ZIMBABWE: Leopard & Buffalo With Mbalabala Safaris

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Africa' started by Riksa, Nov 11, 2017.

  1. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2009
    Messages:
    8,638
    Video/Photo:
    53
    Likes Received:
    6,418
    Member of:
    SCI
    Hunted:
    USA, S. Africa
    My worst shooting by far has been in Africa as well as some of my best. It happens, glad you and the team saw it through and it ended well.
     
    Riksa likes this.

  2. Ridgewalker

    Ridgewalker AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2016
    Messages:
    4,913
    Video/Photo:
    196
    Likes Received:
    4,683
    Location:
    Colorado
    Hunted:
    South Africa: Limpopo, Northwest; USA: Ak, Mt, Wy, Co, Ne, Ks, Nv, NM, Tx
    My first shot on a gemsbok in Africa at 250-270 yards, just as the trigger broke, he took off making my shot go through some 2’ back. I was crushed! The tracker took off and I followed for several hours. Finally at maybe 40 yards he was hiding in the brush where I finished him.
    Stuff happens. First I wasn’t aware just how little time you have to take a shot. Nothing in Africa stays in one spot very long. We have to learn to pull the trigger within a few seconds or start over.

    You did well in a tense situation! The PH also has his tough responsibility, ie controlling the situation and keeping the client out of trouble.

    Thanks for writing this up! I am really enjoying your report!
     
    Dr Ray and Riksa like this.

  3. MMAL

    MMAL GOLD SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2016
    Messages:
    410
    Video/Photo:
    15
    Likes Received:
    497
    Hunted:
    New Jersey, New York, Wyoming, Colorado, Mexico, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Northwest Territories, Newfoundland, Namibia
    You did say that when you shot the camp .375H&H is was off. I did not read an explanation of how it got 16 inches off center. I have never had a gun go that far out of whack without it being an issue with the internal scope mechanics. Personally, I would blame the gun fully, curse at it, and call it unfavorable names. You got your buffalo and earned it. Don't think otherwise. Ready for the rest of the report btw. Keep it coming.
     
    Riksa likes this.

  4. Neale

    Neale AH Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2015
    Messages:
    431
    Video/Photo:
    100
    Likes Received:
    431
    Location:
    Cape York, Queensland Australia
    Member of:
    SSAA
    Hunted:
    Australia, South Africa ( Eastern Cape, Free State, Limpopo,KwaZulu Natal )
    @Riksa, I felt sick in the stomach reading your story. I really felt for you and I know how it feels. The team and yourself put in a good effort and you got the Buff in the end. Not all bad. Just need to pick yourself up and go get that leopard. I am enjoying your story and I am sure everyone is with you all the way.
     
    Dr Ray and Riksa like this.

  5. Redruff

    Redruff AH Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2015
    Messages:
    454
    Video/Photo:
    3
    Likes Received:
    308
    Hunted:
    Botswana, RSA, Scotland, Canada
    All is well that ends well Riska! And you earned that buffalo.

    R.
     
    Ridgewalker and Riksa like this.

  6. Pheroze

    Pheroze AH ENABLER AH Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2013
    Messages:
    3,366
    Video/Photo:
    51
    Likes Received:
    3,187
    Location:
    Ontario
    Member of:
    OFAH, DSC
    Hunted:
    South Africa, Canada, USA
    +1

    (y)
     
    Ridgewalker and Riksa like this.

  7. rafaellinne

    rafaellinne AH Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2017
    Messages:
    44
    Video/Photo:
    8
    Likes Received:
    59
    Location:
    Brazil
    Member of:
    SCI
    Hunted:
    Tanzania, Zimbabwe
    Great hunt. That made me remember 2013. I’m almost sure I stayed at te same camp. I shot 4 tuskless and a buffalo
     
    Riksa likes this.

  8. Gerry Addison

    Gerry Addison AH Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2015
    Messages:
    34
    Video/Photo:
    1
    Likes Received:
    30
    Just wanted to say I had the exact same experience on a buffalo hunt. Was using the camp gun because it was difficult and expensive to get my gun into Mozambique. Went to the range and at 50 yards the gun was 7" high and three inches right. Adjusted it down proper number of clicks and it shot way low. Moved it back up proper number of clicks and it was again crazy high. Then had the PH shoot it and no better. He made one more adjustment and said, don't worry we are going to get you in close.

    Well when the time came to shoot I was at 200 yards with the bull standing in the middle of a field. Got on the sticks and took my time and to this day have no idea if I hit him or not. The herd then ran across in front of us and stopped at 150 yards. I shot again and that time hit the bull for sure. The two PH's with me then both fired and we don't know if they hit the bull.

    Well, to make a long story short we tracked that bull for at least 5 hours through the thickest stuff you can imagine, sometimes on our hands and knees kicking myself the entire time. When we finally caught up with the bull he was standing at 25 yards and on the count of three all three of us shot and put him down.

    I learned several things on that hunt. One, always take your own gun. Even though this was a quality gun with a quality scope, there was obviously something wrong. I actually made the PH go out and shoot it the day after this calamity and it was seriously off. Two, don't let the moment overtake your better judgement. I knew the gun wasn't right and let the excitement of the moment taint my judgement and took a shot I shouldn't have taken. Hell, I should never have left camp with that gun. And three, don't beat yourself up too badly when you make a mistake. I was as down as a person could be at the end of that day, but my PH handled everything perfectly and took the pressure off me.
     

  9. Riksa

    Riksa AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2012
    Messages:
    138
    Video/Photo:
    135
    Likes Received:
    194
    Location:
    Finland
    Hunted:
    Finland, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Poland, Sweden
    Sorry, I forgot to write about this topic. The scope had suffered a hit and one of the scope rings was completely loose. The problem was fixed during the first day and on second morning we went back to range and sighted in the gun.

    Did this episode help with my confidence in the gun? No it did not. Did the gun work in the end? Yes it did.

    My main conclusion now is that I should bring my own gun to the hunt, just like Gerry wrote. For some reason my shooting technique is quite sensitive and I'm used to crisp single stage trigger (I have 2 Sako rifles that I mainly use). This was probably the root cause for my poor shooting. The trigger of the camp gun was not the same I am used to (longer pull and not as crisp as my own rifle) and that probably caused me to pull both the shots. And this does not mean that the camp gun was bad in any way. It just means that I was not used to it.
     

  10. Riksa

    Riksa AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2012
    Messages:
    138
    Video/Photo:
    135
    Likes Received:
    194
    Location:
    Finland
    Hunted:
    Finland, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Poland, Sweden
    Thanks Neale! I allowed myself to be pissed for that one day. The following morning life was good again. There was no way I would let one bad day to ruin the whole trip. The interesting part is that now that I'm writing this report I can still remember my feelings during the hunt. That's one of the great things in writing a report. It takes me back to all the moments during the hunt.
     
    Ridgewalker and Neale like this.

  11. Riksa

    Riksa AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2012
    Messages:
    138
    Video/Photo:
    135
    Likes Received:
    194
    Location:
    Finland
    Hunted:
    Finland, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Poland, Sweden
    Amen!
    For me the learning is an important part of the hunt. I want to become a better hunter. All the learnings you write above are valid also for me.
     
    Ridgewalker likes this.

  12. MMAL

    MMAL GOLD SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2016
    Messages:
    410
    Video/Photo:
    15
    Likes Received:
    497
    Hunted:
    New Jersey, New York, Wyoming, Colorado, Mexico, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Northwest Territories, Newfoundland, Namibia
    :D Pop Popcorn: Rest of the report??????????
     
    Lbarr265 likes this.

  13. Riksa

    Riksa AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2012
    Messages:
    138
    Video/Photo:
    135
    Likes Received:
    194
    Location:
    Finland
    Hunted:
    Finland, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Poland, Sweden
    Got to do my regular job things today/tomorrow to finance my future hunting expeditions :) So the rest of the report is still in process (but coming)
     
    Pheroze, Neale and Ridgewalker like this.

  14. ChrisG

    ChrisG AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2015
    Messages:
    935
    Video/Photo:
    38
    Likes Received:
    886
    Location:
    Adirondack Park, NY, USA
    Member of:
    NAHC, NRA, Rocky Mtn. Elk Foundation.
    Hunted:
    USA, Canada
    I love hearing real, true hunting stories! I am very glad that you got the bull and even happier that you didn't "gloss over" so many of the details. A lot of hunters I know would have said that they nailed the bull themselves and just take credit for everything to make it sound like they are a modern Davy Crockett. I am glad you were humble enough to tell us what really happened and it happens to the best of 'em. I love reading your stories, keep them coming!
     
    Edge, Pheroze, enysse and 2 others like this.

  15. enysse

    enysse AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Messages:
    11,260
    Video/Photo:
    136
    Likes Received:
    3,595
    Member of:
    Northeast Wisconsin SCI chapter, Lifetime member of NRA,RMEF
    Hunted:
    Namibia, South Africa (East Cape, Guateng and Limpopo)
    Good honest hunting report, mistakes happen....keep it coming(y)(y)(y)
     
    Riksa likes this.

  16. Dr Ray

    Dr Ray AH Legend

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2017
    Messages:
    2,026
    Video/Photo:
    19
    Likes Received:
    1,448
    Location:
    Cairns, Australia
    Me too
     
    Riksa likes this.

  17. Ridgewalker

    Ridgewalker AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2016
    Messages:
    4,913
    Video/Photo:
    196
    Likes Received:
    4,683
    Location:
    Colorado
    Hunted:
    South Africa: Limpopo, Northwest; USA: Ak, Mt, Wy, Co, Ne, Ks, Nv, NM, Tx
    +3!
     
    Riksa likes this.

  18. superdutch

    superdutch AH Veteran

    Joined:
    May 19, 2016
    Messages:
    164
    Video/Photo:
    12
    Likes Received:
    154
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Member of:
    SCI, NRA life member
    Hunted:
    SA East Cape (‘19) Tanzania ('18) Namibia ('15, '17), USA - AK, CO, ID, NM, SC, FL, GA, WI, TX
    Great writing! I am enjoying it - keep it up!
     

  19. MarkD

    MarkD AH Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2016
    Messages:
    69
    Video/Photo:
    6
    Likes Received:
    65
    Location:
    Springfield Oregon
    Hunted:
    South Africa,Alaska,Oregon,Washington and Florida
    Excited for the rest of the story
     
    Riksa likes this.

  20. Riksa

    Riksa AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2012
    Messages:
    138
    Video/Photo:
    135
    Likes Received:
    194
    Location:
    Finland
    Hunted:
    Finland, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Poland, Sweden
    Monday 23.10 (day 4)

    New day, old tricks. I was woken up at 4:00AM to a splash that either a croc or a hippo made. There were both just 20 meters from my tent. Every night also the Waterbuck would come and feed on the grass just meters from the tent. They are surprisingly loud when the feed.

    P1030003.JPG

    P1020987.JPG

    P1020991.JPG

    Had the normal breakfast, yoghurt and some fruits + healthy overdose of coffee and we were on our way. Today we would be checking the baits. Additionally we put out 2 new ones. Now we had a total of 11 baits out. The baits did not have hits, but luckily there are plenty of days to go still. There is plenty of Leopard activity and the full moon is still long ahead so there should be a reasonable chance to get the Leopard. In the morning we visited the dinosaur tracks as we had a bait close to them. Pretty cool to see something so old.
    P1020586.JPG

    P1020592.JPG

    P1020594.JPG

    P1020600.JPG
    P1020611.JPG
    P1020618.JPG

    We also found fresh tracks of nice group of daggaboys, but Buffalos were certainly not a priority today. Pierre had noticed that I was not happy with my performance with the Buffalo so he mentioned that there is a second bull available. I answered to come back to that after I have gotten something with my own rifle. Now it’s focus on 1) getting my self confidence back + 2) Leopard. After that, who knows :)

    Today there was also another hunter (Tom from Australia) hunting with Lindon Stanton. Tom ended up getting his Buffalo on first day of hunting. Not bad (y). The area is certainly big enough to have couple of hunters at the same time. And it was nice to have more company in the camp.

    Today I also saw Roan for the first time ever. There was a nice male in the group and we would see the same group of Roan also during the following days. It’s always nice to see something you have never seen before. I hope to also see a Lion in the coming days. Although I have seen Lion before, I have never seen them outside national parks. Pierre mentioned earlier that so far this year they have seen Lion in all their Safaris so the probability for that is quite high. And we certainly have seen a lot of tracks. Chewore has a quota of only 1 male Lion per year and no females are hunted. As a result there is overpopulation of Lion and that combined with plenty of Hyena and a “few” Leopard are certainly taking their toll on plains game. On the other hand that ensures that game is alert all the time which makes hunting more challenging and fun.


    Tuesday 24.10 (day 5)

    Morning was spent on checking baits (4 checked) and putting a new one up. Checking one bait usually means driving from 30 minutes to one hour from bait to another, dragging a smelly drag for quite some distance, spreading a combination of blood, stomach content and some mysterious other (smelly) substances near the bait and the bait tree. Unless you have hunted Leopard, the smell of the bakkie at this stage of the hunt is something that can not be described. I would say that the bakkie starts to smell worse than the bait that has been rotting 4 days. There is also plenty of Tse Tse flies to make sure you have the full Leopard hunting experience. For me the extra thing is sunblock combined with sand so that sweat, sunblock and sand build nice combination of odors inside your hunting cap. I do love hunting! To my surprise I didn’t get any sunburns during this trip so I consider myself lucky.
    P1020603.JPG

    P1020630.JPG
    P1020648.JPG
    P1020650.JPG
    P1020652.JPG

    We have now totally 12 baits in the area waiting for the cat to come in. No hits so far. Should I get nervous? Anyway, now we have established route for 2 day bait checking. 5 baits will be checked one day and 7 baits on the following day. Each round of checking baits is roughly half day trip. During these trips we will also keep an eye out for other game.

    After lunch time break we had a walk through a dry riverbed. It took some 40 minutes to get from camp to the start point. I didn’t realize it then, but the plan was to walk back to camp. The distance back when walking would be significantly shorter, but still a nice walk of around 2-2.5 hours. During the walk we saw Hippos and found a Crocodile’s nest. It was a very nice walk, but unfortunately nothing worth shooting was spotted. We were mainly after a Bushbuck or a Kudu (or anything exceptional). There was plenty of Bushbuck tracks and we saw some female as well as several Waterbucks (also an ok male). Best part of the walk was the scenery and it was really nice for a change to be walking. When we returned to camp, we found out that Tom had shot a 58,5” Kudu. It looked great! And the cold beer tasted great after the walk. All in all, just another day in the office.

    IMG_1111_2.jpg
     

Share This Page

 
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice