Page 1

Linyanti Stampede Dignity in flight

BorderLine Walk

Stage Three: Matusadona to Kariba

The .17 Remington goes to AFRICA Beyond varminting

The greatest threat to African Wildlife

Exploring ostrich behavior Part 2

Old Man Mule

Hunting the mtagati

The Fire Bow

Primitive fire

Rookie Writers

Hunting Elephant in the Mopane Forest

Make a Plan

Jump start a vehicle without cables

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Published by Safari Media Africa Editors

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Editor: Alan Bunn editorusa@africanxmag.com Associate editor: Galen Geer ggeer@africanxmag.com

Europe

Editor: Hans Jochen Wild hjwild@africanxmag.com

Africa

Editor: Mitch Mitchell editorafrica@africanxmag.com

Financial Thea Mitchell Layout & Design Xtasis Media and Digital Wind Contributors & Photographers A. Bunn, C. Cheney, D. Edgcumbe, G. Geer, L. Grizzaffi (Reloading), Dr. K. Hugo (Medical) D. Hulme, C. Mitchell, Dr. G. Swart (Medical) Advertising and Marketing South Africa: T. Mitchell adssa@africanxmag.com Phone +27 13-7125246 Fax 0866104466 USA: Alan Bunn adsusa@africanxmag.com (706) 2762608 African Expedition Magazine is an independent bimonthly publication promoting fair, sustainable hunting, a protected environment, adventure sports and sustainable practices. The African Expedition Magazine is published by Safari Media Africa

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.


contents 4 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010


8 Linyanti Stampede Dignity in flight

16 BorderLine Walk

Stage Three : Matusadona to Kariba

28 The .17 Remington goes to AFRICA Beyond varminting

46 The greatest threat

to African Wildlife

Exploring ostrich behavior Part 2

56 Old Man Mule

Hunting the mtagati

67 The Fire Bow Primitive fire

74 Rookie Writers

Hunting Elephant in the Mopane Forest

86 News, Reviews, and Press Releases 96 Book Reviews 112 Make a Plan

Jump start a vehicle without cables

117 True North Our Story


6 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010


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Linyanti Stampede

Dignity in flight

8 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010


Mitch Mitchell

T

he sun set a burnished copper over the Linyanti river as the hippos bellowed angrily 20 meters away. They made threatening displays by looking up and opening their mouths widely to show off their formidable tusks – tusks that kill more people in Africa annually than any other animal. Here in the wild Caprivi strip on the northern Botswana/Namibian border there are no camping fees to be paid and no one to pay them to. There are no camping sites, and we built our camp in a cluster of leadwood trees next to the Linyanti river. We pitched our tents and hung a makeshift shower overlooking the river towards Botswana where the giraffe and buffalo walk in herds, painted golden yellow in the African sunset. There was no sound or sight of other humans at all. JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 9


Moremi, Savuti, Chobe, Madumo, Makgadikgadi Pan, the Kalahari and Kubu Island. We are always looking for the places where the last vestiges of wild Africa remain. Places where we can listen to hyena sniffing around our camp at night, just a quarter of a millimeter of nylon between your sleeping bag and those dreadful jaws, or where the elephant dung drops outside your tent, the grey giant having approached silently and unnoticed. We were on our annual pilgrimage to the wild places of Africa. Our wives and daughters were left behind in civilization along with careers, loan repayments, mobile phones, email and fax machines. I go with my friends, all carefully chosen: proven warriors who have been through the mill of life. They have been battered by the thoughts all men get, but they have loved their wives for decades. They have borne the responsibilities of careers and families, have seen life and death and have had failures and victories over many years. These are not stupid 45-year-old teenagers who brag about their sexual conquests, about how much money they have or about how respected they are. These are men. They are the select few who share my life: they really know my victories, weaknesses and strengths – and I know theirs. They are my comrades, my brothers in arms. The trip was turning out to be more than we hoped for: the whole gang charged and cornered by an angry bull elephant; Johan was stalked by a lioness and David, his son, was bitten on the heel by a 2 meter rock python I caught. We climbed the massive leadwood tree at horseshoe Bend and sat on the SA Army machine gun platform built in it during the border war. It was 30 meters above the white sands and we watched the elephants drink far below. After Mudumu, we travelled down to Linyanti and made our camp here. Tonight, as the the leadwood flames dance and the vast silence cover us, the wise men wax philosophical. “Strange thing how a father’s words can affect his son. Even though the father may have died and his son is himself a father and grandfather, the words of the father stay. It is like a tattoo on him”. A hyena called close by and Kobus’ glasses reflected the orange flames as he looked up at the sound. “A friend of mine has a doctorate in genetics. His dad told him he is stupid when he was a boy and he still believes his dad’s words after forty years and a couple of degrees. Maybe that’s why he got those degrees in the first place – he wanted to prove his dad was wrong about him.” “We all need to change the way we thought when we were children.” Johan said. “For example, when we were young we refused to face our problems. I remember rather running away from problems than dealing with conflict. That was one of the things in my life I had to change.” 10 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010


JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 11


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The vast, unspoilt Mudumo Game Reserve in Namibia showing Horseshoe bend and the Linyanti river

12 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010


t on the

er pos The bord

Linyanti

river

ithout charged us w This elephant ered. We rn co us pt ke d provocation an ounded by poachers as w suspect he w t. at some poin

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We all nodded and someone put another log on the fire. It was right then that we heard it. It sounded like the slow building of the thunder of waves on a Mozambican beach. Whatever it was, it was in the river and it was close – really close. And big. We ran to the riverbank 50 meters away, and being the only one who remembered to grab one, I turned on my powerful flashlight. A hundred elephants were making the night crossing from Botswana to Namibia, forcefully churning the Linyanti river white with the combined mighty power of their passage. Like the roar of the sea they agitated the water – but not one elephant in the throng trumpeted or made any vocal sound at all. The whites of their eyes shone in the dark and their wrinkled grey skins were black and slick with the waters of the Linyanti. And they were very close - too close. Two meters below us and out on the little bay to our left was a sea of elephants: some already on the near side helping their young onto the bank, some still swimming, their trunks like periscopes as they sucked in the cool night air. In the eerie absence of their trumpeting the deafening roar of the water was all the more unnerving. Right then I switched off my flashlight and the night immediately closed on us like a black glove. I screamed at the top of my voice: “O sh*t, here they come!” To my great astonishment my silly little joke was completely lost on my dignified friends. The sight of the teeming horde of elephants was too much for them. Very clearly they remembered being viciously attacked by a huge rogue elephant only a day or two ago. Within a fraction of a second, these middle-aged veterans had spun around and were running at top speed, their fearful feet pounding the hard earth like a stampeding buffalo herd. It was every man for himself. Kobus, a medical doctor and former athlete, tore the earth at breathtaking speed. He ran leaning slightly back, his feet leading with their own terrified life, his shoulders pulled up high and his arms pumping vigorously. He never looked back to see if his son was going to survive.

He was easily overtaken by the more sedentary Johan who ran closer to the ground and vaulted the wait-a-bit thorn bushes with consummate ease and startling speed. Gerhard, the youngest fittest and fastest of them all, was left choking on their dust, stumbling over fallen branches but doggedly aiming for the firelight. They left behind their beloved sons who instantly realized that if their dads were afraid there had to be serious trouble. They were not far behind, shouting and ploughing through the bush and the thorns. They were utterly amazed by the superb athletic prowess of their aged fathers. Although this takes a long time to write, it took only seconds for it all to happen. Oom Koos and I were still standing on the riverbank as we saw that Johan found his own million-candlelight flashlight and was frantically inspecting the dense bush for charging pachyderms. Just then Kobus reached the safety of the camp, jumped into his pickup and locked the door. Seconds later, his son also reached the vehicle and started pounding on the door to be let in. We heard later that Kobus studied his fingernails and did not look up. And still the elephants came as Oom Koos and I stood without speaking, the roar of the Linyanti filling our ears. Then, tentatively, like shocked survivors of a bomb blast, we slowly made our way back to the campfire. The youngsters sat and stared gloomily into the fire. Johan was pointing his powerful flashlight up into the sky. Kobus sat on a log and stared at the ground. Gerhard looked like he had seen a ghost. No one said a word as the Linyanti continued to roar. Oom Koos quietly opened a fresh beer and looked at Johan. “You never run away from your problems?” For a second there was a stunned silence, and then we all burst out laughing, that deep-from-the-belly laugh that only good friends can share. Mitch Mitchell is a hunter, outdoorsman and the author of several books on African wildlife and survival. JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 15


BorderLine Walk

16 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010


Stage Three:

Matusadona to Kariba

David Hulme

W

e ended up spending a week at Tashinga before setting off for the Changachirere Parks post, which is the northern part of Matusadona, close to Spurwing Island. The walk took us two days and was a fantastic experience, although both of our minds spent much of the time elsewhere. We saw a great deal of game along the way – elephant and buffalo in the main, but some plains game too. Although we saw no lions or black rhino, we came across much fresh spoor of both species, especially that of lion. At the end of our first day out from Tashinga, we camped on a low rise overlooking a scenic little bay about twelve kilometers shy of Changachirere. That night, lions sounded all around, for hours on end, not too far off. We got a huge fire going and lay prone in our tent, unable to sleep, for reasons unvoiced. We felt very small that night in that immense country. Eyes wide open. JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 17


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only an hour to reach the post the following morning, and we spent the rest of the day with rangers Golden Chitate and Thanks Chimbeya, whilst we consolidated for the challenge posed by the Sanyati Gorge and the rugged country surrounding it. Both Jephita and I were well pleased to be on the road again, and the fine company of Golden and Thanks served only to enhance our feelings of wellbeing. Who could fail to boost others with names like that eh? It is only five kilometers from the Sanyati west Parks post to Sanyati Gorge itself, but the easiest route is still tough and it took us over two hours to get there. And then we waited, at a Parks observation point on a small bay just before the gorge, all the while looking out over the water for a passing boat. We didn’t see a vessel the entire morning, but as midday approached, so did a speedboat, coming from the direction we had. As the boat came into view, Jephita and ? r more I waved frantically ack fo b o g I and hollered loudly, Should and it immediately changed course, coming towards us. The occupants of the boat were good ol’ Zimbos – Pete and Liz Howson and Ron and Nancy Roper – and they were more than happy to give us a lift across the gorge. The name of the boat was ‘Chabweno’ which means ‘thanks’ in Chinyanja, and I thought how apt that name was. It was indeed a time to give thanks, for so many things. Not only did the Howsons and Ropers lift us across Sanyati Gorge, they also gave us a great tour of that marvelous spectacle and plied us with cokes, fruit, etc. Sanyati Gorge is simply awesome – no other word will describe it as well. Pete Howson motored us a distance down the gorge to a most appealing spot hidden behind a bluff, and there he cut the motor and we bobbed about silently for a while, appreciating the splendor of the place. Pete explained that there was usually a waterfall cascading down the rocks at that point, but that it had dried up, being so late in the season. Waterfall or no waterfall, it is a stunning place. As we were heading back towards the Sanyati

mouth, we saw a small herd of elephants on the bank and Pete eased us in closer for a better view. Eventually, we were mere yards from the elephants which carried on feeding unperturbed. I was amazed by the size of those elephants – they were tiny, like dwarf elephants. It must have something to do with the vegetation in that area. After a most enjoyable lunch hour, we were dropped on the Gache Gache side of the Sanyati and bade our kind transporters farewell. It was most difficult to turn down Liz Howson’s offer of lunch at Spurwing Island, but we were really behind time and had a lot of catching up to do. Gache Gache was barren – not a sign of greenery except for right on the shoreline. We covered about ten kilometers that afternoon and arrived at the Gache Gache fishing village that evening, seeing a herd of about two hundred buffalo and a few impala along the way. The only game we saw was on the shoreline – hardly surprising as there can’t be anything to eat elsewhere. At Gache Gache village, we were hosted in the quality manner we have become accustomed to by the sabhuku (headman), Mr Kapururira Limukani, and his children. Mr Limukani is a bachelor, his wife having sadly succumbed to cancer a couple of years ago, and he spoke of her for some time. It was not a depressing monologue, he was honoring the memory of his best friend, smiling and laughing often as he remembered the past. Mr Limukani scoffed and brushed aside my suggestion that maybe he should consider remarrying, saying he was far too old for that. Then he went back to reminiscing. We arrived at Rod Ferreira’s Gache Gache hunting camp on the Gache Gache River at noon the following day, after a straightforward hike through mopani woodland close to the shoreline. Needless to say, the red carpet was rolled out. For some reason, we Borderline walkers never fail to be treated well by JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 19


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Undoubtedly the most memorable moment of the walk from Tashinga to Changachirere was when we were charged by a honey-badger early the following morning. Fortunately it was a mock charge, but I didn’t realize this and after snapping off a couple of pictures, I turned tail and fled. Those who know the reputation of these fearsome little creatures would not blame me, I’m sure. Jephita had a good laugh at my flight and took up the honeybadger’s challenge bravely, emitting the same intimidating ggggggggggg sound as that of our attacker. Surprisingly, the honey badger backed down and went scampering off with tail aloft, back to his girlfriend who had not been interested in fighting. Maybe she didn’t approve and maybe he knew it, or else he was the most cowardly honey badger I have ever come across.

about intense metatarsal pain. We were supposed to break for a week or ten days, but due to further misfortune (Jephita got malaria and I got bitten by a spider), it would be almost a month before we got going again. This was a most frustrating time as we were so close to reaching a major milestone – Kariba town. Only about one hundred and thirty kilometers around the eastern basin separates Changachirere from Kariba, and we knew we could do it in a week, depending on how long it took us to find a ride across Sanyati Gorge, that is. We were finally back on track on October 20th, hitching a ride on a houseboat from Kariba to Changachirere with referees from the Kariba international tiger-fishing tournament, which was due to get under way the following day. When we arrived at Changachirere, we were met by a stand in ranger who informed us that Timothy was in Kariba attending court proceedings. He and other rangers had been involved in a firefight with armed Zambian poachers the previous week, one of the poachers had been shot and grievously wounded, and the rest had surrendered.

We arrived at Changachirere later in the day and were welcomed by the resident ranger, Timothy Tembo. After cooling off in the shade, abetted to a large extent by reviving cold water, Timothy paddled us over a short stretch of water to Spurwing Island, where we were treated to a slap-up feed and treated like royalty by the Spurwing lodge staff. It was at Changachirere/Spurwing that I made the decision to put the Borderline Walk on hold for a while. The Umi boat disaster had set in motion a series of more minor misfortunes and both Jephita and I needed to get home to deal with various issues. Jephita had received a message that his cattle were dying from a mysterious disease, and I needed to sort out some financial affairs and see someone

ed boat gachirere.

The poachers’ impoundand motor were at Chan-

The borderline walk was underway again on October 22nd, and we tackled the eastern basin with enthusiasm, covering over thirty kilometers and almost reaching Sanyati west Parks post that day. It took us JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 21


those we meet. It must have something to do with the country we live in, with the first-rate folk who populate it. I had a chat with Rod about the way forward after lunch, once his clients had retired for a midday siesta. Rod’s The dam wall advice was to break from the shoreline and cut inland to the Nyaodza River Bridge, about thirty kilometers off. This, he said, would ensure we did not pass through the Wafa Wafa military training camp which is situated on the lakeshore, around the Nyaodza mouth. The advice was sound and I took it. Rod then invited us to pitch tent at his camp that night, and tackle the haul to the Nyaodza the following morning, and I accepted gratefully.

By that stage, both Jephita and I were suffering from pounding headaches and it was a huge relief to fill our bellies from a hole in the sand and flop down beneath a shady tree.

gt

ildin That afternoon, I borrowed e bu l i h w a fishing rod and ied ho d w e s went down to the Tho river to try my luck. I caught six tiger fish but they were all small. As the sun set, just as I was about to give up, I hooked and landed a fish which must have weighed three or four pounds. Not a monster, but a great deal of fun.

The next day was the hottest we have experienced on the walk so far (40C+), and we covered what must have been close to a record daily haul on it, certainly in excess of thirty kilometers. Away from the shoreline, there is no water between the Gache Gache and the Nyaodza, and we set out that morning with eight liters, double what we usually carry. As it was, it was barely enough and we were down to our final few hot mouthfuls by the time we arrived on the Nyaodza at 1 p.m. 22 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010

am he d

wall

After lunch, Jephita fell asleep, and I went down to the riverbed to fill our water bottles and pour water over myself. As I was crouched to task, I heard a vehicle approaching, in low gear, up the riverbed, from the direction of Kariba. The driver of the vehicle turned out to be none other than my friend PH Ray Townsend, who was out and about hunting with his clients. I accepted the oranges, apples, cold water and advice as I always do – with a great deal of heartfelt thanks.

We camped that night at what we would later call Nyuchi (bee) camp, in the hills about five kilometers beyond the Nyaodza, closing in fast on Kariba town. As dawn broke the next morning, we began packing up camp, and shortly afterwards were attacked by a swarm of thirsty bees, intent on robbing us of the little water we had remaining. We beat a hasty departure, but not before receiving a number of painful stings. By 8 a.m. we were at the Charara banana estate, and by 10 a.m. were reclining on the lawn under a shady tree at the Charara fishing campsite, ice-cold cokes in hand. At 3 p.m. we set off for Kariba, cutting through the bush to the power-lines and following them into town. We finally made our legitimate entrance into Kariba town


at sunset on October 27th. It is now November 2nd and we will be heading out from Kariba early tomorrow morning, to tackle the lower valley – Kariba to Kanyemba, the third stage, if you will. We are most excited about this forthcoming stage. Although the distance to be covered fits into what we have already done almost three times, there is no doubt that Kariba to Kanyemba is going to be stimulating. Besides the obvious (Umi che disaster and forced Child at Gach ga delays), the Borderline Walk has already been so much more than I ever could have imagined. Although we have only completed 15% of the total distance, have suffered huge setbacks and are way behind time, the positives far outweigh the negatives. Unfortunately, it is impossible to tell all in the short articles I write, and if not quite the tip of the iceberg, then what you are reading is certainly condensed significantly. One day the whole story will be written, that I promise. We have ended up spending some time in Kariba town, both during the time we pulled out for a break and right now, whilst we prepare for the lower valley. Kariba is a most interesting town and we have been fortunate enough to have been given a series of tours by various locals. I have also been fortunate enough to meet a man I have admired from afar for many years – Mr Dolph Sasseen. Dolph worked for National Parks for many years and is an incomparable bush man, specializing in anti-poaching. He is currently contracted to National Parks and is training Zambezi Valley rangers in the art of bushcraft. A couple of days ago, I met a most interesting and adventurous man named Andries Scholtz. Andries

is a Kariba stalwart involved in….Well, everything under the sun, it seems. And there is plenty of that in Kariba – sun, that is. Bush camps for children, survival courses, conservation, scuba-diving, sailing, hotel and boat construction….there is no end to Andries Scholtz. Unfortunately, I met Andries too late and do not have enough time to take him up on his offers of accompanying him on various adventurous excursions. But I have promised to take another break from the walk at some stage, and join him for a few days scuba diving and yachting. Life is fairly cheap here on the dam. From Mlibizi to Kariba we have heard over a dozen reports of people who have been killed within a day or two of our arrival at a particular place, by crocodiles, hippos, elephants or drowning. Only two days ago, a man was taken by a croc close to the Lake Harvest depot here in town, and a few days before that a man was trampled by an elephant within the town limits. The residents of Gache Gache are all up in arms (understandably) about the hippos, which have killed eight fishermen in a year, or so we were told. What I find astounding, insofar as the crocodile related deaths are concerned, is that people keep going back for more. Time and again the crocodile strikes, at the same place it struck before, and at the same place it JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 23


Help us stop those poaching bastards. Donate quickly and securely with PayPal

The BorderLine Walk is in support of antipoaching efforts for Black Rhino in the Savè Valley. Initiated by Hunters for Zimbabwe, the walk will be 3066 kilometers long: 813 kilometers along the Botswana border, 797 km. along Zambia, 225 km. along South Africa, and finally 1231 km. along the Mozambique border. The BorderLine Walk will be widely covered by the media and progress will be published on the African Expedition Magazine and tracked on Google Earth.

The BorderLine walk will support anti-poaching efforts to prevent this from happening again: a young black rhino caught in a poacher’s snare. This baby died a few days after this photograph was taken. 24 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010


will strike in a couple weeks time. Change your washing location people! Somewhere between Binga and Kariba, at a site that may or may not be publicly disclosed, Jephita and I discovered what we are sure to be dinosaur bone fossils. Certainly they are bone fossils and I cannot think of any creature other than a dinosaur that has been around long enough to be fossilized. Yes, they are still around and Kariba dam is full of them – scaly, ugly and dangerous. In any case, we believe we have found a dinosaur fossil site, just to give you all something to ponder. Those who should be told have been. I hope to be able to post another report from Kanyemba but am not sure if it will be possible. You will, however, read about the Kariba/ Kanyemba stage as soon as I am able to type it and track down someone with broadband.

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David Hulme is a Zimbabwean writer and professional wanderer who spends most of his time searching for new stories and country, never staying too long in any one place.’

FOLLOW THEIR PROGRESS ON GOOGLE EARTH

JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 25


Support Hunters for Zimbabwe by buying David Hulme’s great new book, Shangaan Song. Proceeds from the sale of this book will be used to support the BorderLine Walk – a foot journey of approximately three thousand kilometers along Zimbabwe’s border. The BorderLine Walk is an initiative aimed at raising awareness for Hunters for Zimbabwe, an organization whose primary objective is the advancement of Zimbabwean people and wildlife.

Help us stop those poaching bastards. Donate quickly and securely with PayPal

Jimmy Anne Jimmyand on the dayWhittall I found him

26 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010


JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 27


The .17 Remington goes to

AFRICA

Beyond varminting

28 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010


Leo Grizzaffi

T

he recent introduction of new .17 caliber cartridges has brought with it a rebirth of interest in this often misunderstood, and often ‘misabused’, caliber. During the last few years we have seen a .17Mk2 and a 17HRM rimfire, and in the centerfire family the .17 Firefox and the long suffering and barely surviving .17 Remington. The real question is, why are the .17 calibers still with us? The .17Mk2 rimfire must compete against the .22 long rifle rimfire, which with over 100 years of development, and discount store specials, that make that caliber the favorite of both younger and older shooters. In contrast, the .17HRM is expensive to shoot compared to its .22 caliber sibling, but try to find a used Savage with the AccuTrigger in this caliber and you will soon realize how popular this combo is with ground squirrel shooters. The new .17 Firefox is still a bit young and has yet to solidify its place in the market place, while the .17 Remington has been with us for over 40 years now, but has never set the shooting world on fire. Be that as it may, the .17 Remington is still the hottest factory cartridge available, whistling a 25-grain bullet across hyperspace at the impressive velocity of over 4000 feet per second. Those of you who still remember when men danced with women, and cars used tanks full of 25 cent per gallon gasoline, may have pleasant moments of déjà vu with images popping into ones’ mind of the works of P.O. Ackley from the mid 1940’s and 50’s. JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 29


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This grand old man took almost every cartridge case available and shaped it to hold a .17-caliber bullet. He adopted the .17 caliber projectile to the .22 Hornet case, the .218 Bee case, the .30 Carbine case, the .222 Remington case and even the .250/3000 case. Being as creative as he was, he probably designed dozens more that he was too cautious to list in his loading manuals for fear of ridicule. One thing is evident; Ackley was a strong believer in the merits of the .17 caliber. His tales of lightning kills on four-footed game still give shooters endless evenings of material for discussion and argument. First, let me state that I am a firm advocate of big bore calibers for hunting in Africa. Trophy animals are far too rare and, considering the current economic conditions in the world, too expensive to risk failure solely on the matter of inadequate bullets or brute horsepower in your caliber of choice. On my first trip to Africa, I shot everything from gemsbok to duiker with a .338 Winchester and 250-grain bullets. Of course this did the job superbly and I was bitten by Africa as the epitome of hunting challenges. Since those earlier days, I have had the luxury of making several return trips and have been fortunate enough to take several superb trophies. This experience, combined with the maturing of having too many years pass before me, has made me realize that I enjoy the challenge and opportunity of using and testing a variety of different calibers as my lighter back-up gun rather then just using the big guns. Don’t get me wrong; I still bring over my .470 Searcy Double, with an extra set of .375 H&H Flanged barrels, in the hopes of having the opportunity of using it on something really large and dangerous. However, my choices in a second general purpose gun have changed from year to year. I have harvested African game with a .300 H&H, a .270 Winchester, a .257 Roberts, a .243 Winchester, a .223, and several other light-to-mid calibers. They have all been a joy to shoot and have proven themselves adequate, if I did my part and did not try to push them beyond their performance envelop. This last year, I got an invitation from Johan Botes of Ubathi Game and Hunt in Kimberly, South Africa to join them in a week of game culling. For those of you who are not familiar with the broader spectrum of hunting in Africa, most of the hunting in South Africa is done on ranches solely devoted to raising game animals. For every trophy book animal harvested, there are hundreds of non-trophy animals that are harvested to provide the markets of Europe with

African game meat. This puts bread and butter on the table for the majority of these ranches but it is the trophy animals that put their children through college. The laws are very strict on how these animals are to be harvested. Health regulations insure that these animals are dispatched humanly and the meat processed in a rapid and sanitary manner. Most of the harvesting is done by a select group of professional shooters, who may harvest thousands of head of game a year. Even though the average hunter may question the choice, the primary calibers are the .223 or the .22-250. The cardinal rule is that no animal must be allowed to suffer and that all shots must be fatal and instantaneous. This treatment of the animals is often much better than that given to some of the meat products you see every day in your food market. I had the privilege to be invited on several of these shoots in the past few years, and have always regarded it as a complement to my shooting to be asked to join one of these groups of professional harvesters. Your shooting skills are really under the eye of these shooters and if you cannot perform you won’t be asked back again. Last year I acquired from CZ USA one of their varmint weight Model 527 rifles in .17 Remington caliber. This rifle is made in the Czech Republic and is a mini-98 Mauser action featuring a true long claw extractor, an exceptional single set trigger and features a superbly done hammer forged barrel. The CZ/Bruno brand is well known in Africa, but due to the many years of US separation from the Eastern Bloc nations, has not been really appreciated in the United States. Since acquiring this gun, I have taken this little gem on numerous ground squirrel shoots and found that while using either Hornady or Berger bullets, the odds are on my side for any squirrel out to about 325 yards. Ground squirrels are pretty small creatures here in California, and just seeing them requires a good set of optics. This is equally important both in the area of spotting scope and binoculars along with a good optical package rigidly mounted on the gun. Even the most accurate rifle and cartridge combination is useless on these small targets if your scope is unable to do the job. My favorite setup on this little Bruno is a Leupold 3.4x12x40 with the objective lens adjustable for parallax. This particular scope features the fine duplex cross hair system and can easily pick up the image of a ground squirrel lifting its head out of its entrance JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 31


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hole at three to four hundred yards. Hornady manufactures 25-grain open point bullets that are a favorite with this gun. Berger Bullets also make a 25grain open point that also loves this barrel, along with a 30-grain moly coated version which beautifully falls into play when the wind starts to bend the grass. With the invitation in my hands, and a full varmint season using the .17 Remington behind me, there was no question in my mind which gun would be my companion as a second gun for the African season. October is not the most popular month of the year for hunting in South Africa. Often it is the doorway between the cool, dry season and the wet, warm period. This last trip, I was fortunate enough to have the pleasure to spend almost an entire month hunting and seeing the sights of South Africa. Of course Murphy’s Law stepped in, and with my luck the ‘weather spirits’ decided to take back all the good features that had highlighted the earlier hunting season. They had their fun, and let the cold, wet winds from the Antarctic play their way across South Africa. It started to look gloomy the day I arrived in Kimberly, and five days later as we headed southeast, it started to rain. After a day of driving and meeting up with the other shooters, we arrived at the game ranch. This was one of those old family farms that are measured in tens of thousands of acres, or hectares as they are measured in Africa. The farm building had been built in 1902 and had been a British outpost during the Boer Wars. Rain turned to icy rain and then to sleet. Culling is usually done at night with the aid of powerful spotlights. African nights are as black as the inside of a coal mine. The cloud cover blocked out even the luxury of starlight. All harvesting is a team effort. The area as so big that several shooting teams will be working at the same time. A shooting team is made up of the driver of the ‘bakkie’, as it is called, along with two shooters in the open bed of the vehicle and a spotter using a mega-power spotlight. This shoot required the harvesting of several hundred Springbuck during the next four nights. The weather would calm down during the daylight hours, but returned with a vengeance just as we would load onto the trucks for another night’s go at it. The spotter would work the area over with the light as the truck tried to shake itself and us apart while rocking over the open landscape. I now know why the Africans pronounce their word for a truck (bakkie) as ‘bucky’. Four nights later the harvest was over and the meat

was in refrigerated containers and on its way to Europe. I am proud to report that the little .17 Remington placed me as the number two shooter of the group, with all head shots surgically placed, and no second shots required; in fact, on a couple of occasions I had to back-up the shots of one of the other shooters who, out of fatigue or poor shooting angle, failed to make a clean one-shot kill. After a cold night of shooting, it was a real treat every morning to crawl into bed for a mid-day sleep and a chance to thaw out. The remainder of the month gave me the opportunity to try the .17 Remington on a broad spectrum of African game. One day was spent shooting springhares (Pedetes capensis) while walking the open fields of another ranch. The fields had been recently harvested and the grass was just short enough to give us some fast action shooting of these interesting critters. This animal is a cross between an Arizona jackrabbit and an Australian kangaroo. Next, there came the chance for a day of working the rocky kopjes (pronounced ‘koppies’) that dot so much of the African terrain for rock rabbits (Hyrax capensis). This was so much like being at home shooting prairie dogs in the rockslides, that I felt I had never left home. Spotting these little critters in the rocks is a real challenge, and the ranchers love it when you take the time to clear some of them out. Actually, the owner of the ranch on which we were hunting enjoyed the day of shooting rock rabbits so much, that he insisted I come back the following year and bring my .17 Remington with me. Also, the fact I was able to clear out a family of monkeys that were tearing up his fields of corn was appreciated. This family group would sit out at 300 yards or more and run over for a stalk of corn, pushing the fact that they were safely out of range for most shooting. They had never had to face a .17-caliber bullet before. The boys at Hornady gave them a sense of inadequacy real fast. Before leaving South Africa, I also had a chance to use the .17 Remington on a blue wildebeest bull. I have shot several of these beautiful animals in the past with a variety of larger calibers where I learned that these are not easy animals to put down. Before trying the .17 Remington on an animal of this size, I insured that I had a back-up shooter ready in case I made a poor shot or the caliber was inadequate to get the job done. One shot in the back of the eye from the side of the head and the animal dropped like a ton of bricks. I do not recommend the .17 Remington for the normal taking of an animal this large, JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 33


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but Ackley must have figured that if you put the bullet in the right place the job will be done. By the time I left South Africa, I had enjoyed the opportunity of harvesting over 22 head of different smaller game animals. This was above the harvest count of the culling shoot. Never once did I need more than one hit to bring the animal down. However, I have to admit that there were a few clean unexplainable misses on rock rabbits. They can sometimes be as frustrating to hit as a California ground squirrel while hopping from rock to rock. They also share the same quality of looking exactly like pieces of the landscape. When you decide that what you are looking at is just another rock, is exactly when they decide to run away. The only drawback of the entire trip was that I never got to use my double rifle, but the local shooters had a great time shooting up all my double rifle ammo. Current travel restrictions sometimes limit the number of guns you can take with you on a modern African safari. If you have already taken most of the plains game and want to bring something extra along for pure fun, try a couple of days with your favorite varmint rifle at the corn fields of your nearby village. This will usually endear you to the local farmers and can also make your professional hunter into a real community hero.

Leo Grizzaffi is a lifelong hunter and veteran of many African safaris. Author and reloading expert, his specialty is the care and feeding of big bore double rifles, however he also dabbles with the little calibers. Leo resides in California, where being a lawyer and judge in the City of Los Angeles sometimes interferes with his busy hunting and reloading schedule. JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 35


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Hardwear for the bush

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The greatest threat to

African Wildlife

Exploring ostrich behavior Part 2 46 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010


Cleve Cheney

C

onservationists during the colonial era established game reserves and national parks from which rural people were evicted and the natural resources locked away behind game fences. Rural people were not allowed access to these resources any longer but towards the end of the colonial era, although there was smoldering resentment at having been evicted from their original lands, most rural black people were still reasonably content with their living conditions. Families (averaging 8 people) had enough land on which to grow subsistence crops and communal grazing lands on which to feed their domestic cattle and goats. However with the growth of Africa’s population, rural communities were by the year 2000, under severe strain to survive on their land and they looked across the game fences and resentment grew against the wildlife authorities who refused them access to what they perceived to be “their” natural resources. With increasing unemployment, poverty and hunger it should come as no surprise that Africa is witnessing a dramatic rise in subsistence poaching that has been termed the “bush meat trade”. Conflicts between wildlife protection agencies and impoverished and hungry communities bordering on protected wildlife areas are also steeply on the rise and will continue to do so as people become more desperate to “illegally” use natural resources for their survival. Africa’s population, poverty and poaching It was announced in September 2009 by an international food aid agency that the number of hungry, malnourished and starving people had for the first time in mans history topped the one billion mark! It was also stated that a child dies somewhere in the world from hunger related causes every 6 seconds – this equates to 600 an hour or 14 400 every 24 hours.

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It was announced in the same month that the world population had reached seven billion and was still growing – especially in undeveloped or developing nations! By the year 2000 rural populations in Africa had increased five fold and were doubling every 20 years. The same small piece of land that could support 8 people in the 1950’s was now unable to support 40 people in the year 2000. With current trends being perpetuated there will be no less than 80 people trying to wrest a living from the same piece of land by the year 2020 and 160 by 2040. Global warming, it is predicted, will also have a significant affect on land productivity in Africa in the foreseeable future and the problems of hunger and disease are set to increase and be made worse by drought, localized flooding and other global climatic anomalies.

It must never be forgotten that in Africa majority rules – and the majority are poor and hungry! To allow people with limited vision and / or animal rights groups to advocate policies of non-utilization is to invite disaster of unprecedented magnitude. It is these people, animal right’s activists and ironically, many conservationists in wildlife agencies who persist with a with a “lock – away” attitude, that are the greatest threat to Africa’s wildlife. The greatest threat Animal rights groups pose the biggest threat to not only Africa’s wildlife but also to the rest of the world’s biodiversity. On the surface their agenda might sound laudable – even noble – to protect animals from abuse and cruelty. However they don’t stop there they advocate NO USE of ANY animal products – domestic or wild! They oppose:

A large proportion of hungry and pov●●Annual culling of safe animal populaThe same small piece of erty stricken peoples are situated on tions the continent of Africa. The huge bush land that could support ●●Recreational, subsistence and trophy 8 people in the 1950’s meat poaching pandemic across hunting was now unable to supthe continent is poverty, hunger and port 40 people in the ●●The practice of capture / translocation population driven. To refuse people year 2000 / sale of wild animals for commercial access to or utilization of Africa’s wild purposes animal and plant resources will result in conflict on an unprecedented scale. Paramilitary ●● The sustainable harvest of abundant wild type ranger forces will never be able to stem the tide. animal species The only hope for Africa’s wildlife is to use it for the benefit of the masses in a sustainable way so that it can in some way provide relief from poverty and hunger. Locking up resources Locking away and denying access to natural resources or limiting the options in which they may be sustainably utilized is no answer to the problem and in fact is a sure way of exacerbating the unchecked and illegal utilization currently underway. Many conservation authorities in countries in Africa, of which a number are to be found in South Africa, will have to undergo a colonial era mindset change, if wildlife is to survive. We cannot afford to not utilize wildlife products and ecotourism in and of itself is not the answer. It might provide jobs and poverty alleviation for a small number of the disenfranchised populace but if the majority does not benefit directly in some meaningful way – like food on the table or money in the pocket – wildlife conservation and preservation efforts on this continent are doomed to failure.

●● Recreational fishing ●● Commercial fishing ●● Trapping (to control problem animals) ●● Trapping (for food or fur) ●● Domestic stock farming Animal right activists insist that humans should obtain all their nutritional requirements from plants alone and that man should refrain from eating any kind of animal protein. How are you going to sell this philosophy to anyone who is jobless, poor and starving who looks across a game fence and sees thousands of wild animals not being utilized? A question often comes to mind: If all the animal rights activists got to together in one place would they be prepared to commit mass suicide in the interests of relieving the pressure on “mother earth’s” natural resources? I very much doubt it. I believe the instinctive drive of self preservation runs as strongly in their veins as in that of a starving rural peasant! This question leads to another: Do animal rights JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 49


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and other radical environmental activists see human population as the primary cause of environmental problems and surreptitiously approve of mass die offs of people due to war, disease or hunger? Hmmmm I wonder? As has already been mentioned, the naivety of the animal rights proponents is exposed by their promoting a vegan diet. They seem to be ignorant of the fact that vegetables have to be farmed and these farms were once wildlife habitat and that they preserve less biodiversity than either domestic stock or game ranches.

hides, hunting trophies, ivory and horns, and meat. Negative publicity: These groups portray hunters and conservationists who use the standard tools of wildlife management (culling, capture, harvesting, and hunting of wild animals) as “butchers” and so break down the image of hunters and wildlife professionals. They use the media – press, radio, television and wildlife publications to denigrate hunters and wildlife managers. In a recent South African environmental magazine which runs regular anti-hunting articles the writer made the following statements:

“Within Botswana’s ecotourism industry, word is in Now you might laugh at the stupidity and short sight- the air that the trophy hunting sector is about to unedness of animal rights groups but you dergo a major review. Talk varies from a will be unpleasantly surprised to discover total ban on trophy hunting to the industry that many African conservation agencies being marginalized….. and quotas being If all the animal are dictated to by these organizations. cut. rights activists

got to together in These are powerful lobby groups and Earlier this year, one of the countries they can exert considerable pressure on (South Africa) largest corporate instituone place would governments and conservation bodtions cancelled an organized hunting trip they be prepared ies to do their bidding. A good example for its clients because of complaints reto commit mass is where the National Parks Board of ceived from other clients and anti-hunting suicide in the inSouthern Africa was stopped with the groups. terests of relieving elephant culling in the Kruger National Why should we not be entitled to ask the the pressure on Park in 1994 by an animal rights activquestion: how appropriate is it that we kill “mother earth’s” ist. Wildlife scientists know that if ellarge numbers of wild animals for fun? natural resources? (Africa Geographic August 2009 p.26) ephant numbers are not reduced it will lead to loss of biodiversity and yet they “It is my suspicion that trophy hunting do nothing to reduce the numbers. They will….be exposed as having been more of dilly-dally with alternatives they know are a conservation con that an effective wildlife manageimpractical and so cow to the whims of the animal ment tool. rights pressure groups. I advocate that the Rowland Ward’s Records of Big These organizations have exerted their influence on Game and the Safari Club International Record Book international conservation bodies such as the IUCN, be discontinued” (Africa Geographic September CITES and WWF. 2009 p.28) Animal rights activist groups are holding many coun“Buying” senior conservation or government oftries in Africa and elsewhere to ransom. This is usuficials: They use various means of coercion / bribery ally done through a number of mechanisms. / corruption to force senior conservation officials, Donor funding: These organizations donate money government officials or influential academics to to conservation agencies (governmental, private implement “non-utilization” strategies. and NGO’s) but stipulate that the funding is linked to They exploit emotionalism as a tool: Sensation certain conditions. These conditions usually specify and emotionalism are exploited to the extent that that there may be no culling, hunting, sustained harreason and logic are relegated to issues of non-imvest or live sale of game. Donor funding comes at a price and virtually strips the wildlife manager of all his portance. They will show heart rending photographs of young elephant that have been culled but will tools available for managing wildlife populations or for generating income (other than “ecotourism”) from never show photographs of denuded and degraded habitat which has resulted in loss of biodiversity. wild animal resources. Boycotting wildlife products: Animal rights groups actively boycott and encourage the boycotting on the use of any product of animal origin such as fur and

Animal right’s groups are very radical and go to extremes to further their causes. Two groups are even listed in the USA as domestic terrorist organizations. JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 51


These are the militant Animal Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation Front. Some members of these groups are on the most-wanted list of criminals in the United States.

●● Divide hunters. ●● Teach children to hate hunting. ●● Oppose sport and commercial fishing etc.

Clearly these organizations are illogical, far removed On the 20th December 2005, the Washington Post from and out of touch with reality - and simply statissued a press release that the FBI were making tered, dangerous to both society at large and the future ror inquiries into the activities of another well known of wildlife in particular. They have programs in place animal rights movement – PETA (People that, if successful, will stop all pro-acfor the Ethical Treatment of Animals). In tive wildlife management that will lead Do animal rights and May 2005 the FBI’s assistant director for to the demise of national parks and other radical environcounter terrorism reported that “environthe private wildlife initiative as well. mental and animal rights militants posed mental activists see the biggest terrorist threats in the United Most (if not all) people belonging to human population as States…” A June 2002 FBI communiqué these groups are financially comthe primary cause of cites a source offering information on fortable (by African or other poverty environmental probGreenpeace regarding “activists who standards), have houses to live in, lems - surreptitiously show a clear predisposition to violate the secure jobs and never go to bed hunapprove of mass murlaw”. gry. This “movement” started in the der, war and deaths USA and spread to affluent European During the Animal Right’s 2001 Conferfrom disease or hunand Scandinavian countries. Many ence comments made in open session ger? branches or affiliates exist all over advocated the use of some of the followthe world. Some of the animal rights ing tactics: organizations are the following: ●● Intimidation of wives and children ●● PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of ●● Bomb threats Animals) ●● Harassment of individuals ●● ALF (Animal Liberation Front) ●● Break-ins and destruction of property

●● Propagandizing and energizing the young especially radicals in their teens who will take risks ●● Use “comely” people (i.e. good looking, celebrities, influential) as spokespersons and always appear rational and reasonable ●● Destroy key businesses, business leaders and other opponents ●● Break up traditions ●● Disrupt lawmaking ●● No one owns a pet ●● Always keep an eye out for floating radicals who can help ●● Lying, cheating and “anything else” is justified. ●● Confront anyone wearing fur and intimidate them. ●● Use any tactics to put fur stores out of business. ●● Oppose any forms of hunting (including subsistence hunting by indigenous people). ●● Break up organized hunts. 52 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010

●● ELF (Earth Liberation Front) ●● HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) ●● The Farm Sanctuary ●● In Defence of Animals Greenpeace ●● The Animal Institute ●● The Doris Day Animal League ●● The Fund for Animals Who do they recruit? People who are recruited by animal rights movements are generally very gullible because they have lost touch with or have very real contact with nature “in the raw” and are very unenlightened when it comes to wildlife matters. Many animal rights supporters have a genuine concern for animals but they are highly susceptible to animal rights propaganda. Even the founders of animal rights movements may have started off with genuine (but sorely misguided) feelings about the rights of animals but once their livelihoods became dependent on their propaganda they resorted to use any means to justify their continued existence.


As stated in their 2001 conference – the end justifies the means therefore lying, cheating and “anything else” is justified. This they have exploited to the full. Many hardcore people in the animal rights industry don’t really care about animals at all because if they did some careful thought and introspection would show that the strategies they propagate will in fact be harmful to biodiversity in the long run. The only logical conclusion that one can draw about their continued involvement is that they are hooked into one of life’s foibles which they can exploit for their own purposes and or self enrichment.

pro hunting arguments expressed in the African Antelope Database 1998. …..I know that the animal rights movement is hurting rather than helping wildlife conservation. Their activists are part of the problem and not the solution……as a student of behaviour I place the highest value on living animals and refrain from hunting them but attempts to ban hunting make conservation that much harder and ignore the biological reality that every normal population produces a surplus which, if not kept in check by mortality equal to the rate of increase, would soon outstrip its resources (Dr. Richard D. Estes –

The type of people they recruit are:

Chair (IUCN Antelope Specialist Group, February 2002).

“Agitation against sustainable trophy hunting by animal rights groups in western countries is a major threat to the future of Africa’s ●● Elderly, unenlightened individuwildlife. It is not only a new form of A June 2002 FBI als that have money to donate to colonialism but it would also result in communiqué cites a “the cause”. the rapid destruction of Africa’s remain●● Unenlightened people with LOTS source offering ining wildlife resources by removing the of money to spare (large sums of formation on Greeneconomic justification for their conservapeace regarding which are to be donated to “the tion”. (IUCN Antelope Database, R. East). “activists who show a cause”). Movie stars, and other “Conservation will not succeed with clear predisposition wealthy individuals who wish to full effectiveness in Africa without to violate the law”. be seen as being pro-environhunting. Our constitution supports mentalist, are favourite targets. sustainable use and sustainable hunting They exploit the fact that people don’t is one form thereof.” (Dr. Rob Little, World Wildlife Fund SA, know better or are too far removed from reality to February 2002). know the real facts on the ground. The people they “The sustainable utilization of wild animals through recruit are also well fed, employed and living comtrophy hunting offers economic incentives to the local fortably when compared to the rural African peasant. rural population, reduces poaching and offers incenThey do not know nor understand (or care) what it tives to conserve critical habitat (Klaus Töpfer. Executive means to see your children going hungry to bed, Director UNEP, 2001). not knowing where or when the next meal is comToday sport hunting is an important factor in generating from, or what goes through the heart of a mother ing substantial revenues for wildlife management and or father when a child that has died of starvation is planted back into the soil of Africa. The non-utilization it is, therefore, one of the best ways to conserve cause which includes a ban on hunting for which ani- biodiversity (John Ledger, 1994). mal rights activists are pressing, smacks of nothing In Community Based Natural Resource Management less than gross hypocrisy. schemes, sport hunting often delivers important contributions to the financial results. Credible wildlife scientists and researchers with ●● Young, unenlightened radicals looking for a cause.

excellent reputations are of the opinion that wildlife resources must be used on a sustainable basis and this includes all forms of legal hunting – sport, trophy and subsistence. They also state quite categorically that animal rights activists are out of touch with reality and that their contributions are more a hindrance than a help:

“Now that I am free to state my own position on hunting without weighing in on one side or the other while acting as moderator of the debate I would like the record to show that I thoroughly agree with Rod East’s

Revenue earned through sport hunting is a major conservation incentive for rural people.

Cleve Cheney holds a bachelor of science degree in zoology and a master’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.

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Wayne Grant

Old Ma M

id April. In south western Zimbabwe the Wild Syringa is always the first to hint that summer is just about over, and the bright yellow leaves looked beautiful. My old Toyota land cruiser rocked lightly side to side in the soft mangwe sand. We were following the old Embakwe Mission road, heading south. Botswana lay only a dozen miles to my west – or right hand side – and looking that way I could see the endless miles of monotonous grey thorn and stunted Mopani stretching away to the horizon. To my left, the rocky jumbled hills of the Matobo rose haphazardly out of the bush. Thousands of these “koppies” as they are known here, march in an east-west line, some forty miles deep, all the way from Gwanda in the east, to this dry thornland on the Botswana border. 56 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010


an Mule Hunting the mtagati

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Next to me sat a Canadian hunter named Gunter Strangeman. Gunter is an amiable likeable fellow who had been referred us by Sidney Lovell-Parker- a friend of ours from Brazil. Sidney has taken two giant Leopard with us in this western Matobo area and he had told Gunter “The western Matobo Hills is the place to go”. I was determined to live up to Sidney’s recommendations. Four days before Gunter arrived I received a telephone call from a friend who ranches cattle in the Mangwe area. “Old man Fourie stopped here at my place yesterday” he told me “He said that he’s been having problems with a leopard. Apparently it’s one that escaped from a trap a few years ago. This cat has really started to knock his calves lately and he wanted to know if I knew of anyone who had any decent dogs. I told him that I don’t, and I also told him that you had a client coming out for leopard soon.” “What did he say to that?” I asked. “Actually he laughed” my friend answered. “He said that if he can’t kill the damned thing with gin traps, poison and shotgun traps, there’s no way in hell any of us young fools will kill it unless we had a good team of dogs”. Old man Fourie had no telephone on his farm so I decided to just go down there with my client and a very light fly camp in the hope that he would give me permission to camp out on his farm and let me try to hunt the calf killer. Mr. Fourie was a strange, tough, eccentric old man. No one knew exactly how old he was. Some of the older settler families in the district said that Mr. Fourie had arrived in the area in 1947 with two mules, a rifle and very little else. They said he appeared at that time to be a young man of about twenty, but they couldn’t be sure. It was now 2004, so I reckoned he had to be in his late seventies. Even though I had been hunting this area for 17 years, I had not had much to do with the old man. His personality did little to encourage visitors, and he attended no district social functions. He had very little game on his farm, so none of us had much reason or interest to pay him social calls, or any other calls for that matter. Graham told me that there was a beautiful dam on the Fourie place, and this dam held amazing numbers of large bream. No one bothered to ask for permission to fish for them. It was with reservation that I slowed down at the two huge old gum trees which marked his entrance gate. I had briefed Gunter on the reception we were likely to receive and he decided to remain in the car. When I pulled up to the homestead the only living thing I could see was a bony old dog who lay against the house licking his balls. It stood up when we drove in and gave several big deep barks. I saw that the dog was an elderly Rhodesian Ridgeback with an old scar across its left flank. As I got out of the vehicle a screen door clapped somewhere and old man Fourie came out onto the veranda. He was dressed in dirty khaki longs and an old vest that may once have been white. He had on a large stained felt hat that was approaching the end of its life, and in his right

hand he held a beaten up old pipe that was smoking away by itself. “Morning Mr. Fourie” I said, walking toward the veranda. “Morning” he answered. Nothing else. Since the old fellow’s demeanor invited no chit chat I decided to get right to it. “Graham told me that you have been having trouble with a leopard” The old man’s response could have been agreement or query, I couldn’t be sure. It sounded something like “Eya hummmh!” I pushed on. “Well, if you will give me permission, I can try to kill that leopard for you – I’ll pay you for it too.” He took a suck at the dirty pipe, exhaled, then gave me a smile which was actually more like a sneer, showing large yellow teeth under a bristling white and brown moustache. “You got dogs?” “No” I answered him. “I don’t use dogs, Mr. Fourie, but I have killed a lot of leopards with my clients – and most of them have been cattle killers” – “I’m not a new boy in this game” I added. Suddenly he turned, moving up onto the veranda. “Come sit” he said. It sounded more like the Afrikaans “Kom sit”. I sat down on one of three metal garden chairs which surrounded a rickety wood table. “I have a client in the car” I told the old man assuming that Gunter would be invited in. “Leave him there” Mr. Fourie said. “Let’s talk first about this skelm”. Skelm is an Afrikaans word meaning cunning, or dishonestly clever – quite apt for a calf killer I thought. Old man Fourie proceeded to give me the history as he knew it, of the cattle killer. Three years ago a large leopard started taking calves from the calving paddock behind the house. Mr. Fourie set a shotgun trap at one of the dead calves, but unfortunately this was triggered by a brown hyena, who apparently escaped wounded. Perhaps the cat had been nearby, and was frightened off by the blast of the shotgun – because there were no more calves taken for nearly a year. Then the calves started disappearing once more. Again, a large leopard was to blame. This time the old man carefully laid a large gin trap (bear trap). “The Skelm came back to the calf” the old man said “Petros heard the thing roaring and carrying on down by the stone wall and he said he also heard the rattling and other noises of the trap and chain”. He paused to take another suck at the pipe, but this time it only gurgled a bit and no smoke came out. “Petros woke me up and we went down to the stone wall together. I had set the trap where the wall runs up into the koppie. I had my bulala lamp strapped to my head, and my JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 59


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.303 in my hand. Petros carried his axe and came behind me.” I thought that checking a leopard trap in the middle of the night was a foolish thing to do, but I did not say so. The old man pulled a crumpled bag from his pocket and proceeded to fill his pipe with stringy black stuff that looked to me like tree bark. “Well, we reached the wall, but the skelm was gone.” “I heard from Piet Liebenburg that I should not have tied the chain to the tree, he says I should have let the damn animal go away with the trap then follow it in the morning.” “I don’t know.” “Anyway, the trap was sprung and the skelm left three toes and some flesh from his foot behind. In the morning I tried to follow the blood, but it soon dried up.” By this time the old man had the pipe filled and he struck a match and held it to the nasty mess. It flared briefly and then he began to tamp the flaming mix with his thumb. It was yellow and calloused with cracks and old skin and that thumb reminded me of the skin on an elephant’s foot. I half expected it to start sizzling but Mr. Fourie tamped away absentmindedly. “About four months later he was back killing my young cattle. But now he was clever. We knew it was him because the track of his front right foot showed no toes. Just a scuffed mark in the dust.” “Petros and I put poison in the calves, but now this skelm never comes back to his kill. He kills, then goes away. A week, maybe two weeks later, he is back.” The old man stared off into the bush, contemplating the cat, I’m sure. “Wragtig, this devil has taken more than twenty of my cattle over the last three years” he said. The old man stood up suddenly and the brown dog stood too, knocking its elbows noisily on the wood floor of the veranda. “Well, you can try to kill the skelm if you want to” he said, looking down at the floor then up at me. “Just don’t let your rich American give me complaints when you’ve wasted his time here.” “He’s German-Canadian” I answered. He looked at me like I was simple, then emitted another “Eya hummh” and he and the dog went inside. Gunter, myself and the two trackers set up camp about three miles south of the homestead. Petros, Mr. Fourie’s foreman, showed us the way to a small dam which was surrounded by low koppies and several shady fig trees. Camp was very basic – I had checked first with Gunter if he was willing to rough it, and he had answered that camping out with tents and camp staff, and ice and cool boxes, was not roughing it at all. Once camp was set up, we sat down in the shade with Petros, who proceeded to give us a complete run down of the leopard’s war over the years with Mr. Fourie. Petros referred to Mr. Fourie as Mbongolo – which means mule in Isindebele. He could shed no light on how or why Mr.

Fourie had earned this name. I supposed it could have something to do with the fact that the old man had arrived in this area on the back of a mule. Or just as easily, I guessed that it could have something to do with his stoic stubbornness. Petros constantly referred to the leopard as sutaan (satan) or mtagati (magic). After Gunter and I had eaten a light lunch we told Petros to show us where he believed the leopard’s “home” area was. Petros looked at me as if I was testing him with a joke. “The leopard lives behind Mbongolo’s house Bwana” he stated “Mbongolo told you that.” I was puzzled. “Mbongolo said that indeed the leopard hung around the house area in order to take cattle”, I answered “but leopards have very big areas which they call home. The leopard could be many miles away at this moment.” “Not this leopard Bwana, come, we can go back to the house, I will show you where this Mtagati lives.” We drove around the homestead and parked by the stone wall Mr. Fourie had mentioned. Looking north, about a kilometre away, a sort of crescent was formed by five or six koppies. The centre most koppie was the largest, and it rose up about 900 feet higher than the scrubby thorn bush which lay in front of it. “The mtagati leopard lives in there” Petros announced, pointing at the koppies. The following day Gunter, the trackers and I scouted amongst, and around the range of koppies behind the house. We worked hard. The koppies were actually a lot deeper than they appeared from the front, or south. It was rugged ground. A leopard had in fact been in these hills recently. My tracker, Bee, found tracks that seemed to be about four or five days old, but there was no fresh sign and no way of telling when exactly the cat had walked there, and indeed, even if the tracks belonged to the cattle killer. This was a new situation for me. We shoot just about all of our leopards off of baits or off of natural kills. I don’t run dogs and I have never been successful in calling a leopard with a predator caller. According to Mr. Fourie and Petros this wily old campaigner did not come back to his kills – so even if we were lucky enough to find one, it seemed that it would be of no benefit to us anyway. I decided to put a bait out and sit over it. My reasoning was that skelm may not come back to his feed a second time, but if we were lucky, and right there when he first found the bait, then we could probably get a shot at him. We managed to find a small group of impala that first afternoon, and I shot one of them. Petros showed us a well-worn path that snaked between two koppies. One koppie was considerably larger than the other, and it was thickly covered with Malalangwe and various Combretum bushes. Here and there huge fig trees threw dense shade over the rocks. “When this mtagati leopard comes to the calves” said Petros, “he comes on this road.” “He calls in the night, and his JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 61


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calls come from this hill.” I looked up at the top of the koppie and saw that a huge jumble of bare granite boulders stuck prominently out of the surrounding bush. Petros saw where I was looking and said “My youngest son, the one who looks after the goats, he says that he has twice seen the leopard sitting on those rocks late in the evening.” I have seen leopards several times high up in the koppies, on these promontories. In fact in front of our main camp at the Mangwe Pass we have twice seen a leopard sitting on the rocks grunting away just as the sun was coming up. I believe that the Matobo leopard – and in some areas the lowveld leopards too, utilise these high lookouts to locate their prey. We placed the impala near the footpath, jamming its head and horns securely between two strong saplings. I did not want to use wire, or any other man made material. I wanted the carcass to appear as natural as possible, and I did not want the cat to drag the bait away into the thick stuff where it would be almost impossible to erect a blind a reasonable distance away. We built a blind near the top of the adjacent, smaller koppie. I used soft grey blankets for the blind sides, and we camouflaged it carefully with broken sprays of gwarrie bush. This smaller koppie – and the blind, sat to the west, or downwind side of the bait. The blind faced east, and looking down we had a good view of the bait, about 85 yards away. But I had placed the blind in this position for another reason too. We could also see, clearly, the rocky promontory that overlooked old man Fouries’ homestead. The idea was to watch the bait and the promontory at the same time. Usually only the hunter and I will sit in the blind, but this time I was going to alternate “guard duties” with Bee – and hopefully, if the cat came, one of us would be awake, and watching. In normal circumstances I tie a fishing line to the bait animal so that when a leopard moves the bait, the line will move a bent warning stick situated in the blind, alerting us to our quarry’s arrival. But I did not use the line this time. I was scared that skelm would smell a rat if he detected anything unnatural around the impala. Gunter was armed with his .338 Winchester mag which held four 250 grain soft nosed Federals – in my opinion, an adequate combination for leopard. The rocky promontory was a good 120 yards away and the bait was about 85 yards away, so we zeroed the rifle dead on at 110 – I was sure that this would take care of our target no matter if Gunter shot at him at the bait or on the promontory. We set the rifle on two large flour bags filled with sand. Gunter would be shooting from the prone position. All was set. We placed a car battery and strong spotlight inside the blind. In Zimbabwe it is perfectly legal to hunt private farm leopard at night with a light. These animals have become almost totally nocturnal in their habits, unlike the leopards in government concession areas. Even though

hunters are permitted to use the light, it is no easy matter shooting a leopard at night on private land. These cats are unbelievably wary and often walk in a wide circle around the bait before coming in, trying to detect unwelcome visitors. I hoped that our elevated position would help keep our scent up, away from the impala, so if the cat did circle the meat, he would not smell us. A three quarter moon bathed the rugged hills in its ghostly silver light and I felt sure that if the cat came, and if one of us was awake, and watching, we would be able to see him with my 10 power Swarovskis. The plan was to spot the cat, get Gunter into a firing position, then turn on the light. We slept in the hide on the koppie three nights in a row. On the second night two honey badgers ripped into our impala but no leopard came. We replaced the impala, but the badgers tore into that one too. Petros came to our camp shortly after lunch on the fourth day. I asked him how long the cat usually disappeared for, and when he thought it might return. “This mtagati will not come while you are here” he answered. “You cannot kill this thing.” Gunter did not want to sleep out again on the fourth night. The confined space in the blind and the pressure of keeping silent for long periods was taking its toll on all of us. I had found myself nodding off several times while I was supposed to be watching the bait. Was this looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack? Was Petros telling us the truth about the regularity of the leopard’s visits? I began to doubt my plan. Maybe we should have just run Gunter’s hunt on our established areas of operation further east. On the morning of the fifth day, Petros arrived at our camp while we were sitting around the fire watching the cook make breakfast. After traditional greetings were over, he announced “The mtagati is back. He was calling last night in the hills.” I could not believe it! The first night we didn’t sit, the cat came back to his stomping grounds! We made our way to the koppies. Had the leopard found our bait? What if he had eaten? According to Petros and the old man, that meant he would not be back. We found the clear, fresh, unmistakable tracks of a large male leopard. A large male leopard with a damaged front right foot! Skelm, mtagati, - the cattle killer was back! The tracks indeed came straight down the footpath between the koppies – just as Petros had said they would. The bait however had not been eaten, even the badgers had not returned. The cat’s tracks showed where he had lain down in the pathway, about 6 feet from the impala. Watching it. Who knows how long he lay there, what was he thinking as he lay contemplating that fresh badger-eaten impala? His spoor continued down the pathway toward the old man’s homestead. I decided that we had to sit. Trying to work out why the cat had not eaten the impala was pointless. He knew that there was a meal there, and we had left no man-made warning signs like wire, or rope. Hopefully the badger scent had covered any man-smell JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 63


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we may have left around the meat. We were quietly settled in the blind by four pm. I could hear clanking and talking from the homestead and actually felt a bit foolish sitting there so close to human activity so early in the evening. But, Petros and the old man said that this cat was blasé and bold around the homestead, so I figured that he could actually be nearby. The farm noises ceased, and the tired red sun seeped quickly into the thorns. In the twilight Bee and I sat glassing the promontory, the bait and the hills. Gunter lay on his belly near the rifle. I was watching Venus sulk redly in the west, just about ready to follow the sun over the edge when Gunter suddenly elbowed my leg. He was looking through his scope, down where the bait lay next to the path. He looked up at me, eyes wide. “Something to the right of the bait, an animal!” I edged forward a bit and glassed the bait. There’ sitting like a dog, grey in the dusk, - the leopard! I whispered to Gunter “It’s the cat Gunter, can you see him in the scope? He’s sitting up, like a dog, facing the meat. Do you need the light? Take him if you see him! Take him through the left shoulder – he’s sideways on!” My heart was hammering and my fingers shook as the adrenalin and excitement thrilled through me. Gunter snuggled into his rifle. Come on man, what was taking so long? Flame shot out of the barrel as the cracking clap of the shot echoed over the koppies. A deep fierce grunting from the bait area! Bushes breaking! A burbling grumbling. Then silence. It would take a long time to describe our decent from the hill, our elation and excitement at finding the

giant heart shot leopard which lay there thick and heavy and beautiful, with his wrinkled neck and hanging dewlap and exquisite golden mountain type markings. But I must leave that all for the fireside. He was the trophy of a lifetime, and his clubbed right foot detracted from his wild beauty not one jot. Gunter had seen him first, and shot him well. He was a very happy, satisfied man. We were packed and ready to leave the next day shortly before noon. I pulled in to the homestead one last time; Gunter again remained in the truck. Old man Fourie stood on the veranda wearing the same clothes and smoking the same pipe. “Mr. Fourie, thank you again. We’re off now.” “Eya hummh” he answered. “So you killed old Skelm” it sounded more like kilt. “Luck of the English” he added. “You mean Irish” I said to him. He looked at me and said “You’re Irish?” “No Mr. Fourie, I’m not Irish – the saying – it’s luck of the Irish – not the English.” Once more the old man looked at me like he felt sorry for me, shook his head slowly, and walked back to the screen door. Then he stopped, turned, and said “You like to fish?’ I answered “Yes, I like to fish Mr. Fourie. I love it.” “Eya hummh, well, when you come, bring brandy” and with that he clumped off inside. I stood there on the veranda a little longer thinking about this strange old man, and then made my way over to the land cruiser. Wayne Grant is the author of “Into the Thorns”. He started professional hunting at the end of the war in Rhodesia (1980) and in 1985 he started his own safari company.

CONTACT WAYNE CLICK HERE CLICK HERE

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The Fire Bow Primitive fire

T

he oldest way to make fire would have been to carry a burning coal around from a natural fire, and to keep it smoldering in dry plant material that can hold a burning coal for long periods of time. Dry tinder can be added to the coal, and then blown on to form flames. The problem with this method is that the coal can burn out, and the coal needs new plant material over long periods of time to keep smoldering. It may have been difficult to travel long distances in wet conditions with a burning coal wrapped in such plant materials. This is how you make a friction fire that works using the fire bow.

Basic theory Rub your hands together, ok push harder and rub faster, yes they are getting hot due to the friction, continue and you will get water blisters due to the build-up of heat. The same principle applies when you rub two pieces of wood - hard, fast and with lots of friction together, however the end-result is the formation of very hot smoking black wood powder. Add oxygen - thermal runaway then takes place and finally the formation of a glowing red hot ember to start your fire.

Method The spindle inserted into the bow string, is pushed down via the low friction bearing, with the one hand (normally left), into the drill hole and notch in the fire board, which is situated JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 67


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above the drilling powder and ember catcher. The spindle is then rotated to produce hot black wood powder onto the drilling powder and ember catcher via and into the notch by friction in the drill hole, first in the one and then the other direction, by the pull action of the bow string that is connected to the bow stick, which is being pushed and pulled by the other hand resulting in the energy transfer action. The tinder nest is used to nurse the ember into a fire. That’s the basic workings of the fire bow. Yes, this sound’s a bit confusing … however once you start putting the whole lot together it will make sense. Remember, at this stage you still know squat, and guaranteed you will not be able to get a friction fire going with the above knowledge. Been there got the tee-shirt etc. You first need to get started with a simple fire bow set that will work well, so as to get the feeling. Then only should you start experimenting and go full traditional, using more natural products.

Shopping list List of items needed for your first fire bow set: • Tot glass and roll of duct tape to make the bearing. • Pliable, moist wooden stick, about middle finger thick, with a fork at one end, slightly curved and cut to arm length for the bow stick. • Strong Para-cord, one and a half arm length for the bow string. • Dry Meranti wooden dowel, middle to thumb finger thick and about the length along your hand for the spindle. • eDry Oregon pine wooden board, middle to thumb finger thick, three fingers wide and about the length along your foot for the fire board. • Piece of thick wax paper to catch the drilling powder and ember. •

Piece of hemp to make tinder nest.

Note: The box of matches is intended to give an idea of scale and not to start your fire with … You will also need a good medium sized sharp knife one with a small saw attached is ideal (having locking blades is safest). Lead pencil or pen could also be handy when marking out the drill hole and notch. Now let’s make a “lekker” (nice) fire. You won’t believe the satisfaction of getting it going, thus don’t give up, promise if you persevere IT WILL WORK.

Further, in the beginning get someone intelligent, without two left hands and who has the perseverance without moaning to help you.

Step 1 Generously wrap the tot-glass with duct tape. The tape is there to help protect you just in case the tot-glass breaks for some or other reason: better to be safe than sorry. Now you have your low friction bearing.

Step 2 To make the bow, tie a figure of eight knot with loop on the one end of the bow string. Place the loop over the forked end of the bow stick. Cut a “v” slot, big enough for the bow string, into the other end of the bow stick. Note: You can use your shoe for a work bench, as shown in photo. Place the bow string into the “v” slot, then pull to take up the slack until the bowstring is still hanging slightly loose. Now, tie the loose end of the bow string back over, using half hitches. You can adjust the length of the bow string by sliding the half hitches up or down.

Step 3 Take the dry meranti wooden dowel and cut the one end to a 60° conical point, so as to form the spindle bearing point. Note: Using your knife as shown gives you stability, control, and also adds to safety. Now, cut the other side of the spindle flat, and round of the edges slightly, not to much, this forms the drilling part of the spindle. Now make a hole with your knife point into the drilling part of the spindle, about a third of the diameter of the spindle wide and deep. The end product can be seen in the photo. The reason for the hole in the middle is scientific, yes believe it or not. When you rotate a wheel the middle moves less distance, thus slower when compared to the outer edge. To optimise the drilling part of the spindle we remove the inner less effective section, so as to focus all of our energy on the faster moving outer side.

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Step 4 Loading the spindle correctly into the bow is important. Take the spindle in your left hand and hook the drill through the bow string. Twist the spindle backwards and hook the bow string. The spindle should now be slightly spring loaded, if not, adjust the bow string tension using the half hitches (as previously explained). It is important that the spindle is on the outside of the bow string, and not between the bow string and the bow stick. Further, the less the bow curves the better, as you will have more control. The bow string must not be too tight, or else the spindle will be difficult to handle, as it would twist and jump all over the place, further the excessive friction with the bow string can result in the string breaking.

Step 5 Let’s mark out and start to prepare the fire board. Place the spindle onto the dry Oregon pine wooden board and draw a pencil line. Draw a second line about two spindles wide vertically across the first. Make a 15° conical hole with your knife, using a twisting action, into the wooden board at the crossing points of the two lines. Note: Using your thumb at the knifes point gives you good control and also helps with safety.

Step 6 We need to “burn-in” the drill hole for the fire board. Fill the conical hole you made with your knife with dry small grained sand, so as to increase the friction. Place the bridge of your left foot onto the fire board, about one thumb distance away from the conical hole. Your right knee should be behind, and in line with the ankle of your left foot. Make sure you are comfortable. Now, load the spindle onto the bow string (as described in step 4 above), holding with your left hand the tot-glass bearing on top, and the bow with your right hand. Place the drill of the spindle into the sand filled conical hole. Hold the spindle up-right (90° to the fire board), and push slightly down with your left hand, while securely holding the tot-glass bearing. To make life easier support your left hand by holding it against your left leg, this will help prevent your hand from moving all over the place once you 70 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010

start with the drilling action. Ok, now you can start “burning-in” the drill hole. Rotate the spindle by rhythmically pushing and pulling the bow, in a “sawing motion”. Don’t forget to breathe. Some folks are so focused they faint, breathe in when you pull the bow and exhale when pushing. Now, if the spindle does not rotate, slightly decrease the downward pressure, or if the bow string is slipping on the spindle, increase the bow string pressure by squeezing it with your right hand onto the bow stick. If the drill makes a squeaking sound, increase your downwards pressure, until the sound disappears. Keep on drilling, smoke will start to come from the drilling hole and stop once a black (or dark brown) drilling powder forms. Carefully remove the spindle from the drilling hole and tap the black drilling powder from the fire board onto the drilling powder and ember catcher.

Step 7 Great, you have a “burnt-in” black drill hole on your fire board. Now, you need to cut a 30 to 45° “v” notch, into the fire board at the drill hole. Note: The “v” notch does not reach the centre of the black drill hole it’s about one third away. First mark the “v” onto the fire board, also mark the sawing lines, opening up slightly in the form of a dove tale away from you, on the side of the fire board. The reason for this shape is that when you have generated the hot black smoking drilling powder in the notch you will need to pick-up the fire board without disturbing the pile. This slanted edge “v” notch was found to be best. Carefully cut out the “v” notch along the lines. Note: Using your shoe and left hand as a make shift vice helps. Throw back the black drilling powder from the drilling powder and ember catcher into the drilling hole.

Step 8 We need to prepare the tinder nest. Take a piece of hemp and pull and divide it into small tufted-up pieces, like cotton wool, (make sure you do a good job, the finer the better, as you will be sorry later if not). Note: Keep the hemp residue that falls below. Now, shape the plucked out hemp into the form of a birds nest, and throw the fine residue into the centre. You will be making far better tinder nests from all sorts of natural materials later – however, we must first get you going using this simpler one.


You are now ready to make the hot powder created from the drilling action, which will then be nursed into a red hot ember by carefully adding oxygen. This is the ember that will be introduced into the tinder nest to finally start the fire with.

Step 9 Let’s get some hot smoking black drilling powder. Place the drilling powder and ember catcher onto a level firm surface, with the fire board above. Repeat step 6 above, but remember you already have drilling powder in the drill hole, and don’t stop when more black drilling powder forms. Continue, until the “v” notch completely fills, and pushes a heap outwards, with black drilling powder. Keep this up. By now you will be sweating and breathing hard, until the black drilling powder is hot enough to smoke by itself, indicating that thermal runaway has started to take place. Do an extra twenty strokes, just for luck, before you stop. Carefully remove the spindle from the drilling hole while holding the fire board absolutely still. Continue to hold the fire board using your left hand and then even more carefully remove your left foot without disturbing the hot smoking black drilling powder. Don’t be in a hurry, take your time. Tip: Ask a friend to help, especially the first time. Let the person put their right foot onto the fire board, and hold the bearing and spindle with both hands, supported by their leg. You then put your left hand onto their right foot to help with your balance, and then with your right hand operate the bow. Your friend then pushes down the tot-glass bearing, and keeps the spindle upright. You’d be surprised how teamwork helps, especially if your friend cheers you on to success.

Step 10 Now we need to nurse the hot black smoking drilling powder into a red hot ember. Keep holding the fire board absolutely still with your left hand. Then, start moving the air by gently waving with your right hand above the smoking black drilling powder. Increase the oxygen flow, by gently blowing air with your mouth and lips over the smoking black drilling powder until a small red ember becomes visible. Don’t blow too hard, or you will blow away the drilling powder, and you will have to start all over. Please, be patient, don’t rush, you are nearly there. Once

you have an established red hot ember, you remove the fire board by gently pushing your knife point down the one side on the “v” notch onto and holding down the drill powder and ember catcher while carefully lifting back the fire board. You now have a smouldering red hot ember.

Step 11 We now need to carefully transfer this glowing ember and hot smoking drill powder, as shown in photo (a) into the tinder nest. Carefully take the drill powder and ember catcher in your right hand, without disturbing the ember and drilling powder heap, and take the tinder nest in your left hand, now gently transfer the glowing ember and hot smoking drill powder into the middle of the tinder nest. Put down the drill powder and ember catcher, and take the tinder nest with glowing ember in both hands.

Step 12 Ok, the grand finale, now let’s start the fire. Fold the tinder nest over the glowing ember. Gently start blowing air into the nest, in the area the ember is situated. The tinder nest will start smoking, blow harder, and harder, don’t stop until the tinder nest suddenly bursts into flames. You’ve done it - you have created flames to start a big fire with. All you have to do now is to put this burning tinder nest into your pre-prepared fire pile, and that’s it a fire started with a fire bow. You have the tricks to do the deed, now go for it, and if you don’t get it working blame the person you see in the mirror when you brush your teeth in the morning, good luck and enjoy the moment of success ! For those “comfortable gentlemen” … you can purchase a complete fire bow set, exactly as used in the article above and ready for action from Gavin “Slow Match” Margrate at e-mail address plumcrazy@ absamail.co.za or phone him on +27 (0)82 469 3236.

Dr Wallace Vosloo is an Engineer and Scientist by profession. His family has lived in Africa since 1696 and he has a deep love for the continent. He is a practical outdoorsman and loves traditional hunting, axe and knife throwing, longbow shooting, black powder rifle- and cannon shooting, salt and fresh water fly fishing and tracking. The art of survival is Wallace’s main field of interest and his passion is to transfer these old forgotten skills to young hunters.

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Rookie Writers

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Get our RSS feed CLICK HERE Don’t you just hate it when large international magazines refuse to publish the work of budding new authors? “Give us a list of where your articles were published and we will consider you.” they write in their demoralising emails. Everybody has to start somewhere. Talk about Catch 22. Well, enough is enough. We feel rookie writers need to get a chance to strut their stuff, so we negotiated with The Ultimate Field Guide to sponsor a Rookie Writer article in our next couple of issues to help those authors who are not famous - yet. So here it is - the first Rookie Writer article. Read them and vote for your favorite. You may just help to launch the next Wilbur Smith on a writing career. 74 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010


Jack Enter

Hunting Elephant in the Mopane Forest I

t had been both a frustrating and exhilarating morning. My professional hunter Ruan, the three trackers, and myself had been tracking a herd of eleven elephants in a thick mopane forest that was located just a mile or so on the Zimbabwe side of the famous Limpopo River. During the last two hours, the swirling wind currents had changed directions many times, often when we were close to the herd. When catching our scent, one or two of the bulls would come at us in “bluff” charges – usually at distances of 20 to 30 yards. More than once we had been forced to retreat from these close encounters, backing up quickly while pointing our rifles towards the aggressors in case the bluff charges turned into real ones. JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 75


Each time after these encounters, the herd would only run off for a short distance and then continue to feed. This unusual behavior was due to two reasons. First, very few elephants were on quota in this area so the majority of the elephants in this location had never been hunted. Secondly, this area included a large citrus farm and a village so these elephants were likely acclimated to both the scent of man as well as chance encounters. This familiarity with humans was both a blessing and a curse to our cause. On the positive side, these elephants did not sense us as a threat so they would not flee the area completely when they saw or scented us. Negatively, these elephants did not have the fear of man possessed by elephants who lived in hunting concessions, so they were aggressive and confrontational when encountering humans. This aggression was demonstrated by the fact that several villagers had been attacked and killed by elephants in the last few years. Up to this point, we had identified two bulls that were of interest. The first bull was an older and very large bull with short and thick tusks that were worn from his many years in the African bush. The second bull was younger, smaller in body, but with longer and more curved tusks which would make a more beautiful trophy. Ruan had recommended the second bull as a trophy if he presented a shot. I initially agreed. After a couple of encounters with the older and obviously more aggressive bull though, I had whispered to Ruan that if we had a shot, I would be very happy with the lesser trophy with the more interesting personality. Speaking of shots at elephant, the thick nature of the mopane trees was making the possibility of a heart/ lung shot much more unlikely. After I had consulted with books and with professionals who had hunted elephant, everyone had suggested this shot as the easiest and safest to make. Though the brain shot on an elephant is the quickest and most dramatic way to kill an elephant, it is by far more difficult to accomplish. The elephant’s brain is only the size of a football and located near the rear of his thick skull. The brain is located above the eyes, and if a brain shot is taken, usually it is easier from the side of the animal. The classic frontal brain shot is much more difficult and often complicated by the angle of the elephant’s head at the time of the shot. Conversely, a shot into the heart/lung area is a larger target than that of the brain shot, and is normally fatal after the elephant has run a hundred yards or so. Anything but a perfect brain shot, however, is usually 76 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010

not fatal and the elephant can travel for a considerable distance. This fact was especially critical since we were so close to the Limpopo River and the northern bounder of South Africa. A botched brain shot could result in a fast retreat into South Africa where we could not follow up the bull, and I would still have to pay the substantial trophy fee for wounding the elephant! As a result, I had made very clear to Ruan that I had no intention of taking a brain shot but would wait for a more reliable shot at the heart/ lung area – made from the side of the elephant and into the top of his shoulder. We were now taking a breather at the top of a small hill as we prepared to go back into the mopane forest. The temperature had warmed considerably, and we were discarding our jackets and cold weather gear before we started the hunt again. We had three trackers with us. Johanus was from the farm, and Ruan had brought two bushman trackers from the Kalahari Desert area in Botswana. The older of the two bushman, Tokolos, did not take off his heavy jacket nor his wool scarf or cap. When Ruan asked him why, he replied that he was wearing as much clothing as possible in case the elephant charged. Tokolos said that if you throw clothing with human scent on the ground, the elephant will attack the clothing while the person can often get away. Though we chuckled at his rationale, it reminded me of the potential danger we were again preparing to face. We had just reentered the forest and the trackers had again put us up close to the herd. We were skirting the main group trying to find one of the two bigger bulls when I noticed that everyone seemed to be running away from me. I looked to my right and saw a huge one tusked bull staring at me over a tree just 20 yards or so away. With his head held up and ears spread – he was pushing through the bush in an obviously highly agitated state. Needless to say, I joined my comrades with considerable speed and paused to think about the incredible pressure and stress associated with this type of hunting. I was just about to suggest to Ruan that we call this off and locate another herd. I felt that we were pushing this group of elephant too hard and that eventually one of the bulls would make a real charge to put an end to this perceived harassment. Even though Ruan is the age of my youngest daughter, he has had a lot of exposure to African hunting. Therefore I kept my suggestion to myself given that I have had only three hours of experience in hunting elephant. As before, the elephants had fled the immediate


vicinity so Ruan told the trackers to find the herd as we started out again. After a half a mile or so, we found them feeding in the thick bush. We tried to keep downwind of them and approached with 25 yards of so of the outlying elephants. While Ruan and Johanus peered at the ivory of the nearby bulls (the two bushmen had just left to get water and move the vehicle closer to our location), the elephants used their trunks to blow dust on their backs. At this close range, the noise was more than a little nerve wracking. I saw movement to my right and noticed a young bull running up to join the herd followed by

As before, a telltale shift in the wind or a noise we made betrayed our presence to the herd. The bull pushed his head over the top of a mopane tree and held his head up with his ears spread wide, staring down at these three humans who had again invaded his “personal space.” At this distance, his head looked like a compact automobile with the front doors flung open! Ruan raised his rifle and tersely whispered to me “You are going to have to try a brain shot.” Johanus set up the shooting sticks in front of me and I placed the forearm of the rifle in the “V” and gripped both the shooting sticks and forearm with

the older bull we had decided to target. These two elephant had obviously gotten separated from the main group during the last retreat and were coming back to join the rest of their companions. Amazingly, Ruan began to walk even closer to the herd to get a better look at this bull. I could not believe how close we were, but the mopane still shielded the elephant’s chest.

my right hand (being left-handed). I had my scope turned down to 1.5 magnification but even at that low setting, the elephant’s head seemed to fill the entire sight picture in the scope. Because of the shooting sticks and the close distance of the shot, the sight picture was very steady as I aimed the center of the scope reticle above the bull’s eyes, compensating for the fact that I was slightly to his right. Without taking my eyes off the scope, I whispered to Ruan “ JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 77


I have him.” Ruan, standing to my right with his rifle also aiming at the bull’s head, said, “Shoot him.” I squeezed the trigger. If I live another 40 years, I will never forget the next few seconds. Because of the muzzle brake on my .375 H&H, the reduced recoil allowed me to see the impact of my shot. The elephant threw his head up and backwards and his rear legs collapsed. As previously planned, Ruan fired a follow-up shot as well. I rechambered a round in my rifle and we both ran forward. The bull was in the process of falling with his head turned at an angle towards my right. I ran up and fired another shot into his right cheek, trying again to angle up towards the brain. He completely fell down onto his side and Ruan and I both shot him in his front chest as insurance. Ruan told me to quickly run to my right and behind the bull and put one more round in the back of the bull’s head. As I ran behind the bull to do this, I found that my rifle was now empty! I quickly reloaded and shot him in the center of his head. His body shuddered and he went completely still. In the quiet, I just stood there at the back of the elephant. Ruan came over and shook my hand and told me congratulations. I told him thanks and we walked back to the front of the elephant’s body. Johanus also came up and congratulated me as well. I did not yell or give anyone “high fives.” I just circled the elephant and visually took in this incredible animal. I looked at his huge padded feet and glanced at his tail with its course hair that is often used to make bracelets. I was primarily struck by his massive size. He was later measured at almost 10 feet at the shoulder. I think I purposefully did not touch his tusks for awhile, maybe in deference to the “trophy” that has always been the motivation for much of the elephants’ struggles to survive in the past few centuries. I knew that I may never see this sight again. I did not cry as many have done on taking their first elephant but I did place my hand on his chest and pray aloud, thanking God for this wonderful creature He had made and that none of us had been injured or killed in the process of the hunt. For the next hour or so we waited quietly for the skinners to arrive from the farm. I drank lots of water and took a few photographs. I felt the spongy nature of his skin and watched the trackers dig the dirt from around his left tusk that he had driven into the ground as he fell. When the skinners and vehicles finally cut their way through the mopane, I told Ruan that I did not want to be there when they began to skin him, preferring to remember him as he was both 78 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010

before and after the shot. He nodded and said that he understood. Before we left, the trackers located my empty rifle cartridge near the footprints where I stood as I fired the first shot. Ruan paced off the distance to the elephant – it was 12 paces! We made our way back to retrieve our coats and to the truck. It would take the skinners many hours to retrieve the meat, hide, tusks and other parts of the carcass. Much of the meat went to the people living in the village who primarily subsist on small weekly allotments of corn meal and any vegetables they might grow. This meat would be a welcome addition to their diet. When the elephant’s head was eventually brought back to camp, it was examined for shot placement. It was found that both of my two head shots and the one fired by Ruan had successfully reached the brain. To prevent damaging the tusks, they were allowed to remain in the skull until decomposition allowed their easy removal. After the tusks were eventually removed, they were found to be 30 pounds each, hardly a “trophy” set of ivory by many people’s standards. We could have likely shot an elephant with 40 or 45 pound tusks later but most likely by ambushing them after they crossed the road in front of our vehicle or as they fed on fruit piles used to attract game in the area. I am very happy, however, with my 60 pounds or so of ivory. They will be a physical reminder of bluff charges, side stepping fresh piles of elephant dung, swirling wind directions, and thick mopane forests. They will help me to recall in my old age the angry stare of a bull elephant at a distance of about 30 feet, and of taking a classical frontal brain shot when I did everything to avoid doing so. As I close this story, I cannot help but feel the need to address people’s concern about shooting elephants. Before I left for Africa many individuals, including hunters, expressed their distaste for the hunting of elephants. For those who think elephants are endangered, that is far from the truth. The overpopulation of elephants is a serious issue in many African countries, and most elephants killed today are not taken in sport hunting but in government sponsored culling or shot as “problem elephants” because they are destroying crops of impoverished African farmers. An adult elephant consumes 500 pounds of foliage a day, and they inflict serious damage on an already threatened ecosystem. In Zimbabwe alone, there is an estimated excess of 40,000 elephant beyond the country’s ideal carrying capacity.


For those who may be uncomfortable with the sport hunting of elephants because they think elephants are special due to their intelligence and family structures, I could not agree with you more. Elephants are very special! Yet ethical sport hunting is the primary method of their ensured survival. The vast majority of hunters that I know respect the game animals they hunt far more than well meaning but uninformed people who base their knowledge of game management on watching nature shows or visiting the local zoo. Through sensible game management, “fair chase� hunting tactics, and trophy fees, game animals like the elephant have the best chance to be enjoyed by future generations.

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Jack Enter is a law enforcement trainer who lives outside of Atlanta, Georgia. He has hunted Africa on seven different occasions JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 79


When the cock is drunk, he forgets about the hawk. Ashanti of Ghana

Always being in a hurry does not prevent death, neither does going slowly prevent living. Ibo

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News, Reviews, and Press Releases Canon releases EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens Lake Success, N.Y., January 5, 2010 – Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging, introduces the new EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens. Arguably the most popular focal range in Canon’s telephoto arsenal and a staple lens for any professional photographer, the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens provides the focal length, maximum aperture and zoom power for capturing everything from fastaction sports to studio portraits. Built for the professional, the body structure of the new EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens has been enhanced to provide better durability and strength without a significant increase in weight. Canon has improved optical performance on the new EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens by redesigning the internal elements, incorporating a fluorite element and a fifth UD element. The use of the fluorite element and five UD elements helps to minimize secondary chromatic aberrations and produce better image quality with improved contrast and resolution through the entire zoom range; the end result is an optically precise lens worthy of becoming the leader of Canon’s L-series lenses. Along with its redesigned optical elements, the new lens design features improved AF speed due to a new focusing algorithm and has reduced the minimum focusing distance to 3.9 feet (1.2 meters) through the entire zoom range, allowing photographers to capture tighter portraiture shots in a small studio space. The previous lens model’s minimum focusing distance was 4.6 feet (1.4 meters), whereas now photographers can stand nearly 8 inches closer 86 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010

to their subject and achieve sharp focus and tight crops. Canon has also enhanced the Image Stabilization allowing it to compensate for shutter speeds up to four steps slower than 1/focal length, a one step improvement over the previous lens model. “Canon’s core has always been our optics, and we are constantly challenging ourselves to produce better and more advanced optical systems for our customers. The new EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens incorporates the best advancements in Canon lens technology from the past few years and packages it into what we believe will be the most popular lens for professionals and advanced photographers,” stated Yuichi Ishizuka, senior vice president and general manager, Consumer Imaging Group, Canon U.S.A. The enhanced magnesium alloy barrel design of the EF 70200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens features added strength with a minimal 20-gram increase in weight compared with the previous model (1490g vs. 1470g) and retains Canon’s protective seals and fittings providing dust and water resistance for those photographers working in adverse conditions. A new bayonet mount on the front of the lens includes a locking mechanism to ensure the supplied lens hood remains securely in place. Other noticeable improvements include a wider focusing ring, and sleeker design by reducing the thickness of any protruding elements such as the switch panel. The new lens is also compatible with Canon’s existing EF1.4X II and EF2X II Extenders as well as EF Extension Tubes and the 77mm Close-Up Lens 500D. The Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens is supplied with a detachable tripod collar, a reversible bayonet mount lens hood and a lens pouch. The new


lens is scheduled to be delivered to U.S. dealers in April, price to be determined.

the most rugged, strongest military optical instrument ever made, these tough binoculars are also available to folks without a military ID.

Legendary Long-Range Tactical Binocular Receives Ultimate Armor Upgrade

While falling off a moving Humvee, surviving sandstorms, and daily front-line use are what Steiner designed and built these binoculars to endure, everyday consumers are finding that these binoculars easily bring objects a mile distant to what seems as near as 100 yards. And tipping the scales at less than 60 ounces, they find natural balance between stability and ease of manual holding.

Moorestown, NJ (October 19, 2009) — Nearly 30 years ago, Steiner introduced a practical binocular— the 15x80mm Military—to oversee geographical and political borders in even the darkest moments of dawn and twilight. Not long thereafter, that very binocular would revolutionize the way countries looked at their borders, and even more importantly, the way their militaries would fight wars. Now almost three centuries later, the legendary binoculars that have become the benchmark for long-range observation, target acquisition, and surveillance for all five branches of the U.S. Armed Services, numerous elite American government agencies, and countless state and local law enforcement agencies have received several important upgrades to make them the most robust optical instruments in the arsenal to protect our freedoms. With their huge objective lenses and Porro-prism construction, the 15x80mm Military binocular and the more powerful 20x80 Military have become the easily recognizable staple of both the government operators and those who portray them on the silver screen. From the real-world hands of a lance corporal forward observer in the Persian Gulf, to the fictional grip of Lord Helmet as he was about to “comb the desert,” to government agents pursuing comic-book heroes at your local cinema, Steiner’s long-hinge Military binoculars have been making a difference. Now, the mil-spec ISO 9001/2008 tested and approved 15x80 and 20x80 Military and Commander Military (compass equipped) binoculars have been upgraded with a new NBR (nitrile butadiene rubber) armor coating that is virtually impervious to any invasive compound it may encounter. Furthermore, the binoculars in this line have been outfitted with a pair of NPR flip-off covers that protect the objective lenses during periods of inactivity. Designed to be

Headquartered in Germany, Steiner has been acknowledged as a leader in the manufacturing of quality binoculars since 1947. In addition to the outdoor, 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. For more information, write: Pioneer Research, 97 Foster Road, Moorestown, NJ 08057; call toll free 1-800-257-7742; or visit the company website at www.steiner-binoculars.com.

SixX™ Series Illuminated Riflescopes BURRIS COMPANY last year established its SixX Series of premium riflescopes with two outstanding models. All SixX Series scopes have strong 30mm main tubes with generous objective lenses and a variable magnification range yielding six times the power of the lowest setting. This optical design, with a magnification factor of 6X, offers an unprecedented combination of light transmission, eye relief, clarity and versatility. New models of the SixX Series for 2010 are the 2X12X 40mm, and the 2X-12X 50mm, with illuminated reticles. Each model is is now available with either the German 3P#4 Illuminated or the legendary Burris Ballistic Plex™ Illuminated reticle. These compact profile scopes represent the latest in optical refinement and technology, while delivering the features and optical value Burris Company has long been known for. Current and new models are available in matte finish. A new feature in the SixX Series is Fast Diopter Adjustment, which focuses a shooter’s diopter adJANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 87


justment approximately five times faster than earlier scopes. Models also offer generous eye relief of 4.0” to 4.5”. Fully multicoated and index-matched lenses are finished with StormCoat™ to shed moisture in damp conditions by reducing surface tension on exterior lenses. Flip-up scope covers are included with SixX Series models to further protect the scope from harsh conditions. A rubber power ring allows for fast and convenient magnification changes. Burris believes its SixX Series scopes will exceed expectations in virtually all hunting conditions, and will perform especially well in low light. Real world pricing on these SixX models is $800 to $900. All Burris SixX Series riflescopes are waterproof, shockproof, fogproof, meticulously crafted in the USA and warranted forever. For more information, contact Len Zemaitis, Burris Company, 331 East 8th Street, Greeley, CO 80631, email lzemaitis@burrisoptics.com

SWAROVSKI OPTIK Presents the EL SWAROVISION 42 Series: A New Dimension in Observation Cranston, Rhode Island - SWAROVSKI OPTIK announces the new EL 42 binoculars with SWAROVISION technology specially developed for greater viewing comfort, especially for eyeglass wearers. Using field flattener lens, which helps to create a true image, it is possible to produce diamond-bright image resolution right up to the very edge of the field of view ensuring the finest detail without any edge distortion. HD lenses minimize color fringing (chromatic aberration) and guarantee razor-sharp images with the highest possible resolution. The EL Swarovision 42 provides improved viewing comfort, and enables users to enjoy the entire wide-angle field of view and the new EL 42’s unique edge sharpness. The sturdy, removable twist-in eyecups have been designed with an intermediate stage making it easier to adapt the individual distance between the ocular lens and eye. 88 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010

The new focusing wheel made from hard and soft components is non-slip, sturdy, easily and accurately operated. It is possible to change the setting from the close focus to infinity very quickly with only two complete turns. This unrivalled close range is particularly beneficial for the macro observation world. SWAROVSKI OPTIK NORTH AMERICA CEO, Albert Wannenmacher, said of the market launch, “This creates an enormous amount of excitement for us here at SWAROVSKI OPTIK. We have seen over the last 10 years how our EL binoculars have changed the landscape of optics and we are very excited to bring this entirely new technology to our customers.” The time-tested and elegant EL design with wraparound grip has also been optimized. Thanks to their rubber armouring, the binoculars are pleasantly easy to handle even when cold and the ergonomic thumb rests ensure a perfectly balanced observation. The practical accessories are yet another plus in terms of functionality. All new EL 42’s are supplied with a water-repellent functional bag, an easily adjustable Lift carrying strap, protective caps for eyepieces and objectives plus the Snap Shot adapter. The latter is used to quickly connect a digital compact camera to the binocular for remarkable photographs taken at long distance. If you require any further information or photography please contact: Dean J. Capuano, Communications Manager SWAROVSKI OPTIK NORTH AMERICA LTD 2 Slater Road, Cranston, Rhode Island 02920 Tel. 800-426-3089 x2957, Fax. 877-287-8517 WWW. SWAROVSKIOPTIK.COM

EliminatorTM LaserScopeTM BURRIS COMPANY will unveil it’s new Eliminator LaserScope at the 2010 SHOT Show in Las Vegas. Burris takes the lead in laser rangefinding riflescope technology by integrating easily programmable customized automatic trajectory compensation with rangefinding capability. The 4X-12X-42mm Eliminator LaserScope features an integrated 800 yard rangefinder coupled with a very simple yet very accurate method of customizing the trajectory compensation capability to virtually any cartridge. The Eliminator has 39 ballistic curves on


board to select from and Burris provides a listing of nearly 600 factory loaded cartridges and the two digit ballistic curve number associated with each. A few clicks in the set up mode is all it takes to enter or change the ballistic curve to perfectly match your specific cartridge’s performance. Burris has marketed their original LaserScope for four years having now field-proven its reliability under severe recoil and tough field conditions. The new Eliminator takes this proven technology to a new level of technology and begins a new era for precision long range hunting. In combining these technologies, the Eliminator LaserScope provides the following benefits: ●● Eliminates the need for a separate hand held rangefinder. ●● Eliminates the lasering inaccuracies associated with an unsteady handheld laser. ●● Eliminates sometimes crucial seconds switching between a handheld unit and the rifle during times game is moving closer or further away. ●● Eliminates estimating distance. ●● Eliminates estimating holdover. ●● Eliminates loosing a black crosshair on a dark target by providing a 1/3 MOA illuminated dot that is highly visible under any light condition. ●● Eliminates the lack of confidence in making a long range ethical shot. ●● Eliminates missing or wounding shots. ●● Eliminates missing out on a once in a lifetime trophy. The Eliminator LaserScope is affordable at well under $1,000, and is of a size and weight that is workable for everyday field use. The Eliminator delivers the extremely vivid, bright, and crystal clear optics for which Burris is well-known. A single button to activate the laser is located about mid-section on the left side of the scope. In addi-

tion, Burris provides a remote activator that can be strapped either to rifle’s forearm or to the objective bell of the scope. The remote activator makes ranging while viewing through the scope more natural and steadier.

riflescope.

The unique mounting system allows the lowest possible mounting of the LaserScope to the rifle. The LaserScope by nature of its shape positions the shooter’s eye higher than with a conventional riflescope. The Burris mounting system allows the LaserScope to be mounted at its lowest possible mounting which compares to normal high rings on a conventional Get more info from Burris Company, Inc. 331 East 8th Street, Greeley, Colorado 80631 ph: 970-3561670 fax: 970-3568702 www.burrisoptics.com

Hornady’s Superformance Ammo Hits Pair of Golden Bullseyes (Grand Island, Neb.) - Hornady® Manufacturing, a world-renowned leader in ballistic technology, will receive two National Rifle Association (NRA) Publications Golden Bullseye Awards during a special ceremony at the 2010 NRA Annual Meetings in Charlotte, North Carolina this May. Hornady is receiving the awards for Superformance™ ammunition, which has been chosen as the 2010 Ammunition Product of the Year by “American Rifleman” and “American Hunter.” Articles showcasing Superformance™ ammunition will be featured in the May issues of both magazines. “The Golden Bullseye Award honors winners for bringing to market products remarkable in their utility to shooters and hunters,” said Joe H. Graham, Executive Director of NRA Publications. “The award is a symbol of excellence and innovation in firearms, accessories and related equipment.” Highly prestigious within the shooting industry, the Golden Bullseye Awards honor the finest products available in the shooting sports. Winners are chosen by a committee of NRA Publication editors and staff with more than a century of collective experience in the firearm industry. Winning criteria includes: prodJANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 89


ucts must be recent introductions and available to consumers; feature innovative design and function; meet or exceed field reliability expectations; and demonstrate style befitting the firearm industry as well as good purchase value. “At Hornady, we strive to deliver the most innovative products to hunters and shooting enthusiasts, said Steve Hornady, President. “It’s an honor to be recognized by an organization as prestigious as NRA Publications and we are very pleased to have been selected to receive both of these awards.” Superformance™ ammunition is loaded with premium propellants that are custom blended to increase velocities by as much as 200 fps without extra chamber pressure, recoil, muzzle blast, temperature sensitivity, fouling or loss of accuracy. Exceptional temperature sensitivity from -15 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit suits every hunting environment, from sweltering desert to the frigid arctic. Founded in 1949, Hornady Manufacturing Company is a family owned business headquartered in Grand Island, Nebraska. Proudly manufacturing products that are “Made in the USA”, by over 300 employees, Hornady Manufacturing has become a world leader in bullet, ammunition, reloading tool and accessory design and manufacture. For further information on Hornady products visit their web site at www.hornady.com. Contact: Steve Johnson, (308) 382-1390, ext. 235 or sjohnson@hornady.com

Premier Introduces V8-1.1-8x24 CQB Tactical Scope Winchester, VA. - Premier proudly announces the beginning of the CQB revolution with the introduction of new V8™ series tactical riflescope! This US built tactical riflescope features sophisticated German design and functionality in addition to unsurpassed European optical quality and performance. “This scope represents the culmination of more than 63 years of experience providing custom sighting options for the tactical shooter in addition to 90 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010

their combined requests of today for a CQB scope designed to fit their needs” said Premier Reticles’ president, Chris Thomas. “Instead of the typical approach of most other optics manufacturers of modifying existing hunting products to kind of meet the tactical shooters needs, which requires them to settle for something less than adequate in most cases, we strive to build a product designed expressly for the specific task and need at hand!” The V8 1.1-8x24 offers an 8x ratio magnification and field of view. It also boasts an innovative two focal plane (reticle & red dot) sighting system that makes engaging targets from 5ft to 500 yards as simple as a turn of the power selector and all without additional sighting devices or leaving a good shooting position. The automatic transition from long-range 1st focal plane illuminated Gen 2 CQB reticle to 2nd focal plane projected red dot takes place in the blink of an eye when the magnification selector is adjusted down below 3x. This Functionality allows the shooter to engage targets with both eyes open from 5ft to 50 yards on settings 1.1 to 3x or in traditional longer range shooting style from 50 to 500 yards when set from 3 to 8x. The V8™ 1.1-8x24 uses Premier Reticles’ illuminated Gen 2 CQB reticle, with 11 brightness levels and a locking illumination dial for storage in the “Off” position. Designed with an off position between each intensity level and an automatic shut-off after 6 hours to preserve battery life, making it quick and easy to operate. The

tactical windage and elevation adjustments on the V8™ 1.1-8x24 also feature our unique Lever-Lock™ dial retention system for tool-less re-zeroing. The adjustments provide 0.1 milliradian (1cm) per click for a total of 17mrad/58moa elevation in one revolution of the Single Turn turret and 11mrad/38moa of windage.

Ocular adjustment range is -3 to +2.5 diopter and can be locked in place once set to the desired position with the use of a simple lock ring, ensuring any adjustment made for your vision will be kept no matter how rough the going gets.


Our V8™ 1.1-8x24 riflescope is based on a super rugged 34mm diameter one-piece main tube and constructed from 6061- T6 aircraft aluminum. All internal parts are precision machined to matching tolerances providing exacting performance, reliability and movement.

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All Premier riflescopes come with a fully transferable lifetime warranty and are backed by more than six decades of customer satisfaction.

Winchester® Ammunition is taking varmint hunting to a new level, using fragmenting copper core technology, to incorporate a lead-free bullet in both .223 Rem and 22-250 Rem in the Ballistic Silvertip® line.

Key Features: * 8x ratio magnification and field of view * Illuminated reticle with 11 intensity settings and an “off” position between each setting. (1st three settings designed for use with Night Vision) * Locking Elevation and Windage adjustments * Unique 1st & 2nd focal plane sighting system with Auto switching at 3x * Patent pending Leverlock™ dial retention for toolless windage and elevation re-zero

Corporate History Premier Reticles was born out of the need for innovation and innovate was what founder Robert “Bob” Thomas did. In 1946, with the end of World War II, US servicemen brought home war booty such as damaged German sniper riflescopes. With no one to fill this niche, Bob Thomas took his optics training from the US Navy Dept. and experience in manufacturing optics for the Norden bombsight to develop methods for making and replacing mechanical (wire) reticles. Reticles, the crosshair aiming point found in all riflescopes became the foundation for which the Thomas family would lay claim to a global reputation for quality and innovation. In 1978, Richard “Dick” Thomas followed in his father’s footsteps, continuing to improve and even expand the abilities of Premier Reticles to satisfy the needs of the most demanding shooters, military, Law Enforcement and hunting. Then in 2005, third generation Chris Thomas took the helm, which brought about many changes. In 2008 we embarked on a new chapter by leveraging our extensive experience developed over the past 63 years into designing a completely new generation of riflescopes focused expressly on meeting the unique needs of the professional tactical shooter. Suggested Retail: 1.1-8x24 $2,900.00 Contact: Walter Seace Ph: (626) 627-8652 email: wseace@premierreticles.com web site www.premier-

EXPLOSIVE TECHNOLOGY™ Winchester Announces New Fragmenting Varmint Load

This truly innovative lead-free load brought to you by Winchester and Nosler® features a plastic tip to reduce tip damage and promote long-range performance, and a gilding metal jacket. The fragmenting copper core is engineered to explode on impact. “The technology behind this bullet is evident on impact,” said Brett Flaugher, vice president of domestic and international marketing and sales. “Winchester and Nosler continue to work together and offer the most innovative ammunition, and this bullet will clearly stand out in 2010.” SKU

Description

Vel/ Fps

Bullet Wt.

Availability

S223RLF

223 Rem

3800

35

March

4200

35

March

22-250 Rem 22-250 Rem

20 rds. per box – 200 rds. per case. The Winchester Ballistic Silvertip lead-free bullet will meet the increased customer demand in regions with lead-free regulations, as well as the growth of varmint hunting across all parts of North America. For more information about Winchester and its complete line of products, visit www.winchester.com. Winchester is Proud to be a Leader in the Shooting Sports Winchester® Ammunition pledged $500,000 to permanently endow the NRA’s Marksmanship Qualification Program, thus becoming the exclusive sponsor of the officially renamed Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program. The Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program is a self-paced shooting development program. Open to adults and youngsters alike, the program measures an individual’s shooting proficiency against established par scores in 13 courses of fire across three disciplines: pistol, rifle and shotgun. By supporting the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program, Winchester is providing everyone the chance to explore the benefits that hunting JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 91


and the shooting sports have to offer. To learn more about the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program, please call 800-672-3888 ext. 1505 or visit www.nrahq. org/youth.

RAGE LAUNCHES TITANIUM BROADHEADS: HUGE ENTRY HOLES AND BONE-SHATTERING PERFORMANCE SUPERIOR, Wisconsin (January 13, 2010) — The Rage has introduced its ultimate Titanium Rage 2-blade broadhead that combines a space-age metal with the SlipCam rear-deploying-blade design that has revolutionized bowhunting. With the strength of steel at a fraction of its weight and with twice the strength of

The revolutionary SlipCam rear-blade-deployment system used in the Titanium Rage broadhead offers fully deployed blades immediately upon impact, with no loss of kinetic energy. This results in huge entry holes, gaping wound channels and unprecedented blood trails, and now with the incorporation of titanium construction, the new Titanium Rage has unsurpassed durability and strength for shot-aftershot success. The Titanium Rage is recognizable by its natural, lustrous metallic color, and it will be sold in packs of three broadheads with a free practice head for $84.99. The Rage is also available in 100-grain in either a 2-Blade design, with either the new 1.5-inch or the giant 2-inch cutting diameter, or a 3-Blade design, with a 1.5-inch cutting diameter. The new 125-grain 2-blade is also available.

HEAVYWEIGHT RAGE HITS THE MARKET: RAGE INTRODUCES THE NEW 125-GRAIN 2-BLADE SUPERIOR, Wisconsin (January 14, 2010) ˜ In response to continual customer requests, Rage Broadheads today announced the production of its new heavyweight 125-grain 2-blade broadhead. With the same two-inch cutting diameter as the popular 100-grain Rage, this new broadhead offers more weight in the ferrule for inflicting maximum damage and penetration.

aluminum, titanium is the primary metal used in the aerospace industry due to its superb weight-to-density ratio and relatively ductile nature. Considering the structure and bone density of big-game animals, titanium is the ultimate choice for hide-cutting, bonesplitting devastation. The top-of-the-line Titanium Rage 100-grain 2-blade’s durability is second to none, and it is designed and tested to withstand numerous hits on bone and soft tissue. Already considered by an overwhelming number of professional bowhunters to be the most devastatingly accurate broadhead design in the world, the Rage raises the bar with the incorporation of titanium construction with the new head. For the bowhunter, this means titanium tough and smaller diameter equals better penetration. 92 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010

The revolutionary SlipCam rear blade deployment system on the 125-grain Rage broadhead offers fully deployed blades immediately upon impact, with no loss of kinetic energy. This results in creating huge entry holes, gaping wound channels and unprecedented blood trails. Rage is not only the most humane broadhead on the market; it is also the most forgiving and now it is available in 125-grain 2-blade design.


For those wanting a heavier broadhead with the unprecedented success of the Rage design, the 125grain 2-blade will be available at retailers nationwide in January. The 125-grain Rage has a black ferrule and the practice head is silver. It will be sold in packs of three broadheads with a free practice head for $44.99. The Rage is available in 100-grain in either a 2-Blade design, with either the new 1.5-inch or the giant 2-inch cutting diameter, or a 3-Blade design, with a 1.5-inch cutting diameter. For an in-depth look at the Rage and the revolutionary, patented designs, check out the interactive website www.ragebroadheads.com . Be sure to spend some time looking at the high-speed video footage comparing the impacts of fixed, traditional expandables, and the Rage. Rage Broadheads is headquartered at 101 Main Street, Superior, WI 54880; (715) 395 9955.

The New Blaser R8 Bolt-action Rifle A New Era of Perfection “The beginning of a new era of perfection�, is how Blaser CEO Bernhard Knoebel has named the launch of the new Blaser bolt action rifle R8 in his preface of the brand-new catalog. For the past five years, there has been one lingering question for the hunters and engineers at Blaser, regarding the Blaser bolt action rifle R93: How can this technically superior concept be taken to the next level? In order to answer this question the Blaser engineers, most of them passionate hunters themselves, kept a close connection to hunters around the world in order to respond to their requests.

Detachable Magazine When the development of the R8 actually started the detachable magazine was right at the top of the optimization list. Blaser found an ergonomically superior solution that essentially supports fast and intuitive handling. Magazine and trigger unit merged into one compact module. The magazine buttons are positioned right above the trigger guard. Thus, the magazine can be released blindly and within a split second. When removing the magazine, the R8

automatically de-cocks and once the magazine is removed, the cocking slide cannot engage anymore. Today, this is a very important safety feature securing the rifle against misuse by unauthorized persons.

Blaser Precision Trigger The detachable magazine is just one of a multitude of innovations that turn the R8 into the new worldwide benchmark when it comes to bolt action rifles. Enhancing the reliable and precise performance of the trigger posed a very special engineering challenge that has been brilliantly mastered. The new Blaser Precision Trigger breaks crisp as glass at a trigger pull of 750 gram / 1 5/8 lbs. Thanks to its extremely short release time it turns the shooter’s thought impulse immediately into an accurate shot. The innovative design does not rely on a spring to reset the trigger after firing, which marks the next leap in rifle technology. The desmodromic trigger mechanism offers unsurpassed reliability in extreme conditions such as freezing rain and blowing dust.

Perfect Stock In order to make shooting with the R8 as comfortable and safe as possible, Blaser attached immense importance to optimizing the stock, reaching a new level of perfection here, too. Different from traditional stock shapes the straight comb of the R8 diverts recoil forces horizontally on the shoulder. This results in increased muzzle stability and a substantial reduction of felt recoil. Thanks to a steeper angle, the palm support and a distinct cast, the R8 pistol grip provides a relaxed hand position allowing for controlled shooting and better shooting results.

Design Besides achieving maximum performance, Blaser gave particular attention to superior style and design. Concave and convex lines discreetly shape the rifles appearance. Contours of stock, action, mount and bolt handle blend perfectly, giving the R8 a dynamic and unequaled elegance.

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R8 Models The R8 is available in the following models at your qualified Blaser dealer from February 2010: Professional, Jaeger, Luxus, AttachĂŠ and Baronesse as well as in the model versions Safari PH and Safari Luxus. Also available in the R8 Custom class is an individually engraved version. Visit: www.blaser-usa. com. For mote info contact Blaser USA, Inc., 403 East Ramsey, Suite 301, San Antonio, TX 78216 , Phone (210) 377-2527, Fax (210) 377-2533

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Book Reviews

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Galen L. Geer In The Company of Adventure

by Jorge Alves De Lima. 334 pages. 9 Color maps, 159 Black & White photos. Indexed. Hardback. Trophy Room Books, Box 3041, Agoura, CA 91301, USA. Price: $150. My friend Bob Poos, who at the time was the Managing Editor of Soldier of Fortune magazine, was loath to celebrate his fiftieth birthday by himself so the day before his birthday I agreed to drive from my (then) home in Southern Colorado, more than a hundred miles north to Boulder where the magazine’s offices were located. The next day he was given an office birthday party and that evening Bob and I went drinking to celebrate the passage of a half-century of adventure. That night, after a pleasant evening of sampling Boulder’s beverages Poos leaned across the table and made a simple statement that has stayed with me in the thirty years since that night: “You realize, my friend,” Poos slurred, “that you and I are of the sort of people who could die now and still have lived more adventure than most men can dream in a lifetime.” Throughout my reading of In The Company of Adventure the words that Poos said to me on his fiftieth kept coming to the front of my mind because Jorge Alves De Lima had also enjoyed a lifetime of adventure that I could only dream of. Jorge was born into Brazilian aristocracy and wealth and he was educated in the United States. He enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle that he could have

easily maintained if he had followed the path his father had planned for him. Instead, in 1947 in New York Harbor he boarded a small passenger ship that was bound for London where he bought a Holland and Holland .500/.465 double rifle, a military .30-06 rifle and a .30-06 hunting rifle and then set off on his dream—to be an African White Hunter. The difference between Jorge and most people is he accomplished his dream—he became a white hunter. He was in the right place at the right time. By the fortunate convergence of politics, economics and the world’s interest in Africa, when Jorge entered French Equatorial Africa the old order of colonialism still dominated local politics and the stampede of tourist-hunters that would follow on the heels of Robert Ruark and Hemingway’s second safari were more than two decades away. Consequently, Africa, especially that half of Africa from the equator south, still included vast tracts of lands filled with game and magnificent trophies. After a few false steps Jorge managed to insert himself into the world of professional hunting and he killed his first elephant—making that leap from sport hunter to professional hunter. But Jorge maintained a strong connection to the ideals of the sport hunter. Early in the text, on page 37, Jorge relates the story of a hartebeest hunt. His brother and a wealthy uncle had decided to join him in Africa for a safari (one that Jorge hadn’t planned for), and the two brothers were hunting Lord Derby Eland when they came upon a small herd of hartebeests. The two brothers decided to shoot two JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 97


of the animals for meat because both their camp and the nearby village larders were both empty. Both brothers fired and two of the hartebeests broke away from the herd. They crossed the boundary between the free hunting zone and the game reserve. Jorge explains that “both animals were mortally wounded and with no chance of survival” and they could not leave the animals to suffer. The two brothers went into the reserve and killed the wounded animals. Most of the meat was taken to the local village for distribution and the remainder was taken to their camp. “I had followed the rules of proper sportsmanship and the fact that the final chapter of the chase took place inside the reserve boundary never bothered me.” This vignette of a single hunt sets the stage for much of Jorge’s text. There is, in fact, an attention to sportsmanship throughout the book and he frequently writes of the importance he felt of insuring that the meat from the elephant, rhino and other game that he killed was properly distributed to the nearby villages. Jorge also explains that even with the liberal licenses enjoyed by the white hunters and the vast numbers of game, some hunters still killed game to excess. Jorge, however, didn’t have the stomach for the sort of killing of game that was modus operandi of some hunters. On page 90 Jorge writes about meat hunting cape buffalo in Mozambique. “. . . I had already shot what I considered a rather shameful number of buffalo. They were so plentiful, that in a short period I made a substantial profit. However, this indiscriminate slaughter was not sporting.” What he seemed to be searching for was a personal balance between the business of hunting and the sport of hunting. He found that balance. To Live a True Adventure When he had finished with the meat hunting episode Jorge returned to what he truly loved—hunting elephant. Life for Jorge was good and he was living the life of adventure that he had dreamed of as 98 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010

a child. The elements of adventure that stand out in his personal history is not the number of elephants he killed or the tons of ivory he sold but the way that he lived his dream. When other, less courageous men, were staying closer to established camps Jorge was trekking deeper into the bush and setting fly camps on the spoor of the elephants he was tracking. When other hunters would turn back from the onslaught of the tsetse fly he pressed on. This does not mean he was stupid about his hunting—on more than one occasion he writes about turning back when the odds began to stack too heavily against him. In my reading of travelogues and what I call adventurelogues one of the elements I always look for is how willing the author is to admit his failures as well as triumphs. I am not talking about the fashionable mea culpa nonsense that has become so common by today’s weak writers, but the honest-to-God-I-failed admission that make a remarkable story much more rewarding to read. That’s the mark, I believe, of the true adventure story and you don’t have to read very many of today’s “keyboard commando adventures” before you can smell the rat of chest-pounding bravado. Jorge does not pound his chest and he admits his failures, whether it is a poorly placed shot or not correctly reading the spoor and wind.

Sensing the Future Given the time period he was in Africa it is a safe assumption that Jorge was well acquainted with the stirrings of a new political climate. When he began his remarkable adventure the smoke hadn’t completely cleared from World War Two’s battlefields and no one was expecting things in Africa to change, at least not until Africa was ready for change. Early in Chapter Twelve Jorge relates the story of his meeting with a Portuguese nurse in a remote village. The nurse was “a fine young man in his thirties with blue eyes and thick, black, well-trimmed moustache” (101). He had been drawn to the nurse by stories


of the man’s abilities as an elephant hunter. Their conversation “centered on elephant hunting, lion and the future of African colonies. That subject appeared to be crucial to all residents of Africa, mainly to those who loved it, had family there and wished to remain. This preoccupation I am fully aware that some people may was subjugating the hopes of many white men living in different parts balk at the notion of applying a referof Africa” (Ibid). Jorge writes that the end of the colonial era was ence to Peter Capstick as a measureexpected and was, in fact, the dream of many, but no one expected ment of a text such as the work of it to end with the colossal upheavals that would rewrite borders and Jorge Alves De Lima. It may not be kills tens-of-thousands, if not millions of people. Sprinkled throughout (in their view) appropriate but my ashis text Jorge hints at the gathering storm but unlike many authors of sertion is based upon my research of that period he does not allow the political problems and their ramificaCapstick’s texts as part of the research tions into the hunting world to sidetrack his purpose, which in this text supporting my graduate studies at is the adventure he was living. the University of North Dakota. In my By the time a reader has reached the mid-point of Jorge’s book the question that begins to nag is if the adventure Jorge is living can be sustained for another hundred and fifty or so pages or, as is often case, will the book become a tiresome repetition of the stories that have already been told, i.e. same plots but different characters? There is a danger of this happening in this book because we are reading how Jorge saw and lived his life between 1948 and the end of the colonial era. He avoids the problem although there are some near misses because of the way that he has constructed the book—it is not a liner text, thus the danger of repeating a story is always present. In a liner text the author begins at point A and writes through the events to point Z. The letters between A and Z are the different stories the author wishes to relate and because the stories are liner, one following the other in chronological order, there is little danger of repeating the story. Jorge’s stories are based on a liner account of his Africa adventure but he does not follow the straight path—he meanders between highpoints and on occasion he writes about an incident in one story (chapter) and then repeats a part of that incident in another story. When writers are “weaving a tale” this is where they trip up themselves. One account does not match the next. (I’ve written more than one review of personal adventure stories where I’ve questioned the author’s veracity because events didn’t match.) In my reading of this book that problem never crops up and what is truly enjoyable about In The Company of Adventure is that when Jorge does refer back to something he always does so in a slightly different viewpoint so the reader is treated to a confirmation of the event previously told. Additionally, he takes an unusual risk of allowing his brother, Eduardo, to write a chapter about the same hunt that he, Jorge, had written about earlier. The effect is pleasing to the reader’s ear because it is as if two people are telling the same story with different viewpoints.

study of how an outdoor adventure text affects the reader I found that Capstick had taken Hemingway’s “Iceberg Principle” of writing and expanded upon it by a reapplication of the principle to a succession of paragraphs, with each paragraph resolving issues of the previous paragraph. Thus, because of this pattern of constructing text Capstick’s writing had a pronounced affect on readers. They continued to read his text because the only way to obtain a resolution to each paragraph is to read the next, and the next, and the next, but with the full awareness that each paragraph would be, in part, unresolved. Capstick’s trademark as an author, then, is this constant building of anticipation by the reader. Many Capstick readers have remarked that after they began reading one of his books they were unable to put the book down, regardless of their feelings toward the author “because of the anticipation of what would happen next.” Another, frequently heard comment, is that after reading a Capstick book the reader felt physically tired, as if they had been with him in the story. This sort of tension building is a literary device commonly used by skilled fiction writers but rarely by authors of nonfiction unless they are falling back on creative nonfiction as their form. “The Capstick affect” is this paragraph building of sustained tension in a nonfiction adventure text.

There is one other “standard” to which a personal adventure text can be applied and I call it “the Capstick effect” of the “adventurelogue.” (See the sidebar for a more detailed explanation.) In this approach to a story the author builds a scene with successive powerful sentences then ends each paragraph with a strong, compelling statement that drives the scene onward. An example of how Jorge handles this approach to adventure writing is the story of a lion that he killed—dramatically.

What an unforgettable spectacle that magnificent beast was giving me, its mane fluttering against the wind and still uttering feeble but quite audible grunts. It seemed at that particular moment that he was grumJANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 99


bling about life, ignoring manifestations that were to be his death sentence. Busy with his moans, he did not suspect my approach. We were separated by less than 100 meters, and I was trying to leave my position from behind in order to make a detour to his left to aim at his shoulder. To close in was not my objective, because as it had happened on other hunts the negative consequences of too close an encounter were still fresh in my memory. The combination of my recent bout of malaria added to my eagerness and excitement left me once more, somehow unstable, breathing with difficulty, and unsteady hands. In order to regain emotional stability as quickly as possible, I had to keep a cool head and exercise control over my men, now excited to the extreme. The imminent danger, the possibility of an abrupt attack and the loss of a great opportunity to conquer a splendid prize are always present. Therefore, it is important for the hunter to control the situation, for these opportunities last only a few seconds. Success and failure go hand in hand. Bear in mind that in the majority of instances very favorable circumstances rarely repeat themselves. (267-8) Tension, power, color, self-doubt blended with the author’s determination to see the episode through to the end are all present and with the last sentence there is no reader desire to stop reading but a need to continue reading, to learn what the outcome will be even though the reader already knows the author survived—but how? These are the powerful tools of good writing being put to work by a skilled writer. By the time a reader has finished with Jorge’s book there is a sense of exhaustion, of wonderment—just how in the hell did one man manage to live that adventure? In The Company of Adventure is worth reading, worth keeping on the bookshelf and returning to on long nights when scudding clouds and forbidding weather move a person to keep the hearth logs burning while the dog sleeps nervously between the fire and his master. And, whether the reader is dreaming of adventures to come or remembering adventures of the past, this is a book that prods the reader to think about their life, just as Poos’ fiftieth birthday prodded him to think of his past adventures, and mine, and then point out that we had many more to come.

Galen L. Geer is a former United States Marine Drill Instructor and Vietnam veteran. A professional outdoor hunting, shooting and gun writer, he published 2000 magazine articles. He has been a contributing editor to Soldier of Fortune magazine for thirty years and is the author of seven books.

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Make a Plan

Here in Africa, we Boers are pioneers and survivors - and we always make a plan. We got Wallace to share come of them with you. He continues his new series.

Hints and advice are given in good faith to be of help in emergencies. The writer as well as the publisher, personnel and agents concerned does not accept any responsibility for any injury, accident or damages that might arise from the use of any of the hints. 112 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010


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Jump start a vehicle without cables Stranded in a vehicle with a flat battery? With a second vehicle as a help and with a set of touch cables handy it is no problem - but what do you do if no cables are available? Well, the principle is indeed that electricity can, with two conductors, be carried from the battery from the one vehicle to the other. Anything that can carry enough electricity can then be used instead of cables. The possibilities are infinite – wire, steel “droppers” (fence poles), pickaxe, piece of metal pipe even corrugated iron or pieces of a motor wreck. The requirement is only that electricity must be conductible, must be thick enough to handle the current without overheating and that there must be enough hands otherwise another plan must be made to bring all the pieces together without causing a short circuit.. To keep the two power transmission lines in place with all kinds of tricks is of very little value and it may be easier to get direct contact first for the negative or earth wire. ●● Fist make sure that both vehicles are negatively wired. In other words, that in both the negative terminals of the battery is earthed on the engine or chassis. ●● Get the other vehicle as close as possible to the vehicle with the flat battery so that a metal part from each good electrical contact is made with the other. Metal bumpers, bull bars, draw bars or other parts with no cosmetic value, is suitable. ●● Start the help vehicle and let it idle, about 1500pm. Now you can complete the positive conductor by making a bridge with a metal item between the positive terminal of the batteries. Let the flat battery be charged for a couple of minutes before trying to restart If you are using wire as conductor, it is advisable to twist together three or four wires to carry the strong current without them overheating. Always be very careful that sparks between weak contact points do not cause a fire or that anybody gets hurt. Be careful that the conductor does not short circuit or touch the finishing of the vehicle

Dr Wallace Vosloo is an Engineer and Scientist by profession. His family has lived in Africa since 1696 and he has a deep love for the continent. He is a practical outdoorsman and loves traditional hunting, axe and knife throwing, longbow shooting, black powder rifle- and cannon shooting, salt and fresh water fly fishing and tracking. The art of survival is Wallace’s main field of interest and his passion is to transfer these old forgotten skills to young hunters.

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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

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tion minimums. 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.

●● health and first aid

A must-have item for every serious hunter.

●● mammal identification information with photographs, tracks, dung and SCI and Rowland Ward qualifica-

Sturdy PlastiCoil binding for durability and easy opening, 110 pages, 6.0 x 9.0 in. Full color covers and cream interior printed in


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John Eldredge

116 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010


True North Our Story Our lives are not a random series of events; they tell a Story that has meaning. We aren’t in a movie we’ve arrived at twenty minutes late; we are in a Sacred Romance. There really is something wonderful that draws our heart; we are being wooed. But there is also something fearful. We face an enemy with vile intentions. Is anyone in charge? Someone strong and kind who notices us? At some point we have all answered that question “no” and gone on to live in a smaller story. But the answer is “yes”—there is someone strong and kind who notices us. Our Story is written by God, who is more than author, he is the romantic lead in our personal dramas. He created us for himself, and now he is moving heaven and earth to restore us to his side. His wooing seems wild because he seeks to free our heart from the attachments and addictions we’ve chosen, thanks to the Arrows we’ve known. And we—who are we, really? We are not pond scum, nor are we the lead in the story. We are the Beloved; our hearts are the most important thing about us, and our desire is wild because it is made for a wild God. We are the Beloved, and we are addicted. We’ve either given our heart to other lovers and can’t get out of the relationships, or we’ve tried our best to kill desire (often with the help of others) and live lives of safe, orderly control. Either way, we play into the hands of the one who hates us. Satan is the mortal enemy of God and therefore ours as well, who comes with offers of less-wild lovers, hoping to deceive us in order to destroy our heart and thus prevent our salvation or cripple our sanctification. These are the stage, the characters, and the plot in the broadest possible terms. Where do we go from here? (The Sacred Romance , 147–48)


African Expedition Magazine Volume 2 Issue 4  

Linyanti Stampede: Dignity in flight ▪ BorderLine Walk Stage Three : Matusadona to Kariba ▪ The .17 Remington goes to AFRICA: Beyond varmint...

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