ZIMBABWE: Elephant Hunt With Mbalabala Safaris

My wife and I were there last month. Had a great time. We stayed in the same chalet, the one on the end. Lin told us that there was an old buff hanging around the camp at night, although we never did see him.He is a great guy and will work incredibly hard for you. I know you will have a great time
Day 2 of hunting.

Left camp at 6am heading to an area further out from camp. Almost ran over a herd of cattle sleeping in the middle of the road. You'd think they find a better place to sleep than the middle of the road.

The area we went to was very hilly and rocky. About 10am we came across some fresh buffalo sign. Lin asked if I wanted to go after a buffalo, just pay the trophy fee. I was a bit surprised by this, thinking that since this was a donated hunt I would only have a opportunity at an elephant. I thought about it for a minute, wondering if my wife would throw me to the crocs if I said yes. I decided to chance it.

After about a 20 minute hike, we spotted the herd and the chase was on. While I was up on the sticks several times, we just couldn't make it happen. Well, at least I wouldn't be croc food today!

We drove up a dry river bed looking for tracks and didn't find anything fresh and decided to have lunch there.

The afternoon was spent driving various roads and trails. I swear, Lin knows every road and goat trail in a 50 mile radius of that camp! We did see one elephant, Lin said it was a young bull, but all I saw was his butt going over a hill about a quarter mile away. I told Lin, he probably was an elephant none of the other elephants liked and they didn't tell him I was in town.

Meanwhile, my wife was having a picnic at the beach near the camp along the Zambezi river.

As you can see, they were roughing it.

Supper tonight was Bush Buck and Cape Buffalo filet, potatoes, sadza, butternut squash and salad. Desert was apple crumble. I joked with Lin, that the only elephant left in Zimbabwe had one eye, one ear, no tail and walked with a limp and his name was Lucky. Lin assured me that there were still elephants in Zimbabwe.

Tomorrow, leaving at 5am to hunt another area...

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Day 3 of the hunt...

Drove about 2 hours to a new hunting area. Once in the area, drove the dirt roads for about an hour looking for tracks. Saw several promising sets of tracks and were stopped by a local who said the elephants had been in his field the night before. We decided to go after a herd that looked like it had a good bull in it. While you could see the tracks plainly on the road, as soon as we got into the brush, they disappeared. How can anything so heavy not leave tracks?

The trackers, of course, were able to follow them. We trailed the herd for another 3.5 hours, ending up crossing a road into another block. We took a break, had lunch and planned to follow another set of tracks after lunch.

After lunch we followed a single set of tracks from a large bull. The brush in this block was extremely thick. We followed the tracks for about 3 hours and the elephant dung was getting fresher and fresher as we walked along. Lin was not happy about how thick the brush was and said it would be very dangerous encountering elephants in there because you could not see them at any distance. Probably 15 minutes later we could hear a herd feeding to our right and another elephant to our left. Lin said the one on the left was probably the bull. We crouched to go under some brush to see if we could locate the bull and Lin suddenly started backing up, waving me back, too. He said the bull was just on the other side of the brush and that we should go through the brush, I should shoot it in the chest and that he would immediately back me up.

We had discussed earlier whether I wanted him to back me up immediately or wait and see whether is was a good hit or not. I told him that if I had a good set up to wait and see, but if it was not that he should follow up immediately. This definitely qualified for follow up immediately as the brush was too thick for the shooting sticks.

We crouched down, went through the screen of brush and Lin said, shoot him in the chest, and I said "where's the elephant?" I am looking at ground level, trying to see the elephant and I can't see anything. He said, "look up higher to the left, you can see his trunk." HOLY CRAP! The elephant was about 15 yards away, behind a thin layer of brush and then I realized that the wall of gray in front of me was the elephant! He was looking at us with his ears flared, probably wondering what the heck we were doing. Talk about getting your heart pumping!

Fortunately, my scope was dialed down all the way to 1.5, so I was able to find my way down to a spot on his chest that was about heart level and fired. Lin immediately backed me up with his .470. Luckily, the elephant turned to the left and ran off through the brush. We backed out a little bit, caught our breath and reloaded. I loosened up the quick detach scope mounts, handed the scope to one of the trackers, figuring if we were going to be this close I wanted open sights.

We followed the elephant for about 100 yards and found him standing in the brush. His head was behind the trees, so Lin told me to put one in his shoulder. Now, I'm left eye dominant, but I normally shoot right-handed. I put my gun up and couldn't get my right eye to focus. Normally, this isn't a problem, but with the excitement of the moment, I just couldn't make it work. So I switched hands and shot him left-handed. At this point, Lin must have been wondering what the heck I was doing! The elephant didn't even flinch. Lin said, "he's going down." We swung around the front to get a head shot. By the time we got around, he was down. Put a couple more shots in for insurance and the handshakes and back-slaps began. WOW! What an adrenaline rush!

This is how thick the brush was where we were hunting.

After we were done taking pictures, Lin walk around to the back of the bull and said that I'd shot Lucky. I looked at him a bit confused and then he told me that the elephant had no tail.

Best day ever!
Awesome, congrats on the bull!!
You will remember that hunt forever. Elephant hunting makes everything else in life seem a little less important.
Congratulations! Great story and nice bull.
Congratulations!!! Great bull!!
Great looking bull. Congratulations.

Thanks for the report.
Congrats! What a story! Thanks for sharing!
Congrats on finding "lucky". Nice bull and sounds like an incredible hunt, one you'll always remember.
Wow that was fast and looks line a great bull! Congratulations!

Are you going after buffalo next?

And there has to be more to the Lucky story;)
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Wow, congratulations what a fantastic hunt. Will you be able to export any part of the elephant?
Congrats on the successful and exciting hunt!
Congratulations! What a rush that must have been! Thanks for sharing.
Yikes! I was puckered just reading this!
The only way this could be any better is if I would have won. Just kidding.

Congrats on the drawing and the on the ele. A hunt to remember for sure. That camp is gorgeous and world class fishing right outside your door to boot.
Congrats on a fine elephant and report.

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