ZIMBABWE: May 2017 Hunt With Mbalabala Safaris

cpr0312

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Wednesday May 17 (Day 4)

After breakfast we set out at 7:00 to check the baits. Shortly into our drive, the trackers spot a kudu cow and bull in the thick brush, which immediately gets the blood pumping! We got out of the truck to try to get a better look, but the bull cunningly stayed where we couldn't see his horns.Eventually the ran off into the thicker bush and out of sight, oh well we will try again later. 2 of the baits had been hit but again by females (one of which is on camera and video).Even though it was a female, it was pretty darn neat and exciting to watch the video of her eating on the impala! We will carry on looking for another impala to hang in the area of the male's tracks from the previous day.

Here is a pic of the trackers and Lin hanging the previously taken impala
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In the afternoon we take a walk down a river bed looking for tracks. We come across some zebra and giraffe while on the walk.

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About 4:45 we get on more impala and I'm able to take one at about 150 yards. We then hang him up at the end of the day and head in for some beers and dinner.

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CAustin

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I'm liking it man! Keep it coming!
 

cpr0312

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Thursday May 18th (Day 5)

Same morning routine while leopard hunting, up at 6, out by 7:00. Checked all 11 baits now and the 2 females have moved on with nothing new on bait. During the morning drive we spot steinbok, impala, duiker, warthog, waterbuck, and giraffe. I also need tom mention that the grass was tall and the bush still very thick due to the heavy rainy season they had. So who know how many critters, especially the smaller ones that we didn't see every day. If i was hunting for giraffe or waterbuck, there were numerous opportunities daily for them. In the afternoon we try for bushbuck in some thick, nasty, and thorny stuff! No luck but we move on and climb some more rocks. We see 3 klipspringer, 1 ram and 2 ewes. The ram was not that big or I may have been tempted to try for him.
Anotehr great African sunset as many of you have witnessed.
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cpr0312

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Friday May 19th (Day 6)

After breakfast, out to check all the baits again. On the way to the first bait we spot some kudu cows. Lin knew there would be a bull nearby as they were still in the rut. We slowly drove forward and spotted him in the sunshine. Lin quickly looked at him and let me know he was pretty good, thats all I needed to know so we decided to move on him. It was going to be quick as the cows started to get nervous looking. We drove in reverse just a little and I got out on my own to take the shot as it was relatively close and there was no time for Lin to jump out as well and get the sticks from the back of the truck. Luckily for me the bull was still standing there chest on at about 60 yards. I quickly got him in the scope, centered him up and squeezed. I saw him collapse through the scope, even though it was a delayed collapse if that makes sense. Only about 1 second but still a delay. We quickly run up to him but he is done. This bull is in full rut and his neck is HUGE!! I am more than happy with this bull as he is very unique! I took pics through both curls for reference, the unique side looks like you can stick a football in the curl.

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Pic through the "normal" curl
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And pic through the "unique" curl

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Wheels

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Looking forward to the rest of your report. Enjoying it and the photos so far.(y)
 

akeate

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That kudu is very nice. The unique curl and the backskin is awesome
 

CAustin

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Nice bill there my friend. That was some quick shooting and you were rewarded with a great trophy. I think your correct...one could put a football through the one curl. He will make a very nice addition to your trophy room.
 

PHOENIX PHIL

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Unique Kudu, I like it.
 

rinehart0050

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Great report so far Reedy! Can't wait to hear how the rest goes!
 

cpr0312

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Thank you gentlemen! And @akeate yes I'm certainly bringing the backskin home also
 

cpr0312

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Day 6 continued.....

We finish checking the baits and 1 had been hit by a female, this time a different bait. The afternoon starts out with a trip to the nearest town for some more diesel fuel and a few groceries. The town of Gwandu is about 1 hr 15 min back toward Bulawayo. Its a mining town that is actually pretty big for being out in nowhere. They have taxis, shopping, etc. We went in the OK grocery store and I was quite impressed actually. It was like being in South Africa, they even had Coke Zero and Mountain Dew as well as dentyne chewing gum.

I didn't take many pics in town, but this ice cream brand struck me as funny..

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Once we get back to camp we quickly eat then head out for bushbuck. On the way for bushbuck we come across a herd of eland with a good bull in it. I decide to pass as I had taken a eland cow last year to quench my eland thirst. No bushbuck but we do see two different groups of 3 klipspringer.

At dinner the eland popped back into my min and I kind of regretted not going after the bull as the herd was not overly skittish and running away. I ask Lin to verify they are cap eland and he told me no they are Livingston eland. For some reason I just assumed they were the cape variety, so now I get the urge to try for that bull if we see them again.

Another nice dinner followed by another amazing starry night.

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cpr0312

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Saturday May 20th (Day 7)

As the routine goes with leopard hunting, out by 7:00 to check baits. I had always read that leopard hunting is a mental game, and I am now starting to realize that. I guess I expected it but didn't if that makes sense. Its just different thats all, because you have to spend hours driving and checking baits with limited action during that time. Certainly there is plains game to pursue, but leopard is the primary target. I am staying positive however and telling myself not to think otherwise After checking the baits nothing new had been hit and the female from the previous night had moved on. Back for lunch and to the skinning shed to check on the kudu.

A few days before I got to camp a waterbuck was taken, a truly special waterbuck. Let me make it clear that this waterbuck is not mine.
I certainly wish it was mine, it measured 34' !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This thing was unbelievable, massive, and long!

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Here is a pic of the waterbuck next to my 54 1/4' kudu for comparison
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cpr0312

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Day 7 continued.....

After lunch I was writing in my hunting notes/journal and this little guy cam across my feet, I've never seen a white/sand colored frog before. This is one of their tree frogs.

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And then there were plenty of these guys around as well, the monster of a spider the golden orb.....

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We set out hunting at 2:30 and decide we need to rebait some of the baits that are starting to turn rotten. We set out for impala, with hopes of taking 2 or 3 this afternoon. Its slow going and we don't see an impala until about 3:45 but the lone ram gives us the slip. We continue the search but don't turn anything up. We come across a herd of zebra along with a herd of giraffe about 4:30. A quick discussion with Lin and a handshake deal made and we are now after zebra for a bait as we can get 6 baits from one. We quickly make a plan and head back towards the zebra, of course they are now wary of whats possibly going on. We are not being picky here, just trying to shoot a big one for the most bait.

Quickly acquire a zebra who is farthest out to the left of the herd and its a mature one, so I take the shot.... Too quick on the trigger maybe as Lin says its a hit and blood was spraying, but it looked a little far back....uuugggghhh

I hate that feeling as I'm sure we all do who have made a poor shot on an animal. I hold out hope however as we set out tracking it. There is blood to follow for about 150 yards but it dries up quickly. It becomes apparent by the blood that its not a vitals shot. I am now disgusted with myself and start to get that sinking feeling. We search till dark but must give up for the night. Lin is pretty confident that it was a gut shot however, and that the zebra would pass tonight. Back to camp for dinner and a few beers. and then a restless night as I cant stand to feel that way when I dont know whats happened to an animal that I have shot....
 
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Shootist43

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Excellent report on a good hunt. Doing it in one and two day bits builds our excitement and anxiety. That Kudu bull was impressive. Hunts like this, whet a hunter's appetite for more. Regardless of how this story ends you had a great hunt!
 

Royal27

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At dinner the eland popped back into my min and I kind of regretted not going after the bull as the herd was not overly skittish and running away. I ask Lin to verify they are cap eland and he told me no they are Livingston eland. For some reason I just assumed they were the cape variety, so now I get the urge to try for that bull if we see them again

I love foreshadowing. :)
Keep it coming man! Great report so far.
 
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CAustin

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Charles that waterbuck must be prehistoric. Thanks for sharing that picture. Made a poor uphill shot on a zebra last year that resulted in a five mile tracking job so I know how you felt.
Ok today is a holiday let's get back to reporting!
 

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Great report Charlie and great pictures! Love the area. What a waterbuck!
 

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