And so started one of my greatest days of my life.
After taking the buffalo, it was still fairly early in the day and with that in mind Buzz had already mentioned the Zambezi McNab. He had European clients in the past all want to do this. Instead of a Red Stag, shooting a brace of grouse, and catching a salmon.
Shoot a Cape Buffalo. Catch a tiger fish. Shoot a Guinea Fowl.
I watched them clean the Buff and take the meat off. After lunch the plan was set to complete the McNab. Buzz, Justin and I hit the river. I must say I`ve never been a huge fisherman. We live right on the river here, and grew up eating salmon and fishing with dad and grandpa. But somewhere in there, hunting became my main passion and fishing took a side seat.
I just never could wrap my head around fishing all day, not being able to see any fish, and who knows, maybe there's a million fish down there just swimming by haha
We got to a little back eddy off the side channel and a good fallen over tree provided all the bait fish we`d need. Justin was the man and soon nailed 3-4 little fish. Already fishing was coming back for me. I even started to enjoy catching baitfish almost as much as Tigers! Like a kid at heart, using two of Buzz`s daughters kids fishing rods.
We got back in and got up to the top of the island. Gave the group of Hippos that called that point home a wide berth and started our drift downstream. About 200 yards down we had a 13 foot Croc slide into water and all hands quickly tucked safety inside hahaha. We continued for another 15 minutes at least and was getting closer to camp.
Justin and I had two proper fishing rods setup. And Buzz was feeling left out at the helm of the boat so he rigged up one of his daughter fishing rods and let fly!
We could see camp from across the island now and just then! The little kids rod got hit! I took control and started the battle. It was a comedy of sorts. I`m not the smallest guy, neither are my hands, and I made that 3 foot childs rod and reel look mighty small! The drag control was so small I could barely tighten it up while fighting the tiger fish. And fight did it ever. It was a proper fight and even left me with a blister on my right thumb haha. We landed the 4-5 lb Tiger and was two thirds the way to completing the McNab.
So many laughs reeling this in. I honestly haven't laughed like that in along time and appreciate those moments so much.
And then of course, when you see a ton of Guineas every time out, when you hit the road looking for just one. YOU DON'T SEE ANY!!!!! Couldn't believe our luck. We did have a card up our sleeve worst case as the Guineas came to roost on the river by camp but that was an absolute last option. We had almost given up and when we drove back we went past camp and turned around maybe 500 yards. We heard a tap on the roof and Justin jumped off and with a big smile said We have a plan!
Buzz and I looked at each other as we hadn't seen a single Guinea Fowl, and turns out, Justin and Nyati had seen a flock of Guineas working their way from inland that were heading towards the river. We setup and I had Buzz`s .22 hornet ready.
And then slowly here they came, working their way down. They looked like a giant flock of Turkeys was the only thing that came to mind. All their bright blue heads running around. I almost let half the group walk past us before finally some would stop of a second to peck the ground. I took the shot and all I saw was a clump of feathers shaking on the ground. Success!
And hearing from camp, it was tried again this week and not completed! As it turns out the tiger fishing proved to be luckiest of all. We fished off and on for 3 other days and I only had 2 hits after that. But thoroughly enjoyed the fishing. I really enjoyed it so much, I may even dust off my fishing rods here.
We got back to camp at sunset. Took a few photos, had a good drink, lit some big cigars and sat by the mopane campfire. What a day.
The next day we spent our day looking for another impala and warthog. There was a good number of warthog, but nothing good sized. Lots of Sows with 3-4 piglets which is a good sign! We walked a lot of pans that were nice because you could walk from one to the next and have a good walk doing it.
Seen lots of game, but the stars never aligned that day. We went back in to check the dried mud pan and this time a herd of eland were there. A nice young male Eland with alot of females. And also 3-4 Cow elephant with a couple calves. This was such a special spot, every time you cleared the thick jess you just never knew what you`d encounter.
We did see quite a bit of game. Some quotas were already filled for the area. Saw more good Zebra, Eland, Kudu, Waterbuck, grysbok. The area has an abundance of impala, baboons and hyena. But the hyena quota was quite small and already taken or else I would of loved to take one. It was a small pleasure of mine seeing more big Kudu`s in the wild. As I didnt get to see my kudu up close in the flesh, seeing the others was starting to make up for it.
Nice little lunch by a pan. Had a small herd of Buff walk past for water while we napped away the mid day heat.
For dinner, I actually tried some of the local deliciousness. Gorro and sadza. My cape buff stomach and intestine and their grits. I will say it was cooked good, had an initial flavor that was tasty, but it does have a slight aftertaste of grass or fermenting grass from the stomach. As the skinner said, the best way to taste a buffalo is to eat his insides. To taste a buff, is to eat his insides.
The next morning we hit the road early and tried hard again for an impala or warthog.
It was so picturesque. We came into an opening and had elephant feeding in the distance, the trackers had got us to under 50 yards from a nice Warthog. Sticks went up and he was digging in the dirt. When he finally lifted his head, Buzz could see he wasn`t a good boar to take. Tusks maybe only 3-4 inches out of the mouth. As we walked away we were surrounded practically by Elephant.
We were either inbetween a herd or two groups were on each side of us. Just took our time and walked through slowly, they never noticed or bothered with us. A couple tuskless were spotted too. One young bull ele too, maybe 15-20 lbs and I got to see first hand how they can take a couple steps backwards and disappear into the bush. I can see how tracking a elephant and getting in nice and close would be superb. Top of the mountain!
The trackers had an idea, we had seen so many impala in the shade of the trees during mid day. And they werent around in the morning turns out. So we made a plan to walk along the edge of the trees and the plains. And sure enough just as we broke through the tree line we had a good group of impala in front of us. The lead ram ran left and out of sight. Then the bush came alive and 10-15 female impala ran out and into the plains.
I was still on the sticks, and luck turned my way and another ram had come running out to follow the ladies. He stopped maybe 20 yards after coming out of the trees, perfectly broadside. One shot from the 7x57 and he went running. He barely went 100 yards and got to the base of two Palm trees. He started to do the wobble and you could see the red stain behind the shoulder and he went down.
A beautiful ram. To me, it has the quintessential impala look. And I was surprised just how lovely its coat was. Nothing like our deer at home, it was so smooth and I know impala are a little unappreciated because they're so common, but they are such a beautiful African animal. One of the prettiest.
I got a kick outta the guys. Everyone loves having their picture taken to show to others back home!
I didn't have much desire to take a baboon. I thought their skulls were quite a neat thing to bring home, but it wasn't until we saw 2 or 3 different full grown males kill and eat the baby baboons, that I thought I`d like to take one.
On the way back to camp we found two large males in a group. I shot one maybe just under 150 yards but put it right through the center chest and spine. He was dead before he fell backwards
It was funny to see Eddie and the trackers with the baboon, they have a serious superstition with them, and hate having baboons in the truck. Eddie hated to think about baboon shit in the truck bed. He was such a light hearted funny man. A pleasure and joy to have on the crew!
Adam..............Liked your report very much. You even looked the part of an African hunter, in the fotos, and I liked the non traditional pics too, of camp, stalk, day to day life that were included. Too often for me, it is only a foto of a dead critter....and while I like that too, this adds context. After reading about these guys....all I can say is, they are the real deal.......and I wanna go too!. Your heart shot was not dead center, so you must return to the range and practice a bit more before the next hunt .....(Loved that thread the needle shoting") All in all.......a 10....................FWB
Well planned, well hunted and well written! A very, very good report! As a side note I agree with the others on the Kudu. I would leave it as-is with a wonderful story. Even getting another cape on it, it's not really all "your" Kudu so to speak but with the skull, horns and the story it would be. Either way, great report!
A great read with good pics to boot. You got a good Buff the old fashioned way. All in all a hunt that you will remember for the rest of your life. A Euro mount of that Kudu above an enlarged photo of the lions will be a conversation starter for many years to come.
As soon as I saw those deep curls I was awestruck.
I only had a short sight of it before the shot and didn’t fully take it in, in all it’s glory. But as it turns out and fate would have it, I’ve always been a fan of kudu horns that turn in. Never liked the wide flare out. And I didn’t even know but it turned out to be my style of kudu I love.
Played rookie league for the Yankees in Paintsville after winning the College World Series at Fullerton State, in1979. All I could think about was the movie “Deliverance”- lived up in a hollow with some other players. Refused to go on a moonshine run because it was a dry county-no way. Met some of the nicest people on the planet there! Van Lear the home of Loretta Lynn was highlight of summer LOL.
Mule deer and Colorado elk seasons almost done! Hunters driving farm roads, looking for racks, their PH driving them along, I ask that you not pull into my drive. The buck behind me, on the boundary line of the GMU somehow knows. The hunter laughs, I would invite you in to see my Searcy rifles but social distancing prevails, darkness arrives and the buck slides away into secret tree grove...