The Ultimate DGR
Designing for the 21st Century
The unseen killer
Get started with a great new hobby
Long Range Shooting Leaning to shoot from Snipers
African Game Animals Choose your favorite
Leopard of the
A tale of Africa
• Press Releases • Product Reviews • African Bush Cuisine • True North • www.africanxmag.com
Kat Mitchell circa 1910
E D I TO R I A L
As a hormone-controlled youngster in the late 70s, every one of my friends despised Afrikaans, Afrikaans music and Boer history. Everything English was better. In those stormy university days I lived with my grandparents. I remember my grandfather watching me with sad eyes as I rushed off to class wearing a Union Jack t-shirt. He never said a word about it. I learned later that he ferociously fought the English and often paid with his own blood, being wounded in the fight for his language culture and country. He was a member of the “stormjaers” (storm chasers), a radical faction of the Ossewa Brandwag, the revolutionary anti-English Boer movement. A big, powerful man, he was known as “Cat Mitchell” for his amazing agility. He was a mean fighter and some stories tell of him taking on 3 men at a time. He eluded capture by the English many times - every time except one. When caught, he was placed in an internment camp and later exiled to St. Helena, a remote British outpost where Napoleon was kept for 5 years (1815-1820) as well as Chief Dinizulu (1890-1897). There, my grandfather spent the years patiently carving tiny wooden objects, many of which I saw later in my grandmother’s “showcase”, a heavy 6-foot cabinet with glass front and mirror backing. He was kept at St. Helena with some of South Africa’s later political leaders, and I remember being introduced to John Vorster in the late 70’s (then prime minister of South Africa) at a reunion and being introduced as “Klein Kat” (Small Cat) Mitchell. After returning from St. Helena, he had an encounter with God and became a rough-and-tumble Boer preacher. Refusing on the basis of his faith to be incorporated into the government echelons by the Broederbond - an elite and secret Afrikaans society which then ruled South Africa - he became a menial worker instead of accepting a well-paying bureaucratic post and living in luxury.
Publisher Safari Media Africa Financial Thea Mitchell Editors Africa: Mitch Mitchell email@example.com USA: Alan Bunn firstname.lastname@example.org Layout & Design Xtasis Media and Digital Wind Contributors & Photographers L. Grizzaffi (Reloading), C. Cheney, A. Bunn, D. Edgcumbe, G. Geer, Dr. K. Hugo (Medical) C. Mitchell, Dr. G. Swart (Medical) Advertising and Marketing South Africa: T. Mitchell email@example.com Phone +27 13-7125246 Fax 0866104466 USA: Alan Bunn firstname.lastname@example.org (706) 2762608 African Expedition Magazine is an independent bimonthly publication promoting fair, sustainable hunting, a protected environment, adventure sports and practices. The African Expedition Magazine is published by Safari Media Africa
I never understood his motivation and sacrifice. Now, a grandfather myself - and many years later - I am beginning to see with intense sadness what a great man he was and how much I missed. Slowly, I am beginning to see the beauty of the culture and the courage, faith and perseverance of the Boer heart that still flows in our blood today. It took many years, and although my heart has long ago turned to his God, my mind is turning to the great men they were and what they were protecting then. I have become a reformed anti-Afrikaans backslider. I have come across a collection of essays some afrikaner wrote about my grandfather almost a hundred years ago and I will attempt to honour the memory of the plucky Boers with articles in issues to come.
Mitch Mitchell 3 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE March 2009
Disclaimer While all precautions have been taken to ensure the accuracy of advice and information provided, the Proprietor. Publisher, Editor or Writers cannot accept responsibility for any damages, inconvenience or injury whatsoever that may result from incorrect information. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher or its agents. African Expedition Magazine assumes no responsibility to return graphics unsolicited editorial, or other material. All rights in unsolicited editorial, letters, emails, graphics and other material will be treated as unconditionally assigned for publication and copyright purposes and material will be subject to African Expedition Magazine’s unrestricted right to edit and editorial comment. All material and/ or editorial in African Expedition is the property of African Expedition and/or the various contributors. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the prior written consent of the Publisher.
8 The Ultimate Dangerous Game Rifle: Designing for the 21st Century
20 Long Range Shooting
Leaning to shoot from Snipers
30 African Game Animals Choose your favorite
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The unseen killer
54 Underwater Photography Get started with a great new hobby
66 Fate of the Leopard A tale of Africa
74 Press Releases 86 Product Reviews 98 African Bush Cuisine
Springbuck Roast with dark chocolate and chilli with sautéd fresh vegetables
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101 True North
Formula to Friendship
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The Ultimate Dangerous Game Rifle: Designing for the 21st Century
n Part I of this article I talked about new ideas and advanced concepts relating to barrels and iron sights. In Part II the receiver was looked at in detail and I delved into the parts of the traditional lock: receiver, magazine and trigger, with some aside comments on ‘minor’ points such as lubrication, rear sights, and bolt handle knob, etc., although it may be argued that there are no points concerning a dangerous game rifle that could be termed as minor. Here, in Part III, I will look at several factors in building a stock for a dangerous game rifle (DGR) that would be appropriate for hunting in any climate and terrain on Earth, from the arctic to the tropics. My first-hand education in the importance of stock design for taming recoil in DGRs came to me by accident. My education began when my number one Zimbabwean professional hunter, Rowan Lewis, was visiting me in the states and I was showing him around my local gun and outdoor supply store, the Bargain Barn in Jasper, Georgia (706-253-9462). After introductions, Mickey Jones, the gun department manager, said, “I just got a trade-in that might be of interest to y’all”, and walked to the back of the store. He came back cradling a Mauser rifle in his arms. The first thing I noticed, as he handed it to me, was its 26-inch barrel - unusually long for a DGR. But what really grabbed my attention were the markings on the receiver; Mauser Modelo Ar8 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE March 2009
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gentino 1909, and Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken - Berlin, and then on the barrel; Flaig’s .458 Win Mag. “How much?” I asked. “Three-hundred.” He answered. I reached for my wallet. Later that week I took the DMW Mauser and another .458 Winchester Magnum - a Winchester Model 70 Super Express with a 22-inch barrel to the Range with the intent of shooting them back-to-back for comparison. I noticed a considerable difference in felt recoil and wondered if the longer barrel of the Mauser was the reason it was so pleasant to shoot. The only problem the gun had was the safety didn’t work to my satisfaction. The next day, I took the Model 70 over to my gunsmith, Ken Parker, to be rebarreled and chambered to .458 Lott and I took the Mauser along so Parker could tweak the safety. Ken needed to go down the road to pick up a coon dog puppy a friend was giving him and asked me and another customer if we could watch his shop while he went. I didn’t have anything pressing me for time so I agreed and sat the rifles up on the counter pad, vertically resting on their magazine plates with their buttstocks facing out. I stood there for several minutes chatting with the other customer about hunting but when I glanced over at the rifles I stopped talking in mid sentence. “Do you see anything weird with those rifles”? I asked the other guy. “Yeah, that Mauser has got a crooked stock”. This started a spirited conversation between us, and as we inspected the rifle, it was obvious that it had been intentionally made that way. As soon as Ken returned, we showed him the “crooked” stock and asked him if he had ever seen anything like this before. He burst out laughing and asked us if we were so ignorant that we had never heard of the stock building concept of “cast off.” I had to admit that although I was pretty ignorant in general, I vaguely remembered reading something about cast off in relation
to competitive shot gunning; however I had never actually seen a stock with cast off. His next comment really hit home when he asked, “Did you notice any difference in its kick compared to the Model 70?” I had to allow that, yes indeed, there was a hell of a big difference between the two rifles and I had the sore shoulder to prove it! This conversation was quite a revelation for me. My only assumption about cast off was that it was something that could push up your score in skeet or trap shooting. I had no idea that it could have such a profound effect in taming the recoil of a heavy caliber rifle. It is no wonder that this fact had not entered my consciousness, since I had never fired a custom stocked rifle until the day I pulled the trigger on the Flaig built Mauser DGR.
What Cast Off Really Is The key to proper cast off (or ‘cast in’ if you are left handed) is to create a stock for the individual so that rifle fits the shooter like a glove. In fact, cast off is but one part of the equation that takes into consideration the shooter’s arm length and body type. There are several facets to this equation that I won’t get into now, however it is a topic that will be dealt with in a future article. One key point that differentiates the stock of a DGR from the ‘garden variety’ hunting rifle is the addition of a steel cross bolt behind the recoil lug of the action. This recoil cross bolt is placed into the stock by the builder to keep the force of the recoil from splitting the stock by spreading the force of the recoil and keeping its point of greatest impact to steel on steel, rather than steel on wood. In the heaviest recoiling calibers, stock makers even install a second bolt to further dissipate recoil forces. Another area of discussion among rifle builders is what material is the best to use for DGR stocks. It is common knowledge that a traditional, solid wood stock will warp in a climate that has very different temperature or humidity from your home territory.
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Of course, this plays hell with your accuracy and can damage your stock. Here in the US, we have very hot and dry deserts in the Southwest and extremely wet and cold climates in the Pacific Northwest, especially the Alaskan region. When you throw in international destinations, it is the same situation, except the loss of time and money from warped or broken stocks is exponentially worse in lost money and hunting opportunity! For these reasons many stock makers and hunters have jumped into the synthetic stock business. Although synthetics won’t warp, they do have several undesirable traits. They can be broken easily, which is why the better quality new synthetics are reinforced with Kevlar. They are also noisy when you hit a limb or rock, producing an unnatural noise that easily alerts the game. They are cold to the touch in chilly weather and relay this cold to your hands and body. They can be slippery when wet. All in all, they just don’t have a proper feel to them if your hunting experience is using wood stocks. Finally, they can’t be easily had with the correct cast off or cast in built into the stock for proper fit and recoil reduction. One solution to these problems is to keep the advantages of wood and merge them with the advantages of synthetics; to that end the shooting industry developed laminates similar to the ones pioneered by the Mauser 98K rifles of WWII. Two problems emerged with laminates: First, the cheap ones with improper adhesives and sealing had a tendency to de-laminate in bad weath12 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE March 2009
er or over the course of time. The second problem was of esthetics, which means they make your gun look like it is stuck into a piece of plywood. Accrabond Laminates was one of the first to create an esthetically pleasing laminated stock, but the founder, Mel Smart, died in 2003. However, the business was bought by Rod Rogers and Larry Tahler and is now called Serengeti Stockworks. My plans are to have them restock my Brno ZKK-602, which currently is equipped with a nice, plain walnut stock; except it is a dead ringer for my plastic McMillan stocked Weatherby Mark V! Serengeti Stockworksâ€™ claim to fame is they will take high-grade walnut, cut it into strips, and laminate it so that it is difficult to distinguish from the original walnut. In the end, you get both the beauty of the walnut and the strength of the laminate.
A Discussion of Stocks I have discussed laminated stocks at length with Harald Smith, the well-known gunsmith, big game hunter, and publisher of Hatari Times magazine. Here are his comments on the subject: I tried all sorts of laminated stuff in the past. With one brand the sheets came apart. Another started swelling in the rainforest, much worse than a natural walnut stock. The pores of laminated wood (all layers) must be chemically sealed during the bonding process, or they will soak-up humidity badly. I only found one suitable maker - even the checkering would hold on, but that company went out of business. I have not found a suitable replacement as yet. (MS Outlook email email to author)
Every stock needs a good quality sling to aid with carrying the rifle over obstacles when you need to use both hands, or just to comfortably carry the rifle while you rest your arms and shoulders. Another function a sling could fill is as a lanyard to keep the rifle attached to the hunter in the event of falling down or being knocked down by a charging animal. I recall reading in the early hunterâ€™s journals that many times a charging animal knocked down the intrepid explorer and separated him from his rifle. That there was even a story to read indicates either the hunter or a brave tracker retrieved the rifle and the enraged animal was finally dispatched. If you carefully examine pictures of US combat forces in Iraq or Afghanistan, you will see their weapons are attached to their web gear with a sling that acts March 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 13
Galco http://www.usgalco.com Krieger Barrels 2024 Mayfield Road Richfield, WI 53076 (262) 628-8558 http://www.kriegerbarrels.com/ Meprolight 58 Hazait Street P.O. Box 26 Or-Akiva, 30600 Israel (972) 4 6244111 http://www.meprolight.com/ Ameriglow 5579B Chamblee Dunwoody Road, Suite 214 Atlanta, Georgia 30338 (770)390-0554 http://www.ameriglow.com/ Trijicon 49385 Shafer Avenue P.O. Box 930059 Wixom, MI 48393 USA 1-800-338-0563 (248) 960-7700 http://www.trijicon.com/ Serengeti Stockworks 2860 Farm to Market Rd Kalispell, Montana 59901 (406)756-0783 http://www.serengetistockworks.com/ Talley 9183 Old Number Six Hwy. P.O. Box 369 Santee, SC 29142 (803) 854-5700 http://www.talleyrings.com/ Warne 9500 SW Tualatin Road Tualatin, OR 97062 1-800-683-5590 (503) 657-5590 http://www.warnescopemounts.com/ Robar 21438 North 7th Ave, Suite B Phoenix, Arizona 85027 (623) 581-2648 http://www.robarguns.com/np3.htm Granite Mountain Arms P.O. Box 72736 Phoenix, AZ 85050 (602) 996-9009 http://www.granitemountainarms.com/ Gottfried Prechtl Auf der Aue 3 D-69488 Birkenau, Germany +49 6201 167 88 http://www.golmatic.de/Waffen_EN/buechsenmacherbedarf_en/system_en.htm New England Custom Guns 438 Willow Brook Road Plainfield, NH 03781 (603) 469-3450 http://www.newenglandcustomgun.com/ Timney Triggers http://www.timneytriggers.com/sunshop/catalog/Mauser-1-1.html Shooterâ€™s Choice http://www.shooters-choice.com/ Remington http://www.remington.com/products/firearms/centerfire_rifles/model_798/model_798_safari.asp CZ http://www.safariclassics.com/cz550asm.aspx http://www.safariclassics.com/sc550.asp
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as a lanyard. This is in case they fall or are knocked down; they do not become separated from their weapon. I think this would be a good thing to have on a DGR, or really any hunting rifle for use in steep or rough country. If it could also incorporate the split sling feature of the late Eric Ching’s Safari Sling design, so much the better. An often ignored role of the sling is to provide stability in shooting. The “hasty sling” which is quickly wrapping the sling in and out of the forearm supporting the rifle quickly stabilizes the rifle for an offhand, kneeling or sitting shot. Another new development that DGR builders could adopt from the military is the Picatinny rail. This mounting system has become the latest rage in military arms circles for mounting sights, lights, and lasers of various designs and configurations. Standardized rail technology should be incorporated into the DGR design for the 21st century. Many of these gun designers are not thinking outside the box and keep building guns like they were building them in the first half of the 20th century. My contention is that we need to keep all of the good old methods, but aggressively incorporate the good new technology whether it is CNC, EDM, Tritium, Laser, Teflon, Kevlar, or Picatinny rails. Every modern safari rifle should be fitted with a top mount Picatinny rail system to make it easy to change scopes, or swap for a red dot sight, laser sight, etc. Also, there should be a Picatinny rail extending out of the front of the fore-end to hold lights and/or laser systems when a wounded lion or leopard is being hunted (while it hunts the hunter). A small video camera, similar to what skydivers use in their helmets, could be easily installed. I am not sure today’s cameras could absorb the 5000 ft. lbs. of muzzle blast generated by a .458 Lott at 2250 fps, but if they do, I would love to have one for gun camera footage. Finally, another innovative idea for stock design has come from the world of competitive shotgun shooting —a hydraulic recoil system. First seen in action on the quick-firing field artillery piece, officially known as the 75 mm Field Gun, Model of 1897, the French 75 is famous for the innovative development of its recoil system, which consisted of two hydraulic cylinders, a floating piston, a connected piston, a head of gas, and a reservoir of oil, which made for a soft, smooth operation. The French 75 was used as late as 1941 in the Philippines during World War II against the Japanese as well as in North Africa against the Germans. Stocks, whether for a DGR, American big game, or just aesthetics, in the end are often a personal choice and the discussion can easily go back and forth over the details until you find yourself foaming at the mouth. In the end, the market will probably make the decision for you by deciding what is available, Alan Bunn is a whether it is an aftermarket stock or hunting publication what is included on the new DGR veteran with a BA Degree in Journalout of the box. What happens after you open the box is between you, your shoulder, your gunsmith and your wallet.
ism from the University of Georgia. He hunts Africa regularly and is an avid hunter with rifle, pistol, shotgun, and bow.
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Long Range Shooting Leaning to shoot from Snipers
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n the mid 1970’s my first appointment as a young ranger was on a reserve situated in the Western Transvaal. The area was characterised by wide-open grass plains and was inhabited by species typical of this type of habitat – eland, black wildebeest, springbok, red hartebeest, blesbok, and gemsbok. I had arrived at the time of year when surplus game was being culled. No sooner had I unpacked my one small suitcase and sorted out my furniture (which consisted of a camp stretcher and an empty box for a table) than I was issued a Sako .243 and a BRNO .222, and roped in to assisting with the harvesting operation. I might add that neither of my two issue rifles were equipped with scopes. My ranger colleagues—the old hands—all had rifles equipped with variable power scopes. They were all excellent shots and were keen reloaders and passionate about firearms. One older gentleman ‘Oom (uncle) Fanie’ possessed in excess of 100 rifles—I kid you not—and spent every spare moment testing loads for his latest pet project. Just behind our offices was a shooting range of about 400 yards range (remember this was in the “old days” before the metric system had made an appearance in South Africa) where the shooting testing took place. “Oom” Fanie also had an array of reloading presses of the latest type, which made me cringe in embarrassment when I compared his state of the art equipment to my small Lee loader that required a plastic mallet to drive cases into the resizing die. Because of our mutual interest in firearms, the rather ‘crusty’ and generally unapproachable Oom Fanie and I soon became friends and he became my mentor, sharing with me his incredible knowledge on all things ballistic. I was also the proud owner of a Winchester Model 670 bolt action 30-06, which I had taken two years to save up for and had just recently acquired. I was itching to use this rifle for culling but—as my net salary amounted to the princely sum of R125, more than half of which was earmarked to pay a monthly installment on my Mazda bakkie—the R50 rand or so that I had left to live on for the month left very little over to buy ammo for my 30-06. The ammo for the .243 and the .222 was official and free. Although I did get to use the 30-06, reloading and resizing the 20 rounds that I had bought when I bought the rifle, I soon realized that reloading them one more time was inviting disaster, so most of my initial shooting tasks were conducted with the two lighter calibres. March 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 21
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To be honest, I was quite intimidated by the shooting prowess of the more senior and experienced rangers. Shooting animals as small as springbok at ranges of 250 yards was pretty much par for the course with accurate shooting up to 300 yards not something greatly out of the ordinary. Some of the better of the good shots were not averse to taking shots at 350 and even 400 yards at species of blesbok size and up – not only taking shots but also hitting what they were aiming for. Yes their rifles had scopes, but accurate and consistent shooting at these ranges under the prevailing field conditions of crosswinds and heat mirage, was a skill that I still had to acquire. I realised I was somewhere near the bottom of a steep learning curve despite my previous military training with firearms in the infantry. Shooting at these long ranges was necessary because of two main reasons: ●● Because of the open habitat, animals would see the approach of a vehicle or humans on foot from a long way off and would keep a safe distance between themselves and what they perceived as a threat; by running off once a certain threshold had been crossed. This ‘flight threshold’ is manifest in open areas as opposed to areas that offer more bush and cover for animals who feel threatened. For example, in habitat with more bush you may be able to approach to within 80 meters of a certain species before it takes flight whereas in an open habitat the same species will run off when you are within 200 meters of it. ●● As the culling operation proceeded, the animals would soon associate an approaching vehicle with danger and would run off before the vehicle approached to within three or four hundred meters. At this point, our strategy would change but more on that at another time. And before there is anyone out there on the point of getting their ‘knickers in a knot’ about shooting from vehicles remember these were culling operations, not hunts, and when a couple of hundred of animals have to be harvested then vehicles are generally used to shoot from. Fortunately, my colleagues took pity on the ‘youngster’ and did not expect me to attempt long shots without a scope. I was loaded off with enough ammo and water for the day at a point where there was quite a bit of game movement and would hide (usually in an empty aardvark burrow) and wait for any animals to approach to within 150 yards or less from
my ambush point. Therefore, I contributed by share to the daily harvest—my contribution I might add always being less than the more experienced rangers. It was valuable experience and taught me much about range estimation, the vagaries of wind, and the confusing effects of mirages dancing across the sunheated plains. A new scope was budgeted for me the following year, and with some experience behind me, I was able to participate in the annual cull peering down the crosshairs of a Weaver scope. Soon I could, with reasonable confidence and consistent accuracy, also shoot at distances of up to 250 yards. A couple of years later I was fortunate enough to be appointed to the veterinary section of the National Parks Board based in the Kruger National park. One of my first tasks was to participate in a research project in which a sample of animal species (kudu, blue wildebeest, zebra, impala, and warthog) were shot each month to obtain morphological, biological, physiological, parasitological and pathological information. Only neck shots were allowed. Full post mortems were carried out on each animal to see what parasites they carried, what diseases they had and how this correlated to environmental conditions. I soon discovered that the type of shooting involved in the more closed bushveld habitat of the Eastern
Professional snipers are long range experts – hunters who shoot plains game in wide open spaces can learn a lot from them.
Transvaal Lowveld was very different to that which I had become accustomed to on the wide grassland plains of the Western Transvaal. It was, by comparison, relatively easy as most shots were taken at ranges of 80 yards or less.
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The shorter range and the possibility of bullets impacting with twigs, leaves, or small branches on their way to the target will play a role in deciding on calibres and bullet design for this type of shooting. The long ranges of open plains hunting also dictate a peculiar set of parameters which influence the calibres, rifle and bullet design particularly suited to this type of shooting and it this type of shooting on which we will concentrate in this article. What guidelines can we follow which will help us decide on the optimum equipment to use? Probably the best setups we could arrive at are those used by professionals who specialize in longrange shooting – military and law enforcement snipers. Before looking into what they use and why, let us look at the conditions that prevail upon a bullet on its flight path to a target in long range plains shooting. Professional snipers are long-range experts— hunters who shoot plains game in wide-open spaces can learn a lot from them.
The amount of drag is also determined by muzzle velocity and ballistic coefficient. Another external effect, which can affect the flight path, is wind and the closer it is at right angles to the bullets line of flight the greater its effect will be. Mirages caused by heat waves rising and moving laterally further compounds the difficulty of long shots. The further the shot the greater the influence will be on the flight path of the bullet. For the hunter to shoot accurately at long range the rifle, calibre, bullet design combination should be optimized to have the flattest trajectory, be least affected by quartering and cross winds, and retain sufficient velocity and energy to effectively dispatch a quarry with a well placed shot. Now listen to how the purpose of a sniper rifle is defined: “The purpose of a sniper rifle is to destroy a target at extended range with aimed fire with as few rounds as possible.”
When a bullet leaves the muzzle of a rifle, two The long-range plains things happen. It starts hunter and the professlowing down because sional hunter appear the expanding gasses to be speaking the Figure 2: Heat mirage is pronounced on the open plains and someof the burning propellant same language so thing the hunter must learn to contend with are no longer pushing perhaps the former from behind it and it can learn some valubegins to drop due to the effects of gravity following able insights from the expertise of the latter. a curved trajectory to its target. Military and law enforcement agencies have big On its way to the target, the resistance caused by air budgets and huge resources at their disposal and it friction causes drag which results in the bullet slowis of interest to note what calibres and bullet design ing down still further. The drag is a function of air have been narrowed down for professional snipers density which itself is influenced by altitude, air pres- the world over. sure, air temperature, and humidity.
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MUZZLE VELOCITY (fps)
ENERGY (ft lb)
.223 Remington 69 gr BT HP
**TRAJECTORY (inches) .308 Winchester 168 gr BT HP
MUZZLE VELOCITY (fps)
ENERGY (ft lb)
**TRAJECTORY (inches) .300 Win Mag 190 gr BT HP
MUZZLE VELOCITY (fps)
ENERGY (ft lb)
**TRAJECTORY (inches) .338 Lapua Mag 250 gr Lock Base
MUZZLE VELOCITY (fps)
ENERGY (ft lb)
**TRAJECTORY (inches) *BC – Ballistic Coefficient **Rifle sighted in a 200 yards Table 1
% RETAINED MUZZLE VELOCITY
% RETAINED MUZZLE ENERGY
.223 Remington 69 gr BT HP
**TRAJECTORY (inches) .308 Winchester 168 gr BT HP
% RETAINED MUZZLE VELOCITY
% RETAINED MUZZLE ENERGY
**TRAJECTORY (inches) .300 Win Mag 190 gr BT HP
% RETAINED MUZZLE VELOCITY
% RETAINED MUZZLE ENERGY
**TRAJECTORY (inches) .338 Lapua Mag 250 gr Lock Base
% RETAINED MUZZLE VELOCITY
% RETAINED MUZZLE ENERGY
Table 2: A comparison of the retained velocity and energy in sniper bullets 26 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE March 2009
The M-40A3 is a precision fire weapon used by Marine snipers Military snipers especially operate at long range. The furthest successful shots recorded by a sniper in Iraq was when he killed two mortar personnel with two shots at a staggering range of 1050 yards using a .308 (7.62x61mm) calibre sniper rifle!
What has been clearly established is that the boat tailed spitzer design results in less drag, which translates into a flatter trajectory, higher retained velocity
What works for snipers should work for long-range plains game hunters. Table 1 summarizes the most popular calibre used the world over. It is interesting to note are the calibres: .223 Remington, .308 Winchester, .300 Winchester Magnum, and .338 Lapua Magnum. What is also significant is the choice of boat tailed spitzer bullets with a high ballistic coefficient.
The boat tailed spitzer bullet design gives less drag resulting in flatter trajectories and greater sustained velocity and energy.
and higher residual energy at any given distance so this makes good sense. When air flows over a bullet, the spitzer boat-tail design results in more laminar airflow with less airflow separation and vortices being formed which retard the projectiles forward motion. The Nikon Monarch Gold Riflescope
Flat-tailed projectiles have less laminar airflow and more vortices formed in the wake of the bullet, which all add up to increased drag with quicker drop-offs in March 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 27
Cleve Cheney holds a bachelor of science degree in zoology and a masterâ€™s degree in animal physiology. He is a wilderness trail leader, rated field guide instructor and the author of many leading articles on the subjects of tracking, guiding, bowhunting and survival. Cleve has unrivalled experience in wildlife management, game capture and hunting, both with bow and rifle. 28 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE March 2009
both bullet velocity and retained energy at any given distance. If we take Table 1 and work out the percentage of retained velocity at different ranges, we also discover that heavier bullets retain more velocity and energy (See Table 2). Table 1 also reveals that at what would be considered fairly long range shots for plains game hunters (300 yards / meters) the calibres .223 Remington through .338 Lapua Magnum have enough residual energy to effectively take down anything from steenbok to eland. The snipers calibres would therefore be suitable for small game species (.223 Remington), medium game species (.308 Winchester), and larger game species (.300 Winchester Magnum and .338 Lapua Magnum). See Table 1. In addition, what of the weapons used by snipers? What sets these weapons apart from standard sporting rifles? A snipers rifle is designed to be accurate at long range. What design features make these weapons accurate and what can the hunter who shoots at long range learn from them? Sniper rifles are engineered to deliver 1/4 moa (minute of angle) accuracy at a range of 100m. Most tactical long-range rifles weigh between 12 to 18 pounds (5.4 – 8.2 kg). While this is far too heavy for a sporting rifle, the les¬son is that heavier is better and more accurate as it provides a more stable shooting platform, resists movement caused by wind, and reduces some of the inaccuracy caused by a shooter jerking the trigger or not holding the rifle firmly. For long-range shooting, you will be handicapped by the poorer ballistics of a shorter barrel. Ideal barrel length for the .308 Winchester and .300 Winchester Magnum is 26 inches. A 1in12 inch twist is preferred for the 168 grain and 175 grain Hollow Point Boattail (HPBT) ammunition for the .308 and a 1in10 inch for the .300 Winchester Magnum. Heavier barrels (up to 1.5 pounds – 0.7kg) are preferred because the increase in a rifle’s mass allows a steadier hold on target and reduces barrel vibration, barrel whip, and felt recoil. Is controlled feed of the round preferable to push feed? Winchester M70’s, original Mauser actions and Ruger 77’s, have a claw type extractor that holds the cartridge after it releases from the magazine for chambering. Is this necessary for a long-range rifle? Not really as most modern military rifles push cartridges into the chamber without controlling the live rounds and have few feed problems.
Therefore, either push or controlled feed are an option. Bipods are a distinct advantage as they provide a ready to use and stable shooting platform—especially in windy conditions. When it comes to stocks, the synthetic variety— although not as aesthetically pleasing as a wooden stock—have proven to maintain better zero especially when used in areas of climatic extremes. Adjustable cheek pieces are an option, which can allow the shooter to get into a good position to see through the scope but should be easy to adjust and maintain adjustment with rough usage. Muzzle brakes might be a recommendation for .300 Magnum and larger calibers as they help to reduce barrel whip and recoil. Holes should be drilled with a slight rearward rake to vent gasses backwards and if done by a competent gunsmith should not have any adverse effect on accuracy. When it comes to a choice of scope use only high quality scopes and mounts. It is pointless spending a lot of money on building an accurate rifle and then topping it with an “el cheapo”! For long-range shooting, a variable 3.5X-10X magnification is a good choice. The scope should be equipped with a range finding system that is accurate, quick, and easy to use. The scope should be fully adjustable for the maximum Windage and elevation you expect to encounter and should have positive click stops that can preferably be felt and/or heard. Adjustment knobs should have ¼ or ½ MOA adjustments that are clearly marked with direction of impact change indicated and should be easily adjustable by the shooter without having to shift from the natural point of aim. If the scope has a focus or parallax adjustment it should be easily adjusted and within easy reach. The scope should have high quality internal construction and be rugged enough to withstand rough handling. We have looked at sniper’s weapons and calibres of choice. Of course, there are other options available such as .243 Winchester, .257 Roberts, .270 Winchester, and others. But you can be sure that if your choice for long range plains game shooting is one of the calibres in boat tailed design mentioned in Table 1 and the design of the rifle is similar to that used by snipers, you will be in good company—in fact you are in step with the world’s elite.
March 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 29
African Game Animals
Choose your favorite
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iven an open invitation to go hunting, which animal would be your first choice? One of the Big Five? An animal that is particularly rare or difficult to hunt or a species that you have never hunted before? On the other hand, would you, like me, rather hunt one of your old favourites? An animal that is close to your heart because of certain characteristics; you know the animal’s habitat and habits and because that particular species stirs your emotions in one way or another whenever you see it in the veld. When you hunt, what about the animal or the whole setup is important to you? It seems to me that some trophy hunters are only interested in those all-important inches—to get their names in “The Book.” Some people favour rare species that dwell in remote corners of the earth. To others the beauty of the surroundings might be important and, beauty being in the eyes of the beholder, their favourites may be found in the Alps or Alaska, northern Canada or the scorching dunes of the Namib.
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A good number of hunters enjoy the element of danger; they prefer their prey to be capable of fighting back. Their favourites are Africa’s Big Five or the big bears of the northern hemisphere. I suppose many would jump at the chance to hunt any of the Big Five, but they do not particularly appeal to me. Having taken only two dangerous game animals, a leopard and a buffalo, I am not actually qualified to judge dangerous game hunting. I was alone though, when I shot these animals, there was no PH to hold my hand and protect me. I am afraid that modern-day dangerous game hunting would not suit me at all. I am fiercely independent when I hunt. I prefer to do my own thing—on my own. Being forced to hunt under the protection of a PH, whose job it is to ensure your safety at all times, a government game scout and several ‘trackers’ seem to turn the so-called ‘dangerous game’ hunt into a rather bland affair. Because of my job, I am lucky enough to have had several opportunities where I could stalk buffalo all on my own. Once I spent a whole week among buffalo, during which I stalked and “killed” several animals by dry firing. I had two scary moments and was lucky to escape unscathed but even that did not light a yearning in my soul to hunt buffalo. Maybe I would change my mind after having hunted buffalo or elephant with a PH, but until then these ‘safe’ hunts where you share the veld with a large number of people do not appeal to me. The animals that give me the greatest pleasure to hunt might bore you to death. They are not particularly tough or rare and normally do not pose a danger to the hunter when wounded. They are the strikingly beautiful and nimble springbuck and the majestic southern greater kudu. The springbuck gets its common name from its habit of pronking when it is alarmed or especially when it is in a playful mood. When a springbuck pronks, it lowers its head, arches its back, and bounces stiff-kneed off the ground in a series of high leaps. While doing that a marsupial-like pouch on its rump (in Afrikaans known as the pronk) opens like a fan to display the long snow-white hair it contains. The springbuck’s Zulu name, Insephe, which means, “shining tassel” refers to the pronk’s white hair. Some black tribes in South Africa tell a beautiful story on how the springbuck got its Zulu name. Many years ago, the sun god came down to earth but humans murdered him and when he died, both the sun and the moon died and the earth became a cold, dark, and desolate place. The springbuck somehow survived and hiding in a cave the animal prayed to
the gods not to destroy the earth because of the sinful ways of the humans. After many months, the goddess Mother Earth decided to answer the springbuck’s prayers and once again gave birth to the sun god who immediately restored the warmth and life on earth. Mother Earth then rewarded the springbuck by giving it the name Insephe. She also told springbuck that he would be known as the animal of light, faith, and reliability. Apparently, some black tribes still believe that when the last springbuck dies, the sun and the moon will die in the land of the shadows and the world will end. A free spirit, the springbuck once trekked across southern Africa at will. They thrived on the great plains of the Karoo, Free State, and Bushmanland. When the Europeans arrived, hundreds of thousands were shot because they competed for grazing with livestock. Despite the unrestricted shooting, rinderpest, and severe droughts that decimated their numbers, the springbuck prevailed, and today it is a valued game animal. Springbuck do not do well in wet climes and their preference for the sun-drenched plains is perhaps the reason why they are my favourites. I too, am not happy in rainy places. Deny me sunlight for a day or two and I am down in the dumps. Another reason why I love the ‘springbuck plains’ is because they are home to birds that are close to my heart. Where the springbuck dwells, you will invariably find the Namaqua sand grouse, the Karoo and black korhaans, the magnificent kori bustard and the beautiful little Namaqua dove. Due to their preferred habitat, springbuck have always been difficult to hunt on foot and subsequently many are culled rather than hunted—from vehicles or during driven shoots where the hunters wait in ambush for the buck to be driven towards them. I enjoy the challenge of pitting my skills against the springbuck on a one-on-one basis on foot and always try to get within 200 yards before pulling the trigger. To approach springbuck on foot in open terrain is extremely difficult, because they have phenomenal eyesight and usually run off at the first sign of danger. To get close enough for a shot you have to resort to trickery or be prepared to leopard crawl for long distances. If he has the right calibre/load combination, an accurate rifle and a rangefinder to determine the distance to the animal, a hunter can obviously shoot them from long range but that is far less challenging than stalking close and in my eyes long range sniping is not true hunting. For me, getting as close as possible is the challenge. March 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 33
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Crawling openly on all fours as if to pass them has worked for me on many occasions, enabling me to get within 200 yards. But even if you get relatively close, accurate shooting is still required because a springbuck’s vital area is only about six inches in diameter and when you have crawled a long way and must shoot quickly it is not that easy. Brain or neck shots are options but not advisable when hunting alone and on foot. The brain and neck bones are small targets and animals rarely keep their heads still enough for long enough to ensure accurate shot placement. If you wound a springbuck, (they are very tough for their size) you will not be able to follow up an animal that, had its jaw shot off. The first antelope I ever shot was a huge springbuck ram that I took on an open plain in Namibia, the country where I grew up. It was a huge ram and we (my late father and I) were able to close the distance to about 75 yards before running out of cover. I used my father’s open-sighted .303 Lee Enfield loaded with 174gr. PMP factory ammunition and shot it squarely through the shoulder. That was in the early 1970’s and since then I have taken quite a number of springbuck with open-sighted rifles. One of the toughest hunts for springbuck with open sights took place in the Moordenaars Karoo two years ago. The country is very rugged, dry, and open and after hunting for three days, I finally managed to shoot a female from 74 paces. The day I shot her my final stalk took several hours due to the openness of the terrain. I had to hang back and finally use a low rise and a shallow dry river to get close enough. When the small herd disappeared behind the rise, I actually had to run at a crouch for about 150 yards to get into position for the shot. A 140gr. Nosler Ballistic Tip out of my 7x57 Mauser decked the animal on the spot. Because of the amount of crawling I had done during that three-day hunt, I was stiff and sore for days afterwards. I have also used my .375 Mauser with open sights to take a number of springbuck, the last of which was killed at about 60 paces. The springbuck does not only appeal to me because of its beauty, preferred habitat and the challenging hunting it offers, but also because it is the tastiest buck (for me at least) in Africa. Its meat is tender, has a wonderful flavour, and does not require marinating or dressing up. Springbuck also makes the best biltong and dried wors (sausage): two South African delicacies. Finally, whenever a springbuck’s life is taken the hunter is reminded that this is indeed the animal of light. At the moment of death, the pronk opens to display that beautiful, snow-white hair. So next time you kneel beside Insephe be thankful for the sun’s warmth and its life-giving light. In the next issue, I will discuss the majestic kudu and the reasons why it is a favourite. Koos Barnard is an ex-professional hunter and a full time gun writer, having published hundreds of articles. He was born in Namibia and has been a keen hunter since his youth. March 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 35
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| iTunes | The Hunting Wire | Out Fitters | My Outdoor TV | Brooke Hunt Club |
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John with Henness a e Bush monste y r pig B oar
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March 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 45
The unseen killer
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he current cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe has hit more than 91,000 and left almost 5,000 dead. Zimbabweâ€™s health system was once the envy of Africa, but nearly a decade of economic collapse has left hospitals and clinics in a shambles. If you are going to travel through Zimbabwe, you risk contracting this disease. It can be deadly if not treated. Vibrio Cholera is one of the most common organisms in surface waters of the world. It occurs in both freshwater and marine habitats and lives in associations with aquatic animals. Some species live in mutualism with fish and other marine life. Other species are pathogenic for fish, eels, frogs and many other vertebrates and invertebrates including humans. March 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 47
Scanning Electron Microscope image of Vibrio cholerae
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V. cholerae is a pathogen (from Greek πάθος pathos “suffering, passion” ) of humans. It is characterised as a sudden onset of Boil it, profuse painless watery stools or diarcook it, rhea with rapid dehydration.
The vaccine appears to provide somewhat better immunity and have fewer adverse effects than the previously available vaccine. However, CDC does not recommend cholera vaccines for most travelers.
Up to 80% infected persons may experience mild or no symptoms. In severe cases there is acute onset of profuse watery diarrhea (so called “Rice water” stools, due to the similarity to actual cooked rice water).
Further information about Dukoral can be obtained from the manufacturers: Dukoral ® SBL Vaccin AB, SE-105 21 Stockholm, Sweden. Telephone +46-87351000, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org website: www.sblvaccines.se.
peel it, or forget it.
Rice-water stools, typical of Cholera.
Occasional vomiting, rapid dehydration, and circulatory collapse can occur as a consequence. Infected individuals may lose up to 30 litres of fluid per day in stools. Severe cases can develop symptoms of shock within two hours. Without proper treatment, death can occur within hours. For every one symptomatic infected individual there are approximately 40 asymptomatic cases or carriers in the community. Transmission occurs when there is ingestion of water contaminated with faeces or vomit from infected individuals. Occasionally food contaminated by faeces is transferred by flies or peoples hands. Treatment consists of rapid rehydration. Eighty to ninety percent of infected people can be successfully treated with oral rehydration (8 teaspoons of sugar and a ½ teaspoon of salt in litre of safe water). If dehydration is more severe, intravenous fluids should be administered. Antibiotics are not routinely used in the treatment of cholera. A recently developed oral vaccine for cholera is licensed and available. (Dukoral from SBL Vaccines).
Le Petit Journal was a daily Parisian newspaper published from 1863 to 1944 showing Cholera reaping the population. At least 30,000 of the 90,000 Mecca pilgrims fell victim to the disease. Cholera claimed 90,000 lives in Russia in 1866 and cholera spreading with the Austro-Prussian War (1866) is estimated to have claimed 165,000 lives in the Austrian Empire. Hungary and Belgium both lost 30,000 people and in the Netherlands 20,000 perished. In 1867, Italy lost 113,000 lives.
The risk for cholera is very low for U.S. or European travelers visiting areas with epidemic cholera. When simple precautions are observed, contracting the disease is unlikely. All travelers to areas where cholera has occurred should observe the following recommendations developed by CDC. March 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 49
Cholera spreading though drinking water
Distribution of cholera 50 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE March 2009
●● Drink only water that you have boiled or treated with chlorine or iodine. Other safe beverages include tea and coffee made with boiled water and carbonated bottled beverages ●● Avoid ice in your drinks. You have no guarantee that pure water was used. ●● Brush your teeth with bottled water. ●● Eat only foods that have been thoroughly cooked and are still hot, or fruit that you have peeled yourself. ●● Avoid undercooked or raw fish or shellfish. ●● Make sure all vegetables are cooked and avoid salads - they are washed in water that may be contaminated. ●● Avoid foods and beverages from street vendors who wash their wares in water that may be contaminated. Cholera Toxin. The delivery region (blue) binds membrane carbohydrates to get into cells. The toxic part (red) is activated inside the cell
●● Do not bring perishable seafood back home after visiting an epidemic country ●● A simple rule of thumb is: “Boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it. “ The global picture of cholera changes periodically, so travelers should seek updated information on countries of interest. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains a travelers’ information telephone line on which callers can receive recent information on cholera and other diseases of concern to travelers. Data for this service are obtained from the World Health Organization. The number is 877-FYI-TRIP (394-8747) or check out http://www.cdc.gov/travel.
Dr. Swart has been involved in Communicable disease control since 2004 and is an authority on Malaria, tropical and infectious diseases in Africa. March 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 51
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Underwater Ph I
cannot imagine going on a dive without a camera in my hands. I recently sold my trusty Sony Cybershot P150 to another diver and it felt like I was losing a close friend. This small compact digital camera enabled me to enjoy many rewarding hours underwater, taking pictures of the vibrant ocean creatures, and it was a permanent part of my dive equipment. Today it is difficult to remember exactly when I first took a camera with me on a dive. What I do remember is seeing underwater photographers with equipment that made them look like underwater spaceships. At that time, I also thought that this unique art form was only reserved for the select few who had the expertise and the eyebrow raising, jaw dropping finances to afford this type of photographic equipment.
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Get started with a great new hobby
With the arrival of digital compact cameras, this notion soon changed. There was an aspiring underwater photographer on almost every dive that I accompanied as dive leader or instructor. I was regularly asked for help and advice. I decided to purchase my own compact digital underwater imaging equipment, i.e. Sony Cybershot P150 and housing. My first try was surprisingly successful and I was amazed at some of the pictures that appeared on my computer screen after downloading the images from the memory card. Yes, there were dark ones (underexposed), washed out ones (overexposed), blurry or fuzzy ones (out of focus) and many other common photography mistakes. Moreover, I still get them today. Working with the digital camera made for a steep learning curve. March 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 55
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One of the first lessons was to read the camera manual, which most of us do not like doing, but it makes it easier to use the camera underwater, knowing where to turn it on or where to change from still photography mode to the video mode. Practicing the art of underwater photography takes time, good buoyancy, and a lot of patience. Being an experienced diver, comfortable underwater, and able to maintain good buoyancy, made it easier to get into this new “hobby” of underwater photography. For most open water divers, just getting used to all the scuba-gear can be intimidating. Proper buoyancy makes it easier to get close to those skittish subjects. Good buoyancy also protects the reef environment against diver damage. While you learn to be a good diver you can practice with you camera on the surface, getting to know and understand what all the buttons and settings are for and what the functions, modes and menus do. Once you have your camera, practice by photographing your pets, your kids, or your friends. There is no obligation to have the pictures printed. If the pictures are bad, simply delete them and retake. This way you quickly learn how and what your camera is doing. Remember to have a look at the File info or look at the properties files once you have downloaded the images, to see what settings were changed to get a better exposure. This way you will be able to change camera settings easily while working with your camera underwater. Most of us hardly ever use a camera and are not always sure of what or how to set the camera for the best results. Now you want to use it underwater while monitoring air supply, dive time, depth, and dive buddies, and trying to find subjects to photograph. I recently upgraded to a DSLR 35mm camera in an underwater housing and had a hard time getting good pictures. It was back to ‘square one’ as they say. Getting familiar with the housing and which buttons are triggered by which levers took time.
Having the basic photography knowledge shortened the learning process considerably. I still get the odd out of focus, blurry, over or underexposed pictures. Another handy scuba photo skill to acquire is to become a ‘pro’ underwater naturalist. No, I am not saying you should dive in the nude. Learning to see or find those rare, colorful, small creatures underwater is not a skill reserved for experienced dive masters and professional photographers. Reading fish identification guides, actually reading them, will help you find them quicker and easier, and give you more time to get the best picture of these animals. Some small critters are not always in the obvious places, like on top of a sea star or out in the open. Good identification guides give a description of habitat, food preferences as well as a description of the creature’s size and coloration. Knowing what you are looking for and where to look for it will make for more rewarding photos. Be patient and take your time to take the picture. If your first try does not look that good, try a different setting, change your position, or camera angle. If you are running out of memory space, simply delete the image that you think is no good, then recompose and retake. Photographing the small, slow moving, bright coloured nudibranchs with macro mode is the easiest underwater photography to start with. Remember to test your camera’s shortest focusing distance on the surface and use the built in flash if you do not have an external light source. This focus distance information can also be found in the user manual. The use of the flash close-up will improve the cameras focusing and emphasize the colours. Alternatively, you could ask your dive buddy to carry a good quality underwater torch to light your subject. This way you will not be alone and the extra light, even during March 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 57
The exquisite harlequin shrimps (Hymenocera picta) have their meal.
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Stunning image of a shrimp (Pereclimenes) on a spanish dancer. The Spanish dancer, (Hexabranchus sanguineus) literally meaning â€œsix-gills blood-coloredâ€?, is a dorid nudibranch, a large and colorful sea slug, a marine opisthobranch gastropod mollusk in the family Hexabranchidae.
A scuba diver blows a water ring. March 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 59
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Scorpionfish detail Scorpaenopsis oxycephala
An octopus on the hunt looks out for food
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Sunrise over magical Mozambique 62 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE March 2009
daytime, will improve the camera’s auto-focusing abilities. Macro photography is also the way out when visibility underwater is no good. Getting close to your subject will enable you to utilize the built- in flash light more effectively. Less water between the camera and the subject makes for better quality pictures. This practice will also improve your wide angle or open water pictures. Using the digital zoom does have its uses, but it is better to zoom with your fins. This is where all that buoyancy practice and underwater naturalist knowledge will help you to get closer to that ever-evasive, blueand-white-striped fish. Once again, be patient, observe, and try again if the first shot was not so great. Then, if the images are not all you thought them to be, you could always work on them with an image-editing program such as Photoshop. Who said you have to take the perfect picture? It is better to have at least a good, well-focused, properly exposed, and generally good photo to start with. Things like exposure, contrast, colour corrections, and unwanted spots can be edited in Photoshop. You
can spend days editing, adjusting and improving, or creating interesting images of your pictures once you return from you dive expedition. Having the spaceship-like photo equipment is not always the best place to start your underwater photography ‘career’, specifically if you are new to photography. Starting with a small, simple set-up or compact camera and progress from auto-mode to using the manual-mode and understanding all the photography lingo will have you progressing to all the cool-looking equipment soon enough. Be realistic when purchasing the camera equipment and think what you want to achieve with your underwater photography. Your dive frequency, level of aspiration, and purpose will all influence your equipment. It is rewarding and amazing to be able to show your friends and family photos of your underwater experience; that is, after all, one of the reasons we want to be able to take pictures of all those amazing aquatic creatures.
Nicolene is an editorial photographer at one of the biggest news and media companies in South Africa. She is qualified as a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor and has worked at various resorts and dive operations in Mozambique as a dive master, instructor, boat skipper and general beach watcher. Inspired by the work of underwater and adventure photographers, she has spent many hours diving with Manta Rays, Whale Sharks, dolphins and equally interesting scuba divers. March 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 63
Nicoline Olckers Phone +27 (0) 721290792 email@example.com
in association with +27 (0) 12 803-7611 64 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE March 2009
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FATE OF THE
LEOPARD 66 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE March 2009
A tale of Africa
Galen L. Geer
eath, the professional hunter knew, always wears a disguise. She would come as old age, or war, or with the hunter stalking a trophy for his den wall or survival for his family, but she was always Death. The hunter had seen Death ugly and glorious. He’d never looked upon her easily. He pictured Death as an old crone lurking nearby with her long, bony, pale fingers forever scratching at the air, searching to capture a soul or a spirit drifting past. This time Death stalked a young man who should be dreaming of girls to love and triumphs to win. On this hunt, the PH sensed the old crone always sitting nearby mocking the living and the innocent. In the past, the hunter had been a soldier. John Robinson had dealt in Death, lived with her, and treated her as a commodity. Now, as a professional hunter, he took Death with him into the bush stalking the most beautiful game his client hunters could kill. Death had stalked him and his clients had been stalked. The only time Death had beaten him, she’d taken a reckless client who hadn’t listened. Now Death was cheating. She was stealing the innocence of youth a solitary day at a time until there was nothing left for her cold, withered claws to tear at. When Robinson looked at Scott Tyler, he noticed the frail, thin knees drawn up to Scott’s chest so he could rest his chin on them. Each time he looked at the boy, Robinson hated his world—the African bush—a little more. It was where he met death every day, and the bush had become her lair. Robinson wanted to escape from the drudgery that he was watching, but Death demands attention. With Scott sitting with his arm folded around his legs, hugging them to his chest, it looked as though he was trying to hold his life inside. Robinson could see Scott’s father, Dr. Howard Tyler, watching his son. Beyond the boy, in the dry African grass, the hartebeest were grazing. Their heartshaped horns were distinctive in the morning light although they were several hundred yards away. “It’s not fair,” Dr. Tyler, said. “I know,” the professional hunter said. He answered the doctor slowly, the way he always answered whenever the doctor complained about fairness. Each day the routine was the same. Several times a day the doctor would complain then become angry, but only when his son couldn’t hear. The hunter waited for the doctor’s morning anger. “I’ve cured so many, healed so many with these hands.” “I know.” The doctor turned around and faced the hunter. “No John, you don’t know,” the doctor said bitterly. March 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 67
The bitterness was new. John Robinson shrugged, pretending indifference to his client’s emotions. He asked if the doctor and his son wanted to hunt. The question was a formality, he already knew the answer. “Of course. First, let him watch the sunrise. God knows he doesn’t have many left.” Robinson nodded, turned, and walked to the idling Land Cruiser. Ten of the fourteen days of hunting were used up. Scott had taken everything the doctor had put on his son’s safari list except the buffalo and leopard. The doctor had pushed the boy every day, saying, “Take that ram, he’ll go twenty-three or maybe twenty-four inches,” or, “that 18-inch blesbok will go for the record book and won’t be easily bumped from the list.” If, after the animal was dead and Robinson measured it, pronouncing the kill a trophy which easily made the top ten in the Safari Club record book, the doctor would become excited and hug his son. He’d pump Robinson’s hand then solidly slap the PH’s back in some obscure male bonding ritual that Robinson forced himself to endure. Following dinner and after the boy had gone to bed, Robinson and the doctor would pull their canvas chairs closer to the dying fire and sip on the last drinks of the day. At first, they would talk about hunting, and then the conversation would shift to politics or guns and become aimless. Robinson would signal the bar boy for more whiskey and soda and the conversation would slow, then fade. The quiet bothered the doctor and he would begin to jabber about where in his apparently sprawling home, he’d display the trophies Scott had killed that day. Then he’d begin his list of complaints. He’d talk about the black trackers walking too fast for Scott to keep up without having to push himself. He’d talk about the rough track they followed in the Land Cruiser and how it jostled their guns out of the racks. If they hadn’t returned to the lodge for lunch, he’d complain about the sandwiches being too dry or not having enough soft drinks or bottled water in the cool box. By the end of his litany he’d become sullen and stare at the coals then he’d stand up, stretch, and say, “All in all it’s been a wonderful hunt,” and he was proud of his son. Then his eyes would fill with tears and he’d turn away from the fire and walk to the bar. While John watched, the doctor would pour himself a double shot of bourbon—turn the highball glass in his hand as if studying it would give him insights for the following day, or maybe make him forget that day. He’d then toss his head back, downing the whiskey in a single swallow which would make him choke and gasp for air. Before Dr. Tyler recovered he’d wave slowly to Robinson and walk to his own chalet. The professional hunter was left alone in the night and he’d put more wood on the fire. Robinson would sit quietly and listen to the bush babies in the ironwood tree, and while watching the flames dance in the center of the circle of light, growing brighter before they faded, he’d hope for a night quiet from the killing on the veldt. Each day had its own sameness and Robinson had begun to loathe the routine of hunting. The only interest he felt was in whether the animal killed by Scott was larger or smaller than he’d predicted. If the animal was smaller so it wouldn’t make the top ten, the doctor sulked. He then contented himself by making everyone else suffer with him. His voice would change, acquiring a higher than normal pitch, and he would ask Scott if he needed to rest before continuing the hunt. Robinson suspected the boy of placating Dr. Tyler. In a tone approaching assurance, he’d tell his father he could hunt, saying he wanted to continue. It was important, the boy had told the professional hunter, 68 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE March 2009
to his father that he hunt every day. Robinson thought the father’s concern was a way for Dr. Tyler to remind him and the black trackers that Scott was dying and would never have another opportunity to hunt in Africa. The doctor’s guilt became a plea to try harder for bigger trophies. Robinson watched the senior Tyler study his son, noting the color of his skin, the sweat or dryness of it. The PH wondered if the doctor hovered over the boy because he felt it was his duty, or was it all he could do since nothing would stop Death from its daily plucking at the young man’s life. Sometimes Robinson thought the boy seemed healthier than the office-tower businessman clients he been taking out in the past few months. At least Scott didn’t snivel about the sun, rain, dust, bugs or the thorns like the bulbous-nosed clients who’d spent so much of their day drinking lunch and bragging about their golf game. Their daily exercise consisted of their jaunts to the men’s room long enough to drain their stretched bladders. They thought that hunting on an African ranch was an easy way to hang some exotic trophies on their office walls to impress clients with their tired machismo. When it didn’t work that way and they had to get out of the Land Rover and hunt, they would complain. Some quit hunting. Others refused to walk. Most of them gamely went out and gradually discovered themselves, perhaps realizing they’d been lying about who they were. Scott, however, was alive in the bush. Dying, he seemed alive to the hunter. The boy seemed to feel the life of the bush around him. Though Scott’s spirit was still his own, Robinson could see the Death crone stealing the boy’s flesh. At night, before young Tyler left the fire, he would talk about hunting. Robinson could see the boy trying to hide the day’s strain and losses from his father. As he talked, Robinson heard the hunter’s heart and soul singing stronger in the boy’s voice. In the morning, Scott seemed to be refreshed and ready to hunt. There appeared to be only a bit less of the life in him from the day before. The professional hunter thought he could see it but the doctor either couldn’t, or refused to. Robinson thought about telling the father, that if he didn’t push Scott so hard to fill the list of trophies, the boy and his father would have time to experience the bush. Perhaps, one evening, if the father and son stopped to watch the sunset while looking over the veldt they would see Africa’s green flash. But, to do that a person had to have faith and eyes that were seeing. The doctor had lost the vision. John Robinson knew he was right but he didn’t speak up. It wasn’t his place. Every professional hunter has watched this same scene—parents collecting their son or daughter’s trophies while ignoring the fact that their children had become trophies. Robinson watched the ugly crone mark off each of the boy’s calendar days while the doctor marked off each new trophy. “It’s a bloody race,” Robinson told the ranch owner. “Right now they’re running neck and neck with our animals.” Robinson leaned against the Land Rover, smoking cigarettes while he watched Scott under the thorn bush and the doctor watching the boy. Finally, Scott stood up. He was lanky. Maybe he’d always been thin. The hunter wasn’t sure. He watched the boy walk to his father. They talked. He wondered what they talked about. The boy walked toward the Land Rover and Robinson watched the easy confidence that made him almost forget the cancer that had eaten away all hope. “What today?” Scott asked. March 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 69
“Cape buffalo,” Robinson said. “You’ve got one that will satisfy my father?” “Yes, a big bull’s been hanging about near McKenzie’s Pool. We’ll hunt him.” “Needs to go book--you know--for my father.” “It will.” The doctor walked up and asked, “What will?” “The boy’s buff. I’ve seen this old bull close up. He’ll make book--easy. Probably top ten.” “That’s where I want my son’s name, in the top ten of the SCI trophy book. I want him to stay there a long time.” The hunter didn’t answer. It was hard enough to make book with a buffalo in South Africa. Going that high in the book had become nearly impossible. The boy might make it with this buff though-if they could find it. That was up to Ajar, the black tracker. Robinson nodded toward the seat and the boy pulled himself into it. Scott’s Winchester—a .375 H&H magnum—was in the gun rack. The bullet loops on the sling were filled with two different bullet 70 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE March 2009
types. The top row of loops held the heavy, monolithic solids that would be used to smash through the biggest bones of the buffalo. The bottom roll of loops contained the X-bullets that had become popular with hunters going after dangerous game. These bullets could power through a big animal and expand evenly to deliver the shock needed for a quick kill. The doctor’s gun, a massive, custom-built .470 Capstick, was above his son’s. The guide’s weathered and worn .416 Rigby rifle was jammed between the seats so he could reach it quickly if needed. After the doctor was seated, Robinson’s tracker, Ajar, materialized from the opposite side of the Rover and climbed in the back. The hunter drove off on the track between the acacia trees and into the bush of the ranch. Twenty minutes later they stopped on top of a small kopje and the three of them got out of the rover and stood on the top of the hill. They could see the waterhole and watch Ajar circling. He was studying the ground. “Ajar will pick up the buff’s spoor here. We’ll follow the old bull on foot,” Robinson said. “Fine,” the doctor said, and then he looked at Robin-
son as if to ask for something else that was impossible to deliver. Robinson got out without answering. They walked slowly, easily. Ajar followed the huge bovine tracks that stayed apart from the herd. Even a novice could read the spoor. The bull walked arrogantly and without fear through the sand surrounding the waterhole. His bulk, power, and horns were his weapons. The hunters walked steadily all morning, stopping for a few minutes every half hour to let the boy rest. When Ajar stopped and kneeled down, Robinson knelt beside him. The hunter nodded to the whispered words from the tracker. They motioned Scott to come up. After he was beside Robinson, the boy followed the hunter’s pointing finger and saw an average-sized warthog rooting. “Ajar wants some more leopard bait and it’s too hot to hunt the bull now,” Robinson said. “Right.” The boy shouldered his rifle, settled the crosshairs, pushed the safety off and fired. The shot echoed and the doctor hurried to his son’s side, ready to congratulate him on the buffalo. Instead, the doctor saw the warthog thrashing his death throes. The solid had hit the shoulder and ripped it apart, exploding the heart. “Why did you shoot that?” the doctor demanded. “Fresh leopard bait,” Robinson said. “I’ll go back and get the Cruiser and Ajar will stay here. Take a break. This time of day with this sun, the old bull is holed up in the thick stuff for now, just trying to beat the midday heat. We’ll take the hog to the leopard tree, get some lunch at the lodge, and be back on the spoor this afternoon.” Robinson had been watching the boy and knew he was tired and needed to rest. Twice the boy had stumbled. Each time he’d quickly recovered and looked at his father to see if he’d noticed, then relaxed, realizing his father was intently watching Ajar follow the spoor. Robinson knew the buff was close, but he wouldn’t move until the afternoon began to cool. Robinson patted Scott’s shoulder and told him it had been a good shot, walked off and was quickly swallowed by the bush.
Dr. Tyler sat down. He was angry with Robinson but wouldn’t show it in front of the boy. Later, maybe. When Scott was asleep. After Robinson had disap-
peared into the bush Scott sat down without speaking. The doctor watched the boy replace the spent round with another solid and then cradle his gun. Ajar was a few yards away, listening to the bush. No one spoke and the quiet under the African sun was oppressive. Sweat trickled down their backs. The doctor leaned back and watched his son fidget. The boy had to be thinking about his death. He wondered if Scott hated him for not being able to save him. The cancer had created a distance between them and the doctor had hoped the safari would bring him and his son back together in the final days. But the distance had become too great and each time he tried to reach for his son the boy pulled away. At least the boy’s mother had understood. She had struggled to face the death but couldn’t and all but admitted she didn’t want to watch her son whither to a memory. Would death in a hospital have been better? He wondered. He wasn’t sure. He was a doctor but he couldn’t trust himself to have the answers that fathers should know. Ajar didn’t hear it or see it, but he turned and looked across the clearing. The doctor followed the black tracker’s movement. The grassy pan had been empty with just the dead warthog and the ticks fleeing it. The now-dead host was all that could be seen and suddenly, the buffalo appeared in the clearing. If he smelled death, the massive animal ignored it. Ajar nodded in the direction of the bull. The doctor grinned at his son. The wind was in their favor, and they were well hidden. “It’s the big bull,” the doctor whispered. Fifty yards from them the bull sensed the threat and his big nose flared as he tested the wind, looking for the enemy he’d come to kill. “He is looking for us,” Ajar said. “Take him, son.” “It’s too far.” “No it’s not. We can’t get closer and won’t get another chance. The boy raised his gun but the sun haloed inside the scope. “It’s not clear, dad,” he said. “This may be our only chance to get one together.” Scott fired. The 300-grain bullet was a little high. It missed the heart but smashed through the shoulder and the buffalo fell forward. The boy worked the bolt of the rifle and fired again, remembering what Robinson said about shooting Cape buffalo. “If you aren’t sure, keep firing even when the buff is down.” March 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 71
When the gun was empty Scott reloaded, pulling cartridges from the loops and shoving them in the gun, dropping as many as he loaded. The doctor reached for Scott, trying to thump his shoulder in paternal camaraderie. He was telling Scott they could talk about how he’d killed a record book buffalo without having the professional hunter with them. But the boy ignored him and stood up, jerking the rifle to his shoulder. He fired again at the buffalo as it bellowed its death call. Scott started toward the buffalo, working the bolt. He fired again. The bullet hit with a thump and there was a small puff of dust from the buffalo’s hide. Scott took another step, working the bolt again, lowering the rifle to work the action, then raising it to his shoulder, firing another bullet into the animal. When his gun was empty he reached to reload but the loops on the sling were empty. Scott worked the bolt and pulled the trigger on the empty chamber. The boy froze, holding the gun to his shoulder, still aiming at the buffalo. Ajar reached for the gun and Scott gave it to him. The tracker then handed the gun to the doctor.
big buffalo—what’s happening. I couldn’t think.” The doctor relaxed and smiled at his son. The boy asked Robinson for a beer then he looked to his father who nodded his approval. After he’d taken a drink from the can he asked Robinson again to explain to him how to cleanly kill a leopard. He sat back to listen while the hunter talked. When Ajar returned to the lodge, he told Robinson one of the baits had been hit by a big male leopard. Robinson slapped his open palm against the top of the bar, startling the bar boy who jumped back. “Bloody good!” Robinson said. “Leopard?” the doctor asked. “Yes, and from what old Ajar here says, he’s a fine one.”
“Is he big enough for you?” Scott said. “Do you want me to shoot him again? Kill him again? I can do that you know. I can kill him again for you.”
Robinson then explained the new bait had been hit by a big cat, apparently within an hour after the warthog had been gutted and hung in the tree. The PH figured the cat would probably come back to finish feeding in the evening. There was a good chance the cat had been frightened off the bait when Ajar and the others interrupted the leopard’s feeding when they were checking baits.
“Are you okay, son?” the doctor asked. He was holding Scott’s rifle in his hand.
“This will finish the hunt if he comes in, right?” Scott said to his father.
“You have your buffalo now.”
“Damn right it will, son,” the doctor said. “We’ll have taken everything on the list.”
The doctor wiped a tear from his eye while he walked to the buffalo. “He’s ours son. They can’t take that away from us.” “I think it’s yours, Dad.” Because they killed the buffalo early in the day, Scott went back to his chalet near the ranch’s lodge and went to sleep. He rested for several hours. Later that afternoon he walked to the lodge and joined his father and Robinson at the bar. “What’s the chance for a leopard?” Scott asked. “We’ve got them on the ranch,” Robinson said. “When Ajar gets back from checking the baits we’ll know if we’ve got one feeding.” Robinson studied the boy’s face. “Why’d you ask?” “I want a chance at one.” Dr. Tyler heard Scott’s words but he wasn’t sure he understood their meaning. He looked at the boy and the questions must have been on his face. “I’m sorry about his afternoon,” Scott said, looking directly into his father’s face. “I guess I just lost it—the 72 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE March 2009
Scott didn’t comment instead he turned and walked to his chalet and got his rifle. “Well,” Robinson said. “We need to get into the hide now. I’ll bet the ol’ boy will be back to claim his prize right about dark.” Once in the Land Cruiser the hunters kept their rifles close, as if each of them was afraid the cat would jump at the Land Cruiser from the grass. They followed the track into the thick bush of the ranch’s river bottom country. Robinson parked the Rover, and whispered for the hunters to load their rifles. “The noise of the bolt could spook the cat if he’s close to our bait,” Robinson said. After the doctor and Scott had closed the bolts of their rifles, Robinson led them toward the hide. Ajar stayed with the Land Rover, sitting in the middle of the front seat staring straight ahead. Once close to the hide they crept in without speaking and settled themselves for the long wait. Robinson put the boy between himself and his father, then he tied the rifle’s scope to an over hanging branch so all
Scott would have to do is pull the rifle to his shoulder and aim and shoot. They waited through the end of the day’s heat and into the soft African autumn evening and watched the African day’s closing light. Then, like the buffalo, the leopard appeared. No one had seen the cat slip into the tree or heard him climb onto the limb. He was just there.
anger and pride. The doctor didn’t answer. He pushed himself out of the hide and stood up, then started walking back to the Land Rover and Ajar. In the last morning the boy was sitting under the acacia tree. The hunter stopped his Land Rover behind the doctor who was watching his son. There was no more hunting. The list had been filled. “Can you bring lunch to us. . . here?”
Robinson didn’t speak but motioned the boy to pull the rifle to his shoulder. Any noise would frighten the leopard, sending it back to the bush. Scott pulled himself into a sitting position and pushed the rifle through the little opening between the leaves. Robinson knew he’d told the boy to look through the scope and pick out his target on the leopard’s shoulder. He’d instructed the young Tyler to find a single black rosette where the bullet would hit. The boy pushed the safety off and pulled the rifle confidently into his shoulder. Robinson watched the barrel rise and fall in a waltz with the rhythm of the boy’s beating heart and deliberate breathing. Scott’s finger pulled the trigger through the slack and he squeezed. The sound of the firing pin on the empty chamber had been loud, out of place, and man-made. The leopard was gone. The doctor crawled toward the boy. There was the spittle of anger on his father’s chin. The boy pulled the bolt back and turned his rifle so his father could see the chamber. He hadn’t loaded it. “You didn’t load the rifle?” “No,” the boy answered. “Why?” The boy’s eyes were wet. “I want to leave something. He was mine and I gave him back his life. I want to leave the leopard--here.” His voice was pleading. “That’s my prize—my life! That’s what’s on my list!” The boy started to shake. His tears were of
“Yes,” the hunter said. “Good,” the doctor said. “Do that, will you?” Then he walked out to his son and sat down. “How many animals do you think we’ll see, sitting here?” the boy asked. “A lifetime’s-worth this morning,” the doctor said. Robinson watched the hartebeest walk through the dry grass. An impala ram fed by himself as the African sky’s morning red faded to a lighter blue. In the afternoon, when the shadows were short, the boy went to sleep and his father stood alone by the acacia tree where he finally burned the list. Robinson watched the flames curl the paper and blacken it. The ashes fell away and were carried into the bush by the wind.
First appeared in Last Supper In Paradise by Galen L. Geer, published by Willowgate Press, 2003. Copyright 2003 by Galen L. Geer and all rights, foreign and domestic reserved. No unauthorized reproduction allowed. For reprint permission contact the author.
March 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 73
Press Releases Nikon Monarch Gold UCC 1.5-6x42mm riflescope I had my first experience using a Nikon brand scope on a recent safari to Zimbabwe and South Africa. I am a long time user of Nikon cameras and their superb optics are well known to every member of the photographic community. This heritage of quality has been carried on to their Field Sports Division and was immediately apparent to me the first time I used the scope in a low light situation. As luck would have it, I got a chance to kill a big bull kudu in the last few seconds of daylight, while hunting in the northern Transvaal (Limpopo) province with PH Buks Botha of Bateleur Safaris. As we eased through the thick acacia thorns, Buks warned me to stay alert, since the gloom of the gathering twilight is not called “kudu time” for no good reason. Sure enough, just as we cleared the thicket, a bull and two cows stepped into view about 200 meters away. When I looked through the scope in the near darkness, it was as if the big bull was standing in the noonday sun. I can well remember seeing the kudu’s mane rustling in the evening breeze as I squeezed the trigger. I have used almost every brand of European scope optics at one time or another and the Nikon definitely holds its own with any of them. Optical quality is as much a function of your personal vision quality as it is with the scientific details of the actual riflescope. In other words, if you cannot see very well to begin with, you cannot improve things by throwing money at the problem. 74 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE March 2009
This is why some people cannot see any optical difference between a Leupold and say, a Zeiss. They wonder why there is all this extra expense for the European optics, but actually, their eyesight is not capable of ascertaining much difference in image quality. I asked my optometrist about this at my annual eye examination, and he told me that most people are not very discerning when it comes to matters of visual acuity. The exception of course is photographers, as they make a living judging subtle distinctions of color and focus. Here are the technical specifications of the Nikon Monarch Gold UCC 1.5-6x42mm riflescope that I used. Like most Nikon products, it was manufactured in Japan and features a very rugged 30mm tube that was developed for their “Tactical Riflescope” program. The advantages of the 30mm diameter over a one-inch tube are its greater tube strength, its wider windage and elevation travel, and its broader light path from the objective lens to the eyepiece. By the way, these are true 30mm optics and not one-inch optics placed in a 30mm tube like some other popular brands. This does not mean it gathers or transmits any more light than a one-inch scope, but it does provide a larger sweet spot for enhanced resolution. Of special interest to users of heavy caliber and heavy recoiling rifles, is its extremely long eye relief, with a minimum of 4 inches throughout the full range
of magnification, combined with a 7mm exit pupil at 6x and a 28mm exit pupil at 1.5x. Finally for the most extreme “stock crawlers” who compromise that 4 inch safety zone, there is a rubber ring that, not only allows for easy gripping while wearing gloves and protection for the end of the eyepiece, but will also let the scope bounce right off your head. At 1.5x, the eye relief is actually out to 4.1 inches. This extra tenth of an inch can be considered irrelevant, except in those cases where we are talking about penetrating of your skull! Another part of the light gathering formula is the UCC part of its model name. UCC stands for Ultra Clear Coat; it is a fully multi-coated lens system that enables light transmission in excess of 95%. These are some very useful features, not only useful for hunting dangerous game like the hippo I killed in the “jess” of Zimbabwe using this scope, but also capable in any extreme low light situation such as with the aforementioned shot at the kudu. The optics are controlled with a fast-focus eyepiece and low profile target turrets. They feature big ¼ MOA hand-turned windage and elevation adjustments that have positive audible and tactile clicks for easy zeroing and in-the-field adjustments if needed. No screwdrivers or coins needed. The total range of windage and elevation adjustment is a tremendous 120 MOA of travel. Combine this with a field of view at 100 yards that varies from 64.7 feet at 1.5x to 17.3 feet at 6x — you have enough latitude to cover most any field situation thrown at you.
New Trijicon® AccupointT™ 1-4x24 Riflescope Equipped with 30mm Tube and True 1x Magnification Trijicon, Inc.®, the unrivaled leader in Brilliant Aiming Solutions™ for a wide range of sporting and tactical applications, has developed the new Trijicon AccuPoint™ 1-4x24 riflescope to maintain the company’s position as a favorite provider of innovative aiming solutions for tactical shooters, law enforcement professionals and safari hunters of big and dangerous game across the globe. Trijicon’s AccuPoint 1-4x24 variable riflescope features true 1x, and up to 4x, magnification with a straight 30mm tube, allowing more light and consistent eye relief at all magnifications. Shooting and hunting enthusiasts have chosen the battery-free, illuminated reticle riflescopes in Trijicon’s AccuPoint line for their ability to provide lightning-fast target acquisition and pinpoint accuracy in any light. In an effort to enhance popular existing products, while providing users with a scope particularly suited to their unique needs in the area of low variable power magnification, Trijicon has designed the AccuPoint 1-4x24 riflescope with true 1x magnification for the really close-in shots at which targets are often engaged. The variable scope’s 30mm tube design also allows for a much broader range
The length of 11.4 inches and weight of 17.3 ounces makes this scope a tidy but powerful package that would work well with any hunting rifle except a long-range rig, and even then, its 6x magnification would be handy in a pinch. You have a choice of a traditional duplex (Nikoplex) or a German #4 reticle. I chose the German #4 for its extremely quick targeting and the more open sight picture it affords in the upper sight plane. Nikon guarantees this scope to be 100% waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof - and of special interest to African hunters, 100% dustproof as well. They back this up with a lifetime full warranty that covers virtually any contingency. With the package of features above and a list price of only US$599, the Nikon 1.5-6x42 is the riflescope of choice for the big bore shooter. For more info click http://www.nikonhunting.com/riflescopes-monarch-gold-monarch-gold-15-6x42.html
of mounting options in order to acquire proper eye relief. In designing the new Trijicon AccuPoint 1-4x24 riflescope, Trijicon engineers incorporated all of the features that have made the Trijicon AccuPoint line the favorite among safari hunters. These unique features include optimum quality glass, a rugged aircraft March 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 75
quality aluminum body, dual illumination through the use of fiber optics and tritium phosphor lamps, highly reliable battery-free operation, waterproof up to ten feet and a choice of several post and crosshair reticle options. Dimensions of the compact new Trijicon AccuPoint 1-4x24 riflescope are 10.3” long by 2” wide, with a height of 2” (262 x 50 x 50 mm) and weighing only 26.9 oz. (763 grams). Trijicon’s AccuPoint riflescopes were designed by engineers who made sure other important design features were incorporated, such as a scope body constructed of all-weather, hard anodized aluminum, along with multi-layer coated lenses to allow superior clarity and light-gathering capabilities with zero distortion, and an easy-focus eyepiece to ensure edge-to-edge optical clarity. For more information on Trijicon, Inc.’s new AccuPoint 1-4x24 riflescope or Trijicon’s full line of Brilliant Aiming Solutions for the hunting, shooting, military and law enforcement markets, contact Trijicon, Inc., 49385 Shafer Ave., P.O. Box 930059, Wixom, Michigan 48393 • 248-960-7700 • or visit www.trijicon.com.
Darton’s New Bow Leaves Them Speechless About 20+ years ago, I imported a Darton bow to South Africa. Very few shops sold bows and everyone laughed at my radical notion of hunting with a bow. Bowhunting as a form of sport hunting was still illegal in Namibia at that time - except, of course, for the San bushmen. With my new bow, I shot the first animal ever shot by a white man with a modern bow in Namibia. Our hunt was on Vrede (Peace), Oom Soon’s farm near Otjiwarongo. I still remember shooting that warthog like it was yesterday: me and my friend Danes dancing like crazy people around the dead warthog. The proof that an animal can be hunted with a bow caused no small commotion among rifle hunters. At that time, bowhunting was in it’s infancy in South Africa. Aspiring bowhunters knew about other bows but nobody knew what a Darton bow was way back then. 76 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE March 2009
They certainly think differently now. Darton has brought out their next trophy killer - and the reaction from bowhunters has been encouraging. “Whoa.” “Dang.” “Man.” “Can I shoot it again?” “That a Darton?” Darton’s Sales Manager Ted Harpham often hears these common responses as archers grab and shoot Darton’s New Pro 3500S. “The whole look of the Pro Series bows from Darton has changed, and the 3500S is leading the way in looks, speed and overall performance,” Harpham said. The riser has a sleek, sexy appearance with more curves than a mountain road while maintaining the strength and durability archer’s demand. Although it features a narrower grip area, the Pro 3500S still has the “Darton” feel the loyalist love. The biggest cause for the oohs and ahhs comes from Darton’s new laminated limbs, manufactured by Barnsdale Archery, powering the newest CPS G2 2.5 Cam designed by Rex Darlington. “The new Cam and Mach -1 Laminated Limbs have allowed the Pro 3500S to achieve IBO speeds out of the box of 338 – 343 feet-per-second. Darton advertises IBO Rating Velocity, no smoke, no mirrors,” Harpham stated. The Pro 3500S has an axle-to-axle length of 33 13/16” and a 6” brace height. You don’t need a bow press to change draw lengths that range from 25”– 30”. For more on the Pro 3500S and the rest of the “Built to Hunt” lineup from Darton, visit www.dartonarchery. com
KOMG added to The Great American Outdoor Trails Radio Magazine The Great American Outdoor Trails Radio Magazine has added KOMG 92.9 FM Bass Country in Springfield, Missouri to its Outdoor Trails Network (OTN). KOMG 92.9 FM Bass Country is a 50,000 watt station with a classic country format. The following communities will now be able to hear the Great American Outdoor Trails Radio Magazine: Springfield, Neosho, Branson, Bolivar and Republic. The program will air
at 6:00 AM Saturday mornings beginning April 4, 2009. “We’re excited to add 97.9 FM Bass Country, which is part of the Midwest Family Broadcasting, to our affiliate station network,” says host Jim Ferguson. “Southwest Missouri is known as an outdoorsmen’s paradise with lakes teeming with bass, crappie, catfish and trout. Big game, turkey, upland and waterfowl hunting are also available to residents and non-residents alike. KOMG 92.9 Bass Country is our first Missouri radio station and we’re blessed they chose our program to reach out to outdoorsmen in the communities they serve. Chief Operations Manager, Mary Fleenor says our program will be a welcome addition to their weekend line-up because, as an angler herself, she knows our program will speak to the audience of 92.9 Bass Country. The program will also stream on their website www.basscountry. fm “ Ferguson added, “Our business plan, when we started seven years ago, was to build a network of stations across the nation where we could deliver a national outdoor program on a regional basis. We would offer sponsors, stations and listeners the opportunity to hear programming that was geographically specific and sponsors an opportunity to make regional advertising buys to enhance the sale of their products.”
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OTN now has 82 radio stations in thirteen states: Mississippi, Minnesota, Missouri, Kentucky, Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arkansas, Indiana, Illinois and Texas broadcasting their award winning program to a projected audience of over 4 million. They also have 80 affiliate/host websites providing outdoor programming each week with a projected listening audience of over 2 million on the web. The Great American Outdoor Trails Radio Magazine also hosts and produces podcasts for Brooke Hunt Club, North American Hunting Club (750,000 members), North American Fishing Club (450,000 members), Family Fish & Game Magazine and iTunes. For more information about the Great American Outdoor Trails Radio Magazine, the Outdoor Trails Network or sponsorship contact Jim Ferguson at 785846-7844 or email him at radio@outdoortrailsnetwork. com. To view the fully interactive illustrated program, “Watch What You Hear”, go to www.outdoortrailsnetwork.com.
NEW TRIJICON® RMR™ — TOUGHEST RED DOT SIGHT ON THE MARKET FEATURES INDUSTRY-LEADING ADVANCEMENTS AND EASY SIGHTING FOR MILITARY, POLICE AND SPORTSMEN Trijicon, Inc.®, the world leader in the development of Brilliant Aiming Solutions™ for the military, law enforcement and hunting/shooting markets, has introduced its new Trijicon RMR™ Sight — a patentpending new generation Ruggedized Miniature Reflex™ designed to improve shooter precision and accuracy with any style or caliber of weapon. Unlike other red dot sights on the market, this innovative solution is designed for superior durability under the most extreme conditions. The experts at Trijicon also designed the new RMR sights to be as strong as the company’s renowned Trijicon ACOGs, and provide ease of sighting and adjustment, solving important issues often associated with other red dot sights. 78 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE March 2009
Trijicon’s new design begins with a rugged, forged aluminum housing — one that is extremely sturdy, yet lightweight. This advanced housing encases premium quality optics for superior performance in every tactical, shooting or hunting situation. Other advancements in the Trijicon RMR sights include new large, easy-to-use adjusters that allow for quick one MOA per click adjustment for windage and elevation using a common screw driver or shell casing. The Trijicon RMR provides rapid target acquisition and enhances the shooter’s capabilities in a wide variety of applications. In keeping with Trijicon’s commitment to batteryfree illumination, a battery-free model features dual illumination using Trijicon’s patented fiber optics and tritium, and comes in dot sizes of 9 or 13 Minutes of Angle (MOA). This model is the world’s first batteryfree mini reflex sight, measuring a mere 1.78”L X 1.24”W X1.03”H and weighing in at only 1.22 oz. Another version features LED illumination provided by a standard 2032 battery, and comes in dot sizes of 4 or 8 MOA. This model measures 1.78”L X 1.10”W X 1.00”H and weighs only 1.22 oz. Both are available in black housings and — as further testament to their rugged construction — are rated as waterproof to sixty-six feet. The Trijicon RMR mounts onto Trijicon ACOGs, compact ACOGs, AccuPoints, MIL-STD 1913 rail equipped weapons systems, Weaver rail equipped weapons systems and the more popular handgun models. For more information on Trijicon, Inc.’s full line of Brilliant Aiming Solutions for the hunting, shooting, military and law enforcement markets, contact Trijicon, Inc., 49385 Shafer Ave., P.O. Box 930059, Wixom, Michigan 48393 • 248-960-7700 • or visit www.trijicon. com.
STEINER LAUNCHES BOLD NEW COMPACT BINOCULAR LINE Moorestown, NJ (March 30, 2009) — Steiner has announced the introduction of the new Safari Pro binocular line. This bold new compact line of binoculars features three binoculars: 8x30 Porro prism and an
8x22 and 10x26 pocket roof prism. While the Steiner Safari Pro Binoculars feature a bold new design, it is the performance that sets these binoculars apart. This renowned German optics company has completely redesigned its popular Safari line All three models of the new Safari Pro series feature new updated internal and external parts and high definition optics. The most notable performance enhancements include longer eye-relief and an improved, ergonomic focus wheel to the two pocket sized compacts. All models feature a more durable chassis and robust new outer armoring that is both durable and comfortable. The 8x30 Safari Pro, housed in a rugged Makrolon rubber armored and shockproof body, is the ideal all purpose outdoor companion. This binocular features Steinerâ€™s proprietary Sports Auto-Focus that, once set for your eyes, gives you a sharp, clear view of everything from 20 yards to infinity without any further adjustment.
hunting and marine markets, Steiner provides products to military and law enforcement worldwide. Allied forces around the world, including the U.S. Army and countless law enforcement agencies, have made Steiner their binocular of choice. Model Name
Field of View
8x30 Safari 360 Pro ft./1000yds.
8x22 Safari 369 Pro ft./1000yds.
10x26 Safari Pro
All three models feature the brilliance of Steiner optics, but screen UV light and reduce glare. They come equipped with a soft-sided case and comfortable carrying strap. All have the 30 year limited warranty. Look for these new compact binoculars at retailers this spring. Headquartered in Germany, Steiner has been an acknowledged leader in the manufacturing of quality binoculars since 1947. In addition to the outdoor,
For more information contact: Pioneer Research, 97 Foster Road, Moorestown, NJ 08057 or call toll free 1-800- 257-7742 or you can visit the interactive web site at www.steiner-binoculars.com. Go to http://www.steiner-binoculars.com/binoculars/ safaripro/safaripro.html for product details.
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For easy and hassle-free gun permits or go to www.vipgunpermits.com
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Product Reviews Universal Gun Case: Texas Hunt Company While walking the six miles of exhibits at the SHOT Show in Orlando, Florida, I found this really useful and unique soft rifle case. A favorite topic for discussion among safari hunters is the best hard case for transporting our rifles to Africa. However, sometimes we pay scant attention to selecting the best soft case for protection after our arrival in country, and just take whatever we happen to have on hand around the house. The needs we encounter hunting internationally can be much more demanding than what we need for our typical deer or elk hunts. There are many times when travel to an African hunting concession must be made via land vehicle or a charter airplane where extra space can be a premium. At these times, the large airline transport hard case must be left at our safari outfitter’s headquarters. Even if there is room for the hard case, it is still necessary to protect our rifles while cruising around in a Land Rover or Toyota 4-Wheel truck scouting for game. The Texas Hunt Company, a division of well known U.S. Military supplier Spec Ops, looked to their experiences supplying the Army and Marines with heavy duty cases and web gear, and came up with a case called the Universal Gun Case. Using the latest in materials, relying on proven construction, and learning from his experiences hunting Cape buffalo in Zimbabwe, Texas Hunt Company owner Jeff Wemmer saw the need to develop a rifle 86 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE March 2009
case that was not only protective, durable, and hunter friendly, but also built to the same standards our soldiers require for service in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Universal Gun Case is available in the solid colors of Coyote Brown and American Walnut, and is also offered in Advantage® Max 1™ and Mossy Oak® Break-up™ for customers who want a camouflage version. All versions of the case carry a retail price of $149.95 and can be purchased directly from the Texas Hunt Company website at: http://www.texashuntco.com, as well as a select list of local dealers. Examining the Universal Gun Case from the outside, I noticed several things. It has a 2-inch shoulder strap with a fully adjustable quickrelease slider so, no matter your body size, it is very comfortable to sling over your shoulder. This enables hands-free carry for climbing in or out of blinds, tree stands, vehicles, etc. and is very useful in dayto-day hunting situations. The case features a roomy outside cargo pocket for cleaning gear, small binoculars, ammo, etc. I tested the cargo pocket and it easily held two 20-round boxes of .458 Lott ammo from Safari Arms Ltd.: http://www.safariarms.com, that I happened to have on hand. The case’s exterior carry handles are located at its natural balance point for easy, comfortable hand carry, and there is even an ID window for your business card or other form of identification. To open the Universal Gun Case, it has dual, fulllength, water/dust resistant, YKK #10 zipper sliders for quick access. Texas Hunt Company claims this
is the only case on the market that offers this much protection for your rifle, and after inspecting the rest of its construction, I believe them. The case has 3/8 inch thick, non-absorbent, closedcell foam padding, plus it has a unique foam padded interior flap that wraps around your optics for an extra measure of security. It even has a muzzle stop to protect the barrel ends from impact damage. Its flip-open design allows full access to your rifle and makes an instant gun cleaning mat. For more information contact Texas Hunt Company, 1-888-8948682 or 432-943-2705, Fax: 432943-5565, firstname.lastname@example.org , www.texashuntco.com
Safari Gaiters On my first safari to Africa, one of the first things I noticed was my PH, Rowan Lewis, wore a pair of small green gaiters over his boot tops. On subsequent safaris to Africa, and even one to Australia, gaiters seem to be a constant feature of the professional hunters safari attire. Having never seen an American guide using anything similar, except knee length snow versions, I inquired about their use. Of course I realized the over-boot design would keep your laces tucked in, preventing them from getting snagged on brush and becoming untied, but I really wasn’t expecting the final answer I got. “To keep grass seeds out of your socks”, said Rowan. “Huh?”, I muttered intelligently, “Y’all must have some hellacious grass seeds here in Zim”. On further inquiry, I found out that the indigenous grass seeds of sub-Saharan Africa are indeed of the ‘hellacious’ variety. Hard and pointed, and enabled with a talent for working their way through the thickest socks to get to just the proper spot on your feet and ankles to inflict the maximum amount of irritation. Even to the point of breaking the skin and causing infections if not dealt with quickly enough. Infections of any sort in Africa aren’t something anyone takes lightly, especially a still wet-behind-the-ears American safari client. I quickly became the proud owner of a set of genuine, handmade, Zim tent canvas gaiters, and survived that first
trek into the heart of Darkest Africa (Eiffel Flats!) with nary a debilitating ankle infection. Leaping forward to the modern era, Texas Hunt Company has now solved this life threatening menace to proper safari order and offers a genuine 100% made in the U.S.A., guaranteed for life, version of those hallowed protectors of ankles and feet. Oddly enough, they call them……..Safari Gaiters. Here is what they have to say about them. First off, they are available in new sizes. This is a revelation for me since I thought one size would fit all, but looking at their website I found you can get them in four versions, ranging from 8 inches all the way to 13 inches in circumference. To determine appropriate size, measure 7 inches from heel towards ankle with a fabric tape measure, then measure the circumference of the leg. Small fits 8-9.5 inches, Medium fits 9.5-10.5 inches, Large fits 10.511.5 inches and Extra Large 11.5-13 inches. Brits and other metrically inclined folks will have to come up with their own mathematical size conversions, as that is beyond the scope of this dissertation. Not only will proper gaiters protect you from the dreaded Zim grass seeds, but they will also foil other sharp objects such as stones, stickers, and thorns from entering your boots and causing discomfort and possible injury. Made from a combination of breathMarch 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 87
able 500 Denier Cordura and a wide elasticized cuff, you get a fabric which does not absorb moisture, so it sheds water rapidly and dries out quickly, and assures all-day-long comfort. Another feature of this highly textured yarn is that it creates a soft and flexible fabric that is extremely strong, yet surprisingly quiet. It is good to have clothing made of quiet fabrics, since a thorn ripping across some noisy piece of gear can send your quarry thundering away from you in a cloud of dust…or even worse, thundering towards you in murderous fury. Although quiet, the Safari Gaiters are durable using military proven, high-tenacity, nylon fabric and thread, creating the strongest possible combination and thus guaranteeing a long service life. Gaiters are a good piece of kit for every professional hunter’s wardrobe for more good reasons than keeping their boot laces tied, and PH’s have known for years what a necessity gaiters are in the African bush. Now Texas Hunt Company has taken this time proven concept to a higher level than recycled tent canvas with their Safari Gaiters. Available from their website (http://www.texashuntco.com) and select network of dealers for only $29.95 For more information contact Texas Hunt Company, 1-888-894-8682 or 432-943-2705, Fax: 432-943-5565, email@example.com , www.texashuntco. com
Book Review: The Heller Case, Gun Rights Affirmed! The Heller Case: Gun Rights Affirmed!, Alan Korwin, David B. Kopel, paperback, 440 pages. Bloomfield Press, 4848 e. Cactus #505-440, Scottsdale AZ 85254. $24.95. What does the Washington, D.C. Heller case have to do with hunting in Africa? That’s an easy one to answer—the rights of gun ownership are no longer separated by the gulf of personal protection to hunting and nations. Under the present American administration all of the blocks that had been put in place to separate sporting arms from personal defense and recreational target shooting as a safety net for sporting arms are being systematically dismantled. In the most recent move by Obama’s administration a list of firearms targeted for banning also gives Obama’s Attorney General carte blanche to ban guns at will. According to an email I received from Alan Korwin, one of the two authors of this book, “. . . under the proposal: the U.S. Attorney General can add any”semiautomatic rifle or shotgun originally 88 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE March 2009
designed for military or law enforcement use, or a firearm based on the design of such a firearm, that is not particularly suitable for sporting purposes, as determined by the Attorney General.” I cite and provide this quote because it gives readers an insight into the impending sweeping changes in America’s gun laws that will also influence the guns that many African Expedition’s American readers purchase for their hunts—and how they purchase these guns. But, exactly how the present administration and its supporters in congress intend to carry out their open agenda of banning guns is open for discussion. The one apparent setback for the antigun movement in America has been the Heller Case which revolves around the right to own a firearm in the US capitol—Washington, D.C. The Heller case is not a clear-cut case of the Second Amendment in the US Constitution’s Bill of Rights triumphing over anti-gun factions but a far more complicated examination of how the Second Amendment functions in the American Republic. Alan Korwin and David Kopel, the two authors who teamed up to write this first study of the Heller Case are themselves, noted legal scholars and they examine what the decision’s future effects will be and provide some suggestions on how to counter the anti-gun elements efforts trying to undermine the D.C. decision and the Second Amendment in general. The two authors do this by presenting not only their views on the historical decision but incorporating into the text essays on legal questions written by noted legal scholars. Each of these scholars presents important insights into the Second Amendment debate by frequently exploring the Heller decision. The authors also present opposing views of the Heller decision, something most authors from the gun lobby rarely do when reviewing landmark gun ownership legal decisions. An important aspect of The Heller Case is that is provides readers with a well grounded insight into the actual decision and why both Korwin and Kopel believe the decision was incomplete, leaving doors open at other government levels for anti-gun groups to flourish and actually begin winning their battles to ban firearms ownership. This is the problem that will ultimately affect the owners of African calibers—all guns are targeted. In one paragraph the authors write: This brings up the most frightening aspects of Heller. What the Supreme Court said will be defined in large measure not by what Heller says, but by tiny functionaries in tiny courts with small mindsets and decidedly hostile attitude toward Second Amendment
rights. When Mr. Heller or others attempt to have their rights enforced against government encroachments, even encroachments showing a blatant disregard for the clear terms, requirements and sprit of the SCOTUS [Supreme Court Of The United States] decision, they will face low-level officials with power. There is little more dangerous than little bureaucrats with a little power. (Heller Case, 96) The United States has been recognized as having the most liberal gun laws of any nation in the world and that fact has, in many ways, helped to maintain the tide of Americans hunting in Africa and other parts the world. The
accessibility Americans have enjoyed to owning firearms has, in many ways, kept some governments from imposing even great draconian gun laws on their people because of the desire to appear somewhat liberal toward firearm possession. Remove the American rights of ownership and these imitative laws will probably disappear. Sometimes the solidarity of peoples throughout the world sharing a common bond help people preserve freedoms that are under threat by their government. For this reason The Heller Case is an important read by African Expedition Magazine’s readers who are not living on the moon. GLG
T.H.E.® Airport Friendly Belt
One of the biggest hassles in the travels of a safari hunter is passing through airport security for the dubious pleasure of sitting down for an 18-hour (or more!) flight to Jo’berg. Although the Atlanta airport has plenty of parking, as well as easy access via March 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 89
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and clank when answering Nature’s call, tucking in shirts, etc. For quick and easy belt sizing and adjustment, it features a “Flip-Tab” buckle design. Available in 1.5” and 1.75” widths and three waist sizes (Regular, 24-36 inches, Large, 36-46 inches and X-Large, 46-54 inches) this nylon webbing keeps its shape under load and wont bind around the waist. Plus, its “no-holes” design allows for fully adjustable sizing — giving you the perfect fit. Retail Price: $19.95 Guaranteed for life and 100% made in the USA. For more information contact Texas Hunt Company, 1-888-8948682 or 432-943-2705, Fax: 432943-5565, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.texashuntco.com
shuttles from hotels and secured commercial parking facilities, it is that final 100 meters from the ticket counter to the ‘automated people mover’ that causes me the most stress. It’s not that I don’t understand the need for security in this time of Islamic human bombs, but it is just the extra trouble of taking off my shoes and belt that adds that extra dimension of annoyance to my preflight routine. To help deal with the security requirements, I bought a pair of slip-off loafers that I can easily toss into the X-Ray machine tray, but I always found myself having to take off and then put it back on my belt because of its metal buckle. Now, the Texas Hunt Company has solved this problem with ‘T.H.E.® Airport Friendly Belt’. The acronym, ‘T.H.E.’, stands for ‘The Hunter’s Essential’, but regular air travelers will find this belt to be an essential travel item as well, since now there is no need to remove your belt when passing through airport security. Made from the best battle-tested materials, its patented buckle is molded from a high-tensile/impact resistant polymer which passes through the X-Ray scanner without so much as a peep. The nylon web belt holds its shape well and is highly abrasion resistant, since it was specifically designed to provide stiffness for carrying heavy loads without compromising user comfort. I must note here this belt is in no way to be considered a ‘second chance’ rappelling device. It is a pants belt only, and is not designed for climbing or personal security ‘hanging/tie-in’ situations. However, T.H.E.® Airport Friendly Belt is specifically designed for hunters. Not only is it one of the most comfortable belts on the market today, it is also extremely quiet since it has no moving parts to rattle
Extreme Dimension Wildlife Calls Phantom Pro-Series Extreme Dimension Wildlife Calls, a leader in innovative digital call technology, has a product that is sure to create a dimension of extreme interest for African predator hunters. It is called the Phantom Pro-Series and it is the flagship of their digital call line. The ProSeries features individual, interchangeable Sound Modules. It is designed for the serious hunter that pursues a variety of game, and features a full-line of Sound Modules including Whitetail, Predator, Predator 2, Gobbler, Moose, Elk, Bear, Honker, DuckGoose Combo, and — you guessed it — the African Predator version! The Phantom Pro-Series/African Predator call is a very versatile unit and can be purchased as a wired unit or as a wireless remote system, complete with a remote transmitter, remote receiver module and 2 long-range antennas. You can even upgrade from the wired version to the high-tech wireless model with the Wireless Upgrade Kit. All sounds are 100% natural, digital recordings generated by a cutting edge 16-Bit sound resolution chip. Three channels of wireless capability enable you to hunt in close proximity to others on separate channels or use multiple receiver speaker set-ups with one transmitter. With a 200 meter range for the wireless system, the Phantom Pro-Series/African Predator can get REAL loud — 126 db (decibels) of loud! I strongly caution you to wield this power with a measure of care when testing in confined spaces. This is EXTREMELY loud, as 120 db (decibels) is the number commonly referred to as the “threshold of pain”. Prolonged exposure could damage your hearing and the hearing March 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 91
of those around you, and relationships could become strained to the point of former friends and associates beating the hell out of you for your indiscretion. In addition to its robust 126 db volume and generous 200 meter range, the Phantom Pro-Series/African Predator can play two different sounds simultaneously as well as overlap the same sound. When I got the lion and hyena sounds going at the same time, it sounded like there was a ‘battle royale’ over a buffalo carcass happening in my office, but that was nothing compared to the hair-raising ‘hyena with rabbit distress’ serenade. The transmitter and receiver units operate on 8 AAA batteries (included) and, after one minute at idle, it activates an auto shut-off to conserve power. However, at full volume it has a 16 hour battery life, so carrying spares would not be necessary until the third full day of hunting. The unit has indicator LED’s on the transmitter to show power function and warn of low batteries. It also has a mute button, raised rubber keypad, sealed module ports, and a detachable belt clip. Engineered to standard industrial ratings, the Phantom Pro-Series/ African Predator functions in temperatures from +48° to -40° Centigrade (+120° to -40° Fahrenheit), which should be sufficiently rugged for most folks. Here is a list of the 12 African animal sounds that the Phantom Pro-Series/African Predator delivers: • Jackal Challenge • Jackal Cry • Jackal Call 1 • Jackal Call 2 • Princess Bird • Hare Distress • Hare Distress 2 • Steinbuck Distress • Rabbit Distress • Lion • Hyena • Feline Distress All Phantom Pro-Series calls include: • The Pro-Series Digital Call • Sound Module • ABS, All Weather, 15-Watt Speaker • 60-Foot Speaker Wire (Wireless call only) • Detachable Belt Clip 92 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE March 2009
• Complete Instruction Manuals Pro-Series Wireless System also includes: ●● Remote Transmitter • Up to 200 Yard Range • 2 Long Range Antennas • Remote Receiver Module • Extra Detachable Belt Clip • Wireless Remote Upgrade Kit includes: • 3 channel transmitter - up to 200 yard, 16 functions • receiver module - 2 antennas To rehash a bit, the most innovative feature of the Pro-Series calls is the opportunity to buy just one call and then purchase additional Sound Modules for a variety of game. All of its Sound Modules boast 16-Bit sound resolution with twelve of their most effective sounds. You can purchase a complete Wireless System or the Pro-Series wired call can be upgraded to a wireless remote system by purchasing the Wireless Remote Upgrade Kit. I cannot wait to take this device over on my next African safari and use it for something I have always wanted to hunt; the poor man’s leopard and the most underrated predator on the planet — the Hyena! For more info contact Extreme Dimension Wildlife Calls, P.O. Box 220, Hampden, Maine 04444, (207) 862-2825, 1-866-862-2825, www.PhantomCalls.com
Texas Hunting Company PH Utility Belt Set There is a lot to be said in having all your safari gear organized so it is easy and quick to take off when you get back to the boma, but it is all there when you have to saddle up and go. The Texas Hunt Company has come up with a clever design they call the PH Utility Belt Set, which consists of their PH Utility Belt, Belt-Feed ammo holder, Knife/Tool Utility Pouch, and GPS/Flashlight Sheath. It is a modular system that allows you to setup your gear the way you want it. It puts your ammo, knives, tools, first aid, and communication gear all on one platform. Made for the hunter, it is quiet, comfortable, and fast. There are no moving parts to make noise, so it is quiet even during the most motionintense situations. The proprietary nylon belt material is specifically designed with ‘structural’ ribs that
provide load carrying capacity without compromising comfort. The belt takes the weight so you do not have to. Since it is always ready to go, you do not waste any time taking pouches on and off every time before and after a hunt. A perfect fit is guaranteed because the unique “no holes” design allows for fully adjustable sizing, and it is available in five waist sizes: Small, 28-32 inches, Regular, 33-37 inches, Large, 38-42 inches, X-Large 48-54 inches, and 2X-Large 49-54 inches. Every component of the set is extremely durable because it is made from the best ‘battle-tested’ materials available. The patented Battle Buckle is molded from a high-tensile/impact resistant polymer and the nylon webbing is high abrasion resistant and will not breakdown over time or mar the finish of your prized dangerous game rifle. There are two colors available: Coyote Brown, which is dark khaki, and American Walnut, which is dark brown. Here is a breakdown the individual components of each set. PH Utility Belt Set, Coyote Brown includes: • (Qty. 1) PH Utility Belt, Coyote Brown • (Qty. 1) BeltFeed, Coyote Brown • (Qty. 1) Knife/ Tool Utility Pouch, American Walnut • (Qty. 1) GPS/Flashlight Sheath, American Walnut • PH Utility Belt Set, American Walnut includes: • (Qty. 1) PH Utility Belt, American Walnut • (Qty. 1) Belt-Feed, American Walnut • (Qty. 1) Knife/ Tool Utility Pouch, American Walnut • (Qty. 1) GPS/ Flashlight Sheath, American Walnut Let us look at the most important function of the PH Utility Belt Set; carry- ing extra ammo in the Belt-Feed ammo slide. The BeltFeed is a modular, high-performance, belt-mounted ammunition storage system which allows for custom positioning of rifle ammunition on most belts. Available as a single ten round unit or as a pair of five
round holders, it comes in the five round configuration on the PH Utility Belt Set. This ‘culling belt’ setup is perfect for double rifle users who like to have solid rounds on one side and soft points on the other. This puts the ammo where you need it for the fastest possible reloading. Other design features on the Belt-Feed that help with speed reloading under adverse circumstances are the ammo loops. These are spaced to allow for super-fast handling of rounds and easy access when wearing gloves. The unique flat-loop profile fits calibers from the .223 up to the .600 Nitro Express. This versatile design allows for more ammo storage on your loadinghand’s side. Also designed to be worn on your favorite pants belt, the Belt-Feed can even be configured to be worn on one of our “T.H.E.” belts as a separate ammo belt. The Knife and Tool Utility Pouch is a dual-compartmented, secure storage for folding knives, multi-tools, flashlights, etc. It is even useful for carrying pistol magazines (2 hi-capacity or 4 single stack). Designed to fit to various belt widths, it mounts fast and secure by hook and loop closures. The Knife and Tool Utility Pouch is double-wall 1000 denier Cordura® construction with bar-tacked stress points for maximum durability. March 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 93
The GPS/Flashlight Sheath is designed to hold various shapes and sizes of the new generation of ‘white-light” type, hand held lights. Featuring a unique shine-thrubottom feature with its built in blue-green filter, it turns your white-light flashlight into an ideal low-intensity source for use in low-light situations or with night vision devices. Made of double wall 1000 denier Cordura®, the GPS/Flashlight Sheath has bar-tack reinforcements at critical stress points. It accommodates devices up to 4 1/2” tall x 2” wide x 1 3/4” deep, and its snap down belt loop allows for easy attachment to packs, vests and belts up to 2.5” wide. Retail Price: $139.95 Guaranteed for life and 100% made in the USA. For more information contact Texas Hunt Company, 1-888-8948682 or 432-943-2705, Fax: 432-943-5565, email@example.com, www.texashuntco.com
Your African hunting safari is a unique experience. Now you can document your hunt day by day and revisit those exciting times for years to come. 31 Full days of journaling space with vital information: ●● safari clothing ●● personal item checklists ●● health and first aid ●● mammal identification information with photographs, tracks, dung and SCI and Rowland Ward qualification minimums. 94 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE March 2009
Know how to administer CPR. Deal with dangerous animals up close. Identify and treat bites from snakes, spiders and scorpions. Know the right emergency numbers to dial in an emergency – it’s all there. A must-have item for every serious hunter. Sturdy PlastiCoil binding for durability and easy opening, 110 pages, 6.0 x 9.0 in. Full color covers and cream interior printed in black and white.
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African Bush Cuisine
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Springbuck Roast with dark chocolate and chilli with sautéd fresh vegetables This whacky dish takes about 12 hours to prepare but it is worth the effort!
Combine all the ingredients for the marinade to create a thick paste
1. A Springbuck or Impala leg
Leg of Springbuck
Make 3/4” long cuts into the leg, about 1/2” deep
150g cocoa powder
Coat the leg generously with the marinade, cove and leave for 12 hours in a cool place
4 tablespoons salt 2 teaspoons dried red pepper flakes 1 teaspoon ground cloves 2 tablespoons brown sugar 2 tablespoons olive oil Vegetables A bout 800g of a combination of fresh cucurbits, green- and red pepper, mushrooms and onions.
Preheat an oven to 220 gas mark 8 Place leg in a deep roasting dish in the oven and cook for 30 minutes After 30 minutes, turn heat down to 170/ gas mark 7 and cook for a further 1 hr 20 minutes Pierce meat with skewer to test, if juices are pale pink, meat is ready Remove from oven and let it rest for 10 minutes
3. Chocolate sauce
7 oz water
Ad the Shepherd’s bush and water to a pan, bring to boil and simmer for 30 minutes
4 tablespoons cocoa powder 6 tablespoons sugar 2 oz butter 8-10 sprigs of Shepherd’s Bush tree
Add cocoa powder and sugar and boil until thickened. Stir in the butter Vegetables Combine and fry in a hot pan in butter for 3 minutes
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True North Formula to Friendship Our false self demands a formula before he’ll engage; he wants a guarantee of success; and mister, you aren’t going to get one. So there comes a time in a man’s life when he’s got to break away from all that and head off into the unknown with God. This is a vital part of our journey and if we balk here, the journey ends. Before the moment of Adam’s greatest trial God provided no step-by-step plan, gave no formula for how he was to handle the whole mess. That was not abandonment; that was the way God honored Adam. You are a man; you don’t need me to hold you by the hand through this. You have what it takes. What God did offer Adam was friendship. He wasn’t left alone to face life; he walked with God in the cool of the day, and there they talked about love and marriage and creativity, what lessons he was learning and what adventures were to come. This is what God is offering to us as well. As Oswald Chambers says: There comes the baffling call of God in our lives also. The call of God can never be stated explicitly; it is implicit. The call of God is like the call of the sea, no one hears it but the one who has the nature of the sea in him. It cannot be stated definitely what the call of God is to, because his call is to be in comradeship with himself for his own purposes, and the test is to believe that God knows what he is after. (My Utmost for His Highest, emphasis added) The only way to live in this adventure—with all its danger and unpredictability and immensely high stakes—is in an ongoing, intimate relationship with God. The control we so desperately crave is an illusion. Far better to give it up in exchange for God’s offer of companionship, set aside stale formulas so that we might enter into an informal friendship. Used with permission from John Eldredge. To subscribe to John’s emails, click on www.ransomedheart.com/myprofile to create a profile. See also the Ransomed Heart Podcast at www.ransomedheart.com/podcast March 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 101
Published on Mar 24, 2009
The Ultimate Dangerous Game Rifle: Designing for the 21st Century: The Stock ▪ Long Range Shooting: Learning to shoot from Snipers ▪ African...