ZIMBABWE: Mokore Safaris Sengwa Research Tuskless Elephant & Plains Game

Great start to your report, leaving in 2 weeks for Coutada 9 with Gary as my PH, Doug Ph'ing a friend and Neil hunting my brother for Plains game for 7 days in the middle of my Buff hunt. This will be my second trip with them and pretty excited to say the least!! Buff, Sable, Nyala, Lichenstein's Hartebeest plus a bunch of other plains game on the menu. Thank you for posting

Gale Johnson
Gale I would love to hear how your hunt goes. It sounds like a really good safari.
Philip
 
My head hit the pillow and I was out, but I went to sleep with a distinct feeling of tomorrow will be the day! I woke up with the same feeling. Can’t explain it, I just knew.
I took a few moments before breakfast to wipe my rifle down, apply a bit of oil here and there, wipe off cartridges that had been in the magazine and in the loops on my buttstock and swap them out for fresh and make sure lenses on my 1.5-5x Leupold were clean.
I have been told I am a bit OCD, but only by disorganized people :A Me You: :D
I have a bit of a ritual when gearing up. Everything is always in the same spot and I pretty much always carry the same basic gear no matter where I am hunting.
Fixed blade knife on my belt, around to the back so my gun doesn’t bump into it and make noise or scratch my gun. Leatherman the same only to the opposite side of the mid belt loop. Light gloves and small LED head lamp in left front pocket. Lightweight Kuiu guide beenie right front pocket. Latrine essentials in a zip-lok bag in left cargo pocket. Handkerchief in right rear pocket. Right cargo pocket empty for misc items I add. Power bar, electrlyte packet, etc.
I’m not really very OCD, I just don’t like to be fishing for something in the dark not remembering where I put it. I pack a hunting pack the same way.

We find elephant early and in the same vicinity as the ones from the night before. I’m not sure if it is one big herd or a number of smaller herds that are just in close proximity, but there are a bunch of elephant everywhere.
We start working them carefully. Trying to stay down wind but probing the groups looking for tuskless.
Where we are there is the sandy river channel with a steep bank on one side and the other side is a big flat flood plain with mixed open grassy areas and thick bush and trees intermingled. The elephant are moving and feeding and at times we are sneaking along and other times we are running.
There are so many elephant it is hard to keep track of them all. We spook elephant a few times with our scent, but fortunately they take off away from the others and don’t spook the whole lot of them.
Up ahead we see more elephant coming across the flat looking like they are going to cross and follow one of the many shallow ravines up out of the river bottom. This is when we run!!! Trying to pick the correct ravine they might go up and have a good look and potentially a very close shot!
We climb up the bank out of the river channel and sprint for where we think they will come up. We couldn’t have done it more perfectly. We are waiting in the bush at the top of the ravine when a group of 6 come up. Everything is perfect. We have the wind right and if there is a tuskless I will have a shot of less than 10 yards.
The ravine is full of elephant! Literally nose to tail. And they stop. Right in front of us, point blank! Everyone is holding their breath I think.
No tuskless. A big cow in the lead with another cow behind her who has a tiny calf. Then another cow and calf and a young bull.
They stand there listening and smelling. We hold our breath.
Finally they move up the ravine and we breathe. Whew! That was... tense?
More elephant are coming across and heading for the next ravine. We run again. We get to the next place an elephant can climb out of the river well ahead of the next group which is really 2 groups but they have changed their mind and are slowly meandering along in the large grassy open area in the bottom. This time there are tuskless. 2 of them but they both have calves. Crap! Can’t catch a break.
Then another small group breaks cover and into the open area. I nudge Doug and point to a tuskless cow. No calves with this group! We’re in business!
They will pass right in front of us at about 30 yards. Doug gives me the green light if I have a shot. They aren’t slowing down or stopping and it is now or never. Doug let’s out a call of some kind hoping to get them to pause and I am ready with a sight picture I like. No reaction. I am cleared hot and feel comfortable with the shot, so I press trigger with a good side brain sight picture.
Boom! And all hell breaks loose!!!
Elephant have come right up behind us in the brush. Doug and I are side by side out front on the edge of the riverbank. Behind me is Ryan running the camera. Behind him are Solomon, Doug’s amazing tracker, and my buddy Jim along with Maru our Parks Ranger. Solomon, Jim and Maru are our rear guard. They have been watching these ele coming right up behind us and about shitting their pants as they reach the 5 yard mark. When I touch off the Rigby a freight train of elephants spin in their tracks and blast off through the bush at about Mach 3.
At my shot the tuskless goes down to her knees but quickly pops up again and whirls around to run back the way she came. I’ve already run the bolt and hit her with another one. A raking shot from the right rear. Doug’s .505 Gibbs booms as I’m lining up on my third shot. She is running on a direct crossing path now and she stumbles and starts to fall just as I fire my third shot, which hits her in the neck and drops her for keeps.
By now there is mostly just mayhem. Elephants are getting the hell out of dodge! Doug pretty much collectively grabs us all up and we head straight up hill to clear the area. We will return in a while ;)
When we can regroup and breathe Jim and Solomon start telling us about all the elephants coming up our tail pipe. They were right at the point of having to start yelling or start shooting because they were almost on top of us.
Very comforting to have people with big guns covering your six :)
After a good while we head back to my elephant. I ask to be the first one to touch her. Doug and I walk up and I snick off the safety and reach over from the back and touch her eyeball with my muzzle. Her life is over.
Emotion starts to set in. I have my first elephant. I am overwhelmed. This is like nothing I have experienced before. One of my greatest dreams come true and in a way I could only have dreamed about. Just incredible!
Hand shakes and high fives all around. We celebrate and pay our respects to a magnificent animal that will now become immortal. She will feed a lot of people, including many hungry school children.
Today was the day, and there will never be another day I kill my first elephant. But I am already hoping for the day I get my second!
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Elephant heart kebabs are excellent!
Nothing like that first elephant. And after the first one is down and all is settled then a distant plan arrives in your mind for another.....
Philip
 
Always nice to take on on its last leg! Congrats on the impala, especially the old warrior(y)
 
We ran out of daylight on the evening of Day 9 while chasing a herd of about 15 Eland. There were two good bulls in the herd, one old blue bull and a slightly younger bull. With better light a shot might have been possible, but the last thing I wanted to be doing on day 10 is chasing a wounded Eland. We would come back first thing in the morning and pick up the tracks...
I couldn’t have asked for a better prescription against the pre-departure depression that always seems to set in when you’re down to your last hunting day. I have yet to go on a trip to africa where I am ready to go home and I’ve done one 3 week trip and one month long trip. I guess you could say I’m not much of a home body :D
Shooting light found us back where we left the Eland the night before. Solomon and his .458 Win Mag would be leading the way like a blood hound, with Doug and I following closely and quietly behind. Ryan and his video camera behind me and Maru bringing up the rear.
As a quick side note, it seems from some of the reports I have read that the Parks Rangers can be a bit of a mixed bag. I believe my good fortune on this hunt also extended to drawing Maru as our Ranger who accompanied us throughout the entire hunt. He obviously knew Doug and Solomon well and had a great rapport with them and the rest of the crew. Right from the get-go he worked like he was a member of the team. Always spotting game, assisting with tracking, cutting bush to get the vehicle to down game, etc. The guy was just awesome! I hope when I go back one of these days I get to hunt with him again. He had a great sense of humor too.
One evening found us out in the bush well after the sun had set. We headed for a waterhole known as Dougsdam for a rendezvous with the truck. We beat the truck there and were re-hydrating and chatting, when I asked Maru “how do you say Venus in Shona?” Well, that turned out to be linguistic gymnastics! As near as I can tell it is something like “Veenagarasoombaroom”! After about everyone’s third attempt we were lauging too hard to talk, especially Maru. Another five minutes or so of coaching and we were getting it somewhere near correct. The laughter had mostly died off and I thought we might just be ready for our next Shona language lesson. So I asked him, “OK, now that we have mastered “venus”, how do you say Mars?” He looked at us all for a moment, shook his head and said “Mars” and walked off. This of course brought everyone to tears!
Right. Back to Eland! After an hour or so we found where they had spent the night in a somewhat open flat. It took a while to sort out all the tracks and pick up the trail again, but eventually we were on our way. Heading for the hills. Literally.
We followed them up one hill, down the back side and around the shoulder of the next one and back down into the flats. We took a quick break, just enough time for a bottle of water and a peanut butter sandwich, then back to work. They are heading into the hills again.
About the time I am thinking this is going to be a long day, Solomon slows down and eventually stops. A quick whispered pow-wow between Doug and Solomon and we are moving again, but at a slower pace. All of a sudden Solomon stops, gives a few hand signals and waves Doug and I forward. We begin easing forward slowly and quietly, looking and listening. We’ve gone for maybe 10 minutes or so and I start hearing the unmistakeable sound of animals ahead. The clicking of eland hooves, but I still can’t see anything. The bush is thick and tall here and I’m greatful for the cool shade. Just what the eland had in mind I believe :) They can’t be more than a hundred yards ahead, but it’s too thick to see that far. We have the wind right and are working to close the distance without spooking them. Solomon and Maru are hanging back a ways.
All of a sudden we hear animals behind and to our left! Fortunately the wind is still in our favor, but these guys are bearing right down on our position! We can hear them moving and hear the clicking. They are going to pass right in front of us at less than 20 yards. We hurriedly find a shooting lane, thank God there is one, and get ready for a shot. There are 3 of them in single file and Doug gets a look at them moving through the brush. “Shoot the leader!” he whispers just moments before the bull steps into my shooting lane. In another turn of good fortune the bull enters the lane and turns toward us. I take an extra moment I didn’t think I would have and let the crosshairs settle right on the point of his shoulder. I am packing my .416 Rigby today and the calm is shattered by its big Boom! The Eland lurches and stumbles at the shot, but doesn’t go down. Instead he bolts directly at us and is coming head on like a freight train! I’ve already run the bolt and am getting ready to hit him again at a distance of less than 10 yards when he sees us and veers off to my left. I let the second one go and am confident of the shot even though it is through the thick brush. He’s still going and we quickly follow. After just a few steps I can see him going straight away so I give him the third round straight up the rear end. I start stuffing the mag again and we hear him crash in some brush maybe 50 yards away. We ease forward to where we can see him laying down broadside, but his head is up and he’s still alive. I let him have a fourth round through the lungs and he finally lays his head down and breathes his last breath.
Wow! That was intense! We take a few moments to catch our breath while Solomon and Maru come forward to see what all the shooting is about! :ROFLMAO:
The Eland is Maru’s Totem and he is extremely happy we have one on the ground. And a heck of a bull he is too! The perfect bull in the perfect way. We all admire this beautiful animal and I marvel at the sheer size of this giant antelope. What a magnificent animal they are! I will most definitely hunt eland again :)
Ryan has done an excellent job of catching the entire sequence of events on film, no easy task in this thick stuff, and we take turns watching the replay a few times. Man! Am I glad I decided to have this whole adventure filmed!
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Maru in the middle, this one’s for him :)
 
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CEB Raptor, .416 cal. 370 gr.
Retained weight - 301 gr.
You can see the entry on the point of the shoulder in the pic. It was actually recovered IN the scrotum of the bull :eek: Ouch!
The hole you can see low in the shoulder near the elbow is the exit wound of the second shot.
The third shot going directly away entered below the anus and exited at the very top of the throat just below the jaw line.
 
Wow, full length penetration a couple times with a 416 and he is still making for the hills, I wonder if they are dead on there feet and just don't know. Eland seem pretty tough!!
 
Wonderful stuff @IdaRam, congrats on a heck of a hunt!
 
Congrats on the impalas! A walk and stalk on an old eland bull sounds epic! What a great hunting trip! Hard to top this one! Love the hunting report....
 
Any more comments on the CEB bullets since your trip to Sengwa has soaked in for a year?
 
Any more comments on the CEB bullets since your trip to Sengwa has soaked in for a year?
Overall I do like the CEB’s. They shoot very well out of both my .416 and my .458. I think the solids are an excellent choice for elephant and for poking small holes in the small stuff. As for the Raptors, I also think they are great bullets, but I am going to go with A-Frames for Buff. Over penetration would be a real concern with the Raptors on Buff.
On my eland he was angling slightly, not quite facing straight on. I should have shot him inboard of the front shoulder probably and taken out his heart. As it was I shot him right on the point of the shoulder which broke the shoulder and took out 1 lung (Eland can go a looong ways on 1 lung I am told ;) ). The bullet exited the belly and then his ball sack caught the bullet and that is where it was recovered. And as mentioned before my third shot was going straight away and it exited his throat. Impressive penetration for sure! More than I think I want really. Probably excellent if you want to heart/lung shoot elephant, but creates a bit too much risk I think on buffalo. I can see a situation in the thick stuff where you think it’s all clear behind the bull you are shooting only to find out another was lurking in the shadows and bush behind and now you’ve got another one with a bullet in him God knows where. Thank you, No! I think I will pass.

As a quick follow up note from the hunt report, I used TCI in Zimbabwe for Dip & Pack. Shipment arrived about 6 months after I got home. The report from my taxidermist was excellent. He said they were among the best prepared and cared for trophies he has seen come from anywhere in Africa. He said he will be urging clients to use TCI if they are headed to Zim. Quite a ringing endorsement. Communication was also very good, so Kudos and thanks to TCI! And as we all know, it starts with the skinners and the care provided by the Outfitter, making sure the hides are properly fleshed and salted which obviously was the case. Many thanks to Mokore Safaris for excellence in every little detail!
 
Great start to your report, leaving in 2 weeks for Coutada 9 with Gary as my PH, Doug Ph'ing a friend and Neil hunting my brother for Plains game for 7 days in the middle of my Buff hunt. This will be my second trip with them and pretty excited to say the least!! Buff, Sable, Nyala, Lichenstein's Hartebeest plus a bunch of other plains game on the menu. Thank you for posting

Gale Johnson
Gale, how did your hunt in C9 go? Did I miss a report?
 
It was out of this world, I haven't posted anything yet, I like to stay a year behind on reports,LOL
Hoping to get something up soon
 
It was out of this world, I haven't posted anything yet, I like to stay a year behind on reports,LOL
Hoping to get something up soon
Well, good gosh man! How are we supposed to get through the hunting seasons if we can't live vicariously through you and others that went lately? Help us out bro! Lol.
 
sounds like a wonderful safari. I will be hunting this area next year and i was wondering about the drive and is the only option to fly to Harare or does it make more sense to fly to Vic falls or Bulawayo. I am trying to avoid having to charter into camp as that is super costly these days in zim.
thanks
aaron
 
sounds like a wonderful safari. I will be hunting this area next year and i was wondering about the drive and is the only option to fly to Harare or does it make more sense to fly to Vic falls or Bulawayo. I am trying to avoid having to charter into camp as that is super costly these days in zim.
thanks
aaron
Hi @aminkus ,
I didn’t mind the drive from Harare, but it does take about 6 hours if I recall correctly. Mokore has a guest house in Harare so it made sense to fly in there. Also, Emirates has regular flights to Harare and that may be a factor for some. Although Emirates may fly into Bulawayo as well? This was a consideration for me but if you fly to Joburg and then on to Zim it may not matter.
Will you be hunting with CMS next year? I think they have a place in Bulawayo but I’m not sure. I would say where Sengwa is located any of the 3 are decent options, Harare, Bulawayo or Vic Falls. The main driver may be where is most convenient for your Outfitter to pick you up and put you up for the night. I would NOT drive to Sengwa from any of those arrival airports after dark.
Sengwa is a fantastic area and I am sure you will have a great hunt. Looking forward to hearing all about it! What will you be hunting?
 
Hello @IdaRam
Thank you so much for the very detailed reply. Yes i will be hunting with CMS and yes i still have a lot to figure out. I am just trying to avoid having to pay for a charter . I will be hunting Elephant and my buddy will be hunting Buffalo. What was your take on plains game on the ground? Was it pretty thin or decent? Thanks again really apricate it
 
Hello @IdaRam
Thank you so much for the very detailed reply. Yes i will be hunting with CMS and yes i still have a lot to figure out. I am just trying to avoid having to pay for a charter . I will be hunting Elephant and my buddy will be hunting Buffalo. What was your take on plains game on the ground? Was it pretty thin or decent? Thanks again really apricate it
Plains Game was excellent. Before going I knew PG was reputed to be good in Sengwa, but it was even better than I had anticipated. Alot can change in 6 years, but I expect CMS has been keeping up the anti-poaching efforts put in place by the Duckworth's (Mokore Safari’s). If you have the time Sengwa is a great place to hunt eland by a traditional tracking method. This is one of my favorite types of hunting, very similar to buffalo. Find tracks, follow, repeat until you find what you’re looking for or head home. Kudu, bushbuck and waterbuck trophy quality and abundance were all very good. I shot a 56” kudu and a 16 1/2” bushbuck while there as well as warthog and impala. There were impala everywhere! They were a bit of a nuisance at times actually. But there are some very nice rams and many of them tend to have a nice outward flare of their horn tips which I really like.
 
Sengwa Research was one of my favorite safaris ever. Best of luck!
 
I’ve hunted w Duckworth’s a few times. Charted airplane one, drove Harare one… drive is best in my opinion. The drive puts you into the mood of Africa, before you reach camp. The anticipation build to reach camp, start Safari, for me, was priceless. Gary Duckworth, Barry and Bertie, Neil and cousin Doug- old school integrity. Can’t endorse enough.
 
I love your passion about the drive, i just worry about having just flown 30+ hours and then having to do a 8 hour drive is more then i might be able to handle but in theory i completely agree
 

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