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Bongo in the Cameroon Rainforest with a Cast of Dozens
Dates – June 13 to July 1 (7 travel days, 12 hunting days)
Outfitter – NSOK Safaris owned by Felix Barrado
Booking Agent – Jeff Neal Inc. - Jeff Neal and Greg Brownlee - www.jeffcnealinc.com
Travel Agent – Barbara Wolbrink, owner of International Journeys, email@example.com
PH’s – Pepo Arribas (Spanish) and Orlando Cardoso (Portuguese)
Area – Rainforest in far eastern Cameroon near the CAR border. I never really knew where we were other than in the middle of very large rain forest. It was a 15 hour truck ride from Yaoundé.
Rifles – Rented a Winchester Model 70 Stainless in .375 H&H with open sights, CZ 550 Safari in .416 Rigby with open sights. Also used a Mossberg 12 gauge pump shotgun for duikers. Gun permits are exorbitant.
Ammo – A mix of rounds. I had four different bullets in the .375. My son had two types. The shotgun ammo was a mix of buckshot and turkey loads.
Game Sought – Bongo, blue duiker, Bay duiker, Peter’s duiker, forest sitatunga, dwarf forest buffalo, red river hog, giant forest hog, Bate’s pygmy antelope.
Game Taken – Bongo (2x), blue duiker (2x), Peter’s duiker, forest sitatunga* (read the report for the “taking” of the sitatunga)
Animals Seen – Bongo, dwarf buffalo, forest sitatunga, blue duikers, Peter’s duikers, Bay Duikers, yellow backed duiker, giant forest hogs, red collobus, black and white collobus monkey, Eastern Lowland GORILLAS, Nile monitor lizard, 50 species of birds, various reptiles
I barely knew what a bongo was when this process began. I had read the various hunt reports on AR and even a book on rainforest hunting a few years ago. Jeff Neal, an agent and friend, told me about this hunt and then posted it on AR (http://forums.accuratereloading.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/832100588/m/4861069341?r=4861069341#4861069341). I called him and asked if this is a hunt that would be fun and unique. Obviously he said yes. I further questioned him whether my wife would enjoy it. He said she would if she was the adventuresome type and did not mind roughing it a bit.
Jeff said to take sneakers, disposable sneakers, as we would be wet and by the end of the hunt the shoes would stink so bad, we would leave them behind along with our hunting clothes. If you have seen the movie, The Sandlot, about boys in the 1950’s in the US playing baseball on a sand lot in their town, you will know the shoes I chose – PF Flyer’s, high tops, the kind that make you “run faster and jump higher”. I had these shoes in the 1950’s as a kid. Benny the Jet had a new pair in the movie.
For clothes, Jeff suggested anything nylon that is fast drying. We chose some fishing clothes from Columbia and Magellan (long pants and long sleeved shirts) with mesh liners so underwear would not be needed. You sweat a bunch in the forest and you need something that will dry fast. After twelve days of hunting, our clothes were pretty shot and we left them for the pygmies to use.
This is me decked out for bongo...
The only other item we really needed was hand pruning shears. Jeff said the pygmies would cut a path through the jungle with pangas but that they are short and we would need these clippers to snip the thorny vines they did not cut. We used these shears every day.
You will be walking a lot and riding a truck a lot. Be ready to sweat.
Get very comfortable with open sights. I practiced with .22’s and my .375’s using open sights. I would practice out to 75 yards with .22’s and with a .375 to be sure I was completely prepared. If you take a gun have a detachable scope for the odd shot that is 75 yards or longer.
Travel to the Jungle
Jeff suggested I use Barb Wolbrink for the travel arrangements. I had never heard of her and decided to go with Jeff’s suggestion. Barb is a seriously traveler and has visited most of the safari operations in Africa. We travelled from Tulsa to Chicago to Zurich to Yaoundé in about 36 hours. We overnighted at the Hilton in Yaoundé before starting the Bataan Death March to the camp. Barb did a great job.
Yaoundé. Bags arrived with no problem. An interesting thing happened on the flight from Zurich – a fist fight broke out between the passenger next to me and a drunken Cameroonian a couple of rows ahead. A couple of other passengers broke it up, but a lot of name calling and death threats were made over the next hour before we landed.
The Bataan Death March (ride to camp) started out well enough. When I booked this trip, Jeff said that the price of charters had risen to about $6000 or more each way and that NSOK would drive me to camp as part of the deal. The drive should only be about 8 hours. I said fine by me and forgot about it. Well, by the time the trip rolled around the drive strung out to 15 hours best case and 24 hours worst case. What??? Basically, the distance covered is about 850 kilometers with the first two hundred being on a black top road. The rest is on washboard, rutted, potholed; two track roads you would not take your worst friends 4WD truck on. You cannot do anything but hold onto door handles or the seat all the way for about 12 hours of the trip while your driver dodges pigs, goats, chickens, logging trucks, little kids, motor bikes and roadblocks. We encountered 37 manned and unmanned roadblocks on the trip in. Grin and bear it. You will be able to complain later, especially after getting your bongo.
One of the toll booths - to get across a ditch in the road..
Scenes from Yokoduma, about 9 hours into the trip, in the middle of somewhere...
NSOK has been operating in this concession for many, many years. Felix Barrado, the owner of NSOK, bought the base from someone who farmed or logged this area. The camp is permanent with frame chalets. There is a mechanics area, skinning shed and the rest of the normal safari camp buildings. Water comes from a well and is gravity fed to the chalets. There were air conditioners in each chalet that ran when the generator was running. They ran the generator in the mornings, for two hours in the afternoon after lunch and from about 6pm to 11pm in the evenings to cool the chalets for sleeping.
Food was excellent. The chef did a great job and we ate the duikers and bongo back straps from our animals.
The hunting vehicles were a bit worn but served us well. They were Toyota Hilux pickups and a Chinese truck of some type. We did not suffer any bad breakdowns.
I hunted with Orlando Cardoso and my son hunted with Pepo Arribas. Both were excellent and had worked the area for many years. Orlando said he has taken almost 100 bongo’s in his time hunting them. The season here is only about ten weeks long, so both PH’s hunt other places as well. Both hunt in Tanzania and in northern Cameroon for Lord Derby’s Eland when not hunting in the forest.
Pepo is on the right with my wife and son...
As I noted in the reference material, Adam Clements had hunted with Orlando in this same area in 2006 having a successful hunt. Also, Orlando had PH’ed for D. Nelson, an avid AR member and huntress. He told a lot of stories about D. Nelson’s hunt in Tanzania that I hope she will tell the world.
Orlando with his favorite Basenji...
We had the privilege of hosting Franz Coupe and his client for lunch one day. Franz is 76 year old and has PH’d for fifty years. He is a bit of a legend in the world of PH’s. He was hunting for Faro West but knows Orlando and his family from the hunting days in Mozambique and Sudan before civil wars wrecked the hunting in those countries. Franz is writing a book about his hunting career and funny things that have happened over the years with clients. The best story he told was about two Dinka’s from Sudan they named Ding and Dong. Apparently, Danny McCallum hunted with Franz in Sudan when they needed some local guides. They stopped at a village asking for guides and these two very tall, very naked, very well endowed Dinka’s volunteered to guide them if they were well fed. The two Dinkas rode in the back of the truck standing and looking over the cab. Apparently, they were tall enough and naked enough where their private parts were in the rear view mirror and “dinged and donged” on the back window whenever a bump was hit in the road, hence they were named Ding and Dong. I laughed until I cried.
Three Enemies to Plague You
You have three enemies on this hunt.
Enemy No. 1 – Ants. They are everywhere. They sting, they bite, and they attack you. You will spend a lot of time looking at the ground trying to avoid stinging ants. When you see them, go around or over them. They are not afraid of you or your gun. Avoid them.
Enemy No. 2 – Mental Boredom. If it does not rain, you will ride a lot looking for tracks. Riding makes you bored and you get relaxed. Sometimes an animal is spotted in the road and the chase is on. But if you are looking at the sky or thinking about work or distracted, you will miss opportunities. This was my hardest thing to do – concentrate on the hunt all the time.
Enemy No. 3 – Logging Trucks. You are driving/hunting on logging roads. You will run into your share of over-loaded, poorly driven logging trucks. They will be toting three or four logs about six feet in diameter and forty feet long. They slip and slide on the roads creating massive ruts and holes. When you encounter one, get out of the way and off the road as far as possible to avoid a wreck. We cursed the logging trucks but the logging roads make the hunting accessible. Without them, you have no way to access the area. Be careful and stay out of harm’s way.
Pygmies and Their Dogs
How many of us go to Africa and never really learn who the trackers are, let alone their names? In Zimbabwe or Tanzania, you have one tracker and one spotter. In Cameroon, you have five trackers with their five dogs. They work as a team and are usually family members. They have names. They have personalities. They live life with a world view drastically different from yours and mine. On previous hunts, it was easy to engage the trackers and get to know them, but on this hunt, with five trackers in each truck and several more in the camp waiting their turn, it was hard to get to know them. Further, they each had their families (wives, kids, parents, in-laws) living in the pygmy village just outside the camp. So, for each tracker, there may be an additional five or ten people hanging around waiting for meat or for beer or whatever. It was a confusing situation for me as I tried to keep track of who did what and who was the lead guy.
First – their names, spelled phonetically.-Alambe, Bongo, Mbapa Bena, Benabas, Yaye, Lendi, Masa, Mayembe, Kandja, Pool, Sobaso, Ndeke.
They offered no family names, just these. It was difficult to put names and faces together as I tried to pronounce the names then match the face. The pygmies were very amused at my efforts. None spoke English. All of them spoke a version of French along with a couple of the local languages. When they talked to each other, it was in the local jargon. When it was to me or the PH’s, it was in French. My wife speaks passable French and struggled to communicate. The best part was that whatever words we used, they smiled and laughed as if to say – “Nice try, but you really need to work on your verbal skills.”
The dogs had names as well. Here are a few. I missed the names on four or five others-
Lulu, Popular – the fighter, who was fearless of any other dog, Ramon, Cappy, Bonde.
The dogs were skinny, scarred and ready to rumble every day. They are breed called Basenji, a kind of terrier. Here is a description I found on the internet. The words “primitive breed” fit this dog as well as the description of what they like to do.
The Basenji is among the most primitive of breeds, discovered on the African Congo with Pygmy hunters. Early explorers called the dogs after the tribes that owned them or the area in which they were found, such as Zande dogs or Congo terriers. The native tribes used the dogs (which often wore large bells around their necks) as pack hunters, driving game into nets. Early attempts to bring basenjis to England in the late 1800s and early 1900s were unsuccessful because the dogs all succumbed to distemper. In the 1930s, a few dogs were successfully brought back to England and became the foundation (along with subsequent imports from the Congo and Sudan) of the breed outside of Africa. The name Basenji, or 'bush thing', was chosen.
I could shorten that description by saying this – they live to hunt, they like to fight and they are fierce for their size. They are single minded and ready to go anytime.
The pygmies take care of the dogs. They know about rabies and ask the PH’s to bring in medicine and vaccines for the dogs. One year, the PH’s brought in a load of dry dog food to try and fatten the dogs up a bit. When the food disappeared from the camp and where the dogs were fed, the PH’s asked what happened. The pygmies replied that the food tasted too good to feed to the dogs, they were eating it themselves and learning a few new ways to cook it! No more dry dog food was brought in.
Back to the pygmies – I had several wrong preconceived ideas of what a pygmy was like. First, he had to be short, less than five feet tall. Second, he needed a bone in his nose. I am not sure why, but that is what I was thinking. Third, I expected the filed, pointed teeth you see in old pictures or read about in old books. Last, I expected shaggy hair and grass clothes. As you know, I was wrong on all accounts. Some were shorter than five feet but most were a little taller than that. No one had a bone in their nose or a tattoo or an ear piercing or any other body ornament. They looked a lot less scary than most of the NBA basketball players. Their hair was close cropped or nearly shaved. They wore whatever clothes they had – usually shorts, a shirt of some kind and flip flops for shoes. The clothes were dirty and torn, but these guys were spending hours every day in the jungle and on the back of a truck. Their families looked pretty much the same. The little kids wore pants or a shirt, usually not both. All smiled with big white teeth. No one was wearing a grass skirt or running around naked. All figured, they looked a lot like anyone my kids go to school with or someone you would see at Wal-Mart.
How many pygmies can fit in a truck?
They eat whatever they find. Orlando told me that the pygmies are not really tracking when we are out hunting, they are shopping. Every day we stopped somewhere to pick up some type of food source in the jungle. One day they saw a pepper bush/tree of some kind and proceeded to collect a bunch of jalapeno type peppers for cooking. Another day, one of the pygmies found a football sized piece of yellow fruit on the ground. He picked it up, took a bite, the made a carrying bag out of leaves and took it with him. On another day, we came across a palm tree that had some type of palm nut they used to extract cooking oil. Up they went and down came the palm nuts. Bananas were gathered regularly as well.
Men do a lot of sitting around smoking and talking, the women do most of the work...
On one of the stalks for sitatunga, Orlando sent the guys out around a large swamp while we waited in an open area to see if a sitatunga was pushed into the water. We waited quite awhile, longer than what Orlando thought was needed to make the hike. They finally showed up but was each carrying something wrapped in leaves. I asked them what they found and they responded – mushrooms. I let it go and started for the truck. Orlando did not buy the story and asked them to show him the mushrooms. The started stammering and walking away from us acting as if they were deaf. Finally, one opened his leaf pack and I was startled to see the front quarter of a crocodile! Pictures prove it. They had “shopped” in the marsh and found a four or five foot croc to add to the dinner menu. Of course, it was a fairly rare croc called a dwarf crocodile and unique to this general area. Orlando chewed them out, threatened to cut their pay but that did not seem to bother them much. Their comment was, “The croc’s head fell on our machete and he died. We could not just leave so much there.” It was the croc’s fault for sure.
Here is the suicidal croc...
Overall, I liked and admired them. They were hard working, giving a great effort every day. They survive and thrive in a place that would eat me alive. They had fun and made the trip interesting. They are just like you and me but have a little different view on the world.
As I mentioned earlier, I have travelled a lot. Mostly to off the beaten path places in the oil business, such as Pakistan, Nigeria, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Papua New Guinea and others. I have spent time in many of the countries in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. I have been to several African countries hunting and working – Egypt, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. All of this to say, I have an experienced eye for understanding the economic health, relative personal safety and nature of the people in the places I go. So, what country is like Cameroon? Well, it looks like Papua New Guinea and parts of Indonesia due to the rainforest, the huts of the people living away from the cities, the roads and the jungle. It feels like Nigeria or rural Venezuela as you do not see many white faces in the towns. In Yaoundé, it reminded me of a young European city just building itself – high rise buildings, new looking construction, active railroads, lots of cars and taxis, lots of business happening on the streets, well dressed people coming out at night, French being spoken everywhere, lots of advertising for cell phones and beer and hair products, a relatively new airport that was clean and odor free.
Barbershops were everywhere....
This guy was the local exterminator and was advertising his successes....
Local shoe repair shop...
The shoe repair guy fitting a customer...
Mobile soccer supply store......
Local tourist market with a happy customer and seller...
Overall, was it safe for an Oklahoma white guy and his wife to travel all the way across the country and to walk around in the capital seeing the sights? Yes, it was. I never felt threatened, other than by the drivers in the streets of Yaoundé or by the logging truck drivers.
The First Bongo
Up and out on Day 3, we hit the roads and salt licks looking for tracks. My son went to one area and I went to another. He and Pepo (PH) cut a track at the first salt lick they checked, decided it was a big bull and they took off. A couple of hours later and a two kilometer hike, they jumped the bongo. All the time, the pygmies were hacking a path through the under growth with their collective noses to the ground following the tracks. Frequently, the tracks disappear in the leaves or vines. Nothing slowed these guys. When one guy picked up the track, off they went. It was hard keeping up with them as they tracked.
Checking a salt lick...
The dogs bayed the beast while the pygmies ran to check the size followed by the Pepo and my son. My son and Pepo had to sprint to the fight before the bongo left or tossed the dogs. Running in the jungle is a trick. You have to bend over at the waist and run with your knees high to keep from tripping. Try this for one hundred meters and see how you feel. Sweat starts to pour stinging your eyes, your hands are wet from the bush and sweat, and now you are about to shoot an animal you have never seen. The shot may be at an orange and white striped patch barely visible through the brush.
When at the site of the dog-bongo fight, Pepo said it was a good bull. As coached, he took a knee to shoot under the brush and waited for the dogs to get clear. One shot from the .416 Rigby put the bongo down. Like other animals, a shot on the shoulder will bring it down. The dogs then attacked the downed bongo biting and attempting to tear off a piece. The pygmies grabbed the dogs and pulled them off whereas the dogs promptly lay down to sleep.
It turns out that this bongo was a veteran of four snares. His legs showed the markings of snares with scars and swelling. The horns were old, blunted, ivory tipped and heavy – much heavier than on a younger animal and thicker than any of the twelve sets of horns in the skinning shed. Length was not an issue for us as we do not measure.
After a lot of pictures, the recovery began. The pygmies are masters of using whatever is at hand to pack every piece of meat out. The bongo is skinned out for a full mount, the head severed at the base of the skull, the skin, head and horns wrapped in backpack type bundle and tied up with vines for carrying. The carcass is quartered, ribs severed, entrails re-packed and loaded into vine/leaf backpacks for the hike out. The dogs get a piece of the heart to eat as well as rib fat. Each dog awakens from his sleep right when the meat is getting passed out. The flies and sweat bees show up in swarms when the skinning starts to get at the salty blood and moisture that is exposed. My son had to step back into the thick jungle to get away from the bugs.
Once in the truck, the trip back to camp starts. The pygmies started singing the “The White Guy Killed a Bongo and We Get to Eat It” song. This is much like what you lion and leopard hunters get to hear in a “kabubi” on the trip in with a cat. About a half kilometer out of camp, the PH stopped the truck to decorate it and my son with leaves and toilet paper to let the pygmies in the camp know there will be meat tonight. Everyone turned out for the celebration and the meat – wives, kids, old folks and, I think, Jimmy Hoffa.
The Second Bongo
We did not get another chance on Day 3 as it rained (finally) all afternoon. The PH’s said that we would see a mass of tracks on Day 4 and they were right. We hit several salt licks before seeing a big bongo track, a track worth following. My wife and I followed the pygmies and Orlando ( PH) through dense, face slapping, feet tangling jungle for about an hour. We jumped the bongo once and he ran rather than sticking around to fight the dogs. Orlando said he had seen this particular track on a couple of previous safaris this season but could not get the bongo to bay up. I was discouraged but Orlando said that you never know what will happen on any stalk, so let’s give it a go.
We dodged ants and nasty, thorny vines and foot snaring tangles to keep up with the pygmies as they pushed the bongo. The dogs had tried to bay the bongo but it ran and left them behind. I found it interesting that an animal the size of a bongo could run through the forest as easily as they do and leave the dogs in the proverbial dust. After another hour or so, the pygmies jumped the bongo again with the dogs in hot pursuit. This time, the bongo ran about 150 meters and vanished in some thick stuff. The dogs were howling and chasing and suddenly four of the five come back to us. We had run about a hundred meters when we encountered the quiet and obviously spooked dogs. The pygmies studied the dogs and the situation. Orlando said the bongo had run off but one of the pygmies pointed to some extremely thick brush that was engulfed in thorny vines. He pointed into this mess and said he thought the bongo was holed up in that mess. We walked quietly around the “mess” while listening for movement. We arced about fifty meters all the way to the opposite side of the tangle and stopped. The pygmies joined us listening in all directions.
At this point, one of the dogs went back around the tangle and waded into it. In about ten seconds, the howling and fighting started. That one dog threaded himself into what turned out to be a tunnel in the vines about ten steps long and one meter tall jumping the bongo from his hiding place. The one dog stirred up the bongo enough to get him moving and out toward us where the other dogs were waiting. The lead pygmy was right, the bongo was trying to hide and let us pass rather than run from the dogs again. When the one dog jumped the bongo, the other four jumped into the fight. The area they were fighting in was about three meters by three meters with a lot of brush. Orlando, my wife and I were about five meters away when the big fight started. We could not see the bongo or the dogs. We took a couple of steps forward to see what we could see. Orlando said, “Here he comes” indicating to me that the bongo was charging or was trying to escape the dogs. We happened to be in his path. Orlando spotted horns and said shoot when I can. All I could see was a paper plate sized patch of orange and white that was jumping around. I tried to take a knee to shoot, but could not see through the undergrowth. I stood up and fired at the orange spot rocking the bongo. He did not go down at the shot but wavered as he tried to hook a dog. I took another step forward and had a slightly clearer view of the back and head of the bongo. I fired a second shot breaking the spine and hitting heart. I was shooting down at about a thirty degree angle. One more step and barrel would be touching the bongo. The bongo dropped at the shot. All of this took about five seconds.
I turned around and found the pygmies had run behind us to avoid a charge and that my wife was hiding behind a tree about seven meters behind us. The dogs were “worrying” the corpse by biting every part they could. Quickly, the pygmies pulled the dogs off and they (the dogs) promptly settled down for a nap.
The dogs lay down and sleep within a minute of taking the bongo...
We took tons of pictures and had a lot of fun retelling the brief but spectacular encounter. I had just shot the only bongo I had ever seen and the only bongo I would see on this trip. Wow! Great horns! One leg had snare scars but otherwise was in great shape. It had lots of ticks as did my son’s bongo. This one was not as old as my son’s bongo, but had slightly longer horns. Again, we do not measure so what you see in the picture is what we shot.
The trip to camp was the same – lots of singing the “We are Having Bongo for Dinner” song and decorations of me and the truck. When we passed the pygmy camp, the entire bunch came out for the meat and lots of singing. In camp, the entire group showed up to a look at the horns as well as the tip I was to give them. I found out from Orlando and Pepo that traditionally the hunter gives a $100 tip to the crew for getting any of the big animals. We did not know this the day before, so I handed over $200 to cover both bongos. I asked what the money would be for as we were in middle of nowhere and did not see how these guys needed cash. Orlando told me there was a pygmy village/outpost about an hour away and that these guys would high step it there to buy some beer to celebrate tonight. I had no idea what were in for that night when I handed over the money.
Anyway, that is bongo hunting the way we did it.
The skinning shed with our bongo skulls. Ours are two on the outside..
(MORE TO FOLLOW< THIS IS PART 1)
|one of us|
I have been waiting for this report Ross... congratulations to you and your son on two fine bongo and surviving this adventure! Well done.
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.
|one of us|
Hunting Forest (or Western) Sitatunga
With two nice bongos in the salt, my son and I decided to try for sitatunga and dwarf buffalo with any hogs getting in our crosshairs being fair game as well. Orlando said we would hunt the sitatunga that same way as the bongo – drive the roads and check the salt licks for tracks. He also said, as did Jeff Neal, that the success rate on sitatunga is low due to the number of them and how hard they are to track and see in the jungle. Being dark colored, they blend in extremely well. Further, they do not bay for the dogs, but run for the swamps instead. Many times the dogs would catch the sitatunga taking it down before the hunter could catch up. On one occasion, Orlando said his pygmy trackers got to the sitatunga while the dogs were trying to take it down, grabbed it by the horns throwing it to the ground until the hunter arrived for a point blank shot. Another time, he said the dogs chased the bull into a swamp and deep water. The bull swam with just his nose out of the water and horns slightly showing. The hunter fired hitting both horns knocking the sitatunga unconscious. The bull drowned and the pygmies recovered the bull and broken horns after three hours of diving in eight feet or water. He asked that I not do that. I agreed.
We hunted sitatunga every day for the next eight days. I saw one female. We cut several sets of tracks and made two stalks. We did get our sitatunga, but had a little help.
On Day 6 we finally cut a good track on a logging road. We tracked, pushed and chased that bull all day until it crossed the Moungolle River into another concession held by Faro West. This river was about twenty meters wide and deep. We found a log to walk across on and found his tracks where he left the river. The dogs jumped him and the sitatunga jumped back into the river and crossed back to our side. We never picked up the tracks again as we could not find where he exited the river on either side. That was disappointing to say the least. Sweat soaked, foot sore, ant bitten; we hiked a long way through the tangled jungle back to the truck.
We had seen several tracks but nothing worth following. I was tired and getting bored driving around on now dusty roads looking at every wiggle in the dirt. A little later, about the time we usually quit for lunch, we cut a decent track. The pygmies and Orlando decided to attempt a stalk. The dogs were put out and off we went. We walked about two hours following very faint tracks and looking for any sign we could find. Occasionally we found were the bull had stopped to nibble on brush, seeing his bite marks on the plants. We lost the track several times before being led in a wide arc back across the road we originally cut the track on and then on to a salt lick we had checked the day before. At the salt lick, the sitatunga’s tracks were mixed with elephant, bongo, gorilla, leopard and duiker tracks. We fanned out over the entire area and could not find where the bull had left the salt lick. After an hour of searching, we gave up and went back to camp for lunch soaked in sweat and covered in red dust from the dry roads.
On Day 7, we decided to hit the same salt lick to see if he came back. We were to pass the same place where we first cut his track. As we drove the road and passed the first track from the day before, we saw a couple of legs sticking out into the road. The picture below is what we saw.
The carcass was that of a mature, impressively horned bull sitatunga – freshly killed with one hind quarter completely eaten and the other partially eaten. It was still wet from the feeding.
We got out of the truck with dogs to take a look. At once the dogs went on high alert staring intently into the tangle of jungle next to the road. A couple of them started growling with the hair on their backs standing up. The pygmies grabbed their pangas and stared silently into the brush. Orlando grabbed his rifle and pointed for me to the same.
This was on the ground by the carcass...
We stood silent for about three minutes and listened for movement. We heard enough to know that the killer was very close and was slowly moving off a few yards. One of the dogs stuck his head in the bush about half a body length and promptly jumped back growling. He walked back to us and growled at the spot he tried to enter. The rest of the dogs did the same. The pygmies never flinched or moved. They stood silently just listening and looking. One finally pointed at some brush about fifteen steps back from the road and said he thought the “pantera” or leopard had moved off but not left the area.
The dogs and pygmies finally relaxed a bit and we looked over the dead sitatunga. He was an old bull with a fantastic set of horns. He had been ambushed on the road as the tracks fully showed us. The leopard was hiding under some over hanging vines on the edge of the road with the sitatunga happened to walk past. We saw the leopard tracks come in from one direction and the bull’s tracks come in from the other. It was a case of wrong place wrong time for the sitatunga. The fight appeared to be short based on the tracks and small area it covered, all right in the road. The leopard grabbed his head and throat, struggled, wrestled him to the ground and bit his throat like a vampire. The cat then just started feeding right there. He ate what looked like ten to fifteen kilos of meat and one entire back leg and quarter along with part of the opposite quarter when we disturbed his dining pleasure.
I am no expert on the culinary habits of people other than what I like to eat. My general rules are – If it stinks, don’t eat it. If it moves on my plate, don’t eat it. If it slithers, don’t eat it. These pygmies see something like this and never flinched at eating it. When we recovered it later that day, it was getting rank and green. They never hesitated taking it to their camp for a little sitatunga bar-b-q that night. When they handed off the meat to their relatives in the camp, everyone was smiling and no one was holding their nose. I was holding my nose however.
In eight hard days of hunting sitatunga we never got close enough to see a bull. Sitatunga hunting is not for the “drive by hunter” or the guy looking for a quick shot. It takes time and effort and the odds are high against you. This is a bit like sheep hunting. You have to commit a lot of time and effort to get on one. This season, only one other sitatunga was taken – a shot from the truck at one standing in the road. I would have been tempted had it been me in that truck after what I went through chasing the “Grey Ghost of the Rainforest”.
Hunting Dwarf Buffalo
My son chose to hunt the Dwarf Forest Buffalo while I hunted the sitatunga. He started on Day 4 and pushed hard until Day 12. He saw one group of three – two females and one calf. While after sitatunga, my wife and I bumped into a small group laying down in a dry spot off a logging road in a staging area for the loggers. We saw a cow and a calf with a couple of offers running into the jungle before we could see them. We came to learn that buffalo are harder to hunt than sitatunga as you cannot use dogs on them. You have to cut a track, then, follow them silently to get within ten or fifteen meters for a shot. If you have hunted Cape buffalo, you know how good of a sense of smell they have and that they do not hang around when they get a whiff of your after shave. That is a challenge in the jungle as you are there with a PH and five pygmies giving off a lot an odor and scent to spook the buff. Plus you have to get really close to see that you are shooting a bull and not a cow.
In the Peter Flack DVD referenced at the end of this report, he makes a couple of interesting statements about hunting in the rainforest. First, he said that this is the most difficult and mentally challenging hunt he has done, and he has done a lot of hunts. Second, he killed a cow buffalo at four paces that he thought was charging. He stated that he and his team had spent fourteen days without seeing a buffalo track to follow prior to shooting the cow. That is a lot of dead hunting time when you spend fourteen days looking for a track. I would not have persisted that long.
There is a buff in this pic....
My son persisted however, but never got a shot or saw a bull. I am proud that he held out until the end without taking one. Of course we would have taken one given a shot opportunity but that is hunting. I will not insult you by saying – oh, the hunt was fun even if we did not get one. That is crap. If you like to hunt, you also like to get a shot and like to take your quarry. It was a great learning experience but getting your game is a better learning experience. This year, only two buffalo were taken, one was a cow.
This was cool. I had done it on another hunt but not with the success we enjoyed on this hunt. This is low pressure hunting and a lot of fun as the duiker is not notoriously smart and comes to the call readily. My son and I split up each afternoon with my wife alternating between us. The method was simple. Drive away from the camp to an area suggested by the pygmies (likely an area they hunt when we are not there) walk into the jungle about 100 meters, load your shotgun and start calling. The pygmies use their nose and mouth to generate a high pitched whining noise that almost sounds like a baby or dying rabbit. It is a distress call for a duiker. All of the duikers in this area come to this call. Overall, the pygmies called in four species – blue, Bay, Peter’s and yellow backed. The yellow-backed is not hunted here. We took blue and Peter’s duikers.
Assume the duiker hunting position please!!!
Duikers are fun and a nice change from hunting the bigger stuff. Plus, the recovery is a lot easier.
Bate’s Pygmy Antelope
I saw two that were crossing the road but only got a glimpse. They are duiker sized and hard to take as they do not come to a call and are not tracked. They are like the pigs, an accidental trophy much like the grysbok or small wildcats in other African countries. My son had a shot at one at about seventy meters that stopped on a road to check out the truck. Again, it was offhand shot with open sights at a target about 6” by 10” standing in grass. A miss happened but he got to see one. The PH’s said that no one had taken a Bate’s pygmy antelope in a long time.
Hunting Pigs of Various Kinds
There are two kinds of pigs on the menu in Cameroon- the Giant Forest Hog and the Bush Pig or Red River Hog. Each is hunted by accident. That means if you get one, it was an accident as they are hard to find and you usually just bump into them while hunting something. You hope to catch one out in the open at a salt lick or an open marsh on in the road and get some kind of a shot. They are not easy to track and the pygmies do not put their dogs on them. We did not see a bush pig/red river hog. None had been killed this season and only a few have been taken over the past several years.
The giant forest hog is a big pig. Orlando and I bumped into a small group at an area called a savannah – an open area of about one hundred acres of swampy grass and mud holes. We were looking for sitatunga tracks and saw three females out in the open. We were slowing stalking them through the high grass when we were busted by a large male that charged us either on purpose or by accident.
The three we spotted were about 150 meters or so away from us, too long for a shot with the open sights. We watched them and scanned the rest of the area before making a stalk. We left the pygmies behind as we inched through the waist high grass to get a better look. When we were about 100 meters away, we heard and saw something moving directly at us in the grass about 25 meters away from us and away from the pigs we were stalking. Having just dealt with a leopard on the sitatunga kill earlier that day, we were not sure what was coming through the grass. All we could see was a “V” in the grass coming right at us, much like the Velociraptors made in the Jurassic Park movies. Orlando said, “It is coming right at us!” not knowing what “it” was. At four steps a very large and very hairy giant forest hog boar appeared in full stride for a split second. I fired a snap shot and missed a big pig about three steps. I was as surprised as the pig. He vanished into the jungle behind us before I could reload.
After the excitement ended, I asked Orlando what actually just happened. He said that we were busted by the boar who was feeding in the grass off to our side and we never saw him. I asked if we had been charged on purpose or by accident. He said he was not sure but the boars will come after you if provoked. I thought it was a case of the boar running from danger but happened to be headed at us. Due to not being an experience rainforest hunter, I was not sure what was plowing through the grass right at us – was it a leopard, a pig, a small buffalo, a Sasquatch or what? I was not ready for the snap shot and am not really sure how you prepare for a shot at a running pig crossing three steps in front of you.
There had been one giant forest hog shot this season. Again, it was by accident while hunting other game. Anyway, it was exciting even though it ended with no blood being drawn.
We saw everything from odd snails to big birds to hornbills with their exaggerated faces to masses of army ants to collobus monkeys. Here are some of our better pictures.
This guy was about to be escargot for the pygmies if we had not intervened...
Blood thirst butterflies showed up at the recovery...
Green Mamba that was on the road...
Afternoon Soccer Matches
I am not a soccer fan. I coached the first soccer game I ever saw. My sons did not play it much as football got more attention. As soccer is the world’s most popular sport, I was not the least bit surprised to the pygmy boys playing in the middle of the jungle in the middle of nowhere. These were the sons of the trackers and camp staff. Each afternoon, they set up make shift goals in a large open area by the camp. The ground was fine gravel and very level, about 100 meters in length and 75 meters wide. These guys played all out wearing shorts and an occasional shirt while wearing flip flops for shoes. Several played barefooted. They were skilled, quick and very fun to watch. I doubt there is a kid in the USA or Europe that could match those barefoot kids playing on a gravel pitch. My son, wife and I formed a cheering section for one of the teams, so we yelled and clapped when anything good happened. I am not sure what “good” is in soccer, but we yelled anyway. The goalies were very young boys, usually seven or eight years old and very small. I went out to help one for a bit and was promptly embarrassed by one of the older boys firing a shot between my legs and me not being able to move quick enough to stop it. They all got a big laugh at my expense. The games lasted until dark or dinner, whichever came first. There were no breaks for water or orange slices. These guys are true soccer players.
The bench waiting to be sent in...
Me and the goalie. He was bit vertically challenged but was tough as a boot...
End of the Trip Shooting Contest
Before heading out on this trip, my wife, son and I decided to take some things that the pygmies might find useful. We were told to take as many cigarettes as possible as they like to smoke. With my son in med school and my wife a nurse, that was not going to happen. So, we decided we would leave all of our clothes, our shoes, and hats there as well as taking in some sling shots, flashlights, and knives. We had taken sling shots to South Africa and they were a big hit with the locals, so we hoped this would be a good idea here.
When we saw that there were five pygmies in each hunting party as well as ten other guys in camp we had to re-think our gifts as we did not have enough of any one item for everyone. We decided to have a sling shot shooting contest to set an order of men to pick what gift they wanted. We started them at ten paces from some one liter sized empty water bottles and had them shoot two shots. If they missed on both, they were out. A hit kept them in for another round. We then moved back three paces and gave them three shots, the back three more paces and four shots, the back again with five shots. Shoot until you miss. Last man standing gets first pick and the runners up get the next picks.
It was a blast. Most of them had trouble with the sling shot and missed badly. A couple picked it up and did well. The entire contest lasted about an hour until a champion was crowned.
We laid out the gifts and had them pick in order of their finish. What do you suppose were the first gifts chosen? Our shoes! I wear a US size 13, my son a 12 and my wife a regular size woman’s shoe. My PF Flyers were picked first by a guy with size 7 feet. I have no idea what he would do with those shoes. The rest picked clothes first, then knives, then sling shots, the flashlights and last were some socks. They then began to trade in earnest.
We are home, replaying the trip in our minds, trying to sort what we experienced. My wife was thrilled with the adventure – seeing gorillas, witnessing an elephant semi-charge, a bongo charge and calling duikers. I was surprised at how I had hoped to see more game and take more, but this is the “whack and stack” mentality I sometimes have.
What truly surprised me? Several things really surprised me. First, the ants. I had heard of army ants and I had seen them on the Discovery Channel, but seeing them up close was amazing. They are ferocious and scary. They are well adapted to the forest and let nothing stop them.
Second, the gorillas. They are big, they are loud and I was not prepared for the “presence” of the silverback in his element. We saw gorillas most days and saw one large group cross the road in front of us. The mommas and babies and juveniles ran across, but the big silverback just walked out casually, looked as us and ambled across as if we were a mere distraction. The pygmies are afraid of them and do not hunt them.
Gorilla tracks at a salt lick..
Old Silverback himself..
Third, the pygmies. These guys are at the bottom of the social structure in Cameroon (and the rest of Africa for that matter), yet they are supremely skilled for living in this harsh environment. They are short, they can eat anything, they make do with very little, they do not drink any water (at least not when I was with them), they are generally happy. They are proud but not arrogant. They are friendly and trusting. They do not complain about riding in the back of the truck in the rain with ten others. They are not poor by their standards but are poverty stricken by mine. I was impressed with them. I do not know how the world will impact them over the next fifty years, but I would like to think we could all learn a lot from them.
Would I go again to the rainforest? Right now, I would say no. I like to hunt. I like the challenge but I also like the success you have in Zimbabwe or Namibia or other places. I like to see a lot of animals. I like to not sweat quite so much. This trip was worth the effort and the time as I liked the experience and the bongo is a stunning animal. However, the jungle is a tough place. It is a tough place to hunt. It is a tough place just to travel to. It may be a bit tougher than me.
What would I do differently? A couple of things for sure. One, I would practice more with a shotgun. Hunting duikers in the rainforest, in the jungle, is a bit like shooting sporting clays sitting in a phone booth and hollering “pull” with our eyes shut. I would practice a lot of shooting the sporting clay target that is rolled along the ground. I would practice snap shooting at a target called out by a partner at the range.
Second, I would master shooting offhand with open sights out to a hundred meters. That is hard to do, but to have success in this arena, you need that skill.
Third, I would take a satellite phone for my use. I did not do this and regretted it. I have kids scattered about and was unable to keep in contact easily. In this digital age, a satellite phone is not such a luxury anymore.
PS – For those that measure, our PH’s told us that the bongos measured 27” and 29”. The sitatunga measured an impressive 27”. We don’t care, but the PH’s like to know.
Reference Material Used
“Flack Hunts Cameron” DVD by Peter Flack – He hunted near our area. He went after forest elephant and bongo without dogs. He hunted 28 days and produced a solid video that gives a good impression of rainforest hunting.
Hunt Report and private DVD from Adam Clements. Adam hunted with NSOK and the PH I had, Orlando Cardoso. The hunt report is here - http://forums.accuratereloadin...=596104874#596104874 . I originally printed out the report to get the pictures. Adam was kind enough to let me have a DVD of his hunt.
“Buffalo, Elephant and Bongo” by Reinald von Meurers from Safari Press
“Return to Cameroon” , Hatari Times International Issue #22 –– an issue devoted to hunting in
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WOW!! what an awesome report, this is one of my few "dream trips", am I missing the pics of the bongo's? It is great to see the good reports finally coming in. Congratulations.
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never mind, found them, congratulations again.
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Not just a hunt but an adventure. Nice bongos.
Kudos to your wife for making the trip. I know mine wouldn't be able to tolerate the heat, humidity, and bugs. What a woman!
Will J. Parks, III
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Amazing report Ross. What a fantastic journey. Congrats to you and your family!
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Rowland Ward - SCI Scorer
Took the wife the Eastern Cape for her first hunt:
Hunting in the Stormberg, Winterberg and Hankey Mountains of the Eastern Cape 2018
Hunting the Eastern Cape, RSA May 22nd - June 15th 2007
16 Days in Zimbabwe: Leopard, plains game, fowl and more:
Natal: Rhino, Croc, Nyala, Bushbuck and more
Recent hunt in the Eastern Cape, August 2010: Pics added
10 days in the Stormberg Mountains
Back in the Stormberg Mountains with friends: May-June 2017
"Peace is that brief glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading" - Thomas Jefferson
Every morning the Zebra wakes up knowing it must outrun the fastest Lion if it wants to stay alive. Every morning the Lion wakes up knowing it must outrun the slowest Zebra or it will starve. It makes no difference if you are a Zebra or a Lion; when the Sun comes up in Africa, you must wake up running......
"If you're being chased by a Lion, you don't have to be faster than the Lion, you just have to be faster than the person next to you."
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Wow Ross, thanks for sharing & the photos, looks and reads like the trip of a lifetime! Must be a truly amazing experience
Definitely on my bucket list...
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Wow, what an awesome adventure Ross! Well done to you guys for going the extra mile and congratulations on taking those fantastic, hard to come by trophies.
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Thanks for a great report. I don't know if you've discouraged me from wanting to hunt the jungle sometime, but your honesty at the end was helpful.
You took some stunning animals for sure. Congratulations.
Question, did you or the leopard have to pay the trophy fee for the sitatunga?
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WOW! That's not a safari that is a Adventure.
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You know I've been waiting for this report as well. Congratulations all around...and I especially think your wife is wonderful for accompanying you. I wished more women would venture into the bush.
I have wanted to hunt bongo with Orlando for quite some time. However, my husband had complaints about the humidity even though Orlando tried to sell the air conditioning in camp. I don't think I'll read your report to my hubby as it substantiates his fears. But, in my book, your success made up for that. Your bongo are beautiful.
The ants sound like the green ants in Australia...ready to attack anything and everything.
I loved your report. You really provided a lot of details, besides just the hunting portion. Your photos are great too. Loved the blood eating butterflies! YIKES!
Again, congratulations for a fantastic hunt and report.
Best regards, D. Nelson
PS--One of these days I might post about my first safari with Orlando. It was before I knew about the AR Forum...so I never wrote a hunt report. Glad you enjoyed Orlando's version!
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Thanks for sharing the story and pictures.
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Very impressive, what a great report!
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I really want to hear your version of the story of your hunt with Orlando. It took him about 3 days to tell it all. I really liked the part about how you shot several of your animals. His description of your "accident" was a bit vivid and hard to hold the tears/laughs. His description of the leopard encounter had my wife telling me that we are not going leopard hunting without body armor.
Thanks for the kind words.
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Wow, wow, wow!! Way to go. You just put another destination on my wish list.
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
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Dang Ross, what an incredible report for guys like me and Aaron Neilson who can't read, that was a real treat.
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Watchu talkn bout, hoket on fonix wurked fur me?
Global Hunting Resources
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Great report on a really interesting and unique hunt. I love all the people photos too. Thanks for sharing.
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That was an awesome report! Looks like an outstanding adventure I hope to experience one day.
If you died tomorrow, what would you have done today ...
2018 Zimbabwe - Tuskless w/ Nengasha Safaris
2011 Mozambique - Buffalo w/ Mashambanzou Safaris
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Wow what an adventure and great report. I throughly enjoyed your report and pics, thanks for taking out the time to write a proper report, much appreciated.
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What an awesome trip. Sounds like a great adventure. I definitely want to do this trip. Great description and pics of the folks in camp.
Congrats on the Bongos!
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Congratulations on a truly wild adventure! Thanks for sharing.
Were you able to bring back the sitatunga head?
"When the wind stops....start rowing. When the wind starts, get the sail up quick."
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Excellent report. Congratulations on the fine trophies. As a basenji owner, I really enjoyed reading about the pygmies' dogs. Tell me, when they bay game, do they make a barking sound or yodel?
"...Africa. I love it, and there is no reason for me to explore why. She affects some people that way, and those who feel as I do need no explanation." from The Last Safari
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Dogcat: This is the finest report I've read on AR. Really appreciate your taking the time to compile it.
There is hope, even when your brain tells you there isn’t.
– John Green, author
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Awesome report! What an adventure.
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The bark like crazy and attack. I could barely see them working but they surround the bongo and attack at "off" sides to distract. The second the bongo turns his head, another one goes in.
The pygmies feed the dogs a part of the liver and heart after the bongo is gutted. The dogs lay down a nap within a minute or so of the bongo being killed as if they know to wait for a treat later.
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No, not unless I paid the trophy fee. The fee is required to get it out of Cameroon as the government gets a large part of the cash for the fee. I would like to have had it if the fee was not so high. Orlando, the PH wanted it as well due to the size and shape. We really hoped to be able to take it with the rifle as we followed if for 2 days prior to the better hunter getting it. Orlando had seen this one over the past 2 years but never got up on it.
I deleted from my hunt report a self directed write up on the ethics of this and on the ethics of using dogs on bongo or sitatunga. Also added were my views on poaching and logging. It is excerped as follows -
On taking the sitatunga -
"So, for you ethicists out there – was it my sitatunga? We chased the real killer/hunter off of it to claim it. We had tracked it the day before to an unsuccessful conclusion. It would likely rank fairly high in the Rowland and Ward list with the 27” horns. It was a slam dunk for the SCI book. For the “spiral horn” collector, this one is the second toughest animal to take after the Mountain Nyala. It is a rarity for sure and very expensive one if you hunt them anywhere else. I could pay the trophy fee and take the horns if I chose to. I could even put those horns on a forest sitatunga cape I have from a hunt last year where the horns were smaller and would not make any record books.
What would you do? Well, I passed. The leopard is a better hunter than two white guys, five pygmies and five dogs. It was his and we just pushed him off of it.
On hunting with dogs in the rainforest -
"As to ethics about hunting with dogs, I cannot see how you could hunt in the jungle without dogs. Peter Flack and others say they will not hunt bongo with dogs and will only hunt by tracking them. I say, “Good luck”, to that idea. It can be done, but not without a great deal of patience, time and blown stalks. The dogs buy you time to get to the bongo to make the shot, otherwise, you are tracking a very smart and stealthy critter in the jungle on his turf. I hunt quail with dogs, I hunt pheasants with dogs, some people hunt bears or mountain lions or leopards with dogs. I see no problem with this at all. On the question of fairness of using dogs, look at it this way – the bongo is up against a PH, a hunter, five pygmies and five dogs who get around in a truck and use a gun. The bongo is alone in the jungle. On our hunt, we made six stalks before being successful. The bongo has a fair chance.
The sitatunga is a bit different. It does not stop and fight the dogs; it runs and often runs to a swamp or to a river to evade the dogs. If the dogs catch it, they likely will pull it down and kill it if the pygmies do not get the dogs off the animal or the hunter is slow getting to the fight. The equalizer for the sitatunga is that there are not as many sitatunga to track, they are very hard to see in the jungle due to the coloration and they are hard to track due to their long hooves. The tracks are not easy to follow. We made three stalks on sitatunga and did not ever see the animal even though we were within fifty yards of it a couple of times.
We did hunt one evening from a machan, an elevated stand to look over a salt lick or an open area. It is not terribly successful in Cameroon as a lot of the animals will not come into the open until after dark. Plus, if there are ants anywhere around, they may come over to see if you are worth eating and carrying back to the anthill.
On the poaching we saw in Cameroon -
We saw a lot of evidence of poaching. The pygmies are fabulous hunters. They can make snares and use their dogs to decimate a given area if they are enticed to hunt commercially. This happens and was evident in our area. The bongo, buffalo and elephant are not impacted severely by poaching as they are hard to snare and the pygmies do not have the firepower to shoot them. Duikers, sitatunga, monkeys, various reptiles and snakes are easier to catch. As noted in the hunt descriptions, we saw scars on the legs of the bongo from snares. The PH’s said they often can tell from a track if an animal has a snare attached to its leg by the shape of the track. They said they see this often.
I honestly do not know the answer to poaching. It is much like the drug trade in the USA. If there is demand, there will be a supply. In Cameroon, there is demand for meat, bush meat and lots of it. Due to the tsetse fly and other diseases, cattle are tough to keep alive there. We saw a lot of pigs, goats and chickens in the villages we passed. Somehow, if the meat supply could be filled by domesticated animals, this would take the pressure off the wild animals. Another possible solution is education of the people. Gorillas were hunted and killed for years. A massive effort to educate the people about the importance of leaving the gorillas alone is paying off. They pygmies do not hunt gorillas and go out of their way to avoid them. The same could happen in the bush meat business. Subsistence hunting may be ok, but wholesale commercial bush meat sales can devastate the wild life. When society makes the value of the wild animal high enough to keep it out of the cooking pot, the problem will be on its way to being solved. I saw evidence of this in Zambia at Nchila Reserve. Pete Fisher has re-introduced sable into this are of Zambia. These sable have some Giant Angolan Sable blood/DNA in them and he is producing some fantastic sable bulls. The locals in the area would poach one from time to time. He worked with them to convince them that value of the sable was much higher if they did not eat it but let the white guy come shoot them. This took time, but has worked there. The same idea works in other places as well."
On the logging in the rainforest -
"Logging in the Rainforest
As a conservationist and part-time environmentalist, I was prepared to cast an evil spell on the logging companies as they do their part to rid the earth of trees and animals. I decided to look at what actually is happening before casting this spell. What I saw and came to understand is this – without the logging companies, there would not be much bongo hunting. The reason is the roads they build. Without the roads, you do not have access to the forest. The roads make it easier to track and actually see the forest. How much land is “devastated” by the loggers? Not all that much from what I could tell. The logging business works this way – they bid on an area, they send in a recon team to check for the type of trees they are after, the trees are located with a GPS, when enough trees are located they map out a road to get to the trees. The government in Cameroon is very sensitive to criticism of their efforts to protect the environment. The width of the roads is restricted. The areas where the trees are cut down are cleaned up of debris so the rainforest can re-grow. The trees are moved out by large forklifts and staged in pre-set areas for collection and transport out. Overall, the areas that are logged do not look like the clear cutting you see in North America or South America. There is a narrow road to the trees to be cut and a road out. Once the area is logged, the roads are blocked and allowed to grow over. The main roads are kept open and the hunting companies are allowed to use them. I saw no trash and not waste of tree products.
The only downside to the logging business is that the roads give greater access to poachers (market hunters) who hunt the duikers and sitatunga and monkeys for sale in the local villages and larger towns. The bush meat business is active and the logging work gives them access as well as a ride to town at times. I was told that the poachers often pay the truck drivers to give them a ride when heading out with a load of logs. The cure for this is enforcement of existing laws and some effort by the government to sort this out. With very few roads in and out, checking the trucks for contraband would be easy.
From what I could tell, the logging business provides more jobs than hunting. When all is said and done, our resources are renewable when used properly. This goes for the rainforest and the trees and the animals there. So, I retracted my evil spell and decided not to judge the logging companies quite so harshly. "
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Sounds and looks like a true adventure....Congratulations! I really enjoyed all the pictures you posted and found the "rain forest culture" as interesting as the actual hunt. I'm sure you will have memories from this adventure that will always remain with you......in the end I think the memories made on these types of adventure are the "true trophy"!
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fat chicks inc.
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What can I say? Outstanding adventure and beautiful report.
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The PH's spoke well of Adam when he hunted there a few years ago. I also appreciated Adam's dvd when he had it done.
It helped me get prepared.
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Thanks for sharing
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congratulations, tremendous trophies. The forest is not for everyone but to me it is fantastic and I feel most comfortable there.
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Wonderful report. Loved the way you wrote it up and included all the photos and explained everything.
This hunt report reminds me of what, in my mind, safari is all about.
The hunting and animals are great and of course that is why we are there but it truly is all the little things that are the big thing.
Thanks for posting on this great adventure, congrats!
SAFARI ARTS TAXIDERMY
|one of us|
Top-knotch report with great pictures on an amazing adventure.
Congratulations and thank you.
Give me the simple life; an AK-47, a good guard dog and a nymphomaniac who owns a liquor store.
|one of us|
Thank you for one of the finest hunting reports I have seen.
It must have been a great adventure, your photos speak volumes.
Hunting sitatunga with leopard- now that's unique.
|one of us|
Hats off to you sir!
Great report and even better hunt. Thank you for expanding the horizon.
"You only gotta do one thing well to make it in this world" - J Joplin
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