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PICS ADDED to Tuskless hunt Zimbabwe with Alan Shearing/CMS
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Dear AR members.
I've here attempted to tell the exciting tale of my tuskless hunt with CM Safaris and PH Alan Shearing. I'll try and introduce the story as I've seen other members do it on AR.

Outfitter: Charlton McCallum Safaris

Professional hunter: Alan Shearing

Videographer: Justin Drainer

Hunt: Leopard/Tuskless 14 days from late August/into September 2011

Area: Makuti, Zimbabwe

Rifle: Sako.375 H&H Ammo: Norma Barnes Banded Solid and Swift A-frame.

Scope: Schmidt & Bender 1.5-4x20 red dot. For leopard: Meopta ZD 3-12x56.

Cigars: Davidoff (only one-for celebrating)

Previous hunts: 13 PG in South Africa/2 buffalo hunts Zimbabwe

The European Union holds a weapons embargo against Zimbabwe. This means that I could only check in my weapon (from Copenhagen via Frankfurt)to Johannesburg, a city I needed to transit from Europe, I then had to clear my rifle and ammo with SAPS (South African Police Services), and then check-in again for Zim, in this case Harare. Sound advice from Steve "Travel with guns", saw me connect with Henry Durnheim from "" and as such it turned out to be a breeze coming and going from Europe to Zim. I cannot recommend their services enough.

We did not connect with leopard during the 14 days I hunted Makuti. 9 baits hanging and no real interesting hits. One, a male, we sat on for a few days, mornings and evenings, he turned out to prefer darkness when he fed.
It was exciting, especially during the first part of this hunt. For me, too mentally exhausting, it really drained me. Perhaps I'm just not cut out for leopard hunting. But I'm sure cut out for tuskless hunting!

As the following will tell.

Early morning glassing.

Elephant hunting Zimbabwe

Tuskless hunt in Zimbabwe.

Late August of this year, I departed for an adventure long longed for. The hunting for a tuskless in my favorite big game country of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe has a large number of elephants and the species is not, contrary to many beliefs, threatened. The biggest threat to this formidable animal is human encroachment, a completely solid argument why they can and must be hunted, since humans and elephant do not co-exist in terms of endearment.

There is a very big difference between hunting an ivory carrying bull elephant and a tuskless elephant, the latter almost always being a female. Females are joined up in breeding herds, the matriarch a grand old grandmother, followed by her daughters, her daughter’s daughter´s and so on. Some young bulls may be part of the herd, once their hormones prevail, they will be kicked out.

Some young bulls that took off at the sight of us.

Breeding herds are known for their lack of humor, their ignitable temperaments and their short fuses. A reasonable reaction when you consider that such a herd often has quite a few calves to protect. As such, the hunter along with the PH (Professional Hunter) and the trackers need to get up close in order to check out whether the group in fact has a tuskless, minimum 15 years of age, and whether or not she has a young calf by her side. In which case it is a no go and understandably so.

An agitated elephant up close is without a doubt one of the scariest scenarios I can imagine. I had never hunted elephant before, but in previous years, on different occasions, whilst not hunting, in Botswana and the very northern part of Kruger, I’ve encountered several angry ones. It will get your full and undivided attention. (This is a quote from Peter Capstick I think).

I brought my own rifle, a Sako .375 H&H with Norma Barnes Banded Solid for the elephant hunt. This caliber is a minimum requirement when hunting elephant in Zimbabwe. My scope is a Schmidt & Bender red-dot 1.5 -4x20, perfect in every way, I am able to turn it down and shoot with both eyes open. Elephant is taken at close range.

The area in Zimbabwe that I hunted was a 4 hour drive from the capital of Harare. Driving north towards the Zambezi escarpment, you find the area Makuti. A National Parks area of some 1000 square kilometers, it is very mountainous. Unbelievably beautiful, the area holds many elephants, lions, leopards and buffalo. Visible every day, either in the flesh or from tracks. It is not a plains game hunting area, very few of the well-known African antelopes are found here. I saw many sable though, and some large trophies of said antelope are in fact taken in Makuti.

The coveted sable.

Fine buffalo

After several days of looking over groups of elephants, without finding a shootable tuskless, day 9 sees my PH spot a group of elephant on the top of a mountain. Apparently elephants love mountains. It’s much cooler with the wind at the top I presume, so they slowly make their way up one, feeding and go down on the other side of same. Anyway, we are too far from said sighting to establish whether a shootable tuskless is part of this group, so we continue to the foot of Mount Majero. At this stage I’d told my PH Alan, that I seriously doubted I would be able to climb up there.

Suddenly hard of hearing, he starts the climb with a tracker and the game scout. I’m left in the shadow of a tree together with two of the other trackers, Bernard and Mplan. Within minutes they are asleep and I’m left wringing my hands because somewhere in the back of my head I know this may turn out both exciting and challenging. After an hour, the walkie talkie talks in Shona. Tracker Bernard is on the receiving end of the message relayed, and when he turns to me and says ...”big tuskless”… with his infectious smile, I realize this is it. I pop some concentrated sugar into my mouth, drink a bottle of water because at this time of day, 1pm it is hot. Bernard indicates he will carry my rifle up Mount Majero, a first time for me since I always carry my own rifle, I do however realize that I cannot manage this climb with the extra kilos on my shoulder.

So we’re off, Bernard in front, the slightly hesitant hunter (me) just after him and behind me, Mplan, young and fit enough to catch me if I lose my balance and fall over backwards. 45 minutes later, I’m standing on the top of this mountain. I’m given a few minutes rest and we then continue over flat ground towards Alan and the elephants. Initially my knees were shaking when I started the climb, I am now too overwhelmed at having managed getting to the top, to have angst.

We walk right into and towards a group of female elephants, all sporting the most beautiful of ivory. Here is my PH, cool, calm and collected, (as he always was, a big plus in my book). He tells me to sit down and I do. On a most uncomfortable rock, within 30 yards of an elephant foraging towards me. Luckily the wind is in our favor and elephant’s eyesight is not the best.

Suddenly he beckons me forward, and we start the slow approach downhill on the opposite side of the mountain I’ve just climbed. My big, and as it turned out, old tuskless is on her way down the mountain. We’re skirting other females feeding towards us and I do have a serious moment of doubt with regard to the sanity of this. My body language reveals it and I get a severe facial reprimand from Alan and fall into place. 25 yards the shooting sticks come up and I shoot as I'm told. My first shot is slightly behind the brain; this is a side brain shot attempt. Second shot spines her, Alan backs me up as I’ve requested. At this stage she is falling, her back legs folding and an insurance shot in her heart ends this hunt.

It has taken no more than a few seconds, and I am overwhelmed. We pull back, since the rest of the group is still gathered on top of our mountain, where we await their departure. After this, we approach her. It is an extremely emotional moment for me. I’m fascinated by her one visible deep brown eye and long lashes. She is indeed very old; and was later aged at 68 years on the basis of her teeth. I give some thought to her long life, her many calves and I salute her.

My old and beautiful tuskless, my not so old and extremely competent (good looking to boot) PH Alan Shearing and the huntress.

Tendai, the most welldressed and proud Game Scout ever encountered, Martin, Mplan and in front of Alan, Bernard. Heartwarming friendliness and support.

An old and beautiful eye. What she must have seen through her long life.

Our descend from Mount Majero

Waiting for Bernard to bring the cruiser, in the shadow of a slightly battered baobab tree.

Beautiful Makuti.

Hunting tuskless is a very special and exciting hunt.

This hunt was arranged directly with Charlton McCallum Safaris in Zimbabwe and I haven't regretted that for a moment.

In other words, I highly recommend them.

This is the story as it reads on my website.

I do hope you have enjoyed it Wink
Posts: 210 | Location: Denmark | Registered: 13 December 2010Reply With Quote
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Very nice, congratulations.


"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: 11384 | Location: Bakersfield CA. USA | Registered: 30 December 2002Reply With Quote
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Congratulations and thanks for the write up! How about some photos?

It was nice to meet you in the Harare airport on our returns home. How about that joker requesting a "tip" to ensure the prompt loading of my firearms onto the airplane.

Well done and glad you made it home safely.


"We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.”

CMS Zimbabwe 2011
Posts: 259 | Location: Mount Pleasant, SC | Registered: 02 February 2010Reply With Quote
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Congrates! CMS are top notch fellows for sure!!! Look forward to the pics Wink

Skip Nantz
Posts: 481 | Location: SouthEast, KY | Registered: 09 May 2010Reply With Quote
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Congratulations on what sounds like a fine hunt. Alan is a superb hunter. I feel your pain when you describe the hills in Makuti.


"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: 16674 | Registered: 03 January 2006Reply With Quote
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Originally posted by MJines:
Congratulations on what sounds like a fine hunt. Alan is a superb hunter. I feel your pain when you describe the hills in Makuti.

What he said. Cool
Posts: 8468 | Location: Republic of Texas | Registered: 24 April 2004Reply With Quote
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A great hunt report and a memorable experience. And, a nice celebratory cigar!
Posts: 219 | Registered: 16 July 2011Reply With Quote
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Awesome story! Would love some pictures, also.

I plan the same trip April 2013.

Jack Hood

Posts: 251 | Location: West Texas | Registered: 19 January 2008Reply With Quote
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Excellent read and thank you.


Michael Podwika... DRSS bigbores and hunting " MAKE THE SHOT " 450#2 Famars
Posts: 6692 | Location: Wyoming, Pa. USA | Registered: 17 April 2003Reply With Quote
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Weidmannsheil mej!

Posts: 1963 | Location: Slovenia | Registered: 28 April 2004Reply With Quote
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Thanks you for bringing back glorious but sometimes painful memories of chasing tuskless up and down the hills at Makuti. Big pay off, what?
How bad was the recovery? Did you get to Pa Ja's? Pictures, please, if you get a chance.
Posts: 1775 | Location: South Dakota | Registered: 22 August 2004Reply With Quote
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Hi Mej:

Tillykke med din fantastiske afrikanske jagt. Jeg er glad for du tog mit råd, og har tilmeldt dig med Alan and Justin. Vil vi se nogle billeder snart? Jeg er meget spændt på at gå på jagt med Charlton McCallum Safaris i august 2013.

Well, that pretty much taxes my fast-perishing written Danish. I only wish that I could write in Danish a fraction as well as you do in your flawless English.

Thank you, Mej, for a captivating and informative hunt report. Alan, of course, has a sterling reputation; and having had Justin film our hunt in 2010, I can attest to his being an indispensable addition to any safari. I promise you'll never regret having had your safari videotaped.

Having been on a similar tuskless hunt with Buzz only a year ago, your story brought back many vivid memories. You captured quite well the challenges that accompany the strong and sometimes conflicting emotions associated with elephant hunting. And hunting tuskless is undoubtedly the most exciting - and best value - dangerous game hunt in Africa.

Sorry to hear about your frustration with leopard - though from what I've read that is certainly not uncommon. I believe that Craig Boddington sat for a total of 63-days in various blinds before he got his first. It certainly makes me wonder what is in store for me in a couple of years when I join Buzz again.

Now, about your missing photos ...


Merkel Double .470 NE
Whitworth Express .375 H&H
Griffin & Howe .275 Rigby
Winchester M70 (pre-64) .30-06 & .270

"Cogito ergo venor" René Descartes on African Safari
Posts: 526 | Registered: 05 August 2008Reply With Quote
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Congratulations on your hunt with Alan in Makuti!

Offhand Open Sight Rifle Shooter
NRA Member
Posts: 10880 | Location: Montreal | Registered: 07 November 2002Reply With Quote
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Great Report. Congrats on your tuskless.

Posts: 200 | Location: Sonoma, California | Registered: 06 July 2003Reply With Quote
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Hi Mej.
Super report.
Im going down there this tuesday, trying for tuskless,buffalo++ with mr. Shearing.

Posts: 158 | Location: Near the arctic circle, Norway | Registered: 14 October 2005Reply With Quote
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Well done. Alan is a great guy and we got our leopard at Makuti on the last day of our hunt. I also understand your emotional reaction at the end of the ele hunt. If you didn't feel like that you wouldn't be human.
Posts: 559 | Location: UK | Registered: 17 November 2006Reply With Quote
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Well done Mej. tu2
Posts: 13420 | Registered: 04 April 2005Reply With Quote
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Thank you very much for your kind comments in connection with the report I wrote from my hunt for tuskless and leopard with Alan Shearing of CM Safaris.

Opus 72: I enjoyed meeting you too. When one is alone on a hunt, it means a lot to connect with another hunter coming "out" from the bush. Well, as far as the guy asking for money goes, I was too stunned to add a comment right there and then. I also enjoyed your hunting report immensely and I do congratulate you on a fantastic hunt. I had the great pleasure of seeing some of your pictures from said hunt in the bar where we met.

Marty. Since the tuskless was shot on the top of a mountain, recovery was delayed. The day after, a group went up (I wasn't part of it, somehwere I'm sorry about that today),and what could be carried down was.

We passed Pa Ja's on several occasions, since we had leopard baits out in areas where we crossed roads. I've enjoyed a few beers there last year, when I did a non-hunting safari in Mana Pools. Coming and going. Alan however, never even slowed down when we passed, and with the respect I have for him, I was not about to ask for a stopover!

Thank you Mouse93 for posting a picture. Amazing.

Kim. Tak for din hilsen på dansk. Den blev jeg meget glad for. Du skriver sprogligt flot på dit gamle modersmål.
Yes, I do realize that leopard hunting can be tasking. Somehow, it depressed me as it wore on. Looking back, now where I am cleareyed and bushytailed, I wish I'd enjoyed it more, in particular as the days wore on. Next time perhaps, with only leopard on the menu.

Odin. I wish you the very best. Please give Alan, a top notch cool PH, my best regards.

As with regard to pictures, well I have printed T. Carr's advice with regard to posting pictures and I will make another attempt during the next days to post some of Justin Drainer's great photos from my hunt.

Thank you.
Posts: 210 | Location: Denmark | Registered: 13 December 2010Reply With Quote
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Pictures have now been added to this report.
I apologize for the delay. Help arrived this late afternoon in the shape of one of my daughter's, and voila! I hope you enjoy the pictures.
Posts: 210 | Location: Denmark | Registered: 13 December 2010Reply With Quote
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Originally posted by mej:
Pictures have now been added to this report.
I apologize for the delay. Help arrived this late afternoon in the shape of one of my daughter's, and voila! I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Thanks for sharing the pictures!
Posts: 535 | Location: Greensburg, PA | Registered: 18 February 2008Reply With Quote
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Well done Jytte

Now come on over and tell me all the details. (Jytte is my neighbour)

Regards CF
Posts: 389 | Location: Denmark | Registered: 04 March 2007Reply With Quote
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well done good job tu2

Dave Davenport
Outfitters license HC22/2012EC
Pro Hunters license PH74/2012EC
+27 42 24 61388
Follow us on FACEBOOK!/leopardsvalley.safaris
Posts: 980 | Location: South Africa | Registered: 06 December 2009Reply With Quote
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Excellent! Congratulations, CMS are top drawer tu2
Posts: 2270 | Location: Zimbabwe | Registered: 28 February 2007Reply With Quote
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