ZIMBABWE: Hunting Elephant Near Hwange With Mbalabala Safaris

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Really enjoying this!

The first six went down so smoothly that Matt called his sister-in-law, Kim, to procure six more – which she dutifully did and the new beers were then exchanged for two new iPhones that Ishmael had brought over, upon request, from the States.

iPhones...........the original cryptocurrency
 

Hunting Hitman

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Very entertaining start to this adventure. I will eagerly await with the rest of the AH community and watch it unfold.
 

Randy F

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At this point your trigger must itch like crazy.
 

Medicine

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It’s not getting any earlier and conversation is waning.

“What makes a good client?”

“Stay out of my way. Don’t guide me”

“Easy”

“And if you see a bird or tree and want to know what it is, stop me. Don’t wait until we get back to camp to ask”

“I didn’t come here for birds or trees. This is a business trip for me. We’ll talk birds and trees once my Elephant is in the salt”

I really don’t remember much else about the first night – only that Ishmael was the first to retire and the next morning he showered with water pumped straight from the Zambezi and heated by firewood. Ishmael got dressed into one of the outfits in which he had trained many times. I noticed his pants were too big although they fit three months ago and he changed into the smaller of the two belts he packed.

After a breakfast from which Ishmael abstained it was time to check my zero. I heard Ishmael hint to Lin the night before that he suspected his shooting would be OK and I knew that the ethanol had taken effect as Ishmael always seems to get a little better looking, a little richer, and a little more accurate after having been in the cups. True to his word; however, his first 2 shots were touching from 50 and Lin replied they were plenty good for elephant; however, Ishmael made a few minor adjustments and seemed much happier with the next two.

So, there we were. Elephant hunting. Or at least on our way elephant hunting. Through the gate, onto the main road and driving along at X kilometers per hour when tap, tap, tap on the roof.

“What is it?”

“Flat tire”

“Shit”

Lin pulls over and the trackers, driver and government ranger change the tire with Lin bitching that it was brand new and Ishmael snapping pics. Back in the cruiser with Lin driving it as though it were stolen, I notice that the road is getting narrower and narrower until there is no road at all.

“We’ll park here?”

“Is that elephant shit?”

“Yes, but not fresh”

“Which hat do I take?”

“The other one”

“Do you want me to put one in the barrel?”

“Not yet”

“We’re just going to drop into the valley here. See if we can cut a big track. Stay close”

Eternally, after being in the cowboy’s safe for 15 years – after seeing my littermates pulled out one by one and disappear to God knows where – after being pulled out once before myself only to be put back again and then magically, weeks later, being pulled out again and shipped to Ishmael – after being outfitted with Talley rings and bases and a Zeiss 1-6x24 dangerous game scope and Trader Keith sling and finally after being shot for the first time and sighted in, I am doing it. Elfing elephant hunting.
 

PHOENIX PHIL

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It’s not getting any earlier and conversation is waning.

“What makes a good client?”

“Stay out of my way. Don’t guide me”

“Easy”

“And if you see a bird or tree and want to know what it is, stop me. Don’t wait until we get back to camp to ask”

“I didn’t come here for birds or trees. This is a business trip for me. We’ll talk birds and trees once my Elephant is in the salt”

I really don’t remember much else about the first night – only that Ishmael was the first to retire and the next morning he showered with water pumped straight from the Zambezi and heated by firewood. Ishmael got dressed into one of the outfits in which he had trained many times. I noticed his pants were too big although they fit three months ago and he changed into the smaller of the two belts he packed.

After a breakfast from which Ishmael abstained it was time to check my zero. I heard Ishmael hint to Lin the night before that he suspected his shooting would be OK and I knew that the ethanol had taken effect as Ishmael always seems to get a little better looking, a little richer, and a little more accurate after having been in the cups. True to his word; however, his first 2 shots were touching from 50 and Lin replied they were plenty good for elephant; however, Ishmael made a few minor adjustments and seemed much happier with the next two.

So, there we were. Elephant hunting. Or at least on our way elephant hunting. Through the gate, onto the main road and driving along at X kilometers per hour when tap, tap, tap on the roof.

“What is it?”

“Flat tire”

“Shit”

Lin pulls over and the trackers, driver and government ranger change the tire with Lin bitching that it was brand new and Ishmael snapping pics. Back in the cruiser with Lin driving it as though it were stolen, I notice that the road is getting narrower and narrower until there is no road at all.

“We’ll park here?”

“Is that elephant shit?”

“Yes, but not fresh”

“Which hat do I take?”

“The other one”

“Do you want me to put one in the barrel?”

“Not yet”

“We’re just going to drop into the valley here. See if we can cut a big track. Stay close”

Eternally, after being in the cowboy’s safe for 15 years – after seeing my littermates pulled out one by one and disappear to God knows where – after being pulled out once before myself only to be put back again and then magically, weeks later, being pulled out again and shipped to Ishmael – after being outfitted with Talley rings and bases and a Zeiss 1-6x24 dangerous game scope and Trader Keith sling and finally after being shot for the first time and sighted in, I am doing it. Elfing elephant hunting.

Get over yourself Medicine, Ishmael would want you to keep it coming. Get on with it!
 

mark-hunter

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@Medicine
Great story, keep it coming. Just before that ask Ishmael to give you some photos, so you can post them here! ;)
 

IdaRam

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A refreshing change of pace in your story telling. I like it, keep it coming.
 

Medicine

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Medicine

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I'm loving this style of writing, very refreshing. You are not perhaps a writer by trade or hobby?

Thanks for sharing and keep it coming! :A Popcorn:
Ishmael is not although he has had a poem published; however, feel free to have Safari Press PM me as he'd love to get some of his money back.
 

Medicine

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So we drop into the valley. Lin, two trackers, Ishmael, a government scout and me. And nine Woodleigh Hydro’s. 400 grains apiece but only three in my belly and exactly zero in my throat.

“What the hell, Ishmael? Put one in my throat – I can’t cough one up.”

Ishmael has six more on his belt but there’s three – only three in me and they’re in my elfing belly. I suppose I overestimated Ishmael.

“Stand up to him,” I want to scream.

“I’M A FUCKING 11 POUND PAPERWEIGHT,” I want to scream.

But I don’t, I just ride along on Ishmael’s shoulder as they trudge along at three miles an hour - in Zimbabwe - hunting the most dangerous, largest land animal on the planet AND I’M FUCKING UNLOADED while Ishmael has a government scout behind him with a fully loaded AK and the gun safety knowledge of a 2 year old.

“You’re the boss, ploughboy,” I telepathically communicate to Ishmael.

“Let’s see how fast you can rack one in when we bump into mama and baby tuskless in this thick shit”.

We cross a creek and Lin sees a track. “Huge bull,” he says “but old.” We continue. The droppings are changing. They are no longer orange. No longer brown. No longer dry with hay in them. They are green. And wet. And I’m beginning to worry about Ishmael and I sense he is beginning to worry about himself.

“Was this a mistake?,” I suppose he’s thinking.

"Do I have what it takes?,” perhaps.

We trudge on – in the thick stuff – the jesse of which you’ve read. Save we are not reading it. We are living it. And I am loving it except for I am unloaded.
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Aaron N

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LOL! Are you going to shoot or harpoon this albino elephant, Ishmael? Wasn't the only survivor saved by Ishmael's empty coffin?

Ishmael was saved by Queequeg’s coffin after that fateful battle!
 

Medicine

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An hour and a half deep. Probably 4.5 miles or so. Elephant sign everywhere. Dung. Broken branches in the trail – some with green leaves, some with brown. Trees pushed over and tracks of cows and calves.

“We’re still a couple of hours behind them. Do you want a water?”

“No”

“Good”

We change directions. Ishmael pushes on behind Lin who is in better shape than expected after nearly a year off. The next couple of hours produce more miles and more elephant sign but no elephant. We find ourselves at the base of a mountain – a steep one with treacherous, golf ball sized rocks all along the path. It’s hard work but we trek upward. The government ranger slips and down he goes. Clank, clank, clank goes the AK. Ishmael braces for the full metal jackets but, thank God, there are none. Ishmael turns around in time to see the AK skirting diagonally down the mountain and the ranger goofily grinning while attempting to get to his feet. I’m not certain where they get these guys but I’m guessing it ain’t MENSA. Ishmael likes him although he did once watch him take a shit along a public road while hiding behind a fencepost of all things. Not a baobab tree but a fencepost. I kid you not.

At the top there is much needed rest. Lin offers a water and this time Ishmael accepts. He puts me down, sits on a rock and drains the bottle while staring back down into the valley trying to soak it all in. Lin calls the driver and tells him where to bring the cruiser and after a pic or two we head that way.

We see the cruiser and Lin and the driver trade places and we take off for another spot some distance away with Ishmael enjoying the rest. After 2-3 hours, Lin slows the cruiser, looks at the ground and talks to the trackers.

“Buffalo”

“This is the buffalo area?”

“Yes”

“Fresh?”

“Yesterday”

We continue up the boundary. Elephant sign is plentiful. Lin stops the cruiser, grabs his binoculars and backs up.

“Kudu bull. Young. 44 inches”

“Holy shit, there’s Kudu here too?”

“Yes but scarce. This is not a plains game area”

Back in drive, through a gate or two and past on old tungsten mine, the elephant sign really pics up. Like everywhere. We keep driving and there they are: a cow, a young bull and a tuskless cow among others. Perhaps a half dozen or so. Ishmael videos them from the cruiser.

“They are here. We’ll come here in the morning. Pack enough for two nights”

Lin turns the cruiser around and we head back toward camp. Ishmael smiles. He knows where the buffalo are, he knows where the kudu are, he knows where the elephant are. And he knows where the beers are. In the back of the cruiser. Ice cold. Tallboys. Castle Lights. Right on cue, Lin asks does he want one and he drinks three.
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rinehart0050

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We trudge on – in the thick stuff – the jesse of which you’ve read. Save we are not reading it. We are living it. And I am loving it except for I am unloaded.

Great quote! Reading about it is fun, but nothing compares to living it! Keep the report coming- loving every second of it!
 

BRICKBURN

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@Medicine I'm still trying to grasp why Ishmael asked the PH about putting one in your throat!
He'd better work harder on your relationship....
 

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Really enjoying the read. Keep it coming!
 

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