ZIMBABWE: Elephant Hunt With Nyamazana Safaris

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Africa' started by mrpoindexter, May 26, 2017.

  1. mrpoindexter

    mrpoindexter AH Fanatic

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    There page is https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=720445034650917

    I made my post only visible to my friends, so now none of them can see or comment on it any longer. If you want, you can send me a facebook friend invite so you can see it.
    My personal FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/michael.poindexter
     

  2. mrpoindexter

    mrpoindexter AH Fanatic

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    And I still have the recovery report to put up
     

  3. jacques smith

    jacques smith AH Fanatic

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    Yeah whoop whoop
     

  4. MMAL

    MMAL GOLD SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    Way to finish and nice shot. Congrats.
     

  5. Wheels

    Wheels AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Congratulations on getting an old bull. Well earned!
     

  6. LivingTheDream

    LivingTheDream AH Legend

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    Awesome awesome awesome! Well earned!
     

  7. Ridge Top Ranch

    Ridge Top Ranch AH Enthusiast

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    I must say I have not looked forward to a report with as much anticipation as I have this one! I hope I have half as exciting a hunt as this one in August!
     
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  8. mrpoindexter

    mrpoindexter AH Fanatic

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    Zim Hunt – Day 9 (June 1, 2017)

    Feeling like the last day of school and still having to wake up early, I just don’t have the excitement level I have had every other morning. Still, I am ready to go and excited to watch the elephant get carved up and given to the villagers. For me, this is the trophy photo that all hunters should make as the first picture they show off if they want to put something on Facebook. That most non-hunters have no idea that all this meat goes to feed poor and hungry people in some of the poorest parts of the world is both tragic and also what is allowing the anti-hunting crowd to win the war of public opinion.

    Rather than head straight to the elephant, we have to stop and meet the elected representative for the area, letting him know when they can come by and start picking up meat. We tell him to come after 11am but before noon. Then, we drive up towards the kill and head off road into the brush, with our crew making a road through the bush as we slowly progress towards the site.

    IMG_5284.JPG IMG_5285.JPG IMG_5286.JPG IMG_5287.JPG
    [This is the home of one of the wealthier local residents - I am happy to help these people who obviously need income here]

    Progress is slow and just the sheer amount of work needed to create a path that we can drive through was something I really underestimated. After nearly 2 hours, we arrive in a freshly made clearing with a couple park scouts sitting near a fire not far from a recently deceased elephant.

    With better light, we inspect the elephant. There is still no sign of where Wayne hit the animal. The tusks have been cleaned a bit, so we take some photos. I do not ask Wayne how much he thinks these tusks weigh. That really isn’t the point of the hunt. For me, record books are more about tracking the overall quality of animals over time in various areas and not about where you end up in the rankings.

    IMG_5295.JPG
    [The obligatory trophy photo]

    Now, it is time to skin this animal and start cutting up some meat to start our food distribution. I don’t want anything to go to waste, so I tell them to cut and save all of the leather and save the feet as well. I will do a shoulder mount on this animal, although I cannot import him to the USA. I have already spoken with the Afton Safari Lodge and they will be happy to have it on display there and are already working on the expansion to put it in. The feet will also be saved and at some point in the future, either I will be able to bring everything into the USA or I will have to buy a house abroad and send them there.

    IMG_5297.JPG
    [Marking where to cut the skin]

    The crew gets to work and local villagers all join in the effort. They cut branches and lay them down to create a place to stack meat without it getting dirty. Watching the huge slabs of meat being piled up, it seems like it is going fast – until I look at the elephant. This thing is so huge that even with a team of people, it is going to take all damn day to butcher it. Gradually, they get their way around to the back of the animal and I get some backstrap meat – usually the best part. I break out my seasonings that I brought with me from home and get it ready to cook.

    I like my steak medium rare and elephant meat is relatively lean. It cooks fairly quickly and I have to pull mine off the fire to avoid overcooking it. It is tough and although not bad, it doesn’t really have a great flavor. If I were offered elephant meat as a choice on a menu in the future, I would choose bison/buffalo, beef or kudu instead. I don’t have a problem with the idea of eating elephant – it just doesn’t taste like a premium meat. I would bet much of that has to do with the old age of this bull.

    IMG_5301.JPG

    While skinning the head, the ears must be removed and one of the skinners finds a bullet from behind the elephant’s right ear. It is from Wayne’s .458 Lott but we cannot find an entry wound. Skinning the head includes skinning the trunk and that is a very tedious process, taking more time than the rest of the body (on the one side they have access to). I see the trunk meat is being set aside. I guess this is locally considered the prime cut or is perhaps a delicacy.

    IMG_5299.JPG
    [Just the skinning is a huge undertaking]

    After a couple hours, the right side of the elephant is finished. Two feet have been removed and all of the major chunks of meat. The only excitement was when a skinner knicked the stomach lining and the pent up gasses started to escape. If you have never heard a loud fart last for two minutes straight, well, you are in a relatively large group I am no longer a member of. It smelled about how you would guess an elephant fart would, then multiply it by about 40 to compensate for duration.

    Ropes and cables are attached to the remaining two feet and then thrown over to the other side of the elephant. Fresh branches are put on the ground to keep the animal relatively dirt free and then the herculean task of flipping the elephant begins. I cannot count how many people, but easily over twenty-four men struggle to roll this beast over – at least sixteen pulling on the several cables and eight lifting the legs to assist.

    I make the mistake of filming this from the back end of the animal and narrowly escape being shot by escaping gas – amazing that there was any left but yeah, a damn big animal, carrying projectiles along with the methane that thankfully I was not going to have to wear for the rest of the day.

    With the animal flipped, they are able to finish off the head and when they finally are able to get all the skin off, we find the entry wound for Wayne’s bullet. It went in the eye socket, so the entry wound was probably folded up in the flesh around his eyeball. The projectile hit the wall of the skull and deflected around and ended up in its ear. It looks like it never made it into the brain cavity. My bullet did and we do not see any exit wound on the back when the skull is removed from the body. Hopefully they are able to recover it in the skinning shed. I have saved the casing and would like to reunite it with the bullet.

    With the head removed, it is time to load it into the truck. It takes a team of six people to carry the skull and tusks to the truck. This is without even including the jaw, which they have to come back and get on a second trip. The skin panels are loaded into the trailer and they are also heavy. Henco and I try to lift one panel and while we can get it off the ground, it certainly is way too heavy and unwieldy to walk with or lift very high.

    IMG_5325.JPG
    [Skin panels, feet and the lower jaw]

    It is now past noon and we need to start giving the meat away while the guys are continuing to cut away on the remaining elephant. People have brought bags, buckets and anything else they can carry meat in. We don’t have a scale and the sections are not all equal length, but unlike my kids who argue over who got more ice cream, there is no complaining, crowding or bickering. The apparently know the pecking order already and the Zim Parks game scout and our trackers are first to get their meat, followed by whomever is next in line. We do not see the chairman come in for any meat but are not going to wait for him. There is plenty to go around and I didn’t see a lot of selectivity in where the meat is coming from when it was stacked up. I am guessing that for elephant, meat is meat and it is all the same except for maybe the trunk meat, which goes very fast.

    IMG_5313.JPG
    IMG_5302.JPG [Big chunks of meat for every family!! Most will be made into biltong/jerky because of the lack of refrigeration here]

    There is still a lot of scrap meat on the elephant and axes are employed to start cutting up the ribs. I would have loved to see how my heavy bow and arrow combo would have done against an elephant rib. Hopefully someday I will, but it won’t be today. The majority of the meat has been given out and there is still a lot to do. We thank everybody, climb in the truck and head out. On the way, we come across the chairman at 1:18pm on the trail not quite to where we started making a new road to the site. Wayne speaks with him for a bit and then we head back to camp.

    IMG_5319.JPG

    Once back, everybody starts working on their last minute tasks. Henco wants to get some drone footage of the camp as we have been leaving before sunrise and back after sunset every day. As luck would have it, some giraffe come through the clearing and he gets some nice close-ups of them with the drone. I look forward to seeing the footage.

    Sam and Cowboy head to the skinning shed and start working on cleaning up the skull. They do not find my bullet when the clean out the brain cavity. It might still be inside and come out when they remove the ivory or it might be lodged in the back of the skull. Wayne tells me that sometimes, the bullets just flat out disappear. Only time till tell.

    I ask for the hair from the tail to be made into bracelets. Although I can just buy some in Bulawayo, they won’t be from the actual elephant that I hunted. There is a lot of journaling to do, emails from home to answer and things to pack. We will again leave very early in the morning. I also need to give out tips to the staff. I enlist the help of Wayne. I do not want to forget anybody, nor give out either too little or too much of a tip and also make sure that the amounts are appropriate relative to each other. I have already taken care of Dumisani, Trust, Patrick, Canaan and the two watchmen. I still need to take care of Sam, Cowboy and Brian, as well as Cornelius (Cook), Cloud (assistant cook), Pauline (maid), Temba (gardener), Josephat (skinner), Sheko (skinner) and Wayne. That is 14 people, not counting the watchmen who worked only the one night. Looking at my list now that I am home and writing my journal from my notes, I see I have completely forgotten about Henco. Luckily, I can make it up to him next month in the Kalahari and Namibia. I give out tips and give Wayne a GoPro and head strap mount as part of his tip.

    I tally up the costs for the trip. I also look at what I have done here. I have given 15 people a full 10 days of employment. I have also provided an estimated 1400kg pounds of meat. I don’t know what the local price is in Lupane, but on the Internet, they list the average price of meat at $7.27/lb. That works out to $10,178 in meat. Add in the tips for staff (not counting Wayne’s) and I am over $11,000 directly into the hands of the local villagers. There will be another $10,000 for the trophy fee payable to the rural community, plus some fees to the Zim Parks department and then Wayne’s day fees on top of that. I got a memory I will cherish for a lifetime. I also get a beautiful trophy that I might only get to see one or two days per year unless the US changes its laws as this is an exportable elephant with a CITES permit. And soon, I will have a professionally produced video of the trip from iGala Productions and a nice coffee table book that I will make myself.

    My Internet friends will also hopefully get some enjoyment from the hunt, with no cost other than the time they invest to follow along if they want to. All in all, I think I got a great deal. I also reflect on a conversation with Wayne. I was sitting in the truck, typing my journal on my computer because it was too bumpy for my actual paper journal. He wanted to ask me a question without offending me. I actually love questions like that because they are real and deep questions. I tell him my skin is as thick as the elephants so fire away. “You seem like a man with some money,” Wayne starts. “Why did you choose this hunt?” I look at him quizzically. “I mean, there are better hunts in easier areas with more elephants. Why did you choose this one?”

    “Wayne,” I said, “I have had easy hunts. I didn’t want an easy hunt. I wanted a hard hunt. Besides seeing what I am made of, if I got out of the truck, walked 15 feet and shot an elephant, what kind of accomplishment would that be? I mean, if I saw an 80# tusker, yeah, I am probably going to shoot him, but I will treasure the hard earned hunt more. That is the trophy – the hard fought battle. The taxidermy is just to remind me of the hunt. I don’t bring a tape measure or a scale with me. I really don’t care much about that, as long as it is a mature animal and a worthy adversary. Now let me ask you something, Wayne. I know this was a hard hunt, but I have very little experience to know how hard it was. How hard of a hunt was this, on a scale of 1 to 10?”

    “Yeash, it was hard! Definitely a 9... at least a 9.” Wayne replied. “I have had harder hunts in my life, but I can count them on one hand.” “Well then,” I remarked out loud “I got what I paid for.”

    I am home now, reflecting over my hunt. The day I got back, I had people ask me how big the tusks were. I told them I didn’t know and that I didn’t really even care.

    I hope I never do.
     
    Riksa, edward, cagkt3 and 17 others like this.

  9. Ridge Top Ranch

    Ridge Top Ranch AH Enthusiast

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    Well done! It is the experience that we live for.
     
    Royal27 likes this.

  10. cpr0312

    cpr0312 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Congrats again and thanks for sharing! Hard earned hunts are even sweeter!

    (y)
     
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  11. stug

    stug AH Fanatic

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    You certainly earned him! Well done on keeping at it.
     

  12. IdaRam

    IdaRam SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Congrats on an awesome hunt! I kept waiting and hoping... So glad it ended just like it did (y) A hard won and well earned trophy. It would be hard to script a better experience it seems.
    Pardon me for cussing you a little bit though ;) You have certainly added fuel to my obsession for an ele hunt like this one day!
    Well done! I can't wait to see the video!
     

  13. siml

    siml AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    A brilliant report and what a great end to a fantastic hunt. You truly deserved your elephant. Congratulations.
     
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  14. Edgar DeHart Jr.

    Edgar DeHart Jr. AH Member

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    Congratulations for a well earned trophy!
     

  15. GA Hunter

    GA Hunter AH Fanatic

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    Congratulations. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful experience.
     

  16. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    Congrats sir. The work and practice paid off.
     

  17. LivingTheDream

    LivingTheDream AH Legend

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    I really enjoyed your report. Though I hunted a tuskless it brought back a lot of great memories for me. Thank you!
     
    edward likes this.

  18. Shootist43

    Shootist43 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    A grueling hunt and probably the best or at least one of the best reports I've seen on AH. From one hunter to another this hunt and report rates a "salute" even though it might be considered improper to do so.

    At the tender age of 13, I hope your daughter can look beyond the Face Book hatred and see hunting for what it is and be willing to accompany you and hunt in the future.
     
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  19. mrpoindexter

    mrpoindexter AH Fanatic

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    Thank you. My daughter has no idea about the Facebook hate posts, nor does my wife. I would like to keep my immediate family shielded from such things. I don't want my children to see the ugliness in this world until they are older.
     
    edward and Royal27 like this.

  20. jacques smith

    jacques smith AH Fanatic

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    Mike I must confess you had me going. I was starting to lose hope but you pulled it out. Congrats again. Now questions from the slow one. Did you have your own rifle and if so was it a hassle? What about currency in and out of zim? How many miles do you think you walked on average? Were you happy with camp arrangements? I only ask as wife and I are planning to be there late march early April for same hunt. Sorry about the antis nonsense. Who's up next? Ridge top?
    Cheers jacques
     
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