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CMS Dande Hunt Report 2023
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Greetings from Pedza Camp in Dande Safari Area, Zimbabwe, via Starlink Global Roam high speed internet!


Starlink dish outside the dining area in camp.

This hunt started in 2019 when my oldest son, Austin and I were scheduled for a 2 buffalo, father and son trip. If you may remember, he had to cancel at the last moment due to some medical issues which are now sorted out, so it was ON!!

One major difference was this trip was scheduled late, and for late season, meaning HOT! Well, it was very hot the day we flew in but we had rain overnight prior to day 3 which cooled things down quite a bit, but this also spread the animals out since water was no longer concentrated.


Trying to stay cool!!

Upon arrival, I asked Alan Shearing, our PH extraordinaire, if we can focus on Dugga Boys and not hunt the herds this trip. Of course Al agreed. I then put an undue burden on him by asking if we can focus on a bull with worn tips for me ... and of course I'm using my double rifle!! Yeah, right old boy! Al put on his game face and said, you bet!!

After the first couple of days in the heat, we finally got onto a really nice dugga boy track the morning of day 4. We bumped him after about an hour on the tracks, took an hour or so break, and started again.


Al and team sorting out dugga boy tracks.

Very quickly thereafter, we found the old bull, a really great one, sleeping and facing his backtrack. How we got that close I'll never know. Austin waited for the bull to stand up prior to shooting, however, instead of standing, he stood up and took off, giving no shot. We were devastated, but pursued. We caught him again fairly quickly but he was on to us now and didn't hang around for a shot. Thinking we would catch him again quickly, we took off on his trail. This led us to an all day, 8 to 9 K day in extreme heat, over some very rugged terrain. We pressed him hard all day, no lunch, getting down to one remaining bottle of water before he finally joined a herd and crossed a distant road. Game, set, match to the old dugga boy. They don't get old by being stupid.

We had no luck on day 5 but shortly after leaving camp on day 6, came across a herd with a few bulls and decided to pursue. Luckily, we got out in front of them and Austin was able to take one with his 375. I was a very proud Dad, of course.



3 recovered 300gr. 375 TSX bullets from Austin's bull. Awesome performance, as always.



We even paid homage to Saeed's buddy Walter who recently passed away, by doing the hand on the buffalo with the hunter in the far background!



After the appropriate celebrations, it was my turn starting on day 7. We had pressed the DSA bulls pretty hard over the previous 6 days so we decided to go up to Dande North and see if there was any dugga boy activity. We immediately found a very, very fresh track and took off on the trail. I told Al that since the days were passing, we could give up the worn tip requirement and just focus on a good, mature bull.

We determined this bull was heading to a large jess block so we pursued quickly but quietly, hoping to catch him prior to getting into that tangle. We were about 1.5K in when we spotted him, in the very same position as the bull that got away from us on day 4, laying in his bed, watching his back track. Al looked him over with the binos, turning to me and saying "you won't believe this but his tips are worn, just like you wanted"!

Al and I eased forward, me trailing about 10", placing my right foot into Al's right foot track, and putting our feet down at the same time in order to minimize sound, followed by the left feet, and so on. We eased our way into position at about 40 yards and up went the sticks. I quickly placed my 500NE on the rest and Al whispered to double tap him as soon as he makes a move to stand. I complied. The first shot rolled him over on his left side and I tapped him again as he tried to roll back to his feet. Quickly reloading, I hit him a third time and he was down. A couple of insurance shots upon approach and the celebrations started.

Once we got to him, I noticed the left side of his head resting flatly on the ground. When we lifted his head, the left horn was worn / broken off, giving us a great old worn, half scrum cap trophy. We were elated. It couldn't get any better!! What a bull.


No hand on the back, sitting in the distance trickery needed on this old boy!!





He barely fit in Al's cruiser!!

Unable to find my bullet of choice, the Barnes TSX, in 500NE this year, I opted to give the Northfolk Cup Points a try. Needless to say, they performed perfectly as expected. We recovered 3 out of the 5, the others passed all the way thru.





This was by far the most challenging and rewarding buffalo hunt I've been on and I doubt I'll ever match it. The stuff dreams are made off, thanks again to CMS and their outstanding operation and people.

We took the next day to go up to the river and enjoy some fishing, cooling off in the swimming pool at Motombo camp, overlooking a multimillion dollar view of the river. But first, we had some outstanding business with my nemesis, the crafty old smelly dog, Mr. Heyna.

Al and the guys set up a blind, dragging the road and hanging our 2 buffalo carcasses. We walked in to the blind before daylight, in our sock feet, and connected right at shooting light. Quick trip back to camp and then off to the river.


Smelly dog in the salt!!





We decided to take the next day, day 9, off and just hang around camp, driving out to Harare a day early on day 10 so as to not stress out on the drive into town the same day as our flight. As I sit here now, at the and of day 9 typing this report, we'll depart for town in the morning, flying home the following day.

It's been another great trip and I can only hope to do it again. This time was super special, finally having my son with me and showing him wild Africa!
 
Posts: 8489 | Registered: 09 January 2011Reply With Quote
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Well done Todd and that is a great buff. Is Dande East and North one concession?


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Posts: 9865 | Location: Zambia | Registered: 10 April 2009Reply With Quote
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Well done Todd. Glad the Star Link worked well.
 
Posts: 11954 | Location: Orlando, FL | Registered: 26 January 2006Reply With Quote
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Well done, hunting with your son builds a bond you can't get any where else. Love those broken horned bulls.
 
Posts: 1182 | Registered: 14 June 2010Reply With Quote
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Fabulous old bull Todd. ie - the buff, not you Big Grin
And a great hunt by your son too. Congrats to both of you hunting in that heat.
My son and I have been discussing another CMS hunt as well. Two or three years perhaps for us.


Hunting.... it's not everything, it's the only thing.
 
Posts: 2013 | Location: New Zealand's North Island | Registered: 13 November 2014Reply With Quote
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Posts: 675 | Location: Oklahoma | Registered: 27 November 2010Reply With Quote
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Very nice all around. You are looking fit! From what I hear of the heat down there it’s necessary.
 
Posts: 7783 | Registered: 31 January 2005Reply With Quote
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Very nice report. Thanks Todd!


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Posts: 1696 | Location: Virginia | Registered: 01 February 2009Reply With Quote
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Congratulations Todd! I’m jealous!


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Posts: 3507 | Location: Wyoming | Registered: 25 February 2005Reply With Quote
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Great report Todd and kudos to both you and your son for a couple of fine Zambezi Valley buffalo!


On the plains of hesitation lie the bleached bones of ten thousand, who on the dawn of victory lay down their weary heads resting, and there resting, died.

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch...
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!
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Life grows grim without senseless indulgence.
 
Posts: 7522 | Location: Victoria, Texas | Registered: 30 March 2003Reply With Quote
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Congrats to you and Austin, Todd! I love those worn old bulls. I'm looking forward to hunting CMS again with my son.
 
Posts: 1789 | Location: Sinton, Texas | Registered: 08 November 2006Reply With Quote
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Todd-

You look great. It appears you've shed quite a few pounds. I'm curious as to if you felt any different on track now?

As you know, I'm a very dedicated cyclists. I've always felt like my fitness has offered me a better experience and even better trophies. PH's don't fell the need to go easy on me.

Well done!!


Formerly "Nganga"
 
Posts: 3375 | Location: Phoenix, Arizona | Registered: 26 April 2010Reply With Quote
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Thanks guys. It was a great hunt, made even more special with Austin along.

The Starlink was good but we both had to fight the urge to conduct business back home ... I have to admit, we gave in to the urge a few times! killpc

Steve, yep, I dropped 70 pounds for this trip from my 2019 hunt with Al. It made a huge difference in the experience. Back in 2019, we came across a dugga boy track in the hills of Dande North but Al and I both knew I wasn't in shape to follow it. Not so this time around! A couple of photos from each trip:


2019


2023
 
Posts: 8489 | Registered: 09 January 2011Reply With Quote
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Todd-

That's great!

Did you just change your diet or take up a activity.

I retired in July. I've upped my riding and have lost a couple pounds and gotten much stronger on my bikes. Everyday is Saturday now. Cool

My biggest regret in life is that my son isn't/wasn't able to go enjoy hunting with me. Makes me smile to see others doing so.


Formerly "Nganga"
 
Posts: 3375 | Location: Phoenix, Arizona | Registered: 26 April 2010Reply With Quote
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Nice report and some great bulls. Love the old warrior you took. A true trophy.


Guns and hunting
 
Posts: 1098 | Registered: 07 February 2017Reply With Quote
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Originally posted by Steve Ahrenberg:
Todd-

That's great!

Did you just change your diet or take up a activity.

I retired in July. I've upped my riding and have lost a couple pounds and gotten much stronger on my bikes. Everyday is Saturday now. Cool

My biggest regret in life is that my son isn't/wasn't able to go enjoy hunting with me. Makes me smile to see others doing so.


So true Steve. Retirement rocks.

Todd you do look great and it's nice to see Austin again. Joyce was very impressed with the young man when we all had dinner years ago.

Cheers
J&J


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Hunt Reports

2015 His & Her Leopards with Derek Littleton of Luwire Safaris - http://forums.accuratereloadin...6321043/m/2971090112
2015 Trophy Bull Elephant with CMS http://forums.accuratereloadin...6321043/m/1651069012
DIY Brooks Range Sheep Hunt 2013 - http://forums.accuratereloadin...901038191#9901038191
Zambia June/July 2012 with Andrew Baldry - Royal Kafue http://forums.accuratereloadin...6321043/m/7971064771
Zambia Sept 2010- Muchinga Safaris http://forums.accuratereloadin...6321043/m/4211096141
Namibia Sept 2010 - ARUB Safaris http://forums.accuratereloadin...6321043/m/6781076141
 
Posts: 7594 | Location: Alaska | Registered: 05 February 2008Reply With Quote
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Great report Todd and a couple of great bulls. I take it the 'red dot' sight on your 500 double performed well. Face all okay after 5 consecutive shots?
 
Posts: 3848 | Location: Nelson, New Zealand | Registered: 03 August 2009Reply With Quote
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Originally posted by Steve Ahrenberg:
Todd-

That's great!

Did you just change your diet or take up a activity.

I retired in July. I've upped my riding and have lost a couple pounds and gotten much stronger on my bikes. Everyday is Saturday now. Cool

My biggest regret in life is that my son isn't/wasn't able to go enjoy hunting with me. Makes me smile to see others doing so.


Steve, it was a combination of low level aerobic exercise to prevent additional back injuries and cutting carbs out of my diet.
 
Posts: 8489 | Registered: 09 January 2011Reply With Quote
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Originally posted by eagle27:
Great report Todd and a couple of great bulls. I take it the 'red dot' sight on your 500 double performed well. Face all okay after 5 consecutive shots?


Hey Eagle, yep, I figured out the issue with the rifle smacking me in the face. Just a quick adjustment on how I was holding it with the red dot. For some reason, I was canting it into my face getting used to the new sight picture. Once I corrected that, all was good. I have to say, the red dot, while not traditional, really worked well.
 
Posts: 8489 | Registered: 09 January 2011Reply With Quote
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Originally posted by Hogbreath:
Nice report and some great bulls. Love the old warrior you took. A true trophy.


Thanks Rick. Nice to hear from you. I hope all is going well.
 
Posts: 8489 | Registered: 09 January 2011Reply With Quote
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Great job Todd! I have a son that just had hes 3 birthday so I need to wait some more years before he can tag along but really looking forward to it.
 
Posts: 2637 | Location: North | Registered: 24 May 2007Reply With Quote
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Great report Todd. Thank you for sharing.
 
Posts: 51 | Location: South Carolina | Registered: 10 April 2019Reply With Quote
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Great bull Todd and I’m very happy for you that you got to experience it with your so. There is nothing better!
 
Posts: 2640 | Location: Utah | Registered: 23 February 2011Reply With Quote
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Hi Todd.
This is Alberto. It was nice to share camp with you and Bob, hope you had a nice trip going back home.
I am very happy to see you both got the trophies you were after, CMS is a great operation.
I am also back to Spain and getting ready my videos about hunting and conservation. I just uploaded to youtube the first one and I am waiting for Spanish TV to begin pushing on the spread of it.
Here is the link in case you would like to watch it and hopefully help anyway you can in spread the message as much as possible.
More videos and film to come.
https://youtu.be/LyxcAZwDZaM

Best regards and take care friends
 
Posts: 192 | Registered: 10 October 2007Reply With Quote
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Proper that tu2
 
Posts: 2027 | Location: Slovenia | Registered: 28 April 2004Reply With Quote
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Great job Todd
Love the bull you shot
 
Posts: 753 | Location: Michigan USA | Registered: 27 September 2008Reply With Quote
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Epic Adenture Congrats
 
Posts: 2328 | Location: East Wenatchee | Registered: 18 August 2008Reply With Quote
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Excellent adventure. Well done on that worn-down, old bull...he is the stuff dreams are made of!

I'm intrigued by the Starlink unit as I had been considering one for the trips I have scheduled the next few years. How big is the unit you took along? I was thinking of getting one to take along in my carry-on.


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Posts: 231 | Registered: 24 December 2008Reply With Quote
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Hello guys. We finally made it home last night at 1:30am in a driving rain storm!! It's good to be home. I'm nursing a strong case of jet lag currently but will add a few more photos in the next few days. I'm writing this at 3:45 am and wide awake so obviously readjusting to Texas time.

Thanks for all the nice comments.

Alberto, it was very nice to meet you in camp. I think your videos as described will carry a positive message of conservation and hunting. Good luck to you and your endeavor! And congrats on your lion.

Anton, the time from now with your son at 3 years old, until he's ready to join you in Africa will pass so quickly you'll not know where the years went. The wait will be well worth it.

Jim, thanks for your and Joyce's comment about Austin. He's a good guy and I'm really proud of him. He reminds me of my Dad more and more every day.

Hanay, yes, Motombo Camp has one seriously incredible view. The pool is a great new addition. I couldn't get Austin to join me for a swim, preferring to sit in the shade and enjoy a cold beer! I did both! LOL

PA, the Starlink worked great but I think you'll find it too large to fit in an overhead bin. I purchased a Pelican 1610 case and it fits perfectly, just barely. The Pelican protected it well as checked baggage.

We missed our connection in Dubai and ended up with an extra day's travel on the way home. It rained the day we laid over which is a rarity. Saeed had us out to his home for dinner while waiting for the following day's flight. We saw his bullet making facility and underground gun range. I held that famous 577 TRex rifle but didn't have the nerve to shoot it! We had a GREAT meal and watched videos from his latest Safari. Austin and I really enjoyed our time with Saeed and he was an awesome host. Thank you Saeed.
 
Posts: 8489 | Registered: 09 January 2011Reply With Quote
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Congratulations on another great hunt, Todd, and thank you for sharing with us.

Those Starlink units are very interesting. Beyond internet connection, were you able to reliably make phone calls over WhatsApp?
 
Posts: 1424 | Location: Shelton, CT | Registered: 22 February 2010Reply With Quote
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Hey Brandon. I didn't try WhatsApp calls but we did make several calls via FaceTime. I'm sure the WhatsApp calls would work as well since I did a fair amount of messaging with photos on that app.
 
Posts: 8489 | Registered: 09 January 2011Reply With Quote
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Al put on his game face ... ha ha I can see that Wink Big Grin The English gentleman ... Smiler


Congrats and thanks for sharing Todd. Hunting together with your son gives en axtra dimension to the whole safari. And that scrum cap must have been awesome with your double. Also happy to see that the North Fork bullets performed as wanted.

Life goes up and down - in fact I cancelled today my hunt with CMS for June 2024 due to health reasons. I am not able to do a proper hunt for tuskless or buffalo the CMS way which I have loved to be a part of on two occations. I have to find a different way to hunt buffalo. Elephant is out of question as far as I can see. In the meantime I love these reports. Keep them coming... tu2


All the best,
Morten


The more I know, the less I wonder !
 
Posts: 1137 | Location: Oslo area, Norway | Registered: 26 June 2013Reply With Quote
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Originally posted by Todd Williams:
Hello guys. We finally made it home last night at 1:30am in a driving rain storm!! It's good to be home. I'm nursing a strong case of jet lag currently but will add a few more photos in the next few days. I'm writing this at 3:45 am and wide awake so obviously readjusting to Texas time.

Thanks for all the nice comments.

Alberto, it was very nice to meet you in camp. I think your videos as described will carry a positive message of conservation and hunting. Good luck to you and your endeavor! And congrats on your lion.

Anton, the time from now with your son at 3 years old, until he's ready to join you in Africa will pass so quickly you'll not know where the years went. The wait will be well worth it.

Jim, thanks for your and Joyce's comment about Austin. He's a good guy and I'm really proud of him. He reminds me of my Dad more and more every day.

Hanay, yes, Motombo Camp has one seriously incredible view. The pool is a great new addition. I couldn't get Austin to join me for a swim, preferring to sit in the shade and enjoy a cold beer! I did both! LOL

PA, the Starlink worked great but I think you'll find it too large to fit in an overhead bin. I purchased a Pelican 1610 case and it fits perfectly, just barely. The Pelican protected it well as checked baggage.

We missed our connection in Dubai and ended up with an extra day's travel on the way home. It rained the day we laid over which is a rarity. Saeed had us out to his home for dinner while waiting for the following day's flight. We saw his bullet making facility and underground gun range. I held that famous 577 TRex rifle but didn't have the nerve to shoot it! We had a GREAT meal and watched videos from his latest Safari. Austin and I really enjoyed our time with Saeed and he was an awesome host. Thank you Saeed.


Todd,

It was great to meet you and Austin.

Next time allow more time here and I will take you to the desert to meet my 4 legged wives!

Had friends from Switzerland here over the weekend, and took them out.

Wasn't sure who enjoyed meeting whom?

The camels came running towards them as they knew carrots were on the menu!

Camels chasing them up the dunes was quite a sight to see!

Just ask Tony Baker! clap


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Posts: 66923 | Location: Dubai, UAE | Registered: 08 January 1998Reply With Quote
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LOL Saeed. I read his report where he ran out of carrots and had to be saved by the camel herder when they chased him up the dunes!

Now that we know the deal with hotels / 24hr layover with guns issue, we'll definitely plan for a longer stay next time!
 
Posts: 8489 | Registered: 09 January 2011Reply With Quote
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Congratulations Todd! There is nothing that even begins to compare with taking your son or daughter on any hunting trip - especially Africa!

My son has accompanied me on three trips to RSA and we are planning our 4th trip. Like yours - to wild Africa this time for buffalo...

Looking great after the weight loss!! I'm 20lbs down out of my 50lb target but your story is motivating me to push to a 70lb goal myself!!!


"At least once every human being should have to run for his life - to teach him that milk does not come from the supermarket, that safety does not come from policemen, and that news is not something that happens to other people." - Robert Heinlein
 
Posts: 893 | Location: Akron, OH | Registered: 07 March 2006Reply With Quote
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Todd,

Well done! Must be wonderful to share the safari experience with your son.

Mark


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Posts: 12864 | Location: LAS VEGAS, NV USA | Registered: 04 August 2002Reply With Quote
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.

Todd, Great report. Congratulations to you and your son! Well done.

Cheers

.


"Up the ladders and down the snakes!"
 
Posts: 2258 | Location: South Africa & Europe | Registered: 10 February 2014Reply With Quote
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Incredible and congratulations.

Austin has grown into a man now. He’s had a great mentor.


I meant to be DSC Member...bad typing skills.

Marcus Cady

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Posts: 3433 | Location: Dallas | Registered: 19 March 2008Reply With Quote
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Thanks guys.
 
Posts: 8489 | Registered: 09 January 2011Reply With Quote
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A few more photos:

Fishing the Zambezi with crocs:



My bull in Al's cruiser. As mentioned, it barely fit:



Different angle of my bull showing the his horn mass:



Proper buffalo medicine, my 500NE VC with red dot. I load my ammo belt this way so that when I leave the truck, I take the 1st and 4th rounds to load the rifle, leaving me with 5 sets of 2 for quick reloading:



Dinner from Austin's buffalo and the stove it was cooked on:





At Saeed's gun range with that crazy TRex:



More to follow once I get them from Austin's phone.
 
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