ZIMBABWE: Chifuti Safaris Cape Buffalo & Hippo

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Africa' started by Royal27, Aug 5, 2014.

  1. Royal27

    Royal27 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Day Seven:

    Back on a Dugga Boy, different one this time. He took us on a ten hour walk. We bumped him several times, saw him once, but no shot. It was A tiring day for sure, but what fun! All I know is that I've been hunting buffalo and what an experience....

    Speaking of experiences, at the end of the day I had a one in a life time experience. Smugglers were caught with a Pangolin and a group nursed it back to health. Today was release day here ay Chifuti, where the Pangolin will be safe, especially as this area is so far from any communal area. Seeing this magnificent animal was definitely a highlight of the trip.

    Hoping that my Dugga Boy will be back at the spring tomorrow. I want another crack at him, and so does Richie and the trackers.

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  2. Royal27

    Royal27 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Day Eight:

    Back to Cumber Spring it is.We find the track of the Dugga Boy that took us on the ten hour hike yesterday. It looks like it is going to be another long day.... And as we start tracking that appears to be true. After drinking this guy just walks, not eating and not stopping. He didn't even take a dump. Then after nine and near another spring he meets up with the Dugga Boy from day two. The difference in track size is clear.

    I'm hoping this will slow them down and Richie is hoping they will both lower their guard a bit. We do at least find where they've bedded a couple of times. Now it is about 10:30 and we are walking away when Tonde (tracker) freezes. A quick look and the sticks go up and I'm on them. Richie asks if I can see the buffalo. I say not really just a gray spot. Richie tells me that is his shoulder and I aim and pull the trigger at a gray spot in the brush. I now trust Richie that much. When the gun goes off a buffalo explodes from the bush and I'm back on him and re-loaded. It is free hand now and I lead and squeeze off a second shot and down he goes. A third insurance shot goes into him immediately and I then wheel to face the other bull who has now run past. Richie says, "don't shoot"
    and I'm not going to, but just want to be ready (the funny thing is that Grant got mixed up on his ele the other day and ended up with a tuskless double - so I'm sure Richie thinks us crazy Texans like doing the two for one!).

    Well, the bull who ran from us and that I couldn't see out in the open the other day is now in plain sight and he looks like Ruark described, like he doesn't like me personally and I owe him money. It is serious enough that Richie tells me to be ready and tells the scout to load his assault rifle and start shooting if he comes. He even takes a slow step or two forward. As this happens the adrenaline from the first buff starts to kick in and I can feel my legs begin to shake. I honestly didn't care if the second buff ran off or charged, I just wanted him to do it right then. After 30-60 very tense seconds he turns and runs.

    I had shot the smaller, but older bull, and I couldn't be happier. He is my bull now. The other bull would have scored better and he was truly amazing - deep drop and curl, probably at least 40 inches, but he was not my bull. Going down to my bull was amazing, A couple more insurance shots and it was done. My hands trembled like never before in my life and I teared up.The emotion was overwhelming. A lifetime of dreaming, 2.5 years of planning, eight days of hard work. and then a few seconds of indescrible intensity. I had done well.

    The first three shots, including the running one, fit under my hand. All of the training and work had paid off. The SAAM training at FTW ranch was worth every penny... Cutting the recovery road was fun too. I grabbed an ax and Richie told me I didn't have to. Yeah right!!! I wasn't missing that work for the world!

    Now to relax for the rest of the day and enjoy the experience.

    Animals seen: BUFFALO!!! like any others matter today
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  3. Royal27

    Royal27 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    I hesitated right now as to whether to include the blood shot. I honestly don't think they have much place in hunting pictures. I did it for one reason though - to show how close my three shots were together, including the running shot. I'm not trying to say I'm a great shot. I'm not. This was a result of the SAAM training I took and if anyone reading this wonders if they should take that course before hunting Dangerous Game, or Plains Game for that matter TAKE THE COURSE. It is worth every penny - shooting, reloading, follow running shots. I'd had the practice and was COMPLETELY confident in my rifle and what I could do with it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2014

  4. billc

    billc AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    great buff you got.You must be on cloud nine still after your trip
     

  5. Royal27

    Royal27 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Thanks Bill! Still here hunting. About to go back out looking for hippo now! I've just got more time today since the buff is down. What an experience this has been....

    Can't wait to read your report!
     

  6. spike.t

    spike.t AH ENABLER SPONSOR Since 2013 AH Ambassador

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    see your even more excited than before you went (y):D great you had all those days following and tracking the buff before you took yours, exactly what you wanted me thinks :) congrats on your hunt so far and look forward to reading the rest , cheers mike
     

  7. tarbe

    tarbe AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    I don't think one could have scripted this any better if you were writing a screenplay.

    A well-earned trophy, but also a trophy of Grace. I am SO happy for you! :)

    I hope I don't get a visitor in my office right now. They will wonder why my eyes are wet.

    You done good bro!
     
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  8. PeteG

    PeteG AH Elite

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    Fantastic Royal,
    I'm sure the several days of tracking and following will never be forgotten!!

    Glad you got your buff and overall sounds like you have had a super time.
    Enjoy the rest of it.
     

  9. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Wow, great hunt, just exactly how it should be! Very happy for you Royal!!
     

  10. Royal27

    Royal27 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Thanks all!

    I will post more days here in a bit, but this has truly been an amazing trips pf sights, sounds, experience, and reflection. I've learned much about life on this trip and am truly grateful to God for being allowed to have this experience. It has been humbling.

    I've worked hard for what I've taken (well, except for the Grysbok) and I wouldn't have it any other way. It has made every trophy truly special with memories to go with every one.

    More soon, but I have an afternoon of hunting left. Just stopped by to drop something off at the skinning shed and grab a quick bite of lunch. :)
     
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  11. Royal27

    Royal27 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Day Nine:

    Started this morning by sitting in a blind for Hyena, but none were there at night. Hyena and a lioness had been at the bait, but nothing fed seriously. Will try again in the morning.

    Hippo hunting started earnestly today and I did catch one. Yes, I said catch. As we were scouting for a big bull we threw a line in the water for tiger fish and I hooked a hippo. I've hooked an alligator in Texas before, but never a hippo!!! LOL!!! I did catch a tiger fish as well. Those things put up a fight for sure.

    There are a LOT of hippo here. It is just a matter of finding the right one and then getting a shot. It is a very different hunt than buff, but I wouldn't call it easy. And when they smell you, forget about it. They start bobbing up and down like a cork.

    Going up and down the river we saw a lot of game, including a nice waterbuck on the Zambian side of the river. It was another great day.

    Animals seen: Hippo, croc, tigerfish, impala, bushbuck,kudu, and waterbuck
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  12. billc

    billc AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Wow what a great trip you are having.Waiting on the rest of report to see all what hit the salt room.
     

  13. Royal27

    Royal27 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    DSC00384.JPG DSC00398.JPG DSC00380.JPG Day Ten:

    Back to the Hyena blind. Unfortunately, lions had found the bait, dang it. Never thought I'd complain about seeing truly wild lions! :) A lioness and a sub adult were feeding. Watching them was great, just to bad it was too early for my camera. Hearing them snarl was amazing in the quiet of the morning. Another African experience that made me go wow....

    Then off to chase hippo. I've decided that hippo hunting is like deer hunting in the Texas hill country. If you want to shoot one just go shoot one. It is easy. What is not easy is finding a nice one and then making sure it is a bull. We saw a HUGE cow and a young bull, but nothing that Richie was thrilled with.

    Then as we were coming back we saw (or they did!!!) a Klipspringer on the hillside. After driving up river for a little bit we made a stalk back and Richie somehow saw them through the thick brush, a male and a female. The bog pog we had wasn't at the right height and I had a stick blocking me, so Tonde bent over a bit and I squatted down a bit and found a hole in the brush. Richie told me to make sure it was the male and not the female. I said, &all i see is a butt.& Richie said, &that's the male, take him.& Boom, and down he went to a Texas heart shot. I turned to Richie and said, "I was supposed to use a soft point, right?" You should have seen the look on his face. I started laughing, I knew to have a solid in.

    Then on the way back we saw three more hippo and stopped for a quick look even though it was too late to shoot (you have to allow time for them to float, there was plenty of light). After a quick look we believe we've found my hippo. We will check one other place first thing in the morning and then head back if we don't find a nicer one there. We will see what tomorrow brings!

    Animals seen: hippo, croc, klippie, waterbuck, bushbuck, impala, and kudu
     

  14. Royal27

    Royal27 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Day Eleven:

    No bull upriver, so back looking for the one we saw yesterday. We found him, but it was windy and hippos don't like the wind and so he was staying under water and barely coming up. So we backed off a bit to wait for the wind to die down, which it did after a little over an hour. I had my bi-pod on the rifle and it was a downhill shot of probably 50 yards, or maybe just a bit more. One deep breath and a trigger squezee later and he sunk under the water to a perfect brain shot. The next hour and twenty five minutes was a long wait, but up he finally came. I am very happy with the bull I took.

    This also showed me how nothing is wasted here in Africa. By the time we were done there was basically a pile of grass from the stomah and nothing else. Stomach went for tripe and even the lungs and intestines are being used as hyena bait.

    There is also a very cool tradition here. You have to throw the hippo tail back into the river after shooting it. If you don't, no rain for five years. Clever presented me with the tail and told me why I must throw it back. It was another highlight of the trip that I will never forget.

    On the way back from setting the Hyena blind we did see a nice herd of Eland with a nice bull. Not on the list for this trip, but it was great to see none the less. Another fantastic day. I can't belive that tomorrow is my last hunting day. What a trip it has been!

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  15. Royal27

    Royal27 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    DSC00458.JPG DSC00463.JPG Day Twelve, final day of the hunt:

    Up again and to the Hyena bait. This however; was not the trip for me to take a Hyena. I still quite enjoyed the preparation of the bait and the path to the blind yesterday. Glad we got to do it again.

    Then while driving after leaving the bait we saw a herd of Zebra. No shot from near the truck as they took off quickly. We quickly ran up a hill in order to try and intercept them, and did. One stopped for a broadside shot of around 160 yards, which I took from the sticks. Ugh.... I hit it below the sergeant stripes and broke its leg. In hindsight, I aimed too low and may have pulled it even lower. Not happy with myself, at all....

    We tracked it over a mile, got a shot through the brush and it ran off again. Finally, caught up to it again and put her down for good. I know it happens, but I hate wounding animals. It just makes me sick. If ever loose that sick feeling from a bad shot or stop shaking after a job well done then I figure it is time to stop hunting. Today certainly wasn't that day.

    Look closely at the Zebra picture and the stripes on the ham. You'll notice that they don't line up and you can actually see a long scar if you look closer still. This Zebra had survived a lion attack. Once we started looking closer at the other side there were other claw marks and puncture wounds from the teeth. What character....

    Considering it was a Zebra that made me want to hunt Africa all of those years ago I do like that I took my Zebra on the final day of my hunt. There is something poetic about that for me.
     

  16. Royal27

    Royal27 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Day 13/14 and reflection

    I hunted with my cousin on day 13 and fished on day 14 on the river. It was a bittersweet couple of days as I knew I'd be going home soon. Interesting, it seemed like I'd been there for a lifetime and just arrived all at the same time. I had arrived a client and left a friend. I'd heard those words before, but they have new meaning to me now.

    This hunt was a very spiritual life experience for me. Something that almost everyone here on AH.com will understand and that very few others will get. This wasn't a &bucket list& trip as I've had some say to me, it was an important part of my life journey. I will be back, God willing.

    I think that I learned much about myself, both good and places I need to improve. I was happy with how hard I worked for what I got, but not always happy with my shooting. I made mental errors on the Zebra in particular and then got rattled and blew my first follow-up shot during the tracking. Hopefully next time I will shrug it off more quickly.

    This trip was just like life for me. Every day brought new challenges and it was up to me as to how I handled those challenges.Great lessons were there if only I will pay attention! :) I also learned that two weeks is way too long to be away from my wonderful wife! I'm grateful that she let me do this trip with my cousin and love her all the more for it. I'm a very, very lucky man! Now back to work and back to planning for the next trip to SA and Tootabi next May. After that it is going to be several years of wound licking to recover from the cost, but it is all worth every penny!!! This is worth SO much more than a new car!!!

    Thanks to all that followed!

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  17. Royal27

    Royal27 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Oh, and of course this bushbuck was on the Zambian side of the river!!! Dang it!!! :)
     

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  18. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Wow! What a great trip! Glad it went so well for you, atta boy!! Nice buff too!
     

  19. Toby Bradshaw

    Toby Bradshaw AH Senior Member

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    Excellent report!
     

  20. billc

    billc AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    great report royal and glad all went well.Loodt shared the hippo pic with us earlier and thanks now dakota wants one of them to.LOL You had one heck of a hunt for sure>
     

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