happy scope ring – first time.
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The eland trots off with his cows and we go out to where he was standing. We quickly find blood and start the track. After about 300 yards, Geraldo sees him and Manuel finds the Eland in the binoculars. Before we can setup the sticks he takes off. We continue the track. Manuel sees him again about a half mile away across a grassy plain. The guys continue the track.

They stop. Nipito and Manuel chat. The guys lost his track with the cows. He must have split off from them. We wait while they go back. About 15 minutes and Geraldo whistles he’s got the track about 250 yards back. Jacinto walks parallel to him and gets the track about 150 yards back. Nipito crosses over and finds it about 50 yards back – they are all in a straight line. How they do this continues to amaze me. Off we go.

About a quarter mile later we catch up with him, he’s standing broadside. I squeeze off a shot between the trees but hit one of them. Manuel “You want me to shoot him?”, “Yes”. One shot of his 460 and the bull is down. When we walk up he’s still alive so I put another one in him to finish it. I have my Eland Bull. He’s grand, huge, amazing. I don’t think I could wrap my arms around his neck. It’s the rut, so he’s puffed up even more than normal. Manuel looks at his horns and shakes his head. “John, he’s bigger than the one I have in my trophy room. You have to do a shoulder mount!” Wow. He looks huge to me. I'll have to wait until he arrives in the states to measure him. Pinch me!

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Manuel, Ann and I hang out with the eland while the guys go back for the truck and clear a path. Takes them about an hour and a half round trip. I figure they’ll take a break when they get back – no way. They immediately start processing him. Now, how do we get him in the truck? 2 guys in the truck pulling the horns, a rope tied around the horns run through the steel tubing frame with Ann and I pulling on it and 4 guys underneath the him. Finally we get the front half into the bed. Close the tailgate, now 3 guys in the truck and 2 guys with me underneath and we get the back half into the truck. Didn’t think we could do it but we did.

Lunch in camp, leftover chocolate mousse for desert (do you sense a theme here?), a nice cold shower and a nap. We look for waterbuck this evening – one bull with a heard of cows but they take off as we get close. I sleep well. Ann hears the lions as they rumbled their way past about 100 yards from our tent during the night.
 

Aaron N

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What a brute! Keep this story going!
 

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Exceptional eland congrats . Bruce
 

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Thanks for sharing more, congrats on the eland!
 

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Absolute cranker of an Eland Bull. :S Cloud9:
 

AB2506

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That is one of the best looking eland I have seen this year!
 

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:whistle::whistle::whistle:Nice Lord Eland Derby, the skin is different than northern Africa.

It a stunning Eland !!!!!(y)(y)(y)
 

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Thanks to everyone for your comments. It was a hoped for trophy and just amazing to be fortunate to get one let alone one that large. Most of the eland, both bulls and cows, we saw during the hunt were very skittish.
 

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Thats a cracker of an Eland. I am enjoying your story with your ups and downs.
A dream safari for sure. I bet at this stage you were wishing that you had another 12 days to absorb it all.
 

thi9elsp

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@Neale It's amazing. At times I felt like 12 days were too long. Then as it got later in the hunt, I was like, only 3 or 4 days left? Where did the time go?
 

thi9elsp

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Day 10 (November 3)
Another good breakfast – yes, carrot cake with chocolate icing plus a hardboiled egg, watermelon and tea. Off we drive to buffalo land.

Fresh tracks in the dry riverbed we’ve checked three or four times before. It takes the guys some time to sort them out to make sure we’re on the right tracks. It’s a single buffalo with a narrow track. Manuel tells me sometimes the old bulls have hooves that grow longer vs. wider. Ok, let’s go!

This is new country for our hiking. A forest with leaves on the trees, some dappled sunlight and a breeze – quite a nice change from the sweltering heat and the little shade we had experienced the previous days. Like day 8, there are sporadic areas of grass – this is mostly medium in height. And, as before, the rifles are handed to Manuel and me as we carefully look for the bull bedded. He’s not in any of the grass we check and we continue until he heads into some bamboo.

SAM_1352.jpg


Again, Manuel backs us out and we go around looking into the bamboo. About 100 yards further along, we start to go into the BTE. Across the far side of the drainage a partridge busts and we hear a couple clunks against the bamboo. Full stop. Slowly we proceed forward cautiously crossing the dry creek bed. We get to the top, turn right and move along the edge of the creek for about 20 yards. The guys stop and listen. My thumb is gently resting on the cocking slide and my finger on the outside of the trigger guard.

Explosion of bamboo. To the right, back on the other side of the creek. I have an opening where I’m crouching with a view to the bamboo over there and start to stand and bring the rifle to my shoulder. I sense rather than see Manuel slide up next to me. The bull continues crashing through the bamboo away from us and never gives us a shot. Jacinto sees him come out of the bamboo and head up the hill on the other side. We pause to catch our breath and relax. Manuel and the guys talk for a few minutes with a lot of nodding and expression. “He knew we were behind him. The first noise we heard was when he moved from this side over to the side we were on. If we hadn’t moved across the creek he would have charged.” Wow.

We cross back over and pick up the tracks. We follow him for about a half an hour or so and cross a road. Surprising to me the guys lay the rifles against a tree and Nipito gets on the radio for Abileo to bring the truck. I look at Manuel, “What’s up?” “He’s a smart old bull. Ever since he busted out of the bamboo he’s been walking down wind. We’ll never catch up to him.” They don’t get old being dumb do they?

We have some lunch and take a bit of rest. Then it’s time to head back to camp. Just short of camp some warthog run across the road ahead of us. There’s a boar. Off I jump and grab the 375. Manuel puts up the sticks, the warthog is about 100 yards away broadside, facing left and quartering away. Squeeze, thwack, thwack, thwack. Nailed him. Enlarged my scope ring crescent. And the warthog ran into a tree as it died! A lot smaller than the one I missed but I have my first warthog – woohoo!

SAM_1356.jpg


This evening we go looking for waterbuck. Another completely missed shot and off he runs. After a nice dinner another good night’s sleep.
 

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Monster Eland you got yourself there!!!

Great report keep it coming...
 

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You are going to have a permanent crease in your forehead if you keep that up.

Nothing like the sound of a crashing Buffalo in heavy cover to know you are alive.
 

thi9elsp

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@BRICKBURN You know, if I get the animal each time, I'm ok with that. Now to do the scope rash like brother did on the range with a 270, I wouldn't even want to admit that!
 

thi9elsp

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Day 11 (November 4)

Time is ticking away. Just 2 days to get it done. I feel energized today. It’s going to happen. I can just feel it. The ride in the truck to start looking for tracks doesn’t seem to be as long as other days even though we start looking in similar watering places as before.

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Five or six hours later and we’ve checked at least half dozen water holes. We find one fresh track – an Eland. All the buffalo tracks are old. I’m done. I can’t do this one more day. The buffalo win. I’m going to tell Manuel to take us to the Lugenda River so that we can see it tomorrow. I want some photo opportunities for Ann. Maybe we’ll see a nice waterbuck down there. I’ve had a successful safari. We’ve seen animals we didn’t see in 2011. We saw more plains game than before but fewer elephants – that is sad.

Lunch didn’t taste as good to me today. It was a nice grilled fish. Probably just tired. Coming down. The cake hit the spot though. Off for the evening drive hoping to get on a Blue Wildebeest or Waterbuck. Only cows. No bulls.

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We see vultures near a water source. One landed in a bare tree – my Halloween theme is back. Or, maybe it is there to feast on my failure at getting a buffalo? No, it hasn’t been a failure. We hunted hard. I figure we hiked at least 60 – 70 miles in some rough terrain. No. I didn’t fail. The old buffalo just won.

After dinner we start to organize our bags and start packing. Tomorrow we’ll have a nice drive, a picnic at the river and maybe a waterbuck. I go to sleep at peace – satisfied with hunting hard for the buffalo. And, thrilled with the trophies I’ve been fortunate to collect.
 

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You know, sometimes it isn't the hunts where you harvest your targeted species that you recall or enjoy the most. It can be that you hunted hard, had good times with friends and family, saw new country and new animals and new people(s) that you remember very fondly. I think you have experienced those things and you will remember this trip for your lifetime. Congratulations!
 

thi9elsp

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@AB2506 You are spot on. What a trip and experience.
 

thi9elsp

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Day 12 (November 5)
I feel very relaxed today. The pressure is off. I’m excited for today to be about Ann. Any time we see animals that are reasonably close I’m going to tap, tap, tap for Manuel to stop so she can get some photos. We climb into the truck and my butt goes, NO. We have a 2 ½ (30Km) hour drive each way. I love her, but right now my back end doesn’t.

We leave the camp a different direction. We’re heading west. Not to the plains game hunting nor east to the buffalo country. It’s nice to see new territory. Gently rolling hills, trees with leaves on them. Some dry riverbeds with the entrances and exits less steep than other days.

I sit, musing about the safari. What an experience. We’ve been to Africa twice. The Zambezi Valley in Zimbabwe. Now, Niassa Province in Mozambique. Who would have thought a kid from the Midwest who sat entranced watching Wild Kingdom and later King Solomon’s Mine (Stewart Granger version) would go twice to Africa and to the distant, remote places?

I giggle to myself. Wouldn’t it be ironic if some buffalo cross the road in front of us. I get down and as Manuel puts up the sticks a nice bull stops in the road at 50 yards broadside. Bam, I shoot him. I just had to chuckle. I always get him with one shot in my dreams.

Then, about 20 minutes later…
 

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