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Hunting with the Bulawayo Boys - Charlie Haley

The next day dawned somewhat less than auspicious. At about 03.00 hours my digestive system decided to implode progressively over the next hour and a half into an extremely dense and malignant Black Hole. This, as it turned out, was a mere forerunner to the Big Bang, which sent me galloping for the ablution facilities. Any allegations by certain libelliously inclined members of our party that this was due to me flattening three quarters of my liquor ration on the first night are herewith and henceforth vigorously and strenuously denied. One of the Cokes must have been off. Or something. Could also have been a delayed action sandwich. Anyhow, my misery while sitting in said darkened facilities while stricken with Lobengula's Revenge was almost made worthwhile by Dave's reaction as he blearily stumbled into the subterranean gloom of the Throne Room, unaware that I was perched thereupon. My falsetto shriek of entirely false modesty considerably enlivened an until then bleak outlook on life, and I am afraid to say that my explanation that a good fright was beneficial to the system was not well received. Suffice to say that the purpose of his intended visit was from that moment rendered entirely unnecessary.

The net result of all this was that I was in far too fragile a state to accompany the morning's excursion, which is just as well, as I missed the Great Warthog Contact. I went back to bed, swallowed gastro-intestinal tract immobilisors, got up later, loafed around, read my book and was just beginning to feel human again when the Intrepid Hunting Party arrived.

They parked under the carcass-hanging cross beam. Aha! Success! Off came a fair sized warthog. Fine. This was closely followed by something having the appearance of an acutely malnourished Bikita Lurcher (runt of the litter at that). Closer inspection revealed this to be a SMALL warthog. A VERY small warthog. Explanations revealed that Kevin had observed a fair sized wart hog standing in a patch of longish grass. Armed with his Martini .303 carbine (a fine little rifle - I must think of a way to confiscate it...) he let fly. At this juncture, all hell broke loose and warthogs started flying in all directions. When the dust settled, there lay a fair sized warthog and Kevin's hog, which as it turned out was not a fair sized one in longish grass, but a VERY SMALL one in shortish grass. Eye and ear witness reports told of Kevin's single-shot .303 sounding more like a Gatling gun as he made sure of his quarry. I can actually empathise with Kevin's little faux-pas, as there is nothing like the African bush for confusing ranges and perspectives. Small as it was, Kevin's contribution was certainly tender, and it made a memorable meal of Not-Quite-Suckling-Warthog-A-La-Mode-de-Moi. (It was my turn to cook that evening. It was done with herbs, onion, garlic, ginger, tinned mangos, condensed milk and a dash or three of brandy. Yum!).

Article continues below.

The next day dawned (too early for some, like Yours Truly..) and off we went again. This day was to be the Wildebeest-which-Wasn't. A wildebeest was high on the agenda, but they were proving to be an elusive and skittish quarry, with many long and ultimately fruitless stalks having been undertaken. Suddenly, there to our left, was a fair sized herd in a relatively open area. Only 100 metres separated us, and they were as of yet unspooked and grazing contentedly behind a thin screen of trees. It was Barry's turn, and he was another FN-wielding service rifle shooter (except his rifle had a scope). His rifle was also unloaded, with magazine off and working parts to the rear. Oh dear. What is it with these guys? CLICK-CLACK went the magazine. KA-CHUNK went the working parts. Amazingly, the herd was still there.

A stalk now had to be executed, as a barbed wire fence was in the way and an ideal thicket to lurk in reposed on the other side. Surely everything was on our side, as the bottom strand of the fence was broken and thus rendered snivelling into position a piece of cake. Off went Barry and our long-suffering tracker. Some serious crawling and sneaking was called for, and Barry's stalk began to resemble the progress of a crippled cockroach wearing ill-fitting hobnailed boots as he snaked (?) into position. Eventually the tracker couldn't stand it any more, took Barry's rifle and both made it into position. Fine, we all thought. In the bag. All he has to do is wait for one to amble into the open, line it up in the scope and there we go. We waited. And waited. Eventually one wandered into the open. Still we waited. BANG! The herd took off. The wildebeest in the open STILL blundered about, confused and disorientated. SHOOT IT AGAIN we all silently screamed. BANG! It took off as well. Off went Barry and the tracker. They disappeared from view. BANG! was heard from the distance. BANG! again after a considerable time. After a succession of further considerable times, the dishevelled duo returned, minus a wildebeest. We returned to camp, wondering what could have gone wrong and Barry agonising over the prospect of having wounded it, despite the lack of blood. He felt the shot was good. Despite having confirmed the zero of our rifles on arrival, we checked Barry's rifle again, as the scope appeared to be visually off-set. It turned out that the securing screws had loosened, and with all the best will in the world no-one could hope to hit a platypus in the port beam at point blank range with such a set-up. Screws were re-tightened, the rifle was re-zeroed, but we doubted if we would have such an opportunity again. Anyhow, all fears of a wounded animal were put to rest - if that bullet landed in the same province it was good going! As it was, we didn't SEE another wildebeest after that!

Go to Page: 1 2 3 Related Articles: Learn When to Shoot, Sh*t or Go Blind
You might be a big game hunter if when you miss your own anniversary dinner party, you bring a note from your PH. ~ Jim Gladden

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African Hunter Vol.5 No.3 June1999
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