ZIMBABWE: Zimbabwe With Buzz Charlton

That is a stud of a Kudu, congratulations! Any pictures of the picnic on the island? Keep it coming, enjoying it very much.
 
That is a stud of a Kudu, congratulations! Any pictures of the picnic on the island? Keep it coming, enjoying it very much.
Thanks. I'm sure there are photos from the Island. Those will be part of the 565 photos the photographer took that I'll get probably when the movie is also ready.
 
Thank you for giving us the story of your hunt as it sounded truly amazing. I hope someday I will get to experience exactly what you just gave us. Looking forward to the pics and movie. Don’t hesitate to ad more when you think of it.
 
Sounds like the safari of a lifetime. And the use of your classic double and the vintage H&H just add to the flavor of this adventure. Congratulations and as others have stated, keep it coming.
 
Day 11

After breakfast we headed out to where hyena bait from my Zebra had been set up, but no hyena were there. We did hear lions roaring fairly close who had apparently killed a Buffalo.

The remainder of the morning we were back on the hunt for warthogs. We saw lots of warthogs but no shooters.

We headed back to camp for lunch and a nap and then headed back out again. We went to numerous pans looking for Warthogs but instead saw Elephants drinking.

On the way back we saw three Grysboks, two females and probably a male (smaller bodied) but he was gone in less time than it takes to tell.

For dinner we had Kudu steaks which were delicious.

Pretty sure today was the most walking I did on this trip, something like 8 miles.

Tomorrow the plan is to stay out all day. We will begin on the Hyena bait. Once it's fully light out we will have breakfast in the field with Buzz cooking, then after Warthogs once it gets warm enough for them to come out of their holes. And try for Grysbok again between 10am and 2pm as that apparently is their prime time to be on the move.

I decided that since I've already got so many animals I'll cut my hunt short a day so Buzz has time to spend with his daughter on her birthday plus spend a couple hours with his wife before he has to turn around and do it all over again.

A great day.
 
Day 12

Today we headed out to the Hyena bait site while it was still dark. We snuck up to the blind, which was just a wall of brush, in hopes there would be Hyena on the bait. There were.

I quietly positioned the 375 in the shooting hole, shouldered the rifle, and looked through the scope expecting to see Hyena. Couldn't really see much of anything. Apparently the ancient German scope mounted on the 1914 rifle, although crystal clear in the daylight, has no light gathering capability. Not too surprising since I'd guess the scope must be from the 1950's or earlier.

In a flash the Hyenas were gone. To be truthful I wasn't all that disappointed since I don't really like low light shooting on principle. It's just me. Before the Hyenas got on the bait a lion had been there as well.

Warthog hunting time. We headed to a place called Paradise valley which is a completely different ecosphere than anywhere else we'd been. Essentially a big grassland interspersed with tall palmtrees, some of them 7 stories high.

We tracked some warthogs into the brush. There was one big bodied boar, but he wouldn't give us a look at his tusks, instead feeding through a field and into the brush.

Criton stayed in hopes the Boar would feed back out into the open while the remainder of us went out into the middle of Paradise Valley. There, on an open fire, Buzz made us breakfast. Quite a treat.

In the afternoon, still on the Warthog hunt, we came across a female, two youngins, with a boar in the back that we decided to shoot. The problem was there was a dense thicket of vines, some measuring up to an inch and a half in diameter between us. The distance from us to them couldn't have been 25 yards.

They were slowly moving from our left to right, feeding. I tracked the boar looking for any opportunity to squeeze the trigger. Everything came to a head as the female was about to step from behind the vine thicket and into the open, and see us.

It was now or never. Buzz told me to take a shot, which I did. The Warthogs disappeared out of sight. Had I hit the boar?

Buzz and the trackers got on the Warthogs trail and followed the boar for about 200 yards, no hair no blood. They came back to where I had shot from. Had my bullet been deflected by a vine? They looked at all the vines they had access to and didn't see anything.

Then, about 5 feet beyond the vines, either Criton or Nyati spotted a fresh piece of vine bark neatly clipped off by my bullet. Clean miss. I carried that piece of bark with me all the way to South Africa as a reminder of the Warthog that wasn't.

We worked our way back to camp looking for Warthog or Grysbok but no luck. One day left to hunt.
 
Paradise Valley

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Day 13 - the last hunting day.

We went out looking for another Impala, or a Warthog or a Grysbok. We knew all the meat had been eaten at the Hyena bait site so no reason to go there. We decided Paradise Valley was the place to go.

On the way out of camp this beautiful Livingstone Eland bull crossed the road right in front of us. Unfortunately the road borders a private concession inside Mana Pools National Park and that's where he was headed. He was so pretty.

Once at Paradise we started scanning the entire valley with binoculars. We disembarked and began walking, looking for fresh tracks and visiting the pans in the area. Not finding anything we got back into the hunting truck and moved a short distance.

We spotted a bunch of Baboons out in the open, but right where the Savannah meets the Jesse. And on the far left of the Baboons were two shapes that I didn't recognize. Hyenas. Out in the open.

We disembarked the truck, put a stalk on them to within 120-150 yards. One Hyena was staring directly at me, the other a little further away. I decided to take the one staring at me. Not a big target with a 2.5 fixed power scope but the Hyena obliged me be turning and giving me a quartering shot.

I put the cross hairs on the front of his right shoulder and took the shot. He took off running and I saw a big dust cloud behind him from the bullet so I thought I might have shot under him. But Buzz assured me that I hit him. The Hyena ran 50 or 60 yards and then fell over. But then he got up again and started running. He is now probably 200 yards away and still running. I took a shot but saw the bullet hit the dirt behind him. And then he fell over and was dead.

When we got up to him we could see the bullet had entered the right front shoulder, then traversed the length of the body exiting the left rear hip. Amazing how tough African animals can be. I much prefer this type of hunting to blind or stand hunting.

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We loaded the Hyena and headed out. We did lots of walking. Some of it on tracks, some of it exploratory in nature. And the animals were really out this morning. Lots and lots of them. Elephants, Zebras, Impalas, Warthogs, Baboons. Some of the female Warthogs had long tusks but none of the males were even remotely interesting.

At one point Buzz and I were watching an Elephant through our binoculars that had his mouth full of grass. All of a sudden we hear trumpeting and both think that's odd, how can he be trumpeting with his mouth full. Of course it was a different Elephant charging the truck. Off we headed.

Anytime we were driving we were looking for Grysbok. We saw a handful but they saw us too. And as has been the case, as soon as they spotted us on the ground they were gone.

I told Buzz that if we found another Impala that was bigger than my first I'd take him. I thought that would be a nice way to close out the hunt.

We were exploratory walking through a mixture of savannah and brush with Impala everywhere and a lot of male Impala by themselves. Lots of Zebra as well. Some groups would run from us and some groups would just stand and watch us. It was the same for the Impala.

Eventually Buzz spotted one he liked. A little over 22 inches. Longer than my first, and horn configuration significantly different so I shot it.

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On the long drive back to the skinning shed we spotted a herd of Sable in the woods. Buzz said there were about 30 of them. He said he's been aware of them but this was the first time he'd seen the animals.

Back at camp Criton presented me with my Elephant hair bracelets, four sets, that he made from my Elephant's tail hair. These included two double bracelets, really cool.

This has been a fabulous Safari, the best I've ever been on. Buzz and his entire staff are first class and second to none. Food was excellent. Service was excellent. Friends were made to be sure. And lots of animals, and quality animals- which was truly unexpected and a bonus.

Tomorrow we fly to Harare. In case it's in the 206, Buzz is taking my hard gun case in the hunting truck. The two rifles will travel in their soft cases.
 
Can I ask about that comment on RSA law prohibits a separate ammo box locked and separate. I've been to RSA 4 times, always had a pelican ammo case, locked and checked bags, never an issue and I've spent some time in both Tambo police office, we all know the spot and with the ATL border fellas as well. So I don't and won't put my ammo in a bag, because, I don't check a bag most times.
thoughts?
 
Can I ask about that comment on RSA law prohibits a separate ammo box locked and separate. I've been to RSA 4 times, always had a pelican ammo case, locked and checked bags, never an issue and I've spent some time in both Tambo police office, we all know the spot and with the ATL border fellas as well. So I don't and won't put my ammo in a bag, because, I don't check a bag most times.
thoughts?
That wasn't my comment, it was someone else's. You can have a separate ammo box that is locked and have it travel separately. Or you can put this locked box inside a bag. Or you can have you ammo in "factory" packaging and put it in a checked bag. I'm speaking of flying from the U.S. to RSA and back. Transiting the RSA to another country on a regional airline, such as Airlink, may have different rules. In the case of Airlink from Joberg to Harare the ammo needed to be in its own, separate, locked box that travels just like that. Airlink from Kimberley to Joberg they encouraged me to put that same locked box into my main bag. Saved on bag fees so that was nice.
 
As I watched my rifles serial numbers being checked, and the ammo case opened and rounds looked at, they let me tell them how many rounds there were for each caliber.


Here again my rifle case had to be opened, serial numbers checked against the permits I had just received a few hundred feet before, and with the lady who I now learned was the supervisor of firearms control with us the entire time. Interesting. The lady did tell the agent she didn't need to see the ammo.

Just curious; were there any issues with the cartridge headstamps not matching the markings on the double rifle? Or did they just figure that the big cartridges went along with the big double?
 
Just curious; were there any issues with the cartridge headstamps not matching the markings on the double rifle? Or did they just figure that the big cartridges went along with the big double?
In this case the headstamps do nearly match, but I’ve never had any ammo checked to be sure it matches the rifle in any country I’ve hunted in.
 
Just wanted to say: this story is exactly what most of us are looking for...
From the guns used ( pictures of the guns would have added a bit) to the clothing including the boots only adds to the story. Even the airport incidents from customs to your travel agent helped to make this story better. Us armchair African hunters were invited along for the hunting trip of a lifetime.
I think all of us are waiting for the film and additional pictures to keep are our dreams going.

I do not think Buzz McCallum needs much help booking trips but stories like this help his business and others alike. Nice to see that many of us commented on on other trips and our own time spent with CM SAFARIS.

I for one thought that this was an adventure to be enjoyed by us all. It was very nice of sourdough to invite us along for the ride. May he enjoy many more trips...and share them with us

Thx for the trip many of us will not be able to go on....but we got to enjoy through your writing and photos.

Geo
 

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