A QUESTION OF ETHICS .... do you feel it?
The BorderLine Walk THE ZAMBEZI: RIFA TO CHIKWENYA
All American Double
Searcy Rifles: Tough and beautiful
Bellâ€™s Base Camp The Greek River Area
Tick Bite Fever Tread carefully
Make a Plan www.africanxmag.com
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contents 4 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 2011
8 A QUESTION OF ETHICS .... do you feel it?
22 The BorderLine Walk THE ZAMBEZI: RIFA TO CHIKWENYA
43 All American Double Searcy Rifles: Tough and beautiful
52 Bell’s Base Camp The Greek River Area
65 Tick Bite Fever Tread carefully
82 News, Reviews, and Press Releases 122 Make a Plan
Make a winch with poles and a rope
127 True North
Created in Freedom to Be His Intimate Allies
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A QUESTION OF ETHICS
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.... do you feel it?
e are strange creatures are we not? We are inclined to avoid issues which sometimes nag at our consciences and brush them off much as we would an unwelcome visitor. Yet this visitor has a habit of returning uninvited, arriving suddenly and unexpectedly to again confront us. I often wonder about and have tried to pin down what is the very essence of hunting ethic. Much has been said and written about being “sportsmanlike” and fair chase and what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable hunting behavior with respect to the animal being hunted. But most of what has been written about what is ethical and what is not tends to skirt around and evade the real issues at hand and couches things hard to confront in language that tends to fall softer on the conscience using words such as hunting, culling, or harvesting as an alternative to the most unsettling word of all “killing”. And so we hear of rangers “culling” elephants, or game farm managers “harvesting” surplus game, or hunters “hunting their quarry”. By using “softer” words we fool ourselves into what might be described as “reality denial” and the result is that our ethics are sometimes questionable. FEBRUARY 2011 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 9
We need another and wiser and perhaps more mystical concept of animals Remote from universal nature and living by complicated artifice Man and civilization surveys the creatures through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves And therein we err and greatly err For the animals shall not be measured by man In a world older and more complete than ours They move finished and complete Gifted with the extensions of senses we have lost or never attained Living by voices we shall never hear They are not brethren They are not underlings They are other nations Caught with ourselves in the net of life and time Fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth Arthur Henry Besten
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To get to the point where we can identify the very essence of what a hunting ethic should be we have to allow our defences to be broken down so that we can confront what hunters really do. Call it what you like, couch it in whatever terms you choose – terminating a life on purpose if the choice to do so is done with forethought and premeditation is – dare I say the word – killing.
On and on the questions go and we became bogged down ever deeper into the bog of moral confusion because we are not confronting the real issue. What is the real issue? The real issue is that when you decide to hunt an animal you have mentally taken the moral decision to terminate a life – that is a nice way of saying that you have already taken the decision to kill something – the place and time is, in actual fact, quite irrelevant to the intended outcome.
So wildlife managers do not “cull” elephant they kill them. Game farmers do not “harvest” surplus game And now comes the crunch. – they kill surplus game. The term “to hunt” is also If we are indeed as most of us would like to believe, somewhat ambiguous. You may “hunt” all over the moral creatures, and we do believe in some moral house to find your car keys but to “hunt” an animal code of ethics, and we are not all we all know goes beyond the idea of masochists that derive some sort of looking for or searching for the animal The crux around warped pleasure from inflicting un- we know that the hunt culminates in which everything necessary pain and suffering, then we the kill. have to confront the fact that we have must now hang is Because we are mostly in denial about made the choice to kill something. the answer to the the word “kill”, we formulate our ethics which, although they may perhaps be question: “How can I The crux around which everything now hang is the answer to the related to hunting, actually miss the kill this animal in the must question: “How can I kill this animal in core value of what our hunting ethic the quickest and most humane way should be. And so we have formulated quickest and most possible and cause the least amount humane way posthe creed of “fair chase”. of pain and suffering during this anisible and cause the Let’s look at how the term “fair chase” mals’ journey from what we know as is defined by some hunting organizaleast amount of pain life to whatever lies beyond?” tions. and suffering during That dear friends, fellow conserva“Fair chase is the ethical, sportsmanthis animals’ journey tionists, hunters and wildlife managlike and lawful pursuit and taking of from what we know ers is the heart of the matter - the free ranging wild game animals in a very core issue of a hunting ethic! as life to whatever manner that does not give the hunter It is the question most people conlies beyond?” an improper or unfair advantage over veniently choose to avoid.Everything such animals.” else is a side issue because everyHmm! Interesting how the words “takthing else will hinge around the fulcrum of this quesing of free game” are again used as an alternative tion. to “killing of free game”. See what I mean! Circular If you wish to ask yourself from what range you reasoning is used because neither the terms “ethishould attempt a shot the answer will be found in this cal” or “sportsmanlike” are defined. So the argument question. goes: “ You are sportsmanlike and ethical because you chase fair and because you chase fair you are If you wish to know where you should place your ethical and sportsmanlike.” Around and around the shot your answer will also be found in this question. argument goes and becomes even more convoluted If you want to know what calibre to use the answer by the phrase “does not give the hunter an improper will be found in this question. or unfair advantage over such animals.” What constitutes “unfair advantage” or “being ethical and sportsmanlike?” Now again the inquirer is led astray on a number of rabbit trails. How big should the area be that I hunt animals on? At what range should I attempt the shot and where should I aim? Is it OK to hunt at night with a spotlight? What calibre should I use? Is it ethical to hunt with a longbow?
If you want to know what weapon to use the answer is to be found in this question. If you want to know how big the area must be on which to hunt an animal the answer too will be found in this question.
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And some of the answers will be unexpected and not what you may want to hear. To decide to terminate a life and kill something is a big moral step to begin with but because it is the life of a wild animal, we tend to take the decision lightly because we assign far less value to the life of a wild creature. And because we regard them merely as a dispensable resource and assign less value to them we are less perturbed about being their source of pain and suffering. At best we dissociate ourselves with reality at worst we become callous. If we had to take the decision to kill a fellow human being we would be far more circumspect because we assign greater value to human life and we are also more aware of the consequences of taking the life of a fellow human. A good hunter should not celebrate death but have a profound appreciation for life. We can all kill. We cannot make alive again. Once the trigger has been squeezed and the bullet is on its way we cannot recall it. It must then do its work of bringing a life to a quick and painless end or causing a crippling and agonizing wound. The macho attitude of hunters can be very wearisome and disturbing but I think it is all a front. I would like to think that most hunters after a moment or two of euphoria at having “taken” or “despatched” their quarry may have a moment or two of quiet and private reflection and may experience a sense of regret and deep sorrow at having being instrumental in bringing a life to an untimely end. If there is some sense of this, however fleeting, it is good – not only for the individual – but for hunting as well. If it is missing there is something very wrong with our moral fabric. If we can dish out pain and suffering and feel no twinge of conscience or experience a sense of remorse, however momentary, then we are on the slippery slope of moral decline, where we have been so desensitized by the violence we see on television, the movies, printed media and perhaps even around us and our claim to be moral creatures, able to decide between right and wrong, good and bad, ethical or non-ethical may well be in jeopardy.
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I find it no contradiction in terms that most good hunters end up being the best conservationists - that a time comes in their lives when they have had and seen enough of the blood-letting and dying, and life has taken on new meaning and been elevated to greater importance, when they no longer want to see the light of life slowly fading in a kudu’s eye. Let’s take life seriously and death with reluctance. Taking a decision to kill an animal (cull, harvest, hunt) is a big deal. Life is precious. Death (until the Creator brings about changes we cannot effect) is irreversible. The level of suffering an animal experiences as it transitions from life to death lies squarely in the hands of the hunter. The transition may come as quickly and painlessly as the blink of an eye or may drag on agonizingly for hours, days or even weeks. If our love and appreciation for all things natural, wild and free is indeed genuine and not a facade - then the hunt, the cull or the harvest will remain for us a sad good, perhaps necessary but always accompanied by a sense of irreplaceable loss. Maybe it is time for us hunters to begin seeing animals through different eyes so that as we squeeze the trigger to send the bullet on its way we will have been aware of the question circling around in our minds “How can I kill this animal in the quickest and most humane way possible so that its journey from life to death will be free of pain and suffering?” Then, and only then, will you and I be able to call ourselves ethical hunters.
Cleve Cheney holds a bachelor of science degree in zoology and a master’s degree in animal physiology. He is a wilderness trail leader, rated field guide instructor and the author of many leading articles on the subjects of tracking, guiding, bowhunting and survival. Cleve has unrivalled experience in wildlife management, game capture and hunting, both with bow and rifle. FEBRUARY 2011 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 19
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CLICK HERE FEBRUARY 2011 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 21
The BorderLine Walk
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THE ZAMBEZI: RIFA TO CHIKWENYA
n certain respects, the lower Zambezi stretch was a letdown. Don’t get me wrong, we enjoyed fantastic moments and sightings and met some fine people along the way, but delays constantly shackled our advance and we jerked along spasmodically. The setbacks were unavoidable but frustrating nonetheless. I have been anticipating the lower valley stretch for years – since the Borderline concept took root – and events simply didn’t unfurl as envisaged. Although the entire walk has been a stop/start affair, our progress through the lower valley was chameleon-like. We left Nyamumba Parks post at the foot of Kariba gorge at 8am on 7 November 2009. After the gorge, almost any terrain would have been tolerable and the flat ground of Rifa safari area was a pleasure. Although the heat was intense, we ate up the distance and strode into ‘old B’ camp a few hours and 20 kilometers later. It was refreshing to see some game en route, as well as plenty of fresh sign, including that of a lion pride. Present at ‘old B’ camp were a couple of camp attendants and we chatted with them awhile, as we rested and rehydrated. Jephita held the camp attendants’ attention as mine wandered. With my wandering attention went my eyes and they were drawn to a plaque on the bole of a large tree about ten meters away. Curiosity aroused, I ambled over to the tree and discovered that the plaque was dedicated to one Gerry von Memerty, who was killed by an elephant in the area. FEBRUARY 2011 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 23
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And now it is confession/excuse time: because my one and only camera battery had been thoroughly flattened by that stage, I could not photograph the plaque. Strive as I did to coax 5 seconds of life from the exhausted cell, it was to no avail. And so, in a moment of sheer journalistic incompetence, I jotted down the dedication to Gerry von Memerty on a piece of paper and stuffed it into my backpack. Needless to say, that piece of paper went astray at some point, and to this day, so many months later, I do not know the exact wording on the plaque. The mystery of who Gerry von Memerty was and how he died was to remain in my mind for many months and many miles. Nobody we came across between Chirundu and Kanyemba knew anything about the man, and even a query on my favorite website www.accuratereloading. com drew a blank. Eventually, I would unearth the story of Gerry von Memerty’s demise in the most unlikely fashion, but we will get to that in due course, probably in the next Borderline story, if my word approximation is anywhere near the mark. We lazed about at ‘old B’ camp for a couple of hours before covering the few kilometers to ‘new B’ camp, where we stepped up the lazing about. From the camp staff who plied us with refreshments, I learned that my friend, professional hunter Cliff Walker, was in camp, holidaying with his Australian cousins. Together with another friend, PH Bruce Watson, Cliff owns Watson/Walker Safaris and they operate Rifa in conjunction with Mr. Frik Muller. These names – Muller, Walker, Watson – are respected names in Zimbabwean hunting circles and it is telling that they are associated with what is still a fantastic hunting destination.
We lingered at ‘new B’ for a few days, ostensibly recovering from the ordeal in Kariba gorge but actually just enjoying the company and food. I went fishing a couple of times with Cliff and his cousins, and although no worthy fish were caught, a fun time was had by all. Besides fishing, there were evening braais on the riverbank, shooting competitions and, I kid you not, handstand competitions! I did not feature in the hand-standing, but am pleased to record that Cliff and I shared first place in the shooting, leaving the Aussies to share the wooden spoon. It’s so fine when the Aussies come second in a sporting discipline, is it not? Even if it is an unofficial event and their team is severely handicapped by beer. Highlight of the shooting was when one of the cousins, Troy, inadvertently pulled both triggers of Cliff’s .577 Nitro Express double rifle at the same time! The result of the doubletap was hilarious for all but Troy and Cliff. As Troy bemoaned his battered shoulder and pride, Cliff lovingly wiped down his expensive rifle which, after pounding Troy, had forcefully torn itself from his unsuspecting grip, cart-wheeled through the air and clattered to the hard earth. Once the rest of us had laughed ourselves sore, there was considerably more sympathy for the rifle than for Troy. Our walk through the main part of Rifa – from ‘new B’ to the Rifa education camp close to Chirundu – was most enjoyable. It made an enlightening change to walk a safari area and actually see game. Also enlightening was the fact that Cliff Walker had arranged for our backpacks to be transported to the Rifa camp by his driver, and so we walked unburdened. Although we saw no big game, there was an abundance of plains game (impala, kudu, bushbuck, eland,
warthog) and we crossed the fresh spoor of buffalo, lion and elephant. After what we had not seen in safari areas on the Kariba shoreline, Rifa was a revelation. The question is, of course, if Frik Muller and those operating Rifa before him can do it, what the hell is the problem with the authorities (safari operators/national parks and forestry personnel) in areas above the dam wall? There is absolutely no excuse for the desecration of any particular wildlife area in this country, in days gone by, now, or ever. It simply means that some people are not doing their jobs properly – managing and preserving our wildlife heritage for future generations – and they should therefore lose their positions/areas. It is not only Rifa that I am able to use as an example of a well-managed Zambezi valley safari area. As I was to discover, all the areas between the foot of Kariba gorge and the Mozambique border (Rifa, Nyakasanga, Sapi, Chewore and Dande) carry acceptable wildlife populations. Rifa education camp provided yet more positivity. There we met Mr. Dave Winhall, the resident guide employed by the Zimbabwe Professional Hunters & Guides Association, which administers the camp. When we arrived, Dave and the camp staff were wrapping up a weeklong bush education camp for schoolchildren, sponsored by the ZPHGA and Safari Club International. The education camps are an ongoing process and dozens are conducted annually – just one more point to add to the lengthy list of positives that hunters contribute to wildlife conservation. The morning after arriving at Rifa camp, Jephita hitched a ride from Chirundu on a Harare-bound fuel tanker, in order to collect funds. True to form, the fund-finding trip took longer than it should have
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and it would be two weeks before Jephita returned. I spent a few days at Rifa camp with Dave, enjoying the company and country, before moving through Chirundu itself (typical border town – a cesspool of filth, cheap liquor, and debauchery) to Malcolm van de Riet’s Chirundu crocodile farm. What contrast Chirundu and its immediate surrounds provide. The town itself is downright nauseating yet it is encircled by pristine bush. One has only to walk 15 minutes from town in any of three directions and keep looking forward in order to have a fair chance of convincing oneself that one is in wilderness proper and that the hellhole of Chirundu does not even exist. For those like me who are prone to bouts of short-term memory loss, it is that much easier. Arriving at the crocodile farm (5 km’s east of Chirundu), I was most pleased to discover that my good friend, Ben McCarthy, was managing the van de Riet crocodiles. Ben invited me to stay in his spareroom and I needed no coaxing. Then followed a most relaxing interlude, as I whiled away the days catching up on notes, sorting through photos and partaking in entertaining chat sessions with Ben and Malcolm. Solutions to many of the World’s problems were proposed and seconded during those chat sessions. With Jephita’s return came problems. I was laid low with a severe bout of malaria, though of greater concern was the discovery that my beloved Canon G10 was also ailing. The malaria came and went, but my camera’s condition was serious and would ultimately prove terminal. Salt poisoning it was, from my sweat, of course.
The shutter button and zoom lever were clogged with salt, and try as I did, I only managed to temporarily stabilize the camera. I could still take pictures with great difficulty – minutes spent partially extracting the shutter button from its salt-bed with a fingernail – but I knew it was only a matter of time…. Another concern of mine at that stage was Jephita’s mental state. Although he had undoubtedly been the walk’s driving force the majority of the way, he was beginning to show signs of strain. There were problems at home, and although I had granted him leave sev-
eral times, those problems remained unresolved. Another issue that was weighing heavily on Jephita’s mind was that of lions. In Kariba and again in Chirundu, we had been related a number of horrifying man-eating lion tales and whilst they certainly did have an impression on me, they shook Jephita to the core. I told him that whilst there was reason for concern there was no need for alarm and that he should consider the facts. It was true that man-eaters in the Chirundu/ Makuti area had killed 7 people in the space of a year, but each and every victim had been either walking, blundering around drunk
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or sleeping in the bush after dark. Without exception, as I pointed out to a glum Jephita, with no visible effect. Now we certainly wouldn’t be waltzing around in the woods after dark in lion country, would we? And therefore we wouldn’t bump into any man-eating lions, not so? What were those chaps thinking as they set off into lion country after dark in any case? Lions fear nothing at night. One would think they would have been aware of that, having lived in lion country their entire, albeit abruptly terminated, lives. I knew then and I know now that my attempts at reassuring Jephita were unsuccessful, but still can’t figure out why…. We eventually left the Chirundu area and pressed on downstream, to Mongwe camp, and the following day, Mangwandi ‘D’ camp. I was out of condition and inwardly thankful for the flat terrain. As was the case in Rifa, I a Man was pleased to note much sign of wildlife throughout Nyakasanga, particularly that of plains game animals: zebra, kudu, waterbuck, bushbuck, eland, and impala. I have accompanied several big game hunts in Nyakasanga in days gone by and have always been astounded by the prolific plains game in the area. Although there was an abundance of fresh spoor, we did not actually see as many animals as I imagined we would. I put this down to the early rain, which had fallen whilst we were in Chirundu. It hadn’t been much (an inch or two), but enough to get the green sprouting and the game moving. At Mangwandi we befriended the Parks Rangers posted there and I quizzed them as to the new location of Rukomechi camp,
which had been moved, or so I’d heard on the valley grapevine. The rangers assured us that there was naught to concern ourselves with – all we need do was walk the river road and stay with the vehicle tracks. The only vehicles using the river road at that time of the year were coming to and from Rukomechi, they said, and we couldn’t go wrong. Famous last words, as we discovered the following day. We followed the vehicle tracks to the Nyakasanga/Zambezi junction, up the former watercourse and, contrary to all my instincts, away from the latter. Why in the world, I thought, would Wilderness safaris site their new camp away from the river? It seemed bizarre but we had been advised to follow the vehicle tracks and so we did, for hours on end, as the burning sun ascended and our backpack shoulder straps dug deep. Maybe the new Rukomechi had been sited somewhere on the Rukomechi river? I inwardly reasoned, trying to convince myself we were still on track. But why would the Wilderness Safaris management choose the Rukomechi over Africa’s greatest river? It just didn’t make sense. We reached the Rukomechi River (Nyakasanga/Mana Pools boundary) at noon, at a point about 6 kilometers from its mouth. We were tired, hot, hungry and confused, and flopped down in the shade to rest, cool down, nourish ourselves and consolidate. It was then that a plan came to me and I rummaged through my pack for the satellite phone. A few minutes later I was chatting to my friend, professional hunter Richard Tabor, a man who has hunted Nyakasanga often and knows the area well. Rich said he had never been to the new Rukomechi camp, but had heard it was not far from the old site. When I
described our position to him, he advised me to follow the Rukomechi back down to the Zambezi, locate the old site and figure the way forward from there. Sound advice – there would surely be a couple of guys at the old site who could point us in the right direction…. That afternoon a thunderstorm came rolling in over the Zambian escarpment and we made all haste down the Rukomechi, covering ground we needn’t have but for my uncertainty earlier in the day. As we strode through the heavy sand, racing rain that thankfully never came, I silently chided myself. I should have known better by that stage – although we had only moved off the Zambezi a couple of times before, each inland incursion had brought about problems. We covered at least 10 unnecessary kilometers that day, but eventually reached the old Rukomechi campsite and subsequently the new camp. I noted for future reference that the new camp is a mere 3 kilometers from the old one, and that it is still right on the Zambezi riverbank. Why in the world would Wilderness safaris site their new camp anywhere other than on the Zambezi, I ask you? The day’s frustrations were erased that evening when we finally arrived at Rukomechi and I discovered with delight that my cousin, Clea Bridges, was in camp. I knew that Clea worked at Rukomechi but was not sure she’d be there, given that most camps had already closed for the season. As it turned out, Rukomechi was still in the process of winding up operations. Then ensued a prolonged shower session with plenty of hot water and a pleasant evening spent chatting under the stars with my cousin and her workmates. The comfort was rounded off
perfectly by a restful night on a soft mattress. I was touched the following morning when presented with a packet containing fishing line and hooks, energy bars and other items the Rukomechi camp staff felt we could make use of. Coffee became breakfast and then more coffee, and we set off late that morning. No matter – we were well rested and nourished and the walking mindset was starting to kick in again. We made decent headway for the first hour or so, walking the riverbank and marveling at the spectacular scenery and abundant wildlife that is Mana Pools National Park. And then, with little warning, as I was appreciating the immensity of the Zambian escarpment to our left, we were mock-charged by an elephant from our right. It was the second time we had been mocked on the Walk – the first incident took place in Kariba, when we were walking a paved road, well within the town limits! Of course, the gurus will tell you not to run under any circumstances, but that is probably because the gurus are either carrying or being backed by a heavy caliber rifle at all times… anyway, theory is always more straightforward than practice, as the paragraph below will illustrate. As was the case in Kariba, it was a lone bull. We had been walking about an hour and were beginning to warm up, when we noticed the bull break from the scrubline about a hundred meters off, striding down to the river, straight towards us, into the wind. As we saw the elephant, it stopped in its tracks, instantly immobilized by our scent. I hissed at Jephita to step up the pace – we needed to get out of the danger zone pronto. Moving as fast as we could across the bull’s front, we attempted just that, with heads swiveled, never
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After the early rains ..
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taking our eyes off what could very easily blend our carcasses into the topsoil. The bull turned, and believing it intended giving way, I paused for a second to snap a picture, hardly breaking stride. And then it turned back and took a few steps towards us, head held high. Jephita decided that this was the moment to send the bull packing, and he stopped, clapped his hands loudly and hollered out a warning – ‘Hey, iwe!’ I don’t think Jephita even finished the word ‘iwe’ before shucking his backpack and taking to his heels – the bull did not take kindly to the challenge, simply lowering its head and charging. Lordy, how fast they can come! It took me less than a second to make a decision and follow Jephita’s flight-path, though unlike him I kept a little of my head and consequently my backpack, saving it for a last second decoy. Fortunately the charge petered out as quickly as it had come about. Once the bull realized that the disruptive midgets had fled, it continued on its way down to the river. I have quite an amusing photograph of it striding past Jephita’s backpack. Interestingly, it didn’t even pause when it passed the backpack; simply sauntered past disdainfully, long nose in the air. That made me wonder whether there was any point in saving my backpack for a last second decoy… how well would it actually serve? What if I’d hit the deck when the elephant initiated the charge, just like Jephita’s pack had? Would the elephant have just sauntered past if (big if) I had managed to remain motionless? After all, Jephita’s pack had to be absolutely reeking of human… that mock-charge certainly gave me food for thought… what is actually the right thing for an unarmed man to do when an elephant charges? I don’t really go with the ‘never run’ story, because often there is time and space enough to get out of the way – to at least show the elephant that you understand who is boss. Most of the time that will work… assuming the charge is not deadly serious from the onset, of course. I know that if it is deadly serious, nothing but a heavy caliber bullet will stop it, and so we will just focus on mock-charging here, since that is the manner in which the vast majority of elephant charges begin. And we Borderline Walkers cannot consider the heavy caliber option anyway, so we would have no choice but to take to our heels at some point if faced with the deadly serious version. But what is one to do when mock-charged? Run or stand firm? I think every situation is different and one needs to make the decision on the spur of the moment. Would I have stood down both the elephant charges we have experienced on the walk if Jephita
hadn’t run, or if I was alone? I don’t think so. I may have with the bull in Mana, because I knew it wasn’t a serious charge, it was initiated from quite a distance and I did have my pencil-flare gun to test out… on the other hand, running defused the situation effectively and what does one do when a mock-charge becomes deadly serious because some idiot has had the audacity to pop a puny pencil flare at an angry elephant bull? One that may just have a stomach gripe which has made it more anti-social than usual… maybe one should do as a well-known Zimbabwean writer described in his book and crawl between the elephant’s legs, as he says he did…. that was a bit unfair – he was crawling between a herd cow’s legs and not a charging bull’s, if I remember correctly…. That was a fantastic day, walking through Mana Pools West. We saw a multiplicity of wildlife and the early rain had cleansed the bush thoroughly. Everything was fresh and green, and my senses greedily absorbed the sights, sounds and smells. A walk in the park it truly was. The only real downside to that day, and the days to come, was that taking decent photos was extremely difficult, my poor Canon G10 being in the condition it was. Had I an efficient camera, I could have fared much better. I still managed to get some reasonable shots, however, and that fact is indicative of the abundant opportunity presented. A favorite Mana picture of mine (though not particularly good) is one I took of four different species in one frame – elephant, impala, zebra and waterbuck… I had visited Mana Pools before (a couple of times actually), but walking through it saw it in a completely different light. On previous visits, I had been part of game-viewing groups and we had been guided by a couple of Zimbabwe’s most well-known and competent guides. How come then, I wondered as Jephita and I walked along through the different light, had we seen so little of Mana’s woodland on those excursions? If the guides were so competent, that is? I think that many people view Mana as one massive floodplain filled with lions and elephants, whether they’ve been there or not, and I know that I certainly did. But Mana is not just plains lions and elephants – close to the river there are tracts of mopani forest reminiscent of the lowveldt, and I felt quite at home walking through those areas. The only difference I could see between the Mana mopani and the lowveldt mopani is that the squirrels are smaller in Mana! We reached Vundu camp in the late afternoon, and although it was closed for the season, there were a couple of guys looking after the place and they FEBRUARY 2011 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 29
wasted no time making us feel at home. I was a bit jealous when another camp attendant waltzed in from a fishing excursion with a few sizeable tigerfish – between 5 and 8 pounds, I guessed. How badly I wanted to catch a decent tiger! I had tried a couple of times on the Kariba shoreline but to no avail, only succeeding in landing a couple of tiddlers. Little did I know what the fishing gods had in store for me… that night we slept on an elevated platform close to the riverbank and were serenaded by grunting hippos. I slept soundly, as one tends to after a day of backpacking. Dawn the following morning brought about one of the memorable wildlife experiences of my life, let alone the Borderline Walk. And that happening set the tone for what would prove to be a week chockfull of fantastic experiences – real memories Mana to cherish. Jephita had already risen and had gone to organize tea, and I lay snuggled in my sleeping bag, being serenaded by the early birds as they went about their business in the treetops around the platform. In due course, I heard a branch snapping, not far off. A snapping branch usually means a human or an elephant, but I had a feeling that all the humans in camp were in a fairly inactive state at that hour. And then there were more snapping branch sounds, accompanied by a most familiar rumbling sound, very close at hand… There were three bulls – two ma-
jongos and one older chap – and they were moving slowly through the fairly compact bush which Vundu camp is uniquely located in. That was the first thing that struck me about Vundu when we arrived the previous day – unlike most safari camps, the constructors did not deface the immediate proximity by bush-clearing everything. The two younger bulls peeled off, but the big bull kept coming towards the platform, pausing now and then to break off a branch, strip its leaves and thrust them into his mouth, or too simply select a tasty tidbit from the treetops, his
probing trunk-tip efficiently encircling, plucking and placing each morsel in the recycler, ready for mastication. Eventually the elephant reached the platform, and there he continued feeding, a couple of meters from one overly awestruck spectator. The show lasted for about twenty minutes and any one second of that time was the closest I’d ever been to a wild elephant. And he was such a magnificent specimen, in his prime, maybe just beginning to go downhill physically. At one stage, I could have extended either a foot or hand and touched
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him on the head. Of course, I did not try! Long after the bull had moved off, I sat on the platform and considered what a fortunate fellow I was, to be in that place at that time… Later that morning, somewhere between Vundu and Nyamepi (Mana main camp) we saw lions for the first time on the walk. There had been lions all around us in Matusadona, but we never physically saw one; plenty of nocturnal vocal and fresh spoor, but no sighting. I wonder how many lions saw us in Matusadona and elsewhere? Anyway, the lions we came across in Mana (a pride of 4 or 5) were on the edge of the floodplain, lazing about in the shade of a tree, and Jephita spotted them at extreme range. I think Jephita was most pleased with himself, since he had had lion spotting on the mind from Kariba! Needless to say, lion viewing and photographing was not on the agenda and we made a wide detour through the bush, coming back down to the river a couple of kilometers further on. I didn’t say anything, for Jephita’s sake, but I knew that it was more likely we’d get scoffed in the mopani by the lion we couldn’t see than on the floodplain by the lions we could see. We stayed at Nyamepi for two nights, in order to get some washing done – both kit and bodies. The Nyamepi interlude provided quality entertainment and excitement, in the form of monkeys cavorting around the campsite, a hippo dying in the river and another close range bull elephant en-
counter. The monkeys’ antics were ed to Jephita that the elephant bull hilarious, up until the point when I had photographed in the afterthey raided our humble campsite. I noon was hanging about – that it very nearly broke all sorts of Parks was, in fact, walking our way. Big rules then. If only I’d had a gun… mistake, although I didn’t realize it would have been hard to prove at the time, because I was asleep. self-defense in that case… maybe What I figured out afterwards momentary insanity would have is that Jephita must have come swung it… not having witnessed instantly awake and monitored the the hippo’s death, I don’t actually bull’s approach, until, at the very know if it was entertaining or excit- last second, once it was towering ing, but am sure it was. Certainly above our little mountain tent, he the aftermath was, as hundreds had been unable to contain himof crocs zoned in to feast off the self and fled into the night. carcass. Never have I seen such a Of course, Jephita’s hasty decongregation of crocodiles. Upon parture and the bull’s startled conclusion of the feast, most of response jolted me from the crocs chose to digest on a slumber and I couple of expansive sandbanks. I sat sat and watched them for a while, recalling and pondering all the times I had taken a quick dip in the Zambezi… the close range elephant bull encounter? Now that was exciting, for sure, but not so entertaining at the time, as I recall…. It is now, though. The bull in question had been hanging around the campsite during the afternoon, and I had Rifa sneaked up behind him bolt upright, (never too close) and staring up at tons of taken a few photos. startled elephant through the tentLate that night, I was roused by flap. I should imagine my staring an inflated bladder and bumbled was wide-eyed but cannot rememfrom the tent to tend to the probber much more than that massive, lem. As I stood there, going about star-blocking bulk looming above, my business bleary eyed, I saw, ears fanning and back peddling, in the bright moonlight, the bulky in slow motion. If I had been able subject of my afternoon photograto stop looking that elephant in the phy session, lumbering across the eye, and wrench my eyes downcampsite towards me. That’s nice, ward, I guess I would have exI thought, and clambered back perienced the closest ankle view through the tent-flap before wrigI’ve ever had of a wild elephant. gling into my sleeping bag, sighing Fortunately the bull wheeled away happily. Before I dozed off, I grunt- and decamped, and fortunately
his chosen route of decamp was not over our camp. Though wideawake, I did not talk to Jephita when he returned to the tent some time later. There is only so much one can say. His foolhardiness could have caused us to lose our lives. Now how would that look in the headlines, I ask you? ‘Borderline Walkers erased by tame elephant bull at Nyamepi family pleasure resort.’ The story could go on to say something like, ‘Officials say the elephant cannot be blamed as it has been resident at Nyamepi for 30 years and is often seen wondering peacefully about between groups of playing children….’ On a more serious note… by that stage I was a worried Walker, not a happy camper. I was certain my camera was going to give up the ghost at any moment, thunderheads were building up and bursting ominously over the Zambian escarpment daily, Jephita’s personal problems were becoming a major issue, and I was beginning to come to terms with the fact that a push for Kanyemba might not be the wisest plan of action. I did what I seldom do and forced myself to become realistic. My final decision was to make a final decision at Chikwenya camp, which is only a day’s hike from Nyamepi. The Mana Pools Parks Rangers told me that Chikwenya had not yet wrapped up operations, and so I knew we could get a ride out from there, at some stage. The walk from Nyamepi to Chikwenya would have been just as
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Characteristically curious kudu
Elephant bull at Nyakasanga 32 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 2011
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exhilarating as the rest of Mana had been, were it not for the problems I was pondering. What I do remember with clarity was the almost unbelievable number of dagga boys (bachelor buffalo bulls) we saw en route. Now here is an interesting fact for digestion – throughout Mana Pools, from Rukomechi to Chikwenya, we must have spotted a couple hundred buffalo, and every single one was a bull! We didn’t see one herd, only groups of dagga boys! Of course, the cows had moved off the river with the early rain, but still, one would have expected to see at least one cow! I was simply astounded by that… the biggest group of dagga boys we encountered numbered 16 bulls. We reached Chikwenya late in the day on December 3rd and were warmly welcomed by the stand-in manager, young York Mare, a learner professional hunter attached to HHK Safaris that operates Chikwenya. The morning after our arrival, I went out fishing in a boat with York and about half a dozen camp workers. The workers wanted to catch some fish to take home for their families, when they did get the go ahead from head office to light out. York told me that he was expecting the call any time soon. What a quandary I was in, and my mood was not improved by my failure to hook into a decent fish the entire day. Rubbing salt into it all were the other fishermen
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who were hauling the tigerfish in – a number of 5/6 pounders, one or two 8 pounders, and unbelievably, a 14 pounder landed by York. How jealous I was of that fish! The same weight as a dozen of my biggest fish, and I had only landed two of those minnows… Oh the frustration! It was all for a reason though, as I would discover the following day. That night the first real rains of the season pounded down. A couple of inches at least, with the promise of much more filling the skies. I was extremely restless the next day, much disturbed by the ‘should we stay or go’ issue, pacing about the place. I truly did not want to pull out and would have sent Jephita home alone, were it not for the camera issue. From the very beginning of this expedition I have maintained that I could manage with the loss of any piece of equipment but the camera. I could not progress without a camera, simple as that – we would be completely grounded if it packed up or was stolen. I knew that my camera was not going to last much longer, and that was the only factor which caused me to even consider stopping, but it was such a major factor that it overruled all the negative aspects of pulling out, and there were many of those. To help me come to terms with everything and deal with accepting the decision I suppose had already been made, I decided to go fishing again, from the bank this time. And so I lo-
cated Willy, Chikwenya’s number one fishing guide, and asked him if he’d like to accompany me. Willy said he would indeed, and so we headed off together with rods and a little bait, walking upstream, over the dry Sapi riverbed and a couple of kilometers beyond. Willy informed me that fishing from the bank was never as good, but that one or two lunkers had been taken that way in the past. And so we fished and fished and fished, chatting a little at times, as the sun sunk lower in the west and we made our way slowly down the riverbank, back towards camp. We must have had our lines in the water for 3 hours that afternoon and were not rewarded with so much as a knock. Even Willy, the ‘you’ve got to be in it to win it’ master fisherman was probably beginning to wonder why he was ‘in it’ by that stage. Then again, probably not – he has more than enough fishing experience to know better. But I was definitely beginning to wonder why I had my line in the water, and was just contemplating packing it in, when I noticed a heavy drag on my line. Muttering about stick and weed, I began reeling in. Willy looked my way and I muttered louder about stick and weed in response to his silent question. Either a big clump of weed or a stick, I thought, as I tightened the ratchet and slid down the steep embankment to the very water’s edge, to achieve an easier working angle. My reel was almost full and I was peering into the shallows to try and ascertain what I’d hooked, strained rod-tip bent downward and line taut, when I espied what I’d hooked and was shocked into immediate action. In that instant I knew I’d hooked the biggest tigerfish of my life. The fish had swallowed the bait and hook and then swum with the pull of the line, against the current. As I saw it, the tigerfish exploded, churning up the shallows and powering itself into deeper water. Fortunately my drag was not set too tight (considering I’d been hauling in a clump of weed or a stick seconds before), and the reel squealed as the biggest tigerfish I’d ever hooked made its first break. It ran three times, that awesome fish, and each run was shorter and less determined than the one before, in direct contrast to the yells of encouragement Willy was contributing. Willy’s yells only became more determined! ‘Chirarwo pasi! Keep your rod down! Line tight!’ Over and over again, with the occasional ‘Chenjera ngwena! Watch out for crocs’, interspersing the fishing basics. Finally, the tiger tired and I brought it carefully into the shallows, before stepping into the water and gilling it. Yes, I know all about tigerfish teeth – I didn’t care how much damage my fingers sustained at that stage! Once my trophy was landed, I hugged Willy with sheer delight. Slightly ruffled, he appraised the fish and stated it would weigh almost 13 pounds. Willy was right on the mark – the biggest tiger I have ever landed was just shy of 13 pounds.
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.’
Many of my concerns became irrelevant with the landing of that fish, and when we got back to camp, after chatting some with York, I began packing my kit. The Chikwenya guys were pulling out the next day and we were going with them. It would be three months before we returned. My camera lasted a few more days and then died quietly. I lost a good friend – that hardy little Canon G10 had been my companion through tough territory and times, and had served so well.
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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.
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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.â€™
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All American Double
Searcy Rifles: Tough and beautiful N
o one would confuse Boron, California, with London, but the two cities share a distinction: both are home to makers of double-barreled big-game rifles. Otherwise, Boron is a windswept stretch of desert, north of Los Angeles, that is best known for sagebrush and a borax mine. A traveler might stop in Boron only to buy enough gasoline to get on to Las Vegas. Or to visit riflebuilder B. Searcy & Company. Butch Searcy, founder and owner, grew up in Boron and married his high-school sweetheart. Post-college, he returned to work in the mine and became an accomplished welder and machinist. Then, after a tour in Vietnam with the U.S. Army, he bought a gun shop in Farmington, New Mexico. Undaunted by a total lack of formal training as a gunsmith, he became a specialist in re-barreling rifles and handguns used by metallic silhouette competitors.
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as foundations for big-bore rifles now elicits strong reaction from Butch. For “stoppers” like the .470 and .500 Nitros, he feels that shotgun actions are inadequate and may flex under heavy recoil. Such flexing can cause doubling—both barrels discharging simultaneously, which is not only unwanted and dangerous, but also hard on the shooter.
Sometime in 1980, Butch overheard two British gentlemen discussing the perceived inability of Americans to build double rifles. His competitive and nationalistic juices stirred, he decided to prove them wrong. His first effort was to convert a Red Label over/under shotgun to .300 H&H. It took him six months to figure out how to modify the action and regulate the Douglas barrels, which he’d sleeved into the Ruger’s monobloc. Next he modified a couple of Browning BSS shotguns by adding dolls-head extensions to their barrels, for better locking, and re-heat-treating the receivers to enhance their strength. These projects didn’t bring in any cash, though, and by 1990 Butch was building bench rest-style single-shot bolt-action rifles. But doubles still beckoned. Three years later, he designed and made his own double-rifle action, a boxlock based on the proven Anson & Deely design. Then he added a Holland & Holland-style sidelock. The matter of using shotguns
Personally, Butch Searcy is more heavyweight Greco-Roman wrestler than ballet dancer, and his first rifles were a reflection of their builder. He set out to build reliable, accurate side-by-sides rather than gorgeous works of art. His actions were CNC-machined from 416 stainless steel, but if the customer requested color case-hardening—initially, few did— he used 8640 steel. Barrels were supplied by Pac-Nor (Oregon) and the wood by Jim Preslick (California) and Bill Dowtin (Montana). New England Custom Gun, Ltd., in New Hampshire, made his front and rear sights. Engraving was by Ron Collins of California, formerly of Purdey. As a result, Searcy double rifles were relatively inexpensive, and the fact that they were made in America appealed to many customers. Along with affordable and functional, they proved to be hell-for-tough, and professional hunters in Africa started buying them. Critics—there have been few—described them as “chunky.” This would change. Part of the high cost of a double rifle is getting both barrels to put their bullets into a common group. Searcy requires his .470 and .500 Nitro Expresses to print two-inch or less groups at 50 yards, with two rounds from each barrel. How he regulates (joins and adjusts) barrels has always been mysterious; Butch insists that his techniques are conventional, but, when pressed for details, he glosses over a key step in the process. What he will say is that his barrels are threaded into holes in the monobloc that have been bored parallel to each other and perpendicular to the standing breech. Other makers typically angle the barrels
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toward each other at about 1.5 degrees. Searcy’s approach is not only somewhat easier to machine, it also results in longer cartridge case life for shooters who reload their own ammunition, such as Americans, who are less burdened by legal restrictions on this than Europeans and Africans. After the tubes are secured in the monobloc, Searcy places a spacer at the mid-point of the barrels and solders a wedge between the muzzles. The objective is for the centerlines of the bores to converge at about 40 yards. The front wedge is then heated, to loosen the solder, and moved in or out to bring the barrels’ 40-yard point of impact together. This is a skill that few have mastered. Today, more than 40 professional hunters in Africa use Searcy double rifles. While he’s made everything from a .22 Hornet to a 4-bore, 80 percent of his clients order the .470 Nitro Express. Designed by British gunmaker Joseph Lang around 1900, the .470NE propels a 500-grain bullet at about 2,125 feet/second and produces some 5,030 foot-pounds of energy. It is a popular “stopper” for the largest dangerous game, and naturally it delivers significant recoil. Getting sufficient shooting practice is important regardless of the intended game, but it is critical when the rifle delivers bone-jarring impact at both ends, the distances are short and the target wants to kill you. To encourage his customers to get enough “trigger time,” Butch will supply reduced-power cartridges for practice. He also emphasizes upper-body strength, to carry the heavy rifle (11 to 14 pounds or more, depending on caliber) for long periods and then handle it quickly when necessary. Visitors to the factory in Boron often note the weight-lifting equipment that Butch and his employees use. Butch is a Life Member of PHASA, the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa. He has been on safari six times and taken a lot of game, including an elephant and six Cape buffalo. Searcy rifles are based on time-tested designs and patents, and then fine-tuned through personal experience (which helped Butch settle, for example, the question of ejectors v. extractors). And the Searcy warranty is simple: If anything fails, he’ll fix it, at no charge and for life. The best-known “professional” Searcy client is Johan Calitz, an important safari operator (www.johancalitzsafaris.co.za) who owns five of Butch’s rifles. Calitz also appreciates Butch’s ability to shoot them, so, for
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a number of years, he has invited Butch to teach at the school he operated for PHs. With a twinkle in his eye, Butch will tell you that it was the double rifle that made Africa safe for the bolt-action. Here at home, Butch won the Western Double Rifle Championships with a .470NE in both 2003 and 2004. A .470 Nitro, deadly as it is, is hardly the first choice for plains game, where most hunters prefer something with more reach and recoil that doesn’t loosen their fillings. Butch builds bolt rifles also, on double-square-bridge Mauser actions, in lighter calibers. A few years ago clients started asking for single-shot stalking rifles, and Butch set to work to satisfy them, too. His prototype was based on the Westley Richards Model 1897. But that design, like many other 19th Century singleshots—the Gibbs Farquharson, the Sharps, the Holland & Woodward Model 1894—suffers from a basic flaw: a very steep firing-pin angle to the primer. This can lead to ignition problems and, with use, an enlarged firing-pin hole in the breechblock, which allows primer flow to freeze the action. There is a better way. The Hagn falling-block action was designed and patented by Martin Hagn in the mid-1970s and then manufactured by Hartman & Weiss, of Hamburg, Germany. Frank de Hass, in his 1993 book A Potpourri of Single Shot Rifles and Actions, described it thus: “Of all the quality single-shot actions I have seen, and there have been many, this action is constructed with the parts so arranged that the mechanism is astonishingly [and] intelligently clever.”
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He added, “The action is so well made and the inside so protected that even if you used the rifle everyday for a lifetime you might never need to disassemble it or to replace a part.” In 2006, the owner of a firm that had just begun to build Hagn-style actions died; Butch bought the tooling and parts. He immediately made two design changes: He switched to disk-set strikers and decreased the lock time by changing the angle of the mainspring and strut. The final design had everything he wanted, including strength, reliability, elegant lines, generous surface area for engraving and a through-stock bolt. The through-bolt, which is also standard on his double rifles, significantly strengthens the junction of the receiver and buttstock. One of Searcy’s first Hagn stalking rifles was a .375 21/2” with a 26-inch Pac-Nor Match Grade barrel carrying a quarter-rib with one standing and one folding leaf rear sight. Talley quick-detach rings hold a Swarovski Habicht 1.5 to 4.5x scope with duplex reticule. There’s an ebony forend tip, a steel pistol-grip cap and an elegant leather-covered recoil pad. The lovelybut-strong stock is perfectly checkered at 24 lines per inch and has a classic beaded cheekpiece. The bluing, color case-hardening and fit are what one expects on a bespoke rifle. Ejection is positive. The rotary tang safety is equally positive and absolutely silent. The trigger is first-rate and the rifle is accurate. The final package weighs 8 pounds 10 ounces, but feels much lighter. It’s wonderful to shoot, or just to look at. No sooner had Butch begun making single-shots than through his door came an important client who asked, “Do you make a take-down version?” Ever the astute businessman, Butch responded, “Of course!” He didn’t— but he soon would. The design he chose utilizes interrupted threads on the barrel and a proven latch that locks together two steel plates at a joint in the stock. That first takedown was chambered for the .375 H&H Magnum. The important client (I can’t divulge his name; OK, it’s Tom Selleck) was thrilled. Over the past decade, the look and feel (and cost) of Searcy rifles have changed. Initially, his doubles were entry-level products—the simplest, least-expensive rifles in a niche where the top shelf was occupied by English and Continental guns that sold for six figures. Demand, as well as growth fueled by customer satisfaction, changed this. Searcy’s matte-finish stainless steel was replaced by color case-hardened receivers, and boxy lines morphed to svelte. Searcy was achieving higher status in the rarefied world of double rifles, and the rising-bite action was a natural next step. “It is, alas, complicated to manufacture and requires extraordinary gunmaking skill.” This is how author Terry Wieland described the challenge confronting those who would try to replicate the fabled Rigby-Bissell rising-bite action. For decades, gunmakers have talked about doing this, but it was Butch Searcy who took it on. The “rising bite” is a third fastener, a loop extension of the top rib that slots into a corresponding U-shaped trough in the standing breech. Then, like a badger emerging from its hole, the locking tab rises into the barrel loop from within the action as the toplever closes. Its appeal is perceived strength, a kind of gee-whiz novelty and, to some degree, the difficulty of its manufacture (at least in the days before computerized, multi-axis machining). Thomas Bissell’s Patent No. 1141 of 1879 became the foundation for J. Rigby & Co.’s best guns and, ever since, it has been known as the RigbyBissell Design. Its use continued until the mid-1920s, when increasing manufacturing costs and the shrinking post-WWI market for bespoke guns led to its demise. Total production is unknown, but it was likely about one thousand. Today, thanks to a resurgent interest in rising-bite actions as well as their overall quality, these vintage Rigby guns are becoming increasingly pricey. We know of no comparative testing that establishes the rising-bite as stronger than other actions, but many connoisseurs believe it is. Furthermore, nothing about bespoke guns satisfies a need; such guns are all about “want” and for decades certain aficionados have wanted the rising-bite to return. Butch Searcy was intrigued by the mechanism and finally decided to build it to give his customers another option. Roger Sanger, a collector from Sun Valley, Idaho, loaned Butch a pair of 1903 rising-bite Rigby 12-bores. Butch took off the key dimensions and loaded them into a CNC machining center, then set about programming the computer—a nights-and-weekends job while meeting his order commitments. The outcome, a .470NE, debuted at the 2010 Safari Club International show in Reno. A greatly enhanced version will be at SCI 2011.
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No one would suggest that a top-grade Rigby rising-bite gun was ever unworthy of London Best status, yet the original had two characteristics that fall outside the accepted definition of “best”: The floor of the receiver is pierced, thus exposing the bottoms of the barrel lumps; and the gun is not stocked to the fences. Searcy’s modern rising-bites have solid floors and they are, in fact, stocked to the fences. Prices start at $45,000. Searcy also offers the traditional rebated, Rigby-style lockplates, if so desired, as well as extra sets of shotgun barrels or any other feature. More than a century ago, the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, said, “Every man owes a portion of his time & income to the business or industry in which he earns a living.” Americans enjoy the most liberal firearm rights on earth, but for many decades a variety of forces have been trying to restrict or eliminate those rights. The National Rifle Association of America was formed (www. nra.org) in 1871, and today it has four million dues-paying members. Its most important function is protecting firearm freedoms for all Americans. Butch, like President Roosevelt before him, is a Life Member of the NRA, and he has to date donated four rifles to the group to help raise funds. (He has also donated 10 rifles to Safari Club International, four to the Dallas Safari Club and even two rifles to my
granddaughter’s softball league. Kim Rhode, who won two gold medals and a bronze in Olympic doubles trap, has also received Butch’s support. In honor of her achievements, Butch presented her a .375 H&H double rifle with gold inlays in the likeness of her medals, five Olympic rings and her shooting a clay bird. Kim took the rifle to Zimbabwe and used it to shoot a Cape buffalo.) If you get to tour the Searcy factory, beware. On my first visit, after I’d examined a couple of rifles, Butch innocently asked, “Would you like to see the .600 Nitro?” “Yes” was hardly out of my mouth before he flipped it across the room to me, muzzles over buttstock. My brain was processing frantically: A .600 double weighs 16 pounds and costs five times more than my first house . . . and he’s THROWING IT AT ME?! Miraculously, I plucked it out of the air with no injuries to it or me. I’d been had! The “rifle” was rubber and weighed about a pound. Butch had built two real .600NEs for Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park—The Lost World, but the object of my torment was a look-alike prop. This was my official welcome to B. Searcy & Co., in Boron, California, home of the only All-American double rifle. www.searcyent.com or 760-762-6131
Steve Helsley of El Dorado Hills, California is a retired law enforcement executive, a consultant to the National Rifle Association, a technical adviser to the Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners, a firearms historian and photographer and a widely published author. He recently co-authored Hemingway’s Guns The Sporting Arms of Ernest Hemingway. CLICK HERE
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Bell’s Base Camp The Greek River Area 52 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 2011
e left Kidepo early on the morning of the 24th April and headed for one of the most famous areas of Uganda. I had dreamed of seeing and hunting the Karamoja area of Uganda for many years, but this was going to be the highlight of a wonderful hunt. I was going to be able to see and hunt the Greek river area. This is where Bell had his base camp. I had read about it and seen pictures of it for years and now I was actually going to be there! For those of you who are not familiar with Uganda the concession we are hunting covers 27,000 square kilometers of the eastern side of the country, bordering the Sudan in the north, Kenya in the east and the Greek river in the south. It is an area of extraordinary beauty - high mountains, thorn tree grasslands and dense forested areas along the rivers. The trip from Kidepo would take all day and it was time well spent. We where going to see the more unspoilt areas that very few people have gotten to see in the last thirty odd years and we where going to get to some photographs of wonderful scenery as well. FEBRUARY 2011 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 53
Walter Dalrymple Maitland Bell (1880–1951), known as Karamojo Bell, was a Scottish adventurer, a big game hunter in East Africa, soldier, decorated pilot, sailor, writer and painter. Bell was an advocate of the importance of shooting accuracy, at a time when maximum firepower was the commonest technique. He improved his shooting skills by careful dissection and study of the anatomy of the skulls of the elephants he shot. He even perfected the clean shooting of elephants from the extremely difficult position of being diagonally behind the target, and this shot became known as the Bell Shot. He hunted in Uganda, the Sudan, Ethiopia, Central Africa and West Africa. He became known as “Karamojo” Bell (Sometimes spelt Karamoja) because of his safaris through this remote wilderness area in North Eastern Uganda. He was noted for using high speed, smaller calibre bullets rather than the slow speed, larger calibre bullets that were popular with other big game hunters Bell shot 1011 elephants during his career. . Over a thousand of these kills were made with English manufactured copies of German Mauser rifles in 7x57mm calibre. A further 300 were killed with Mannlicher-Schoenauer 6.5x54mm carbines, and another 200 with a .303 British. He insisted on using military Full Metal Jacket bullets weighing from approx 150 to 200 grains, rather than the 400+ grain bullets popular at the time. Bell refused to use soft point bullets under any circumstances. This is President Theodore Roosevelt with his elephant
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I think Steve, who has been a PH for many years, was as awestruck as I was, travelling through such stunning scenery. We both had our cameras out and where taking pictures and looking around like our heads were on swivels. We both were looking forward to being able to look for Bell’s old base camp site. Steve and I where like kids, laughing and talking nonstop and Philip was like an older brother smiling and having a great amount of patience with the ‘children’. Philip had been here before so it was not new to him. We stopped at the bridge on the Greek river late in the afternoon. As usual I had my camera out and was shooting away while Steve and Philip were talking about the area and its history. The bridge is only a few miles from the Uganda wildlife authority base where we where planning to set up camp. To my amazement when we got to camp it was on a small hill and as I looked to the north there was a lone hill that looked like a knob. I was amazed because I had read Bell’s book and he mentioned ‘a knob’. He talked about climbing a hill and looking out over the area for elephants with his telescope. I was standing there wondering if this could be the spot where he stood. I think Steve was getting a kick out of seeing me smile like an idiot step-child. In fact I am sure he may have mentioned me looking like a smiling idiot. In retaliation, I may have mentioned that he needed to shave the hair off the top of his feet. The tents where unloaded from the Landrover and as it was getting late, Hassan and the guys started to get things ready for the night. Steve and Philip supervised and I did what I do best, I watched….and drank a cool beer to show my support for their effort. At about this time Eddiou, the Head Game Ranger for the entire district, came to greet us. Like most Africans I have met in Uganda, he was a very pleasant fellow. With the tents up and a nice fire going, Steve and I sat down to relax from the trip and enjoy the beautiful scenery. As we where talking about things we wanted to do in the next few days, I heard singing and drums. It was dark by this time and I was half listening to Steve and half listening to the singing. It was coming from the north-east of us and when I asked Steve if Eddiou had arranged it, I became aware that Steve could not hear it at all due to his partial deafness. It was like something out of an old movie. I had never heard this style of singing in Kenya or Rwanda when 56 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 2011
I was in those places. Philip was off talking care of the camp details with Eddiou and Hassan. I described the singing and drumming to Steve and he really looked quite heartbroken when I told him that it sounded beautiful. We had a quick snack and headed for bed as we had plans for the morning. The next day Eddiou explained that the village was singing to bring us luck on our hunt because they knew this would mean they would get the meat. Up at first light, we headed out after sighting-in the rifles. Steve knew I wanted to get a baboon or two so we asked Eddiou, who without a moments hesitation, said head to the river where there are plenty of baboons. The trophy fee for baboons is 20 bucks as in Uganda they are considered vermin. As we got close to the Greek River Bridge we could see something crossing the road. It was a large troop of baboons. Since they had not been hunted for years they where not very skittish. We drove to what Steve considered close enough and got off the truck. There where still baboons crossing the road in front of us so we moved off the road and headed in to the thorn trees. We where attempting to get in front of some of the baboons that had already crossed the road. Eddiou was smiling and told me to shoot all of them, since they have been causing a lot of trouble in the area. After paralleling the road for a few hundred yards we started to cut across to the river. By this time I could hear them barking and could see a baboon scout in the top of a tree at the river bank. We slowed our stalk down and tried to keep trees between us and the baboons. At about seventy-five yards from the river there was movement on our right as about a dozen baboons started to run toward the river. We had spooked them not knowing that they had moved our way. We froze and waited and as we waited a large dog baboon stopped next to a thorn tree and looked back over his shoulder at us. This proved to be a fatal mistake! My little Marlin 30.06 spoke to him about his mistake and convinced him it was his last. This was the first really large baboon I have ever been close to and I was impressed at just how big his teeth where. YEEP! I did the Ugly Dance. Juma, our skinner/tracker made short work of skinning the baboon and since we where right on the river we decided to look for Bellâ€™s old camp site.
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I know, you’re all saying, how in the world could we ever expect to find the camp-site after all these years. Well, we had a secret weapon and that weapon was Steve and his long list of friends, some of whom had hunted this area over 50 years ago. Also Philip had asked some of the elders about the old camp-site. Yes, I know old memories fade but remember Ugandans have an oral history in song. So between Philip having heard the song of Bell from the elders and Steve being on the cell phone to a friend of his who had been here 50 years ago, we looked for the land marks. I believe if we where not on the exact spot, we where within spitting distance of it. We had a description of the soil, the water hole, the distance from the bridge and everything matched. After some scouting in the area we decided to head to camp for a rest and, as they say in Africa, to make a plan. You who have lived there, or live there now, will know what this means. The plan was for oribi, and it was to turn out to be a little more complicated than expected. The rains had been heavy this year and the grass was as high as the door handle of the Landcruiser. The Landrover was down with a cold as is the case with them, most of the time. So with out the aid of a hunting seat on top, we headed for the area of savanna where the thorn trees were thin, as oribi do not like thorn trees. Like I said the grass was door handle high, so all we could see was the very top of the oribi heads and there where a lot of oribi heads to see. Problem number one was, when the grass is this high; you’re right on top of them when you see them. Problem number two is, by the time you see them, they are doing nine hundred miles an hour in the other direction. We saw well over a hundred pairs of oribi by noon, or should I say, we saw over a hundred pair of heads headed the other direction. We even put one of the trackers on the roof to spot for us. A good idea with bad results, for as soon as he spot58 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 2011
ted them and we stopped, they would show off their amazing ability to run at Mach 24 through the grass without breaking a sweat or breathing hard. Tactic change number three was to find a small hill and glass for oribi. The result was good…and bad, as we could see them before they saw us, we just could not get to them before they departed the country for parts unknown. With more than half the day over, we were going to try one more area, hoping the grass might not be as high. The game scout said the grass is shorter on the other side of the hill where camp was! As with most Africans, information is sometimes slow in coming... we could have used this tidbit a few hours ago. Now we were worried: it was 4:00pm and 20 miles to camp! Did I mention there are only about three regular dirt roads in this area of Uganda? So if we want to hunt an area we just pull off into the long grass. It is like they did in the early days of automobiles. It’s like hunting in a different time… the good old days! (Yes, I am still smiling just thinking about it as I write this). Where was I? Oh yes, we headed back towards camp and after all our looking, stalking, and glassing; we find the dumbest oribi in Africa!!! Yep, he was standing by the road at the pit where we sighted in our rifles… just standing there and watching us. He had good sense alright... at fifty yards broadside, just standing there looking. Well, an animal that dumb needs to be taken out of the gene pool! I stepped out of the truck and after a short stalk, I shot him. After the Ugly Dance, Juma skinned him and off to camp we went. Steve, who is also an excellent camp cook, did a great job of cooking a hind-quarter for us that night. Since we where well-rested and were back in camp early we had a few cool beers and swapped lies… oops, I mean we shared our hunting adventures of the past and yes, we laughed most of the evening into the night.
D. R. Hooker Don Hooker is 56 year old and grew up in a small Northern California sawmill town hunting and fishing. After working as a Nurse for ten years without a vacation, he took a trip to Kenya - and that was the beginning of his love affair with Africa. He has spent from three to eight months a year since that first trip traveling to East Africa. FEBRUARY 2011 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 59
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Tick Bite Fever Tread carefully
few days after your return from savage Africa you start complaining of fever and severe headache. You become confused and your wife insists that you be admitted to hospital. You have abnormally low blood pressure , have fever and have a rash that is covered with small bumps that touch each other in places. Some of your lymph nodes are swollen. 4-5% of Overseas hunters get this disease - and if your doctor does not identify Tick Bite Fever, you may be a few days away from multiorgan failure and death. Although this is an extreme situation, it is wise to be careful. FEBRUARY 2011 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 65
Close-up of a feeding tick. On the left there is a ruler with millimeter scale
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Cause Tick bite fever is an infection caused by bacteria which are transmitted by infected ticks to humans in their saliva when they bite. The bacteria can also infect through small skin abrasions when the tick is crushed on your skin. Bacteria are passed from the infected tick to her eggs, thus propogating the infection in her offspring. The Rickettsial bacteria are not able to survive outside of living cells. Tick bites most often occur when hunting or hiking in the bushveld, particularly where there is long grass. Hardticks, which have life cycles that involve dogs, rodents or other animals are the hosts of the bacteria. Amblyomma ticks will actively seek out humans on which to feed, while Rhipicephalus ticks tend to lie in wait on grass and grab you with their tiny claws when you brush past. In South Africa, the cause of tick bite fever is either R. conorii (as in the table), or R. africae.
Signs Typical features include the presence of a black mark at the site of the bite, The blackened bite mark is called an eschar. It looks like a small ulcer (2-5mm in diameter) with a black center, similar to a spider bite. The bite site may be difficult to find with the eschar appearing once the other symptoms begin. A rash is not always present but when it does occur, it consists of small red marks on the skin, raised slightly above the skinâ€™s surface. It will typically start on the arms and legs, spreading to the abdomen and if severe, even to the palms and soles. African tick bite fever is usually mild and serious complications and death are rare. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is more severe with a death rate of up to 25% if left untreated.
Symptoms If shortly after your safari you have a severe headache, fever, swollen lymph nodes and feel really ill a week or so, suspect tick bite fever, especially if the area is a known tick bite fever area.
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The life cycle of a tick
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A rash in severe tick bite fever. Photo: Dr B Miller FEBRUARY 2011 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 71
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The presence of the bite mark or rash is a strong diagnostic sign. Blood tests will confirm the presence of antibodies produced by your immune response cells in reaction to the infection. But, the antibodies may only show up after a few weeks. In most cases you will get better in about two weeks without treatment. Treatment with the antibiotic doxycycline can shorten the duration of symptoms and reduce the chance of developing a serious complication. Chloramphenicol may be used. There is no vaccine against tick bite fever. The incubation period (time from the infected bite to the appearance of symptoms) is 5-7 days.
Treatment Some forms of tick bite fever are fairly mild and self-limiting – people may get better on their own without specific treatment. This can take about two weeks. Treatment with an antibiotic can shorten the duration of symptoms and reduce the chance of a serious side-effect. In severe cases, antibiotic therapy is more important, and can be life saving. The antibiotic doxycycline is the preferred agent for treating tick bite fever. Some people are not able to take doxcycline, in which case chloramphenicol, or sometimes ciprofloxacin, may be used instead. There is no vaccine against tick bite fever, and taking prophylactic antibiotics (as one does for malaria) has never been shown to be effective or necessary.
Prevention As with most things, prevention is better than cure - and early diagnosis speeds recovery. 1. AVOID TICK BITES Wear long sleeved shirts, long pants and shoes. Apply an insect repellent to exposed skin. 2. EARLY DIAGNOSIS If you’ve been in a known tick bite fever area and are suffering from a fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes and have located the eschar (bite mark), seek medical attention. The eschar is not always visible so don’t rely on its presence as a diagnostic sign.
Mitch Mitchell is a hunter, outdoorsman and the author of several books on African wildlife and survival. FEBRUARY 2011 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 73
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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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JimmyJimmy and Anne Whittall on the day I found him 78 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 2011
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News, Reviews, and Press Releases SeaLife Introduces The Mini II Dive & Sport Camera MOORESTOWN, NJ (February 15, 2011) – SeaLife, the world-leader in underwater photographic equipment, has introduced its revolutionary 9-megapixel go-anywhere Mini II Dive & Sport digital camera to capture all of your great underwater and outdoor adventures. With its new intuitive interface, the Mini II makes it easy to capture life’s most exhilarating moments in the most punishing environments. The exceptionally rugged Mini II is truly amphibious, bringing an end to the days of protecting your camera from the elements with plastic bags and hard cases. Waterproof and shockproof, the Mini II has been tested and guaranteed to operate underwater at depths down to 130 feet—without an external housing—and in addition to ensuring a sure grip, rubber armoring has provided for flawless operation after extensive 6-foot drop testing. Under the armoring is an unbreakable ruggedized body that makes the Mini II virtually crushproof. The Mini II’s new underwater modes are easy to use and eliminate the common blue hues of images taken underwater. The Land Auto mode automatically controls exposure and internal flash. The Sea Mode brightens up the exposure while eliminating the “blue effect,” and the Snorkel Mode controls exposure and color correction in shallow-water settings. An External Flash Mode allows for the integration of an external strobe to further enhance color and image brightness underwater. An Easy Set-Up Mode provides a 1-2-3 graphic guide on its large 2.4-inch color LCD screen, tak82 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 2011
ing the guesswork out of camera setup. The Mini II also features a 30-frames-per-second Video Mode with sound. A Spy Mode also allows the user to program the camera to automatically shoot continuous strings of images at pre-set intervals, making it perfect for capturing images of wildlife, sealife or other subjects that get scared off by people. When the camera is in Spy mode, aim it at the desired scene, push the shutter button and the camera will do all the shooting. This mode has helped capture close up images of foxes, birds, and underwater eels. Wherever your adventures lead you—orienteering through Costa Rican rainforests, climbing Washington’s Cascades, paddling West Virginia Class-V whitewater, snorkeling with stingrays of Grand Cayman, skiing the Alps, diving in the Great Barrier Reef, hunting hippopotamus in Botswana, or simply fishing your local stream, SeaLife’s new Mini II will be there to record every moment. It’s simply the most versatile camera on land and sea. Powered by two AAA batteries, the Mini II accepts SD and SDHC storage cards up to 8 GB. It is expandable with popular SeaLife accessories including the Digital Pro Flash, Photo-Video Light and Mini Wide Angle Lens. The suggested retail price of the Mini II is $259.95. For more than 25 years, Pioneer Research has created the worlds’ most popular underwater cameras. Pioneer developed SeaLife Cameras in 1993, as a new breed of cameras that made it easier and more enjoyable then ever before to take pictures underwater. In 2000, SeaLife pioneered underwater imaging with the introduction of its first digital camera that revolutionized the industry. Today, SeaLife offers a wide array of popular underwater digital cameras, as well as underwater camera lights, strobes and accessories. For additional information on SeaLife, visit www. sealife-cameras.com, or write to SeaLife, 97 Foster Road, Suite 5, Moorestown, NJ 08057.
Browning Announces Return of HydroFleece Waterproof Apparel Morgan, Utah - For 2011 Browning announced the return of Hydro-Fleece - the original waterproof fleece pioneered by Browning in 1993 to give hunters ultra-quiet, waterproof clothing to keep them warm and dry. New innovations and state-of-the-art fabrics make the re-introduction of Browning Hydro-Fleece better than ever. The new softer, quieter Hydro-Fleece fabric has an improved water shedding treatment on the fabric surface and also features Browning’s new HMX™bicomponent waterproof and breathable outer shell fabric with OdorSmart™ antimicrobial lining that helps control the bacteria that causes human odor. New insulated models feature ultra-warm, quiet and lightweight PrimaLoft®Sport insulation that provides the highest warmth-to-weight ration of any synthetic insulation. New updated Hydro-Fleece models will include a PrimaLoft®Parka, Jacket, Bib and Pant as well as a Hydro-Fleece Soft Shell Jacket and Pant. 3-layer HydroFleece Soft Shell models add a new dimension with a form-fitting design to minimize weight and bulk. The 3-layer fabric features new Hydro-Fleece fabric on the outside with smooth, fully-taped knit lining on the inside for ease of movement. All will be offered in the Mossy Oak Break-Up Infinity camo pattern. Hydro Fleece PrimaLoft Parka, Suggested Retail, $300.00, PrimaLoft Jacket, Suggested Retail, $268.00 and PrimaLoft Bib Suggested Retail, $210.00. Hydro-Fleece Soft Shell Jacket Suggested Retail, $232.00, Soft Shell Pant, Suggested Retail, $198.00.
Danner Kinetic LE Boot Now Available PORTLAND, Ore. - Danner today announced the availability of the new Kinetic™, a lightweight, fast and flexible boot made specifically with law enforcement in mind. Kinetic is made to go the distance and outlast the rigors and exposure that police officers, correctional officers and S.W.A.T. officers may be exposed to. With Ultralon footbeds for all all-day comfort, polyurethane midsoles for added support and ballistic rip stop nylon, the Danner Kinetic is lightweight, fast and ready for anything. FEBRUARY 2011 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 83
The Kinetic is made with durable, quick-to-polish full-grain leather, and comes with either 100% waterproof GORE-TEX® lining, or a highly breathable, moisture-wicking lining for warm weather comfort. It also features a multidirectional low lug outsole for superior surface contact, as well as a reinforced heel and metatarsal construction for added protection. “We listened to the needs of active law enforcement officers closely when designing the Kinetic,” says Drew Linth, Senior Product Development Manager for Danner. “With function as our primary objective we were able to build a very athletic boot that is lightweight, comfortable and durable. All of the details in this boot, from the soft collar for comfort while sitting in a vehicle to the broad flat lug design of the outsole for increased surface contact and durability, went into creating a boot that officers could feel comfortable and confident in every day.” The Danner Kinetic comes in a 6” or 8” profile with hot weather or GORE-TEX linings available, and runs in men’s sizes 4-16D with half sizes to 12, and 7-14EE with half sizes to 12. The suggested retail price for the Kinetic ranges from $119.95 MSRP for the 6” hot weather style, to $139.95 for the 8” GORE-TEX style. Danner also now offers a Kinetic boot specifically made for the Army, and meets all AR 670-1 requirements for optional wear. For more information visit www.danner.com
Big Jump in Hunting License Sales NEWTOWN, Conn.-The National Shooting Sports Foundation, trade association for the firearms and ammunition industry, calls the 3.6 percent rise in paid hunting license holders for 2009 one of the most encouraging signs for hunting in recent years. “This is great news for our industry and everyone associated with hunting,” said Steve Sanetti, president and CEO of the National Shooting Sports Foundation. “Many efforts are at work to build hunting participation, and they are paying off. More people are enjoying the outdoors and sharing the tradition of 84 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 2011
hunting with family and friends. Also, more hunting license sales translate into more funds for wildlife conservation.” U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last week reported a total of 14,974,534 paid license holders for 2009, the largest figure since 2002 and an increase of 526,494 over 2008. The 3.6 percent rise in paid license holders represents the largest year-over-year increase since 1974. (A “paid license holder” is one individual regardless of the number of licenses purchased.) NSSF cites several reasons for the increase, ranging from programs launched by many state wildlife agencies over the last decade to increase hunting participation to a difficult economy that motivated hunters to fill their freezers with game rather than store-bought meat. Also, hunters who were among the unemployed or had their work hours reduced used some of their free time to go hunting. Coordinated efforts of state wildlife agencies, conservation organizations and the firearms industry appear to have halted a decades-long decline in hunting license sales, which since 2005 have held at the 14.5-million level until the jump in 2009. NSSF has played a key role promoting hunting participation with its programs and websites. Through its Hunting Heritage Partnership program, NSSF has provided state agencies with $3.8 million to fund initiatives designed to encourage hunting among all age groups. Also, through Families Afield, a partnership effort of NSSF, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance and National Wild Turkey Federation started in 2004, thirty states have made it easier for youth to begin hunting at a younger age with licensed adults. NSSF websites such as www.WingshootingUSA.org make it easy for hunters to locate gamebird preserves, where youth can easily get started in hunting and where inactive adult hunters can revive their interest. Another positive sign for hunting is that contrary to claims of a wholesale decline in hunting participation, paid license holders have increased in 24 states in the five-year period from 2005 to 2009. “Due to continued urbanization and changes in our culture, hunting will face significant challenges for the foreseeable future, but at the same time hunting
remains an extremely important activity in the lives of millions of Americans, as the latest hunting licenses sales figures confirm,” said Sanetti. NSSF points out that the actual number of hunters who go afield in any given year is greater than the total of paid hunting license holders in that year. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service figures do not account for certain state exemptions for purchasing a hunting license. Many states allow landowners and active military to hunt without purchasing a license; also, lifetime license holders and youth hunters who do not fall within the required license purchasing age are not included in the figures.
Global Rescue member was ambushed by a waiting lioness, which knocked him to the ground and bit into both of his hands and his right wrist. As the young man fought to keep the animal from sinking its teeth into his jugular, his partner successfully subdued the lioness, and then called for help.
According to an NSSF-funded study carried out by Southwick Associates, the pool of hunters in America is much larger than previously thought. The study, released last fall, estimated that 21.8 million people purchased a hunting license at least once in the last five years. Hunters are the backbone of conservation funding in America, contributing more than $1 billion each year through the purchase of licenses, tags, permits and stamps and through excise taxes paid on firearms and ammunition. For example, proceeds from the sale of Federal Duck Stamps, a required purchase for migratory waterfowl hunting, have purchased more than 5 million acres of habitat for the National Wildlife Refuge System. NSSF, using its new 12-state hunting license sales index, anticipated the national increase in paid hunting license holders by reporting a 3.5 percent increase in license sales last spring. “It’s gratifying to see how accurate our state index was, which gives us confidence in future index-based hunting license sales figures,” said Jim Curcuruto, NSSF’s director of industry research and analysis. NSSF will announce its state index hunting license sales report for 2010 this spring. About NSSF. The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 6,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers. For more information, log on to www.nssf.org.
Lion Attack Leads to Medical Evacuation from the Field in Zimbabwe While walking through the veld of Zimbabwe, a
Global Rescue provided a field rescue from the remote location to a qualified hospital in the region. There, surgeons cleaned his lacerations, and acting upon recommendations from Global Rescue and Johns Hopkins, did not immediately close the wounds as there was a significant risk that they would become infected. (Infections from bacteria in a lion’s mouth lead to dangerous complications in cases like these, and are the cause of a significant percentage of resulting fatalities.) When the doctors were confident that his wounds were ready to be closed, the man’s hands were sutured, and he elected to continue the rest of his vacation in Africa. See www.globalrescue.com/
Regent .45 ACP 1911 A1 Now Shipping FORT SMITH, ARKANSAS -(February 22, 2011) Umarex USA, one of the fastest growing sporting gun companies in the United States, introduced at SHOT Show, the Regent R100 pistol, a 1911 A1 style pistol chambered in .45 ACP. The pistol, introduced on the 100-year anniversary of the original M1911 pistol, has been specifically engineered for precision, durability, and accuracy. The steel investment cast frame gives the Regent FEBRUARY 2011 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 85
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the weight of the originalM1911, while the 7--round steel detachable magazine allows for quick reloading. The wide spur hammer, arched mainspring housing, and low cut ejection port are all designed to give maximum performance and accuracy. From the standard feature Hogue® grips to the stainless steel hammer forged barrel, the Regent is truly an outstanding value for the quality. This Regent variant of the historic 1911 brings a very high quality version downward in price. The craftsmanship and excellent value that Umarex USA is known for in the replica gun market carries through undeniably in this pistol. Adam Blalock, Umarex USA’s CEO, praised the new introduction, saying “This 1911 introduction is exciting for us. This gun has an unmatched level of quality and workmanship for the price and this combination makes the Regent standout among the large field of 1911 45s.” The Regent .45 ACP 1911-syle pistol is available through select distributors, local firearm dealers and some national retailers. The retail price of the pistol is competitively priced at a suggested retail of $499, which is far below similar quality M1911 variants on the market. A stainless steel version, coming later this year with a handful of different features, will have a suggested retail of $599. Umarex was established in 1972 as “Uma Mayer Ussfeller GmbH” and served the market for tear gas and signal pistols followed by air rifles. After acquiring Reck Sportwaffen Fabrick Karl Arndt, they reorganized ultimately under Umarex. The company’s Reck PK 800 enjoys worldwide acclaim and appears on the market as the perfect replica of the Walther PPK. Umarex has now become the largest maker of replicas by offering numerous German-made air guns, tear gas, signal pistols and most recently replica firearms. Umarex USA is North America’s fastest growing airgun and replica tactical rimfire gun company. Umarex USA markets their airguns, airsoft, paintball and tactical rimfire products under famous brands such as Walther, RWS, Smith & Wesson, Browning, Heckler & Koch, Ruger®, Beretta, Colt, Magnum Research, and others. For additional information regarding Umarex USA visit www.UmarexUSA.com.
Top Hunting and Shooting Equipment Brands for 2010 FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. — Southwick Associates has announced the brands hunters and shooters pur-
chased most frequently in 2010. This list has been compiled from the 41,923 internet-based surveys completed by hunters and target shooters who volunteered to participate last year in HunterSurvey.com and ShooterSurvey.com polls. In 2010, top brands included: ●● Top rifle brand: Remington (17.5% of all purchases) ●● Top shotgun brand: Remington & Mossberg (virtual tie with 21.5% of all purchases) ●● Top muzzleloader brand: Thompson Center (31.9% of all purchases) ●● Top handgun brand: Sturm Ruger (16.7% of all purchases) ●● Top scope for firearms: Bushnell (17.1% of all purchases) ●● Top rifle ammunition brand: Remington (25.3% of all purchases) ●● Top shotgun ammunition brand: Winchester (31.9% of all purchases) ●● Top handgun ammunition brand: Winchester (22.0% of all purchases) ●● Top blackpowder brand: Pyrodex (38.7% of all purchases) ●● Top balls, bullets, or shot brand: Hornady (28.4% of all purchases) ●● Top bow brand: Matthews (17.5% of all purchases) ●● Top arrow brand: Carbon Express (27.6% of all purchases) ●● Top fletching brand: Blazer (15.8% of all purchases) ●● Top broadhead brand: Muzzy (20.3% of all purchases) ●● Top archery target brand: The Block (10.3% of all purchases) ●● Top decoy brand: Mojo (12.9% of all purchases) ●● Top game call brand: Primos (33.5% of all purchases) ●● Top reloading bullet brand: Hornady (31.7% of all purchases) ●● Top reloading primer brand: CCI (38.2% of all purchases) ●● Top reloading powder brand: Hodgdon (37.8% of all purchases) ●● Top binocular brand: Bushnell (33.6% of all purchases) FEBRUARY 2011 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 87
●● Top holster brand: Uncle Mikes (19.0% of all purchases) ●● Top knife brand: Gerber (15.0% of all purchases) ●● Top scent or scent covering brand: Scent-AWay, Scent Shield (14.7% of all purchases each) ●● Top shooting target brand: Shoot-N-C (31.3% of all purchases) ●● Top clay brand: White Flyer (51.8% of all purchases) The marketing data presented here is a summary of a 238-page report that details consumer behavior including what products and brands are purchased, where they are bought, how much customers spend, and demographics of hunters and shooters broken out by each product category. Current information about what gear and brands hunters and shooters prefer, how many days they spend afield and what type of hunting and shooting they enjoy most is vital to businesses trying to build their customer base. You can stay abreast of consumer buying patterns and overall market trends by purchasing an annual subscription to Southwick Associates’ monthly HunterSurvey.com, and ShooterSurvey.com reports. Reports are available for specific product categories including firearms, ammunition, blackpowder, bowhunting and archery equipment, decoys, game calls, apparel, optics and more. To purchase your subscription, contact Rob Southwick at Rob@southwickassociates.com Launched in 2006, AnglerSurvey.com, ShooterSurvey.com and HunterSurvey.com is a non-scientific survey designed to help the outdoor industry, government fisheries and wildlife officials and conservation organizations track consumer activities and expenditure trends. The information above represents only a small sample of the vast amount of data collected from the complete survey results and available to government agencies, businesses, the media and other interested parties. Results are scientifically weighted to best reflect the attitudes and habits of anglers and hunters across the United States.
Global Rescue Evacuates Man Bitten by African Cobra Global Rescue transported a Safari Club International member from Namibia to the United States after he was bitten by an African cobra that delivered a potentially fatal dose of venom. 88 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 2011
The Global Rescue member was walking in tall grass on a weekend evening when the snake struck and bit into his foot. After killing the reptile, the member’s guide rushed the man to a local hospital where he was administered antivenin. The Angolan cobra, or Naja annulifera anchietae, kills hundreds of people every year. Worldwide, cobras are among the most deadly animals on the planet, accounting for about 50,000 deaths annually in Asia alone. Few other animals cause as many human fatalities – the most notable being the mosquito, which kills millions per year by spreading malaria. The African cobra’s venom is neurotoxic and causes severe local swelling and pain -- in this case the Global Rescue member suffered from necrotic skin on his foot, meaning the tissue of his foot began to die. To save his lower leg, physicians performed emergency surgery that completely removed the skin from the top of the man’s foot. This was necessary in order to prevent severe, life-threatening blood infections. At the conclusion of the surgery, an attempt was made to graft replacement tissue to the wound. After a thorough review of the medical records and images performed in conjunction with local physicians, it was determined the efforts to regraft the skin had been unsuccessful. Global Rescue’s medical team and Johns Hopkins specialists agreed that his foot should be operated on in the United States. He was immediately flown to Washington D.C., via Amsterdam. Following transport, he was admitted to a top-tier hospital in Virginia, where surgeons removed additional tissue from the foot and a plastic surgeon repaired the top of his foot with a layer of synthetic skin. After the ordeal, the member expressed his gratitude to the Global Rescue paramedic who had assisted him throughout the ordeal, and noted, “Anyone who doesn’t get Global Rescue is crazy.” See www.globalrescue.com/
CARBON EXPRESS GOES EXTREME WITH X-FORCE Carbon Express Adds The New X-Force® 400 To Its Growing Crossbow Line Flushing, Michigan – Carbon Express, a leader in arrow technology and innovation introduces the X-Force® 400, a compact lightweight crossbow specifically designed for small framed hunters, or those with limitations, that do not wish to sacrifice performance. The X-Force® 400 is a great example of how Carbon Express continually demonstrates its desire to design with every customer in mind. The X-Force® 400 has a unique compact design that allows the crossbow to be held for an extensive amount of time without causing fatigue or pain and is the perfect crossbow to use when hunting in tight places or moving through tight foliage. A full size stock design that features a 5” shorter arrow rail compared to the standard crossbow size is the key to making the X-Force® 400 fit the small frame hunter. The heavy duty machine cast aluminum riser features dependable limb attachment along with a rugged one piece rubber aluminum stirrup resulting in quiet crossbow operation. The One Piece Composite Stock Design finished with SilenTech® coating and Mossy Oak® Break Up® camouflage pattern allows the hunter to go undetected while in the field. Wrapping up this compact crossbow is a 4x32 Deluxe Scope featuring six crosshairs resulting in pin point precision accuracy. A quick detach 3 arrow quiver, filled with 3 SurgeTM 20” crossbolts rounds out this complete crossbow package. Optional accessories, such as 3 practice points, rope cocker and rail lubricant, are included so the X-Force® 400 is ready to go out of the box. X-Force® 400 Technical Specifications: •
310 Feet Per Second
85 Ft Lbs. of Kinetic Energy
175 Lbs. Draw Weight
12” Power Stroke
Carbon Express®, is an Eastman Outdoors Inc. brand. Visit www.carbonexpressarrows.com, or call 800.241.4833. FEBRUARY 2011 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 89
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Sinclair Flash Hole Tool Makes Case Prep Easy With one easy step, you can go a long way to obtaining the greatest potential accuracy from your handloads by using Sinclair’s new Piloted Flash Hole Deburring Tool. High-volume cartridge case manufacturing can leave a burr on the flash hole, which can deflect and distort the primer flame, leading to erratic powder ignition and significant velocity variation. The Piloted Flash Hole Deburring Tool solves the problem. The Sinclair tool’s adjustable stainless steel pilot fits precisely into the cartridge case mouth to guide the tool shaft and control depth of cut. The tool steel cutter removes the burr on the flash hole’s mouth, and leaves a lightly chamfered edge. This ensures the primer flame is directed to the center of the powder column for uniform ignition. According to company President, Bill Gravatt, “Deburring is one of the most important case-prep steps for accuracy. We designed our Deburring Tool for a precise, fast, and easy deburring operation to help you obtain the greatest accuracy from your firearm.” This simple reloading step needs to be performed only once during the life of a case. The Sinclair Piloted Flash Hole Deburring Tool works on all rifle and pistol calibers from .22 through .45 using the stainless steel neck pilots, which are sold separately. Also available in 17/20 caliber and 50 BMG offerings. Sinclair International is the world’s premier supplier of high-quality reloading tools, components and accessories plus unique target shooting and hunting supplies. Stocking more than 10,000 items, the company supplies reloaders, shooters and hunters worldwide. To order, or for more information, call 800-717-8211 or visit www.sinclairintl.com and mention code PGS. FEBRUARY 2011 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 91
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Make a winch with poles and a rope Your vehicle is stuck - really stuck. You should have bought that expensive winch but regret is always too late. Even if you had a hilift jack, you would have been able to use that as a windlass. It is a very handy piece of equipment, you can lift up, pull and even compress with it. But now there is not one of the two and there is not another vehicle to help you. All that you have is a long strong rope. • Find two strong wooden poles, as thick as your forearm and a little longer than a human. • Tie the rope firmly on the chassis of the vehicle. Pull the rope till it is nearly tight and tie the other point onto a suitable anchor point for example a Dr Wallace Vosloo tree. is an Engineer and • One person must keep one of the poles upright Scientist by profesagainst and in the middle of the rope. The second sion. His family has person hook the other pole into the rope (see sketch) lived in Africa since 1696 and he has and swing the pole around. a deep love for the • The person holding the upright pole must then tramcontinent. He is a ple the rope down and beyond the turn pole. practical outdoors• With the turn pole as lever the rope must now be wind man and loves traditional hunting, axe and knife throwup around the vertical pole. See, a pole and rope ing, longbow shooting, black powder winch. rifle- and cannon shooting, salt and fresh • NB: Be extremely careful when using this techwater fly fishing and tracking. The art of survival is Wallace’s main field of interest nique – if that pole comes loose you might not and his passion is to transfer these old have a leg to stand on .. forgotten skills to young hunters.
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Your African 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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God created us in freedom to be his intimate allies, and he will not give up on us. He seeks his allies still. Not religion. Not good church people. Lovers. Allies. Friends of the deepest sort. I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart. (Jer. 24:7) It is the most beautiful of all love stories. On the other hand, Kierkegaard’s tale The King and the Maiden doesn’t capture the cost the King will have to pay to ransom his Beloved. He’ll have to die.
Have you noticed that in the great stories the hero must often die to win the freedom of his beloved? William Wallace is slowly and brutally tortured for daring to oppose the wicked king. He is executed (upon a cross), and yet his death breaks the grip that darkness has held over Scotland. Neo is the Chosen One, faster and more daring than any other before him. Even so, he is killed-shot in the chest at point-blank range. His death and resurrection shatter the power of the Matrix, set the captives free. Aslan dies upon the stone table for the traitor Edmund and for all Narnia. Maximus dies in the arena to win the freedom of his friends and all Rome. They are all pictures of an even greater sacrifice. The Son of Man . . . [came] to give his life as a ransom for many. (Matt. 20:28) Remember, God warned us back in the Garden that the price of our mistrust and disobedience would be death. Not just a physical death, but a spiritual death-to be separated from God and life and all the beauty, intimacy, and adventure forever. Through an act of our own free will, we became the hostages of the Kingdom of Darkness and death. The only way out is ransom. (Epic, 66-67) 126 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 2011
True North Created in Freedom to Be His Intimate Allies
A question of ethics: .... do you feel it? The BorderLine Walk: Rifa to Chikwenya All American Double: Searcy Rifles: Tough and beautiful Be...
Published on Feb 27, 2011
A question of ethics: .... do you feel it? The BorderLine Walk: Rifa to Chikwenya All American Double: Searcy Rifles: Tough and beautiful Be...