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Bull Elephant & Buffalo, Charlton McCallum Safaris, Dande, August/September '14
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Charlton McCallum Safaris
Dates: 26th August - 10th September 2014
Areas: Dande East & North
Camps: Karunga & Pedza Pazi
PH: Buzz Charlton
Trackers: Criton, Nyati & Eddie
Cameraman: Justin Drainer
Rifles: Holland & Holland Royal Double .500NE & Heym SR21 9.3x62
Ammo: .500NE Hornady DGS 570gr & Barnes TSX 570gr handloads, 9.3x62 Blaser CDP 286gr



A bit of background. This was my 3rd African safari and potentially the first time I would take the ultimate trophy, the Bull Elephant. My first safari was in the Selous where I took a nice hippo on land with my .500 but had to take my buffalo with a .416 Rigby bolt action. My second was in South Africa earlier this year when I took another Buffalo, Sable and Roan with a .460 Smith & Wesson Magnum revolver. Both very different hunts with pros and cons of each experience. As with the first 2 safaris, my wife Claire would be an active observer.

Many dream of hunting the African bull elephant and so last year I started making enquiries who to hunt with. I decided to focus on the better known outfits and PHs as I wanted to maximise my chance of success. Right from the outset Charlton McCallum Safaris (CMS) inspired confidence which was reinforced by a number of very positive hunt reports on these pages. Safari booked, fast forward to August 2014.

Arriving at Dande East from Harare in a Cessna 206.



Buzz's wife Steph and the kids leaving camp on our charter.



Checking the zero on my 9.3x62.



Claire relaxing in Karunga camp shortly after our arrival.



I'm going to be completely honest and say I do feel that CMS could improve their camps a little. Don't get me wrong, they are perfectly clean and functional and the food is excellent, but the huts are definitely on the rustic side and I feel could be improved with very little effort and expense, especially for those of us that travel with our wives. Please take this minor criticism in perspective. At no time did the quality of the accommodation affect my enjoyment of the hunt.

First day and we are already in the Jesse.



Although Dande East is almost totally flat it has a lot of Jesse which causes problems when the client is 6ft7in. Looking after your rifle, ducking and trying not to get tangled is a constant battle which you never really get used to. This is one situation where being tall is most definitely a disadvantage.

Despite the Jesse the area is still very beautiful and I never fail to be impressed by the sheer scale of the Baobab tree.



The trackers were doing an amazing job and we were following and catching elephants on a regular basis. Unfortunately they were just not big enough in the ivory for us to consider taking one, but nevertheless it was a very humbling experience to stalk close to the magnificent beasts.

Here we see a big bull but with small tusks resting against a tree.



We all know poaching is a serious problem but CMS are doing everything they can via their DAPU (Dande Anti Poaching Unit) to minimise the effect on wildlife and the natural environment. When they took over the Dande east Area they removed no less than 3,000 snares from watering holes. Here are 2 poachers DAPU caught whilst we were there. Fortunately for them they were cutting trees to make canoes so their axes were confiscated and told to get back over the Mozambique border where they came from.



After 5 days we switched camp to Pedza Pazi and the Dande North area. Lack of water in the East and an absence of good ivory and buffalo made the move make sense. The north is very different to the east. More relief but less Jesse. That works for me!



Towards the end of the second day we bumped into a herd of Zebra and I was off the truck, loaded my rifle and took a shot at around 100 yards with my 9.3x62. The stallion ran and whilst I was confident my aim was good and steady there were no obvious signs of him being hit. The trackers did eventually find some blood, but not much leading us to the conclusion that my bullet had deflected on brush and hadn't found its intended mark. We followed the small blood trail until dark and very reluctantly had to call it a day.

Somewhat deflated all I could think about that evening in camp was finding the Zebra. I had up until this point not lost an animal in a lifetime of hunting and I didn't like the prospect that this being the first. Tomorrow morning could not come soon enough.

The trackers started to work their magic at sunrise and we were encouraged by more blood and evidence of lying down possibly indicating a fatal shot. Sure enough after a few hours we found our Zebra.



My wife cried overcome with the beauty of this stunning animal. I was just relieved that we had found him before the hyenas. The bullet was low and far back confirming my suspicion that there had been a brush deflection. Riga-mortis had set in so we were unable to move him into a more usual position for the photos.



As the safari continued the scenery became more beautiful.



I have never been attracted to the smaller antelopes but Buzz caught me at a week moment and persuaded my that this Grysbok was worth having. Thinking it might bring us luck I took the shot.



We were starting to feel the pressure of not taking our Buff and not seeing any Bull Elephant in the North. We were seeing Buff though and we followed a herd for 2 days until a brief opportunity arose to take a 95 yard shot with my double.



Not the widest but a good hard boss and an old boy taken with a British double rifle. A fabulous hunt and a trophy that means a great deal to me.



We moved back to the East due to lack of Ele Bull activity and on day 13 of a 14 day hunt we were definitely feeling the pressure. There is a real sense of determination in the whole team. We will find our Bull!

We find tracks first thing from a group of Bulls we followed the day before. That's my footprint between them and I'm a UK 12/US 12 1/2.



We track 5 Bulls for around 3 1/2 hours in increasing heat. We don't talk. We are totally focussed on the job in hand. A thorn catches my shirt and flicks back into my wife's eye. Fortunately it hit her eyelid but there's a surprising amount of blood. Next year she will wear sunglasses in the thick stuff.


Suddenly the trackers freeze and they spot the group of Bulls fanning themselves under a tree. Buzz identifies a shootable Bull, but Criton the head trackers notices a bigger Bull just in time. One of the Bulls can sense us and starts to move away. It's now or never. I take a freehand side brain shot with my double at 30 yards. He goes down, but the shot is a little high so I fire a disabling shot through the chest. Reloading rapidly I fire one more time in the ear hole and it's all over in less than 30 seconds.



I could talk for hours about the emotions involved in hunting these incredible animals. Those that have had the privilege to do so will understand.

The ivory weighed 44 and 42 lbs.

I left Zimbabwe feeling that I had lived and experienced something very special. Every single member of staff at CMS does a first class job, whether that be baking bread, tracking or being a professional hunter. They are experts in their field and if you hunt with them you will not be disappointed. I have already booked for next year and if you are interested in hunting the African Elephant, you should too.

I hope you enjoyed my report.

 
Posts: 242 | Registered: 06 May 2012Reply With Quote
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Sounds like a good hard hunt. Congratulations on some fine trophies taken with some fine weaponry.
 
Posts: 4214 | Location: Southern Colorado | Registered: 09 October 2011Reply With Quote
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Nice! tu2
 
Posts: 13051 | Registered: 04 April 2005Reply With Quote
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Big congratulations! Great photos and report!

We were hunting about the same time ala CMS in Bubuye. Sorry we didn't get an opportunity to meet up in Harare.

Best regards, D. Nelson
 
Posts: 2217 | Registered: 17 July 2003Reply With Quote
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Awesome hunt - congrats! Fond memories on my honeymoon hunt there
 
Posts: 1483 | Location: New York | Registered: 01 January 2010Reply With Quote
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Awesome hunt Mark. I knew Buzz would take care of you two. You blooded that 500 properly this time out and I agree, taking a bull ele runs the gamut of emotions in quick succession.

I can hardly wait until Donna and I share a CMS campfire with you and Claire next year.


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Posts: 6491 | Location: North Central TX | Registered: 09 January 2011Reply With Quote
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Nice report!! Thank you for sharing.


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Hunt Reports

2015 His & Her Leopards with Derek Littleton of Luwire Safaris - http://forums.accuratereloadin...6321043/m/2971090112
2015 Trophy Bull Elephant with CMS http://forums.accuratereloadin...6321043/m/1651069012
DIY Brooks Range Sheep Hunt 2013 - http://forums.accuratereloadin...901038191#9901038191
Zambia June/July 2012 with Andrew Baldry - Royal Kafue http://forums.accuratereloadin...6321043/m/7971064771
Zambia Sept 2010- Muchinga Safaris http://forums.accuratereloadin...6321043/m/4211096141
Namibia Sept 2010 - ARUB Safaris http://forums.accuratereloadin...6321043/m/6781076141
 
Posts: 6656 | Location: Alaska | Registered: 05 February 2008Reply With Quote
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congratulations thanks for sharing
 
Posts: 824 | Location: Chico California | Registered: 02 May 2010Reply With Quote
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Great report and proper way to take that bull at 95 yards with your Holland. Glad you connected on all accounts.

Dutch
 
Posts: 2477 | Registered: 10 March 2006Reply With Quote
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Perseverance, the sign of a true hunter!


Congrats and thanks for sharing.
 
Posts: 459 | Location: Manitoba, Canada | Registered: 10 September 2013Reply With Quote
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Very, very nice. I hope to hunt with those guys some day. Congrats!
 
Posts: 184 | Location: Huffman, TX.  | Registered: 04 August 2011Reply With Quote
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Well done, sounds like you had a great hunt. Appreciate you sharing the report.


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: 15897 | Location: Texas | Registered: 03 January 2006Reply With Quote
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Mark,

A wonderful hunt. The photos are superb. No one makes all the shots and we all get humbled. A friend told me this, "humility is the name of the game."
A fine bull ele and shot the proper way a double and open sights. I also have been privileged to harvest an ele. The emotions are overcoming at time.

The best,

Mike tu2


Michael Podwika... DRSS bigbores and hunting www.pvt.co.za " MAKE THE SHOT " 450#2 Famars
 
Posts: 6689 | Location: Wyoming, Pa. USA | Registered: 17 April 2003Reply With Quote
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Very nice...Thanks for sharing!
 
Posts: 3430 | Registered: 24 February 2007Reply With Quote
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Great report. Congratulations on some great trophies. I think you'll be glad you took that grysbok.
 
Posts: 6956 | Location: Houston, Texas | Registered: 26 December 2005Reply With Quote
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Nicely done by all concerned. Great report and photos. Congratulations!
The enormity of hunting these creatures is still sinking in for me, five years after the first. You are at that vulnerable point, where addiction happens.
Love the grysbok, by the way.
 
Posts: 1765 | Location: South Dakota | Registered: 22 August 2004Reply With Quote
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Great report and pics. Nice combo 500/9,3 too.
 
Posts: 672 | Location: Germany | Registered: 24 February 2006Reply With Quote
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quote:
I hope you enjoyed my report.

Yes, great hunt and report!

QUESTION, please:
How long are the barrels of your H&H?

Best wishes.

F.


 
Posts: 774 | Registered: 13 March 2011Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by Bockhunter:
quote:
I hope you enjoyed my report.

Yes, great hunt and report!

QUESTION, please:
How long are the barrels of your H&H?

Best wishes.

F.

24 inch barrels, length of pull 15 3/4 inches and overall weight is 10 lbs 9 oz.
 
Posts: 242 | Registered: 06 May 2012Reply With Quote
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Our camera man, Justin Drainer, deserves a special mention. He took most of the photos in my report and many more too. He also took some great video footage although it hasn't been edited yet.

However, Justin is far more than just a camera man. He is very much part of the team, helping out in every way possible and doing so with a great sense of humour. He would be a big asset to anyone's hunt.

He also makes a wicked chilli sauce stir
 
Posts: 242 | Registered: 06 May 2012Reply With Quote
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Congrats!

I wish I have my next safari with .500 double in my hands ))


Hunt big or go home.
 
Posts: 574 | Location: Moscow, Russia | Registered: 13 March 2007Reply With Quote
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While 26" barrels are popular on AR the 24" for sure look very good!
 
Posts: 672 | Location: Germany | Registered: 24 February 2006Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by nickh:
Congratulations on your hard earned trophies!

I was hunting with CM in Mukanga when you were in the east and north. We were all hoping that you would find
the right ele bull, and it looks as if you did indeed!!

At one stage though, we thought that Buzz was going to get the Mohican haircut i believe was promised if it didn't work out!!
That would have been interesting!!!!!

Congrats. again on a great safari and hard earned trophies.

cheers


Nick

Cheers Nick. We were following your progress too so congratulations on your successful hunt.

Buzz agreed to have a Mohican if my bull weighed in at 50lbs. Unfortunately we were 7 lbs short, but he has agreed to carry the deal over to next year Big Grin
 
Posts: 242 | Registered: 06 May 2012Reply With Quote
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Congratulations,

Very nice report.
 
Posts: 292 | Location: Northernmost Sweden | Registered: 17 July 2013Reply With Quote
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A dream hunt. Congratulations Smiler
 
Posts: 951 | Location: Norway | Registered: 08 June 2012Reply With Quote
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quote:
While 26" barrels are popular on AR the 24" for sure look very good!


24 is "quicker" and "faster".
Even in the bush -as you see in one picture- it is better to handle.

But...:
I think CMC has a double too.
I think a Heym PH in .500 NE? ..and 26 Inch :-)?

Best wishes.

F.


 
Posts: 774 | Registered: 13 March 2011Reply With Quote
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Thanks and congratulations! Oh, and if you should ever need a "gunbearer" for that Royal, just let me know! Cheers, jorge


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Posts: 6949 | Location: Orange Park, Florida. USA | Registered: 22 March 2001Reply With Quote
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good hunt
 
Posts: 32 | Registered: 07 January 2011Reply With Quote
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Congrats and thanks for posting.

Justin videoed my leopard hunt in August and you are spot on in saying he is much more than a camera man.
 
Posts: 1169 | Location: Sinton, Texas | Registered: 08 November 2006Reply With Quote
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Fantastic! Thanks for sharing.


.


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Posts: 30521 | Location: Crosby and Barksdale, Texas | Registered: 18 September 2006Reply With Quote
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Looks like a proper safari.

Some great trophy and stories to be told over the years...


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Posts: 496 | Location: West River at Heart | Registered: 08 April 2012Reply With Quote
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Congratulations on your Elephant Bull
 
Posts: 1651 | Location: Winston,Georgia | Registered: 07 July 2007Reply With Quote
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Thanks for the report. That's a great looking bull.


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Posts: 1069 | Location: San Diego | Registered: 02 July 2005Reply With Quote
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24 inch barrels, length of pull 15 3/4 inches and overall weight is 10 lbs 9 oz.

I think you bought this rifle at HH directly.

Did you handle longer barrels in London?
Why you order the shorter Barrels?

best wishes.

F.


 
Posts: 774 | Registered: 13 March 2011Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by Bockhunter:
24 inch barrels, length of pull 15 3/4 inches and overall weight is 10 lbs 9 oz.

I think you bought this rifle at HH directly.

Did you handle longer barrels in London?
Why you order the shorter Barrels?

best wishes.

F.

The rifle was made for me and H&H recommended 24" barrels for the .500NE. Next year I will take a new Westley Richards .577NE but that will wear 25" barrels as it might have looked a little stumpy with the bigger action.
 
Posts: 242 | Registered: 06 May 2012Reply With Quote
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Quite the adventure! Thanks for posting. The post was just fine. Smiler
 
Posts: 9 | Location: Calgary, AB Canada | Registered: 06 September 2014Reply With Quote
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Great elephant with a classic English double, doesn't get much better than that.

Well done!

Will be fun to see what damage the Westley Richards 577NE does?
 
Posts: 427 | Location: Wyoming | Registered: 04 August 2005Reply With Quote
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Well done!!!


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Posts: 4618 | Location: Littleton, Colorado | Registered: 05 March 2009Reply With Quote
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Congrats on a fine hunt and thanks for sharing it with us! Your post and pics were outstanding! I'm sure you'll enjoy reliving this experience every time you look at those trophies!


"I'm not fluent in the language of violence, but I know enough to get around in places where it's spoken."

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Posts: 258 | Location: Scottsdale, AZ | Registered: 19 April 2012Reply With Quote
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Congrats on a nice bull. Credit to Buzz and Myles for running their concessions with a long term view . They are one of the operators who truly conserve wildlife through hunting. Well done.
 
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