Safari 2018 #32 First full hunting day

by david on August 27, 2019

Snack time Snack time


The first full day in hunting camp found me up at 5:20 and enjoying bacon and eggs by 6:00.  Add in lots of coffee, and the day was starting out gloriously. The darkness was just beginning to lose its grip on the sky and light was fast gaining a foothold when I stepped out on the deck with my travel cup of coffee.  The faint aroma of smoke from last night’s fire was mingling with the coffee and bacon, combined with an overly full belly, which had a sedating effect. That would just not do. I had been anticipating this moment for months, and perhaps even more so over the last two weeks. Being in country for almost two weeks, seeing thousands of heads of wildlife and not being able to be out on foot in the thick of things was about more than I could bear.  No sir, today was a hunting day and I was going to relish every second of it.

Peter and Johann were heading off in search of a hippo.  Byron and I were in search of elephant. It is said you kill an elephant with your feet.  By that I mean you find fresh tracks and walk until you, hopefully, catch up with the elephant.  It may be 400 yards or 15 miles, but you will walk and walk and walk. First, we had to find some tracks and determine if they were fresh or not.  Elephant can travel 15-20 miles per day at a leisurely pace, making finding fresh tracks a must, and the fresher the better. If we were lucky that day, we could perhaps use the truck to cut down on the walking considerably.  We would use the Landcruiser to cover ground quickly while we looked for tracks. Then the plan was to determine the path and take off after the elephants. Even better, and if possible, we would use the truck to get in front so we could glass the whole herd for a suitable animal.

Lusese has several villages in its interior and, as a result, a system of sandy two track roads.  Add in an “open line” or two (naturally occurring areas with sparse vegetation), and you can almost search in a grid pattern.  If we spotted tracks, we could go ahead to the next open line or road and see if the tracks came out. If they did not, we knew the elephants were still on the other side of the road.  If they did come out, we went to the next open area to look for tracks. This works great in theory, but try as we might, we could find no tracks fresher than two days old, and this group had passed completely through the conservancy.  We headed back for lunch and some rest. The camp was excited when we got back as Peter and Johann had found some hippo and were waiting to see if they could get a shot.

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