View Full Version : Dangerous game?
March 11, 2008, 02:24 PM
This would be my first foray into this particular forum so bear with me - I've had the good fortune to hunt big game in Africa when I was a youth in both Botswana and Zimbabwe with family friends - in those circumstances we were in the presence of dangerous game ( Lion, Hyaena, Hippo, African wild dogs, Wild Boar etc ) and were hunting among other things Cape Buffalo. I saw first hand people in our party take down no less than two huge Cape bulls ... for those who know anything about these guys you'd know you're almost better off among lions!
I did some shooting of my own during that trip wielding a .270 while the older gents were carrying H&H 375's ... we also took Zebra among others while I managed mostly Steinbuck and Impala etc which we ate the same day on a spit back in camp that evening. I have never had a better experience of hunting since then and it got me thinking how much of our modern hunting these days is not really among dangerous game anymore ... most people hunt deer or at best pigs etc perhaps bear but rarely the more dangerous types of game where it is my experience that the human spirit becomes keen as a razor - there really is nothing quite like feeling as though YOU could as easily be dinner as the quarry you seek.
It got me wondering, what great experiences have you had in the company of dangerous game?
March 11, 2008, 03:01 PM
I had an opossum stare at me once!
I have never hunted dangerous game and do not expect to. At the same time I have read Capstick's Death in the Long Grass and Death in the Silent Places and been amazed at the experiences.
March 11, 2008, 03:06 PM
I have yet to get to Africa (#2 on my to-do list), but I have been stalked multiple times by mountain lions in Montana both horseback and on foot (one stalk got pretty hairy PDQ though, thats an even longer story). The first encounter I had was horseback, muley hunting on some of our "rough" land when I was 13. First time I heard that scream (if you've heard it you know). The last time was over Thanksgiving guiding my little bro on his first muley hunt, we were in about the thickest stuff on our ranch (visibility about 5 ft in a lot of place in the draw we were walkin to get to the next butte), he said he kept seeing something behind us and with all the sign I had been seeing I started to wonder. We kept an eye on our backtrail and finally got a real good look at the lion behind us, needless to say the hairs were up and senses keen, after watching him cut our backtrail for about 200 yards we caught a glimpse of him to our side only about 30 yrds up the slope, we eventually came to a thicket we would have to crouch to follow the cattle trail through and damned if he wasnt crouched above the hole through that thicket, we stopped and looked at him for a bit, just enjoying those things that you can only see and experience in nature, and then he screamed at us (I won't lie, cheeks were clenched) he looked like he was gonna charge from only about 15 yds and he had the high ground, but finally he turned and streaked away. Mentally I had my rifle in the ready position(muzzle down of course). Then one of the funniest things I have ever seen happened, I looked down and without realizing it had switched my rifle to my left hand and was standing there cocked and locked with Mr. Colt and the little bro (12 yrs old) is trying to pipe a round in his rifle but was shaking so bad he couldn't throw the bolt. I think hunting where there are other four legged dangerous animals hightens the senses, as well as makes for some exciting memories, me and little bro still laugh about "the stalk" whenever he makes it out to the ranch.
March 11, 2008, 03:09 PM
Musketeer ... back on that trip in 1983 it was the tail end of the Golden Age of Big Game hunting in Africa and guess what book was pressed into my hands to read every night back in my hut at camp?
Death in the Long grass!! I still have my tatty copy on the shelf to this day - I was seeing and hearing much of what Capstick was describing - not the getting killed by them though thank god!
March 11, 2008, 04:05 PM
That was a nice story 70-fan,
I have a Wolf Story,
33(+/-) years ago.
Fresh dusting of snow that morning and i was walking a fire brake through alder brush. I came upon wolf tracks, He went west and just 30 yard west is an open bog. My hunting party would put a wolf down in a heartbeat in those days and i fit that mold then. I knew he was close and prepared for the possibility.
Then shooting started out on that open bog, and it puzzled me that wolf would leave the cover of the alders. Wolf got nervous and broke from his hide in the alders and crashed north where i was headed. There was a hook in the fire break and i new he would cross so i ran for it. Wolf was crashing beside me less than 30 yards and i could see the alders moving. I got to the turn and was ready. foot x foot i moved along ready, Where was He? it was opening up into some large tamarack's and i just couldn't believe i couldn't see him/her.
i hadn't moved more than 30 ft. and knowing the wolf was close, The adrenalin was flowing, Then it happened, I truly believe i sensed him more than heard him and 1 leap and he was gone behind me. 20 yards behind. and without that dusting of snow i wouldn't have been able to fully understand what had happened.
That sneaky thing was behind the very 1st large tamarack 20 yards off the fire break. He side stepped around that tree as i moved foot x foot His prints were overlapping each other as he side stepped. Then he low crawled to the break, his brisket was on the ground the whole time. Then one leap, and there wasn't any noise more than a swish and i whirled, the rifle came up, and there was no target.
I sat there marveling at what i had just experienced. How many time have any of us been that close to a timber wolf and never had a clue. I knew and He knew, But i wasn't good enough, (not even close). I have so much more respect for Mr. Wolf after that. I am just glad he doesn't want me/us. If that wolf wanted me i couldn't have stopped him.
But i truly believe that his cunning is a direct result of us hunting him.
20 years later, after dragging a buck for 100's of yards after dark last day of season. we stopped for air. I then noticed i didn't have my rifle with me, it was at the gut pile. My nephew headed for camp for more help and i went for my rifle. Wolves were howling on 2 sides of us that evening. I had no worries going for that rifle in the dark. "They don't want me".
March 11, 2008, 04:43 PM
Good story, it's the things that are only experienced in the wild that keep us calling it the wild, I love that about dangerous animals, they let you know that just cause you have a gun that doesn't make you a better hunter than they are. Oh, and side note, other situations I have been threatened by the big cats of North America, I have not hesitated (I know it sounds like I froze), it was a special hunt for me and my brother, it was his very first hunt, I had been scouting so I knew where there was a very nice buck hanging out that I didn't want to alert. It was a spiritual experience that I did not want to spoil and will forever cherish as one of those times in the TRUE wild.
March 11, 2008, 10:14 PM
When I was in Vietnam as an infantryman beating the bush back in the late 60's, we did come across some big cats in the jungle but they would disappear in a flash. I did hear of a point man (that's the guy who walks out in front of everyone to spot enemy activity) who was mauled to death by a tiger. Tall tale, maybe, I never found out for sure, but wouldn't doubt it. Those uncharted jungles where man probably never stepped foot before, were full of every critter imaginable.
March 11, 2008, 10:37 PM
Great stories gents ... here's one from my own Africa hunting trip with a twist.
We were in Botswana with a party of about 6 people in our camp and 2 black African trackers who would travel with us during the day. This particular morning we were in convoy with 3 Land Rovers following Elephant tracks along a migratory route. I was standing in the back of the second vehicle, a tray back ute with my .270 in hand. The Land Rovers were rolling up and down as though on high seas driving through these giant Elephant tracks that had been pounded deep into the muddy track during rains the previous days and were now baking out hard into huge cookie cutter footprints half a foot deep!
The Land Rovers axles were tested to full articulation as we tackled these giant dried out footprints, one after the other, up and down again rocking and jerking from side to side ... this was ten miles of the stuff so far at no more than 5-10kph and slow going. We came to a section of wide expanse where to the left of us the country opened up into a flat with long grass and scrub but on the right of us there were heavy bushes and a thicket.
Suddenly the first vehicle pulled up hard and a yell rang out from one of the trackers in the back of the first vehicle ... we all jerked to a halt in whatever part of the Elephant undulation we found ourselves and started looking around and looking hard at the front of our convoy to see what was happening. It should be noted that we were not hunting Elephant but rather spotting while we hunted other animals. Everybody got quiet and it seemed to us that only those in the head vehicle knew what was happening ... we got the hand signal to stay alert and quiet. After about 20 seconds of total silence a huge grey object burst from the bushes on our right literally at right angles to our path. Two huge Elephants cruised slowly across the front vehicle and if that wasn't intimidating enough as we looked across we saw three blacks standing just barely emerged from the same thickets about 20 feet further to the right with rifles!
It took me a minute to understand what was happening ( I was 11 years old at the time ) but I saw everybody in the lead vehicle go into slow motion and we were trying to watch the Elephants for our own safety as well as watching the party of natives just near them with rifles ... what I quickly understood from the driver of my vehicles whispers ( Capt John Hartley ) was that we had stumbled onto some illegal poachers in the national park who were tracking the Elephants!!! We had all converged onto the same point at the exact same time and they could see we were all armed to the teeth in three vehicles but they were also having to watch the Elephants they were tracking move away across our path knowing they could do nothing without risking an incident.
This was the most tension filled moment of the entire trip ... neither we or the party of poachers knew what each other was prepared to do and we also had to keep an eye on the Elephants as they crossed the track no more than 20 metres from the head vehicle. Poaching at this time was punishable by death in Botswana so this was a seriously serious stand off. The poachers just stopped dead standing waste deep in long grass staring back at us 90 degrees to our vehicles as we looked back at them frozen. I looked down the side of the vehicle to Capt John at the wheel and saw he had his rifle ( H&H 375 scoped ) drawn across his lap and ready to pull across into the window frame - I had earlier closed the bolt on a round un-cocked but now made sure I got my rifle cocked out of my own initiative as there was potential for this thing to get pear shaped just by looking at the faces of everybody involved.
What did not help was that we had official Park Ranger logo's on our vehicle doors ... nobody said anything but after a minute, which felt like an eternity, the poachers didn't like the look of their odds with all of us standing there cocked and ready on the back of trucks and began slowly backing away while still facing us and not taking their eyes off us. I watched them with mixed feelings of relief and victory as they backed away and slowly started melting bacl into the scrub they slipped from. It wasn't until they had totally vanished that my iron death grip on the rifle stock eased somewhat. By this time the Elephants had passed to our left and were now moving into the shimmering mirage of distance to our left.
Things were on edge for a while after this encounter because we had no idea if the poachers were going to come back or what their intentions towards us were ... but luckily as things progressed we did not see them again during our hunt. While nothing was shot during this particular time it was certainly a most dangerous encounter during the hunt amongst dangerous game.
March 12, 2008, 12:31 AM
First time I heard that scream (if you've heard it you know).
I know. When I was younger my grandfather owned a good bit of land in Lutz, Florida and a herd of cattle. This is back when Lutz was far less suburbanized than it is now. I had seen the odd Bobcat on the land and some of the neighbors had sworn they had seen a panther but we didn't really think too much about it. Mostly because we had never seen or heard it, nor had we lost any stock to predators.
One evening we had just finished herding one of the big bulls back through the hole he had put in the fence trying to get at that flower garden across the way when we heard the panther. It sounded like it was right on top of us, which was about where the swamp started. I was young enough that I didn't know what it was right away but every hair on my body stood on end. My grandpa stopped working on the fence and yelled 'truck, NOW!!' I didn't have to hear him twice. We made it to the truck (about 50 feet away) faster than I had ever moved before. And when we got there we could see the panther standing at the head of a trail that led into the cypress head. He stood there watching us for a few seconds, then he turned and melted into the brush.
It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. I count myself lucky to have seen one of the last wild Florida Panthers in a small part of what is left of their natural habitat. We never saw or heard this particular panther again but I have been lucky enough to see a couple in other areas, mainly on SR 70 out between Arcadia and Lake Placid. It still makes my hair stand up to see one moving across a pasture.
March 12, 2008, 04:56 PM
I tend to only hunt stuff I'm willing to eat. I don't like the taste of bear so in America that leaves out dangerous game for me.
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