Area- Hwange communal land PH- Lin Stanton Hunter- Joe Observer-Christine
Joe and Christine had hunted with me in 2015 shooting a non trophy elephant,hippo and crocodile. They had returned to hunt another two non trophy Bulls and a tuskless cow elephant if any were seen.
Being early in the season there had been several reports of elephant raiding the crops of villages nearby. Our goal was to find an old bull with broken tusks or in that had small ivory. On the first day we can across a bull that had a huge body but but being the first day we let him be. Later that day we followed a big herd of about a hundred or so elephant cows and Bulls. Catching them around three in the afternoon they had just started to feed. As the bush was so thick we got up close and personal a number of times to cows and young bulls. Not seeing any non trophies in the herd we left and headed for camp for a refreshing beer and dinner.
A few days passed tracking various herds and looking at lots of elephant but most had potential to be trophies so we turned them down.
On day three we picked up tracks of a big bull and followed. After several hours we caught up to him resting in some dense riverine bush.Joe and I edged closer, I could see that he was a massive bodied bull with short thick ivory. Having seen this bull before I knew that he was the one we would shoot. After moving in another ten yards to get a better shot the bull sensed us and charged in our direction pushing over a small tree. Joe's shoot hit him a little low but was enough to stop the charge. Joe fired another two shots dropping the bull within 20 yards of us. After taking photos we spent the rest of the day skinning and delivering meat to the local villagers.
The next two days we did some fishing and scouting for crocs, only seeing a few crocs just over thirteen feet. Day six we picked up tracks of 5 bulls and decided to follow to look for another non trophy. After following them for four hours they joined up with a big herd of about 80 elephant. We spent two hours looking over the herd in the thick jesse but seeing nothing suitable to shoot.
The next day we picked up tracks of a small herd with tracks of a few bulls in it. We started tracking at about 9:30 in the morning and finally caught up to them at 1:00 pm. We found them in some thick riverine jesse, cows were walking past us at no more than 13 yards. We moved around to the edge of the herd, we found a bull with tusks of about 20 pounds, so we decided to take him as our other non trophy. Joe hit him a little bit low and I backed up with a shoulder shot. The bull stayed with the herd and we followed. We found lots of lung blood, but the bull kept on with the herd. At about 4:30pm, the blood was starting to thin out and we were about 6km from the truck so we decided to head back and follow up in the morning.
Returning the next morning, to where we left the tracks, we followed the tracks of the herd blindly only to find the bull laying there dead about 100m from where we left off. After taking photographs, we spent the rest of the day carting skins and ivory back to the vehicle.
The next few days were spent in camp relaxing with the occasional beer and fishing rod in hand, with only a few barbel (catfish) being caught. Joe and Christine left early on the last day to spend some time in the Falls.
We had an enjoyable safari and its was a great way to start off the season.