Safari 2018 #33 See what we can see

by david on August 28, 2019

Don't ever want to bee too close to those teeth. Don’t ever want to bee too close to those teeth.


With no elephants in the conservancy for us to chase, Byron and I were once again going to spend the afternoon in search of waterbuck.  We headed to Salambala and picked up their game scout. We spent a leisurely afternoon searching up and down the river and floodplain, but we only saw the same animals as yesterday — perhaps a few more but nothing that stands out from any of the others.  We did run into another group of hunters looking for a jumbo. They had the same luck in finding elephant as we did in the morning and were about to give up and head home for the evening. They did mention seeing a couple of dugga boys (gnarly, old, bachelor buffalo) earlier in the day.  Since I had a buffalo tag in my pocket, they had my attention. We were just about to head in their direction when they also mentioned seeing a really nice waterbuck on a different section of the floodplain. We changed gears one more time and headed back into waterbuck territory. It did not take us long to find the animal they were talking about and it was quickly evident it was one of the same animals we saw earlier.  Since it did not meet my definition of “nice” in any stretch of the imagination, we decided the buffalo were probably not up to my definition of “nice” either. It was also getting too late to go looking for them. Sunset was fast approaching, so I reached into the cooler box, pulled out a cold one and enjoyed a glorious sunset right there in the hunting truck.

When we got back Johann and Peter were waiting for us once again.  Peter had indeed gotten his shot at a hippo and was waiting for news that the shot was good and the hippo had floated. “Floating” probably requires a little explanation for the most of you. Unless you spend an exorbitant amount of time reading safari books or watching safari shows (as I am so very guilty of), you may have not heard the term, and it really makes no sense without the proper context.  Hippos spend most of their time in the water, and therefore most of them are hunted in the water. Hippos also have a very small target area when they are in the water. A brain shot is the only shot available and it is about the size of a baseball. A good hit is instantly fatal, but the animal will still submerge/sink from sight and would be immediately unrecoverable.  Due to the hippo’s diet, his stomach will eventually fill up with gas and cause him to float. When he floats, his 5000-pound size is quite manageable and he is easily pulled to shore. If the hit is bad and he is not killed instantly, the hippo can get under the bank or move down river to a remote enough location he may never be found. So floating is a good thing. The four of us were only on our second sundowner when the radio squawked with the news Peter’s hippo had floated ahead of schedule and tomorrow would be a recovery day.  One more round to toast Peter’s success, and we adjourned to the dining room. Supper was a meat lover’s paradise. We dined on springbuck, lamb, and pork chops, with just enough vegetables to say we had some.

Perfect end of the day Perfect end of the day

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