Debunking Ballistic Myths The truth about terminal ballistics
BorderLine Walk Kariba Gorge
RHINO WARS! Ghost rings for accurate shooting
AFRICAN Pride Third Timeâ€™s the Charm Four paces from Death
Strike of the spear
Make a Plan
Alternative uses for your flashlight
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contents 4 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010
8 Debunking Ballistic Myths
The truth about terminal ballistics
22 BorderLine Walk Kariba Gorge
36 RHINO WARS! 40 Ghost rings for accurate shooting Open-sight hunting
61 Rookie Writers
African Pride Third Time’s the Charm Four paces from Death
78 Twig Snake
Strike of the spear
86 News, Reviews, and Press Releases 96 Book Reviews
Tanzania Safari: Robert DePole
110 Make a Plan
Alternative uses for your flashlight
115 True North Unbelievable
6 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010
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The truth about terminal ballistics 8 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010
ut a bunch of hunters together at a favourite watering hole, or around a hunting campfire, and at some point, talk will almost certainly turn to stopping power, killing power, and matters relating to the way a bullet performs on an animal that is on the receiving end. You are bound to hear about kinetic energy, Taylorâ€™s knockout formula, momentum theory, and other impressive sounding terminology which compares the terminal ballistics of one bullet to another. I too have spent many hours debating and arguing with fellow amateur ballisticians about the efficacy, or lack thereof, of bullets and their effects on target animals (or people). JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 9
I think it comes with age but, with close on sixty summers behind me, I have come to realize that we are extremely gullible creatures, and will readily believe almost anything which appears in print–especially articles written in gun magazines. We accept in most case what is written as ‘gospel’. I am no longer as gullible as I used to be in my younger days–I now question and put everything to the test. When it comes to terminal ballistics, the effect that a bullet has on a living target, I began to question the prevalent thinking many years ago. Based not on any personal profound knowledge of ballistics, which is a very complex science, but on personal experience, when on many occasions, I was astounded to see how many foot pounds of energy an elephant or buffalo could soak up before finally dying. My suspicions were recently confirmed by the work of a professional ballistician, who chooses to remain anonymous, in a series of excellent articles that exposes most of what we have come to accept as sound ballistic principles, as overly simplistic at best, and pure myth at worst. His arguments are absolutely sound. So let’s have a look at some of the ballistic myths he puts to rest. The popular misconceptions he addressed were: ●● Taylor Knock Out (TKO) formula ●● Momentum and “stopping power” ●● Threshold of wounding potential based on kinetic energy ●● Optimal Game Weight (OGW) formula ●● “Energy dump”, “over penetration” and “hydrostatic shock” ●● Lethal Index formula ●● Knock-Out Value (KOV) formula Taylor Knockout (TKO) formula Taylor’s Knock Out (TKO), a formula based on the experience of the renowned African hunter John Pondoro Taylor, is one close to the heart of many amateur and (supposedly) professional ballisticians and hunters alike. It states the following: TKO = Bullet weight (pounds) x Impact velocity (fps) x Bullet diameter (inches). Now in mitigation of the formula, it must be remembered that Taylor suggested it at a time when there was a cult following of small caliber, high velocity hunters who ventured into the African bush and often experienced dismal failures, unfortunately with fatal consequences. His formula was no doubt in reaction 10 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010
to this, and included his bias towards the bullets and cartridges he favoured and knew to work reliably. The problem with this formula is the following: “This formula is as misleading as any kinetic energy figures…I have seen”. The inadequacy of this formula is soon exposed, when it is pointed out that a hand thrown baseball has no less than twice the TKO of the standard Nitro Express (NE) load! Taylor himself admitted that there was no appreciable difference in the killing performance of the various .400’s, .415’s, .450’s, .465’s, .470’s, .475’s and 500’s on dangerous game when loaded with reliable bullets of sound construction (Ah ha! Here lies the rub.). The TKO, as most commonly interpreted, exaggerates any difference that might exist because it makes the bore diameter equally as important as the velocity. When comparing a .450/.400 NE and a .500 NE using his formula, the latter is calculated to be 55% more potent, even though Taylor himself admitted to them being very similar in killing performance. So, things do not appear as they seem. It must be stated in Taylor’s defence however, that he never intended it to be used as an indicator of killing or even “shocking” performance for hits on the body. He indicates that the “stunning” effect calculated by his formula applies for the most part to near misses of the brain on elephant. He made the point that even a “stopping rifle” was ineffective with poor shooting: “Both barrels from a .600 in the belly (of an elephant) will have little more apparent effect than a single shot from a .275 in the same place.” (African Rifles and Cartridges, Taylor. Page 59). Promotion of this formula is a prime example of the careless way in which a quasi-scientific method is seized upon, even though the originator may reject that purpose to which it is put. Taylor’s use of bullet diameter, instead of cross sectional area, is in fact mathematically incorrect, as a bullet having twice the diameter to a smaller one has in fact more than twice the cross sectional area. Momentum and “stopping power” There is another bunch of armchair ballisticians that favour the use of momentum (in isolation) being a good measure of stopping power. I admit to having been one of these, because the thought behind it seemed to lend more credence to the performance of lower velocity, big bore cartridges, than what the kinetic energy story told. It is demonstrated that arguments made by this theory in support of “stop-
According to Taylor’s formula a hand thrown baseball will have twice the TKO of the standard nitro express load. Bouncing the baseball off the noggin of an elephant is unlikely to produce any positive results
ping power”, turn out to be just as weak as those in support of kinetic energy in isolation, which we will look at presently. The only time that momentum appears to hold a measure of validity is if a heavy bullet of .577 or .600 Nitro Express (or larger) passes close to an elephants brain through the spongy skull surrounding it. The impact of this blow in some cases can stagger the animal. Problems with this theory are indicated as the following: Momentum on its own as an indicator of “stopping power” is meaningless if bullet construction and other factors are ignored. The following example is presented which expose the fallacy of momentum on its own being an acceptable indicator of stopping power: You have a three pound spear traveling at 50 fps and a three pound gel-filled bag traveling at the same velocity. They have equal mass and momentum. Which one would you prefer to be hit by? Logic soon identifies which
object is likely to be the most lethal without having to resort to field testing! It is also rather interesting to note that the momentum of the above two projectiles is almost identical to that of a factory loaded 500 grain .458 Winchester Magnum. Do you possibly think that an elephant or buffalo would be staggered by the impact of a three pound gel filled bag thrown at it at 50 feet per second? The answer is self evident. See Figure 2. Clearly momentum theory on its own falls way short of reality, so this formula can also be filed away in the redundant folder. Threshold of wounding potential based on kinetic energy This theory implies that the more kinetic energy a bullet possesses, the more stopping power it has, and the quicker it will dispatch an animal – i.e. Ek=1/2mv2 Why does this formula not hold water?
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Kinetic energy on its own as an indicator of “stopping power” is meaningless, because bullet construction and other factors are ignored. Consider two bullets of the same calibre (say .308 Winchester for example) and mass. Bullet A travels at 50 feet per second faster than bullet B. Bullet “A” (a non-expanding bullet) may have more kinetic energy, according to the formula, than bullet “B” (an expanding soft point), but if the construction of bullet “A” is of such a nature that there is no expansion, and it drills right through the target creating a very narrow wound channel, it is likely that the animal will run off and not expire very quickly. If bullet “B” holds together, and mushrooms well to create a wide and deep wound channel, it will drop the target animal quicker than bullet “A”. Because a quantity of kinetic energy is not, in and of itself, sufficient to adequately describe the wounding characteristics of a bullet, does not imply that kinetic energy is not a valid measure of ballistic performance. It is, but not on its own, because there are other variables which have to be factored into the equation. We also know that when we drive a bullet at very high velocity the probability of it breaking up on impact and causing a shallow (non-lethal) cratering wound is increased. If we take that same bullet (same mass), and drive it at a lower velocity (which will equate to a lower kinetic energy), we will reach a point where we will have good penetration which will result in a greater effect on the target. Optimal Game Weight (OGW) formula First appearing in the April 1992 issue of GUNS magazine, the OGW formula was reported to be the result of careful experimentation taking the various contributions of kinetic energy, momentum, bullet sectional density, bullet diameter, bullet nose configuration, and a number of other criteria into consideration. The author did not elaborate on his experimental methodology, but came up with the following formula: OGW (lbs) = Velocity (fps) 3 x Bullet weight (grains) 2 x 1.5 x 10-12 The weakness of this formula is soon exposed when the following are considered: The OGW formula is nothing more than kinetic energy multiplied by momentum, then multiplied by some constant to arrive at the desired weight range. There is nothing magical about the answers presented by this formula. It is based entirely on the result of a subjective choice of the constant (i.e. 1.5 x 10-12), divided by
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the acceleration due to gravity. The OGW formula does attempt to combine the separate contributions of kinetic energy and momentum, but however well intentioned this may be, multiplying the two values together is not an unacceptable method of deriving a composite effect. The following illustrates why this is so: An 85-grain .243 calibre light game bullet with a velocity of 3500 fps. has an OGW rating of 389 pounds at the muzzle. A 575-grain ball traveling at 850 fps has an OGW rating of 305 pounds. The former bullet is appropriate for small, light and thin skinned game and the latter “to stop charging tigers”. The OGW has little application to reality.
energy is irrelevant if the wound channel is of sufficient diameter being a wound track of 0.75 - 1 inch in cross section (19 -25mm) through heart, lung or major arteries. If one considers a bullet which enters the target, does not exit, dumps all its energy but fails to hit any vital organ along the wound track, all the energy of the bullet may have been expended on the animal, but it is likely, despite the “energy dump”, to still run off and take a long time to die. From the standpoint of efficiency, the ideal case would be when a bullet penetrated enough to barely exit the opposite side. However, this is a distinct difference between efficiency and effectiveness.
Although the author mentioned taking “kinetic energy, momentum, bullet sectional density, bullet diameter, bullet nose configuration, and a number of other criteria” into consideration, the effects of sectional density, bullet diameter, and nose configuration appear nowhere in the formula, and bullet construction is glaringly neglected in the article. By making velocity a third order term, it wildly exaggerates the effect of this component in terminal bullet behaviour, which has surprisingly little effect for deforming bullets. Another formula bites the dust. “Energy dump”, “over penetration” and “hydrostatic shock” The basis of these somewhat similar theories is that a bullet, which remains inside a target, is more effective (in terms of stopping or killing power) than one, which completely penetrates and passes through because all the energy is “dumped” into the target. If it passes through, the residual energy still contained within the bullet is wasted (see Figure 3). If the energy is not wasted on exit, it is deemed to have been more effective by having exhausted itself entirely on the target animal. What’s wrong with this theory? If a bullet “overpenetrates” (comes to rest under the skin on the opposite side of the entry hole), or passes right through, ineffective “stopping power” is not due to wasted energy, but “undercavitation”. In other words, the wound channel created by the bullet (i.e. the cavity) must be of sufficient diameter to cause enough damage to vital organs. It makes no difference then if the bullet passes partially or right through the target, as long as it penetrates enough to reach vital organs. Wasted
Most experienced hunters prefer an exit wound as it leaves a better blood trail. The rate of energy transfer is vastly more important than the quantity of energy transferred. It is not the energy itself that kills; it is the character JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 15
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of the work done by it. There is no such thing as “hydrostatic shock”. The energy pulse originating from a bullet entering the watering medium of living tissue is not static. It moves and is therefore dynamic. Lethal Index formula John Wooters the well-known gun writer, frustrated by the litany of kinetic energy figures, suggested a formula that, he believed, was a more reliable indicator of a bullet’s effectiveness on live game. Unlike the Taylor Knock Out rating, the Lethality Index (or L factor) is intended to be a measure of effectiveness on thin-skinned game by expanding rifle bullets: LI=Kinetic energy (ft. lbs) x Sectional Density (SD) x Bullet diameter (inches) This theory is questionable for the following reason: Large calibre bullets admittedly do make bigger wound channels than small calibres, kinetic energy is a valid component in the measure of wounding, and bullets with a high sectional density penetrate deeper and expand without coming apart (all things being equal). But, all things are not on an equal footing and this formula, like others that don’t even take bullet performance into account, cannot be considered a meaningful measure of terminal effect. This formula is an assessment of the potential of a specific cartridge-load combination and its components at the muzzle. Downrange performance of otherwise identical loads can be very different and that sectional density, in particular, is an unreliable indicator of bullet performance. And so RIP (Rest in Peace) Lethal Index Formula. Knock-Out Value (KOV) formula This formula was invented by a South African by the name of Chris Bekker and is based on a simplified, but slightly erroneous, “terminal momentum” calculation: KOV = “Terminal momentum” (lb. ft/s) x Sectional Density (S.D) x “Mushroom factor” Where: Terminal momentum = Impact velocity (fps) x Retained bullet weight (lbs) and Sectional Density = Original bullet weight (lbs) / Bullet diameter (inches)
At first glance this formula appears to be moving in the right direction but fails on closer scrutiny? Why should it be “terminal momentum” multiplied by sectional density? Why not kinetic energy multiplied, or divided by, expanded frontal area, for instance? From where did this insight arise? Where is the physical evidence justifying a “Mushroom Factor”, and who decides on the value of this arbitrary factor? The only evidence that the author presents to support the validity of his theory is in the form of comparisons to other “indices” and “factors” or to kinetic energy alone. No documentation or analysis is provided to show how these relationships in the KOV were derived. When the support of field evidence is drawn upon for evidence it is entirely subjective. This sort of reasoning does not qualify as scientific argument or evidence. None of the mathematical dexterity demonstrates anything other…. than to satisfy ones preconceived notions about how things are expected to work. Pseudo science What is the root cause of all this erroneous of ballistic misunderstanding? The author of the articles justifiably lays it at the door of pseudo science. He points out that “to be meaningful and scientifically sound (correct and true), a formula or theory must be founded on carefully collected test data, not “gut feelings”, prevailing perceptions, and anecdotal evidence (which is little better than hearsay). Scientific, analytical methods, and measures must be as objective and quantitative as possible. Consequently, theories of terminal effects of bullets must be evaluated in quantitative terms, meaning that dimensions of wounds must be evaluated, and together with a host of other factors, be taken into account. None of the formulas discussed in this article can be quantitatively defended with a study of field results– there are too may anomalies and variations to be explained away. Field experience, without carefully planned scientific record taking and analysis, is almost useless. Science is founded on fact which can be examined and tested by any individual. Unfortunately in the hunting world, there are many pseudo scientists. People like myself who have intense interests in ballistics, but who are not scientifically trained ballisticians, often come up with subjective theories, which somehow take root and become accepted as “gospel”. JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 17
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Unfortunately, terminal ballistics is a lot more complex than what we would like it to be. So many of the theories and formulas that have been suggested have been over simplified, because they have been put forward by individuals, some of whom admittedly may have extensive field experience, but have no formal scientific training in the field of ballistics in which mathematics, involving complex calculus and differential equations, are the order of the day. Then again, there may be trained ballisticians who have little knowledge of anatomy and physiology, and the response of a body to the effects of a bullet. There are so many variables, and to neglect even one or two would provide answers that are not a reflection of the truth. Let us just for a moment list some of the variables involved in how a bullet performs on contact with, and entry into living tissue, and what these mean in terms of a bullets knockdown performance, stopping power, lethality index, or whatever term equates to how quickly and efficiently it can kill an animal. Looking first at the bullet and its terminal performance, here are some of the variables that come to mind (there are likely to be many more which I may not have taken into consideration): ●● The dimensions of the bullet (length and diameter) and changes that might occur as it is passing through living tissue, e.g. increasing diameter in expanding bullets. ●● Its impact mass and mass through the target (which will progressively decrease, and be largely determined by its ability to stay together, and influenced by the types of tissue encountered along the wound channel). ●● Its impact velocity and velocity through the target (which will progressively decrease and be influenced by the types of tissue encountered along the wound channel). ●● Its rotational energy and momentum at the point of impact and through living tissue. ●● Its impact momentum and momentum through the target (which will progressively decrease and be influenced by the types of tissue encountered along the wound channel). ●● Its impact kinetic energy and kinetic energy through the target (which will progressively decrease and be influenced by the types of tissue encountered along the wound channel).
●● The shape of the nose (angle of the ogive, ball, spitzer, flat nose etc.) and how it may change as it passes through living tissue). ●● The incident angle (i.e. the angle of the bullet as it impacts the target animal) – yawing, tumbling, flying straight, etc. ●● Rate of energy transfer. ●● Effect of the bullet caused by the density of tissue at the initial point of contact and along the wound channel. ●● The cohesive properties of the bullet (i.e. its ability to stay together and not break up) which will be determined by its construction ●● Soft nose, ballistic (plastic) tip, monolithic or FMJ construction. And now let us for a moment consider the animal variables, which will affect the bullets performance: ●● The diameter and depth of the wound channel (there may be more than one if the bullet breaks up)–it may vary in size along the path of the bullet. ●● The path followed by the wound channel and structures encountered along the way. The diameter and path along the wound channel, as well as the number and type of vital structures destroyed or damaged along the way, will largely determine how fast the animal will lose blood, go into circulatory shock, or have the central nervous system disrupted and die. ●● The condition of the animal at the time of being shot (i.e. state of health). An animal in poor, weak or debilitated condition is likely to be more susceptible to the affects of a bullet. ●● Nutritional status of the animal at the time it was shot. ●● Mental state at the time of being shot. If in an excited state with high adrenaline levels, it may deal more efficiently with the shock resulting from being hit by a bullet. ●● Blood pressure. ●● Blood volume. ●● Rate of blood loss. ●● The rate at which living tissue, such as skin, connective tissue, muscle, tendons, ligaments, and bone resist the passage of a bullet. ●● The animal’s ability to compensate for blood loss (i.e. the compensatory phase of shock). ●● Respiratory and cardiac function. JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 19
And so onâ€Ś The point I am trying to make here is that there are so many variables involved, that none of the existing formulas come anywhere near to forecasting the predicted outcome a bullet will have on any given animal, assuming that the bullet arrives at its point of contact without having being deviated along its course from the muzzle by crosswinds, or having made contact with a twig or other object. I have read carefully through the work of the unknown ballistician, and found it to be accurate, consistent, reliable, credible, and well up to the test
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of scrutiny, and am in total agreement that none of the formulas we have been presented with to date, and which most of us have readily propagated, come anywhere near to accurately predicting the terminal performance of a bullet on a living animal. And so for us who are fascinated by how projectiles fly and perform, it is time to rethink things that we have so gullibly accepted in the past. REFERENCES Aagaard, F. Big Bore Rifles. Anon. Shooting holes in Wounding Theories: The Mechanics of Terminal Ballistics. Taylor, J.P. 1948. African Rifles and Cartridges. Stackpole Books, Harrisburg.
Cleve Cheney holds a bachelor of science degree in zoology and a masterâ€™s degree in animal physiology. He is a wilderness trail leader, rated field guide instructor and the author of many leading articles on the subjects of tracking, guiding, bowhunting and survival. Cleve has unrivalled experience in wildlife management, game capture and hunting, both with bow and rifle. JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 21
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Kariba Gorge K
ariba gorge was without doubt the most physically demanding stretch of the Borderline Walk to date. Before we tackled that daunting obstacle, the debate had involved three areas: the territories flanking the Batoka and Devilâ€™s gorges, and the western half of Chete safari area. Kariba gorge ended all debate, bringing a new dimension to the party and squeezing more sweat from us than the other three areas combined. We descended from Kariba town into the gorge during the afternoon of November 3, accompanied by our newfound friend, Mr. Andries Scholtz, who had decided to camp with us that night. Andries is an absolute gentleman who took time from his hectic schedule to guide us around the Kariba area. Since his knowledge of Kariba and its surrounds is vast, it proved to be a most instructive and interesting tour, with the highlight for me being an afternoon on the dam wall. Mind blowing stuff, to be sure. JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 23
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flowing faster and deeper. The signs were ominous but we didn’t think or talk about it, we just plugged away over the rocks. About 2 p.m., we came to our first major challenge, in the form of a massive mountain that met the water abruptly and effectively blocked the way. Try as we may, we couldn’t outflank that mountain and we put in concerted effort for hours. At one stage, we managed to clamber over huge boulders and shuffle nerve-wracking ledges for about two hundred meters, between two and ten meters above the water, I suppose. But the light was waning (it fades fast in the gorge) and it was actually becoming dangerous. Soon, too, we would have the problem of where to sleep and there didn’t appear to be any place suitable up front. And so, tired, dispirited and literally on the edge, we surrendered and made our way cautiously back the way we had come. That night we camped on a patch of rock-encased sand that angled precariously down into the river, which flowed by a few meters from where we lay. Talk about a rush of blood to the feet. Early in the evening, whilst preparing dinner (fish and sadza, what else?), a couple of Zambian fishermen came paddling their makoro up the river, chattering away. As they drew closer, I hailed them, in Shona, instinctively. There was a low murmuring of voices and then one of them said, ‘Good evening sir, I am Raymond Mwenda from Salisbury fishing camp.’ It was only then that I remembered that Zambians don’t speak Shona. We struck up a bit of a conversation across the narrow divide of water and all the while the makoro drifted in closer. The Zambians said they had observed our attempt of the mountainside earlier and had thought we were either special-forces soldiers or mad. We laughed, assured them we were neither and enticed them the final few meters to shore with the offer of cigarettes. What else? After chatting a little about the impossibility of us continuing along the shoreline, the Zambians pocketed a pack of cigarettes and said they
had to get upstream and get fishing for their wages. They said they’d return at dawn to further discuss our predicament. We thanked them and watched them paddle off into the night – less chattering now that there was so much puffing going on. As we drifted off to sleep that night, Jephita and I discussed our options or, more specifically, option. We knew it was unlikely we would cross the mountain anywhere near the river, even if we tried to go over the top, so to speak. We had had good visuals of what was above that afternoon, and decided it would simply be too taxing and too dangerous to tackle the mountain close to the river. We would have to work our way inland and seek out another, less radical approach. That would mean carrying all the water we could, which would not be much, fourteen liters tops. True to their word, Raymond Mwenda and his companion, Rasricky Hamoonge, were with us by dawn the following morning. Then we enjoyed a more lengthy and informative discussion than the previous evening, over a loaf of bread and some jam we had brought from Kariba, as well as quite a few cigarettes. The Zambians assured us that although they never, ever went into Zimbabwe under any circumstances, they knew with absolute certainty that inland from this point was no better than on the river. They said that not one but many mountains would block our way and that our meager water supply would undoubtedly run out fast. But there was a plan – Salisbury fishing camp was only a few hundred meters downstream and they’d run us there and a little beyond, to a point where they would drop us on the far side of the mountain. At that place over the mountain, they said, there was a pass that would lead us inland a few kilometers, where we would find it easier to cross over the half-dozen similar mountains which still lay ahead, and work our way back to the river. They also said we might consider buying some of their fine, fresh wares whilst at Salisbury camp, and JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 25
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Not that I understand much about the engineering side of it, but one simply has to be in awe of the sheer size of the wall, and appreciate the effort that went into holding the river at bay and putting it all together. A few days before the wall tour, I had visited the little chapel erected on Kariba heights as a memorial to those who died whilst constructing Kariba dam wall. Eighty-six men in total perished: sixty-five Africans and twenty-one Italians, all between October 7, 1956 and February 15, 1961. Seventeen men were killed on February 2, 1959. I guess that was when a coffer dam burst but don’t quote me on that one. I enjoyed my trip to the chapel atop the heights, but I reckon that the mighty wall itself is a far more fitting tribute to the memory of those brave men. They must have been men of men indeed. We camped that night beside a river made more stunning than usual by the time of the month and the state of the moon. Before bedding down, some time was spent trying to catch fish and a small crocodile. Both efforts were equally unsuccessful but fun was had and fun is important. At sundown, whilst fishing, we were able to make a fair assessment of what lay ahead the following day. Although Kariba dam was close to capacity, engineers at the wall were experiencing problems and releasing only a trickle of water. The result, of course, was that the river level was low and I could see how beneficial this would be. As I sat there on the rocks failing to catch fish with Andries and Jephita, gazing off downstream, an expansive smile came to my dial – the
ground along the water’s edge seemed manageable enough. In fact, some of it was fairly flat! Of course, there were what looked like a couple of rough spots, but who would expect anything less from any gorge? Suddenly a great deal more optimistic about tackling the gorge than I had been, I stated as much. Andries nodded slowly, agreeing that our efforts would certainly be abetted by the river’s level. I just couldn’t help but wonder why the furrows in his forehead seemed more pronounced than usual… After thanking Andries for his help and advice and bidding that firstclass man farewell, we set off down the river in no great hurry the following morning. It was obvious that Andries would have liked nothing better than to join us for a few days, but responsibility would not allow it. He is building a hotel after all! And then there’d be the scuba-diving and sailing downtime to consider…I was sorry to see the back of action man Andries Scholtz, but I know our paths will cross again some day. Hopefully that day comes about soon. As hoped, all went well that morning and we had made decent headway by midday – five or six kilometers. True, the rough spots had been a tad rougher than expected and the going was undoubtedly becoming more testing, but we had not yet come across anything that caused much downtime. That was soon to change – the mountains of Zambia and Zimbabwe were gradually drawing closer together, constricting the river which was now JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 27
would be welcome to pay in either US dollars or cigarettes. Cigarettes would be preferable, of course, but a cash arrangement could be made…. I said that, as it happened, our fish supply was alarmingly low, and quickly loaded my backpack into the makoro. We obviously had to make two runs over to Zambia and I went first. It was a fairly nerve-wracking border jump, crossing the Zambezi in that beat-up old makoro. It had definitely seen better days and leaked like a sieve – we had to bail as we went. Loaded as our vessel was, it lay very low and water continuously slopped in over the sides. Seated as I was, backside to base of boat with no elevation beneath, I could extend my arms in an almost straight line, dangle my hands and skim the water with my fingertips. There was not much tomfoolery though, I can assure you. Between bailing The dam wall with an inadequate plastic receptacle, I enjoyed good, close-up views of the Zimbabwe bank en route to Salisbury camp, and saw all I needed to convince me that it was indeed impossible to walk the shoreline. It was simply sheer rock-face or piles of huge boulders meeting water, for hundreds of meters. It would be madness to attempt it and someone would get killed. A lightly-loaded mountaineer could probably do it easily enough, but the Borderline walkers were certainly not going to try. Looking up was no more encouraging – the entire mountainside comprised jagged rock and extreme drop-offs. I guess a decent overview of the mountain helped me to justify our ‘cheating’, although the truth is that I have never really felt the need to justify anything on Borderline. We take it as it comes and we do what we can under the circumstances. That mountain, at that point and as far as my eye could see, was truly an insurmountable object for us, and I will always try and avoid danger at all costs. Prevention is better than cure, as they say. Contrary to what some may believe, neither Jephita nor I are particularly gungho. Who are we going to justify our actions to any28 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010
way? It is only we who make the rules. And there are few rules pertaining to Borderline – simply that we walk around the country, sticking to the borderline as closely as possible. Crossing rivers by boat has obviously always been on the agenda, and that morning, as I was paddled down to Salisbury camp, I added ‘insurmountable objects may be rounded by boat’ to the rule list. But only by boat – thus far we have crossed fourteen rivers and rounded one insurmountable object by boat, and walked the rest of the way. We intend to keep it like that – foot or boat. We won’t get a helicopter ride over a mountain, for example. That would be taking the ‘cheating’ a little too far and actually cause it to become cheating. Raymond and Rasricky
dropped me off at Salisbury camp and introduced me to a few of their fellow fishermen before returning for Jephita. There were only half a dozen guys in camp, but I was told that it was occupied by up to twenty fishermen at any one time. Some were always out fishing, day or night, and some were away at market, about twenty kilometers inland, over the mountains. I arrived soon after a couple of makoros had come in from the night’s work, and the catch was being cleaned. One fellow had caught an enormous Cornish jack and I was fortunate enough to get a picture of it. Almost as long as the man himself, I’m sure it would have ranked high on the record list. Salisbury camp comprised basically nothing – a rough and ready grass shelter, some drying racks, a few blankets and a couple of bags of grain. That’s it. Isn’t it amazing to consider that this is all that up to twenty men need to survive? Don’t get me wrong and assume I’m suggesting these men are merely surviving – I believe they do pretty well from the fishing business, by African standards, that is. They were a content and cheerful bunch and I was made to feel most welcome. It was not long before the makoro bearing Jephita rounded a kink in the river (created by the dreaded mountain), and popped into view. Still low in the wa-
ter but not as low as on the first run. It was value entertainment for the guys on shore when the intrepid boatmen ran aground on a large rock, in midstream. Then Raymond hopped out onto the rock, just ankledeep in water, and pushed the makoro off. For a minute he looked as if he was walking on water. Jephita looked as if he was walking on hot coals. By the time the makoro reached shore, Jephita looked as if he’d done three seconds with Mike Tyson and probably would have preferred that to what he’d just endured. I think the surprise of reaching land safely was just too much and placed him in a kind of daze. On a more serious note, we all remember the Umi boat disaster and I respect Jephita for climbing back into any boat, let alone that makoro. It must have taken courage.
We spent only an hour at e whil ied d Salisbury camp for o h se w Tho we could not afford to stay longer, but a splendid time was had by all. I believe it was actually a memorable experience for both parties and I like to think those Zambian fisherman discuss our visit sometimes. There we were, Zimbabweans and Zambians, bridging the divide in a world where nobody else ever ventures. Not anyone from the Zimbabwe side anyway, with the exception of the odd thrill-seeker like Andries Scholtz. Andries and a friend actually crash-landed a micro-light in the gorge at some stage! The truth is nobody goes into the gorge on foot on the Zimbabwe side and one needn’t be an SAS tracker to figure that one out. The Zambian fishermen own the gorge, on both sides – there’s actually a major Zambian makoro manufacturing industry operating on the Zimbabwe bank! All too soon it was time to depart Salisbury camp. We had taken tea together, gnawed some dried fish, engaged in a bit of good-natured bargaining which involved cigarettes, dollars and fish (in that order), and everyone was well satisfied. Just as we were about to load up and head out, a discussion began amongst the Zambians regarding a name change for Salisbury camp, in honor of our visit. I was horrified and said as much. I told them that Salisbury was a most suitable title – strong, with much meaning and history behind it. I didn’t have to do much persuading
– those guys actually like their camp’s name. When I asked them how the camp came to be named Salisbury, they were rather vague. Regardless, the name lives on, albeit as the title of a little hut in the Kariba gorge wilderness. That knowledge makes me glad. The Zambians dropped us off on a sandbar on the far side of the mountain. I guess in total we ‘cheated’ about a kilometer in a straight line, maybe a little more. But I don’t have to start explaining and justifying, do I? We’ve been over all that, right? In any case, it was well worth it – for a couple of reasons, but mainly because we would never have visited Salisbury camp l l had we not ‘cheated’. wa
A short while later, Jephita and I headed off on an elephant path that ran along the base of a fairly insignificant prominence, following the course of a tiny mountain chikowa (rivulet). The plan was to walk up the valley for three or four kilometers to where the Zambians said the tamer terrain was, and then hop over a few mountains and work our way back to the river. The Zambians had assured us that the further downstream we went, the easier the going would get, and we’d be able to walk the final section of gorge on the river. But first we would have to get over some mountains which would be impossible to negotiate anywhere near the Zambezi. I had taken a look at the closest of these mountains and had to concur. As it often happens, things went fairly smoothly for a while, but then it was all suddenly uphill, in every sense imaginable. I don’t know where that little chikowa went, but we didn’t go with it, soon finding ourselves in the thick of the mountains. After only a brief spell in those mountains, I could have honestly said (if I had been capable of speech), that I have never been so physically tested in my life. The terrain was as brutal as any I have ever encountered, and I have hunted in the Mashambanzhou mountains and in the escarpment. Bearing in mind, of course, that JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 29
I wasn’t lugging 30 kilograms around whilst hunting our containers and we were at least six hours from in the Mashambanzhou! And yes, that day in Kariba the river. And the country was so dry–the few sandgorge it was 30 kgs, at least, maybe a little more, to streams we came across promising not to yield a begin with that is, until we made inroads into our wa- drop. Quite ironic really–so little so close, yet so far ter supply, which didn’t take long. We were carrying from so much. as much weight when we set out that morning as on By late afternoon we any day of the walk, because of the additional wawere in dire straits, with ter – fourteen liters instead of the usual a liter of water left and four or five. That equates to still hours from the five kgs more per river. We were walkman, and it told. ing down a wending We have enwatercourse that dured some heavcould possibly be ily loaded periods, classified as a river, but never in terrain but it was as dry remotely like Kariba as a bone. Thirst gorge. Anyway, we is agonizing and were soon carrying I was becomless than 30 kgs, for ing desperate. we glugged that waAt every bend ter down as fast as it in the river I seeped out. We had no ga in r b pointed to the lisicky choice – added to the Rasr ita into Sa d n a low spot and ond Jeph extreme terrain, it was one Raym d-looking mp silently asked the a e c ern bury of the hottest days of the conc question of Jeyear and our throats were phita. Each time constantly parched. Ten mp harbour he mournfully Salisbury ca liters became nine as we shook his head descended yet another and we trudged rock-strewn mountainside, off through the plodded across the valley sand again. below, and began climbing We were again. conserving We continued moving the final liter away from the river but for when we angled our course downreally needed stream – the strategy we it, and it torhad decided upon when we mented me lost the Zambians’ ‘pass’. each step, Constantly scouring the hoas it sloshed rizons for the tamer country about in a the Zambians had assured side-pocket us was there, we never saw of my backpack. Never anything that resembled tame, in my life have I needed water as badly as that though we penetrated five or six kilometers into day. the mountains. That is from the river in a straight line, Jephita eventually saved us, at sundown, still several bearing in mind that our route was as far removed kilometers from the Zambezi. Rounding yet another from straight as it could possibly be. After a short bend, we came upon a cluster of rocks in the rivermidday break (we were too tired to eat but probably bed. Jephita spotted a couple of bees hovering about drank more water than necessary), we changed and zoned in with alacrity. The water was in a tiny tack and began to work our way back towards the depression beside a rock, and soon it was oozing Zambezi. We had left it too late and knew we were into the hole that Jephita had scooped with his hands in trouble – only a few liters of hot water remained in in frantic seconds. Dirty and fetid as it was, we knew 30 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010
it would soon clear, and we didn’t care anyway. What a godsend that little waterhole was. I know that if we hadn’t come across it, we would have continued down the riverbed until we found either another source, or reached the Zambezi, no matter what time that may have been. Nocturnal beasties are a laughable threat when one is thirsty. That evening we celebrated in style, by drinking more than our fill many times, eating more than we could, and dawdling for as long as we wanted under the shower. The shower, you ask? Yes – we have a portable camp shower. It only releases a pathetic trickle, but holds 20 liters, and if one stands under it long enough it is possible to come clean. That night, we filled our shower to capacity and took turns to spend lengthy sessions beneath it. We may not have come totally clean as it had been a particularly dirty day, but the feeling of the water on our bodies was exquisite. After overloading on water, both inside and out, we slept like the dead. Although I was well-used to walking with a heavy pack by that stage, the next morning each and every muscle in my body ached. And though I had slept soundly all night, I was still worn out. The mountains and the sun had certainly taken their toll, and it wasn’t yet over by any means. We started off the day by continuing down the riverbed, but after finding more water and filling our containers to the brim, decided to break from the river and head back into the mountains. Sounds crazy, but the fact is that the erratic course of that sand river was causing us to cover double the distance, and it was actually taking us backwards, strange as that may seem. Probably the main reason we made the decision was that the further down the Zambezi we got before reaching it, the better. Then we would have less hostile shoreline to deal with. The mountains were hard, but at least they weren’t overly dangerous. We needed to progress as far as we could before moving down to the river, lest we be forced to
pull out again. And so we picked up where we had left off the previous day, before thirst had driven us into the riverbed – tacking up, over and down, working an east, north-easterly direction, drawing ever closer to the river but not reaching it. The trend was a couple of comparatively low lying ‘hill’ ranges, followed by a towering mountain range, and so on and so forth. The important factors were that we were progressing down the gorge, and that we had no fear of running out of water – the river was now within reach, three then two ranges from us. We had seen no game since we entered the gorge, but we did that day. Whilst sliding down into a particular valley, Jephita hissed and I came to an immediate halt. We had seen a lone male lion track the day before, and I’d had lion on the mind ever since. But it was only a group of dagga boys that Jephita had espied. Now there was confusion – Jephita was pointing out a Cape buffalo bull that was in the open, and I was busy trying to take a picture of another that was hidden behind brush. I never even saw the bull in the open, until all seven bulls broke simultaneously a few seconds later, blundering off through the undergrowth. At least I got a couple of hastily taken photos of two of the dagga boys as they made off. They were the only photos we got of any animals in Kariba gorge. Naturally, we were treated to some fantastic spectacles during our time in the gorge, but there is one that will always remain indelibly imprinted in my mind. I have a decent photograph of it, but the one in my mind is far better, as is most often the case. We were on the summit of one of the highest mountains we had climbed, not far from the river, looking out over the Zambian mountains, the peaks of which were level with us. Between us and those mountains were only lesser ranges and, of course, the void which the Zambezi River runs through. Drained as we were, we spent a few minutes enjoying the exhilarating view. At that moment, I truly felt on top of the world. JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 31
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The BorderLine Walk is in support of antipoaching efforts for Black Rhino in the SavĂ¨ 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 poacherâ€™s snare. This baby died a few days after this photograph was taken. 32 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010
We finally reached the river at midday and flopped down beside it gratefully, totally trashed by the mountains on consecutive days. We did not remain flopped for too long, however – we were on the move and we needed to keep moving. We knew we couldn’t be too far from the gorge’s end, maybe six or seven kilometers, and we attacked that shoreline with gusto. It was no easier than anything we had so far experienced, but it was doable and we did it, up until the last mountain, which barred our way just as effectively as the first one had. But this mountain was child’s play after what we had encountered and dealt with, and we simply walked up a gulley a short distance and gave it the same treatment as the last stretch of shoreline – attacking from an outrageous angle. It capitulated fast and soon we were on the summit looking down over the flat Zambezi valley. That valley floor looked quite strange in a way, kind of out of place. Looking forward and then looking back put everything in good perspective. We only spent a minute or two trying to put things in perspective, because the sun had set and it was already too dark to take decent pictures. We still had to get down the mountainette and then cover a couple of kilometers to Nyamumba parks sub-station. After losing our way a couple of times and dodging what seemed like many elephants, we walked into Nyamumba after 8 p.m. that night. The rangers based there were understandably twitchy when we suddenly materialized from the darkness, and they approached us armed to the teeth. We spent some time explaining who we were and what we were doing from a distance, and eventually their trigger fingers became less itchy. Our permit from the director general always does the trick and soon we were telling the tale of Borderline yet again, to yet another attentive audience, by a slow-burning hardwood fire, sipping strong, sweet tea from our battered tin mugs, beneath a clear, starstrewn African sky. I fell into a deep sleep there by the fire, on the flat rock I was seated upon, my head sagging forward onto my chest, my arms hugging my tired legs together. It may have been two minutes or two hours before Jephita shook my shoulder gently. Ever so slowly I came back from the rugged, rock-strewn mountainside where I had been only seconds before. ‘Handei boss, handei to wata. Pane basa mangwana’ ‘Let’s go boss, let’s go and sleep. There is work to do tomorrow.’
Walk for a three day period, by far. Of course, we did actually walk further than twenty kilometers (probably thirty), by cutting inland and zigzagging about in the mountains, but still the pace was well below average. Remember that we were on the move from dawn to dusk, with only the briefest of breaks at midday, usually about an hour. Let’s put it this way – it took us thirty hours to cover thirty kilometers – one kilometer per hour. That pace is indicative of what it is like inside the gorge, as are our photos, of course. Some folk in Kariba thought we were foolish to walk the gorge, when there is a perfectly good (and flat) dirt road which runs from Charara (twenty kilometers out of Kariba on the main tar road) directly to Nyamumba sub-station. Parks rangers use the road often and it takes them less than a day to reach Nyamumba. Certain people may think me foolish a second time, but I know what I’d do if I was to repeat that particular leg. There is no Salisbury camp on that boring road from Charara…
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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.’
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It took us three full days to walk Kariba gorge and it is only twenty-one kilometers long, minus one kilometer for the makoro ride. That is the worst average we have thus far clocked up on the Borderline JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 33
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.
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Jimmy and Whittall Jimmy onAnne the day I found him 34 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010
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ulian Freimond of leading game insurance broker, Wildlife Risk Solutions monitors the poaching situation in Southern Africa carefully as this crime impacts heavily on the wildlife breeders, game ranchers and nature reserves across the area who are his clients. He points out that a report circulated last year by the World Wildlife Fund, the International Union for Conservation of Nature and wildlife-trade monitoring network TRAFFIC, said that poaching had reached a 15-year high, pushing animals close to extinction. Approximately 1 500 rhino horns were traded illegally over the last 3 years, despite a long-standing ban on international trade. Last year, 122 rhinos were killed in South Africa. Predictions are that at the current poaching rate 180 to 200 will be killed this year. A provisional 2009 estimate shows only 800 rhinos remain in Zimbabwe and
18 553 white and 1 570 black rhinos in South Africa. This is according to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora or CITES, which maintains and monitors the ban on the trade of rhino horn. According to South Africa’s National Environmental Affairs Minister, Buyelwa Sonjica, “8 White Rhino were poached in the Kruger National Park in January 2010, compared to 7 in January 2009”, despite the deployment of high–tech equipment and 58 additional rangers to hot spots within the reserve. This brings the total ranger compliment to 350 to various ‘hot spots’ within Kruger. 19 Motor cycles, night vision equipment for the crew of two SANParks helicopters, an additional ultra light aircraft, as well as use of the S.A. National Defense Force to patrol the parks’ international borders have also been added to assist in tracking down perpetrators. JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 37
SANParks CEO David Mabunda said in a recent statement that between the 1st and 22nd of January 2010, at least 14 rhino were poached between Kruger (7) and North West Parks (7). This brings the total number of rhino slaughtered in the past 3 years to 93, with a total of only 48 arrests made during the same period. Freimond relates that poachers recently killed 2 White Rhino just outside Johannesburg in the Krugersdorp Game Reserve, a fact that he says shows that the crime is extending to even relatively built-up areas and becoming increasingly brazen. According to a reserve employee, this horrific deed was carried out by thugs who darted and anesthetised the rhino from the air using homemade darts. They then landed, removed the horns and fled, leaving the animals to cruelly bleed to death.
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On the 2nd of February 2010, in a heavily guarded zoological park just outside of Livingstone in Zambia, poachers shot the last 2 remaining rhino in the country. One was killed and the other wounded and has since received treatment. According to Maureen Mwape, the Spokesperson for the Zambian Wildlife Authority, they would be investigating the shooting but it appears that even under “heavy guard”, the dead female rhino’s horn was removed. At the end of 2009, it was reported to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism Zimbabwe, that approximately 200 rhino had been poached during the last 3 years. It was estimated by experts that the surviving rhino population in Zimbabwe was around 300 White and 500 Black Rhino. If accurate, this implies that around 25% of the total population was lost during the past 3 years.
The Committee also heard from the Director of National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, Dr. Morris Mutsambiwa, who stated that 86 suspected poachers had been arrested in 2009. Of the 45 reported cases of poaching received, 33 involved Zimbabweans either working alone or linked to international syndicates. The others were from South Africa, Zambia and China. Reports of government minister involvement have also been received by authorities but attempts to follow these up were thwarted due to the ‘disappearance’ of certain vital police dockets. Freimond says that Wildlife Risk Solutions has recently received various reports from Zimbabwe stating that ‘war veterans’ have settled in the Chiredzi district and are using poison to poach rhino from a nearby reserve. A community spokesperson for Humani Estates, Mr. Nelson Maponga, said the perpetrators are leaving poisoned cabbages for the rhino at waterholes and then tracking them after con-
sumption until they succumb to unconsciousness, at which stage they then remove the horns. These apparently get sold to South African dealers who have also flooded the Chiredzi area with firearms. Cattle belonging to local communities, as well as other species of wildlife, are using the same drinking holes and are consuming the cabbages, obviously dying as well. Freimond contends that this is an indication of the indiscriminate ruthlessness of these criminals. As Freimond says, “New reports of poaching incidents are being received daily and if this scourge continues, what has taken superhuman effort by the likes of Dr. Ian Player and Clive Walker in resurrecting the rhino populations of Southern Africa will have been in vain as the populations of these magnificent creatures will be decimated beyond resurrection.” Contact Julian Freimond of Wildlife Risk Solutions on 031 562 1880 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 39
for accurate shooting Open-sight hunting
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unting is made rather easy today by the availability of super accurate rifles, powerful scopes, range finders, premiumgrade bullets and competent hunting guides who almost always guarantee that hunters get the animals they go after. Whenever I hunt, I try to make the most of the experience and have therefore been using open sights for many years. To me it is all about the challenge and the enjoyment of the hunt. If my sole purpose is to fill the freezer I’ll use a scoped rifle and shoot from 250m, but I hunt as much for pleasure as for meat and therefore want more than just a mere “shopping” experience. When using open sights you often need to stalk within 50 to 75m – distances at which you can see the animal well enough for accurate shot placement. One can of course shoot accurately at much longer distances with open sights but animals do not always pose obligingly in the open in good light like targets do on a shooting range. JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 41
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In dense bushveld animals often blend in so well with their surrounds that it can be difficult to line up the sights and pull off an accurate shot, even at short ranges. But even if you can see the animal well, trying to get as close as possible, is part of the game. Stalking close makes the hunt more personal and requires of you to pit your stalking skills against the animal’s survival instincts – often in terrain that makes stalking very difficult. There are of course other reasons why hunting with open-sighted rifles appeal to some hunters. Such rifles are lighter, less bulky and better balanced. And in general, open sights are more robust than scopes and normally do not lose their zeroes easily. I must also confess that open-sighted rifles, especially Mausers built in the classic style, please my eyes more than scoped ones. Today most of those who regularly use open sights are professional hunting guides, guiding clients for dangerous game and purists using muzzle-loading rifles. Some critics (often game farmers or professional guides) feel that we should leave the use of open sights to these specialist hunters, but the so-called average hunter can also master “the art” if he is prepared to put in sufficient effort. Many hunters find big bore rifles fascinating and stories of big game hunters using them have lit fires in many a hunter’s heart. They want to relive the romance of old Africa and hunt with open-sighted rifles. Unfortunately not all have the financial means to go after stuff like buffalo, but they can always hunt plains game species. Animals such as blue wildebeest and kudu, as well as impala and warthog are very popular. To use such rifles the prerequisite is off course to have good eyesight or to wear spectacles that cor-
rect your eyesight. Things do get a bit complicated though when we age and need reading glasses. Anyway, if the prospective hunter can sort the “eye thing” out he must be prepared to put in a lot of range work. Before he ventures out to practise though, he must find out what type of open sight suits his eyes. Open sights come in many different guises. The most common are leaf sights consisting of bead foresights and notched leaf or rear sight blades for various distances. Most big bore custom rifles are fitted with express-type sights – a bead up front and a single blade sporting a wide, shallow “V”, normally sighted in to hit point of aim at 50m. Peep-sights are also fairly popular for hunting, especially the so-called ghost-ring which has a large peep-hole in a ring so thin that you are only vaguely aware of it in your peripheral vision. This is the type of open sight I prefer. With a ghostring you have a very wide field of view and when using a six o’clock hold the bead obscures very little of your target. However, show the uninitiated a ghost-ring and they will tell you it cannot be accurate at all because you see “the whole world” and centring the bead precisely seems impossible. Well, don’t knock it until you have tried it. When using a ghost-ring, as with any open sight, you focus on the foresight and thus look through the ring, not at it – the eye then naturally centres the bead in the ring. Remember that the aperture is also far from the foresight and the longer sight radius is a great aid to practical accuracy. Open sights require the eye to try to focus on three objects simultaneously which is impossible (therefore the need to concentrate on the foresight). The peepsight removes one object, the rear sight, because you look through it. Peep-sights with small apertures JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 43
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are not suitable for hunting as they do not allow a wide enough field of view and cut out too much light. When I first started using ghost-rings I could not find one in any gun shop in South Africa and at the time custom gunsmiths’ prices were too high for me. I then decided to make my own using a spare Lynx scope mount base. The first step was obviously to determine the size of the aperture. I plinked with a friend’s rifle which had a 3.5mm aperture, but found it too small for my liking. So I made up a ghost-ring out of cardboard which had a 5mm aperture. I stuck it onto my 7x57 with a piece of Prestik and found that the 5mm aperture worked like a charm. All I had to do was determine more or less the correct height and then use a front sight element of the correct height (fortunately I had several in my spares box). I cut a thin metal disc with a 5mm hole, soldered it to the Lynx base at a predetermined height and shaped it into a ghost-ring. In no time I had the 7x57 shooting about 50mm high at 75m and accuracy tests off a bench proved that I could easily put three shots into about two inches at 100m with monotonous regularity. That was all the accuracy I needed. After using home-made ghost-rings for some years I had proper ghost-rings made for my 7x57 and .375H&H rifles by Danie Joubert of Pretoria, rated by many as the best metal smith in South Africa. Up front I use a white bead and have found that one of at least 2mm in diameter works best for me – my eye rapidly picks it up and it remains visible for longer in low light than smaller ones. When aiming with open sights I do not cover my intended target with the bead. The best way to aim is to perch the bull’s-eye or the animal’s vitals on top of the front sight. This method allows the best visibility and gives the shooter a precise aiming point. Although open sights are normally sighted in to shoot to point of aim at 50 to 75m, professional guides going after dangerous game also need to know where their rifles shoot at 10 to 15m because charges are often stopped at very short ranges. It is often said that open sights are faster to use than scopes. While open sights might be faster than highpower scopes, many modern day shooters are actually faster with low-power scopes (1.5x to 2x magnification) because they have learned to shoot using scoped rifles instead of open sights. When I started using a ghost-ring I thought I was faster with it than with a scope, but proper time trials showed that I was not only faster with a scope but also more accurate. Those who are used to open sights on their big bores are initially faster with them than with a scope but as
they get used to the scope some become faster with it. The fastest sight I have ever used is a red dot from Aimpoint. We will never settle the debate as to which type of sight is the best or fastest because too many variables come into play. A good number of hunters who have grown up with open sights find it difficult to adapt to scopes and will always be faster with iron sights. I can think of one specific reason why open sights work better on dangerous game rifles. A scope actually gets in the way when you cycle the bolt. When cycling a bolt slowly or even a medium speed you might not even notice the scope, but try chambering a round as fast as you can and you will invariably find that some part of your hand catches the scope somewhere and slows you down or prevents proper chambering of a round. For that reason alone, I would prefer carrying an open-sighted rifle when going after dangerous game. When hunting antelope in semi-open country where visibility is good I have found that a ghost-ring can hold its own against a scope out to about 100m. Unfortunately I have now reached a stage in my life where my eyes are beginning to fail. In good light and when the animal is not camouflaged by vegetation, I can still use my ghost-ring sights effectively. However, in dense bushveld I sometimes struggle when the range exceeds 40m. When hunting with open sights, accept the fact that they limit your shots and that you might come home with empty hands at times. Anyway, those who still have good eyes should accept the challenge and give open CLICK HERE sights a go. And if you have never used Get our RSS feed a ghostCLICK HERE ring before, try it, its Koos Barnard is effectiveness an ex-professional will surprise hunter and a full time gun writer, you. having published hundreds of articles. He was born in Namibia and has been a keen hunter since his youth.
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Hardwear for the bush
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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. 60 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010
We never knew there were so many budding authors out there. The overwhelming response from the rookies made it clear: they want to be read! They may be new to the writing world, but they are gutsy and they can write. And now your article can be read too. If you had an African experience, put it on paper and we will publish it free of charge. Come on - you never know whether you can write until you try! Your article will be judged by fellow African hunters and adventurers like yourself who have no motivation but to tell it like it is and you will get the truth about if you really can write. Here are this issuesâ€™ rookie articles. Be sure to vote for them JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 61
Paul E. Potemski
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hen I took my wife, Ann-Marie to South Africa, she had never hunted before. She wasn’t against it, she just wasn’t a hunter. But Africa has a way of changing all of that. If you have hunted in Africa, you understand. If you haven’t, you need to. Image a giraffe looking your blind to try and figure out what on earth you are and what you are doing. You truly have the opportunity to see different species of animals all day long. It’s a far cry from the whitetail woods of the states where might not see anything all day. Africa is an experience every hunter needs to enjoy.
After sitting in the blind with me for several days, taking a few photos of my trophies and participating in the chit chat around the skinning shed, my wife Ann-Marie developed this strange desire to give hunting a try. We discussed it after dinner with our “PH” and decided if she wanted to we would spend then next morning on the archery range and if she felt comfortable we would go. After a couple hours of target shooting with a Horton crossbow and discussing the hunt we all agreed she was ready. She wasn’t sure if she would shoot, but at least she was comfortable if she decided to. While we changed into our hunting clothes and had a small snack, our vehicle was loaded and we were ready to head to the blind. It wasn’t long before our first visitors arrived. A small herd of impalas made their way to the water hole. A nice ram appeared
from the bush and slowly made his way towards the rest of the herd. Ann-Marie silently picked up the Horton crossbow and searched the herd for the ram. “I’m on him,” she whispered. At twenty-five yards I quietly reminded the new hunter to continue to breath. “You still on him,” I questioned? A hardly visible nod affirms her concentration. “When he stops, take him.” A couple more steps and the ram bends down for a drink and as I watch through my Brunton binoculars I hear the twang of the crossbow string as the trigger was squeezed and the bolt took flight. In the blink of an eye the impala jumps up and after a hand full of steps he crumbles to the ground and was dead. It was a perfect shot and a quick humane kill. Ann-Marie had just taken her first African trophy with her first pull of the trigger. What an accomplishment! After several hours and an impala ram of my own, we once again had an opportunity for Ann-Marie to harvest another trophy. Only this time it wasn’t an impala or a warthog. It was a monster waterbuck! We had watched this herd most of the week. We had seen the juvenile bulls and the cows several times, but we had never seen this new bull. He was a smart old bull. He stayed back and let the rest of the herd drink first. It was as if he had seen this film before and new what the out come would be if he stood in front of the blind. As the waterbuck cautiously made his way towards the blind I encouraged Ann-Marie to take the shot. JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 63
“I can’t! He’s too big, you shoot him. I’ll miss him. I’m too nervous,” she said. I told her that was part of hunting and if you miss him so what! We’ll hunt another day. I picked up the Horton crossbow and handed it to her, reminding her of the safety and encouraging her to, “Breath.” I leaned back, picked up my Brunton binoculars and peaked through a small opening in the blind. When I had him in my glasses and he was in range I whispered, “Take him.” Nothing happened. “Take him,” I whispered again. Only this time the crossbow fired. I watched the arrow as it passed through the animal as if it were in slow motion. It was another perfect shot. As I turned to my wife to congratulate her, she lower the crossbow and with quivering voice and eyes opened wide she whispered, “I think I hit him. I think it was a good shot.” I leaned over took the bow from her and confirmed that she had placed the arrow exactly where it needed to be and her waterbuck trophy awaits her in the bush just across the waterhole. Ann-Marie had taken 2 beautiful trophies the same day with 2 shots. What an accomplishment for someone who had never hunted a day in her life before that day. I couldn’t have been more proud of her. If you’ve ever taken a new hunter along with you and they were able to harvest an animal you know and understand the emotions that bubble up when you revisit those memories. Those are the opportunities in life that can change someone forever. If you’ve never taken anyone hunting before, take someone. Share your experience with a person who can benefit from your time in the field. It could change their life and I can assure you that it will enrich yours!
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Third Time’s the Charm
“Now it is pleasant to hunt something that you want very much over a long period of time, being outwitted, out-maneuvered, and failing at the end of each day, but having the hunt and knowing every time you are out that, sooner or later, your luck will change and that you will get the chance that you are seeking.” Ernest Hemingway, The Green Hills of Africa, 1935
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nce again I found myself on board a SAA flight, much to the chagrin of my wife, in pursuit of Tragelaphus strepsiceros. My obsession with Kudu began 17 years ago when I first read The Green Hills of Africa by Ernest Hemingway before my first trip to the Dark Continent. Little did I know I was to follow in “Papa’s” footsteps. This was to be my third attempt in five years for kudu. During my prior two trips, the kudu had lived up to his reputation as the “Grey Ghost of Africa”. All I had to show for my previous attempts was miles on my boots, memories of Africa, and an empty spot on my trophy wall. On this hunt I was hoping the old adage, “Third times a charm” would hold true. Upon arriving in Johannesburg, I was met by my friend and PH Xander Grobler. Some 14 months prior he and I had spent a week hunting in the small town of Vivo, near the border with Zimbabwe. During that trip I was able to take an impressive Nyala and Steenbok, but had been frustrated by kudu. To add salt to the wound, my three companions (all on their first safari) all managed to take impressive kudu. This was now personal. The first morning of the hunt found me awake early, anxiously waiting to hit the bush, in pursuit of a worthy opponent. After a few hours of hunting that first morning I realized the conditions were going to make for a much more difficult hunt. The differences in the terrain were striking. Areas that were once lush and green, were now brown and withered due to the lack of rain. Leaves that once hung on trees, were now withered on the ground. During my last hunt, the Kudu were in the peak of rut, out searching for females. Now, the breeding season was now over, and the old bulls were sequestered in thick stands of marula trees, recouping from the stress of the rut. Over the course of first five days I managed to glimpse two “shooter” bulls for a total of about 20 seconds before once again vanishing into the bush. At least they were not completely invisible I kept telling myself. As another trophy disappeared into the bush, I was amazed that an animal the size of a kudu could glide through the bush without making a
sound and simply disappear. After five hard, tiring, and dirty days of hunting, my Professional Hunter Xander Grobler and I had nothing to show for out effort; except cuts, sunburn, and sore calves from walking in the fine red sand that seems to get into everything. That evening, as we sat around the fire eating dinner, the usual good natured jokes and laughing were replaced with a solemn quietness. We were five days into a seven day hunt and had yet to get the sticks up on mature kudu. We all were feeling a bit of tension, wondering if it that spot on my trophy wall would remain empty. As we sat around the fire, I suggested that perhaps sacrificing a virgin to the hunt gods might change our luck, but then realized finding a mature kudu bull would be easier then finding a virgin in the African bush. Instead we decided to drink an extra beer or two, hoping that a bit of fuzz in the morning would change our luck. On day six of the hunt, we woke up with a bit of grit in our belly. After shaving my tongue from the previous night, Xander and I once again headed in the bush, hoping to end my Kudu drought. As the day wore on, the constant swirling wind frustrated our every plan. Mid afternoon Xander and I decided to head back to a valley of marula trees, where we knew several kudu were holing up. They had chosen this spot carefully as the stands of trees were thick and the ground full of dry leaves. Anyone entering the valley would alert any animal from a mile away. We decided to set up in a clearing, wait for the kudu to emerge from the valley, where we would then attempt a spot and stalk. With about 40 minutes of shooting time left, the wind suddenly changed direction, blowing our scent down into the valley and alerting the kudu to our presence. Disgusted, we picked up and started to walk out. While we cursed the wind and our continued bad luck, Xander paused for a second to inform me that a large kudu bull was headed our way. Out of a thick stand of trees a kudu appeared, walking towards us. It between us and the Kudu was a fallen tree that offered some cover. My heart was pounding so loud I was afraid the Kudu would hear it. I was quite nervous, feeling like a young boy on his JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 67
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first date. The kudu closed to within sixty yards, unaware of our presence. As the kudu drew near, I leaned the rifle against the tree, placed the crosshairs on him and slowly squeezed the trigger. Nothing happened! In all my excitement, I had forgotten to take the safety off. I pushed the safety forward, picked a spot on the kudu and slowly squeezed the trigger. As the shot rang out, the kudu dug his feet into the red sand and took off running. The shot felt good, the range was close, and the rifle had performed flawlessly on three previous safaris. After a few minutes we composed ourselves and began to look for blood. As we headed to the spot, we bent down and see a few drops of bright red blood in the sand. Ever so slowly we followed his tracks to sheep fence that he had jumped over. As we crossed the fence into a patch of thick bush we began to find larger amounts of bright red blood. My heart quickens, and while I donâ€™t dare say it, I think to myself he is mine. We find him not more than 30 yards from the fence, and he is down. As I draw closer, I stop 10 yards away to fully admire the animal. There will be time for photos. Right now I just want to sit back and take it all in; the fading African sun, the fine red sand, the groves of marula trees, and the kudu in his entire splendor. To have him in the salt after so many days and miles is a feeling that everyone should experience at least once in their life. My personal quest for the Grey Ghost of Africa has finally ended.
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paces from Death
Eye to eye with the Cape Buffalo 70 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010
his was my first Cape buffalo hunt. I have successfully hunted Africa three times before so I thought I knew what to expect, boy was I wrong. Before things were over, I would want to quit, swear, cry, and then beg to do it all over again. As I said this was my fourth hunt in Africa and I knew, just enough to think I sort of knew what I was doing. Hunting buff was different and difficult. It was made even more difficult by the poachers and lions. The poachers were after the buffalo and they had started fires to concentrate them in one area. A group of young lions that were hunting them as well and were having much better luck than we were. They were taking a buffalo every three or four days or so. All of this pressure had consolidated the bachelor groups into the main herds thereby complicating my life immensely, but I am getting ahead of myself. JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 71
I was hunting the Chirisa area of Zimbabwe and getting there was actually easier than I thought. I had just finished a family vacation and hunt with my good friend Johann Veldsman, the owner of Shona Hunting Adventures. All I had to do was take a commercial flight from Windhoek to Victoria Falls. Then a quick charter flight deposited me on a grass landing strip a few miles from camp. After a short wait the guys from HHK Safaris picked us up and it was off to camp. The camp was nice without being plush, keeping the spirit of the wildness of Africa, was high on a cliff overlooking the Sengwa River. The view was breath taking as our arrival at camp coincided with sunset. The reddish glow from the sun reflecting off the sandy riverbed was wonderful. When the thin shadows cast by the trees on the opposite bank worked their way like large dark snakes out into the dry river bed, I had to just stop and watch. The sky went from red to purple and finally to blackness that is the African night. My PH Phillip Smythe arrived a few minutes later, having driven cross-country from another concession. We had our first sundowner, got to know each other and made plans for tomorrow. As we swapped stories and hunting experiences I could tell we were going to get along famously. “O dark-thirty” came quicker than it should have and after a quick breakfast, we made way to the range to check my scope. While Leonard, our tracker set up a target Phil went over shot placement and a few other items with me. I was shooting my CZ Safari Classic chambered in .416 Rigby. I had loaded my own cartridges so I knew the rifle shot 1 ¾” high at 100 yards, dead on at 200 yards, and about 10” low at three hundred. Phil informed me that I would probably shoot at 50 yards and he wanted to see where the point of impact was at 50 yards. The rifle shot perfectly. At 50 yards, the bullet was still rising and, the three shot punched a perfect cloverleaf in the top of the bull’s eye. I was using Barnes’s TSX and Solids and they both shot to the same place. With both of us convinced all was in order it was time to pick up our Park Ranger guide and escort. Then we could start our hunt. On the way to pick up Ranger David the smoke from the fires set by poachers became more apparent that it had been last night and, by the time we got to the Ranger Station we could easily smell it. Because the rangers were busy with fires and poachers it took us longer than usual to complete out required government permits. 72 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010
It was approaching mid morning when we left the station and, with most of the morning gone, Phil wanted to take a cross-country route to a water hole to see if we could pick up some tracks. We never made it to the waterhole. Twenty minutes into our walk to the water hole and the wind changed. Phil and David picked up on it first and said we have to go. When I asked why, Phil explained that with the wind changing the fire would change directions as well and it was now headed towards us. We made the walk back in fifteen minutes and decided to head to Phil’s favorite observation spot a good distance away for an early lunch and to try and spot some buffalo. The observation spot was some miles up river from camp and on top of a narrow finger of cliff that jutted out into the dry bed of the Sengwa River. The view was outstanding and the lunch was good. The only thing missing were the buffalo. After lunch we decided to put some distance between us and the fire. We drove down to and across the dry riverbed. From there finding the herd was not difficult. We got lucky and spotted some tracks where the buffalo crossed the road. After picking up the tracks it was off on foot to try and get close enough to spot a good bull and then get to take a shot. As I said finding them was not hard but, getting close enough for a good shot proved to be darn near impossible. Since it was early afternoon the herd was in the heavy cover they had chosen for their midday nap. Their cover of choice was mopane trees because the crunching leaves would warn them of anything approaching. Tiptoeing quietly through dry mopane leaves is not easy - in fact it is impossible. The closest thing I can think of to describe it is to take a box of cornflakes dump them out on the kitchen floor and try walking through them without making any noise. It just can’t be done. However, the buffalo were there and we had to try. I soon learned the mopane leaves were not the only problem I would overcome to sneak up on the buffalo. I would have to stalk them on tiptoe while crouching down to about two thirds of my height. For those of us that have developed a slightly wider midsection than we had in our younger years this was a problem. I had gotten in better shape for this hunt by exercising, walking and lifting weights. For some strange reason however I had neglected to do it all while on my tip toes in a squatting position. At first I tried staying in Phil’s tracks but, he was five inches taller than me and just slightly more than half my age
so that did not work. Next I tried walking heel first and gently rolling my foot down but. I still made the crunching sound. I finally achieved a small amount of success by slowly sliding the leaves out of the way with my foot before I put my weight on it. It was difficult and my legs and back would hurt for the rest of the trip but, hey, I was hunting buffalo. Needless to say we had no luck that afternoon. For the next four days, we chased the buffalo through the thick stuff, occasionally catching glimpses but only getting on the shooting sticks once. I missed that opportunity because a leafy branch blocked my view from where the sticks were set up. Phil told me to shoot but I could not get a clear shot, and by the time I decided to pick up the sticks and move them it was too late. The movement drew the buffalo’s attention to us and he ducked his head then disappeared back into the bush. On another occasion the buffalo were bedded down in the mopane at the base of a small hill or kopje. The wind was blowing in toward the buff and we had to hike around the kopje to get down wind. We would get around the kopje and start our stalk only to be foiled by the mopane leaves. The buffalo went around the kopje into the wind to get away from what ever made the crunching noise. We took off back around the kopje to try to head off the buffalo only to discover that they had moved right back to where we spooked them from. We walked back and forth around the kopje five times that day to no avail. I can only guess that since they did not wind us and the next closest cover required them to go a good distance, they kept going back to where they started from. We even tried sneaking up and over the top but, could not get a shot down through the thick cover. Those four days were frustrating to the “nth” degree. It was during those four days that we discovered that lions were also hunting the area. Phil had actually seen them and I had seen their tracks. Although it did not seem to bother Phil, the fact that lions were close by and following the same buffalo herd was never far from my thoughts. I could only hope that they were well fed and content to lay in the shade while we searched for buffalo. Day six started earlier than normal Phil wanted to go to the high observation spot and do some glassing at sunrise and it paid off. We spotted a small group of buffalo across the riverbed feeding about 100 yards in on the other side. Phil decided to leave our tracker, Leonard, up top to spot for us as we made our way across the riverbed. He also decided
we would go over the edge and straight down to the riverbed instead of taking. There by reaching the buffalo before they moved into the really thick stuff. So over we went. We traveled approximately 100 yards vertically and 15 yards horizontally. I was ready for a short break to catch my breath at the bottom, but no, we ran the 300 yards across the river bed through the sand in a crouched position. I thought I would die. Thankfully we slowed down to a crawl when we stared our stalk. We spent the next forty-five minutes sneaking through the bush but even with Leonard we were unable to find our bull. Just as we were ready to give up Leonard franticly radioed us. He was whispering into the radio that the herd of buffalo had crossed behind us and was now on the other side of the river. It was time to suck it up and run down the riverbank, past where the herd had crossed, and get behind the buffalo. We then ran back across the river in a crouched position trying not to spook the herd. We made it but, this time there was no slow stalking and catching of breath. The herd was feeding in some short grass in the riverbed and we were able to get behind some very thick bush on the riverbank. We had to move swiftly and silently to get past the buffalo without detection. It took us about a half mile but we finally got in front of the herd. Phil found an opening in the bush that would give us an unobstructed view of the herd as they passed by. He told me to sit down and scoot back into the bush as far as I could go. Phil sat down in front of me so I could use his shoulder as a rest if I needed to. I could finally catch my breath as we waited for the buffalo. The heard started past us and they were grazing at a distance of twenty to fifty yards. I was amazed at how big they looked at this range. Little did I know they were about to get a lot bigger. I sat still as a statue, mentally picking out the spot on each buffalo that I would have to place the bullet in order for a clean kill. The herd kept coming by us; lots of cows and calves but no bulls were visible. I knew that the older bulls would be toward back, but the longer they took to come into view the more my heart raced and more adrenalin entered my system. I had to get myself under control so I concentrated on slowing down my breathing. I was just getting my pulse and adrenalin to start to drop when it happened. A cow and her calf decided to come out of the river bed and into the bush. The problem was they wanted to use the narrow opening that we had picked to wait in. The wind was blowing strongly in JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 73
our faces so the cow could not smell us. We were using the brush behind us to break up our outline but she could tell something was definitely not right. She would snort and sniff and when she could not smell anything, she would take another step toward us. She got to within ten or eleven feet, about four of my paces when she finally stopped. Now she would blow, snort, stomp her front, foot then lower her head and shake her massive horns. Now my pulse and adrenalin were off the chart once more. I knew better than to move and draw attention to us. The fact that Phil was between the mother buffalo and me and, with his rifle was pointed in the right direction was of little comfort at the time. I thought about using the cheeks I was sitting on to try and walk backwards in to the bush but, they would not move. I then briefly wondered if I shut my eyes so I could not see her that somehow she would not be able to see me. I quickly decided that doing that might me the equivalent of committing suicide by buffalo and kept focused on her. So now it was time for plan “C”. Before I could come up with a plan “C” she gave one last shake of her massive head and was gone from the opening with her calf close behind her. Thankfully she had decided that the unknown shapes in the bush were not worth further investigation. 74 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010
When she left, it turned
was like a switch had been off: my pulse dropped to only twice normal and I was able to start looking for the bull again. In less than two minutes he eased into the opening. Phil had been telling me what to look for and how to field judge a buffalo so I started down the list in my mind. The horns were definitely wider than his ears but not by much. The boss, however, was incredible. It looked completely solid. It was battered and extremely knurled.
Best of all he was only thirty five or so yards away. Just as I decided this was my bull I got the prearranged signal from Phil that told me it was ok to shoot and I saw his fingers slowly go into his ears. His shoulder did not give me the angle that I needed so I moved my rifle to my knee, found my spot, took a breath, let it half out, and squeezed the trigger. With the shot, all hell broke loose. With the impact of the bullet the bull hunched up and jumped into the air. As he hit the ground I had another round chambered and sent a solid toward his neck. The impact made him stumble and gave me time to chamber one more round. I sent another solid his way. The only shot I had at the time was quartering away so I aimed for his spine. I do not know if the impact knocked him over the small ledge in the riverbed or if he just stumbled and fell over it, but he was down and that was all that mattered.
Somewhere in the back of my mind I remembered reading in a Peter Capstick book that it “was the dead ones that killed you” and “to never empty your rifle”. Since I had only one round left I quickly reloaded before moving to the river bed. I could not see any buffalo close by but I was not sure they were all gone. Phil stopped me at the edge of our hiding spot so he could look around. He pronounced the coast was clear and we approached the buffalo. We got closer and the dugga boy was still breathing but not getting up. One last shot from my .416 Rigby between the shoulder blades finished him. It had taken more than 21,000 foot pounds of energy to put him down and stop the mighty heart from beating. What an incredible animal. Phil told me that my first shot killed him but he just did not know it yet. He was also happy that I was able to hit him twice more. We both have the same opinion about shooting buffalo: that you keep shooting until he goes down or is out of sight. . My buffalo had gone no more than twenty yards before going down and I was ecstatic with the fact that we did not have to trail him. My practice over the last few months with the heavy rifle now seemed a small price to pay. The sore shoulder and tired arms were suddenly a distant memory. The words of wisdom about practice that I had read in books and magazines seemed less boring and repetitive. I had properly prepared and was glad of it. The smiles and handshakes were going around and my senses were returning to normal when Phil said he wanted to show me something. As Leonard and David started to set up things for pictures he took me back toward our hiding spot. I made a
comment that we had picked out a good spot for an ambush and Phil added that something else thought it was a good spot also. Before I could ask why, he pointed to the remains of a buffalo that was about twenty yards to the left of our spot. “That is a lion kill,” he told me. We had not been able to see it from where we sat but we were close, very close, to approximately a four-day-old lion kill. At the time, I really did not understand the danger of being around a lion kill. It was later that afternoon when I witnessed first hand how violently lions could defend their kill. It seems that the lions had made a fresh kill before dawn that morning, less than a thousand yards from where I took my buffalo. When we drove by later that afternoon the lions came busting out of the shade to defend it from a group of vultures. We were lucky that the kill we saw that morning was old and no longer worth defending. It just goes to show that when you hunt in Africa you have to be prepared for anything at any time. Around the fire that night, as we relived the events of the day, I felt the joy and elation that comes with a successful hunt. As Phil told me some stories about some of his adventures with other clients I realized that I was addicted to Africa. The wildness of the Dark Continent was now ingrained into my being more than ever. As the conversation faded, my mind was already working on my next trip and wondering how to avoid the lions and other wild things that I hoped would always be there. It is those wild and unexpected things that make Africa the mystical and magical place that I love to hunt.
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David Brown is a lover of all that is hunting and fishing. His first Safari was in 2006 and I have been on three more since. He spends 30-45 days per year in the field, is an Eagle Scout and enjoys working with scouts and other youth by introducing them to outdoor activities. JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 75
When a fool is cursed, he thinks he is being praised. When two elephants fight, it is the grass that gets trampled. 76 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010
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Twig Snake Strike of the spear
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Photos: SW Neetling 80 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010
Of all the snakes I have caught, this is the one I like to hold the least. Perhaps it is the knowledge that no antivenom is available or perhaps the concentrated, tense posture of the snake.
perfectly with foliage in which they lie motionless for hours.
Because they are arboreal, you will not easily run into a twig snake. If you do run into one on the ground (like I did) it is probably wise to recognise it and give it a wide berth
Slow-acting Haematoxic, acting on the blood, disabling the clotting process and causing internal and external bleeding. Symptoms typically occur 2448 hours after being bitten. Fangs under eyes Venom is similar to that of the boomslang but as a rule less severe, nevertheless potentially dangerous. A number of deaths have been recorded. Bites are rare.
Description The Twig, Vine or Bird snake has a pale blue-green upper head heavily speckled with dark brown, black and sometimes pink. A wide pinkwhite, black-speckled band runs along upper lip from snout to back of head passing across lower half of eye.
At present no antivenom is available.
A dark oblique band radiates from each eye to upper lip. Chin and throat are white, speckled with black. Tongue is bright yellow to orange-red and black-tipped . An unusual keyhole-shaped pupil with eye in very forward position gives this snake binocular vision - allowing it to recognize stationary prey at significant distances. Vine Snakes come in many different patterns and shades. Colors vary from almost uniformly grayish-white with tiny black speckles along its body. As they age orange markings appear on the head and the grayish-white pattern becomes more complex, making them look just like twigs or branches as they lay motionless in trees awaiting their prey.
Habits The Zulus believe that this snake strikes and wounds like a spear because of the blinding speed of the strike It seldom bites unless provoked, moving gracefully and swiftly when disturbed. Although it is a timid snake, it will inflate its neck to display the bright skin between scales when threatened, followed by lunging strikes while the bright tongue flickers in a wavy motion. Although often called bird snakes, they prey largely on chameleons and lizards but small birds are frequently eaten by larger specimens of 1,5 meters long. Their gray-green blotched coloring blends
Immobilise and reassure victim, who must lie down and be kept as quiet as possible. Apply pressure bandage immediately, immobilise limb with a splint to reduce spread of venom. Loosen, but do not remove bandage if there is severe swelling. Take victim to hospital as soon as possible. Using a tourniquet to prevent the snake venom from being released in the bloodstream is extremely dangerous and could result in the loss of the affected limb. The cutting open and sucking out of venom is a waste of time
Food Chameleons, tree-dwelling lizards, birds, snakes.
Reproduction Oviparous. Lays 4-18 eggs which hatch after 90 days. Young 230-330 mm.
Enemies Birds of prey and other snakes.
Habitat Trees and shrubs in moist savanna and lowland forest. On the opposite page is a series of photos taken by a friend in his garden in Nelspruit, JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 81
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News, Reviews, and Press Releases NEW WILEY X® BLACK OPS COLLECTION AIRBORNE™ PROVIDES ‘DEEP COVER’ AND PROTECTION Wiley X® Eyewear has been soaring to success with a wide range of enthusiasts, from motorcyclists and shooters to top law enforcement and military personnel, for the last quarter century. Now this industry leader has brought a new operative to infiltrate the market with truly superior attributes — the all-new Wiley X Black Ops Collection Airborne£. This ultra-hip, low profile addition to Wiley X’s slick new Black Ops Collection is turning heads and taking names — with its stylized lines, 20% light transmission smoke grey ANSI Z87 certified lenses and matte black frames. Like all of Wiley X’s battlefield proven eyewear, you shouldn’t let its good looks fool you — these are not toys or glasses for wannabes. Wiley X’s new Black Ops Collection Airborne features the company’s signature High Velocity Protection™ (HVP™), including shatterproof Selenite™ polycarbonate lenses, along with cutting-edge features like the wide temple design for even more peripheral protection. Plus, this highly technical vision system is part of Wiley X’s famed Climate Control™ series, and includes an innovative, removable foam Facial Cavity™ seal that fits any facial structure like a glove. The patented design provides Top Down™ Ventilation, creating a sealed protected cocoon around the eyes that keeps out dust and debris, and allows air to flow from top to bottom — keeping your lenses clear and you ready for action. The entire new-for-2010 Wiley X® Black Ops Collection was developed for the unique needs of upper echelon military and law enforcement personnel and dedicated shooters, and the Wiley X® Black 86 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010
Ops Airborne is setting the bar way up there. It’s prescription ready and with its specially contoured, rugged, yet lightweight frame, you can wear a pair comfortably all day long. It comes complete with an Elastic Temple Strap, perfect for operations on the move, Leash Cord, Cleaning Cloth and Soft Case. To learn more about the new Wiley X® Black Ops Airborne — or the company’s full line of high performance eyewear — visit Wiley X® Eyewear at 7491 Longard Road, Livermore, CA 94551 &bull Telephone: (800) 776-7842 &bull Or visit online at www.wileyx.com
ONTARIO KNIFE COMPANY INTRODUCES THE NEXT GENERATION OF INNOVATION Powerful New Features of the All New Ontario Knife Company GEN II™ Series Are a Cut Above the Competition
Ontario Knife Company has been leading the industry with cutting edge products for decades—and with the launch of its new Ontario Knife Company GEN II™ series, the company’s design experts have taken their own legacy of excellence and attention to detail to the next level. The all-new models in the series are designed by industry veteran Dan Maragni, who applied his more than 20 years of cutlery manufacturing and design expertise to enhancing Ontario Knife Company’s renowned Spec Plus line. It features state-of-the-art upgrades to all materials, and drills down into incredibly unique new heat treatment and manufacturing processes, for an unsurpassed level of craftsmanship and durability. The result is an upper echelon series of knives perfect for a wide range of tactical, sporting, outdoor survival and rescue personnel applications. The revolutionary new Ontario Knife Company GEN II series starts with a special metallurgist-inspected 5160 High Carbon Steel, far tougher than other steels, and perfectly suited to the industrial heattreating techniques with which the new line is forged. Then these innovative new knives are cut with a water jet, versus a laser, to ensure the integrity of the steel and prevent the possibility of cracking. To further guard against cracking, Ontario Knife grinds approximately 0.030” off of each side of the blanks before they undergo this special, intensive heat treatment, to eliminate any issues from the hot rolled surface. The designer has even introduced an exclusive, specially researched and developed snap temper system—a short, low temperature process, which relieves the stress inherent in the hardening steps, before the clamp and temper, and prevents any cracking of the blades while they are clamped in the straightening racks. Each of the new models has rock solid black texture powder coated blades. Typically, powder coated blades require deep imprinting deeply, which can result in cracked or weakened material. However, the new blades in Ontario Knife Company’s GEN II series are each laser engraved,
which keeps the innate structure of the steel intact and powerful. Plus, each knife in the series is created with a solid ribbed Kraton® polymer handle and features full tang construction, and comes complete with a sturdy combination leather/Cordura® sheath. MSRP: $99.95 For more information about the Ontario Knife Company new GEN II series or its full line of quality products, contact Ontario Knife Company at P.O. Box 145-26, Empire Street, Franklinville, NY 14737 • Telephone: (800) 222-5233 • Or visit the Company’s website at www.ontarioknife.com.
The Groundbreaking IQ Bowsight Is The Intelligent Sight For Maximum Accuracy COLUMBUS, Ohio (February 10, 2010) — In any shooting sport, consistency is the key to accuracy. In the archery world, the new revolutionary IQ Bowsight—with its patented Retina Lock system—is about to redefine everything we thought we knew about consistency and accuracy. Used correctly, the IQ Bowsight will extend your effective range by ensuring your hold, form and anchor point are all absolutely consistent from shot to shot, from the range to the field. The genius of the Retina Lock design is its Tunnel Vision System that places a magnifying lens in front of a colored optic element inside of the bezel. Only when perfectly aligned, the Retina Lock produces a green glow behind a black centering dot, verifying your position, hold and anchor point are consistent every time. It’s fast, intuitive and almost effortless, but the brilliance of the IQ Bowsight is that it performs equally with or without a peep sight. It may come as no surprise that inconsistent torque on the bow imparted by the forward hand is the absolute enemy of accurate archery practice, as this causes arrows to wander wildly on the horizontal axis despite having a pin centered perfectly on the target. The variation in grip from the mere addition of gloves can mean the difference between a short blood-trail track to your quarry and a long and unproductive JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 87
search for a wounded animal—or even a complete miss. The Retina Lock prevents torque. When torque is applied to the bow, the green glow won’t be centered in the tunnel vision system. Nor will it be centered if your anchor point changes or you are angling the bow instead of bending at the waist while shooting from an elevated position. This visual feedback is immediate thus allowing for perfect form, muscle memory and accurate arrow placement every time. Constructed of aircraft-grade aluminum, the IQ Bowsight has unprecedented four-axis adjustability for ideal alignment for any archer. Its StackTight pins nest together, providing closer positioning between pins to accommodate precise aiming points for today’s flat-shooting, high-velocity bows. The fiber optic elements are fully contained in the PinPocket design of the IQ’s aluminum pins. Light Trap technology ensures bright pins in low light conditions to extend your shooting time without the aid of electronics or batteries. The IQ Bowsight will be available in four- and seven-pin configurations in both left- and right-hand variants. The IQ Bowsight will be arriving on dealers’ shelves by May with suggested retail prices of $199.99 and $219.99 for the four- and seven-pin configurations, respectively. Trade Association show, one highly regarded professional bowhunter was overheard saying, “This sight is going to revolutionize bowhunting. It’s like having an archery instructor standing over your shoulder telling you exactly what you’re doing wrong and when you’ve got it right.” We fully expect to see him with the IQ on his bow by fall and his comment comes as high praise for the sight that’s about to rewrite the book on archery accuracy. For more information visit www.iqbowsights.com
Ben Pearson Releases Predator The world’s top predators attack with deadly stealth and speed. Few escape these silent hunters and all fear their presence. The same can be said for Ben Pearson’s Predator. New for 2010, the Predator not only features Ben Pearson’s innovation, quality and performance, but it’s affordable as well. Tired of bows getting more and more out of your price range? Ben Pearson hears you loud and clear 88 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010
and has created the 2010 Predator in response. It comes with the smooth-as-butter Z-7 single cam and can be outfitted with a Copper John Battle Axe 3 Pin sight, drop-away arrow rest, peep sight, Sims S-coil stabilizer, wrist sling and Bohning quiver. Available as a bow only or in a complete hunting package, the Predator is the best way to reach the top of the food chain. The Predator Package Includes: ●● Copper John Battle Axe 3 pin all-aluminium sight ●● Bohning Archery Lynx 4-arrow, quick detaching quiver ●● Fully-machined, aluminium drop-a-way rest ●● Sims S-Coil stabilizer & silencers ●● Peep sight & bow sling Specs: ●● I.B.O. speed: 303-294 fps ●● Axle-to-Axle: 30 inches ●● Brace Height :7 1/4 inches ●● String Length: 83 11/16 inches ●● Cables (2): 31 5/8 inches ●● Draw Weights: 40, 50, 60, & 70 lb. (75% Let Off) ●● Draw Lengths: 26 1/2 - 30 1/2 inches (halfinch increments) ●● Weight: 3.3 lbs ●● Available Colors: Mossy Oak Obsession For more info, check out http://www.benpearson.com
PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE IS THE BEST WAY TO KEEP FUEL SYSTEMS CLEAN It’s commonly known that diesel and other light fuel oils degrade in quality over time, even during shortterm storage. This can lead to diminished performance, decreased service life and potential engine failure. It’s especially likely on pleasure craft and RVs that sit idle for extended periods, such as those in seasonal storage. In addition, the daily accumulation of water in the idle fuel system can lead to growth of microbial contaminants, such as bacteria. The accumulated water and bacteria can quickly overwhelm the fuel system’s filter/water separator, leading to costly damage and a cumbersome clean-up process. New low-power diesel fuel polishing systems now continuously clean stored fuel during engine downtime, preventing the accumulation of water and organic contaminants. This makes the process of maintaining a clean fuel supply easier and less time consuming.
fuel supply out of the tank, fixed-base filtration systems filter the contents and often include thorough tank scrubbing to remove sediment build-up. While these systems do a good job of removing contamination, they are expensive to utilize on a regular basis. Normally priced on a per-gallon basis that rivals the per-gallon cost of the fuel itself, this approach is the most effective means to combat a severe contamination problem. However, it is not intended for addressing the daily build-up of water in the fuel system. Additives Specialty manufacturers offer a range of chemical treatment solutions, such as enzyme-based additives, for diesel fuels to solve specific fuel problems. These products can vary widely in their effectiveness. Even if the correct product is used to kill bacteria in the fuel system, the root cause of the issue, water collected in the tank, remains a problem. Pre-filtration Systems Pre-filtration, either with or without water separators, has also been a commonly offered solution. This method reduces the fuel system load and can increase the service life on the OEMs’ filtration system. The more contamination there is in a system, the more frequently filter changes are required.
HOW FUEL DEGRADES The main cause of fuel degradation is water. Regardless of whether the fuel is being used in land- or marine-based applications, the daily water infiltration is virtually impossible to prevent. Through regular temperature swings, water simply condenses and builds up in the fuel system. If condensation is outside of the fuel tank, in the form of dew, fog or rain, then water is almost certainly accumulating inside the fuel tank. Water collected inside the tank fosters bacteria growth by providing a microbial breeding ground. These bacteria feed on the stored diesel fuel, which reduces fuel energy content. It can also lead to clogged filters, as well as oxidation, resulting in damages to fuel delivery system components, such as pumps, valves and fuel hoses.
CURRENT SOLUTIONS Fixed-Base Filtration Systems Offering the use of a large system that pumps the
High-flow-rate polishing systems typically use a high power gear pump, pre-filters and associated liquid and electrical switching. These units are normally specified in gallons per hour of filtering capacity and are usually sized to match fuel consumption demands. Generally these systems are used for a period of several hours to treat bulk contamination before the fuel can be fed to the engine. While these systems are effective at the treatment of existing minor contamination, they require substantial power from a generator or shore power source. Preventative Fuel System Maintenance The best solution to maintain a healthy fuel delivery system is to address the root of the problem and continuously remove water and other contaminants before damage results. Parker Energy Systems’ JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 89
FPM-050 Fuel Polishing Module promotes a bacteria-free environment while consuming minimal power and working with an installed pre-filter. Circulating up to 350 gallons of fuel a week, the FPM-050 cleans and polishes fuel while the engine is idle. Operating on a daily basis, it maximizes fuel system reliability and minimizes maintenance expenses. The FPM-050 from Parker Energy Systems has a price of $587. Contact Parker Energy Systems, Parker Hannifin Corp., 95 Edgewood Ave., New Britain, CT 06051. Toll-free 877-217-4501; sleahy@parker. com; www.parkerfuelpolishing.com.
BURRIS COMPANY adds 2 scope models BURRIS COMPANY is adding two models of a 4X16X-50mm XTR riflescope, designed for precision rifles used in extreme environments, to its Xtreme Tactical line. Available with either a non-illuminated Burris Ballistic Mil-Dot reticle or an illuminated Mil-Dot reticle. The XT-1 resettable vertical and radial tactical knobs are calibrated at 1/4MOA increments. Parallax adjustment and illumination knobs are located conveniently on the left side of the scope turret.. Common to all scopes in the XTR line from Burris: ●● 30mm main tubes that are 25% thicker in cross section, resulting in 42% more strength. ●● Integrated Eyepiece and Power ring with deep relief grooves for maximum durability and ease of changing magnification. ●● Extra Large Internal Lenses for maximum brightness. ●● Ultra-Premium Quality Lenses for outstanding resolution and clarity. ●● Double-Force coil spring suspension system 90 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010
for the ultimate in accuracy. ●● StormCoat™ lens finish to reduce surface tension and increase water shedding. ●● Waterproof, Fogproof, Shockproof and Warranted Forever. Real world pricing will range from $850 to $950. For more information, contact Len Zemaitis, Burris Company, 331 East 8th Street, Greeley, CO 80631, email email@example.com or go to www.burrisoptics.com
BURRIS COMPANY illuminated reticles 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 2X-12X 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 adjustment 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.burrisoptics.com
NEW PORTABLE HEATER/STOVE IS THE HOT ACCESSORY THIS WINTER As the temperature outside continues to drop, it’s important to stay warm. Perfect for winter activities, such as ice fishing and camping, the lightweight HeatMate 5200 Portable Alcohol Heater from Contoure offers an efficient, safe source of heat that doubles as a stove when the lid is removed. Whether on a boat, RV or at home, the versatile HeatMate provides extra warmth where needed with 5,200 BTU of heat. When transformed into a cooktop, it has the capability to boil a quart of water in less than nine minutes. The reliable HeatMate’s canister system employs a nonflammable wick material that absorbs approximately 1-1/4 quarts of environmentally-friendly alcohol. Even if it’s turned completely upside down, the unique design prevents fuel from leaking. Providing clean heating and cooking, alcohol fuel is easily extinguishable with water. The pressure-free canister system also eliminates pumping, priming, hoses and valves.
SHRINKWRAP PROTECTS OUTDOOR ASSETS ALL WINTER LONG When the time comes to put boats and RVs into storage, it’s important for the job to be done effectively and with the best materials possible. Dr. Shrink’s premium shrinkwrap and installation accessories enable owners to protect their assets and ensure they’re in good condition when taken out next season. Offering superior protection from snow, ice, rain and dirt, Dr. Shrink’s shrinkwrap is constructed from 100% virgin resin. Completely waterproof, it contains UV inhibitors and can be sealed around entire units. This shrinkwrap won’t crack and can withstand temperatures as low as -50˚F. Unlike tarps that can move and chafe during transit, shrinkwrap won’t scratch a boat or RV’s surface. Also unlike dirty tarps, it can be easily ventilated to prevent mold and mildew growth from forming under the cover. Zipper doors are offered so owners can perform maintenance or simply gain access to their asset. Even before wrapping the unit, a solid support structure must be erected to ensure the best protection. Wood 2” x 4” uprights used to keep covers up can fall over or slide around, allowing water, snow or ice to pool during storage and cause damage. Dr. Shrink’s end caps, bottom caps and strapping create a structure that withstands heavy rain or snowfall. Always providing assistance when needed, the company’s instructional CD is a step-by-step guide to
The compact HeatMate measures just 11-3/4” H x 11-1/2” in diameter and weighs only 5 lbs. 3 oz. Constructed of aluminum, it features a convenient carrying strap. The innovative HeatMate 5200 Portable Alcohol Heater from Contoure International has a suggested retail price of just $169.95. Contact InterCon Marketing, 1540 Northgate Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34234. 941-355-4488. email@example.com; www. contoure.com.
shrinkwrapping safely. It walks users through installing a support structure, applying the wrap, using the heat shrink tool, venting and repairing holes. Dr. Shrink’s shrinkwrap has a starting price of JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 91
$125.41 for a 12’ x 149’ roll.
A one-stop shop for all shrinkwrapping needs, Dr. Shrink offers premium supplies, prompt service, competitive pricing and experienced application advice. Located in Manistee, Michigan, the company’s REBAG® program enables customers to recycle their shrinkwrap.
In addition to Hi Mountain’s entire line of products, cooking tips, instructional videos, and recipes, this new processing kit is conveniently available at www. himtnjerky.com. With a suggested retail price is $79.95, the Game Processor could pay for itself with the first whitetail deer butchered.
Contact Dr. Shrink, 315 Washington St., Manistee, MI 49660. 800-968-5147; Fax: 231-723-9586. drshrink@ dr-shrink.com; www.dr-shrink.com.
Located in the heart of Wyoming, Hi Mountain Seasonings was founded in 1991. It is the premier manufacturer of kits for homemade jerky and sausage. Hi Mountain Seasonings has successfully captured distinct, traditional Western flavors in its Jerky Cure & Seasonings, Western Sizzle Designer Series Seasonings, Bacon cures and other products that make up the unique line of gourmet Western seasonings.
BECOME YOUR OWN BUTCHER: HI MOUNTAIN OFFERS NEW GAME PROCESSOR BUTCHERING SET Hi Mountain Seasonings announced the availability of the new 12-piece portable Game Processor butchering set manufactured by Outdoor Edge. The set provides you with all the tools you’ll need to accomplish every task in preparing your harvest—be it big game, waterfowl, wild turkey, small game or fish—for your dinner table. The Game Processor set includes four of the most practical blade designs necessary for properly preparing wild game: the 3-inch Caper knife, the 4 1/4inch gut-hook Skinner, the 5 1/2-inch Boning/Fillet knife and the 8-inch Butcher knife for carving turkeys, steaks and roasts. Constructed of a high-carbon 420 stainless steel blade and a Kraton handle, each knife boasts full-tang construction for superior strength, while the rubberized texture pattern on the handle enables a secure lock-on grip, even when wet. The knives are lightweight, perfectly balanced and ergonomically designed to reduce fatigue during your cutting chores.
For additional information, write: Hi Mountain Seasonings, 1000 College View Drive, Riverton, WY 82501; call toll-free 1-800-829-2285; or visit the company website at www.himtnjerky.com.
LASERLYTE OUTDOES ITSELF AGAIN WITH THE LATEST PISTOL BAYONET LaserLyte® introduced the “Mini Survival Knife” pistol bayonet that features an exaggerated top serrated two-tone blade. This is the third generation in the
The Game Processor set also includes Outdoor Edge’s heavy-duty, spring-action Game Shears; a tungsten-carbide V-Sharpener; a 10-inch wood/bone saw; a Steel Stick brisket spreader; a carving fork; a cutting board; a packet of game-cleaning gloves; and a hard-sided carrying case. This Game Processor is great for camping and outdoor cooking as well, and it carries a lifetime manufacturer’s guarantee against material and workmanship 92 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010
extremely popular line of LaserLyte/Ka-BAR® brand pistol bayonets. The LaserLyte “Mini Survival Knife” is ready for any situation - or just looking cool on your favorite gun. This razor-sharp, 2.75 inch Ka-Bar blade fits on any medium to large pistol with rail and slides on and off easily with the press of two buttons. Its carbon steel blade is sharpened to a fine edge and finished with a black Teflon® coating for protection. Featuring a
full tang design, the blade also comes with a custom polymer sheath. The blade handle is constructed from 30 percent glass-filled nylon for extra strength and durability. MSRP $49.95.
LaserLyte Pistol Bayonet Specifications: ●● • Product Number: PB-3 ●● • Compatible Firearms: with rails, medium to large frame pistols ●● • Material: medium carbon, glass filled nylon ●● • Weight: 2.6 oz., 73.71 g ●● • Blade Length: 2.75 in., 69.85 mm ●● • Overall Length: 5.75 in., 146.05 mm • MSRP: $49.95 LaserLyte, the leader in laser technology, is the shooting and hunting division of P&L Industries. The company strives to heighten the experience of shooting by offering high quality, competitively priced lasers and other firearms accessories. For more information about LaserLyte and its complete line of products contact: LaserLyte, 101 Airpark Road, Cottonwood, Arizona, 86326, 928-649-3201, www. laserlyte.com. Ka-Bar Knives, Inc., a subsidiary of Alcas Corporation, manufactures high quality military, hunting, sporting, and all-purpose utility knives. For more information about Ka-Bar, visit www.kabar.com See the LaserLyte PB-3 YouTube Demo: http://www. youtube.com/watch?v=ORARB2uidp8 or go to
Bushnell Introduces New Bone Collector Muzzleloader Scope
The Scope has a full 5 inches of eye relief, making it perfect for muzzle loading rifles. The Bushnell Bone collector scope sells for a suggested retail price of $299.99. For more information on Bushnell Products visit www.bushnell.com or call 800-423-3537 for consumer inquiries.
BLOCK Fusion Launches A Toasty Promotion For 2010 Block Fusion announces an exciting—and warming—new promotion designed to reward its customers who purchase an award-winning BLOCK Fusion F-21 or F-24. Anyone who purchases a BLOCK Fusion F-21 or F-24 during the 2010 calendar year is eligible to receive a toasty-warm fleece jacket that proudly boasts the BLOCK Fusion logo embroidered on the back and left chest.
Overland Park, Kansas- Black powder hunters and fans of Michael Waddell’s Bone Collector show will appreciate the quality features of the new 3-9x40 Bone Collector scope from Bushnell. The scope has the new DOA 250 reticle that allows shooters to hold dead on at ranges from 100 to 250 yards. The DOA reticle also has the Rack Bracket feature which helps hunters determine the width of a deer’s rack while field judging the animal before the shot. The Bone Collector scope has a fast focus eye piece and multi-coated optics that provide 90% light transmission. Lenses are permanently coated with RainGuard HD for hunting in any type of weather. The Bone Collector logo is prominently displayed on the JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 93
With the jacketâ€™s retail value of $49.99, this promotion creates an even greater incentive to purchase the best archery target on the market. Redemption of the free Block Fusion logoed fleece jacket is easy; simply fill out the redemption coupon provided at your retailer, and mail it along with a copy of the sales receipt and UPC code to the address provided on the coupon. The coupons can also be downloaded at www. blocktarget.com , where you will also find complete promotion details and a copy of the official Terms and Conditions. This offer is only valid for the purchase of the F-21 or F-24 Block Fusion and does not apply to any other targets. Headquartered in Superior, WI, Field Logic is the manufacturer of the award-winning BLOCK and the new BLOCK Fusion. It also manufactures GlenDel 3D targets. For additional information, visit the company website at www.fieldlogic.com
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Tanzania Safari: Robert DePole
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Galen L. Geer Tanzania Safari: Robert DePole. Limited Edition, signed and numbered. 355 pages, black & white photographs, maps. Indexed. Trophy Room Books, Box 3041, Agoura, CA 91301. Copyright, 1997.
I never hunted in Tanzania so I approached Robert De Pole’s autobiographical account of hunting there with anticipation because this was a book I wanted to read for the pleasure of reading and not only for review. For this reason I found myself reading this book while sitting at my kitchen table with the book in front of me and a full pot of coffee on the counter. Usually I’d read after breakfast and before heading to my office. What initially attracted me to this book was the opportunity to read about hunting in Tanzania, but within a few pages I rapidly discovered the author was a survivor of the brutality that we humans seem to insist on inflicting on each other. In his case he and his family were the victims of World War II’s inhumanity. First, some history--Robert DePole is the nom de plume of one of Tanzania’s most successful professional hunters—Robert Kotowicz. Just the same as many other Europeans he arrived in Africa as a part of the great displaced persons migration that convulsed the world with the end of World War II. Robert DePole (Kotowicz) came to Africa via the circuitous route that led through the frozen hell of the Soviet Union’s Siberian camps. His father, a man who was well educated in Forestry and Economics in Krakow and Prague, had been able to provide his family with a comfortable lifestyle. In 1931, when
Robert was five years old, his father received a plum appointment, he was appointed manager of the large Augustow Forest, which had once been the private hunting grounds for one of Poland’s Kings. Robert discovered the joys of the outdoor lifestyle with fishing trips, berry picking and later, after receiving a .22 rifle, hunting. When war broke out Robert was 13 years old and while the Germans were hammering away at one side of Poland the Soviet Union, eager to snatch any fresh fruit in the confusion, overran Poland’s eastern border. In a few weeks Robert’s idyllic world was shattered by the communist “liberators” who turned his family’s world upside down. In February of 1940 Robert and his family, joined hundreds of other families rounded up by the Soviet troops to be sent by truck, rail and foot into Siberia. For two years survival was measured in hours. In 1942 the Poles that were imprisoned in Siberia were released as part of an agreement between Stalin and the Allies when Stalin wanted additional war materials. What followed for his family was a slow and tortuous trip that finally dumped them in Africa. When the war ended they had to face a heart wrenching decision— return to Poland, which was under the influence of the Soviet Union, immigrate to England, the United States or another part of the world, or stay in Africa and carve a new life for themselves. They opted for the latter and gradually, haltingly, he and his parents, with their farming partners and their beautiful daughter Irene, set out to become farmers in the lands around Kilimanjaro. Along the route to a successful JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 97
farm two key events altered Robert’s life. The first was Irene, she agreed to become his wife and the second was his decision to accompany a neighbor on a crocodile hunt. The idea was to sell the croc hides and use the money to help finance the struggling farm. Perhaps, if the hunt had gone completely according to plan Robert Kotowicz would have never needed more money to finance more of the farm. Or, if the farm had been profitable in the early years there would have never been a need for additional hunting excursions. But, it didn’t and as the author writes at the end of Part One, “I would remain in Africa for the rest of my life.” Dinosaur Hunting? The hunter’s misfortune is often the bedrock of a humorous story and the author’s life as a big game hunter began with an unlikely hunt—he went after a dinosaur. The hunt began with a long trip by truck, then motorboat and finally native canoe to Lake Bangweulu in a remote and then inaccessible part of Northern Rhodesia. The hunt ended with his return home five weeks later with nothing but malaria to show for his efforts. Hunting, however, was a necessary part of maintaining the farm. To protect the fledgling crops from marauding wild pigs, monkeys and whatever else took an interest in the crops Robert had to hone his skills as a hunter. Gradually, as the farm grew in size and become more successful he found himself with the opportunity to expand his hunting and in time, as his success as a hunter grew, primarily in the ivory hunting trade, his reputation as a hunter grew as well and before long he was being asked to accompany others on hunting trips. Over time the realization came over Kotowicz that he could make a good living as a professional hunter thereby creating for himself, and his family, a dual income, one from the farm and the second from operating a successful safari business. When he first 98 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010
attempted to break into what had been a jealously guarded closed field of professional hunters Robert Kotowicz collided head first with the “Old Boys Club.” His application for a license was turned down. A year later, however, he again applied for the license, passed his exams and was in the business of being a professional hunter. Sometimes, when I started reading this book I wondered if I would ever get past the author’s struggle. It seemed that everything in his life, since the outbreak of the war, had been one struggle following upon the heels of another. When he finally does get into writing his hunting stories there is a remarkable change in the text’s tone. What had been a parade of misfortunes and struggles suddenly is replaced by the rewarding recounting of the life of adventure that we associate with African and being a successful professional hunter. Natural Story Telling I was well into the text of this book when I realized that Robert Kotowicz could have probably made a good living for himself as a creative writer. The stories are more than interesting; they are alive with a detail and structure that is usually missing in autobiographic story telling. I also found another feature of Tanzania Safari that is hidden in the text—each story stands alone. Many people who have led adventurous lives are often encouraged to write their life stories. In most cases the life stories are told in the liner structure that matches the author’s life. It is a long established and acceptable pattern of writing that insures the story is both easy to read and easy to write. But it is frequently an inadequate form because it is also limiting, preventing the author from manipulating events within the stories to make the entire text more reader friendly. Kotowicz skillfully avoids that problem by filling each chapter with a series of complete stories, a form of envelope writing in which one story surrounds another.
One excellent example of this envelope writing structure is Chapter Eight: “More Elephant and Cat Hunting.” The first story is titled “Hunting in SemiOpen Country.” This first story is the recounting of an elephant hunt on which a neighbor accompanied him, intending to learn the ropes of being a professional hunter. Robert is an accommodating host and he willingly helps his neighbor. A memorable part of the chapter is the author’s one-on-one encounter with a lioness. The hunting party had killed an elephant and as was customary they had cut off the tail to mark the elephant kill and then returned to hunting, intending to return two or three days later to chop out the tusks. When they returned to the elephant Robert strolled up the carcass, noting that there were no buzzards overhead. The fallen bull lay with his back to me. In order to come near his tusks, I vaulted over his hind legs and virtually landed on a sleeping lioness. She woke up as I landed next to her and gave a threatening, short roar. To say I was terrified is a mild statement. I remember throwing my hands up in the air and giving her my version of a roar, not to be compared with hers. Fortunately, in this case it was sufficiently effective. Instead of killing me on the spot, she turned and departed in a hurry, never looking back.
After all, how many times does the average lioness get jumped on and screamed at by a man? (155) Although the sleeping lion incident ended without the author or any of the hunting party being injured it is illustrative of how well he weaves a rich texture in his story telling. Here is a book that can be picked up, read for ten minutes in a coffee break or for an entire evening. What’s even more rewarding is that there is no necessity to read from the first page to the last. It is a rare book that can be read from whatever page it falls open to and closed when the last drop of coffee is drained—and still provide a satisfying read—this is a rare book When I reached the closing pages of this book I knew what to expect. In 1961, with the granting of independence, then Tanganyika began to sink into the morass of socialist corruption. Everything that Kotowicz and his family had built is ultimately lost, seized by the corrupt new government. There is a passion of loss in the closing pages, but he knows that he has the memories of his life as both farmer and professional hunter and now, with this book, we can share in his memories. Tanzania Safari is an extraordinary gift to every hunter from a man who had an extraordinary life of adventure.
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. JANUARY 2010 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 99
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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. 110 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE JANUARY 2010
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Alternative uses for your flashlight Nowadays there are an incredible variety of torches in the market, especially since LED technology made its appearance. We are talking however, here of the common old torch (referred to as flashlight by the uncouth world outside of South Africa) with 2 batteries, three volt globe, reflector, switch and a spiral spring in the back part. Yes, the type of which you easily turn one of the batteries around if torch not in use so that it cannot, per accident, switch on making your batteries flat. There are a couple of alternative uses for this torch: • A red glass or red cellophane over the existing glass is handy if you want to do mapreading at night and still be able to see without torch causing night blindness. • In spite of modern communications, a torch is still a reliable tool to send a signal of distress. Three short, three long, three short, is the well known Morse code signal for SOS or three flashes followed by counting three without light • Take a piece of the steel wool and fluff it out. Take the globe, reflector and glass out of the torch, switch it on and short circuit the contacts in front of the torch softly with the steel wool, which will then catch fire . The shining reflector also works well to start a fire. Take it out as well as the globe and point the reflector towards the sun. Hold a piece of rolled up paper in the hole where the globe has been, in such a position that the focused sunbeams will ignite the paper Still another method to start a single fire in an emergency is to take the glass off the torch, take the globe out and very carefully break the glass without harming the small filament. Roll a piece of paper in cylinder form and place it carefully around the open globe. Place also fine tinder in the reflector around the paper cylinder. Put powder-dust from a shell in the paper cylinder, switch on the torch and you have your fire
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 ●● health and first aid ●● mammal identification information with photographs, tracks, dung and SCI and Rowland Ward qualification minimums.
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Know how to administer CPR. Deal with dangerous animals up close. Identify and treat bites from snakes, spiders and scorpions. Know the right emergency numbers to dial in an emergency – it’s all there. A must-have item for every serious hunter. Sturdy PlastiCoil binding for durability and easy opening, 110 pages, 6.0 x 9.0 in. Full color covers and cream interior printed in black and white.
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True North Unbelievable
This is the world God has made. This is the world that is still going on. He doesn’t walk away from the mess we’ve made of it. Now he lives, almost cheerfully, certainly heroically, in a dynamic relationship with us and with our world. “Then the Lord intervened” is perhaps the single most common phrase about him in Scripture, in one form or another. Look at the stories he writes. There’s the one where the children of Israel are pinned against the Red Sea, no way out, with Pharaoh and his army barreling down on them in murderous fury. Then God shows up. There’s Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who get rescued only after they’re thrown into the fiery furnace. Then God shows up. He lets the mob kill Jesus, bury him ... then He shows up. Do you know why God loves writing such incredible stories? Because he loves to come through. He loves to show us that he has what it takes. It’s not the nature of God to limit his risks and cover his bases. Far from it. Most of the time, he actually lets the odds stack up against him. Against Goliath, a seasoned soldier and a trained killer, he sends . . . a freckle-faced little shepherd kid with a slingshot. Most commanders going into battle want as many infantry as they can get. God cuts Gideon’s army from thirty-two thousand to three hundred. Then he equips the ragtag little band that’s left with torches and watering pots. It’s not just a battle or two that God takes his chances with, either. Have you thought about his handling of the gospel? God needs to get a message out to the human race, without which they will perish . . . forever. What’s the plan? First, he starts with the most unlikely group ever: a couple of prostitutes, a few fishermen with no better than a second-grade education, a tax collector. Then, he passes the ball to us. Unbelievable. (Wild at Heart , 31–32)
Debunking Ballistic Myths: The truth about terminal ballistics BorderLine Walk: Kariba Gorge Ghost rings for accurate shooting: Open-sight...
Published on Mar 30, 2010
Debunking Ballistic Myths: The truth about terminal ballistics BorderLine Walk: Kariba Gorge Ghost rings for accurate shooting: Open-sight...