ZIMBABWE: My Recent Hunt With Dalton & York Safaris

Day 4

Checking leopard bait. We check three sites the first two were not hit. we move one to a different tree. the 3rd bait had daylight photos of a female.

We stalked 3 different groups of impala. I shot 3 impala, all facing me from 60 to over 150 yards. one Ram gave me very small target. he was in brush facing me. i aimed for his throat just below his jaw. he dropped. thinking i was now a sharpshooter we approached. I was off a few inches and luckily shot him in the eye dropping him.

when skinned the 3 impala out and hung 2 kept one in the cooler. we now have 8 bait sites.

The 3rd bait site checked had a female on it in daylight. This is daylight hunting area only. No night hunting

We walk a dry River bed at the end of the day looking for Buffalo or Elephant.

Dalton looks to our right and there are two mature lioness laying on the bank in the shade at 60 yards. We stayed alert and they didn’t bother us.

Then at the end of our walk climbing out of the river, up the bank to meet our driver Trumill at bridge. The trackers hear elephants feeding up above. We circle around and have a very exciting encounter with a cheeky matriarch that keeps turning and postering at us. Dalton determined there were 4 cows and calf. All Tuskers.

Today we saw Warthog, Kilpspringer, Greysbok, and a myth and legend. An all white Kudu at 54-55” we stalked him. The trackers pulled the .308 from the case. There wasn’t time to mess around. We gave quick chase and at last light I was on the sticks at perhaps 120 yards red dot of the Swarovski scope on the point of his shoulder. At the time I still was not fully aware of the devastating effects of the 100 grain raptor in the .308 so held my shot. I later learned I had nothing to worry about that bullet would have hammered that Kudu. Oh well the legend lives on. Now the trackers don’t want him killed. I wish I had pictures of him. Solid white with grey stripes




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Rare Breed, yes the .308 is her leopard rifle.

Day 5

we are up and away early with no breakfast. We are off to check the furthest bait 18-20 miles on rough "roads" We check 4 bait sites then come across the 3 buffalo bull tracks from day two. We track them at mid day at full heat for a fast pace for 2 hours. then they join up with the herd and we leave them to check more bait. we check the dinosaur spoor site and BINGO a mature cat and a younger male hit the bait the mature on was there all night and until 9:00 AM
we build a blind and return to camp. we sit the blind tomorrow morning.
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Sounds like quite the hunt so far! Keep it coming.
 
Very good. I've been waiting for this report. Following closely.
 
Day 6

We sit the new blind and neither cat shows. This is the Chewore South concession and is a hunting concession only. not a Campfire or communal area. So there is no night hunting of any species permitted. We are in the blind an hour before daylight. The camera shows the larger male fed most of the night. that video quality is amazing, complete with low guttural breathing sounds large cats make.

We decide to check out last nights elephant tracks we saw in the headlights on the way to the blind. We are at a fast walk trying to catch the group for 2.5 hrs before getting close. This is a decent size group so the odds of a mature tuskless go up.

As always, The trackers and or Dalton hear the feeding noises before my wife and I do. We slow the pace. We slowly close the distance while keeping the wind and thermals. Its still mid morning so some thermals are moving up hill and some in the shade and downhill slopes still have not settled into a steady direction, swirling as thermals and daily wind does.

We trail behind, then flank them glassing into the group as they feed along. Dalton has the group of us, two trackers, a game scout and the two hunters hold up as he moves towards the herd. I can watch through the brush and trees with my bino's. This is not as thick of foliage as we have normally caught elephants in.

I watch Dalton carefully and very slowly probe the herd from many angles. Move in from the right and watch them. back out circle around, close in from the left flank and watch them. Luckily they were for the most part just standing. some were lazily feeding but the group was not covering ground so he was able to slowly access the group of 11 total animals, Cows and Calves. He snuck back to our waiting group and reported that there was not a tuskless in the group. He asked if I would like to probe the herd and practice shot placement angles. Our group is happy to relax longer from our earlier march. So Dalton and I move into the herd from their right. Move to get to their 2:00 position. Dalton gets me very close to a mature cow and we whisper agreements on where to aim in certain head positions. We are satisfied with the stalk and slowly sneak out.

If the herd ever knew we were there they didn't show it. I later learned several times, the extreme difference when a grumpy cow knows where you are and is not happy you are trying to join the herd without her permission.

This stalk was very exciting and educational.

So then its back to the full time job of checking leopard baits, which equates to hours and many miles on rough trails. Dalton has a large crew grading roads with the company tractor and this helps immensely. But the rocky areas can not be graded. So, you just rock too and fro back and forth holding on.

none of the 3 baits checked have been hit.

Driving along and we run smack into a large group of Nzou standing under a large tree canopy next to the road. We take the trail but a young bull at the rear nails us and off thunders the herd. Dalton does not want to chase them as we need to get back into the leopard blind.

I'm starting to grasp that my Tuskless hunt has taken a back seat the leopard hunt. And as I came to accept once you start the leopard ball rolling there is no stopping. There is no pause button. Baits must be checked because if one is being fed on and it isn't refreshed soon enough the cat will move on and may not return. So the baits run our entire hunt and schedule from now on. I do not like leaving tracks to go check baits or sit in a blind. The Trackers, Tongai and Gums are like hounds. they do not like being pulled from a track either and they sulk every time Dalton calls them off a trail. It does not last long and they back into their normal cheery attitudes. These guys are very passionate and driven and want to succeed more then most hunters do. Driving we see two more groups of elephants. Did I mention this concession has a lot of elephant.

So we head back to sit the Dinosaur spoor blind, Dalton's cameras are blue tooth enabled and so within range can cast pictures and videos to his phone. The camera shows the mature tom came and ate right after we left this AM. Dalton told us that this cat has a long history of being hunted and still eludes the hunters. And we fear we have a very educated cat on our hands. He does not show this evening.View attachment 614832
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Loving the report. I know well the back and forth between ele and leopard and how trackers want to be ON the track. As you said, once you get the bait hung, there is constant activity to check on all of them. If the baits are getting old, you are also looking for more bait. It's a full time job. Can't wait to see where this goes.
 
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Hunting leopard is both boring and exhilarating at the same time. Reading your report and living your adventure in the words. thank you for sharing the safari with us all.
 
I'm sure y'all will use the ole truck arrive at the blind but hunters stay in as it leaves trick ....

Good report going. I like D&Y's new hats !
 
Day 4

Checking leopard bait. We check three sites the first two were not hit. we move one to a different tree. the 3rd bait had daylight photos of a female.

We stalked 3 different groups of impala. I shot 3 impala, all facing me from 60 to over 150 yards. one Ram gave me very small target. he was in brush facing me. i aimed for his throat just below his jaw. he dropped. thinking i was now a sharpshooter we approached. I was off a few inches and luckily shot him in the eye dropping him.

when skinned the 3 impala out and hung 2 kept one in the cooler. we now have 8 bait sites.

The 3rd bait site checked had a female on it in daylight. This is daylight hunting area only. No night hunting

We walk a dry River bed at the end of the day looking for Buffalo or Elephant.

Dalton looks to our right and there are two mature lioness laying on the bank in the shade at 60 yards. We stayed alert and they didn’t bother us.

Then at the end of our walk climbing out of the river, up the bank to meet our driver Trumill at bridge. The trackers hear elephants feeding up above. We circle around and have a very exciting encounter with a cheeky matriarch that keeps turning and postering at us. Dalton determined there were 4 cows and calf. All Tuskers.

Today we saw Warthog, Kilpspringer, Greysbok, and a myth and legend. An all white Kudu at 54-55” we stalked him. The trackers pulled the .308 from the case. There wasn’t time to mess around. We gave quick chase and at last light I was on the sticks at perhaps 120 yards red dot of the Swarovski scope on the point of his shoulder. At the time I still was not fully aware of the devastating effects of the 100 grain raptor in the .308 so held my shot. I later learned I had nothing to worry about that bullet would have hammered that Kudu. Oh well the legend lives on. Now the trackers don’t want him killed. I wish I had pictures of him. Solid white with grey stripes




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Those old white Kudu will last forever in your dreams.
 
Great report so far! I’m really interested to see the CEB raptor performance you had. I am using them on my upcoming Caprivi hunt in July.

HH
 
Great start to your hunt. That Kudu sounds incredible. Looking forward to the rest of your report.
Bruce
 
Day 7

Almost half way point of the hunt and we have experienced so much its hard to grasp. Travel is long enough and expensive enough that in my opinion if this were a 10 day hunt I would already be dreading the end in several days.

Every night we hear Hippo, Hyena, Elephant, leopard, lion, Bushbuck and many others calling while laying in our tent. This is what drove us to seek out one of the more wild areas in Zim.

Today we are driving into the distant hills on the horizon to check baits and look for elephant or Buffalo for my wife. The game scout sees buffalo ahead and to our right. We stop arm ourselves and take the track we follow them and there is one particular bull that gets our attention. We drop the track, gain the wind and circle ahead. We peak out looking for the bulls. None seen, We drop back, cut back in where they may be and we now see that they are moving across a dry river into the Dande.

We are now back in the truck covering ground and see elephant to our left in the trees. We dismount and take the trail. they are aware we are on their trail. and are covering ground, we follow them down hill and eventually catch them as they too cross into the Dande.

We really appreciate that Dalton has a full time driver. So when we end up far from the truck. Dalton confers with the map app on his phone and tells Trumill our driver where to meet us. We walk towards the nearest road and would be picked up. A nice luxury.

We come across Kudu cows, make a quick stalk for bait with no success.

none of the other 7 baits have been hit. the female has not returned to that bait since the initial feeding. I shot 3 more impala today for bait.

I had been communicating with ".458 Michael" on advice on the CEB bullets for several rifles. Just before leaving for this trip ".458 Michael" asked if I would like to try some 100 grain CEB raptors for the leopard. I had my wife's .308 all dialed in with several different brand bullets . So he sent 50 loaded rounds and bullets for me to try. they flew and grouped great as all CEB's do. So I took 20 rounds to test on bait animals and would then decide if they will be used on leopard. On the first few impala. I did not have great shot setups and so still did not have solid proof of the bullets performance on live animals. even though I fully trusted Michaels knowledge and experience. Today gave me the 100% confidence in the bullets devastating performance level. We made a quick stalk and the sticks went up. they were out a ways and I struggled to get steady with my wifes very short LOP and very lightweight rifle. I tell Dalton there is a Ram directly behind the target Ram. He says need the bait and to shoot. I do and the Ram drops. He is hit square on the shoulder and is DRT immediately. We walk up and the second ram has also been hit very hard but I shoot him again anyway. The little 100 grain Raptor hit the ram with devastating results. Then on another ram that day, He was quartering too me heavily. I aimed for the point of the shoulder and was off a little. the bullet hit behind the left shoulder and exited the right rear leg. And exploded the rear ham. Not good if your concerned about damaging hide. but if you want an extremely quick kill the 100 grain Raptor is your pill


We return to the Dinosaur spoor location and Dalton says this cat is listening to us while we are in the area. so his plan is to change bait trees and build a different blind. while the truck idles nearby we will build the blind. the new blind is selected to allow us to us a deep draw to sneak down and into the blind unseen or heard.

We see a once in a lifetime bushbuck while returning to camp. a quick stalk but no cigar.
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Day 7

Almost half way point of the hunt and we have experienced so much its hard to grasp. Travel is long enough and expensive enough that in my opinion if this were a 10 day hunt I would already be dreading the end in several days.

Every night we hear Hippo, Hyena, Elephant, leopard, lion, Bushbuck and many others calling while laying in our tent. This is what drove us to seek out one of the more wild areas in Zim.

Today we are driving into the distant hills on the horizon to check baits and look for elephant or Buffalo for my wife. The game scout sees buffalo ahead and to our right. We stop arm ourselves and take the track we follow them and there is one particular bull that gets our attention. We drop the track, gain the wind and circle ahead. We peak out looking for the bulls. None seen, We drop back, cut back in where they may be and we now see that they are moving across a dry river into the Dande.

We are now back in the truck covering ground and see elephant to our left in the trees. We dismount and take the trail. they are aware we are on their trail. and are covering ground, we follow them down hill and eventually catch them as they too cross into the Dande.

We really appreciate that Dalton has a full time driver. So when we end up far from the truck. Dalton confers with the map app on his phone and tells Trumill our driver where to meet us. We walk towards the nearest road and would be picked up. A nice luxury.

We come across Kudu cows, make a quick stalk for bait with no success.

none of the other 7 baits have been hit. the female has not returned to that bait since the initial feeding. I shot 3 more impala today for bait.

I had been communicating with ".458 Michael" on advice on the CEB bullets for several rifles. Just before leaving for this trip ".458 Michael" asked if I would like to try some 100 grain CEB raptors for the leopard. I had my wife's .308 all dialed in with several different brand bullets . So he sent 50 loaded rounds and bullets for me to try. they flew and grouped great as all CEB's do. So I took 20 rounds to test on bait animals and would then decide if they will be used on leopard. On the first few impala. I did not have great shot setups and so still did not have solid proof of the bullets performance on live animals. even though I fully trusted Michaels knowledge and experience. Today gave me the 100% confidence in the bullets devastating performance level. We made a quick stalk and the sticks went up. they were out a ways and I struggled to get steady with my wifes very short LOP and very lightweight rifle. I tell Dalton there is a Ram directly behind the target Ram. He says need the bait and to shoot. I do and the Ram drops. He is hit square on the shoulder and is DRT immediately. We walk up and the second ram has also been hit very hard but I shoot him again anyway. The little 100 grain Raptor hit the ram with devastating results. Then on another ram that day, He was quartering too me heavily. I aimed for the point of the shoulder and was off a little. the bullet hit behind the left shoulder and exited the right rear leg. And exploded the rear ham. Not good if your concerned about damaging hide. but if you want an extremely quick kill the 100 grain Raptor is your pill


We return to the Dinosaur spoor location and Dalton says this cat is listening to us while we are in the area. so his plan is to change bait trees and build a different blind. while the truck idles nearby we will build the blind. the new blind is selected to allow us to us a deep draw to sneak down and into the blind unseen or heard.

We see a once in a lifetime bushbuck while returning to camp. a quick stalk but no cigar.View attachment 614853View attachment 614854
I have some 110 CEB bullets loaded up for a 10in barreled Contender, like you, I'm apprehensive about using them for elk. What is your opinion, since you shot the 100's, would the 110's work on quarter shots on elk, say out to 150yds?
 
I have some 110 CEB bullets loaded up for a 10in barreled Contender, like you, I'm apprehensive about using them for elk. What is your opinion, since you shot the 100's, would the 110's work on quarter shots on elk, say out to 150yds?
I forgot, it's a 30-30
 
Day 8

Today we hunt first before checking bait. We are on a large group of elephant in very, very thick Jesse. I assume due to being some of the few remaining green foliage. 8-9 animals and one very aggressive cow keeps turning on us. We freeze and she calms down. We repeat this several times.

At the beginning of the hunt Dalton gave us the safety brief on when he gives the signal. how to get quickly out of dodge. His instruction is for us to turn and quietly and quickly evacuate. He will watch the animal and we are not to look back at the animal. but to turn away and concentrate on not tripping and leaving quietly without looking back. He will watch the animal.

So this cow has had enough and is coming. Dalton turns and is running at us so we take that as a hint its time to leave. we turn and my wife face plants immediately. I'm helping her up and Dalton is there to help also and we continue the quick exit. This was not a bluff as her earlier ones were. Dalton said she didn't get to his 10' no go zone so didn't warrant shooting. We do not attempt to re engage the herd. That cow gets a wide birth for the day.

We check 3 baits including our one active bait. The newly moved bait site has been hit again but only in the dark. we sit that evening and he does not show
 

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