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Leopard and Tuskless with Charlton McCallum Safaris

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03 June 2021, 02:30
Leopard and Tuskless with Charlton McCallum Safaris
I had another great hunt in Dande with Charlton McCallum Safaris. This was my third time hunting with Alan Shearing and CMS and my second hunt in Dande. We were chasing leopard and tuskless and the hunt could not have gone any better. I was using a BRNO Mauser in 9.3x62 with 286gr North Fork softs and a Verney Carron 470 NE with Cutting Edge Bullets flat point solids and softs.
Arriving at the Pedza Camp on April 16, I briefly met AR member Chris Lozano and his wife at the airstrip. I got settled into my cabin and we went to sight in rifles and check a couple of baits Alan had hung using Chris’ buffalo.

We discovered an issue when checking my rifles, the 9.3x62 was fine, but after firing my 470 the cases would not eject. I had literally fired a couple of hundred rounds of this exact load through the rifle with no issue until that point. I will write more about this issue in the Double Rifle section here on AR to see what others with more experience than me think caused this, as I am still at a loss as to the specific issue. I believe the issue was being caused by some new brass which I used, because the rounds loaded into the Hornady brass I traditionally used, and thankfully had some loaded in Hornady brass with me, worked fine. I also owe a big thank you to Dan MacDonald who was our cameraman from Safari Classics! Al and I were convinced it was a mechanical issue with the rifle, but Dan kept focusing on the ammo and forced us to do the same, he was correct and I would not have been able to use my double on the elephant without his firm insistence that the problem was with the ammo.
This was my third leopard hunt, but my first with CMS. This hunt started like all leopard hunts, in a frantic search for bait. We got an impala on the first day, but couldn’t get close enough to a herd of zebra across an open field.

The following evening Al made a plan on how we could get close enough to the zebra herd. The plan worked perfectly and I have a zebra rug in the salt and five new baits.

Mid-morning of the next day we were checking and hanging baits when we got a radio call from Myles McCallum, his client had been successful on leopard the day before, and when they were taking down their baits they found a fresh hit with a male and female leopard feeding at a little after 4:00pm on the game camera. Al and I discussed it, and I figured that with two unsuccessful leopard hunts in my past, I wasn’t going to look a gift horse in the mouth. It was an hour back to the Pedza camp, then two hours to the bait site. Myles and his team had cut poles for us to build a blind, then our team started building the blind at about 1:45pm; by the timestamp on my pictures, we got into the blind at 2:59pm and I took this picture of Al, Dan, and me.

At about 3:15pm we could hear squirrels and birds begin scolding something. Al could see the female leopard at about 3:40pm and the male came in a little after that. At a few minutes past 4:00pm I ended up making the highest stress 50 yard shot I have ever taken!

The next day we took it easy and spent it taking down baits and looking for baboons. We had reports of a large herd of elephants that were raiding crops at a local village, and were going to pursue them the following day.
This was my first elephant hunt, and Al told me that when we started the hunt I would realize that elephants were on a completely different level from any other animal I had hunted in terms of danger and intelligence. When I had the issue with my double rifle ammo, Al told me that he had tested Cutting Edge Safari Raptors in his 470 on a bull elephant that had died upright against a tree and was getting full penetration when shooting them in the shoulder. We made the decision that I would use one of my CEB Raptors in my right barrel (all my solids were loaded in the new brass which was causing issues with my rifle) and one of Al’s solids in my left barrel.

There had been heavy rains this year, so the foliage was thicker and lusher than I have ever seen it in the Zambezi Valley. We started tracking the herd at the edge of the village where they had been in the crops the night before. It only took about a quarter of a mile and we were in true jess, brush so thick it was hard to see more than a few yards without getting above it on a termite mound. To give a good idea how thick, we were on a termite mound when I took this picture and there is an elephant in that jess about 20 yards from us.

We picked up the herd’s tracks on the outskirts of the village, leaving the crops and heading into the thick jess along a dry river where they could take advantage of both shade and cover. They were moving at a leisurely pace and we caught up to them fairly quickly. It was getting close to mid-morning at this point and the rapidly warming temperature was causing the wind to swirl; now they knew we were there. Suddenly we seemed to be in the middle of a herd of about 60 elephants, and they were not happy. There was lots of trumpeting and breaking of both branches and trees. We glimpsed a tuskless cow with a calf through all the jess and they were being followed by an immature tuskless cow.

Due to the swirling winds, Al felt our best option was to get in the dry riverbed and hope that would help hide our scent. We got on a termite mound to survey the herd before heading into the riverbed and saw two mature tuskless without calves. They were moving pretty fast, but Al thought they would end up stopping in the jess along the bank to wait out the day. Al’s hunch about the riverbed helping to hide our scent turned out to be correct. We would sneak along the riverbed until we heard elephants, then we would stalk into the herd to have a look, inevitably the wind would swirl and we would get chased back into the riverbed. This went on for a couple of hours until we peeked around a bend in the river and saw one of the tuskless on the bank at about 50 yards.

She had no calf and was very old, so we decided to take her. We stalked side by side to about 25 yards and she was starting to get nervous. She was facing us and looked directly at us then looked away. I moved a few steps forward, she looked back at me, and I fired. She dropped on impact like a light switch had been turned off. Just as well too, because in my excitement, I had doubled my double!

Elephant hunting was an awesome experience and one which I definitely want to undertake again. From the exhilaration of the hunt, to the tense focus of the final stalk, to the villagers’ joy at being rid of one of the animals which was raiding their crops and the protein it provided for them, to eating elephant kebabs. Absolutely amazing!

My last hunt with Al was for buffalo and sable, we finished that hunt in four days; we decided to take it easy on this this hunt, so we took an extra day and finished in five days. Much like my last trip, we spent the remaining days fishing out of the newly remodeled Matombo Camp overlooking the Zambezi and then just goofing around in general.

I can’t say enough good things about the entire CMS team, everything I have ever done with them has been top notch. I’ll also offer a big plug for Dan MacDonald who films for Safari Classics, Dan was not only a lot of fun to hunt with, he was very helpful and a great cameraman!


"Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life." Terry Pratchett.
03 June 2021, 04:09
looks like a great time, congrats on the all the trophies
03 June 2021, 04:20
Glad you had a good trip. I got my leopard on April 28 from the same tree where you shot yours. It was day 4 of my 14 day hunt so we went to the river and caught tigerfish. Sorry I did not meet up with you during our trips.
03 June 2021, 05:39
Originally posted by Dale:
Glad you had a good trip. I got my leopard on April 28 from the same tree where you shot yours. It was day 4 of my 14 day hunt so we went to the river and caught tigerfish. Sorry I did not meet up with you during our trips.

I heard your cat was huge! It would have been nice to bump into each other two hunts in a row.


"Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life." Terry Pratchett.
03 June 2021, 06:39
Great hunt and damn nice cat!

Guns and hunting
03 June 2021, 12:15
mboga biga bwana
Superb Safari
Ecellent Report
Thanks for sharing it !

Nec Timor Nec Temeritas
03 June 2021, 13:03
Congrats on a fantastic hunt. I will be staying at Matombo camp next year with a client from AR.

With kind regards
Mike Taylor Sporting
Hunting, Fishing & Photographic Safaris Worldwide
+44 7930 524 097
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03 June 2021, 18:19
Todd Williams
I really enjoyed your report. I've stayed in that same chalet on several safari's. The pool at Motambo is new. It wasn't there the last time I visited in 2019.

Congrats on the leopard and tuskless. I love hunting both of those species, but I seem to never get finished early, most times finishing on the next to last day of the hunt.

Thanks for the report. It makes me thirst to go back with them again. CMS is absolutely the best.
03 June 2021, 21:42
Great stuff. Well done on your Leopard.

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03 June 2021, 23:02
Michael Robinson
Great safari and report! A leopard AND an elephant in only five days is pretty amazing. I need to get to Zim some day soon.


Edited on advice of counsel.
04 June 2021, 01:53
Use Enough Gun
tu2 tu2 tu2
04 June 2021, 02:24
Chris Lozano
It was nice to meet you also.
I was getting live updates on your hunt from the guys.
You had some great luck. Sure gets rid of the pressure at the end of the hunt
Congratulations on the cat and tuskless.
04 June 2021, 02:45
Congratulations on a great hunt and thanks for a fine recounting of your adventure!

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04 June 2021, 03:00
Ah! Leopard in daylight is my favorite. Well done.


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04 June 2021, 03:30
Thanks for posting.

Looks like a very fun hunt!

You did well!
04 June 2021, 04:11

There are two types of people in the world: those that get things done and those who make excuses. There are no others.
04 June 2021, 16:22
Well done and thanks for posting. Exciting times for sure!
04 June 2021, 17:21
Outstanding! Well done.

J. Lane Easter, DVM

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04 June 2021, 22:55
Tim Herald
Congrats Lee. Superb!

Good Hunting,

Tim Herald
Worldwide Trophy Adventures
05 June 2021, 00:50
Brian Canada
Well done! I sure enjoy the wonderful pictures. Brian
05 June 2021, 23:08
Great report and nice pictures.
07 June 2021, 00:02
Sounds like you had a great time.

Thank you for taking the time to share your picture and story with the group.


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08 June 2021, 02:58
Thanks everyone! It was definitely a great trip!


"Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life." Terry Pratchett.
09 June 2021, 08:06
Another top drawer safari for CMS!
Mighty lucky on the leopard, and lucky to be able to experience a properly conducted ele hunt. Simply the best!
Thanks for sharing your trip, I will be hunting tuskless next year with CMS.
14 June 2021, 22:47
Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy
Fantastic. Congrats!
15 June 2021, 02:45
Great hunt and great pictures! Thanks for sharing!
27 June 2021, 07:50
Great job. I'll be there hunting August 1 - 21st. Hope I am just as lucky.
05 July 2021, 20:56
Congratz on a nice cat and tuskless. Sometimes it is nice to have a plan come together early and have time to just decompress.
26 July 2021, 05:11
Well done. Dande is one of my favorites! Love the upgrades to Matombo! CMS is a class act.

JEB Katy, TX

Already I was beginning to fall into the African way of thinking: That if
you properly respect what you are after, and shoot it cleanly and on
the animal's terrain, if you imprison in your mind all the wonder of the
day from sky to smell to breeze to flowers—then you have not merely
killed an animal. You have lent immortality to a beast you have killed
because you loved him and wanted him forever so that you could always
recapture the day - Robert Ruark

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