ZIMBABWE: My Recent Hunt With Dalton & York Safaris

And one tech tip to end the re cap. If you use a RMR site. Keep the light emitting window clean of dust. The dust will make the red dot appear dim or off. Making you think your
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battery is going dead.
Or it moves the dot on the screen
 
Day 11

We get settled into the blind and he is on the bait. Dalton is watching thru his Flir device. Then :10 before shooting light he leaves the tree. This disappointing, but also the boost we needed.

My wife is going to take the day off from walking and stalking due to yesterdays heat and sore knee.

We get into five different groups of cows throughout the day. often walking at a quick pace. Its another unseasonably hot day. over 100 again. One group had two tuskless without calves but we never get a clean shot. It still amazes me how close you can get to such a huge animal, but still have no ethical shot. A young bull got a little cheeky with us and we humbly withdraw.

The Fifth group and stalk of the day had a different result than all others. After tracking for some time and this being most likely just another stalk. I am going through the inner dialogue that we have lost the herd and am not fully in the moment, just blindly following along. Its hot and this is the 5th herd of the day.

Then I am shocked back into the present moment. We are in a small narrow creek bed with water and I look to my left at perhaps 30 yards and I see a handful of impala acting very nervous. at the same time my teams excitement level has risen. The trackers are pointing and getting very excited. Dalton is on high alert also. The sticks go up and I am thinking cool. I get to shoot something with my .505 Gibbs. one of the impala.

I think I raised my rifle towards the Impala. I don't remember which pointed out the huge grey beast at 25 yards, the tracker or Dalton.

An Instant shot of adrenalin hits me hard. I go from thinking I am shooting more bait to a huge Tuskless standing broadside at 25 yards apparently not knowing we were there. Dalton later shared how since the herd we were tracking was still ahead and she was off to the side and behind them. she was on that high creek bank listening to the herd ahead and also perhaps listening for us.

Dalton whispers for me to take the heart shot. I whisper back I can see the side brain shot. He says too many sticks and branches and to shoot her in the chest. I do as I am told and fire free hand from approximately 20-25 yards. with her being much higher than us on the creek bank it seemed further than 20 but I don't think it was.

She goes down immediately. (thru all the stalks I kept telling myself countless times. after the first shot rack and get a second shot off no matter what). (Dalton told horror stories of brain shot elephants' running away). So unconsciously I fire a second round into her falling body. Dalton and I both hit her with shots two and three before she hit the ground. More of a testament to my rifles very smooth action than my skill.

This all happened very quickly as it usually does. We walk to the majestic animal and Dalton ask me to put another insurance shot in the front of her chest. What a moment. She is ancient and now I
feel remorse and happiness that she died very quickly.

We all re tell the story over and over. Then Dalton calls our driver and says to me you want to know the best part of this is the the road is 20 yards away. Of course I had no idea. but what are the odds of tracking all those miles. and some stalks taking us miles and miles from roads. I am still shocked how they track the quarry anywhere and worry about how to get it out later.

I think back and am still shocked how the 525 grain CEB solid knocked her down immediately with a heart shot. She didn’t take one step. Definitely good elephant medicine. She is so old there isn’t even enough hair on her tail to make a braclet.

Dalton will have the tractor and wagon pickup the cow in the AM. All the meat was driven by tractor 50 miles away to the closest people and it’s donated there. It was nice that D&Y would spend the time and money to move that meat that far. a lot of time, labor and cost.



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Incredible! Great shooting.
 
Great report sir!
 
Day 15

Last day of our hunt it’s been a great hunt and even if we do not get the bull Buffalo or cat we are satisfied.

We go back to find the old bulls from the day before. My wife tells me to go for the bull. She will concentrate on the new leopard on bait. So now I am up to bat for the Buffalo. Carrying my .416 Taylor.

We follow the bulls which are tagging along with the herd. Dalton thinks the old bulls go in and out of the herds for the added security from all the lions in the area.

I’ll post pictures of a couple male lions that stole one of our baits. We saw lion tracks quite often.


So, after many attempts one of our circles around and in front of the herd panned out. Here comes the first few cows. We are position perfectly. For their feeding direction. But the wind is marginal. But it holds. Cows feed through my shooting lane and here comes a bull. He is not the target bull but it’s the last day and Dalton says shoot him as soon as he’s clear. I track him as he moves from my left to right. I’m squeezing as I follow his shoulder with the crosshairs. The shot breaks and I instantly know it’s a fatal shot.

We give him a bit and close in. The bull is dead within 10 yards. The 400 grain safari raptor did its job very well.

A little too well. Tongai tells Dalton he thinks he saw a cow behind the bull in the trees. He thinks it was hit. Neither Dalton or I could see the cow from our position.

When examining the bull we see the Raptor went through the off shoulder. UhOh.

We move in the direction herd went and quickly find blood. Then 60 yards away a dead cow.

We are very fortunate that he has another cow on quota.

It takes over an hour to hack a trail in for the landcruiser. It takes two trips to get the bull and the cow loaded and out.




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Well it’s the old to buffalos with one bullet

LOL…but seriously Congratulations on a wonderful safari!

HH
 
I’ll be there next year as well. Looking forward to seeing it in person. Looks like you had an amazing time. Congratulations.
 
Great report. I was really hoping the cat worked out last minute. I know the feeling!

Love the tuskless. Isn’t that a lot of fun? They are special.
 
Congratulations on a great hunt and I too know the feeling of a Leopard Hunt without putting one in the salt. It makes the desire to go back even greater.
 
Sorry for the PPS. I forgot to mention a few details I wanted to mention at the end.

First, my wife just reminded me that the reason she missed the first cow Buffalo was that the CDS turret had been turned. I didn’t notice the turret until the end of the day. Then the close range miss made sense.

Leaving Doha, while going through one of three separate security screening check points and carry on bag scans. Before travel home I pulled 3 scopes from the 4 rifles we took. The .505 Gibbs wore a Riton RMR.

So I’ve gone through many bag screens and X-rays at this point in the trip and now I run into a X-ray machine operator that pulls my bag for further examination. He, in broken English is calling my three rifle scopes. Military equipment and more specifically. Sniper equipment. I explain the rules to him that they are not rifle parts. He calls for supervisor
Number one.
Number one looks them over. I explain that I just came from Zimbabwe. He is in agreement with the original security person. At this point they are saying the equipment is illegal. Supervisor number two agrees with the others. And I am now thinking, best case I will lose an hour minimum and have another $100 bag fee going back to the ticket counter. Worst case my scopes are getting confiscated as military equipment.

So now I’m showing pictures of the rifles next to animals. And telling them repeatedly where I’m coming from. Supervisor number two abruptly says go. So finally, I am on my way. Thinking from now on.

The scopes are insured and not one of a kind. And will in the future stay attached to the rifles. In the rifle cases. When your tired the less hassle the better.


Third,
Before this trip my wife and I applied for the Gobal Entry card. Her entire timeline was quick and smooth. Mine was never approved before the trip. She would sail through every TSA check and eventually back at the OHare customs there were well over 1000 people in the citizen and non citizen CBP line. The Global entry line had zero wait time. She walked up to the booth and sailed through. She collected the suitcases and two rifle cases and waited, and waited while I stood in line. It actually moved well for that many people being screened.
Finally, I’m at the booth and the agent says. Hey I see your Global Entry application is approved. Would you like to do your interview now? I first said no. I’ll deal with that at home. Thinking that I could have used it two weeks ago. He says, are you sure? I’ve got three agents just standing around right over there waiting for interviews. Ok sure why not.

He walks me over and the young officer is very friendly and asks minimal questions, I take a picture, give my fingerprints and away I go.

I find it strange that my trip completion triggers the application approval. But I recieved my card in the mail less than a week later.

The card is definitely worth the hassle but different wait times and approval times are strange. I’m looking forward to never taking my shoes and belt off again for the TSA
 
Congrats and thanks for sharing!
 
Great report, thank you for sharing your hunt with us.
I do have a question since I have not hunted leopard where baiting is required. You said you did not have a trophy fee since you did not put a leopard in the salt but what about trophy fees for all the bait that you had to shoot? Are all of those at the full trophy fee for that species?
 
Wyobull, Yes I had to pay for the trophy fees on the bait animals. Impala rams were $350 each, the Buffalo Cow was $2000. Dalton offered good prices on females for bait also. Such as Kudu cows.
The bait hunt were fun. My wife’s cow hunt was every bit as exciting as my bull hunt.

We had many opportunities at what most would consider trophies. Such as Sable, Roan, kudu bulls, Bushbuck, We just were not interested and didn’t want to kill a trophy that was somebody else’s dream animal.
We were close to shooting a nice croc the last day but my wife decided not to. We had to leave something for the next trip.
 
Wyobull, Yes I had to pay for the trophy fees on the bait animals. Impala rams were $350 each, the Buffalo Cow was $2000. Dalton offered good prices on females for bait also. Such as Kudu cows.
The bait hunt were fun. My wife’s cow hunt was every bit as exciting as my bull hunt.

We had many opportunities at what most would consider trophies. Such as Sable, Roan, kudu bulls, Bushbuck, We just were not interested and didn’t want to kill a trophy that was somebody else’s dream animal.
We were close to shooting a nice croc the last day but my wife decided not to. We had to leave something for the next trip.

That’s great, thank you for answering my question.
 
Congratulations on a great hunt! Especially that elephant!! The 505 Gibbs is a hammer isn't it :)

Bummer about the scope turret, a lot to be said about keeping equipment simple ;)

And now I am truly regretting not having gotten Global Entry. Thank you for the info We! We leave in two days...
 
The .505 of mine is a special rifle. Very accurate, easy to shoot well. Amazing, smooth action. As smooth as a small bore Rigby action.

And yes. A hammer. It actually tipped over a very large cow from a heart shot. She didn’t take one step
 

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