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Leopard and Tuskless in Gokwe, CM Safaris.
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Operator; Charlton McCallum Safaris

PH; Amir Turk

Animals on license; Leopard, tuskless elephant, buffalo, hippo, crocodile and plains game

Safari area; Gokwe. September 2023. 14 days of hunting.

Gun Used; Winchester m70 .375HH custom rifle made by D’Arcy Echols. Swarovski Z8i 1.7-13.3x42 and S&B 1.1-4x24 illuminated reticle. Norma factory ammunition, A-frame softs and Norma’s monolithic solids, both 300 gr, and Remington 270 gr soft point factory loads.

Animals Taken; Leopard, tuskless elephant, Kudu cow

Flights; Ethiopian Airlines from Europe to Harare via Addis.








Intro

Buzz Charlton, of CM Safaris, mentioned an opportunity to explore a new to them hunting area called Gokwe, in north western Zimbabwe. It is communal land, CAMPFIRE area. It had seen very little trophy hunting for the last three or four years but a bit uncertainty regarding the possible poaching situation. Some scouting done by CMS with positive findings regarding the presence of dangerous game in the area had been done in late 2022 and I was willing to give it a shot.
This was my third hunt with CM Safaris, having hunted elephant and buffalo with them previously. I have to admit that for some reason I am mostly interested in hunting elephant and I hope to be able to do so a few more times before I am too old or otherwise unable.
But, being curious, I also want to try the other dangerous game species at least once, to make sure I am not missing out on anything. So, last time hunting elephant with CMS I was also fortunate to take a nice buffalo. It was a truly great hunt and experience but thankfully I did not get hooked on buffalo hunting so I can safely keep on spending my money mostly on elephant.
My main goal for this hunt was to get to experience cat hunting. I had a feeling that hanging bait, dragging smelly guts, driving endlessly checking said baits, only to repeat again the next day and if lucky sit for hours on end in a blind before getting a shot was probably not my favorite way of hunting. But I definitely wanted to have had the experience. As the price was right and I would get to hunt elephant as well, it was an offer I had a hard time refusing.
Buffalo, hippo and crocodile were also available on quota should I want to hunt them.

I had Gracy Travel arrange my flights and the paper work needed for traveling with a rifle. They did a great job, as usual.
Fights were uneventful. I can recommend flying business on Ethiopian if you are going to Africa from Europe. Fair prices and apart from the somewhat odd procedure regarding transiting Addis with a firearm everything is smooth and usually on time.





The Hunt

I shall try not to bore you with details, mostly because I lack the skill to portray them to you in an enjoyable manner.

Gokwe is a huge area but large parts of it comprises villages and farming fields. The camp where we stayed was located on a river and surrounded by rich vegetation and had great views overlooking hills and mountains in the distance.
Camp was rustic but nice, comfortable and functional. Tents with ensuite bathrooms. Excellent food and very helpful and pleasant staff.

I had the great pleasure of hunting with Amir Turk as my PH, his trackers Million and Jimmy and Mackenzie the driver. All of them great guys and fun to be around, not to mention hard working and highly skilled hunters. We were joined by learner hunter David Mann whom I had hunted with previously. He too is a great guy and will become a well-known name in the Zim hunting industry in a few years’ time, mark my words.

I spent a lot of time discussing bullet performance, ballistics and caliber choices as well as the age-old double vs bolt action dilemma with Amir. It was great fun to find we both have a keen interest in these topics.
Amir is a great PH and a very pleasant man to spend time with. A true gentleman and he takes pride in always being prepared and having his equipment neatly arranged and in perfect order.

I was not fortunate enough to shoot any plains game the first day. So, to make sure we had baits up as early as possible we decided to buy a cow from a nearby village on day two before continuing to hunt. Quite an interesting experience for me to see what life in the villages looks like and to haggle for the price of cattle! Later in the hunt the baits were refreshed with Kudu meat and two goats.

The daily routine consisted of driving to check baits, starting early in the morning and finishing at around lunch time. Then an hour or two of rest during the worst midday heat. Afternoons driving looking for tracks, following elephant tracks or buffalo tracks. Or stalking plains game spotted from the vehicle or from wantage points, “Elephant View” being my favorite spot to climb up on top of and just glass and admire the scenic landscape. Many afternoons we also went on walks for a few hours usually finding elephants and seeing some plains game.
There were plenty of elephants in this area, we saw lots them almost every day. Multiple stalks in amongst the animals of spread-out elephant herds. Seeing lots of tuskless but usually with dependent calves. At one point we intercepted a group of elephants, they walked by about 25 yards in front of us. There were six tuskless in that group, all with dependent calves. A sight to behold, six tuskless at once!

I was lucky enough to get to take my Leopard on day nine of the safari, after having it on bait for a few days before that. One shot was all it took but the cat ran off and it was certainly a trilling experience to join in on the follow up in the dark. Trackers are indeed brave men, going after potentially wounded cats armed with only flashlights, fully trusting the PH to save them from potential harm.
We found my cat dead in the grass. It had run about 35 yards from the bait where it was shot. Memories were made that evening, for sure.

A few days later I also got to take a tuskless elephant. My initial shot, side brain from about 25 yards, was just a bit too low but it knocked the cow over on its side immediately and she was unable to get up after that. Food for thought in the caliber and knock down power debate since I was using a .375H&H…
Several insurance shots were added for good measure. Then we had to back out and return the next morning as the rest of the herd were getting unhappy with our presence and daylight was fading.

We did see a lot of plains game, mainly Impala, Kudu, Bushbuck and Warthog. However. we found it quite hard to get close to them when stalking. They seemed switched on and once they spotted us they took of and did not stop running for a long while. Our guess is that perhaps villagers have hunted with dogs in the area during the previous years when no trophy hunting took place. (Conservation through sustainable, ethical hunting is so self-explanatory and intuitive. I wish more of the so-called animal rights people and anti-hunters could see the truth instead of relying on feelings)
I did have opportunity to shoot nice Kudu bulls and Bushbuck but decided to wait for even more mature specimens. I also had a long and very exciting stalk on a nice Impala, just about to squeeze the trigger a few times but either the ram or one of the females moved at that last second making the shot risky so I passed. Again, great hunting memories do not always require a dead animal.



































Summary

Hunting Leopard was sort of how I had imagined it to be. A lot of hard, smelly, work and long hours of driving. I had however not quit anticipated the excitement I felt when our bait finally had been hit by a cat and I had underestimated the thrill of sitting in the blind waiting for that cat to return.
My conclusion being that I might pick up Leopard hunting again, when I am no longer able to track elephants. I am very happy to have had this experience and looking at my Leopard mount will bring back great memories for the rest of my life.

I thoroughly enjoyed my hunt in Gokwe. My PH and his crew were great and so was the tented camp on the bank of the river and the food and all the camp staff.
The hunting area is very diverse, spanning from agricultural land and villages to truly wild and beautiful. The wildlife is there, plenty of elephant, herds of buffalo and quite a few plains game.
It is however not easy hunting and you should not expect to shoot high numbers of game. But if you enjoy the hunt, and not just the shot at the end of it, Gokwe has a lot to offer in my opinion.

I think the fact that I highly recommend hunting with CMS is already obvious but if a potential client wants more of my input, I’ll try to answer any questions.

English is not my first language and to make things worse I am also dyslectic. So please forgive me for butchering the language. I hope you can understand most of what I wanted to share.
I’ll try to add some pictures.




 
Posts: 101 | Location: Sweden | Registered: 03 March 2008Reply With Quote
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Nice cat and congrats for a great hunt and blazing a trail for the rest of us in a reopened area.


STAY IN THE FIGHT!
 
Posts: 1846 | Location: Southern California | Registered: 25 July 2006Reply With Quote
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Thanks for the report! Looks like you had a great hunt and I enjoyed your story and pictures.

quote:
I had however not quit anticipated the excitement I felt when our bait finally had been hit by a cat and I had underestimated the thrill of sitting in the blind waiting for that cat to return.

Yes that feeling when the leopard finally climbs the tree is hard to explain.


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Posts: 2056 | Location: Around the wild pockets of Europe | Registered: 09 January 2009Reply With Quote
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Nice hunt in an area on the mend it looks like! Are there any trophy elephant bulls on quota there?
 
Posts: 1833 | Location: St. Charles, MO | Registered: 02 August 2012Reply With Quote
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Excellent Leopard and very well done


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Posts: 9832 | Location: Zambia | Registered: 10 April 2009Reply With Quote
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Well done! Thanks for posting.
 
Posts: 1779 | Location: Sinton, Texas | Registered: 08 November 2006Reply With Quote
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Nice!
 
Posts: 8476 | Registered: 09 January 2011Reply With Quote
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Well done! Glad to hear Gokwe is doing well. In the not so distant past it had offered some tough hunting.

BTW: Your English is fine.

Mark


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Posts: 12821 | Location: LAS VEGAS, NV USA | Registered: 04 August 2002Reply With Quote
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Great report!

Your English is quite good! Way better than my Swedish…
 
Posts: 10396 | Location: Minnesota USA | Registered: 15 June 2007Reply With Quote
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No need to apologise for your English, that was a first class report in anybodies language! Well done and congratulations on a great hunt.
 
Posts: 270 | Location: New Zealand  | Registered: 24 March 2018Reply With Quote
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GREAT REPORT!!

Thanks for sharing... I would like to follow in your footsteps!! I have been emailing Buzz!!

CheeeZ,


470EDDY
 
Posts: 2515 | Location: The Other Washington | Registered: 24 March 2003Reply With Quote
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Thank you every one for your nice comments!

quote:
Originally posted by Safari2:
Nice hunt in an area on the mend it looks like! Are there any trophy elephant bulls on quota there?


I think there might be bull elephant on quota in Gokwe but I did not see any lage bulls during my two weeks there. Largest ones we saw were proably around 25 lbs I would gess. That might change with migration patterns trough out the year and so on so possibly you could find bigger bulls there as well if timing is right.

But Buzz or Myles at hunting@cmsafaris.com can give you more details on this.
 
Posts: 101 | Location: Sweden | Registered: 03 March 2008Reply With Quote
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.

Thanks for sharing and congratulations on your leopard and tuskless!!

Very timely report as a friend and I have just booked 10 days in Gokwe with CMS for next year!

Cheers

.


"Up the ladders and down the snakes!"
 
Posts: 2238 | Location: South Africa & Europe | Registered: 10 February 2014Reply With Quote
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Great report! Thanks!
 
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Posts: 672 | Location: Oklahoma | Registered: 27 November 2010Reply With Quote
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Very nice cat and I never would have guessed that English was not your first language. Congratulations on a great hunt.
 
Posts: 9883 | Location: Houston, Texas | Registered: 26 December 2005Reply With Quote
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Congratulations on an exciting hunt and than you for sharing with us.
 
Posts: 1411 | Location: Shelton, CT | Registered: 22 February 2010Reply With Quote
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Congratulations on a great hunt! Thanks for sharing your report.


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Posts: 3496 | Location: Wyoming | Registered: 25 February 2005Reply With Quote
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I, too would not of known that English was not your first language. Beautiful leopard. Congrats on a great hunt. Nice pictures. Thanks for taking the time to put up a report.
Bruce
 
Posts: 371 | Location: Gillette, Wy USA | Registered: 11 May 2012Reply With Quote
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Super report! Regarding Addis, do you have to inspect the guns in that piss smelling basement ?
 
Posts: 188 | Location: Near the arctic circle, Norway | Registered: 14 October 2005Reply With Quote
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Great report, thanks for posting it.


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"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."
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Posts: 12489 | Location: Kentucky, USA | Registered: 30 December 2002Reply With Quote
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Congrsts, nice leopard. Did you see any old buffalo bulls?
 
Posts: 5 | Location: west texas | Registered: 30 August 2017Reply With Quote
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Great report.. Thanks for posting!

CMS… professionals for sure!!


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Posts: 538 | Location: SouthEast, KY | Registered: 09 May 2010Reply With Quote
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Great report. Thanks for sharing. Landscape looks awsome. More rhan 10 years since we shared camp Klein.
Time is running.
Regards CF
 
Posts: 489 | Location: Denmark | Registered: 04 March 2007Reply With Quote
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Again, thank you everyone for your kind words!

I am glad I if can help spread a little bit of knowledge and a bit of desire to explore lesser known parts of Africa!


To answer a few question;

Odin.
Yes you do need to be present to open your gun case in the basement at the airport in Addis. It has not been smelly on any occasion when I have been there but of course it is a bit of a hassle. But also quite amazing to get to see how a third world country makes an airport’s luggage logistics work basically without computers and so on.


Ted Seymour.
I did not personally see any mature buffalo bulls, but I did not actively look for them either. So I cannot really tell if they are around or not. We did see single and small groups of buffalo tracks at the many springs most days so I’d assume the there are dagga boys there.

Carl Frederic.
Time runs exponentially faster as I get older unfortunately. I am glad I did not wait to go on that first safari, where we met. If I had waited I would have had even less time left now to do all the hunts I want to go on still.
I hope to see you agin some where in the African bush before its game over!
 
Posts: 101 | Location: Sweden | Registered: 03 March 2008Reply With Quote
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Fine report Klein. My experience with Ethiopian Airlines was the opposite of yours. In 2022 I flew from ORD to Addis. The flight was delayed due to slow and disorganized boarding. Result I missed my connecting flight to Windhoek. They put me up in a fleabag hotel in a shady part of Addis and Ethiopian Airlines had no flight to WDH the next day. The airport in Addis was hot and the employees were surly and unhelpful. I had to fly into that hellhole Joberg then wait several hours to fly into WDH. The only positive I can offer about Ethiopian Airlines is that the stewardesses all look like Halle Berry’s kid sister. I ended up losing a day and a half of hunting time due to the EA’s incompetence.I’d rather swim to Africa than fly EA again.


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Posts: 1378 | Location: Lake Bluff, IL | Registered: 02 May 2008Reply With Quote
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Looked like a fun hunt


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Posts: 617 | Location: Wherever hunting is good and Go Trump | Registered: 17 June 2023Reply With Quote
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The Operator is Gary Hopkins for this year I think?


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Posts: 9832 | Location: Zambia | Registered: 10 April 2009Reply With Quote
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Hi All
Hope to find you well. Just to clarify the post that I am the Safari Operator in Gokwe North
I did not market this hunt for Mr Klein it was done through Cm Safaris

I am marketing Gokwe North and South from the beginning of this year 2024, however, CM Safaris does have quota that they are marketing in Gokwe North for season 2024

I have hence been marketing the balance of quota in Gokwe North

For your information both Gokwe North and South can be challenging to hunt but can be very rewarding

Trust all in order
Regards
Gary Hopkins
 
Posts: 13 | Location: Zimbabwe | Registered: 15 June 2022Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by GARY ROBERT HOPKINS:
Hi All
Hope to find you well. Just to clarify the post that I am the Safari Operator in Gokwe North
I did not market this hunt for Mr Klein it was done through Cm Safaris

I am marketing Gokwe North and South from the beginning of this year 2024, however, CM Safaris does have quota that they are marketing in Gokwe North for season 2024

I have hence been marketing the balance of quota in Gokwe North

For your information both Gokwe North and South can be challenging to hunt but can be very rewarding

Trust all in order
Regards
Gary Hopkins


Thanks Gary and good luck on this venture


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Hundreds Andrew
 
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