TANZANIA: Northern Masailand Hunt With Kilombero North Safaris

LivingTheDream

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Overview/Executive Summary

Before I really dive into the report. I want to recognize that I had an amazing trip and I can only describe it as almost spiritual. Kilombero North did a fantastic job and exceeded my expectations. They are under new management, and they seem to really have their stuff together, the special offered is brilliant and opened Tanzania to a regular guy like me. The experience offered is in my opinion a great value (though not cheap) if not one of the best values in Africa hunting… to see no fences, thousands of animals everyday and the trophy quality was exceptional. I would not hesitate to hunt with them again and I hope to someday. On Day 8, I was kicking up Volcanic dust and was thinking how do I get back here. I have never been as relaxed on safari. Quintin was a fantastic PH and we have a similar personality (which was unfortunately for everyone else in camp), I would hunt with him again and we determined that I should be his first client ever year so he can get the rust off. I think Zidane (Bruce’s PH) might end up being a legend, he has the drive, intensity and confidence I think to make it happen. Bruce is a blast to travel with and hunt with. If you ever get the chance to hunt with Bruce, do it!

I took 6 animals, but 5 are pretty exceptional, it was commented that Bruce and I are lucky. I agree and we do well when we hunt together.

Tanzania - Background and Travel Days

I never thought I would be able to hunt Tanzania, given the license structure and charters, it just did not seem like a reality. I remember as a young man watching the hunting channel and seeing a hunt in Africa where they shot a lesser kudu which to me was the most beautiful animal I had ever seen. Given the limited internet capabilities at the time, there was very little information out there and everything led me to believe that to hunt a lesser kudu I needed a 21 day full bag safari which cost more money that my mind could comprehend at the time.

As I grew older and made a formal bucket list of hunting goals, I added a section “In my Dreams” which meant it would probably never happen but it needed to be there to keep it on my mind. I added Lesser Kudu here, as well as Marco Polo and a few others to this section. Because my wife is not a rich heiress, these animals stayed in this section since I was pretty sure I would never get the opportunity. Thanks to AH, I learned more about hunting Tanzania and their license structure, quota and the outfitters, I did have a slim bit of hope, but I pursued other things and just kind of kept this in the back of mind, occasionally seeing a deal and talking to an outfitter here or there. There is a lesser kudu at the national zoo and I spent way too much time looking at it (apparently discussing shot placement at the zoo is frowned upon).

AH is a big reason this hunt was able to happen, as you just never know where a path may lead you. There are some really exceptional members in this community and I have had the pleasure of hunting with Bruce (aka @gillettehunter ) in Wyoming and then we shared a camp (and ultimately a PH and rifle) in Zambia. We have always had a great time, and Bruce is great to share a camp with. I recently took advantage of his going out of business jewelry sale, so when the phone range this past January, my wife was actually excited for me to say that he called. Bruce had spoke to an outfitter regarding a specialized plains game special in Tanzania, what really got my attention was it was a somewhat affordable way for me to be able to hunt Lesser Kudu, not to mention get a few of the glamour plains game species in Tanzania. There was no charter costs given how close Arusha is to the northern Maasai land. I am not sure if the special was because of COVID, but because of COVID and subsequently my other trips being cancelled, I actually had the funds to take advantage of this special. A few more conversations, and a few WhatsApp messages and it was a done a deal. Well…sorta, I need to get my vacation approved and my passport renewed. Surprisingly, I didn’t have any issues there as well. However, Bruce has lost all brownie points with my wife.

Even upon booking I was so nervous that the trip would be cancelled, borders closed, or something would come up, I didn’t really talk about it with anyone. I was just afraid that something would come up and the trip like a few others I had planned would be cancelled. Even writing this now, I still can’t believe that I was able to make it and that COVID, random testing, masks, and temperature checks I was able to make it. My rifle actually made it as well.

Travelling in the Times of COVID

So the plan was that Bruce and his wonderful wife (who is also a blast to have in camp), would be flying in from Denver the night before and instead of staying the night at the airport, they would crash at my place and we would head to the airport together for the longer part of the flight (Dulles to Addis Ababa). All of us got COVID PCR tests, which is a fun way to spend 150 dollars but it is required (at least they said it was, until I got to the counter and they found out I was going to Tanzania, they said they didn’t need to see it). We did have a slight issues with Bruce’s luggage as they didn’t marked it in their system as being a rifle. The nice lady working the counter was great, and we had everything situated. Bruce and his wife went ahead and through security, as I took a nice walk down to TSA with an agent to have my rifle scanned and sent on. I will say, if you want entertainment you just need to go to the Ethiopian check in and watch all of the different items people try to check on a plane. I think one guy had 20 boxes, someone had something on wheels that was wrapped in tape. A rifle and ammo seemed simple in comparison.

Security was easy, getting to the gate was easy. One of the best things about Ethiopian Airlines is there is a potbelly’s sandwich shop right next to the gate, which is perfect to get a sandwich or two for the road and not have to worry about airline food. I am also happy to report the Duty Free had Basil Hayden, so I was able to get a bottle to make sure I had something to celebrate with. I think COVID has impacted a lot of people, TSA agents doing the final passport check were so happy to see people, they were making jokes.

Once on the plane, it was half empty, so we had plenty of space. This also allowed for me to actually get a little sleep and made the trip go much faster. I also was able to read Brian Herne’s Uganda, which I have been trying to read for 2 years and was finally able to read the whole thing. Once we landed in Addis Ababa, there was a nice lady with a sign for myself and Bruce and off we went to bottom of the airport to review the serial numbers. As a note for future hunters, have at least 3 copies of your passport and at least 3 copies of your 4457. It is also nice knowing that my rifle and luggage made it this far. The rest of the time at ADD was uneventful, grabbed a coke and then we were off to Kilmajaro via Zanzibar. Once landing in Zanzibar most of the plane got off, apparently due to COVID and Tanzania not closing, it has become a rather popular tourist spot. The flight from Zanzibar to Kilimanjaro is extremely short, like maybe 45 minutes. But once we landed in Kilimanjaro it turned into a 2 hour affair. First, they gave you paperwork to fill out, which is useless because they want you to fill it out online. So we get kicked out of line to fill out a questionnaire online. Then we get a temperature check. Then we get a line to get receipt printed, that we then go to another line and pay with the receipt. We then go get in line for a COVID test. We then wait for results, once you get results, you get in the VISA line. You then get your VISA and then go in line to pay for your VISA. You then get your rifle and then you get your rifle permit and pay tax on your ammo. You have to go to another line to actually pay the tax. If this wasn’t complicated enough, there was a French lady losing her mind because she had to pay a tax on Cigarettes. Apparently, she didn’t want to stay in line and couldn’t connect to the internet. This issue was the more she lost her mind, the more amusing the officials found it, and they let this go on for a while. Lucky for us, we have a Safari Representative to help us and it went rather smooth (all things considered).

Finally, we were free, and met with Quintin and Zidane a few others and we were loading up in the 4 door safari vehicle. Reality at this point was setting in. There is a Ron White Skit, where he talked about going on Dr. Phil’s boat….he says he walked on boat and excitedly proclaimed, “no one is stopppppinng me”. This is the same type of feeling I had walking to the Safari vehicle. Though exhausted, I was excited. I feel a bit bad for Zidane and Quintin as we were all like little kids asking questions, “what’s that bird, what’s that tree?” “Do the Maasai do this?” Also, as a note, traffic signals such as signs and lines on the road apparently are more suggestions as it seemed like cars were going ever which away. We were starting our Safari at Lake Natron Camp, which was a 2 ½ to 3 hour ride. I have never felt so good hitting the dirt roads and seeing the clouds of dust that follow. We actually drove through/by the other concession on the way and saw a lots of game. Including a welcoming committee of elephants which we were able to get fairly close to. The number of Giraffes was incredible. We also saw jackal and a wildebeest and a pair of dik diks.

Once in camp we got to a very nice chalet on the hill side, the staff was there to greet us and we ate dinner which consisted of Calamari and rice. We also found out who our PHs were going to be. This was left to chance because it was literally who was written on the permits. I got Quintin, and immediately apologized that he drew the short straw. He told me not to worry, he is a decent PH but the best photography I have ever seen and there we will make the animals look bigger. To which I relied, you actually think I am going to hit something when I shoot, interesting. I put this exchange in this report because this is the type banter that Quintin and I had for 10 days. I tend to like to story tell and joke and Quintin is cut from the same cloth. Bruce was hunting with Zidane and Peter. Peter was a constant gentlemen, and did his apprenticeship under Cotton Gordon. Overall, though left up to chance the pairing worked out well.

I went to sleep with a later than usual wake up for 6:30. The full moon was out and was anticipating the view when I woke up in the morning.

Note: I know due to some reports that there is always much conversation about footwear, I brought 2 pairs on Adidas Terrax hiking/all-terrain shoes. I have worn these now on 3 safaris, and they are lightweight, breathable, and have good traction. They might have lacked a little ankle support for one of the activities and being breathable I got some dust in there but they are easy to clean. And very comfortable. I was going to wear Crocs but upon learning that they did not give an endorsement deal to Hank2211, I decided to pass.

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cpr0312

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Exciting start! Looking forward to the report!
 

Wheels

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Really looking forward to your report. Just from reading some of Bruce's I know it will be great.
 

LivingTheDream

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Day 1

I wake up a little before the official wake up call, and start getting organized. The view is breath taking and my biggest concern was I was incapable of spotting any game from this vantage point. Breakfast was consistent, Scramble eggs, bacon and sausage. Being this a mostly Muslim country (though Maasai are largely catholic) the sausage and bacon were beef based. Honestly, I think I prefer it, it had a great taste and was the perfect way to start the day. There is a water hole on top by the lodge and had a ton of little birds coming and going, it was amazing to see and unfortunately words don’t capture it. I feel like this set the tone a bit, as this was a hunt hard safari but very relaxed, I don’t think I ever felt too much pressure.

So we go get our rifles sighted in. I took a Browning A-bolt with a Nikon Prostaff scope in 300 wsm. My dad had got me this combination when I graduated high school. This gun is somewhat of a safe queen, but I have probably killed 50 deer with it, and have taken it to Africa before. The thing about this gun is it isn’t that impressive on paper, if I am shooting well it is probably at 1 MOA, but for whatever reason it always hits animals well. So Bruce is up first and he is using his 7mm SAUM, which I have hunted with and seen in action, this is an impressive gun, on paper, on animals, whatever, it is an excellent gun and Bruce is immediately sighted in, I think 2 shots were touching. Now I am up with the safe queen, and she is shooting to the right and low, so make some adjusts (6 clicks left and 6 clicks up), and she is about a ½ inch high and maybe a ¼ inch left. Good enough!!! Off we go!

Immediately see Gerenuk and Dik Dik, and a Grants along the way. It is about 45 minutes to the part of the concession we are hunting in. We go through the Maasai village, and it is market day so alot is going on. Once through and across a dry riverbed, we hit more of the open plains and see Zebra, Ostrich and Tommies and Grants. They are everywhere, and the animals are very comfortable. Most of the Tommies we see are the 13-to-14-inch range and Grants at the 24. All are very respectable, but Quintin is confident we can get a 15 inch Tommie and a 25 inch Grants. We do see a Grants, that is obviously hybrid with a Roberts, the horn shape and coloration are different. Roberts aren’t in the concession so we don’t have one on quota but it was a cool to see and understand the difference. Quintin even checked my license, and said shame there is no Grants. This Ram will play a part in the story later on. After looking over 100s of Grants and Tommies and no shooters, we head back to camp for lunch.

Lunch was a Chicken and Rice, very good and most of the meals have a middle eastern flare since the cook was trained in Dubai. We rested till 3 pm before taking off to another area, about 45 minutes the other way. Being early in the season, we had to forge a path through some thick stuff (like literally the tracker on top was telling us how to navigate through because we couldn’t see), we break out onto the plains. It should also be noted that there was a ton of birds, crested Francolin and Yellow Throated Spurfowl. Once we broke out into the plains, it seemed like every 100 yards was loaded with Grants and Tommies, we did get the sticks on one Tommie, if nothing more than practice. I brought my Quad sticks with a 3rd leg, this is almost like shooting off a bench and it provides fantastic support. Even with those sticks the wind was blowing 20 mph+ and still gave me pause if I needed to do a long shot (I didn’t need to). After looking over 100s again, we drove to a hill and drove to the top to spot for Kudu and whatever else might be out there. Quintin told me there is a great Kudu bull that he saw back in January in this area and he would like to locate it.

We are right on top of a Grants and saw a random Impala, about 5:30 we start to see a kudu cow. As it gets closer to dark we see more and more kudu, but we are losing light. Finally, I spot what looks like a kudu butt, 250 yards away in a thorn tree. While staring he lifts his head up and he is glorious. More than 2 curls and ivory tips. We quickly try to stalk down to him but in the thick stuff, in low light, it was nearly impossible. We don’t see him again but as the lights fades to dark, I had seen my first bull, it was fantastic moment though unsuccessful.

Dinner was snapper and mashed potatoes, I was in bed by 9:30 pm with dreams of what was to come!

Note: Kilmerbro North Safaris as spent substantial amounts of money in the area to help the Maasai, new schools, churches, medical supplies in the amount of well over 1 million dollars. It is quite impressive, their owner as the philosophy that if you aren’t helping the communities you are hunting in then you shouldn’t be hunting in them.

Note #2 – Bruce had a hell of day but it is his story to tell! But I have seen picture and held the trophy in my hand! Wow is all I can say!

Below is a picture of our Kudu Glassing Spot
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sestoppelman

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Reading this will be like a trip down memory lane. (y)
 

375 Ruger Fan

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Great start, looking forward to the rest of your report!
 

gillettehunter

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I’m loving it too! In a text message he said it’s like seeing the movie and then reading the book. Looking forward to the rest.
By the way Mike is a blast in camp. I’m not sure what or why it is but we have great chemistry together in camp and it seems to magnify our luck. I don’t know how to explain it but we each just seem to do better together in camp than singly. Carry on Mike.
Bruce
 

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LivingTheDream

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Day 2

I didn’t really sleep good, think it was a bit of home sickness, due to COVID, I really haven’t had the opportunity to travel much. But up at 5:30, beautiful sunrise and breakfast was great. It is worth noting the coffee in this part of the world is outstanding. Today’s plan was I was going to do a bit of a repeat of yesterday and Bruce was going up the mountain to hunt a Bushbuck in a volcanic crater. It is described a tropical forest, that is wet but cold and has elevation of 9500 ft or so. There is also a plant called a Nettle which apparently is a horrible terrible no good plant, and I heard various stories about the nettle.

We took off and we going to drive the riverbed and see if any kudu were coming there since is it greener, thicker and has some water. Upon driving a few miles of the riverbed and seeing only a jackal, we determined it is still too green for the kudu to congregate here. No worries, we are off to the area where we saw the Tommies and Grants. We immediately see a good Tommie. He was about 15 inches, but what saved his life is that he was rather thin, there was another one, maybe 13 inches with a lot more mass. Though I was on the sticks, we called it off after a short stalk. When judging Tommies, I found a big one looks almost unnatural, if you just look at it and say that’s a big one, it probably isn’t a shooter. As we Zig Zag around, we are obviously in the Tommie hotspot, there is huge groups and they are chasing females and it is a bit of chaos, since I am sure there is over 300 Tommies running around. We start following one bachelor group, and zig zag and sneak around and on sticks and off sticks and ranging them and it is a huge game of cat and mouse. The first one is maybe 14 ½, but we see a bigger one off in the distance, so we zig zag around, get to that one, and as we are looking it over, we spot a bigger one to the right. This guys is trying to hide in with Grants and we are off after him, zig zag zig zag, trying to keep track of him. We lose him for a minute but off to the right, we spot one lying down, he is a monster and we immediately say we need to kill him. We close the distance to about 175, and he stands up and walks behind a bush, we hustle as quickly as possible to close the gap. We get to about 135, stick are up, I am on. I get the all clear as he turns broadside. Breath and squeeze, as the sound of the shot, I hear the beautiful “thwack” of a good hit. As I recover from the recoil, Quintin tells me excellent shot sir! It dropped right in its tracks. My first, Tanzania animal is “in the salt” and he is a great one. A 15 ½ inch, with 5 ½ inch mass. The trackers are super excited, and I am so thankful for the opportunity this noble little gazelle gave me. They are beautiful and honestly extremely underrated, they walk and run with a bit of nobility and arrogance that only a little antelope can have.

At the shot nothing seemed that excited and pretty much kept carried on as they were. We watched everything for a minute, took in the fantastic moment and after pictures we are headed back for lunch!

Lunch was a meat and rice dish, kind of like fried rice but more of a Thai or Indian flair to it. After lunch, we don’t take much of a break. We went to this huge open area as a few weeks before there were 1000s upon 1000s of Wildebeest, but it is has since browned up and they are gone, a few grants and tommies and zebras are still there but this is where they filmed a scene in “Hatari”. So that is very cool.

We drive back to the Kudu spot, instead of driving in, we decide to sneak in. Through the sneak we see a ton of animals but no kudu, getting to 20 to 30 yards of some Zebra and Grants is very cool. Also, there is a ton of birds and it seemed like each bush sent yellow throated spurfowl running. This stalk was about an hour an half and we are back on the same hill as yesterday glassing for kudu, we have about 75 to 90 minutes of light. We glass some Grants, and spot a decent Impala, spot 2 jackals as well. We have Maasai cross the field and he didn’t bother the animals one bit. As the day gets shorter, I spot a kudu bull 580 yards away. We believe this is the same one from yesterday and he has a bunch of cows with him, he also a younger small bull with him. And he spends ½ his time running the younger bull off to a healthy distance of 40 or 50 yards before turning his focus back to the cows. Just as quickly as he appeared, he and his cows all disappeared. Into the thick brush and basically, ending any chance at a stalk till they reappear. We finally spot some of the cows and they are further away but kind of headed our direction. Still no possibility of a stalk. With light fading fast, the cows appear in a gap about 225 yards away. There is a bit of a scramble to get the sticks in place and some how they skyline’d us on the hill. Well, one cow did, the rest just run and they are running kind of all over the place. About 3 minutes in the bad scramble, the bull appears in what looks like a clear area, walking right to left and we have a chance to cut him off. But there is maybe 5 minutes of good light left. We all take off to try to cut him off, try to walk paths through the thick stuff quickly and quietly is a bit difficult but we are expecting to pop out and he should be 100 yards to our right. Finally, we pop out to the opening, and we don’t see him. There is hardly no light left so we are frantically looking. About the time we spot him, 100 yards to our LEFT, he spots us and starts to take off. There is a gap, I am on the sticks, and all I see is the beautiful 2 curls go bouncing through my scope. So close, but also so very far. I am not sure if I should felt excited or dejected, in some ways I just had my dream animal run through my scope. In other ways, my dream animal just ran through my scope and out of my life. The ride back to camp, is kind of chipper, we know we are getting close and it only day 2.

Dinner was Lasagna and it was good! Bruce spent the day on the mountain and that is his story to tell but it is a hell of a story. Who knew Sitatunga live in high altitudes? After dinner we made a plan to get up at 4:30 and sneak in under cover of darkness, and see if we can cut the Kudu off coming back. We talk about the path we saw the Maasai on and think that might give us a quiet approach and come from the side of the hill avoiding us sky lining ourselves in the process. We talk to the trackers and they are confident they can get us to the path. For whatever reason, I love this plan, it seems like how to out smart an old whitetail. We will either kill him by 8 am or not, then we will go hunt the mountain and see if we can get lucky on a bushbuck in the afternoon.

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gillettehunter

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I also feel like the Tommies are under rated. Coloration of the gazelles is a thing of beauty. You killed a stud.
 

cpr0312

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Awesome, congrats on the Tommie!!
 

PARA45

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What a great report, please don't stop now. :ROFLMAO: You two gents had a fantastic safari.

BTW, did you know that when it comes to reading hunt reports, we are very impatient bunch? :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:
 

LivingTheDream

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What a great report, please don't stop now. :ROFLMAO: You two gents had a fantastic safari.

BTW, did you know that when it comes to reading hunt reports, we are very impatient bunch?

Speaking of impatient, Apparently so are people at my job, wanting me to get back to work. I'm still in my Post Safari Zen like state.
 

Uncle Sauce

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Beautiful animal - Great start!
 

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How grand! Another fine trophy! You guys had such a grand adventure! I really am enjoying this. Thanks for taking time to share.
 

LivingTheDream

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Day 3

4:30 came quick, but I was up before the alarm. Did I mentioned I love the plan, I walk out and it is a full moon of full moons, it is bright out. I can see my shadow as I walk to the main lodge. A quick cup of coffee and we are off. The car ride is pretty quiet, I think we were pretty focused. We drive to where we are at the end of the Maasai path, the trackers have assured us this is the path. We (myself, PH, tracker, gamescout) take off down the path. To say step 1 of the plan of getting to the hill went flawlessly is a bit of an understatement. We did it with no flashlights, no tripping, no rubbing of branches, or hitting thorns. We were completely and utterly silent. We came to the side of the hill just as the false dawn was starting, essentially everything is gray, so you can see everything and nothing. I am just hoping that maybe with the full moon caused the kudu to stayed out a little longer.

Every hunter knows this time, where with every minute it gets lighter and every minute you don’t see anything it feels like the chance of seeing something is going to get less and less. The way we are set up, we have 3 gaps. The first gap is the far gap, it is probably 300 yards away and 10 yards wide and this is where we expect to get clear identity of the target, the next gap is the big gap, 250 yards away and maybe 40 yards wide, this is where we expect to get a shot and the sticks are facing the end of this gap. The final gap is about 220 yards away, it is a smaller gap, 5 yards wide and should be considered the “Oh SHIT” this the last chance gap. We are making sure that no one or anything is skylined and we are just glassing and glassing and glassing.

Finally (maybe 20 minutes), Quintin goes, there he is, he is in the first gap, as he is standing there and we get confirmation, a younger bull comes on ahead of him. I am working to get the sticks set up and accordingly on the second gap, he is actually a little closer than expected. I am quad sticks with the 3rd leg. They are a bit awkward in the hills (they are bit awkward anyway) but really provide a solid rest. The young bull and the old bull are through the first gap quick and are already in the second gap as I am trying to get ready on the sticks, in my struggle to find them in the gap, they get through. I swing the sticks to the third gap and I am getting them arranged and I see the young bull in the scope (no where near crosshairs) in third gap. I am just getting comfortable, when I see the shadow/silhouette of the old bull behind the bush about to enter the gap. As he walks out, he gets right to the end of the gap and stops. I can see his neck/shoulder and bit of his horns. I am in a squat position, leaning over the sticks, in low light, with a 220 yard shot. I can tell you I have never practiced a downhill squatting position before but this is what I got. Once he stopped, Quintin goes if you have the shot, take it. I breath and squeeze….at the shot, I lost sight of the kudu...
 

LivingTheDream

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Day 3 Continued...

However, the stirless morning silence is broken with a beautiful THWACK sound, that reverberated across the plain and off the hillside. Quintin says, I think you dropped him, he just dropped, like straight down. Reload and watch that spot. At this point, all of the nerves and adrenaline that had been cool as a cucumber, have now decided to flow through my veins and cause me to not only start to shake uncontrollably but also my breathing sounds like a freight train. Quintin says, I think he is down down, let’s go have a look. Going down the hill, the nerves are really starting to kick in, in fact at the bottom of the hill, my legs turned to complete Jello and I thought I might not be able to walk. The shaking is crazy and I excited and nervous, I am almost sure the shot was good and I am walking up to my dream animal. A 100 yards later, Quintin focusing completely ahead, reaches back and says, “well done sir, there is Your kudu”. The shot was perfect, right in front of the shoulder and exited right behind the far shoulder, the downward angle, 180 gr Nosler partitions, did more than enough.

The guys were amazing and let me be alone with the animal for a while. I cried. I cried a lot. I can’t even describe what this animal means to me, there are animals in our dreams and animals we keep out of dreams because we don’t want to give ourselves the false impression of hope. This kudu, was more than expected, and he was magnificent in every way. And it was just me and him for a good 20 minutes. The tracker and game scout, each came by separately and gave me a hug and say said congratulations. I think they also knew how much this animal meant to me. Obviously, we took a ton of pictures. I really took time to try to soak in this moment.

Once done, and loaded up we headed back to camp. He was a perfectly symmetrical 28 ¾ on each side. Lots of mass and a great bull. Oddly enough, this was my first Kudu, I am not sure many people can say their first was a lesser, but my African experiences have been unique (in my previous four safaris, no kudu, no impala, no oryx, no wildebeest). It isn’t that I haven’t tried, just my mindset was always, I will be back so there is no need to rush it unless it is a monster.

Well after breakfast, and feeling no pressure in the world, we are off to the mountain, it is 2 hour drive and then an hour climb into the crater. I have listened to Bruce and I have gaiters and gloves, as everyone keeps talking about nettles and I have no idea what they are and if they hurt. Apparently, they are plant that when touched feels like a bee sting for 3 to 4 hours. Upon stepping of the car, I immediately hit a nettle. So off we go, and it is like a tropical rain forest. It is wet, misty, kind of cold and super green. It is a good hike and then we go into the cater, where it is also cold and wet. We almost immediately start seeing bushbuck ewes, we also spot a few eland. We have about 2 hours of glassing, and we don’t want to get caught climbing out in the dark (wet grass, stones, steep ledges, what could go wrong). Well all total, we saw 17 ewes, and 2 massive Eland. The one Eland was old, and dark, and on his way out. We could see ribs and hip bones, unfortunately the government doesn’t care if he is sick and I don’t feel like paying the trophy fee and carrying the meat out. So we just watch him as we run out of time. Also, saw a giant Serval cat, so old his spots are faded. We are all pretty confused as to why no rams showed. My guess is with the full moon they knew they had time to make an appearance.

With no shooters (and for that matter future shooters) identified we decided to climb out. The climb is uneventful, but we did see the most beautiful sunset. It was a bit of a rush to try to get out of there before darkness set it. And we did have a 2 hour ride back.

Dinner was a Franklin and Rice dish. So we recapped the day, and Bruce and Zidane (his PH) showed us pictures of a very familiar Grants…what is funny is that as Bruce was telling me the story, Zidane was telling Quintin the story in Swahili. Apparently, Quintin and I were asking the same questions. “Where did you shoot this Robert, looking Grants”, “Was it about a mile from the River”, “Was it a group of bachelor rams?” I don’t want to give away too much for Bruce’s story, but I have never laughed so hard. I would try to tell the jokes, but words don’t describe the laughter and comradery that is shared around a campfire.

The plan was made that we were getting up at 4:30 again, headed back up the mountain and we are going to get a Bushbuck! This plan entails glassing the mountain side on the outside of the crater and if that fails back into the crater.

Note: Bruce had his knees replaced. I argue this makes him part Robot and should be easier for him to climb mountains than me…he disagrees with my assessment. Interestingly enough everyone in the medical profession agrees with Bruce.

My Kudu
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