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Safari company: Mashambanzou Safaris – Grant Taylor
Booking agent: Greg Brownlee – Jeff C. Neal Inc.
Area: Muanza, Sofola Province, Mozambique
Date: August 15-21, 2011
Animals seen: Baboons, Common Duiker, Reedbuck, Warthog, Hartebeest, Eland, Oribi, Cape Buffalo, Impala, Bushbuck, Bushpig
Animals hunted: Cape Buffalo, Duiker, Reedbuck
Rifle: CZ-550 375 H&H, upgrades by Wayne at AHR and a custom stock built by me
Ammo: Federal Premium 300 gr. TSX and Hornady 300 gr. DGS

Like many others on here, going on a hunt in Africa has been a dream of mine for a long time (and I have wanted to go on a photo safari since I was 8 years old), but it was always put off as something I would do when I was older and had more money. That changed though when my grandfather was put on hospice last year and a surge of emotions I hadn’t experience since my father died when I was eight came rushing back. Death can be one heck of a motivator, so when a good family friend asked me “If I died tomorrow, what would I wish I had done today,” “shoot a cape buffalo” came spewing out of my mouth. About a week later, I sent out some inquiries to various outfits and elected, after calling many references, to go with Mashambanzou Safaris via Greg Brownlee of Jeff C. Neal, Inc. My buffalo hunt was booked for August and now the 8 month waiting game began.
Grandpa passed in February and went to join his 3 sons in eternal life and about a month after that a drunk driver ran over a cousin of mine and left him to die in an ally. My family stopped giving me flack about my buffalo hunt after that. Aside from those two events, life just strolled along and I kept myself busy with work. Greg handled all the nitty-gritty for the safari, which was great because I would have had no idea what papers and permits I would need to get.
My safari continued to grow closer and everything was going smooth right up until the morning I was supposed to leave. I had checked my flight the night before and everything was in order, but when I checked again at 5am the day of, my flight into South Africa was now 10 hours behind schedule. A frantic call to my travel agent, Barb Wolbrink, informed me that a plane leaving from Dulles the night before had experienced fueling issues and that that plane was probably the one I was eventually supposed to get on. I had a connecting flight to Beira, so the 10 hour delay would not work. Barb said that if that was indeed the plane and since my ticket was all booked under one code, the airline is required to get me onto all my connecting flights. She said she would handle it and a couple hours later I learned I was going to Germany for the first time too thanks to SAA and at no cost to me. Thank god for Barb!
With my fresh and clean passport in hand I set off for Germany, then down to South Africa, and finally on to my final destination of Beira, Mozambique. After two days in an airport/airplane, a few different countries, and total time-zone confusion, I arrived at the little 3rd world airport in Beira. Grant, my PH, met me at baggage claim and helped me get my visa and hunting license and off we went on the 3 hour drive from Beira to Muanza Camp. Having never been to a 3rd world country before, it was quite the culture shock to see the run down, sheet metal roofed huts people call homes, to hear of the corruption at places like the gas station and grocery store, and to see how the further from the city you went, the poorer and more simplistic people seemed to live.
We arrived in camp just a tad before the sun went down and Grant quickly had me check to make sure my rifle was on point. One shot with my soft and one with my solid landed right below the bulls-eye and could have been covered with a quarter – all set! A quick dinner of chicken, potatoes, butternut squash soup, and pudding then it was off to bed. A frog had decided to join me in my hut, so I put him outside, took the first shower I had had since leaving home, and went to sleep.



I awoke a 4:30am, had a quick bite of eggs and toast then loaded up onto the land cruiser for hour 1.5 hour drive to the “low end.” The hunting area around main camp has a healthy supply of plains game, including lots of sable, but the buffalo prefer to live in the tall grass and thorny bush found in the low end on the other side of the concession. On our way to the low end we passed several small mud huts and their respective owners sitting with their children and dogs to keep warm by the fire. I was thoroughly taken aback by how happy the children seemed despite the fact most of them wore just a single tattered garment (while I was freezing my butt off wearing pants, a sweatshirt, and a coat on top of that)!



We arrived in the low end and proceeded to drive along until we found a fresh set of tracks. The way the trackers can distinguish how old a track is based upon the imprint and the surrounding grass truly amazed me. When we found a track deemed to be from late last night/ early this morning we set out on pursuit. For a couple hours we followed the tracks (I got entangled all the while in about ever thorny bush and vine possible) until alas we spooked the herd in some thick brush. It was a great experience to at least hear some buffalo trudging around (although I didn’t like as the sound of them crashing through brush grew louder as they ran passed our location). Our luck with the buffalo remained much the same that day, so we headed back to camp yielding day one as a victory for the buffalo.
We had a lovely dinner of prawns, bacon and cheese stuffed pastries, and an apple crisp. Our plan for the next day was to head back to the low end and try again while Kevin, the apprentice hunter in camp, would setup a fly camp so we could avoid the long drive every morning and evening.
Day two went much the same as day one except today we actually saw some buffalo. The thick brush can make chasing buffalo very problematic so Grant likes to employ a technique whereby once a piece of brush where the buffalo have holed up is located, he and I would climb on top of an anthill down wind. The trackers would then circle around to the other side of the thicket and beat the brush to try and scare the buffalo our direction, much like an enlarged version of pheasant hunting. We managed to see 4 cows and 4 calves this way, but alas the bull we had been chasing had split from the herd and gone some other direction. We continued on our expedition of tracking and chasing buffalo for the rest of the day without much luck. Defeated, we headed back to the fly camp Kevin had erected for us and, to add insult to injury, it began to rain. We had a lovely dinner of lasagna and fresh baked garlic bread made in the bush, which I elected to finish off in my tent to avoid the downpour. I got a nice chuckle watching Grant and Kevin standing outside eating their dinner sopping wet. A quick bath in a bucket of warm water refreshed me and it was off to bed.



Day three began with the usual driving around the low end in search of fresh tracks. Much to our displeasure, we spent the whole morning looking for tracks only to find fresh tracks about 200 yards from fly camp. If only we had turned right instead of left that morning. Since we were so close to camp, we decided to recharge our batteries with a hot lunch and start refreshed for the afternoon.



We regrouped and headed to another section on the concession about an hours walk from where the “old man” lived. This old man, whom I do not know his name, was one of the few guys Grant trusted for information and had told us about a lone dugga boy on our first day hunting. This lone old bull had been living in close proximity to another villager for about 5 years and, I guess, had finally become a nuisance to the local who lived around the bulls stomping grounds. Since the bull was rumored to stay in a rather small area, we decided to give it a shot. An hour later had us chasing this old bull employing our anthill/beater technique. The bull had some massive hoof prints, one of which showed he had an injury that caused one of his hooves to not hit right. We also learned that since this bull had lived near people so long, Grant’s usual techniques did not work. This bull was familiar with humans and had very little fear of us. We also learned he really did like to stay in a small localized area and that he would rather charge past the trackers in retreat to a familiar area of brush then run away from the oncoming beaters. Day three ended with the buffalo being victorious again. At least it didn’t rain on us that evening in fly camp. Our plan for tomorrow was to go back, now educated, and shoot that old lone bull.



We began day four with the hour long walk to the old bulls home area. I managed to slip off a log we used to cross a creek and soak one of my shoes. When we got to the old bulls home range, the trackers (who had been joined by a couple villagers eager to help us) split into two groups to try and locate where this bull now was. Meanwhile, I sat down and took my shoe off to try and dry one of my socks and fell into a sort of half asleep state. The trackers were back after about 30-45 minutes and we set off in the direction they had seen the tracks heading. What ensued was another long day of education by this lone bull, who, despite having a bum leg, managed to always stay just slightly ahead of us, running right when we expected him to go left. As the sun set I figured we must have been miles from where we started, but the lead tracker, Albano, informed me (via translation through Grant since my Shona is non existent) that we were actually back in the same field we started the day in. It was a long walk back to the cruiser but I was at least pleased to know we were going back to main camp tonight were I could have a real shower and no more elephant jaw bone toilets!



Day five brought a nice change of pace. Grant decided we would try our luck around main camp. There are a few large herds of buffalo that lived around main camp, none of which had been hunted this year. There was also plenty of plainsgame, so we might have an opportunity to break our bad juju. The day started with us seeing a large group of sable, then a consistent parade of oribi, duikers, eland, hartebeest and baboons. At this point, I think Grant could probably sense that all these failed buffalo stalks were beginning to take a toll on me emotionally. Somewhere around 9:00 am we came around a bend and up onto a lone duiker male. He was feeding about 150 yards off and unaware of our presence. Grant grabbed the shooting sticks and instructed me to follow him. We stalked up to about 70 yards away and Grant told me to shoot him so we could break our bad juju. A solid through the shoulder and a common duiker laid claim to my first Africa animal and my first blood with my 375 H&H. He was a nice old male, horns about 3.5” long and well worn. A quick round of photos, some palm tree leaves to shelter the duiker from the sun in the cruiser, and off we went towards camp.



I was in much better spirits at this point and I was joking with Grant if anyone ever had shot an animal only to shoot one right after. About 5 minutes after I uttered this sentence, we turn another corner and the trackers pointed out some animals in a brush. Grant says “reedbuck” and points them out to me, a pair sitting off in the shade of a tree. Reedbuck had been on my secondary list, so I didn’t immediately jump to action. Grant however said to me, all the while looking back and forth at my rifle, “Alan, if ever you wanted to shoot a reedbuck, this would be it.” I’m no fool to know what a PH looking at your rifle means, so with the hood of the truck as a rest, I shot my second animal in Africa. For those curious, his longest horn is 12.75 inches, not that it made a difference to me. Another round of photos, some more palm tree leaves and the second animal of my trip was loaded into the back of the car. Two things I clearly remember about reedbuck, they leave a very nasty oil on your hands and they have one of the wettest noses I have ever seen. I later asked Grant if he would have shot it if I didn’t, he said he would have.



We pulled into camp, watched the animals skinned out then headed for a bite to eat. I was pleased to know that tonight I would actually get to eat game meat from an animal I had killed.
The afternoon was spent chasing buffalo, but no luck in getting up on a herd. Buffalo began to remind me of a ghost, no matter how well we tracked and stalked them, they were always 50 yards ahead of us. We could see tracks, trampled grass and steaming piles of dung, but, alas, the buffalo were invisible. Oh well, duiker appetizers and reedbuck steaks made for an enjoyable dinner, but we were all off early to bed. Grant felt that the low end still was our best odds at getting a buffalo.
Day six started at 4:00 am with us barreling down the rickety road to the low end. I tried to sleep, but an African dirt road isn’t quite conducive for catching some shut eye. At this point in the hunt, anyone who had half an idea about how to find and track buffalo was now out helping us. Grant had brought every tracker he had and had split them up into three groups. One group chased the old lone bull, another group was left in an unburned area a decent sized herd was known to live, and the remainder of the group came with us. We managed to glimpse 2 cows and a calf during the day, but after one final blown stalk, we called it a day and headed home.
I was pretty much emotionally drained at this point, especially considering our luck all the days prior. While I took a quick shower to wash the dirt off, Grant talked with the other PH and learners PH in camp, Henry and Frik Prinsloo, and decided we might as well take the cruiser and go for a quick drive around camp before we call it a day. I don’t think anyone really expected anything to happen at this point. I was already in my pajamas and had taken my contacts out, Grant left his rifle in camp, we took two less experienced trackers, and Frik said he would drive (I joked with him that hopefully he was a good luck charm). Well, good things happen when you least expect it because not 15 minutes outside of camp we turn a corner and there is a herd of 30 cape buffalo staring right at us. I threw a round in the chamber while Grant hastily instructs me to shoot the big bull in the middle. To my eyes, the herd stretched from one side of the road to the other, so the middle was a little vague. The buffalo had now begun to trot off, so I rapidly scanned the buffalo directly in front of me, found the one that had bosses and shot it. I lost the buffalo in the recoil and, since it was getting dark, I figured we would follow up the next morning (this is also why Grant hadn’t bothered to bring his rifle). What a surprise it was to me when Grant tells me to shoot it again and I realize the buffalo had dropped at the shot and was now laying on his side squirming in the ground. While he never got back up, I put 3 more shots in him before we got a death bellow. Upon hearing that, I was ready to run over, but Grant grabbed me and, sure enough, a few seconds later another death bellow was let out. (I could see how easily an overeager hunter could be killed by one of these.) Since everyone except me was unarmed, we opted to approach the buffalo in the land cruiser. I loaned Grant my rifle as he jumped off the truck, kicked the buffalo a couple times then poked its eye before pronouncing the buffalo dead. At that moment, all the miles walked, bug bites, scratches, and failed stalks from the prior days were forgotten. After 6 days of hard hunting, I had realized my dream to take a cape buffalo and scratched item number one off my bucket list. The sun was gone by the time I finished hooting and hollering, so we left the buffalo until morning to take some better photos in the sun.
I slept quite peacefully that night and enjoyed the much later wake-up call at 6:00 am. I found great irony getting dressed that day knowing I could wear my most dapper safari outfit. It was a wonderful sight driving down the windy road, turning a bend and seeing my buffalo all nicely posed for me from the night before. He had a lovely 38.5” spread with a very classic sweep to his horns and hard bosses. He was a beautiful bull and, I feel, well earned. This had been one of the most exhausting hunts I had ever been on, but seeing that bull there made the long trip all worth it.



(Domingo, Albano, me, Armando, Francisco, and Sabado)


The rest of the day was split between taking photos and butchering the bull as well as having a relaxing day touring the concession on a “photo safari.” It was a great end to my first safari and a lovely way to rest up before my long trek home.



I must also say thanks to Grant Taylor and his team for all the hard work the put into this hunt to make it memorable and successful. They really gave it 110% to find me a magnificent dugga boy!!! Also, Greg Brownlee was amazing at taking care of all the details of the hunt, everything was handled promptly and left me with little to stress over. Lastly, a big thanks to Barb for getting all my airlines fiascos sorted out, without her I very well may have never made it to my hunt.

*** I appologize for any misspellings or bad grammar ***


____________________________

If you died tomorrow, what would you have done today ...

2018 Zimbabwe - Tuskless w/ Nengasha Safaris
2011 Mozambique - Buffalo w/ Mashambanzou Safaris
 
Posts: 2785 | Location: Dallas, TX | Registered: 27 January 2004Reply With Quote
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Well done Alan.

I could hear the excitement in your voice when we talked about your first safari many months ago. It appears to have lived up to your hopes and expectations.

I'm proud to be the first (on AR) to say congratulations and welcome home.


Will J. Parks, III
 
Posts: 2965 | Location: Alabama USA | Registered: 09 July 2009Reply With Quote
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Very Nice, sounds like a fine hunt, very nice photo's and great report...Good on you, Butch
 
Posts: 392 | Location: texas | Registered: 29 March 2008Reply With Quote
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What an outstanding hunt and what an adventure. You have some really nice trophies and memories to last a life time. I've always wanted to go to Mozambique. I am definitely envious.


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Posts: 115 | Location: Millersville, MD | Registered: 09 October 2007Reply With Quote
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Way to go! I like seeing guys fufill lifelong dreams. Looks that bull did just that for you.
A hearty congrats. tu2
 
Posts: 2123 | Location: AZ and TX | Registered: 13 February 2006Reply With Quote
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Great bull Sevens, I was just wondering when your hunt was.


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: 11798 | Location: Bakersfield CA. USA | Registered: 30 December 2002Reply With Quote
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great hunt - congrats


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Posts: 10873 | Location: Cocoa Beach, Florida | Registered: 22 July 2010Reply With Quote
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Well done, Sevens tu2

I like the details you provide and am glad the meals got better after chicken the first night Frowner

Your Buffalo has great drop and sweep to his horns!! And the Reedbuck is magnificent!

Congratulations.


___________________________________________________________________________________

Give me the simple life; an AK-47, a good guard dog and a nymphomaniac who owns a liquor store.
 
Posts: 724 | Location: Montana HD 705 | Registered: 23 March 2011Reply With Quote
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Very good report. Thank you for sharing it with us .


The price of knowledge is great but the price of ignorance is even greater.
 
Posts: 777 | Location: Socialist Republic of California | Registered: 27 February 2005Reply With Quote
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Thanks for sharing! Smiler
Really nice trophies!


Anders

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Posts: 1959 | Location: Norway | Registered: 19 September 2002Reply With Quote
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HUnge congrats and well done!


Good Hunting,

Tim Herald
Worldwide Trophy Adventures
tim@trophyadventures.com
 
Posts: 2891 | Location: Lexington, KY | Registered: 13 January 2005Reply With Quote
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Congrats. What an adventure. Loved the crapper shot.


BUTCH

C'est Tout Bon
(It is all good)
 
Posts: 1783 | Location: Lafayette, LA | Registered: 05 October 2007Reply With Quote
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Congrats on a great hunt, well done.
 
Posts: 4955 | Registered: 30 July 2007Reply With Quote
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Congratulations... however, one buffalo leads to another! Glad you had a great hunt and earned your buffalo. Nothing quite like an African adventure!


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: 6959 | Location: Victoria, Texas | Registered: 30 March 2003Reply With Quote
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Sevens,

Congratulations for following your heart! Unfortunately, the desire to
return will burn strong (leopard, elephant, more nyati?,...). Good job & continue
living the dream!

Jim
 
Posts: 476 | Location: Wyoming | Registered: 04 August 2005Reply With Quote
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Alan - Great report and congrats on your trophies taken with Mashambanzous and Grant. Been in that camp twice myself with Grant and am making plans to return there in 2012.

You must go back and try the Hippo and Croc hunting up at the Zambezi camp. Also Sable and a Leopard would make a nice reason to return. Again congratulations, glad you had a good adventure.

Larry Sellers
SCI Life Member
 
Posts: 3447 | Location: Jemez Mountains, New Mexico | Registered: 09 February 2006Reply With Quote
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Alan,

Thanks for allowing me to arrange this hunt for you! I'm glad you got your bull, and both Jeff and I appreciate the trust you put in us to find it for you.

Great Trophies Alan, great report, and great shooting!

Cheers!

Greg


Greg Brownlee
Neal and Brownlee, LLC
Quality Worldwide Big Game Hunts Since 1975
918/299-3580
greg@NealAndBrownlee.com


www.NealAndBrownlee.com

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Hunt reports:

Botswana 2010

Alaska 2011

Bezoar Ibex, Turkey 2012

Mid Asian Ibex, Kyrgyzstan 2014
 
Posts: 1132 | Location: Tulsa, OK | Registered: 08 February 2010Reply With Quote
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A big CONGRATULATIONS on your safari,and your very own Cape Buffalo!
 
Posts: 1660 | Location: Winston,Georgia | Registered: 07 July 2007Reply With Quote
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Congratulations on fulfilling you dream. Nice trophies, too.
I hope this is the first of many for you.
Are those termite mounds still along the runway at Beira? How about the old MIG's?
 
Posts: 1905 | Location: South Dakota | Registered: 22 August 2004Reply With Quote
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WOW!!!!!! Congratulations. Loved your report and photos. You paid your dues at a spike camp as well.

Best regards, D. Nelson
 
Posts: 2266 | Registered: 17 July 2003Reply With Quote
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Way to go, congratulations on taking the big leap. You'll never regret it, those memories will last a life time.

Now the problem of explaining the return trip to your family.
 
Posts: 425 | Registered: 25 October 2010Reply With Quote
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quote:
Are those termite mounds still along the runway at Beira? How about the old MIG's?

Marty, can't say I saw either of those at the airport. Got to love that third world airport security though. (Oddly enough, I had the most hang-ups with airport security in Germany.)


____________________________

If you died tomorrow, what would you have done today ...

2018 Zimbabwe - Tuskless w/ Nengasha Safaris
2011 Mozambique - Buffalo w/ Mashambanzou Safaris
 
Posts: 2785 | Location: Dallas, TX | Registered: 27 January 2004Reply With Quote
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"One night I shot a buffalo in my pajamas....no really I did!" Big Grin

Congrats on the buffalo and in making your dream come true, you certainly got your money's worth out of the hunt (gotta love a day-6 buff!). Smart move taking the reedbuck, that and a bushpig have proven to be very elusive for me! Looks like a lovely spike camp too.

Again, way to go!
 
Posts: 3124 | Location: PA | Registered: 02 August 2002Reply With Quote
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Alan, just got back from Auastalia and one of the big thing on my mind on the flight was...Man I wonder if Alan got his bull...boy did you. I could'nt be happier for anyone. I hope it was everything you hoped it would be, and haveing to bust your ass for you FIRST buffalo [it won't be your last] makes you appriciate it that much more...much more than geting out of the bucky on the first day and tipping one over.
Again congradulations on a great adventure and a great report, felt like I was there with you.

Cheers...Anthony


 
Posts: 215 | Location: colyfornnia | Registered: 13 July 2009Reply With Quote
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Congratulations! Amazing. Thanks for sharing photos andnyour experience

O
 
Posts: 1486 | Location: New York | Registered: 01 January 2010Reply With Quote
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Congrats and thanks for sharing.

When are you going back?


.
 
Posts: 37362 | Location: Crosby and Barksdale, Texas | Registered: 18 September 2006Reply With Quote
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nice buffalo and toilet!


mario
 
Posts: 1417 | Location: northern italy | Registered: 01 June 2002Reply With Quote
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Alan,

BIG CONGRATS!!!

A DREAM come true... tu2
 
Posts: 3430 | Registered: 24 February 2007Reply With Quote
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Outstanding! Congratulations! tu2
 
Posts: 15415 | Registered: 04 April 2005Reply With Quote
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great report and congrats to you, you really worked hard for your buffalo, I'm sure you will cherrish it.


Thanks!

Brian Clark

Blue Skies Hunting Adventures
www.blueskieshunting.com
Email at: info@blueskieshunting.com

African Cape Trophy Safaris
www.africancapesafaris.com
Email at: brian@africancapesafaris.com

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Posts: 1013 | Location: Nebraska | Registered: 30 August 2010Reply With Quote
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What a perfect hunt! The ideal fulfillment of a lifetime's worth of wishing and daydreaming..."congratulations" doesn't seem like a strong enough word. Fantastic report.
 
Posts: 1027 | Location: Manitoba, Canada | Registered: 01 December 2007Reply With Quote
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Wow. That was a great read. Congratulations.


Hunting is not a matter of life or death....It's much more important
 
Posts: 338 | Location: Abbotsford BC | Registered: 20 October 2006Reply With Quote
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Well done, all the way around.

Cheers

Todd
 
Posts: 7732 | Registered: 09 January 2011Reply With Quote
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Sounds like you had a great hunt. Thanks for the report.


DRSS
Chapuis 9.3x74R
Searcy 470 NE
 
Posts: 1291 | Location: San Diego | Registered: 02 July 2005Reply With Quote
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Great hunt report. I can relate as I hunted that camp two years ago. Finally shot a 40 inch buffalo on the 10th day. Only one I saw. I thought the buffalo were to tough to hunt in that area. I surely wouldn't go back.
quote:
grocery
 
Posts: 52 | Location: South Dakota | Registered: 29 April 2011Reply With Quote
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Nice hunt Report. Sure you enjoyed the trip.


Nec Timor Nec Temeritas
 
Posts: 2039 | Registered: 29 May 2005Reply With Quote
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Congratulations on a outstanding hunt. I have hunted with Grant in Mozambique up By Sena for crock and hippo in 2008 Grant is a great guy and an outstanding PH I was hoping to chat with him an the SCI convention but a death in his family unfortunately prevented from attending. Of the 4 African countries I have hunted in Mozambique was the most interesting . Great Reed Buck and Buffalo makes me want to make plans with Grant for a 2013 hunt
 
Posts: 894 | Location: Chico California | Registered: 02 May 2010Reply With Quote
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