Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Africa' started by IdaRam, Aug 25, 2018.
Great start, looking forward to the rest of the story!
So, without further ado...
Day 1 !
As you might expect, the first night was not one of blissful slumber Even without the leopard harassing the baboons I doubt I would have slept well, excitement was just too high.
The plan for the day was up at 5:00, breakfast of bacon, eggs, toast and coffee and then head out at 5:45.
My very good friend and hunting buddy Jim had flown up from South Africa to meet me and share the experience. When I broke the news of booking this hunt he immediately went to work adjusting his plans and making arrangements to go along as an observer. It’s just what good friends do! Yes, I am blessed with some very good friends! I am happy to say I think he had as good a time as I did.
And so we made our first embarassing blunder at breakfast on the first morning!
Because there would be no elephant “trophy” coming home from this hunt I decided to have the hunt filmed by DD Productions, Doug’s company. He had a brand new, young camera man just getting into the business and offered his services to me at an appealing rate. The young man’s name is Ryan and he is a very polite 19 year old who is not a man of many words. Quiet, some might say . Perfect!
Jim and I sat down to breakfast right on schedule. It was excellent! So good actually that Jim and I decided after the first round it would be a shame to let the remaining 2 eggs and bacon just sit there when we got up from the table. No sooner had we plowed into the second helping when Ryan joined us. Um... what do you say? Jim and I looked at each other like the cat who ate the canary. “Sorry man, didn’t know you would be joining us. There’s a couple slices of toast left.” “Burp” He was very understanding and apologized for running a little behind. Lesson learned on all our parts. Ryan will be joining us at breakfast from now on. Dan and Jim like bacon and eggs. Duly noted all the way around
45 minutes of driving, it is light and we are on our first set of elephant tracks! Doug has briefed us the night before on how this should go. Safety first! Ensure your chamber is empty and hammer down when guns are being transferred onto or off from the truck. SOP, no surprise there. Be prepared to receive your rifle and hit the track. No dilly dallying. When we go, we go! Shed a jacket if you need to, otherwise we are off! One of the trackers will be carrying a rifle and a pack full of water and some food at all times.
Some hard and fast rules, if you are not on the truck, step to a place you can safely chamber a round and do so. You do not need to seek permission. When you are not on the truck your rifle will be loaded, on safe and always pointed in a safe direction. Elephant, Buffalo, Lion and Leopard as well as other potentially dangerous game are abundant. Be alert and stay safe. You never know when an angry or injured animal may decide to take his frustrations out on you. If there is a hostile inbound and you fear for your safety, shoot it. Doug has some stories I will let him share with you if you are fortunate enough to hunt with him.
Off we go on the tracks of elephant! It takes us a couple of hours and 4 or 5 miles to catch up to the herd on the down wind side. They are crossing a dry river bed and it gives us a good chance to look them over and see if the herd contains any tuskless. In this case there is one, but she has a small calf, so we back off without spooking them and head for a rendezvous with the truck.
At this point I think I am grinning ear to ear. That was fun! Little did I know the fun was just beginning!
Hey, let them young guys find their own eggs!!
Thanks for the plug, IdaRam! I'm glad the travel arrangements were so smooth for you and look forward to working with you again on that next adventure..........
Tuskless ele is the best! Cant wait to hear the rest of the story from a fellow Idaho guy!
We meet the truck and enjoy a cold coke, a few minutes of catching our breath and taking in the beauty of an area I haven’t seen much of yet. It’s well before noon and the air is still crisp and cool. Perfect hunting weather.
It got down into the upper 40’s (F) during the night and will top out in the mid-seventies today. As the days go by temps will gradually warm to mid-fifties at night and mid-eighties late in the day. By Zim standards very enjoyable temps. I’m happy to not be hunting any later in the year
Doug has a plan and we’re off to an area elephant are likely to be found mid day. You know what they say about plans...
We’ve driven maybe 10 minutes, round a bend in the two track and all of a sudden, Elephants! In the road, crossing the road, in front of the truck... kind of everywhere. Even in the dead of winter there are still a lot of leaves on the bush and trees in most of the area and that compounded with rounding the bend let us run right up on them. Not exactly what we had in mind, but you play the hand you’re dealt! How far will they go before slowing down? One way to find out. Off we go once the dust settles.
We follow, they keep going. At least the trail is easy to follow. Eventually they slow down and begin to relax. I really don’t remember how long or how far we tracked them but it was a few hours and quite a few miles. We finally catch up and start working the herd. They are a little spread out, little pockets of elephants here and there. We’ve got to sneak in close and get eyeballs on each little group without spooking them or giving them our wind. This is what elephant hunting is all about! What a rush getting in close, playing cat and mouse with these massive critters. As a newbie elephant hunter I’m surprised at times just how close we are able to get without them knowing we’re there. More than once Doug gives the signal to back out quickly and quietly. After giving them a thorough looking over we finally conclude there are no tuskless amongst them and move back to a safe distance. It’s past our lunch time and Jim and I are feeling it! Time for a sandwich and plenty of fluids.
We will rendezvous with the truck, have some lunch and maybe a quick nap and get back to it!
The evening hunt yielded another small bunch of ele we were able to look over and once again, no tuskless. On the way back to the truck we spot a herd of impala with a real nice ram in the group. Doug thinks about 23”. They are in a fairly open area and getting close is not an option. I am packing my .416 Rigby with a 1.5-5x scope. The best we can do is about 175 yards. Unfortunately looking slightly toward the setting sun. Up go the sticks. “Take him if you are comfortable with the shot.” I can’t tell which is the big ram. Doug talks me onto him. “You see the 2 together on the right side?” “Yes.” “You see the one by himself just to the left of the two and just beyond that stump and facing towards us?” “Yes.” “That is the big ram. Take him if you are comfortable.” Boom! I obviously lost him in the recoil, but the shot felt good. Doug has no call. We walk up. No impala, no blood. The trackers go to work. We find where his hooves clawed the dirt as he jumped. A few tense minutes of tracking and we have an impala! The first animal of the safari. There is just one small glitch. See if you can spot it
A beautiful impala ewe with FOUR holes in her! Yup four.
One in the chest, 1 in the arm pit, one in the belly and one in the back of the hind quarter. In and out, in and out. Quite a trick shot, eh?
What the hell? Where’s the big horns? The thought occurs to us maybe this one was behind the big ram? A camera man is a very valuable part of the team! Time to review tape. Nope, no one standing behind. Either Ryan and I were looking at another impala standing behind a stump, there were quite a few impala and quite a few stumps, or the big ram moved and a ewe stepped into position. I don’t know, but at least we have Hyena bait! Doug decides it’s time to yank our chain a little bit
Jim wants a female impala for a mount with a ram.
“Jim, we have a problem. Dan just accidentally shot our last impala ewe we have on quota. I’m very sorry.” Yer shittin’ me
Well, we all had a laugh and took a few pictures.
The ride back to camp gives us a good chill, but the fires are burning in our donkeys and a hot shower feels so good! We shower and gather around the fire for a beer and appetizers before dinner. It was quite a day! The pedometer on my i-phone says 15.7 miles today. My feet say at least 30! I will sleep tonight for sure
I’m sure dinner was excellent and I’m also sure I don’t remember what it was!
Tomorrow morning is going to come early...
Stuff happens in the bush. You just move on (after the abuse)!
The details that get left out of the pre report....
Thanks for taking the time to make up this awesome report. I know it's got my wheels spinning.
This is a Steenpala. Note the similarities to an female Impala.
I have really got to learn to use PhotoShop!
As a guide of many years on the salmon and snake in your country, all I can say is shit happens. Like the hyena bait idea and like the sheep in your avitar
Please continue you’ve got me hooked
Been here done that....... Mine was the wrong blesbuck in a herd od 15 or so. Take the 4th one my PH says. So I thought I did. Missed counting one completely hidden from me behind a bush.........
Then there is the red Hartebeast female my PH had me shoot. Wrong animal. He kept repeating its all on me...... Enjoying the report.
Thank you Jacques! It is very likely we may have left boot tracks on some of the same dirt then . I have hunted quite a lot in both the Salmon and Snake River country. My sheep came from Unit 26 (Big Creek) on the west side of the Middle Fork of the Salmon.
Happily there are plenty of female impala on quota, but I think Doug enjoyed the looks on both mine and Jim’s faces when we realized we’d been had!
Enjoying this report
If you spend enough years hunting, you are going to have some humbling experiences. Great report...looking forward to the rest of it!
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