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CMS Trophy Elephant Bull - April 2015
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Location: Pedza Pasi Camp in the Zambezi Valley, Zimbabwe

Outfitter:. Charlton McCallum Safaris

PH: James Durnford Charlton



Trackers: Nyati, Cryton

Driver: Eddie

Camp Manager: Chooks

Chef: Crispin

Game Scout: Cement

Council Ranger: Matombo



Cameraman: Justin Drainer

Dates: March 31 - April 13 - 2015

Areas hunted: DSA, Ward 1, Ward 2, Ward 11

Rifles:
1902 Army & Navy Double Rifle in 450 3 1/4 NE, Hand-loaded 480 grain Woodleigh Solids (and softs) 97.5 grains IMR 4831, Hornady Brass, CCI 250 primers.

Modified 1988 Ruger Model 77 Tang Safety 7 x 57, with Sellier & Bellot 173 grain factory loads.



Animals taken: Elephant Bull on Day 11

Animals seen: Bull Elephant, Cow Elephant, including Tuskless, Kudu, Warthog, Baboon, Diker, Impala, Black Mamba, Boomslang, Copious Spiders, Buffalo, Hyena, Squirrels.

James Durnford Chalton navigated the cruiser expertly along the two track road while swatting Tsetse’s from his lime green mankini clad testicles. I suddenly awoke with a startle from my Malarone driven nightmare. Eeker

RESPECT!!

That is the word I now understand to be deserved by those that put in the effort during a traditional tracking Elephant hunt. You truly do hunt them with your legs and we used ours to accomplish the goal. Respect is also the word deserved by my amazing wife who defeated cancer one year prior to this hunt and marched along with us for every kilometer other than two afternoons.

This hunt included many firsts for us on the African Continent.

-A first time to Zimbabwe.
-A first time experiencing the thick green vegetation of April that dictated an up close and personal experience with the fauna, including Elephants.
-A first time experiencing a traditional tracking Elephant Bull hunt.
-A first time hunting with Charlton McCallum Safaris.
-A first time having a professional videographer along.

The hunt was booked in 2013 before Joyce’s surgery resulting in her cancer diagnosis. We thought there was a chance the hunt would never happen. The US Government did its best to make the hunt undesirable by banning the import of ivory from Zimbabwe and then six days before our departure changing the rules for traveling from the country with firearms. To me the writing is on the wall that international hunting may well go the way of the Dodo as the ranks of hunter/conservationists dwindle and the voice of anti-hunting grows stronger creating annoying roadblocks.

I even had to question my own motives for spending a large sum of money on a foreign hunt knowing full well I would likely not be able to import the ivory. The idea of a cancelation weighed on my mind for a couple of weeks and I came to realize I would be a hypocrite to claim to be a conservationist if the ivory was the true drive for considering killing a species presently diminishing in numbers as a result of poaching and habitat pressures. I’ve always claimed that hunting, other than freezer filling here in Alaska, was about the experience. Thus I reconciled in my mind that this hunt must happen. My dollars would support the survival of the Elephant as a whole by giving it value to the locals. The meat from our Bull ended up distributed to five separate villages in time for their Independence Day celebrations.

This was a 14 day hunt with success coming on day 11. In the preceding days we experienced heavy downpours, searing sunlight, humidity challenging to we Alaskans, jesse so thick that at times I thought we might be in central Africa after Bongo and not Elephant.

My beautiful 1902 Army Navy 450 3 1/4 NE now carries many character marks that tells the tale of slipping through vegetation so thick that avoiding significant contact with the gun was impossible.

We hunted mostly in the DSA (Dande Safari Area) thus had our fair share of hill climbing and descending as well as some stream crossings and dry river bed marches.

A traditional tracking hunt such as this involves not just the physical conditioning needed to tackle the challenge but also a mental toughness. When you track an Elephant for days and then learn he is not a shooter there’s a cumulative mental toll. Joyce and I both know how to “embrace the suck” of physical challenges, but I was not prepared for how I felt after tracking an Elephant for hours only to loose the spoor in the confusion of a cow herd. Likewise it’s indescribably frustrating to track for hours only to cross the same road you started from after the Elephant circled widely during its trek. Early on in the hunt it’s a laughing matter, later it feels personal. Even Joyce, who had trouble with the idea of an Elephant dying, at one point after we lost the track of a particular Elephant we followed for days remarked, “I hope we catch this thing and you kill it”. Yes, it felt personal.

We followed one Elephant in particular we named “Deep Crack” because of the distinctive deep crack illustrated in his track. That Elephant Bull was likely in Musth and spent the majority of his time racing from one cow herd to the next. If you have read any previous hunt reports that included Buzz and his trackers Cryton & Nyati you know their reputation as a team. On previous safaris we have marveled at the skill of the trackers but I now believe we have observed probably the best Elephant bloodhounds on the African continent. The numerous times that Deep Crack mixed it up with the cows did not stop Cryton, Nyati, and Buzz from regaining the spoor. Truly an amazing talent.

I’m not going to bore you with the day to day details of this hunt but I would like to share what felt different from previous safaris and why. Joyce and I are both very happy for this experience.

The Pros:

CMS runs an organized camp and for our trip much of the details of camp life were managed by Chooks, the camp manager. Ironically she is the mother of a PH that trained with and now hunts with Derek Littleton and Luwire, our next hunt location in the Niassa Reserve of Mozambique.

Tracking hunt - because of the many, many Kilometers on foot you can expect a much more up close and personal experience with Africa. Being among an Elephant Cow Herd defies description. This is dangerous game hunting at it’s finest. We had to call off both young bulls and cows during this hunt. I always viewed the Elephant as the one animal in Africa that caused me to feel uncomfortable when in close proximity. By the end of this hunt I got used to being close. That said, Elephants command your respect.

Up close means up close! Spider webs in your face, wasps attacking with no warning. Why would I put this under the pros? The hunt occurring this early in the season gave us the opportunity to see flowers in large numbers and the insects never seen before. It’s all part of the experience, even the wasp stings I avoided. Joyce did manage to get nailed though.

The dung beetles going about their business fascinated Joyce and I. They had been absent from our previous later season trips.

Justing Drainer, the videographer brought much more to the table than his photography skills. He has a greater knowledge of the insect and bird life than Buzz and enjoyed sharing that knowledge when he saw our interest. He especially enjoyed showing the different spiders to Joyce who would be just as happy not to see them.

The Cons:

The same thick vegetation that gave this hunt its character also made it very difficult. I recommend you only consider this early season hunt if you are accepting of the fact that much will be hidden by that vegetation.

The presence of abundant water means the animals are not required to congregate near pans of water. Hunting early season is much more difficult than hunting late season from a visibility and perceived game density standpoint.

Full disclosure:

It’s always rewarding to write a hunt report and tell of your success. If you measure that in animals killed so be it. For me personally it’s about the overall experience, the maturity of the animal taken regardless of trophy size, and the quick and humane kill.

I visually imaged how the death of this Elephant would occur. I obtained my shot placement research from many sources including Buzz’s videos. I practiced with my double and adopted a left barrel rear trigger first (same as Cal Pappas) in order to avoid ever doubling the gun, which I have done in the past.

The image of a clean brain shot followed immediately by my second barrel finding the heart lung area as the bull went down replayed endlessly as we hiked. Immediately reloading from the belt was practiced at the range and at home. I was as ready as I could be.

The Elephant we tracked and eventually killed on day 11 was in a small depression with a young bull and a very young elephant. The wind was not cooperative and we slowly worked our way around the depression to get downwind.

Looking downhill the young bull was first seen. He showed nice long ivory but quite thin and he was young. As he started up the hill in our direction the larger bull came to view. Buzz felt he was a shooter and I agreed.

The mental image of shouldering the double, the safety coming off, the side brain shot placement and heart/lung followup with rapid reload played one last time in my mind as the bull emerged from the depression.

It was a side brain shot at 15-20 yards on a walking elephant and with a slight up-angle as he emerged from the depression. I could rack up all the excuses I want but they would simply be that, excuses.

My side brain shot missed the mark but my second barrel did indeed find the heart lung area. As I rapidly reloaded I did not hear any other shots.

Buzz and I had discussed early on that I would try a brain shot and if the animal didn’t immediately go down he would place a heart/lung insurance shot. He later told me he did not because he knew I hit the mark with that second shot.

I stepped to the side for a better shot at the elephant now retreating uphill in order to place a shot in an attempt to break his hip and limit his retreat. I doubled the rifle!!

I quickly reloaded and placed two shots, one at a time this time, into the right hip breaking it. The elephant stumbled and turned but did not go down. I tried two more shots for a frontal brain and neither brought the expected response although the elephant did drop at this point. He landed laying down hill with the belly side facing me. I had two rounds left in the belt which I had already reloaded into the rifle, which now had very hot barrels.

The elephant was still breathing with a very disturbing wet cacophony of sounds. I wanted this to end. I shot the last two rounds into his chest through the sternum. These both were Woodliegh softs which were in my belt in case we stumbled on a target of opportunity while returning from a failed tracking experience. The softs penetrated and caused a fountain of pulsatile blood spraying three feet from the elephant’s chest. He gurgled a few last times and fell silent.

I dreamed of this hunt for some time. I practiced!! I continually imaged how this would go. As Joyce says, “Man plans and God laughs”.

Joyce initially was not going to take part in an Elephant hunt in any way. Eventually she realized she would miss out on so much by not being in on the tracking. The plan was for her to turn away or stay back a bit when the time came for an elephant to die. She was actually right there. The young bull in the lead, when the shot rang out, passed by Joyce as close as 10 yards or less. After the last wet sound of death stopped I turned to her to ask if she was OK. She answered yes. I apologized. All my planning, imagery, and practice meant little once the lead flew.

I’m OK with this now. It took a little while.

Enjoy the pictures. The vast majority were taken by Justin Trainer. His presence is worth every penny.

The pictures will be loaded later in the second post.



Cheers
Jim


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Posts: 6993 | Location: Alaska | Registered: 05 February 2008Reply With Quote
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Not easy catching a bird in flight while it was dropping two bombs!!



Yes, it's thick!!



The Buzz!!



The Zambezi during Tiger Fishing.



Tiger catching!



Bee Catchers!



Sundowners on the banks of the Zambezi.







Colorful female Golden Orb with small Male hoping to get lucky while she's distracted with a meal we provided.



In the river bed...







In the grass!











Into the jesse!!















































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Posts: 6993 | Location: Alaska | Registered: 05 February 2008Reply With Quote
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Thank you for sharing your experiences. I offer my sincere congratulations, and appreciate your post for being something more then "we came, we shot, we killed."

I have followed your trials and your preparations, and appreciate you letting me be a part of the process vicariously. Joyce is my hero for her perseverance!
 
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tu2

Thanks for sharing Smiler

Morten


The more I know, the less I wonder !
 
Posts: 1063 | Location: Oslo area, Norway | Registered: 26 June 2013Reply With Quote
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I enjoyed your report greatly.

Well Done!
 
Posts: 595 | Registered: 17 December 2003Reply With Quote
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I truly enjoyed your report, and lovely photos.
It sounds like you got the full experience. Not shooting an elephant perfectly is humbling and distressing. You managed it all successfully.
Huge congrats to you and Joyce!
 
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An excellent report & you got the job done,a real hunt for sure!!!
were you still firing the back trigger when your gun doubled?


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Originally posted by Bill73:
An excellent report & you got the job done,a real hunt for sure!!!
were you still firing the back trigger when your gun doubled?


No. I think I banjo'd the front trigger on my way to the rear after that first reload.

I believe it was Mike Tyson that said, "Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth".


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Jim / Joyce, I followed the trip on the other posting.

Thanks for the well written write up and excellent photos. Having not (yet) hunted ele, I can only imagine that it is a hunt that take some getting your head around!

Well done to the both of you and thanks again for sharing.

Charlie.

Ps out of interest were any of the bullets recovered ?


"Up the ladders and down the snakes!"
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Charlie64:
.
Jim / Joyce, I followed the trip on the other posting.

Thanks for the well written write up and excellent photos. Having not (yet) hunted ele, I can only imagine that it is a hunt that take some getting your head around!

Well done to the both of you and thanks again for sharing.

Charlie.

Ps out of interest were any of the bullets recovered ?


Yes, one of the Woodleigh softs that I shot into his chest as he lay on his side. This is what one will do to an Elephant heart.



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Jim,
First..great report and we are all so happy you all had such a rich and rewarding experience. I must say your photography, and specifically your Macros, are wonderful. This is something i really need to work on personally. Love the two photos of the Ele skin and Ivory at the end (and the others)
I hunted there in 2011 and it brings back wonderful memories.
Huge congratulations on your successful trip!
 
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Outstanding! tu2
 
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Originally posted by D. Nelson:
Jim;

Did you have to use ITN upon return?

Darin


No just the 4457's


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Posts: 6993 | Location: Alaska | Registered: 05 February 2008Reply With Quote
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Originally posted by Poyntman:
Jim,
First..great report and we are all so happy you all had such a rich and rewarding experience. I must say your photography, and specifically your Macros, are wonderful. This is something i really need to work on personally. Love the two photos of the Ele skin and Ivory at the end (and the others)
I hunted there in 2011 and it brings back wonderful memories.
Huge congratulations on your successful trip!


Justin Drainer gets credit for those photos, not me.


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Posts: 6993 | Location: Alaska | Registered: 05 February 2008Reply With Quote
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Jim,

Hey! The ele did not get away. Everybody misses the mark now and then. Shit happens! Love the bugs and flowers. I've not hunted that early so I've not seen all these lovelies.

Mark


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Posts: 11774 | Location: LAS VEGAS, NV USA | Registered: 04 August 2002Reply With Quote
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Originally posted by MARK H. YOUNG:
Jim,

Hey! The ele did not get away. Everybody misses the mark now and then. Shit happens! Love the bugs and flowers. I've not hunted that early so I've not seen all these lovelies.

Mark


+1

I can't even imagine the intimidation factor of being that close to a bull. Well done in the quick back up and securing him to the ground.

Brett


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May fordings never be too deep, And alders not too thick; May rock slides never be too steep And ridges not too slick.
And may your bullets shoot as swell As Fred Bear's arrow's flew; And may your nose work just as well As Jack O'Connor's too.
May winds be never at your tail When stalking down the steep; May bears be never on your trail When packing out your sheep.
May the hundred pounds upon you Not make you break or trip; And may the plane in which you flew Await you at the strip.
-Seth Peterson
 
Posts: 4541 | Location: Alaska | Registered: 21 February 2008Reply With Quote
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Just read your elephant hunt story. Sounds like fun and not exactly how you planned-that is life.

The important thing is the experience, the memories from the trip and that you both made it there and back safely.

The black bears are out and making their rounds.

Cheers,

Matt
 
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I have enjoyed your report. I am so glad you folks had a great time.


~Ann



 
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Wonderful report and pix. A huge congrats once again. So happy for both of you.


Good Hunting,

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Posts: 2892 | Location: Lexington, KY | Registered: 13 January 2005Reply With Quote
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congrats, Jim for getting it done. few battle plans survive first contact but the end results is what matters. my fiancee retired today and we leave for the Caprivi on Tuesday for elephant. like Joyce, she is ambivalent about being there for the finale but wants to participate in the tracking. we will see how that goes.....
 
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Originally posted by jdollar:
congrats, Jim for getting it done. few battle plans survive first contact but the end results is what matters. my fiancee retired today and we leave for the Caprivi on Tuesday for elephant. like Joyce, she is ambivalent about being there for the finale but wants to participate in the tracking. we will see how that goes.....


Are you getting to Vic Falls?


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Great report Jim. I hunted Zim in February and it was thick and hot.

Your description reminds me of a Mike Tyson quote "Everyone has a plan... until they get hit in the face".


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yes. 10 days hunting( although i doubt we will need it- probably do a lot of tiger fishing), 3 days in Kasane( visiting Chobe NP), then 5 days at Vic Falls
 
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Awesome - congrats man!
 
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quote:
Originally posted by jdollar:
yes. 10 days hunting( although i doubt we will need it- probably do a lot of tiger fishing), 3 days in Kasane( visiting Chobe NP), then 5 days at Vic Falls


Definitely do the helicopter ride and elbow your way into the front "co-pilot" seat. It has the glass floor and makes the trip like an amusement ride with awesome picture angles.


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Posts: 6993 | Location: Alaska | Registered: 05 February 2008Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by Jerry Huffaker:
Great report Jim. I hunted Zim in February and it was thick and hot.

Your description reminds me of a Mike Tyson quote "Everyone has a plan... until they get hit in the face".


Great minds think alike Jerry. I put the same quote above. Having Tyson in his prime hit you in the mouth would definitely erase any plan.


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DIY Brooks Range Sheep Hunt 2013 - http://forums.accuratereloadin...901038191#9901038191
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Posts: 6993 | Location: Alaska | Registered: 05 February 2008Reply With Quote
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Well Done!
 
Posts: 7550 | Location: Houston, Texas | Registered: 26 December 2005Reply With Quote
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Looks like you guys had a great time and some rewards for all your work over the years...

Hopefully some sanity will come at USFW and you will get your ivory eventually.
 
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Well done!
 
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Awesome on all accounts. Congratulations and thanks for sharing.


BUTCH

C'est Tout Bon
(It is all good)
 
Posts: 1797 | Location: Lafayette, LA | Registered: 05 October 2007Reply With Quote
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Congrats, enjoyed the pics.


Mike
 
Posts: 17846 | Registered: 03 January 2006Reply With Quote
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Well done on your first elephant. Sounded like a challenging adventure during an interesting time of year.


On the plains of hesitation lie the bleached bones of ten thousand, who on the dawn of victory lay down their weary heads resting, and there resting, died.

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch...
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!
- Rudyard Kipling

Life grows grim without senseless indulgence.
 
Posts: 6969 | Location: Victoria, Texas | Registered: 30 March 2003Reply With Quote
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Jim,

Thank you for sharing an insight into not only your hunt but your life and emotions of the hunt. It gives those of us who will most likely never hunt Africa more than just the facts.

Thanks,

Tom
 
Posts: 338 | Location: Ohio | Registered: 21 November 2014Reply With Quote
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Great hunt congratulations
 
Posts: 894 | Location: Chico California | Registered: 02 May 2010Reply With Quote
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Great trophy and beautiful photos - thanks for sharing.
 
Posts: 3720 | Registered: 03 March 2005Reply With Quote
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Congrats.

The bush is thick enough there in October. I can't imagine it when it was the green.

I agree with you about CMS. They run an outstanding outfit.
 
Posts: 10513 | Location: Orlando, FL | Registered: 26 January 2006Reply With Quote
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Great hunt and pictures.

Mike


Every man has a right to his opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts.

Bernard Baruch
 
Posts: 11132 | Location: Cocoa Beach, Florida | Registered: 22 July 2010Reply With Quote
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Jim/Joyce:

It's "stamina and endurance" that counts most. You two, especially she had it plentiful.
Give's me special feelings after sharing her ordeal these past couple years.

Some years ago I came up with something that may or may not fit in here.

"Life: Is just a test of our stamina and endurance"

Age: "just a period of time to judge how long we could last thru it all".

Congrats on your greatest adventure yet. May you have many more and in good health too.

George


"Gun Control is NOT about Guns'
"It's about Control!!"
Join the NRA today!"

LM: NRA, DAV, RMEF

George L. Dwight
 
Posts: 4873 | Location: Pueblo, CO | Registered: 31 January 2006Reply With Quote
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