"The WidowMaker" - Excerpt From CRIES Of The Savanna

Sue Tidwell

Sponsor
Since 2022
AH enthusiast
Joined
Nov 22, 2022
Messages
380
Reaction score
660
Location
Cottonwood, Idaho
Website
www.suetidwell.com
Deals & offers
2
Media
2
Articles
7
Member of
SCI, DSC, RMEF, Wild Sheep Society, etc
Hunted
Tanzania, Namibia, Mozambique
I thought you might like to read another excerpt from Cries of the Savanna. I hope you enjoy!

"Racing through the mixed savanna scrublands, I dodged acacia trees and thorn-covered bushes, trying desperately to stay on Mgogo’s heels. Raphael and Rick were somewhere ahead of us. Whether it was 10 feet or 10 yards was lost on me. Keeping my eyes glued to the ground, I was looking for snakes while trying to stay upright and keeping my peripheral vision locked on my human lifeline. Although I couldn’t see Abdalah or Lilian, the rustle of parched grasses told me that they were trailing close behind. The previous day’s slow deliberate games of Follow-the-Leader were gone, replaced without warning by an urgent speedy version.

Running has never been my thing. Ever. Ever. Ever. Short legs on a 5’3” frame is not the best asset for sprinting the 100-yard dash. My body was ill-equipped to keep up a blood-pumping, air-sucking pace for any length of time. Luckily, adrenaline and fright provided a little extra oomph. There was such urgency, but I was clueless as to why.

Everything had happened so fast. Only 20 minutes earlier, amid the typical fanfare of parting encouragement, we pulled away from Masimba Camp and settled in for another jarring drive through pitted countryside. Not only was the morning’s breakfast still parked in my stomach like a freight train, but I was combatting another relatively sleepless night. We had again been haunted by the hyenas’ eerie vocals and Simba’s blood-curdling serenades. Restless nights in the bush seemed to be par for the course.

My food-induced, sleep-deprived stupor was shattered when Raphael and Mgogo pointed excitedly, rattled something off in Swahili, and pounded on the cab window. As soon as Mike stopped, everyone erupted from the vehicle like it was about to explode. Adrenaline permeated the air as Raphael, Rick, and Lilian grabbed their rifles and Mgogo seized the shooting sticks. Gawking in confusion, I followed suit and scrambled to the ground. Yet, I had seen nothing!

Before I could make sense of anything, we were dashing through the brush. The steady, carefully-placed steps of the previous day’s pursuits had given me a sense of security, especially when it came to avoiding snakes. At this reckless pace, however, thoughts of sluggish puff adders or black mambas unable to make a speedy exit filled my head and provided incentive to stay on Mgogo’s heels.

Just when I was about to keel over, we caught up to Raphael and Rick. They were crouching behind a cluster of trees peering through a hole in the branches. Following their gaze, I saw them. Hundreds of them. Cape buffalo in a long strung-out formation barreling across the savanna only a few hundred yards in front of us.

It was like a scene from a cowboy movie. Instead of familiar-looking cattle, the charging bovines resembled fiercer versions of black Angus bulls, only with massive terrifying horns. Hundreds of hooves kicked up clouds of dust as the ground trembled under our feet. Grunts, bawls, and bleats rose above the thunderous roar. Somehow, during the mad dash, this clamor had totally escaped me.

After a moment, we returned to the previous day’s slower, more meticulous game of Follow-the-Leader, advancing tree to tree, 10 to 20 yards at a time. Adrenaline, disbelief, and blind obedience worked together propelling me forward, still on Mgogo’s heels.

As the distance dwindled, stories of the Cape buffalo’s ferocity and cunning came flooding back to me. Cape buffalo -- aka nyati, mbogo, narri, inyati, dagga boy, ‘Black Death’, or ‘Widowmaker’ -- earned its designation as dangerous game and was placed among The Big Five by living up to the requirements of that exclusive club. Responsible for killing an estimated 200 people a year, these black brutes are every bit as deadly as lions, leopards, rhinos, and elephants…

As hundreds of forceful strides battered the earth just 200 yards away, stories of the buffalo’s ferocity flooded my brain. Dread filled my innards as the distance between us shrank. The fear, a primal ancient fear, was unlike any from our civilized world. My lizard brain, that part of me responsible for survival instincts, kicked in, driving me forward.

In my core I knew that the safest place for me to be was in the shadows of the men and woman I was with. I trusted the calm, cool strength of my husband and even after such a short time, I had complete faith in the skills of Raphael and Mgogo. Lilian too was close behind with her AK47, a rifle meant for poachers but nonetheless capable of other uses.

After darting forward a few more times Raphael suddenly stopped. Mgogo set up the shooting sticks. Rick rested his gun in the cradle of the tripod, placed his arm on my shoulder for stability, peered through the scope of his rifle, and put his finger lightly on the trigger…

By the time Rick was on the shooting sticks and we were in position, nearly three quarters of the herd had passed by. The flurry of pursuit was replaced by a waiting game. For the first time since exploding out of the vehicle, I stood utterly motionless gazing in wonderment as the mesmerizing scene played out in front of me.

Buffalo after buffalo pounded by. Some were in bunches, some scattered, some hugging the fringes of the herd, with calves seemingly nestled in the middle. The irregular ribbon of supersized bovine spread out for hundreds of yards across the savanna. Except for the calves, they all looked like carbon copies of each other: huge black brutes with massive, curled horns. Horns that from an untrained eye all looked basically the same. I couldn't tell cow from bull; young bull from old bull.

Like the kudu, Rick didn’t have the skill to judge African species. It was totally up to Raphael to find a mature shootable bull in the midst of this hornets’ nest of galloping Nyati. As they continued to stream by, over and over I thought to myself, “What’s wrong with that one?” or “How about this guy?

You must remember, we sacrificed a lot in order to pay for our trip. The previous day’s 13 hours of dodging elephant potholes, tracking the old dagga boy, and stalking multiple species with no success was in the back of my mind. Although those experiences had been worth every penny, I knew the opportunity to hunt Cape buffalo had been Rick’s dream since picking up his first safari magazine at 8-years old.

Loving someone means that their dreams also become your dreams. And so even as a non-hunter with reservations about hunting certain species in Africa, I desperately wanted Rick to fulfill his long-awaited quest.

Another tank-like black blur stormed by. Then another. And another. As the tail end of the stampeding buffalo herd came into view, the conversation inside my brain switched from subdued questioning of each buffalo’s merits to urgently screaming, “What’s wrong with that one?!” Then, finally, my unspoken shriek was answered when Raphael pointed to the very last bull, a straggler 15 yards behind the moving mass of blackness.

“That one,” he whispered.

Unexpectedly, another thought entered my brain. What if I flinched as Rick was ready to pull the trigger? With his elbow resting on my shoulder, I would screw up his shot. Instantly, I squeezed my eyes shut. I figured if I couldn’t see, I wouldn’t react instinctively, possibly sabotaging the shot.

On too many occasions in the past, calm had eluded me. While living in Alaska, where Rick and I met, each of our hikes included trailhead postings warning ‘Stay calm during a bear encounter. Do not run!’ Detailed instructions followed, primarily urging hikers to play dead if attacked by a brown bear and fight like hell if attacked by a black bear. Brown bears normally leave after the perceived threat is over, but a black bear will eat you.

Well, believe me, even with these tidbits of information firmly implanted in my brain, remaining calm is easier said than done. When spotting a bear from a distance, no problem, but flash a blackish blob 20 feet from me and I sprint. Fortunately, my 100-yard dashes were typically the result of friendly black labs rounding a corner. Not bears.

Anyway, I certainly did not want my instincts to be responsible for wounding any animal, let alone one nicknamed Widowmaker and Black Death. Also, as much as I hate to admit it, the thought of a $3,000 trigger pull crossed my mind. Wounding a nyati, whether it was recovered or not, would mean dishing out the Cape buffalo’s trophy fee and Rick losing the chance to harvest that species. Consequently, keeping my eyes shut seemed to be the best course of action.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, the targeted buffalo spotted us, pivoted, and charged in our direction. I was, therefore, blissfully unaware that almost 1,500 pounds of disgruntled muscle was barreling straight at us.

Suddenly, I heard Raphael yell, “Shoot. Now!”

An instant later, the Boom! reverberated through my entire being. My eyes impulsively opened to see a cloud of dust and the blur of thrashing horns turning towards the receding herd. A second later, we were all running across the savanna in pursuit. I had no idea if Rick had hit the buffalo or not.

Sixty yards later, everyone slowed. There he was: nyati, lying motionless and sprawled out on the ground in front of us. Tension and vigilance pervaded the air as Raphael gestured for us to stop. Although the buffalo appeared lifeless, he instructed Rick to fire one more bullet into its spine, an insurance shot. This preventative measure was common practice for buffalo because of their reputation for retribution and refusal to die.

Even after the insurance shot, Raphael signaled for everyone to stay back while he approached the motionless mass as if it might explode at any minute. Using the long shooting sticks, he gently prodded the bull for any signs of life. Satisfied, he finally relaxed.

Our whole entourage breathed a sigh of relief as worry and caution were replaced by excitement and awe. Gazing at the magnificent buffalo laying on the grass, Rick and I clung to each other as tears streamed down my face. Rick’s eyes, too, were glistening with sentiment.

Tears are peculiar. They convey a whole host of emotions. There were of course, tears of joy. After over 40 years of dreaming about it, Rick had hunted a Cape buffalo in the wilds of Tanzania. But the tears entailed other things as well. Remorse. Regret. Sorrow. Thankfulness. Awe. Excitement. Relief. Wonder. Loss. Even disappointment that the hunt was over.

While these conflicting sentiments are a part of any successful hunt there was a whole other dimension to our emotions in Africa. Rick was, after all, harvesting species that we had both loved and idolized for decades…."

Cries of the Savanna is available on Amazon and FREE on Kindle Unlimited. Signed copies are also available on my website www.suetidwell.com but I do have to charge shipping (sorry about that!)

Me, Lilian (Our Tanzanian Game Scout), Raphael Erro (our PH, and Rick
140.JPG


Rick, Raphael Erro (Our PH), Lilian (Our game scout), Zefania (Assistant tracker), Mgogo (Head tracker), and Mike (our driver)
126.JPG


Lilian recording the information about the buffalo. She spoke good English and taught me SOOO much while we were on safari!
138.JPG
 
Last edited:

norfolk shooter

AH elite
Joined
Dec 22, 2012
Messages
1,954
Reaction score
2,910
Location
Norfolk, UK
Media
19
Articles
1
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Member of
BASC
Hunted
UK, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Dumfries and Galloway, Isle of Arran (Scotland). RSA, North West, Kalahari, Limpopo
@Sue Tidwell reading that makes me want to get a copy next time in the USA. I was like I was there with you. You probably get this all the time but your an exceptional writer.

Hold on I'll try and get it on amazon. If not I would rather give the money to you than them.
 

Sue Tidwell

Sponsor
Since 2022
AH enthusiast
Joined
Nov 22, 2022
Messages
380
Reaction score
660
Location
Cottonwood, Idaho
Website
www.suetidwell.com
Deals & offers
2
Media
2
Articles
7
Member of
SCI, DSC, RMEF, Wild Sheep Society, etc
Hunted
Tanzania, Namibia, Mozambique
@Sue Tidwell reading that makes me want to get a copy next time in the USA. I was like I was there with you. You probably get this all the time but your an exceptional writer.

Hold on I'll try and get it on amazon. If not I would rather give the money to you than them.
@norfolk shooter Thank you so much for saying so! That was my entire goal with the book. I wanted people, especially non-hunters, to fill like they were there with me. So sometimes I go into a little more detail than I would have to for hunters but I thought it was important to help non-hunters understand.

The book is available on UK Amazon....and I can ship it to the UK. I have sent several books there already but the shipping is $40 priority mail so that makes the book kind of expensive.
 

PARA45

AH legend
Joined
Jun 15, 2010
Messages
4,571
Reaction score
15,218
Media
87
Articles
4
Hunting reports
Africa
4
USA/Canada
3
Member of
NRA LIFE MEMBER
Hunted
South Africa (Limpopo, Eastern Cape & Kalahari), Nicaragua, FL, CA, SD, GA, SC, CO
Beautiful and thank you for sharing. When I hunted and killed the lioness I felt an array of emotions, and thanks to what you wrote i realized everything h that I felt. I can relate to what your husband felt. Thank you!
 

Sue Tidwell

Sponsor
Since 2022
AH enthusiast
Joined
Nov 22, 2022
Messages
380
Reaction score
660
Location
Cottonwood, Idaho
Website
www.suetidwell.com
Deals & offers
2
Media
2
Articles
7
Member of
SCI, DSC, RMEF, Wild Sheep Society, etc
Hunted
Tanzania, Namibia, Mozambique
Beautiful and thank you for sharing. When I hunted and killed the lioness I felt an array of emotions, and I can relate to what your husband felt.
@PARA45 You are so welcome. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! And, I can only imagine the emotions you would feel upon killing a lion. Congratulations to you. I'm glad you could relate to the emotions that you felt as well. This is the kind of stuff that I want non-hunters to understand!
 

Hunter-Habib

AH fanatic
Joined
Jul 8, 2021
Messages
974
Reaction score
3,059
Media
35
Hunted
Zambia , Namibia , Kenya , Mozambique , Zimbabwe
It’s almost as if I was right there with you and your husband, madame. Your skill with the pen far surpasses my skill with the rifle. Keep up the good work.
 

Sue Tidwell

Sponsor
Since 2022
AH enthusiast
Joined
Nov 22, 2022
Messages
380
Reaction score
660
Location
Cottonwood, Idaho
Website
www.suetidwell.com
Deals & offers
2
Media
2
Articles
7
Member of
SCI, DSC, RMEF, Wild Sheep Society, etc
Hunted
Tanzania, Namibia, Mozambique
It’s almost as if I was right there with you and your husband, madame. Your skill with the pen far surpasses my skill with the rifle. Keep up the good work.
Thanks @Hunter-Habib! That made me laugh. I'm glad I'm good at something because I'm not too great with a rifle! I love that you felt you were right there with us. That is probably one of the best compliments an author can get...or at least, it means the world to me! I guess I shouldn't speak for other authors...since I'm more or less an accidental one!
 

gillettehunter

AH legend
Joined
Sep 10, 2009
Messages
4,527
Reaction score
6,555
Location
WYOMING
Deals & offers
3
Media
132
Hunting reports
Africa
9
USA/Canada
7
Asia/M.East
2
Australia/NZ
1
Hunted
Namibia, Kyrgyzstan(2) South Africa(4) New Zealand Zambia(2)
Great read. Your book is a Christmas present from my daughter to me. Should have it soon. Hip replacement tomorrow so some down time. Hopefully arrives soon to help alleviate the boredom coming.
Bruce
 

Sue Tidwell

Sponsor
Since 2022
AH enthusiast
Joined
Nov 22, 2022
Messages
380
Reaction score
660
Location
Cottonwood, Idaho
Website
www.suetidwell.com
Deals & offers
2
Media
2
Articles
7
Member of
SCI, DSC, RMEF, Wild Sheep Society, etc
Hunted
Tanzania, Namibia, Mozambique
Great read. Your book is a Christmas present from my daughter to me. Should have it soon. Hip replacement tomorrow so some down time. Hopefully arrives soon to help alleviate the boredom coming.
Bruce
@gillettehunter I'm sorry to hear about the hip replacement but I know people that are sorry that they waited so long to get one. Hopefully you will feel the same way. That is wonderful that your daughter bought you the book for xmas. What perfect timing since you will have to take it easy for awhile. I wonder why it is taking so long. Did she order it from Amazon. If it is a hardcopy, they sometimes take awhile for some reason. Anyway, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the book once you get it. Wishing you the best for your surgery tomorrow.
 

gillettehunter

AH legend
Joined
Sep 10, 2009
Messages
4,527
Reaction score
6,555
Location
WYOMING
Deals & offers
3
Media
132
Hunting reports
Africa
9
USA/Canada
7
Asia/M.East
2
Australia/NZ
1
Hunted
Namibia, Kyrgyzstan(2) South Africa(4) New Zealand Zambia(2)
She was moving just before Christmas. Funds are tight so it wasn’t ordered until last week I think. My wife read the excerpt above an is also looking forward to reading your book.
Bruce
 

buck wild

AH elite
Joined
Oct 14, 2015
Messages
1,859
Reaction score
3,768
Location
Texas
Media
346
Articles
4
Hunting reports
Africa
5
USA/Canada
1
Member of
SCI Brush Country Chapter
Hunted
Kalahari; Limpopo; Omay, Zimbabwe; Mexico; Texas; New Mexico; Colorado
Excellent !
 

Sue Tidwell

Sponsor
Since 2022
AH enthusiast
Joined
Nov 22, 2022
Messages
380
Reaction score
660
Location
Cottonwood, Idaho
Website
www.suetidwell.com
Deals & offers
2
Media
2
Articles
7
Member of
SCI, DSC, RMEF, Wild Sheep Society, etc
Hunted
Tanzania, Namibia, Mozambique
She was moving just before Christmas. Funds are tight so it wasn’t ordered until last week I think. My wife read the excerpt above an is also looking forward to reading your book.
Bruce
Oh, that's good to hear. I was afraid that Amazon was really backed up or did have a paper shortage. That is awesome your wife wants to read the book too! Keep me posted on your thoughts after to get to reading it. Also, I hope your surgery goes great! Sue
 

Sue Tidwell

Sponsor
Since 2022
AH enthusiast
Joined
Nov 22, 2022
Messages
380
Reaction score
660
Location
Cottonwood, Idaho
Website
www.suetidwell.com
Deals & offers
2
Media
2
Articles
7
Member of
SCI, DSC, RMEF, Wild Sheep Society, etc
Hunted
Tanzania, Namibia, Mozambique

Bob Nelson 35Whelen

AH ambassador
Joined
Oct 28, 2018
Messages
8,358
Reaction score
19,051
Location
Wyong new south Wales Australia
Media
130
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Member of
SSAA
Hunted
Australia
I thought you might like to read another excerpt from Cries of the Savanna. I hope you enjoy!

"Racing through the mixed savanna scrublands, I dodged acacia trees and thorn-covered bushes, trying desperately to stay on Mgogo’s heels. Raphael and Rick were somewhere ahead of us. Whether it was 10 feet or 10 yards was lost on me. Keeping my eyes glued to the ground, I was looking for snakes while trying to stay upright and keeping my peripheral vision locked on my human lifeline. Although I couldn’t see Abdalah or Lilian, the rustle of parched grasses told me that they were trailing close behind. The previous day’s slow deliberate games of Follow-the-Leader were gone, replaced without warning by an urgent speedy version.

Running has never been my thing. Ever. Ever. Ever. Short legs on a 5’3” frame is not the best asset for sprinting the 100-yard dash. My body was ill-equipped to keep up a blood-pumping, air-sucking pace for any length of time. Luckily, adrenaline and fright provided a little extra oomph. There was such urgency, but I was clueless as to why.

Everything had happened so fast. Only 20 minutes earlier, amid the typical fanfare of parting encouragement, we pulled away from Masimba Camp and settled in for another jarring drive through pitted countryside. Not only was the morning’s breakfast still parked in my stomach like a freight train, but I was combatting another relatively sleepless night. We had again been haunted by the hyenas’ eerie vocals and Simba’s blood-curdling serenades. Restless nights in the bush seemed to be par for the course.

My food-induced, sleep-deprived stupor was shattered when Raphael and Mgogo pointed excitedly, rattled something off in Swahili, and pounded on the cab window. As soon as Mike stopped, everyone erupted from the vehicle like it was about to explode. Adrenaline permeated the air as Raphael, Rick, and Lilian grabbed their rifles and Mgogo seized the shooting sticks. Gawking in confusion, I followed suit and scrambled to the ground. Yet, I had seen nothing!

Before I could make sense of anything, we were dashing through the brush. The steady, carefully-placed steps of the previous day’s pursuits had given me a sense of security, especially when it came to avoiding snakes. At this reckless pace, however, thoughts of sluggish puff adders or black mambas unable to make a speedy exit filled my head and provided incentive to stay on Mgogo’s heels.

Just when I was about to keel over, we caught up to Raphael and Rick. They were crouching behind a cluster of trees peering through a hole in the branches. Following their gaze, I saw them. Hundreds of them. Cape buffalo in a long strung-out formation barreling across the savanna only a few hundred yards in front of us.

It was like a scene from a cowboy movie. Instead of familiar-looking cattle, the charging bovines resembled fiercer versions of black Angus bulls, only with massive terrifying horns. Hundreds of hooves kicked up clouds of dust as the ground trembled under our feet. Grunts, bawls, and bleats rose above the thunderous roar. Somehow, during the mad dash, this clamor had totally escaped me.

After a moment, we returned to the previous day’s slower, more meticulous game of Follow-the-Leader, advancing tree to tree, 10 to 20 yards at a time. Adrenaline, disbelief, and blind obedience worked together propelling me forward, still on Mgogo’s heels.

As the distance dwindled, stories of the Cape buffalo’s ferocity and cunning came flooding back to me. Cape buffalo -- aka nyati, mbogo, narri, inyati, dagga boy, ‘Black Death’, or ‘Widowmaker’ -- earned its designation as dangerous game and was placed among The Big Five by living up to the requirements of that exclusive club. Responsible for killing an estimated 200 people a year, these black brutes are every bit as deadly as lions, leopards, rhinos, and elephants…

As hundreds of forceful strides battered the earth just 200 yards away, stories of the buffalo’s ferocity flooded my brain. Dread filled my innards as the distance between us shrank. The fear, a primal ancient fear, was unlike any from our civilized world. My lizard brain, that part of me responsible for survival instincts, kicked in, driving me forward.

In my core I knew that the safest place for me to be was in the shadows of the men and woman I was with. I trusted the calm, cool strength of my husband and even after such a short time, I had complete faith in the skills of Raphael and Mgogo. Lilian too was close behind with her AK47, a rifle meant for poachers but nonetheless capable of other uses.

After darting forward a few more times Raphael suddenly stopped. Mgogo set up the shooting sticks. Rick rested his gun in the cradle of the tripod, placed his arm on my shoulder for stability, peered through the scope of his rifle, and put his finger lightly on the trigger…

By the time Rick was on the shooting sticks and we were in position, nearly three quarters of the herd had passed by. The flurry of pursuit was replaced by a waiting game. For the first time since exploding out of the vehicle, I stood utterly motionless gazing in wonderment as the mesmerizing scene played out in front of me.

Buffalo after buffalo pounded by. Some were in bunches, some scattered, some hugging the fringes of the herd, with calves seemingly nestled in the middle. The irregular ribbon of supersized bovine spread out for hundreds of yards across the savanna. Except for the calves, they all looked like carbon copies of each other: huge black brutes with massive, curled horns. Horns that from an untrained eye all looked basically the same. I couldn't tell cow from bull; young bull from old bull.

Like the kudu, Rick didn’t have the skill to judge African species. It was totally up to Raphael to find a mature shootable bull in the midst of this hornets’ nest of galloping Nyati. As they continued to stream by, over and over I thought to myself, “What’s wrong with that one?” or “How about this guy?

You must remember, we sacrificed a lot in order to pay for our trip. The previous day’s 13 hours of dodging elephant potholes, tracking the old dagga boy, and stalking multiple species with no success was in the back of my mind. Although those experiences had been worth every penny, I knew the opportunity to hunt Cape buffalo had been Rick’s dream since picking up his first safari magazine at 8-years old.

Loving someone means that their dreams also become your dreams. And so even as a non-hunter with reservations about hunting certain species in Africa, I desperately wanted Rick to fulfill his long-awaited quest.

Another tank-like black blur stormed by. Then another. And another. As the tail end of the stampeding buffalo herd came into view, the conversation inside my brain switched from subdued questioning of each buffalo’s merits to urgently screaming, “What’s wrong with that one?!” Then, finally, my unspoken shriek was answered when Raphael pointed to the very last bull, a straggler 15 yards behind the moving mass of blackness.

“That one,” he whispered.

Unexpectedly, another thought entered my brain. What if I flinched as Rick was ready to pull the trigger? With his elbow resting on my shoulder, I would screw up his shot. Instantly, I squeezed my eyes shut. I figured if I couldn’t see, I wouldn’t react instinctively, possibly sabotaging the shot.

On too many occasions in the past, calm had eluded me. While living in Alaska, where Rick and I met, each of our hikes included trailhead postings warning ‘Stay calm during a bear encounter. Do not run!’ Detailed instructions followed, primarily urging hikers to play dead if attacked by a brown bear and fight like hell if attacked by a black bear. Brown bears normally leave after the perceived threat is over, but a black bear will eat you.

Well, believe me, even with these tidbits of information firmly implanted in my brain, remaining calm is easier said than done. When spotting a bear from a distance, no problem, but flash a blackish blob 20 feet from me and I sprint. Fortunately, my 100-yard dashes were typically the result of friendly black labs rounding a corner. Not bears.

Anyway, I certainly did not want my instincts to be responsible for wounding any animal, let alone one nicknamed Widowmaker and Black Death. Also, as much as I hate to admit it, the thought of a $3,000 trigger pull crossed my mind. Wounding a nyati, whether it was recovered or not, would mean dishing out the Cape buffalo’s trophy fee and Rick losing the chance to harvest that species. Consequently, keeping my eyes shut seemed to be the best course of action.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, the targeted buffalo spotted us, pivoted, and charged in our direction. I was, therefore, blissfully unaware that almost 1,500 pounds of disgruntled muscle was barreling straight at us.

Suddenly, I heard Raphael yell, “Shoot. Now!”

An instant later, the Boom! reverberated through my entire being. My eyes impulsively opened to see a cloud of dust and the blur of thrashing horns turning towards the receding herd. A second later, we were all running across the savanna in pursuit. I had no idea if Rick had hit the buffalo or not.

Sixty yards later, everyone slowed. There he was: nyati, lying motionless and sprawled out on the ground in front of us. Tension and vigilance pervaded the air as Raphael gestured for us to stop. Although the buffalo appeared lifeless, he instructed Rick to fire one more bullet into its spine, an insurance shot. This preventative measure was common practice for buffalo because of their reputation for retribution and refusal to die.

Even after the insurance shot, Raphael signaled for everyone to stay back while he approached the motionless mass as if it might explode at any minute. Using the long shooting sticks, he gently prodded the bull for any signs of life. Satisfied, he finally relaxed.

Our whole entourage breathed a sigh of relief as worry and caution were replaced by excitement and awe. Gazing at the magnificent buffalo laying on the grass, Rick and I clung to each other as tears streamed down my face. Rick’s eyes, too, were glistening with sentiment.

Tears are peculiar. They convey a whole host of emotions. There were of course, tears of joy. After over 40 years of dreaming about it, Rick had hunted a Cape buffalo in the wilds of Tanzania. But the tears entailed other things as well. Remorse. Regret. Sorrow. Thankfulness. Awe. Excitement. Relief. Wonder. Loss. Even disappointment that the hunt was over.

While these conflicting sentiments are a part of any successful hunt there was a whole other dimension to our emotions in Africa. Rick was, after all, harvesting species that we had both loved and idolized for decades…."

Cries of the Savanna is available on Amazon and FREE on Kindle Unlimited. Signed copies are also available on my website www.suetidwell.com but I do have to charge shipping (sorry about that!)

Me, Lilian (Our Tanzanian Game Scout), Raphael Erro (our PH, and Rick
View attachment 512573

Rick, Raphael Erro (Our PH), Lilian (Our game scout), Zefania (Assistant tracker), Mgogo (Head tracker), and Mike (our driver)
View attachment 512574

Lilian recording the information about the buffalo. She spoke good English and taught me SOOO much while we were on safari!
View attachment 512575
@Sue Tidwell
Sue if that's just a sample of your writing my wife is not looking forward to getting my copy from your Mr smith.
She read your excert as well and it is going to be a case of whoever gets the book from the post gets to read it first. I may have to set up camp at the post office so I get first go..
Seriously it that's just a snippet both my non hunter wife and myself are really looking forward to reading it. Extremely well written and grabs you right from the start.
Thanks Sue.
Bob
 

Sue Tidwell

Sponsor
Since 2022
AH enthusiast
Joined
Nov 22, 2022
Messages
380
Reaction score
660
Location
Cottonwood, Idaho
Website
www.suetidwell.com
Deals & offers
2
Media
2
Articles
7
Member of
SCI, DSC, RMEF, Wild Sheep Society, etc
Hunted
Tanzania, Namibia, Mozambique
@Sue Tidwell
Sue if that's just a sample of your writing my wife is not looking forward to getting my copy from your Mr smith.
She read your excert as well and it is going to be a case of whoever gets the book from the post gets to read it first. I may have to set up camp at the post office so I get first go..
Seriously it that's just a snippet both my non hunter wife and myself are really looking forward to reading it. Extremely well written and grabs you right from the start.
Thanks Sue.
Bob
@Bob Nelson 35Whelen Wow, thank you so much....but I really hope that neither of you have to camp out at the post office! That might not be too much fun. LOL. Seriously, I'm so glad that both of you like my writing style....and believe me I NEVER get sick of hearing someone say they felt like they were right there with me. That is the BEST compliment....and that is exactly how I wanted people to feel. I want people who have never been --- or may never go -- to Africa to experience everything that I did. That wonder....fascination....respect....fear....excitement....you know exactly what I mean. Africa changes a person in a way that is hard to put into words...but, with 400+ pages, you can't say I didn't try! LOL! Be sure to let me know how you both like it when you are done....and I definitely want to know who won the battle. I'm going to bet on the "fairer" sex!
 

cknwax

AH senior member
Joined
Oct 26, 2019
Messages
69
Reaction score
201
Location
Waxahachie Tx
Media
3
Hunting reports
Africa
2
Hunted
South Africa Zimbabwe
I am about 2/3 through this book. It’s really good. Sue does a great job of telling the story and it brings back vivid memories of my own experiences. The way she lays out the facts about hunting and hunters would make anyone with an open mind see how things work for the benefit of the animals. I would highly recommend this book.
 

Sue Tidwell

Sponsor
Since 2022
AH enthusiast
Joined
Nov 22, 2022
Messages
380
Reaction score
660
Location
Cottonwood, Idaho
Website
www.suetidwell.com
Deals & offers
2
Media
2
Articles
7
Member of
SCI, DSC, RMEF, Wild Sheep Society, etc
Hunted
Tanzania, Namibia, Mozambique
I am about 2/3 through this book. It’s really good. Sue does a great job of telling the story and it brings back vivid memories of my own experiences. The way she lays out the facts about hunting and hunters would make anyone with an open mind see how things work for the benefit of the animals. I would highly recommend this book.
@cknwax Thank you so much for giving a shout out for Cries of the Savanna. I really appreciate it ....and am thrilled that you are enjoying the story and the way I present the conservation benefits of hunting. I figured I HAD to tell a good story to get non-hunters to read it ...and LISTEN!

Hey, when you are done reading the book, I'd love it if you would leave a review on Amazon. Reviews to an author are like rhino horn, more valuable than gold! Plus, they help get the book into the hands of more people and the more people the better. Let me know when you are done. I can send you a link to the review site if you want. Thanks again for telling others on here about the book. Word of mouth is the BEST!
 

Sue Tidwell

Sponsor
Since 2022
AH enthusiast
Joined
Nov 22, 2022
Messages
380
Reaction score
660
Location
Cottonwood, Idaho
Website
www.suetidwell.com
Deals & offers
2
Media
2
Articles
7
Member of
SCI, DSC, RMEF, Wild Sheep Society, etc
Hunted
Tanzania, Namibia, Mozambique

Forum statistics

Threads
46,960
Messages
957,923
Members
80,589
Latest member
dopescooter
 

 

 

Latest profile posts

hunt 65 wrote on James Adamson's profile.
what is the asking price for gun and ammo?? thanks.
Gerry Addison wrote on AfricaHunting.com's profile.
I would like to delete my last post on the the thread where to hunt big cape buffalo. I haven't been to that area for a few years and it may be very different now. Not fair of me to post this.
Montana hunter and avid sportsman.
Inline6 wrote on Chris Sells's profile.
PM me when you get a chance, have a few questions for you.
steve white wrote on Pheroze's profile.
Pheroze: I was intrigued by the blog on 400, 465 H&H in which you stated you were having a rifle reamed out to accomodate the larger bore. Who is doing the work for you, do they then provide cut rifling or buttoned. Will a 375 H&H rechamber to the 400 H&H. Is there much ballistic difference between it and the 404/375
 
Top