Hunting In The Selous
Last year, I asked my friend Ray Atkinson if he can arrange a hunt for us in Tanzania. We are a party of 8, and have been rather spoiled in our past hunts, both in Zimbabwe and South Africa. In Zimbabwe we have always hunted with Roy Vincent and his family, who are like family members to us. And in South Africa we have always hunted with Peter Harris. Both these gentlemen have always made sure everyone had a great hunt, and a very enjoyable time while we were their guests.
Ray recommended we hunt with Pierre van Tonder, and Pierre certainly lived up to his promise of making sure we all had a great time - despite all Walters antics.
Our party was a sort of an international mix of characters. Anna-Marie and Horst are from Austria, Walter is not too sure what nationality he is, Dwight, Jim and Ray are Americans, Alan is from Zimbabwe, and myself from the United Arab Emirate. To say that we all thoroughly enjoyed each other's company is the under statement of the century. I am not too sure what Pierre and his camp staff thought of all that was going on there. I remember an afternoon when everything came to stand still, as everyone stopped whatever they were doing and came running to watch Ray rope Walter. Walter did a great imitation of a raging bull.
This is a view of the Kolimbero River, as we came in to land. The air strip can be seen in the middle of the right hand edge of the photo. Our camp is a few kilometers to the right of that island. The river is full of hippos and crocodiles.
Our very comfortable tented camp on the Kolimbero River. The tent on the left was mine, with Ray's next to it, then comes the mess hall and after that is the rest of the camp. I have a nasty feeling Pierre put me at this end as just next to my tent is a hippo path, and the hyenas came visiting almost every night.
Pierre, Anna-Marie, myself and a bush buck. We were driving along one of those very long valleys full for long grass, and as we came around one of the corners, we saw two bush buck feeding in the long grass. Pierre suggested I shoot one of them. That was easier said than done, as the bush buck were feeding in the grass, and very hard to see. One can see movement, as their color is darker than the grass, but it was very hard to tell which one is which. They fed with their heads down. Eventually, this one came through a clearing, and Pierre said to shoot it. He was moving at a slight angle towards us. A 300 grain Walterhog bullet hit him at the root of his neck, coming out from his shoulder on the opposite side. He dropped in his tracks.
The game department have a camp overlooking one of the inlets of the river. This camp is situated on very high ground, and from there one can see for miles around. We took some meat for the camp staff, and while there we looked across the water to the other side. We saw 2 buffalo cows lying in a clear area about a mile away. And as we looked with our glasses, we saw more buffalos feeding around them. Trouble was there was plenty of water between us and them, and it was full of both hippo and crocodiles. The camp had an inflatable boat, but the engine was not working. Every one tried his hand at being a marine engineer, but no one managed to breath any life into it. Someone with more sense of humor than common sense suggested we take one of the dug outs across the river. That idea did not have many takers. We then decided to drive down the river, and see if the buffalo continue feeding that way. As they were going in the right direction where we can get to them. In that area there are places where there is water, but generally not very deep, and not very wide. After we have drive for a couple of miles, we could see the buffalos feeding and getting closer. We went to intercept them. We got to about 150-200 yards several times, but were unable to get a shot at any of the bulls because of the high grass. Eventually, this bull tried to have some fun with a cow, and Pierre said to shoot him. I had to wait for a clear shot, and got one as he was walking away. I fired a 300 grain Walterhog bullet into his rear end, and he took off with the rest of the herd. A few yards further, he stopped. I fired another shot into him. We could hear the bullet hit him, but it did not seem to have too much of an effect on him. He just whirled around. I fired another shot into him. Again, not much reaction from this one either. We ran up to get closer to him - he was about 250 yards from us. About 100 yards from him, I fired another shot into him, and he dropped. We got closer, and final bullet was fired into his spine, killing him.
Here is where the second and third bullets him him. Both were on the shoulder, as you can see from the blood streaks.
I shot this impala towards the end of our hunt. We were driving along, and we saw him and some does. They ran about 80 yards and stopped. A bullet through his heart, dropped him after running a few yards.
As usual, we chased a herd of buffalo in the long grass, and after getting cut up by burnt grass stumps and sinking in mud up to our armpits, we managed to shoot this bull. We ran after them for quite a while, without getting a chance at a shot. Somehow, they turned and started running towards our left. Their path was getting closer to us. We picked a spot where we could see them passing through a clearing, and waited. Pierre was looking through his glasses, and as soon as he saw this bulls coming through, he said "This one!". I fired, and the buffalo dropped in his tracks with a broken neck, Going "maw". Pierre screamed his head off, very upset, thinking I have shot a cow! We ran to it, and as we got closer, I put another bullet into him. Pierre was very pleased it was a bull.
Lunch in the bush. We normally leave camp very early in the morning, and do not return to cam until evening time. Sometimes not before 11. Lunch is made up of assorted sandwiches, biscuits and meats left from our previous night's dinner. Beer and soft drinks follow. You can see Walter enjoying a TUSKER beer.
This was the first buffalo I shot. We were driving along when someone said they could see buffalo. We stopped to look, and Pierre confirmed that he did see a couple of buffalo at a water hole. We left Walter and Horst on the truck, and went to look for the buffalo. They were about 3/4 of a mile away. As we got closer, we could see elephants at the water, and only their backs are visible, because of the high grass. We continued, and suddenly got confronted by a very large warthog. He was jet black, as he was wet. We all stopped in our tracks, worried that if we scare him, he might scare the buffalo. We stood still. The warthog was very curious, and wanted to know what was going on. He walked towards us! Pierre said: "There is Walter's warthog!" I said: "If that warthog scares the buffalo, I will shoot the bloody pig myself!" The warthog decided he did not like the looks of us, and took off. Luckily, he did not scare anything. We walked up one of several ante hills, and tried to look for the buffalo. No such luck. We could not see anything except the elephants, which have taken their drink, and were on their way. We got to the water, and the only living thing we could see was birds. Pierre climbed a tree, and tried to look for the buffalo. He could not see anything. We started giving him a hard time, telling him he must have seen the backs of the elephants, and thought they were buffalo. He was not too amused with this. Again we went up one of those ant hills. Suddenly, we saw some cows running from our right, followed by some calves, and then this bull. Pierre said I should shoot this bull if I got the chance. The bull stopped about 200 yards from us, to look behind him. I rested my rifle on a tree trunk, and put a 300 grain Walterhog bullet into his chest. We heard the bullet connect. He took off with the rest of the herd. We could see blood coming out of his mouth. He ran a few yards and stopped, looking straight at us. I put another bullet into his chest. He ran off, and disappeared into the long grass. We went to look for him. There was quite a bit of blood to follow. He went into some high grass, and came out into a clearing. He then backtracked back into the grass. Pierre had Abu climb on his shoulder to get a better look to see the buffalo. He could not see anything. We followed the bloody tracks. A few yards into the grass, Pierre was on my left, and suddenly he pointed his rifle a couple of feet ahead on me. I jumped backwards, tripped and landed on my backside! Luckily, that was a false alarm. A few yards further, we saw a dark patch in the grass, Pierre used his rifle's barrel to clear the grass, and I could see the buffalo lying down. I fired a shot into him, despite the fact we were almost 100% sure he was dead.
These are the second and third bullets fired into this bull. The one on the left hit him in the neck, took the top of his heart off, and was found in a rear leg. The one on the right was fired into his chest as he was lying down dead, at 2 yards.
Walter finally managed to shoot a "cojones", as he calls the kongoni. And Pierre deserves a gold medal for achieving the impossible - actually getting Walter close enough to a kongoni, and making sure the kongoni stands still, broadside, nor further than you can throw a stone at it. You see, Walter was very upset, as we did not bring his beloved Blaser R 93 rifle. How anyone can call that contraption of an over engineered, over complicated piece of junk a rifle is beyond me. Anyway, he put some conditions down if he is to shoot any animal. "Cojones" should be no further than 100 meters, warthogs no further than 80 meters, elephants, alive, he does not wish to get closer than 500 meters from them while on foot. Dead, no problem, he stands on them. Buffalo, he is only interested in buffalos while they are cooking on the BBQ. Shooting them is not one of his top priorities, and anyone who goes after them in the long grass is fit to be locked up in the loony bin! As he keeps repeating "proof positive Saeed is absolutely stark raving mad!" Mind you, if the only rifle I had was a Blaser R 93, I would not consider going after a buffalo in the long grass - in fact, I might give up hunting altogether, and take up something that does not require the use of a rifle. Walter managed to kill this kongoni with one shot from the 375/404. He had us in fits of laughter, as each time he fires this rifle and knows he has missed, he said "no recoil". Luckily, he did feel the recoil this time.
We saw this bull and another one take off in the long grass. We ran after them. The chase went on for a few miles. We caught up with them on a couple of occasions, but no chance of a shot. Suddenly, Abu pointed ahead, and there was this bull standing looking at us. Pierre said "Shoot him! Shoot him anywhere!" That was easier said than done, as the bull was standing behind some trees, and right where one should shoot is hidden perfectly. We could see his head and part of his neck and his rear end. The middle part was not visible. I put a 300 grain Walterhog bullet into his neck, dropping him on the spot. We ran up to him, and I fired two more shots into his spine, as he was lying down with his back towards us. He was still alive, so I put another bullet into his head just behind his horns.
This buffalo had wounds from fighting lions off. This wound is in his chest, right at the root of his neck.
These two wounds were on his stomach, just ahead of his balls. He also had some scratches from their claws on his back.
His ears were cut up as well, just like most buffalo bulls we have shot. You can see the first bullet hole too.
I wanted to show you these photos of the exit holes of our Walterhog bullet on small animals. This is an impala, shot at around 100 yards.
This is the bush buck mentioned above.
The bullets seem to expand up to caliber diameter almost immediately they hit the animal.
My friend Jim Foster, he shot this bull a couple of days after he and his PH, Richard, got charged by a mad cow! They were following a herd, and suddenly, out of nowhere, jumps a cow literally from under their feet, and charges them. Both Jim and Richard had to fire from the hip, wounding the buffalo enough for it to leave them alone! They followed it and killed it.
A classic, hard boss. You can see the tree bark left on the horns from the bull rubbing his horn on the trees.
This is one of the inlets. At the top of the photo you can see the lighter colored grass. That is where the buffalo like to go. One can approach a herd of several hundreds, and get to within a few yards from them as they lay down, and not see them. makes for an interesting buffalo hunt.
We were looking for a hippo to shoot as crocodile bait. There were plenty of hippo in the river, but one has to be careful where to shoot it. As the river is flowing quite fast, and if the hippo gets into the flow under water, it becomes almost impossible to recover it. We saw this bull lying in the shallows, as we tried to get close to him through the trees, he got up and was on his way to the deeper part. I took a harried shot at his head, and dropped him. He was flopping around, so I put another bullet into him to make sure he stayed where he was. A couple of days later, we shot a crocodile feeding on him.
Alan had to jump out of the truck and shoot this impala. He somehow managed to crowd the scope, and whacked his lips on his thump. Of curse, that was enough to give Walter some ammo to keep pestering Alan, tring to tell him how to hold a rifle. Those of you who have seen the video of our hunt will understand what I mean.
This photo shows perfectly how a normal hunting day is for us - totally un-coordinated! Abu is trying to learn how to use a pair of binoculars I gave him, Pierre is trying top explain to him how to FOCUS, but there is no word for this in Swahili. Alan is trying to get back up on the truck for some refreshment, Anna-Marie is swatting tetsi flies. Walter is arguing with Sekasa about how close we got to the kongoni before I shot it. He saw the shooting sticks as you can see them in the photo, so close to the kongoni. Of course, he immediately assumed that I shot the kongoni from THAT distance! So he was giving Sekasa a very hard time, complaining why the hell was he required to shoot an animal from sooo faaar away, and Saeed gets to shoot his animals so close! Anneli is just wondering how did she get herself involved with this mad lot!
Here is Jim, Richard, Willem and a warthog Jim shot. Jim used his 416 Hoffman for all his hunting.
Walter insisted he wanted to have a two inch thick, 750 gram T-bone steak. And as usual, Anneli made sure he got his wish. Of course, he conveniently forgot that Pierre, Alan and me had to put our mad hats on and go into that long grass to shoot the bloody buffalo to provide him with his steak! When he was told that he would have to go shoot the buffalo himself next time he wanted a steak, he said: "Saeed, YOU brought me here. YOU said we were going on HOLIDAY. So, I AM going to ENJOY my HOLIDAY. And it is YOUR responsibility to make sure that I ENJOY my time here. You never said ANYTHING about me having to go after those crazy buffalo. Just ask my friends Jim and Richard. These buffalo are VERY dangerous" Both Jim and Richard agreed that buffalo are dangerous. At least the cows were.
Early one morning, as we approached one of lion baits, we saw this hyena standing in the grass under the bait. Pierre said I should shoot it. I fired at him, and he dropped. He was about 300 yards away. When we got close to him, we found that he had one ear missing, as you can see in the photo. And one rear toe was missing, and many wounds on his body. I might enter him in our Outer Circle trophies!
We found this waterbuck feeding in the long grass, stalked him and shot him. These waterbuck seem to be quite a bit smaller than the ones we find in Zimbabwe. Both body and horn wise.
Again, as happened on so many occasions, as soon as we could not stand Walter's complaints about him being Hungry and wanting to have lunch, we saw this herd of buffalo. It was around 1 o'clock when we started after them. Three hours later, we managed to see them relatively clearly as they walked through the grass. We were standing on top of an ant hill. They were walking in line, away from us at angle to the left. Pierre decided I should shoot this bull. He was about third or fourth in line. I put a bullet into his chest, dropping him on the spot. All the herd turned around, and ran back where they came from. He was about 200 yards away. As we got closer to him, he stood up, still facing away from us. I put another shot into him, and he dropped down again. When we got to about 20 yards from him, he turned to look at us. A final bullet into his head killed him.
We saw this warthog running in the bush with another, younger one. Pierre told me to shoot it. We jumped out of the truck and ran after them. The pigs were running at an angle, going to our left, and we ran parallel to them. Eventually, this one passed a small clearing, and I dropped him on the run.
A comedian and two hunters. The two hunters did more than their fair share of comedy, and the comedian did a little bit of hunting too.
Every one is enjoying a wonderful dinner
You might wonder what the hell were those two men doing. One is lying down, and the other is kneeling. The one lying down is Pierre, and the one kneeling is Ray. They both wanted to show their appreciation to the Lord above for making sure we left. I took this photo from the plane just before we left them. It is wonderful to know how much your friends appreciate you.
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