ZIMBABWE: My Recent Hunt With Dalton & York Safaris

Altitude sickness

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Jun 24, 2023
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Hunting reports
This hunt was the result of Tuskless cow hunting coming onto my radar screen approximately 8 years ago. I looked into several companies over the years and as of recent, Dalton and York started popping up more and more. So after a few conversations in 2023 I booked my wife and I for May 27 through June 10, 2024. Leopard and Buffalo for my wife and Tuskless elephant for me.
I can not wait to hear you relate the story of this adventure with D&Y! We are wheels up in a week.
I spent A lot of time and money on rifles, ammo and shooting in 2023. I bought, dialed in and sold 4 double rifles for this hunt. then went back to magazine rifles for the hunt. I ended up settling on a custom .505 Gibbs for the tuskless. A custom .416 Taylor for the tuskless and to back up my wife on her buffalo hunt. My wifes model 70 .375 H&H and a savage ultralite in .308
Sounds like you're in for a fantastic hunt. What loads are you using for the 505?
Looking forward to reading about your adventure.
May 24th we wake up at 2:00 AM , out the door at 3:00. a 1.5 hour drive to Flint Bishop airport Mi.

At the time of booking flights, American airlines had 3 daily flights to Chicago. Patrick at PWP travel booked the mid day Flint departure for a 19:45 Qatar connection at OHare. Months earlier American cut the mid day flight so we moved to the early morning departure. Leaving a 10 hour layover in Chicago. American would not refund my money to allow me to move to a Detroit departure, the whole trip including the Qatar air portion would have to be re booked. At a substantial price increase and loosing our chosen seats. we were stuck with a long layover at the start of our trip.
Patrick suggested a day room at the airport Hilton to spend the 10 hours. Day rooms are less money since you check out by 6:00 PM allowing normal stays to be booked also.

We are at the American counter in Flint early and the 2 employees could not have been more friendly or helpful. They asked if the ammo weighed less than 11 pounds and did not ask to see it or weigh it. then asked if the rifles were unloaded and added the card inside and told me to lock the Pelican V700 and V800 cases. They said every thing is checked all the way through to Harare. I thought wow that is great, I thought I had to collect the rifles in Chicago and re check them into Qatar air.

At Chicago I'm still Leary so ask several American employees about my rifle cases, they check my claim stubs and confirm they are checked through.

The day room in Chicago was worth every nickel. instead sitting at a gate for 10 hours at the start of the trip.

At 4:00 PM a rep from Qatar air calls me asking where am I ? they have my rifle cases. I was supposed to pick them up after all and re check them. YOU MUST Re Claim rifles when changing companies.

I met the friendly Qatar airline woman and we checked them back into Qatar through security and TSA. Of course now I'm back at the ticket counter and they are slammed. It seems everyone is traveling home to their home countries through Chicago on that flight.

As a result we don't have long before boarding so all is well. We booked an isle and window seat hoping no one would book the middle. We are about seal the hatch and taxi when they move a tiny young woman between my wife and I. We give her the isle seat and she is happy. There were perhaps 20 empty middle seats open so we could have resisted but did not. The seats are very spacious and service was great. 13 hour flight to Doha.

When we arrive in Doha we are met with a sign with our names at the gate. She confirms we are still traveling with our rifles, shows us to the Doha hotel and confirms our departure gate. We have another 10 hr layover, so do a little shopping, the airport does not seem as full as OHare was, take a nap and a shower. Leave the room at 12:00 midnight for a 2:25 AM departure.

We are met with a huge throng of humanity. The airport is now bursting at the seams. Apparently, 10:30PM - 2:00 AM one of two peak times at Doha, 5:30 through 8:00 being the other. (note to self, try to avoid this time on future travels). The bus to the plane takes many busses to get all passengers at gate to the plane on the tarmac. I do not like this system at all. I'm sure Doha can move more people in 24hrs this way but its not my favorite system for such a modern airport. Landed in Lusaka Zambia at 08:45. 1.5 hour drop and pickup of passengers.

We are met at the Harare gate by a Dalton and York person named Simon. he and his sidekick will carry our bags and walk us to the office for firearms and paperwork needed. then they get us a bus instead of walking over to the private portion of the airport where we are met by our private pilot standing by his Cessna 110. and away we go for a :55 flight to camp in the Chewore South concession
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great so far!! Looking forward to the rest of it!
Day 1

Leopard bait is first priority so we are driving and walking pans looking for impala or anything at this point. the first group of impala did not provide a shot. We were quickly on a second group of impala and a nice warthog. Also no cigar. no shot.

Dalton quickly moves on to find another group. The impala here seem very skittish. seems fair with many predator's here and hunters looking at them as bait.

Then we drove up on a small herd of elephant and took the trail. first carry of the .505 gibbs. we track them perhaps 300 yards before we catch them. we start to circle around in front for a look and they spook and run off. Dalton does not want to waste all day catching up to them as he repeats, we need to collect bait. there is a lot of elephant and plenty of time (15 days) to concentrate on them after we get baits established.

It was 48 degrees when we woke so its been a cool morning, very little PG movement, 1:00 and still no bait to hang, So when we cross fresh tracks from a buffalo herd Dalton asks if we want to shoot a cow buffalo for bait. A buffalo hunt for $2000. heck yeah lets go. It took 1.5 hrs to catch the herd.

We saw a bull and backed out, circled around keeping the wind, After several probes into and out of the herd one finally landed us in the perfect position. We were in front of the feeding herd. At 65 yards a cow fed thru the small shooting lane. Then a bull then another mature cow. Another bull fed in front of the target cow. so my wife had to wait for the bull to clear. When he fed clear Dalton gave her the go ahead to shoot. She shot and we thought the cow reacted as being hit. after several hours of looking for blood we called it a miss at 5:00pm and returned to camp dejected with no bait and a missed opportunity. We reminded my wife that at least it was a clean miss. A very eventful first day for nothing in the salt. We have an adult beverage, a shower then met back up in the Lapa for a great dinner. We were asked for menu requests and the chef provided meals exactly to our desired request for the entire two weeks.

Great report so far! Loving it!
This sounds like an awesome safari. Looking forward to reading all about it.
Awesome! Keep the story coming!
Day 2

We wake up at 4:15, I am the first out and about and sit by the fire for the first coffee. Breakfast is at 5:15 and we leave camp at 6:00. We plan to get on Buffalo early to get a cow for bait. They do not hunt herds for the bulls. preferring to hunt the bulls that have left the herd or are running together and skirting the herds.

we cut fresh tracks by 6:30. Finding buffalo or elephant tracks on the road is so easy here that they have the luxury to only choose fresh tracks from that morning or late last night.
The herd covered a lot of ground quickly. We were on fresh spoor all along but it was apparent they were lined out and headed most likely to water. We finally saw where they watered shown in the picture below. The pace slowed and we knew we were close. Trackers Tongai and Gums heard the herd ahead and Dalton confirmed. My wife and I still couldn't hear them. we started to flank them and this took several attempts. While approximately 80 behind and to the side of the herd, 5 oclock from their position we run smack into a group of 3 bulls trailing the herd. They have our number and are staring at us from 50 to 60 yards. The one I see is a tank and a trophy to me. Dalton and Debbie are up in front and I see Dalton throw up the sticks. She quickly gets the rifle on the sticks and they are whispering back and forth for what feels like :5. then the 3 bulls take off on a trot over the hill and away from the herd.

Dalton comes back to me and is very excited and disappointed. apparently the hunt had quickly switched from a cow hunt to a Dugga boy hunt. Dalton shared that he hadn't seen a bull like that in very long time. The old, all white faced and broomed bull was in the shadows of trees and brush and even with Dalton pointing out wear to shoot she did not feel comfortable shooting into what she said all looked the same black.

That bull would be our focus the rest of the hunt. more to come on the hunt for the broomed bull later.

So back to the undisturbed herd. our focus goes back to a cow and bait. after several advances into the herd Dalton gets us in front of the moving herd, (he and his trackers are very skilled at getting to the side or in front of buffalo and elephant depending on the winds or thermals, to allow for an un rushed shot). So now here comes the herd they are very unruly and bumping pushing each other, bellowing and making a large ruckus. finally they settle down line out and are going to come right thru our last set up.

First a cow. Too young pass. then a good bull, dont shoot! then a mature cow, Shoot that cow! now another bull moves in front and she holds fire. The bull moves off and the PH says fire. The 300 grain TSX is on its way 60 ish yards and we hear the bullet slap from her model 70 .375 H&H. She looks to be hit hard and disappears behind bush next to her and doesn't come out. The herd runs off and quickly hear her bellowing. She feet not even 10 yards.

She hit her perfectly in the shoulder. straight up the leg 1/3.

a trail had to be cut for the Landcruiser that took 2 hours. On the way to hang 6 baits from the cow we had a flat tire that was quickly changed. we were only able to hang 3 baits that afternoon.

one was at the famous dinosaur spoor spring. they had a great cat on camera there and he was our main focus the rest of the hunt. More to follow on the Dinosaur spoor cat.

Great old cow for bait, the ice is broken.
Nice cow. Great shooting Debbie! Can’t wait for the rest of the report.
I love the reports on D&Y. They are on my must hunt with list.
Day 3

We hung three more baits from the buffalo.

I finally got a shot at an impala. I was never able to shoot my wife's .308 well and that continues on this trip. With a length of pull of 12 and 3/4" and odd scope eye relief.

I struggle to get steady on sticks. As a result I either hit a limb or brush on the way to the animal, or just plain missed. we thought the impala dropped but when we got up there he was gone. we looked for blood for a long time. so I'm blaming the rifle. Hey its my story right.

We continue to check baits the rest of day 3. no more stalks today and we return to camp.

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