Congrats for a great adventure and outstanding trophies !
You guys really know how to enjoy Africa
You guys really know how to enjoy Africa
Thanks for sharing Mort Hill
I was fortunate enough to work & spend a fair amount of time at Aarda Camp - many many years ago!
Sure does bring back very fond memories.
Love the B&W. Grew up shooting it and spent hours in the dark room making prints. Enjoying the report!Day 5 Let’s Get To It
So the leopard hunting routine can be a grind. Up early, check baits, hunt for baits, hang baits, lunch, check more baits, hunt more baits, hang more baits, return for dinner, sleep, repeat.
Today we return to the bait with the male and female bait to find the female has fed once again, with the male just hanging out near the bait waiting on some noo-noo. She fed at 6:24 PM which in terms of being able to hunt with a light is very early and encouraging. Some of these Zim cats love to torture the hunter feeding at say 2 or 3AM. You just play the hand you are dealt.
We refresh the bait, and my excitement builds as Pete instructs the boys to construct the blind. I am used to a traditional hand built blind. My excitement is tempered when the small pop up blind is produced. Pete assures me we need to use this blind as we will be closer to the bait than he usually likes but that is the set up with the bait just the other side of the dry creek bed.
Two things pop into my mind. One, the blind is about as big as one of my camo coveralls. I’ll be wearing this damn blind which means no room to stretch for hours. Second, due to proximity and size, ain’t no way I will be smoking cigars to while away the time.
Aside. I hunted Zambia with an old chain smoking PH when I got my first leopard. We always smoked in the blind, he his cigs, me my cigars. He taught me tons. We played the wind. Smoke doesn’t freak out the game, and if they smell your smoke they can smell you. I bet our blind looked like one of those tobacco barns in Kentucky during tobacco drying season. Volumes of billowing smoke.
Anyway, blind set up and brushed in, path back to road cut in and cleaned of dry leaves. This is the area near the dry creek crossing, and Tafodzwa and Manager cutting brush some distance away for the blind.
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We head to the next bait. The tracks show that we have another leopard love couple at the bait. The female fed the night before, but last night only a civet. We are hopeful that maybe their torrid love affair is over. The only other issue is that the leopard is not using the tree we leaned up against the bait tree to access the bait, but climbing straight up the bait tree and hanging on the bottom of the bait. Not the shot position we wanted(leopard never follow instructions), so we modify the set up to be as inviting as a handicap parking spot on Black Friday.
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I also use the opportunity to wander off and find the perfect place for the morning download. I honestly believe in my life I may have answered nature’s call more often outdoors than indoors.
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We try a stalk on a group of eland tracks we find crossing the road, but these eland are smart and seem to be moving in a serpentine exit plan and we lose the tracks in the high grass.
Upon a trip past the skinning we see Big Mike has taken a nice dark giraffe for more bait to try and draw his lion back to bait. Now I want one too. I had taken an old bull with my son back in 2018, but this dark giraffe skin would look great on my cigar smoking screened porch.
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The day ends uneventfully except I try my hand at some photo creativity. Always trying for that essence of Africa picture.
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WOW!!!!!!! Ending your safari with such a beautiful old eland is definitely icing on the cape for this safari. Congratulations, and thank you for taking us along. I'll have to make my way to TN from GA, and listen to your safari in person. Oh, and while smoking cigars too. LOL!!!
Great report, enjoyed it all. You smoke more cigars in a day than I in a month and more during the trip than I in my life . Lucky man, most definitely with the big cat !