I have been going to Africa every year since 1993 with my very good friend Walter. Walter has been unfortunate to suffer a slight heart problem – we are not going to discuss certain parts of his anatomy, which we all believe are not in his possession, and never had.

Walter wanted to shoot a warthog and a zebra. Problem is, neither of these animals have been very co-operative at all. The first year we hunted, Walter came out hunting with us on a few occasions, but we never saw any warthogs or zebra while he was with us. Any time he is enjoying the great food and drink that our hosts have available for us at the camp, we seem to come across zebras and warthogs behind every bush! And as the days of our hunt were drawing to a close, Roy, our professional hunter, decided that I should just shoot those zebras and warthogs on Walter’s behalf.

And instead of getting thanked for this, I received a long strings of names calling myself and all my ancestors origin into questions!

Last year he hit the jackpot, and managed to shoot a poor old warthog that could not walk more than 5 yards from his residence under a log! He was so thrilled about this that we all had to put earmuffs on to reduce the hammerings our ears were getting about his shooting prowess. He did manage to hit it straight through the heart, but he never mentioned the fact that the muzzle of his rifle was almost touching the poor pig! We did not want to dwell on this point, and just joined him in his celebration.

It was really great to see our friend having so much fun. Now we were trying to fulfil his second dream, of shooting a zebra. And as luck would have it, we saw a herd of zebra standing in the bush as we were driving along one day. Roy stopped the truck, I jumped out and loaded the rifle and set the shooting sticks for him.

"Hurry up and shoot!" Roy was saying.

"Which one shall I shoot?" Asked Walter.

"Any bloody one, and get on with it, they are not going to wait for you much longer!" Was Roy’s reply.

"Saeed, do I aim for a black stripe or a white stripe?" Asked Walter.

The zebras did not wait any longer, and took off into the bush, never to been seen again! Roy got totally mad at Walter – it was his turn to receive some choice names! I was rolling on the ground, as I could not stand any more. The rest of the gang were falling off the back of the truck.

In the evening, we had to calm Walter down, and tried to persuade him to shoot another animal than a zebra. Finally we managed to get him to agree to shoot a buffalo. Only problem he had was shooting my 416 Rigby Improved. He did not like to shoot large calibers.

Roy got up in the morning and went to the river. He located a lone buffalo bull, and came back quickly to get Walter. Walter took my 416 and went along with Roy and Alan who had the video camera. Walter junior and myself following about 50 yards behind them. It was a bit chilli, as it was early in the morning. Walter was wearing a cowboy hat, and a leather jacket. We could see him aim at the buffalo, while Roy had his fingers in his ears. We were waiting for the shot to come, but suddenly we saw Walter lower his rifle, take his hat off, and aim again. We waited for the shot. None came, as Walter lowered his rifle a second time, put it on the ground and took his leather jacket off! The buffalo got tired of waiting to be shot, and ran away! Roy started to have a go at Walter again, and all we could hear was some reference to "do your bloody stripping at the camp, not while you are hunting buffalos!"

Back to the drawing board, as we really wanted Walter to shoot something. Hanna, my bright girlfriend, had a piece of cloth that had a slight resemblance to a zebra skin. She kindly agreed to let us have it to make a "zebra" from for Walter to shoot.

We discussed the idea while Walter was having one of his regular siestas. It is really wonderful how everyone wanted to contribute to this caper. Even Klaus insisted on coming along. Klaus has been a life long friend of Walter’s. They went through gunsmithing school together. Klaus might have learned something during those years, but we are still waiting to see Walter prove that he knows the difference between one end of rifle from the other!

Anyway, we took our zebra blanket and put it on a frame we made out of some tree branches. We covered most of it with leaves, leaving a few gaps for Walter to see. This was done in the morning. The plan was to bring Walter in the afternoon, and get him to shoot his zebra.

The plan worked to perfection. Walter came along, we stopped a few hundred yards from the waterhole, and walked. Roy was walking ahead of us, and Walter and myself were following him. We agreed that unless we find a buffalo or an eland, Walter would shoot whatever animal we find at the waterhole. Roy stopped about 100 yards from the waterhole, and lifted his binoculars. Apparently he could see several impalas and some duikers drinking. Our zebra was set about 50 yards on the other side of the waterhole. If this was Hollywood, Roy would have gotten an Oscar for his performance.

He was sweeping the bush with his binoculars slowly when he suddenly stopped and went down on his knees. We all followed his example. He turned towards us and mouthed the word "ZEBRA!"

Walter did not have to be given any further instructions, he got down on his hands and knees and started crawling behind Roy. It was such a wonderful site, these two stalking a zebra blanket. I had to put my rifle on the ground and cover my mouth to stop me making any noise. A few yards further, Roy put the shooting sticks up and told Walter to shoot the zebra. He was signalling with his hands that the zebra was broadside, looking to the left. Walter wasted no time in putting a 140 grain Nosler Partition smack in the middle of the blanket. The "zebra" did not fall down, so Roy told him to shoot it again. Walter duly obliged and put another hole right next to his first one! Everyone burst out laughing. Even Walter joined in the fun after he recovered from his shock.

I had a tube of stage blood, so ran over to the blanket and covered the bullet holes with blood. Walter arrived together with the rest of the gang. We found that he had hit the zebra through the guts, so Roy was not very happy about that at all. Telling Walter that it was a good thing this was not a live zebra, otherwise we would have had to chase it for miles. That argument did not stop Walter telling Roy that he was in possession of the ONLY RIFLE in the world that could draw blood from a zebra blanket!

As luck would have it, we came across a number of zebra right next to our track. I jumped out and shot one. He ran off, and another shot put him down. Walter brought his blanket, spread it on the ground right next to my zebra, and lay down on it. He said he wanted all of us to know that HIS zebra skin is MUCH better than mine, as it could be used immediately, and did not require the services of a taxidermist! Well, as usual, our Walterhog had the last laugh.

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Last updated 22 September 1999