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Elephant and Hippo with CM Safaris photos added
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Country: Zimbabwe
Duration: October 9-25 2010
Safari Company: CM Safaris
PH: Richie Shultz-first class PH, well-experienced with elephant – highly recommended.
Richie’s rifle: Custom Brno 602 magnum chambered in 500 ASquare (460 necked to 500, loaded to
little above 500 Nitro; uses same projectiles). This man knows his animals and his weapons! I
would hunt dangerous game with Richie under any and all circumstances with complete
confidence.
Apprentice: Blake Wilhelmi. This man has a degree from a highly-regarded South African University in wildlife ecology and is now doing his PH training in Zimbabwe. The difference between a Zimbabwe PH ticket and a South African PH ticket is like a medical degree and a First Aid certificate. Zimbabwe PH’s are the finest trained and educated in the world. Blake shoots a CZ in 458 Lott – a great rifle but I brought to his attention the problem with the 550 Magnums safety.
See here for lowdown:
550 Safety issue
Young Blake only had one flaw – he could not resist taking off his shirt if there was an attractive woman within ‘cooee’.
Camera man: Justin Drainer. This man has been with us the last three safaris. He trained initially as a PH then chose to go full time as a camera man. This tall, lanky, red-haired man is a first class asset to any safari. He has great knowledge of Africa and its wildlife, and having known us from previous
safaris I suspect was quietly wording up our new PH to our strengths and weaknesses – mainly
our weaknesses.
Justin had two uncles in the Selous scouts. If you get to see some of the footage he has taken during “hunts gone wrong” you will realise that big balls must run in the family.

Our latest safari with CM Safaris was a bit of a last-minute affair . . . apparently the fastest enquiry to booking, Kirsty, Buzz’s secretary, has ever processed. Admittedly, it is the third safari in four years we have booked with CM Safaris so we both knew each other well.
As usual it was a holiday of a lifetime. There were three of us this trip: myself, Dr P. and Makuti Matt who last came away with us on our first safari in 1991. We are all old mates but the years fly by; we realised Matt and Dr P. had not had a night in bush on the same trip for ten years!
We assemble at Sir Charles Kingsford Smith Airport, Sydney from our respective parts of the country.
As an aside, Australia’s land mass is:
• almost as great as that of the United States of America
• about fifty per cent greater than Europe, and
• thirty-two times greater than the United Kingdom.

Did I mention Qantas charged Dr P. $1,100 extra baggage charge one way for one piece of luggage weighing nineteen kilograms? This is not a typo, Qantas is gouging. In words – eleven hundred dollars.
A few beers and the pain eases.
Sydney, Johannesburg, transit lounge-bar, Harare, awake for close to twenty-six hours on the trot.
We are met at Harare international airport by Blake. All handled very well as we have come to expect from CM Safaris. Convenient and comfortable B&B first night in and last night out. Same place as 2008, very friendly, and great cooked breakfasts, case of cold Castle beer in fridge – as I said, we have stayed there before!
Met our new PH the next day, a young man called Richie Shultz. A very nice guy, very skilful with dangerous game and great around the campfire. We were a little apprehensive before meeting Richie. The last two hunts were with Alan Shearing, a very experienced PH we came to have great faith in. Turns out that faith was well founded: Alan he put himself between a client and a charging buffalo late last year and very nearly died for his trouble.
See here for story:
Alan Shearing gored by buf.
Alan, under his wife’s instructions, is having a break from hunting at the moment. As fortune would have it, Richie did a very good job of filling Alan’s sizeable shoes and we had the best two weeks of lives (at least since the last time we were in Africa).
(Gossip has it that Alan is planning a return to hunting as soon as he can line up a suitable vehicle)
Four hours on the back of the bloody truck. Later we were in the pleasant Makuti camp, well-maintained and well laid-out. Good accommodation and excellent food – and that endless supply of cold Castle lager (not such as easy task considering the three of us can make a six pack disappear faster than Merlin the Magician can)!
I was using my usual battery of 9.3x66 Mauser (yes 9.3x66) as the light rifle, shown here:
Custom 9.3x66
The 500 Searcy double was the serious rifle. I was using the new hydrostatically-stabilised solids.More on that latter.
Dr P. was again using his 458 Lott custom Mauser as the heavy rifle and his 257 Weatherby as the light rifle, and Matt was armed with a collection of still and video cameras.
Temperature during the heat of the day varied between thirty-eight and forty-five degrees Celsius (a hundred and a hundred and thirteen degrees Fahrenheit) – bloody hot. Evenings were still comfortably cool enough for a good night’s sleep. In fact, there were some very cool early -transfer legs on the back of the truck – always take a warm jacket to Africa!
Enough of the travelogue – Makuti in October is hot, hilly and a bit of hard work for old men, but with the binoculars and young Blake doing a lot of the scouting we managed it. . . and had a great time into the bargain.
Several attempts to close on group of elephant cows were thwarted by wind, bad luck and our (the clients) inability to make any serious speed through the hills.
Eventually luck and hard work paid off. On day three after a walk down a steep gully, strewn with large rocks about six to ten inches in diameter – real ankle-twisters – and a slow stalk in the blazing heat, Richie put Dr P. into a position for a shot. It was far from ideal but there was a tree close to walk up to for a quick chance.
You have to have been there to understand the pressure that is on you, the client, at this point. It is your call – you can forget that sometimes. It gives you the power to say yes or no, but the responsibility is yours to take the consequences, economic and moral of that decision.
You balance a lot of things as the sweat pours into your eyes – runs down the inside of your sunglasses, further spoiling your vision – trying to control your breathing, wondering if the next stalk will result in a twisted ankle or a fall or a snake bite that will completely bugger your hunt, the options of going under less-than-ideal circumstances or saying no are yours alone to take. The weight of the rifle, the impending heavy recoil and ferocious muzzle blast are ignored at this point but the well-oiled heavy rifle always feels as slippery as a greased billiard ball in your sweating hands –it’s your call. On this occasion Dr P. decided to go. The first shot was at an animal across a small gully, at perhaps thirty-five yards, looking to our left. A side-on brain shot was attempted but went just high into the skull and the cow was off. A hurried second shot was well placed into the chest and, in fact, no further shots would have been required but in the heat of the moment each of us at a slightly different viewing spot these things are not as clear as they seem upon reflection. I put 570 grains solid into the left flank of the departing beast then one into the right flank as it turned. My first shot was later recovered under the skin of the right shoulder. Richie put one 570 grain solid into the tail and one into the right hip. The animal was down seconds later and Dr P. and Richie closed for an insurance shot to the top of the skull. Matt was filming a few yards behind us and saw the cow go down on her knees before Richie shot but we could not see that from our angle down in the gully as she made her way up the steep gorge. Such are the recollections of those on the spot in tense exciting moments, drenched in sweat from the heat, the hike, the tension, wandering if the rest of the herd will go toward or away from us. The gully at that point was so narrow it could have gotten interesting indeed if they had run toward us. Richie later confided it crossed his mind but decided to press on – we are not experts after only five safaris but Dr P., Matt and I had that possible scenario in the back of our mind in those few seconds that unfolded as Dr P. made his decision. These uncertainties are all part of why we hunt dangerous game. It is meant to be a life-and-death event, for all concerned – in-play before your eyes.
We looked at the sweat on the clothing after all had calmed down as the well-earned congratulations finished. We realised the shot was taken thirty minutes earlier.
Celebrations that would have made Bacchus proud followed. Just when we were nearly done bloody Buzz turned up so we had to start all over again – bugger! The next day we did get up early but it was a rather slow.
The next couple of days went as the others. Heat. Hills. Cows on the run. After a long climb and a chase along a steep hillside Richie, Blake and I caught a herd traversing a narrow gully.
A tuskless presented herself, bunched up with the herd – “That one,” Richie said – as the first pressure was taken up on the 500’s trigger. Another cow ran behind her as that thought crossed my mind. (See a previous expensive disaster here:
Two Buf ,one solid!
Both Blake and Richie yelled “No!”. It would have resulted in a shoot through and two dead animals for sure – difficult, for all concerned. It is in these tense moments that client and PH learn about each other. He was on the spot giving good advice second to second as is needed as circumstances unfold. That his job and he did it well. My job is to listen and follow his advice. We both did our jobs and no shot was fired. I learnt he gave good advice, he learnt I would follow it .This would bear fruit later in the hunt. At that moment we attempted to again run after the herd but I was stuffed and folded to the ground.
Day six found us once again chasing cows up hills with them winning the race. As we caught our breath, amazingly, Richie heard a noise. It was another heard of cows coming up the gully from right to left. A tuskless was in the lead. Richie and I closed. The shot was uphill, cover almost nonexistent. Richie pushed us forward – at forty yards it was my call – I much prefer a range of twenty yards for my double rifle shooting but this was it at this moment, a side on brain shot on offer. I pulled the rear (first) trigger and down it went. The beast began to stagger to its feet; the bullet had passed just below the brain to be later found in the skin of the right ear. The finger was on the front trigger a fraction of a second later as the pressure was taken up for the finisher. Stop was the PH’s instruction: the matriarch had halted by the fallen one and was looking directly at us at forty yards. Any movement would have betrayed our position, a charge would have certainly followed. Seconds passed with the first pressure taken up on the front trigger maintained as we remained motionless. The matriarch turned and moved on. The shot followed. Down again. We run up to finish it. Two more quick shots from the 500 and it is over.
I have no doubt if had been using one of the “girlie guns”, touted here often as elephant rifles, I would have been shooting up the arse of a departing animal. I was again pleased I was shooting a proper elephant rifle with adequate knock down power.
All shots taken on this safari were on elephant and hippo. Most were complete shoot-throughs. I will be using the new Woodleigh Hydrostatically-stabilised solids exclusively from now on. Pictures of projectiles and load data are to be found as above here:
New Woodleigh Solids
Compare to our Dekka elephant hunt in 2008 projectile results found here:
Woodleigh solids deforming
As my animal was retrieved we enjoyed traditional elephant kebab made up of meat, onion, fat then meat again and so on. Delicious.
Needless to say another celebration followed. I always carry a satellite phone on safari and the enormous pleasure of ringing the “missing” member of the hunting party to gloat is hard to describe. Martin was there in ’91 and ’01 and decided not to come this trip. Life is not a dress rehearsal: if a group of close mates ask if you want to go back to Africa, you’d be mad not to say yes – you will always regret a different decision.
At this point I would like to talk about the game viewing we enjoyed. I saw more elephant at Makati than anywhere else in Africa other than Chobe National Park in Botswana. The numbers for a hunting reserve were astonishing. We saw lion three times on the hunt as well as numerous plains game of all varieties, including bush pig in daylight hours. When we moved down to the Zambezi river for the hippo and tiger fishing we saw a group of hyena larger than I saw in Kruger, South Lawanwa, Chobe or Etosha national parks in 2008. To cut the story short the game viewing alone was worth the sticker price of the hunt. I know I might go back another ten times and not see the range of animals I did but it was bloody good. The image of a huge lioness walking along a dirt road with the backdrop of burnt African bush, roaring for her pride will live with me forever!
After the elephant hunt was done and dusted we went to finalise paperwork at the Parks office.
As Africa is Africa a chance to take a hippo arose. I had always wanted to hunt hippo but had thought it too expensive. The Australian dollar, briefly riding high, let me seize the chance – we were now on a hippo hunt. Another long, hot road transfer on the back of the bloody truck and we arrived at Jecha fishing camp Chirundi (previously known as Krochett’s Camp). A more beautiful, cool, idyllic spot on the banks of the mighty Zambezi. It is hard to imagine. The magic wand was waved over another case of cold Castle as we prepared for the next day.
The fishing camp was very comfortable with hot showers and mosquito nets, and the food of good standard but not quite up to the quality CM Safaris had on offer at the very much more remote Makuti camp – another tick for Buzz and Myles.
We had agreed that the team with us (PH, App., camera man) would have one boat and we would have another. I have never considered myself a fisherman and the next few days confirmed that view.
I came to the belief that “tiger” was a corruption of a Shona word meaning extinct!
The fish came later but the main thrust of the next two days was the hippo.
I had talked to Richie at some length about my goals. I wanted to use my open sighted 500 double. This means a close range shot. I also wanted to take the animal on land, the most difficult and dangerous of all hippo scenarios. I will skip the many valiant but failed attempts.
On the successful day we saw a group of cows on the edge of an island in the middle of the Zambezi. We beached the boats on the far side. The humidity was thick like an invisible fog and the temperature was forty-five degrees Celsius (a hundred and thirteen degrees Fahrenheit) in the shade. We slowly advanced through the eight-foot tall “adrenaline grass” following hippo trails. Every turn may present a surprised hippo, croc or elephant that may object to our presence! At fifteen yards the hippos sense that something is up and slip into the water. Thinking my chance was gone I strolled along the bank. Suddenly Richie is frantically calling me with hand signs. The crafty old bull had been sitting quietly in the water as the cows had ventured onto the bank. As they slipped back into the water he surfaced briefly to see what was going on, twelve feet from the muzzle of my 500. A quick double tap to the back of the skull and he was mine. In fact, his brains were blown out of his ears. The video sound track showed the two aimed shots were delivered one second apart. The huge bull – later estimated at 3000 kilograms – rolled over and disappeared to the bottom.
We attempted to drag the bottom with the boat anchors but to no avail. Then, believe it or not, Blake dived under the boat into the crocodile-infested waters to see if he could tie a rope around the beast’s leg. He could not see it in the dark water in the deep channel that was under the boat. Better him than me was all I could think!
There was nothing to do other than to wait. We went off tiger fishing while the boat with Richie and the lads cruised up and down the Zambezi in case our prize had floated down stream before surfacing. As luck would have it, two hours later we saw the other boat approaching towing something behind it. There was the hippo! A brief trip down river, the carcass dragged ashore by the Landcruiser (with great difficulty) and the photos completed, the work of butchering began. We withdrew to a bit of distant shade and commenced our work on the cooler box of Castles and ice in earnest.
A magnificent way to see the sun go down on another magnificent day in Africa. That evening the celebration did kick on a bit but we only had one more day to go.
The last thing to accomplish on this trip was a tiger fish. Three days on and off the river so far had yielded zero. The last day was dedicated to hunting the (obviously nearly extinct) tiger fish.
At last, late in the afternoon Matt lands a very respectable six-pounder. Not long after, Dr P. hooks an ever bigger one, but it gets away. Next I manage to land a four-pounder. The last day is done. I suggest one more trawl down the channel for the “honour of the regiment”. I could see Matt was sceptical but we gave it one last try and in the last five minutes of the last day Dr P. lands a four-pounder. Another perfect end to a fantastic day. Dr P. lets his go. At Matt’s suggestion we give my fish to a local woman on the Zambian side to feed her children and we headed home. It called for another celebration!
The next day was the usual hours on the back of the bloody truck to the comfortable B&B we knew well (and another cold case of Castle to greet us). As is usual with CM Safaris, the last night is on the company and we enjoyed a very flash meal with Buzz and Richie, their girlfriends and Blake.
Buzz escorted us to the airport next day to help with customs and the firearms as he usually does.
A brief flight to Johannesburg, transit loungebar, then the usual fourteen hours of cramped agony as I squeeze my 190 cm body into a Qantas economy seat and we are in Sydney. Dr P. then has the pleasure of catching a domestic flight to Canberra. Did I mention Qantas lost the rifles? A story for another day.
All in all an old boys’ holiday does not get any better.
Photo gallery



The two photos above show the well maitained Makuti camp.


Above photo glassing hills at Makuti.



Above three photos are Dr P's elephant-hot work




The above three photos are my elephant

Below are elephant kebabs ready for the coals-delicious


Celebrations begin in earnest

The fishing camp was idyllic

Matt lands the catch of the trip



Above-a decent bull




The view when fishing from an island in the Zambezi takes some beating


And to remind us all that life is not a dress rehersal-us 19 years ago Lower Dande & Hluhuwe



Australia
I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of drought and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror
The wide brown land for me!
 
Posts: 295 | Location: Australia | Registered: 09 February 2005Reply With Quote
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Did I mention Qantas charged Dr P. $1,100 extra baggage charge one way for one piece of luggage weighing nineteen kilograms? This is not a typo, Qantas is gouging. In words – eleven hundred dollars.

Makes me want to go kill a Koala bear!


STAY IN THE FIGHT!
 
Posts: 1520 | Location: Southern California | Registered: 25 July 2006Reply With Quote
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Wombat,
For next time, you can pre book excess baggage for a cheaper rate (approx ($150 for 5ks or $2?? for 10kgs) or better still book via SAA for about $200 less, plus an add 21kg sport allowance and yet still travel on a Qantas flight from Sydney.
 
Posts: 5786 | Location: Sydney,Australia  | Registered: 03 July 2005Reply With Quote
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Dear Wambat

Good to read about your hunt.
Would I be able to have a talk with you?
mark.mclean@rocketmail.com

V Australia wanted to charge us $100 per KG
at Joburg this year, pulled out all our gear to through in the bin then the supervisor said they would take it FOC.
 
Posts: 376 | Location: Australia | Registered: 22 June 2010Reply With Quote
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Thanks for the report.It looks like you had a great time with the boys! Blake sure is in great shape.He was running up hills to check for game when I was there.



Offhand Open Sight Rifle Shooter
NRA Member
 
Posts: 10721 | Location: Montreal | Registered: 07 November 2002Reply With Quote
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Thanks for sharing your wonderful story.
 
Posts: 535 | Location: Greensburg, PA | Registered: 18 February 2008Reply With Quote
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Great report and congratulations on a successful trip. I would sure hate to have to keep your team in beer, bet that ate into Buzz and Myles daily rates. beer


Mike

"Living dangerously is twice blessed -- it blesses the moment with elation; it blesses the after-day with warm memories." ~Major P.J. Pretorius

"The man who declares that he is not afraid of elephants is either an ignoramus or a liar." ~Baron Bror von Blixen-Finecke

". . . when a man has shot an elephant his life is full." ~John Alfred Jordan

"Danger not only adds zest to all forms of sport, it also tends to sharpen the faculties and to bring into focus all that is to be seen and heard in a forest. Danger, which is understood, and which you are prepared to face, does not in any way distract from pleasure." ~Jim Corbett

". . . he wasn't aware of it then, by the time he left he had been infected by a disease known to many born outside the continent as the call of Africa -- an incurable disease indeed. ~ Peter Stiff

 
Posts: 15817 | Location: Texas | Registered: 03 January 2006Reply With Quote
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Great report...thanks!


Good Hunting,

Tim Herald
Worldwide Trophy Adventures
tim@trophyadventures.com
 
Posts: 2739 | Location: Lexington, KY | Registered: 13 January 2005Reply With Quote
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Ozhunter,
Dr P did book with SAA.This prevented him purchasing his "extra weight cost" online,because they do not offer it and Qantas will not let you do it if you do not have a Qantas ticket.
No one ever mentioned a "sports allowance".Will look into it.


Australia
I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of drought and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror
The wide brown land for me!
 
Posts: 295 | Location: Australia | Registered: 09 February 2005Reply With Quote
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Very well done!


Frank



"I don't know what there is about buffalo that frightens me so.....He looks like he hates you personally. He looks like you owe him money."
- Robert Ruark, Horn of the Hunter, 1953

NRA Life, SAF Life, CRPA Life, DRSS lite

 
Posts: 11098 | Location: Bakersfield CA. USA | Registered: 30 December 2002Reply With Quote
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Great report Wombat - looks like you guys know how to have fun.
Hey Ozhunter - can you elaborate a bit more on the "sport allowance" please ?
I'm tired of only taking a change of underpants, and a clean shirt in addition to my guns because Qantas are being extra vigilant on the excess baggage. Thanks.
 
Posts: 382 | Location: New Zealand, Australia, Zambia | Registered: 25 May 2009Reply With Quote
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tu2


DRSS: HQ Scandinavia. Chapters in Sweden & Norway
 
Posts: 2292 | Location: Denmark | Registered: 09 June 2005Reply With Quote
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The smiles tell it all. Good shooting and great photos.

Mike


Michael Podwika... DRSS bigbores and hunting www.pvt.co.za " MAKE THE SHOT " 450#2 Famars
 
Posts: 6687 | Location: Wyoming, Pa. USA | Registered: 17 April 2003Reply With Quote
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Well-written report and well-done on your trophies. Your custom 9.3 is a beaut...


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: 6437 | Location: Victoria, Texas | Registered: 30 March 2003Reply With Quote
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Thanks for the fun read, you gentlemen certainly had a rip-roaring good time! tu2

Sounds like Young Blake was a bit, errr, shall we say "anxious" for the season to be over so he could get back to town!

Good intel on Alan...I hope Rosie isn't reading the forums! Big Grin

Dr P's tuskless looks big-bodied, any field guesstimate of age?

Congratulations on the trip!
 
Posts: 3104 | Location: PA | Registered: 02 August 2002Reply With Quote
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A ripping yarn, Wombat, told in the gung-ho, staccato style of a man who knows what he wants and usually gets it.


Could it be Bob Jones's country has actually done two things right then: not only the best safari boots but the best PHs, too?

I take it Dr P is a busy man with a need for much luggage and no time to trim it. With code sharing, $50-a-Kg excesses and some companies' restrictions on extra pieces, $1100 for 19Kg over does not surprise me at all.

On my only trip in that direction, I took parsimonious pride in avoiding excess baggage both ways, even with two weighty rifles. However, I had the time to think about and do it and saw no need for heavy photographic equipment - Dr P probably had different priorities.
 
Posts: 2752 | Location: Melbourne, Australia | Registered: 31 March 2009Reply With Quote
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A nice read and great hunting. Thanks for sharing the story with us tu2


Proud DRSS member
 
Posts: 282 | Registered: 05 February 2007Reply With Quote
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Well done and thanks for the good read. So nice to be taken to Makuti.
 
Posts: 1753 | Location: South Dakota | Registered: 22 August 2004Reply With Quote
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Thanks for the great read!


Antlers
Double Rifle Shooters Society
Heym 450/400 3"
 
Posts: 1927 | Location: Alaska | Registered: 13 February 2002Reply With Quote
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