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Zimbabwe Sapi Elephant Hunt 5/1 - 5/14 2010 (Pictures Added)
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Company: Mokore Safaris
PH: Neil Duckworth
Animals Hunted: Trophy Elephant, Buffalo, Hippo
Rifles Used: William Evans 470, Winchester 375 H&H
Bullets used: 470 - Woodleigh softs and solids, 375 H&H - Swift AFrames, Barnes solids
Travel Agent: Gracey Travel - Shawn


I had taken a tuskless cow in Oct of 2005 in Dande and knew I wanted a trophy bull. With that in mind, I went to the 2008 DSC convention to see if I could find a suitable hunt. I met Neil at the convention, we hit it off and discussed various options. I was comfortable with Zimbabwe and liked the Zambezi valley but wanted something bigger than the typical valley bull of 35 - 40 lbs. I didn't want to do a night hunt and was looking for a truly wild area. Neil suggested we look at a hunt in Nyakasanga, one of the auction areas adjacent to Mana Pools National Park. Each year the early hunts give a hunter a chance at catching a big bull out of the park. The only down side was Nyakasanga is an auction area and you pay the bill upfront before the hunt. I worked out a deal with Neil for him to outfit and guide the hunt and I left him a deposit with the hunt booked for May of 2009.


At the Jan 2009 DSC convention I saw Neil again but had to postpone the hunt due to work conditions. At that point, I wasn't sure if I was going to go at all. We met again at the 2010 DSC convention and since work was going better I decided to go for it. Neil's father bid on my behalf at the auction in March and was able to secure one of the two Sapi camps on the other side of Mana Pools from Nyakasanga.

I arrived on Delta through Atlanta to Joburg, flight was great and uneventful. The flight attendants were much friendlier than the SAA crews on my previous two safaris. I spent the night at the AfricanSkye house, accommodations and food were great. I used Gracey Travel's firearms permit service and breezed through the airport. I met several other hunters that evening that were headed to Zim and we rode over to the aiport in the am to catch the flight to Harare. Neil picked me up at the Harare airport and after clearing customs we made the long 8hr drive to Sapi.



We arrived that evening and started the hunt first thing the next morning after checking the rifles. We agreed we would concentrate on elephant first as we didn't want to disturb the area with a lot of shooting. The hunting consisted on driving the limited roads and river beds looking for suitable elephant tracks. Once we found a track that looked good we were off into the incredibly thick jesse. On some days we went all day tracking. In many cases the bull's tracks would be wiped out by cow herds that seemed to be everywhere. Many good tracks were lost due to the cows. The first morning we came upon a nice bull of around 40lbs per side, after a short discussion, we agreed to pass. Later in the hunt, I was beginning to second guess that decision.

On day 3, after tracking elephant all day, we spotted four hippo bulls in a pan. We did a short stalk and after deciding which was the best trophy, I did a side brain shot with the 375 H&H. At the shot, the Hippo went straight down and we recovered the bull in the morning. Afterwards, we determined the Swift had taken out the back of the brain and was lodged in the off side of the skull.



The days of tracking and either not catching up with the bull or losing the tracks in the cow herds continued, very frustrating! Several times we were noticed by cows and had to beat a hasty retreat to avoid a charge. The jesse was extremely thick and in many cases we came in very close contact with elephant, just no shooters.

On day 7, we were on our way back to camp after a 25 kilometer tracking day. Neil noticed a group of buffalo had recently crossed the road after drinking in the river. We all jumped out of the truck and began to track. We caught up with the small group of buffalo and began the stalk. As we got closer, we were picked up by a cow and small bull. They were giving us that look when a nice bull came around the corner to investigate. As he came around he was staring at us straight on, Neil put down the sticks and I shot the 470 right into his chest. He hunched up at the shoot and ran off to the left. We began to follow and after a minute or so heard the death bellow. The bull was dead a hundred yards or so from where he was hit facing us.


With the buffalo and the hippo behind us, we continued the hunt for the elephant. I couldn't believe how demanding it was to hunt in the jesse. The cover was so thick I didn't see how an elephant could move through so easily. On the evening of day 9, we came across a 9 ft black mamba crossing the Sapi river. Earlier in the hunt, we came across two puff adders but they weren't given a second thought. Not the mamba, you could tell it made the team uneasy. I wasn't sure if that was a good or bad omen, I can say I didn't need to see a second one!

Day 10 came and we spent the morning looking for tracks unsuccesfully for 4 hrs. I was getting concerned I was running out of time and having second thoughts about letting the 40 pounder walk on day 1. Around 10am we decided to come down the Sapi river to see if we could catch a bull out watering or feeding along the river. As we rounded a corner in the river we spotted a bull heading into the jesse. Neal caught a glimpse of the tusks and thought they were good. The chase was on. We headed into the jesse and caught up with the bull who turned as he heard us. He came to within around 15 yds and turned away, which was good, as he only had 25lb tusks. We heard another one off to our left and followed. We were able to catch up with the bull and he turned once he heard us and came. Neil could see he was a shooter and when he came at us all I was focused on was his forehead and where to shoot. He came in and I shot, he dropped immediately. We ran around the bush and both of us put an insurance shot in his chest, he was dead.

The tusks were 17" around at the lip, the left one was 51" long out of the lip and the right one was 45". Neil estimated them to be around 50lbs per side. They were long beautifully matched tusks. We spent the rest of the day getting the meat back to camp and finished up about 7pm. The Woodleigh solid had traveled 29" through the skull and was found in the neck vertebrae with the rear of the bullet bent and split.





We spent the rest of our time lounging around the camp, fishing and checking in with the skinners. As we left camp ,they were cutting out the tusks. I would have to wait until I was back in the states for the weight. As I landed in Atlanta, I had an email from Shayle, Neil's wife. The left tusk weighed 62lbs, the right one 58lbs. Exactly what I was looking for when I booked the trip.

Neil and his team did an excellant job and I would highly recommend them. His father, Barry, was able to spend several days in camp and has led a very interesting life and was a great story teller.

The camps are very run down as provided by Parks, but we knew that going in and Mokore was very prepared. The area is very wild and we saw Lion, Leopard, Hyena and Wild Dogs.


IMG]http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/jbgallagher3/Zimbabwe%202010/DSCN0095.jpg[/IMG]
IMG]http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/jbgallagher3/Zimbabwe%202010/DSCN0095.jpg[/IMG]


I would say it was the hunt of lifetime but I'm already plotting how to get back. I'll add some pictures shortly after my wife figures out how to upload them.[
 
Posts: 1200 | Location: Texas | Registered: 29 August 2006Reply With Quote
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Great hunt and report. Congrats! I look forward to the photos...


Good Hunting,

Tim Herald
Worldwide Trophy Adventures
tim@trophyadventures.com
 
Posts: 2871 | Location: Lexington, KY | Registered: 13 January 2005Reply With Quote
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470 Evans

Great safari and congratulations on a great ele bull plus your buffalo and hippo. I'll be very interested in the pix. You could not have been in better hands than with Neil. He is one of the best of the young PHs in Zim.

Mark


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Posts: 11577 | Location: LAS VEGAS, NV USA | Registered: 04 August 2002Reply With Quote
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Excellent Jim. Looking forward to the pictures, congratulations.


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: 16864 | Registered: 03 January 2006Reply With Quote
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Very good. Now for the pics.


Will J. Parks, III
 
Posts: 2965 | Location: Alabama USA | Registered: 09 July 2009Reply With Quote
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Great hunt and report. And now for the pictures, you tease.
 
Posts: 1891 | Location: South Dakota | Registered: 22 August 2004Reply With Quote
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That sure sounds like a great adventure and a wonderful ele at the end, congratulations. It was a courageous decision not to shoot the 40 pounder, a risk that is always worth taking, well done.


Ahmed Sultan
 
Posts: 726 | Registered: 29 June 2007Reply With Quote
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Great Elephant tu2


"Never in the field of human conflict
was so much owed by so many to so few." Sir Winston Churchill

 
Posts: 1799 | Location: Throughout the British Empire | Registered: 08 October 2004Reply With Quote
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Congratulations on a great safari. Wonderfull report and photos.


"There are worse memorials to a life well-lived than a pair of elephant tusks." Robert Ruark
 
Posts: 4743 | Location: Story, WY / San Carlos, Sonora, MX | Registered: 29 May 2002Reply With Quote
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What an awesome adventure,hope you bring videos and photos to the next shoot beer


DRSS
 
Posts: 1887 | Location: MI | Registered: 20 March 2007Reply With Quote
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That is a really nice bull ele! Congrats.

465H&H
 
Posts: 5686 | Location: Nampa, Idaho | Registered: 10 February 2005Reply With Quote
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Congrats! Great trophy and interesting report.I thinck about hunt with Mokore safaris there.470Evans Did you see shootable sable there?
 
Posts: 146 | Location: Moscow,Russia | Registered: 03 October 2009Reply With Quote
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Wonderful elephant.


mario
 
Posts: 1414 | Location: northern italy | Registered: 01 June 2002Reply With Quote
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Congrats, Fantastic ivory!!

Tanks for shearing clap
 
Posts: 86 | Location: Norway | Registered: 12 April 2006Reply With Quote
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Wonderful safari! Congratulation! Superb trophies.


Steve
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Posts: 8084 | Location: NW Arkansas | Registered: 09 July 2005Reply With Quote
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Congratulations on a FANTASTIC safari!!!
beer beer beer
 
Posts: 3430 | Registered: 24 February 2007Reply With Quote
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Great pictures, thanks!


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

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Posts: 11724 | Location: Bakersfield CA. USA | Registered: 30 December 2002Reply With Quote
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Superb elephant, hippo and buff! You covered the pachyderms! Excellent report as well... thanks for taking time to post with details!


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!
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Life grows grim without senseless indulgence.
 
Posts: 6850 | Location: Victoria, Texas | Registered: 30 March 2003Reply With Quote
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Congrats on a beautiful elephant!. Great pictures and report, I enjoyed it.



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Posts: 354 | Location: Fort Worth, TX | Registered: 12 April 2005Reply With Quote
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Wonderful trophies!!
Thanks for the pictures
 
Posts: 1659 | Location: Winston,Georgia | Registered: 07 July 2007Reply With Quote
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Well done. Congratulations! tu2
 
Posts: 14385 | Registered: 04 April 2005Reply With Quote
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What a wonderful ele bull.. Man, what a set of long ivory..

Congrats!
 
Posts: 2123 | Location: AZ and TX | Registered: 13 February 2006Reply With Quote
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Doing your homework really paid in dividens!! Nice Ele & pics


Skip Nantz
 
Posts: 503 | Location: SouthEast, KY | Registered: 09 May 2010Reply With Quote
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Great report. I have met Neil a couple of times, hope to be able to work out a hunt with him one day.
 
Posts: 553 | Location: the Mississippi Delta | Registered: 05 October 2003Reply With Quote
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Looks like you had a great time! Congratulations and thanks for sharing!


Rusty
We Band of Brothers!
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Posts: 9687 | Location: Missouri City, Texas | Registered: 21 June 2000Reply With Quote
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Congratulations on a wonderful hunt with a wonderful rifle!

Brett


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Rhyme of the Sheep Hunter
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.
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Posts: 4532 | Location: Alaska | Registered: 21 February 2008Reply With Quote
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Congratulations on a great and successful hunt.

Congrats especially for that beautiful elephant!

JPK


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Posts: 4900 | Location: Chevy Chase, Md. | Registered: 16 November 2004Reply With Quote
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Well done!!


Antlers
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Posts: 1950 | Location: AK to AZ | Registered: 13 February 2002Reply With Quote
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Congratulations on a great trip.
 
Posts: 11729 | Location: Florida | Registered: 25 October 2006Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by JPK:
Congratulations on a great and successful hunt.

Congrats especially for that beautiful elephant!

JPK


x2
Sapi is one of my favorite Safari areas.Particularly in the hills in the south east of the concession.
 
Posts: 5868 | Location: Sydney,Australia  | Registered: 03 July 2005Reply With Quote
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You will have a great amount of trouble having another safari as successful. Hope you haven't used up all of your luck. Wink

465H&H
 
Posts: 5686 | Location: Nampa, Idaho | Registered: 10 February 2005Reply With Quote
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Dang Jim, I just keep coming back to this thread to look at that ele...whew! That is fine!


Antlers
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Posts: 1950 | Location: AK to AZ | Registered: 13 February 2002Reply With Quote
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Jim - Congrats on a great hunt and fantastic trophies- Niel and his brother Gary are top notch Phs.

Your ele is my dream ele , long beautiful tusks! Well done!
 
Posts: 1014 | Location: Zimbabwe | Registered: 22 June 2009Reply With Quote
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Wonderful Elephant. Congratulations on a great safari.
 
Posts: 111 | Location: Jackson, MI USA | Registered: 18 February 2008Reply With Quote
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Well done,and well told, indeed. Thanks. Jim
 
Posts: 136 | Location: Great Falls,MT | Registered: 28 December 2007Reply With Quote
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Dream Safari
 
Posts: 5868 | Location: Sydney,Australia  | Registered: 03 July 2005Reply With Quote
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What a great Ellie and a big buff as well!

How wide was the buff. He looks to my untrained eye about 40 or a little better.

Thanks for sharing. It is always heartening to know the big ones are still out there.

BH63


Hunting buff is better than sex!
 
Posts: 2205 | Registered: 29 December 2015Reply With Quote
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Thanks for bringing back a great hunt!

Looking back on this trip it seems a long time ago.

I work in Financial Services and the 2008 Financial crisis caused me to postpone the original date in 2009. I eventually decided the hell with it and went in 2010.

The best part was shooting the elephant and the buffalo with an iron sighted double rifle.

I had the hunt filmed and still enjoy watching the bullet impact on the buffalo, he was facing us and the Woodleigh solid hit him in the center of the chest, he staggered at the shot and turned to run off. He only went 100 yds or so and we heard his death bellow.

The elephant was in thick cover and you can't see the front brain shot impact on film but you can hear him hit the ground with a thud. My heart was beating out of my chest....

I never measured the buffalo, I guess I should.
 
Posts: 1200 | Location: Texas | Registered: 29 August 2006Reply With Quote
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Well done! Thanks for posting.
 
Posts: 1312 | Location: Sinton, Texas | Registered: 08 November 2006Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by 470Evans:


The best part was shooting the elephant and the buffalo with an iron sighted double rifle.




THIS!!!!
 
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