ZIMBABWE: Elephant & Leopard In Zimbabwe - Cancellation Hunt Report

Ok, ok, ok...no patience around here. Remind me not to get in a leopard blind with y'all! Oh wait...it's not leopard time yet. Still working baits.

Eland day

We were actually looking for a zebra bait when the PH handed me the 416 Rigby and said come with me now! We walked quickly away from the truck and he turned and said there is a HUGE eland in front of us. We tracked a bit and saw this eland was joining a small group of eland. We got them sorted out in the brush in front of us and the PH put me on the sticks. He said get ready when it comes through that small opening in the bush. When he called the shot, I let it go and there was a loud hit from the bullet and the eland took off. These Northfork CPS make a loud report upon impact. It’s quite noticeable. As we went forward, there was hardly any blood. I had a funny feeling in my stomach and wondered what had happened. The shot felt good but we were in heavy brush. As it turns out, the bullet had hit a small stick before hitting the eland (possibly as the bullet tumbled). Now we had a real question of where had the bullet actually hit?

What followed was one of those amazing tracker stories that many of us have experienced. Somehow, the tracker stayed on the right track among several eland with no blood to work with. Did I mention it was middle of the day in a freaking oven?!? After over 1 mile, we found a few scattered drops of blood but nothing significant. I kept thinking where did I hit this eland? I was holding on the shoulder at about 60-70 yards and the shot felt good but we had almost no blood trail. At this point the eland pulled away from the group and we started to smile a little more. After close to another mile with a few scattered drops and smears on the grass, the tracker pointed ahead. I thought no way can that be eland horns sticking up above the grass. They were just too long to be an eland bull but in just a few seconds, the eland exploded out of the grass about 30-40 yards in front of us. The PH yelled that’s him! I aimed for the base of the tail and there was an audible crack like a baseball hit hard. The momentum carried the bull forward a few yards and he collapsed. The bullet hit 1 inch from the root of the tail and ranged over 4 feet forward through the intestines and rumen and lodged against the skin on the off side shoulder. The PH started laughing and said that rifle is the Rigby hand brake!

When we walked up to it the PH said yes man, look at this eland! Both PH’s said it was the largest Livingstone eland they had seen in 60 years of guiding between them. I’m not big on measuring animals but to give respect to this madala eland…he’s 41 inches long and would score in the top 25 SCI. I have a photo of the #1 eland and my eland’s horn length might actually be longer than the #1 eland but that tank had more mass. The PH said no one will believe this and they will think it’s photoshopped….or say how did that Lord Derby eland get into Zim! It’s the eland of a lifetime for sure. I’m very humbled to have taken it.

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Wow!!! That Eland is a tank…Congratulations and you are making me want to load some 505 Gibbs with those solids and get to work! Keep up the story on this epic adventure.

HH
 
The CPS solids got a real workout on ele, zebra and now the eland tank. The eland was an incredible example of penetration through a very difficult medium. Bullets do not like stomach content, etc. but the PHs talked about this bullet every day of the hunt, especially after seeing and hearing it in action. I don't get excited about most bullets but this one is a game changer for me.
 
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That is an extraordinary bull. Looks like a scrap or two of LDE genetics slipped across half a continent.
Yes, that's how we felt about it! A freak of a bull. Photos don't really do him justice. He's huge in head and body. Doesn't even fit in the freaking truck...

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If you look at the truck photo...on the left shoulder, just behind the horizontal shadow line you will see the CPS bullet profile under the skin.
 
Awesome and very unique eland!
 
Congrats on an incredible eland!

Out of curiosity, where did your initial shot hit?
 
Congrats on an incredible eland!

Out of curiosity, where did your initial shot hit?
We determined that the shot hit some kind of brush/stick between me and the eland and tumbled into a much lower brisket/belly hit that was non-lethal. We were tracking a lightly wounded eland and had to get a shot into the vitals. That's another factor of what made that follow-up shot so decisive. It shut the eland down, that had a lot of adrenaline, in seconds.
 
Duiker day

After checking leopard baits for activity, we stopped by a big farm one late afternoon to see what kind of bushbuck were out in the wheat fields around those big center pivot irrigation systems. It was a beautiful farm and reminded me of Kansas until you saw bushbucks walking around in the wheat! There were loads of them and they were doing a lot of damage to the crops. While looking for a big one, something smaller caught our eye near an irrigation ditch. Whoa….monster duiker! I couldn’t believe the size of him and the PH was almost speechless. He said you…MUST…shoot…that duiker! I usually think it’s a little disrespectful to pull out a tape on an animal and we held back…until we got back to camp! Unbelievably, that little grey duiker’s horns were 6” long. It’s literally the equivalent of a 70” kudu. I will never…ever…see another one that big in the field. Hunter’s luck and statistically, a larger trophy than the 41” eland! Amazing. We didn’t find a big enough Chobe bushbuck to take that evening but who cares after taking the little monster duiker! He might be in the top 10 SCI if I were to list him.

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That's the fatal follow-up shot that penetrated over 4 feet from tail to opposite shoulder. Nothing wrong with that shot. First one tumbled low.
 
Yea, where the hell did that junior LDE come from??? No one had ever seen him before.
 
WOW on both is all I can say. I have a diker that is 5 1/4x5 3/8 and yours makes him look like a little guy. Congratz ans that eland is a toad of a livingston.
 
Kudu day

I had told the PH in the beginning of the hunt, if we find an interesting kudu and it’s not a distraction to leopard/elephant, let’s give it a try. A lot of these leopard bait sites were 45 min or more from camp so we would see a lot of country but usually not much PG. We were coming back from a long day of checking and replenishing baits when we saw a couple of kudu back in the trees. One of them looked particularly old and interesting so we grabbed the 7x57 and went after them. It was last light as the older bull stepped out ahead of the younger bull and we were able to stop him briefly at about 100 yards. The shot just behind the shoulders exited the off side and he went a few yards and went down in sight. His head was still up, so I put a finishing shot into him.

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He is a beautiful older bull with that cool flare into a 3rd turn of his horns. Who doesn’t like a good kudu bull? They are beautiful, strong and a lot of fun to chase. I think of them as the elk of Africa…except they taste better!

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