View Full Version : Anyone wanna see pics of my Zimbabwe Buff hunt?

Rich Lucibella
August 26, 2006, 07:18 PM
With any luck, they'll be provided almost real time from in-country. I'm told we'll have internet access and will be taking my laptop and digicam.

The good news:
I leave Tuesday.

The bad news:
You can't come!

August 26, 2006, 07:43 PM
Yes give us all the info ! DO NOT adjust camera while buff is charging !!! :eek:

Art Eatman
August 26, 2006, 08:50 PM
:) Sure!


August 26, 2006, 10:23 PM
Lemme think... ;)

Ok, I guess so--but that doesn't mean you can get away without telling the story when you return. :D

Dave Haven
August 26, 2006, 10:23 PM
The bad news:
You can't come!DAMMIT!

I look forward to seeing the pics.:)

August 26, 2006, 11:06 PM
Enjoy and have a good hunt.
Looking forward to the pictures

Dave R
August 26, 2006, 11:14 PM
Pix in near-real time....the next best thing to being there.

Looking forward to the vicarious fun.

August 26, 2006, 11:18 PM
I'd love it!!!
What are you hunting, and, what are you hunting it with?
Where are you going, and for how long?


August 27, 2006, 01:15 PM
Carry an umbrella. You'd be surprised how much they come in handy. :)

Rich Lucibella
August 27, 2006, 05:31 PM
I'll be 15 days at Mokore Ranch, Southeast Zimbabwe.

I'll be there for Cape Buff and Plains Game, though a Leopard license has just become available. :cool: Hippo is still being negotiated but may be a non-starter due to the need to move camps to get one.

The Buff/Hippo gun is an iron sighted 50 Alaskan:
Marlin Lever Action, customized by David Clay (DRC Custom) and Ashley Emerson.
Ammunition is a combination of Grizzly Ammo 460 gr Belt Mountain jacketed bullets at 2,000 fps and Grizzly/Belt Mountain 500 gr solids. This combination prints within 2 inches of each other from the bench at 100 yards.

The Plains Game piece is my beloved Blaser R93 in .338 Winmag.
Ammunition consists of custom loaded 250 gr Game Kings and 250 gr Barnes X's, also loaded to the same point of impact at 100 yards.


August 27, 2006, 07:24 PM
Ah, you mean Rhodesia...

Try to bag a few Terr gunmen while you are over there... you can say it was a hunting accident :)

August 27, 2006, 09:17 PM
ok, you twisted our collective arm. :) .50 Alaskan - nice; leave it to an American to hunt Africa with guns of the Old West.

There's some bruisers on the gallery there...


August 27, 2006, 09:24 PM
Are you the guy that took the big 5 with a lever gun?


Rich Lucibella
August 27, 2006, 09:45 PM
Are you the guy that took the big 5 with a lever gun?
But Lynn Thompson of Cold Steel took 'em all with a handgun; then went back and took several with a spear.

I'd hardly think a 50 AK lever gun grants braggin' rights after that.

leave it to an American to hunt Africa with guns of the Old West.
I'd willingly do it with my Blaser .416.....and almost did. What makes you think the 50 AK is not equivalent? Simply because it's on a platform that is impeccable? ;)

August 27, 2006, 10:05 PM
No I think it's extremely cool, to use the levergun over something like a Blaser - it's just so American - show those Euro hunters how to get 'er done!

August 27, 2006, 10:13 PM
Well, .50 alaskan gives you ballistics similar too, but a bit lower, then the 458 win mag. As a hunting rifle, you should be fine. As a stopper, it's not, but niether is the 416.
As long as you have solids, you should be fine, with good/great penetration. Shot placement is the key.
Plus, I'm sure you have someone behind you with a stopper.

August 27, 2006, 10:33 PM

Did you get all that?

Good thing you didn't leave on your trip without getting the scoop on the capabilities of your rifle as well as some ammo suggestions. And it's a good thing you'll have someone backing you up with a real rifle.

It makes me wonder how you survived your last African hunting trip--you know, having to go off without any good information about what kind of ammo to use, etc.

August 27, 2006, 10:40 PM
Just thinking out loud, and, I'm trying to make the same decisions. Currently plan on rebarreling my 375 H&H to 450 Watts, and going to open sites.


Above are some shots of my girls.

Wondering if I should take the 30-06, or change it to something like 375 or 35 Whelan?

Why did you pick the calibers you are taking?


Rich Lucibella
August 28, 2006, 05:47 AM

The .338 Decision:
When I first hunted Africa it was with a .308 for plains game. I knew I'd be back for the big stuff. I also knew that the .375 was ubiquitous. So, I started looking for options and kept coming up with one answer: Blaser.

Interchangeable barrels; bombproof; sweet. Since they make a .416, that was my first choice for buff. That decided, the .375 was superfluous, so I chose a second caliber that could take everything from hog to Eland to Elk....338 WinMag.

Of course, before I left for my first Buff hunt, I'd already had a 45-70 built up for the purpose. I took all three Buffalo with that piece and the .416 has never seen Africa. The 50 AK was simply the next logical step from the 45-70.

As a stopper, it's not, but niether is the 416. We'll simply agree to disagree there. A "stopper" is anything that can break dangerous game down; both the .416 and 50 AK will do that handily with the right bullet and placement.


ps: I believe it was Vince Lupo who took the Big Five with a lever gun and Garrett ammunition.

August 28, 2006, 08:14 AM
Thanks Rich

"Zim Parks records show some facts central to this discussion. First is that it is ussually not the elephant being hunted that causes problems but either another elephant accompanying the hunted elephant or a suprise attack from an elephant. Second is the statistics for escaping harm from a bad encounter with an elephant show that all hunters using 375H&H's were either seriously injured or killed, and that the chances of escaping either serious harm or death only increased beyond 50/50 when the hunter was using a 458 or bigger bore rifle."

found this in another posting. Comments?

Well, if there is one thing I've been learning lately is the rules for stopping rifles seem a bit different with 50 caliber rifles, or pistols. I recently shot a 570 grain, soft point, out of a 500 Nitro Express, double, at 2014 fps. That IS considered a stopper, so the .50 AK may well be. Just haven't tried it, or really heard much about it.

I've also been learning that 525 grain 50 caliber bullets, at as slow as 1100 fps, simply hammer game like a 375 H&H, so, a bit faster, and, I may concede the point. Let me know.(Socrates runs to new Hogdon reloading manual to look up new cartridge, for him;) ) WOW! How long is your barrel? Looks like the 50 AK REALLY likes heavy bullets, like 525's, at 1850, with 35k pressure. GOT to like that.:)

I'd like another 150 ft a sec, but, I'm really wondering, with that big a bullet, if the game is going to notice the difference in velocity?

Rich, What did you use in 45-70 for your buffalo, last trip, and what kind of rifle was it?

Is the Blaser a 416 Rigby, and are you taking that with you, as well? (conversion kit, etc.?) I've heard, that the 400 grain 2400 fps out of the Rigby is VERY effective on cats, and, a great round for near anything.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but when I look at the 35 Whelan, 338 Win Mag, 9.3X6.2, 9.3X74R, and 375 H&H, I just don't see much difference. They all get 250's going fast enough to be effective, and, the caliber is about the same. So, you picked one, next step up is the 416.
Always fun learning about new calibers, and guns.
I've heard Jack Huntington is chambering the long cylinder BFR's for the 50 Alaskan, and getting 525's going 1650 fps. Now THAT's a handful.

Currently this gun


will get 525's going 1550 fps, .500 Linebaugh Maximum, but, what I've got it loaded with is going 1350 fps.
Bullets are empty 500 NE case, 440 grain 500 JRH bullet, another one taken from an Asian Buffalo, off side, after going through the animal, and hitting bone, a 525 grain
.510 caliber bullet for the Max, and, a ready to go 570 grain soft point, for the 500 NE.

Look forward to hearing about your trip-)


August 28, 2006, 11:46 AM
Definitely post pics!! And let us know how hippo tastes if you manage to seal that deal - Capstick raved about how delicious hippo meat is supposed to be...been dying to taste some!!

Dave R
August 28, 2006, 12:59 PM
The Buff/Hippo gun is an iron sighted 50 Alaskan:Marlin Lever Action, Just curious--what's the barrel length on your .50 levergun? Is it another short-barrelled "thumper" like your .45-70?

August 28, 2006, 01:49 PM
Yes give us all the info! DO NOT adjust camera while buff is charging !!!
Better yet, you hold the gun...

Let somebody else hold the camera... :eek:

That way you can come home with the camera... :D

Get a trophy! :)

Rich Lucibella
August 28, 2006, 08:08 PM
I've got an early wake up for the flight to NY.
Will try to answer some questions here:

Barrel length of the 50 Alaskan. Against my "better" judgment, Ashley did this one in the same octagonal barrel configuration as the 45-70, but with a few extra inches for weight. I'd say it's 22 inches. Ashley was right, and from field positions, I've yet to feel the recoil.

Bullet choice:
I normally shoot Buffalo Bore 450 grain LFN's (nominal 2050 fps) for hog and the like; though, I have used their 45-70's with good result on Cape Buff. Fr this trip, we've opted for the Belt Mountain 460 gr bonded "Punch" backed up by Belt Mountain Solids: http://www.beltmountain.com/

Nominal speed is 2000 fps and 1850 fps respectively. However, if I've learned anything from Randy Garret, it's that velocity has diddly to do with penetration of hard casts. In fact, some can cast bullets so hard that velocity risks shattering them like glass on hard bone. Randy know the art of cast and ogive and can push his heavy "Hammerhead" 45-70's lengthwise thru a North American Bison at barely over 1600 FPS!

Personally, I'm more comfortable with speed in excess of 2,000 - 2,200 fps to give a higher probability of "hydrostatic damage" to soft tissue; but that didn't seem to matter to the last 3 Buff I shot with the 45-70. They died.

The 45-70:
That, too, was born a Marlin Lever gun. Turned into a satin nickel plated, octo barrelled (18.5"), breakdown rifle by David Clay with a lot of demands from Ashley Emerson.

The safari barrel and forend to the Blaser is a 416 RemMag. It remains home....it'd be redundant given the 50 AK.

I'm off.

August 28, 2006, 08:12 PM
this thread is useless without pics.....:eek:

August 29, 2006, 08:30 PM
Rich - Good luck - Good hunting.

Pics will be the icing on the cake.


August 29, 2006, 08:56 PM
Love to see 'em.


September 4, 2006, 07:44 AM
How about a check-in there Richard.

Rich Lucibella
September 6, 2006, 01:46 PM
I’m here at Mokore and required a few days before sending in some reports. The following are excerpted directly from my personal journal….so I apologize for the detail.

It was a rough go at first as I immediately wound up in a Cold War with my PH. The reasons are still unknown to me. I provide here the hunts on Sunday and Tuesday. Monday is in the Journal as “Come to Jesus Day”….that’s when I confronted my PH and got things squared away.

As a result, you’ll see a big difference in the reports from Sunday and Tuesday. My shooting has NOT been good, as you'll see (especially you 'neck shots only" guys). But I'm not about to post only my upcoming World Class feats ;).

Rich Lucibella
September 6, 2006, 01:59 PM
Sunday, September 3: The Zebra
5am wakeup call came too late….I’d been up and ready since 4! I was resigned to the fact that I would not be making any close friends in the hunting vehicle; what the hell, I already have too many “close” friends. I’d simply observe what I observed and shoot what I chose. 14 more days; let’s make it a good 14.

The morning hunt went poorly. We hunted for Buff and Pete insisted that the first shot be with a solid. I’m personally against this, except with lesser calibers or scoped rifles. The 500 grain bonded bullet has plenty of energy for Buff and will do a heck of a lot more internal damage, I reckon. But I was certainly not going to argue the point. He turned to “Shssh” me several times on the trail, though I could swear his foot fall, twig breaks and rock stumbles were louder and more frequent than mine.

Never saw buff but, returning to the truck, we came upon a herd of Zebra. Pete asked me if I was ready to shoot a Zebra….sure, I owed it to the last Zebra I shot so poorly to do one right. He jammed the sticks into the ground and pointed out the target. “Shoot! Shoot quickly”. At 60 yards, the animal was behind brush nearly up to the spine. I dropped the sights just below the top of the brush, looking for a lung shot and touched one off. The Zebra dropped and I knew the sound immediately.

I’d spined him and that is often not good, especially with a solid, I thought as I took off thru the brush in his direction. Sure enough, halfway there, he recovered from the temporary shock and bolted. I flung two more rounds at him and called both a miss.

What was I thinking?!!!!! Shoot a trophy animal with the vitals covered by 60 yards of brush? I’ve never done that. Use a solid on a Zebra? Truth of the matter is I didn’t realize there wasn’t a jacketed bullet in the pipe until after I pulled the trigger.

I turned to a disgusted Pete. “Why didn’t you shoot lower for the heart; you don’t have to see it to know where it is.” “Because, Pete, as I told you yesterday, I once lost a gorgeous Nyala to this very rifle because I hadn’t seen one small branch midway between us.” “Ack, if I tell you to shoot, I can guarantee the bullet will go where you shoot it.”

After two hours of tracking a 90 minute gone blood trail, Pete called it quits. I don’t blame him. It was a stupid bad shot; and the second time I’ve wounded a Zebra. At least we found the first and finished him proper.

Lesson Learned: Just because you’re on a foreign continent, in the hands of a Professional Hunter, there is no reason at all to break common sense rules of hunting. I pulled the trigger. I bear the responsibility for that.

The afternoon hunting was ugly. Pete told me to jump out of the truck quick. The trackers handed me my scoped .338 and I loaded the chamber. Pete grabbed the back of my collar and dragged me in front of the sticks. “Shoot!”, he said. “Shoot what?” “The Waterbuck”, he replied grabbing the forend of the rifle and slamming it onto the sticks.

Well, I didn’t see a Waterbuck. What I saw was only red. I’m not used to being dragged around or having my rifle manhandled while in my shoulder. Pete reached over me for the stock and pointed the rifle somewhere for me….it didn’t matter where to me. I turned and looked him in the eye. “You need to calm down”. I assume he walked back to the truck because the Waterbuck had run off. Personally, I might shoot one if they’ll promise to COOK IT FOR DINNER, but I think the only sporting way to hunt Waterbuck is with a slingshot and pen knife.

Another 3 hunters showed up in camp tonight with the sons and daughter-in-laws of Mokori’s owner. Nice people. Dinner was Kudu steak. Pete was gregarious and pleasant with all concerned. I exchanged conversation and niceties with all, had a few drinks with Danny and went to bed knowing I had a real problem with my PH. Was it because of the un-scoped Lever Action 50 AK? The fact that my Blaser was not dead on at sight-in? The wounded Zebra? Perhaps it was because he’d had one tracker mauled by a wounded Buff and another killed by a rogue Elephant this year. Thinking back, I realized he was unhappy with me from the beginning. For whatever his reasons, Pete either doesn’t think much of me or simply no longer enjoys his job; perhaps both. I’ll live with it…..passive aggression is no match for me when I know what I’m up against. :D


Rich Lucibella
September 6, 2006, 02:01 PM
Tuesday, September 5th: The Buff.
We had known that there were several small herds of bachelor bulls spotted in various areas. Dugga Boys. We headed out early to pick up their trail at first light and were successful. Pete explained that we'd be moving very fast until we got close and he wanted me to load solids with a 500gr jacketed ready, in case we needed to shoot into the herd.

We followed the tracks for about an hour until Churo pointed at something ahead. Pete motioned me to get low and we crawled forward of Churo and Taka about 20 yards. Pete looked thru the glass and signaled me to “assume the position”; unlike many PH's who crawl forward on hands and knees, I was happy to learn that Pete uses a technique that I learned from Danie Van Graan in Tanzania. We sat in single file, feet forward, with our rifles across our laps. To move forward, you simply stretch your legs, dig your heels in, and, palms to the ground a your sides, you lift your butt from the ground and move it forward. This allows you to cover a fair distance quickly, without dragging and scraping. It also allows you to shoot, if necessary and generally makes you feel less like a grass eater.

We got to within about a hundred yards and Pete turned to me, signaling “Do you see them?” “Yes”, I whispered. Looking over his shoulder I'd spotted two separate pieces of Buff….irregular round shapes in the linear brush. We crawled forward a bit more and they vanished. I believe they heard my rifle barrel drag and scrape on a branch. We stood.

“There were 5 of them”, Pete whispered. “They're skittish, but not running. Rich, how far out are you comfortable with that rifle?”
“We'll I've done Buff at 104 yards with iron sights, but I'd certainly prefer to be closer. Let's call it 80 yards, in this brush. But if you need me to shoot more quickly, you can drop the shooting sticks and get me to a tree; I'm pretty comfortable in sit, kneel or stand using a tree 'barricade' position.”
“OK, let's go.”

And off we went. We were rewarded about a half our later by Churo's characteristic point and we got down. The brush was fairly thick, but over Pete's shoulder I spotted three Bits-o-Buff in the brush at about 150 yards.
“Do you see them, Rich?”
“Yes”, I whispered.
Pete got a quizzical look on his face. A day ago I couldn't see a whole Waterbuck posing at 40 yards. Today I'm seeing pieces of game.
“Note that I see game far better when you remove your Tampon, Peter”, I whispered. I'm not certain, but I think he almost smiled….maybe.

We left the trackers to spot for us and moved, asses and heels in a long, lazy semi-circle. We finally got to about 80 yards and Pete pointed out my target, looking straight at us. Anyone who has hunted Buff knows that they tend to post “sentries”. I don't believe you can ever sneak up on them without being seen or scented; the best you can hope for is not alarming them enough to cause them to run…or charge. One of the beauties of the feet-forward crawl is this: When that Buff is looking right at you, you only need to lie down on your back to get out of sight and greatly lower your scent cone.

“Rich, don't look directly at him when he's watching us. But can you take him from here?”, Pete asked.
“No, not thru all this brush.”
“OK, take your rifle and move over to that tree….slowly!”

I did so with Pete following. The Dugga Boy turned broadside and presented a perfect shot at 70 yards. Then he just plopped down in the grass at the edge of a thicket.
“Can you see him now?” I studied the animal thru my binoculars. The top of his head and one horn were barely visible in the shadows. The butt was hidden. But I could spot a triangle of dark and shadow that appeared to be the right shoulder where it narrows to the ribs.
“Pete, is that his shoulder just behind those red leaves”.
“Yes, he's lying broadside. Those leaves are your aiming point.”
“If I stand, I can do it”, I whispered. (The bullet would have less chance of being deflected that way, traveling less distance thru potential obstacles.)
“Wait! There's another one just behind him.” Another Buff moved from the right to left, just behind my target.
“Which one?”
Pete studied the two. “Take the one laying down”.

Rich Lucibella
September 6, 2006, 02:02 PM
I stood, placed my left palm against a 4 inch tree, leaned and cradled the lever gun in the web of my thumb as I cocked the hammer. I confirmed my aiming point and touched one off. The entire herd tore off as I levered another solid into the barrel and tracked for a follow up.
“Wait, don't shoot!” Pete ordered. Teamwork, finally! I knew enough not to shoot at a running Buff in a herd. Pete knew enough to make the call the instant he saw me ready to fire.

What follows is a description of events as honestly as I can recall them, confirmed by Pete's memory. When relating a hunting story, “reporting” the events without coloring our own actions and reactions is more important to me than attractive prose and high drama. Too many hunters turn running, reloading gun battles into first shot kills by the time they return to camp. They always seem to accomplish 1 shot stops. I've had my share of these and killed two of my previous three Buff with the first shot, though one required two more hits to make up his mind that he was dead. This Dugga Boy would not go down so easily.

Those who shoot with me know that, unless I really flinch, I'm pretty good at calling my shots. Flinching a rifle has never been an issue in the field for me, though it can become so at the bench. The shot taken on this Buff broke without flinch, but it did not provide that perfect “surprise break” that pretty much guarantees our ability to call the shot. In retrospect, I believe I snatched the trigger a bit; but I was fairly confident that the hit was centerline of the body (high) and over the front shoulder. I called it a lung shot and hoped for the top of the heart and other lung as the bullet traversed the animal.

The news was good when we found the blood trail a couple of hundred yards away. Lung blood….red and bubbly. A half mile later the news got bad. The blood trail had disappeared and the Buff was still in the herd of 5. Another half hour of stalking and the news got worse; the Buff had left the herd. This meant that he was hurting for certain and very dangerous.

Much of what I report, I only learned from Pete after the hunt, such as the habits of wounded Buff. Due to the need for economy of noise in the stalk, we were not in a position to sit down for a long wildlife lecture. But what I did know was that the Dugga Boy had turned downwind into heavy brush where he could scent us and see us. At any given time there would be 6 or 10 clumps of brush within 50 yards in which he could hide and Pete kept trying to “hopscotch” the animal to a crosswind position, while maintaining contact with the track…and that the buff kept turning to keep us upwind, moving in a wide arc.

We stopped for a sitrep.
“Rich, this is a very, very dangerous situation. This Buff is wounded and knows we're on him. Sooner or later he's going to come for us. If we see him, do you want Taka and I to shoot.”
“Use your own best judgment, Pete.”
“Well, if you want to shoot him, you need to go in front.”
“I can't track him, Pete. Use your own best judgment.”
“OK, I want you to follow directly behind the trackers and be ready. If you see him, you must move to the side so that we're not shooting over each other. If he gets in the middle of us, DO NOT shoot one of us.” I was silent and just nodded my head. I've done more live fire in dynamic team situations than most hunters, but this was the real deal. Pete's admonition was well taken.

Reality check:
I always wanted to know what it would be like to stalk a wounded Cape Buff in the “thick stuff”. I just never wanted to be the one to CREATE the situation.
Am I frightened? Yes.
Am I shaking? No.
That's good.
Am I thinking clearly about the task at hand or worrying about the shot I took? Nope, I understand that the next shot is the only one that counts..
Also good. I was a ready as I was gonna be.

Realizing that I would never spot a Buff hiding in thicket in front of us before Pete, Taka or Churo, I concentrated on our sides and flanks, just in case The Hunted had grown tired of the game and made a sharp J-Hook to become The Hunter. I had given up my belief that wounded Buff “hunting the hunter” was just a myth.

About 20 minutes later, Pete separated to our right by about 30 yards to check out a heavy thicket in a small ravine. I heard a thunder of hooves and a shot, not _ second later. Pete had flushed the Buff and took a snap-shot with his .470 Nitro double. He would repeat this separation twice more this day, instinctively routing the Buff.
“Did you hit him?”
We sat and Pete came over. He whispered, “I think I missed him. I may have caught him in the guts but I don't think so.”

We moved on to where the animal crossed a road into more heavy brush.
“Rich, he's moving forward and hiding in these small thickets. This is very, very dangerous and I think we should call in another PH. We'll leave Danny with the truck and go in with four guns: you, me, Hilton and Taka.”
“Your call Pete.” The only problem was that I knew Pete had forgotten his radio in camp. The nearest radio was at Pete's truck, probably 2 miles away.
“OK, I'll tell you what. Let's go in and see what it's like. When we get up to the thickets, we're going to spread out in a skirmish like.”

We moved on. With Taka and Churo to my left and Pete on my right, Pete once again moved off about thirty yards. As I angled off toward the thicket he was heading toward, he suddenly raised his rifle. Two shots in very rapid succession. This time I knew better than to ask for a hit report. In describing it to the trackers, I saw a rare smile from Pete. He turned to me.
“He was just standing there. I think I got him in the left shoulder. The second shot I'm not certain of. I shot at his ass as he ran off.”

Once again, we moved off; this time with Pete on the left, me on the right and the trackers in the middle, separated at about 10 yards each. A short time later, Pete urgently motioned me to his position. I moved over to where he was pointing his rifle and there was the Dugga Boy, broadside in the brush 20 yards away. None of the other three of us could see it, though we were a matter of steps from Pete's position.

“SHOOT” he whispered. I shot for the right shoulder as Pete's gun went off just behind mine. The Buff ran to our right about 15 yards and turned left more than180 degrees quartering toward us, as if (I swear it!) searching for us.

“Shoot him again!”. I fired forward of the left shoulder this time….460 grains of Belt Mountain solid at 2,000 fps that hadn't seemed to impress him yet. The far side shoulder crumbled and the animal headed almost directly toward us, stumbling along the way.

“Finish him!” I fired into the center of the chest and he went down. We watched for a minute as his blood spilled onto the ground from the chest shot. “He's just being a Buff, Pete said…..meaning, “Even though he was dying before the chest shot, he's still not gonna accept that fact easily.”

Rich Lucibella
September 6, 2006, 02:09 PM
After Action Report:
42.5” horns. Pete has taken only one larger in this camp; Hilton, none.

Should we shoot a Cape Buffalo while it is lying down? It never occurred to me at the time. No one here feels it is un-sporting. I guess I'm OK with that. We generally shoot Leopard while they're lying down; Lion, too.

The Buff had 11 holes in him. 3 in the shoulder of the right side; 4 in the neck/shoulder of the left side. 1 high in the gut on left and 1 centerline in the gut on right. 1 right of the spine in the back and 1 in the chest. Based on the degree of blood drying and reaction from the shots, Pete and I agree that the following account is as honest as possible.

The Buff was hit by me, centerline and behind the diaphragm, almost amidships. I suspect that the animal was not broadside when laying down. His front half was quartered away from us; otherwise there is no way it would have caught lung. The bullet took him left of my intended placement and most likely caught the left lung without exit. Not good. Pete claims it probably would have died during the night, but I'm not at all certain this wasn't just for my benefit.

Pete's first snap shot did, in fact, catch him in the gut, high on the left side. It did not exit. He later shot it thru the left shoulder and the bullet passed out the right shoulder. As the Buff ran he hit it high on the back, right side. The bullet did not exit.

Next we each shot it thu the right shoulder, both bullets exiting on left. I then shot it thru the neck/shoulder on the left side, the bullet lodging in and breaking the right one. Finally was the heart shot.

Tough animals? I never would have believed just how tough!

The hunt of a lifetime? Well, how many people have ever hunted a wounded Dugga Boy in thicket as it continued to circle for wind advantage?

A necessary follow-up stalk? Yes, but only if you blow your first shot.

Is a telescopic sight an advantage to the first shot on Buff? To the extent that it allows you to “see better”, one might better find obstructions to bullet path and determine the exact position of the game when obscured (as it always seems to be here in Zim). But at 70 yards, the difference in bullet placement between scope and iron sights should be no more than an inch, if the shooter does his job properly. I hadn't.

I had wanted to blood the 50 AK with Buff. That's been done. Next time: My Blaser .416 with world class iron sights and quick release scope. First shot with the scope. If a follow up stalk is necessary, the scope comes off in less then 5 seconds. I don't ever intend a follow-up stalk on Cape Buffalo; but then, we never do.


September 6, 2006, 07:00 PM

Those are the types of situations some folks live for.

Could the phrase "I never felt more alive" be applicable?

Hoka Hey!


September 6, 2006, 08:24 PM
My next trip to Africa is for a buff. (cmon money :o ) What a great story....hopefully the PH and you get along....nothing worse then being with a guide that doesn't click with you.....good luck the rest of the way and am looking forward to some more stories, Doug

Dave R
September 6, 2006, 10:39 PM

Well, you have a great story about blooding the .50 AK. Richly earned. Thanks for sharing it. Vicarious hunts like this are my favorite part of TFL.


September 7, 2006, 12:27 PM
Great report Rich. I'm glad that you and the PH were able to get squared away.

September 8, 2006, 06:25 AM
all i have to say is wow! very good writing rich, you made me believe i was there next to you.

September 8, 2006, 07:38 AM
Congratulations! The moral I take from your story, even with enough gun, is never piss off a buff. It is amazing that that fellow just didn't know he was supposed to go down. I assume that you were happy with the 50 Alaskan?

Rich Lucibella
September 8, 2006, 09:59 AM
The .50 performed well enough, for sure. This was an adrenalized Buff that took 4 hits from a .470 Nitro also, one to the shoulder and STILL ran off and waited on us. Pete is impressed by the 50, particularly because of the 7 round magazine. The next to the last shot went from base of neck on left thru to break the shoulder on the other side....an't ask for much better than that.

Tomorrow I'll post pics and (much shorter) stories of yesterday's Klipspringer and about 2,000 lbs of Eland from today. Off to the autopsy!

September 8, 2006, 12:53 PM
Nice dugga boy, Rich. You may some day shoot one bigger than that, but to me the trophy is in the experience, and you'll not likely ever bag a finer trophy than that. Nice work.

Rich Lucibella
September 9, 2006, 09:24 AM
Thursday, September 7th: The Klipspringer [Excerpts from journal]

We headed out for Klippy and called in three….yes, they actually call them in with a typical predator call. The Klipspringer comes in out of curiosity. These came in almost immediately; two females and a male. I did get one momentary shot at the male, but dismissed my initial sighting as a rock (it wasn’t) and he disappeared when I came out of the scope. We stalked him around the side of a high hill and I shot him with the .338.
Distance: @90 yards per Pete, though it looked like 150 to me….they really ARE small.
Position: From sticks, standing
Surprise break
Called it in the left shoulder, quartering.
The call was correct, but the Blaser is sighted 2” high at 100 yards and the Klippie is just a bit of a guy. The bullet entered the top of the back, behind the left shoulder and raked toward the right haunch. Not exactly where I wanted it, but perfect for a shoulder mount, since the Barnes X all but gutted the little fellow from behind the shoulder to tail.

We stopped for pics and headed back to camp. Pete had me jump out of the truck for a herd of Zebra and set me on the sticks. “The stallion in the rear he said.” I sighted on him at 70 yards, but never cocked the gun. “What am I doing”, I wondered. “It’s not even 7:30am; I’ve just shot a great Klipspringer. Do I really want to end this Zebra’s life shooting it from a road?” I put the rifle up.

“No good, Pete. I’m sorry. I’m just not ready to kill another animal.”
“OK, it’s your hunt. We just won’t hunt any more Zebra unless you tell me.”

The ride back was at Pete-be-Pissed speeds. I didn’t mind…I got to think of the Zebra I wounded and the payback to the one that just became a catch and release. Bit-o-Balance there.

Dinner was Cape Buff steaks….there was some controversy as to whether it was my Buff or Danny’s. I resolved it by determining that the more tender pieces were mine…..which is as it should be!

Besides, had I shot that Zebra, I’d never have seen the Giraffes!


Rich Lucibella
September 9, 2006, 09:28 AM
Friday, September 8th: Eland

Again we tried the river stalk. Saw some Bushbuck and Warthog, but no shooters. We returned to camp at 9am and left at 10:30, hoping to catch Kudu on the river in the midday heat. Before 11am Churo spotted 4 Eland bulls…one very large. Pete was going to radio Hilton for Danny, but I decided to take it just to bust Danny’s chops. (Besides, there is no lack of fresh Eland tracks here…it’s just tough to run them down.) Pete was all excited….Eland is fairly high dollar; proof positive that he’s on commission.

Despite being heavier than a Cape Buff, Eland are very wary and elusive. We tracked this herd until we spotted tracks of a larger bull and then began to follow that one. We caught up to him three times over 3 hours and he got away twice. The third time we found him (where else?)….in semi-dense thicket.

There he was at 43 yards. Huge. Sticks up. Rifle up. I held up my left hand to Pete as if to say, “wait”. “Shoot him”, Pete whispered from behind me. I pointed my left index finger to my butt and held up my hand again. He was facing away from us on the other side of the brush. Pete has evidently learned that he needn’t be concerned about me being too frugal with the lead; he punched a “Thumbs Up” sign over my shoulder: “OK, when you’re ready.”

I was concerned about the animal bolting. Pete later confirmed that the wind was working against us. I had time to study the shooting lane and to power up the scope to 6X then back down to about 3X. A narrow tunnel, but it was a short shoot. The Eland turned just a bit to the left, then turned his head in our direction, presenting his left shoulder. The crosshairs were steady, but I might have waited to see if he would turn his whole body. In any case, I didn’t. I placed the cross hairs just behind the left shoulder for an exit out the chest and squeezed.

Mentally, I called the shot a bit further back, perhaps even just behind the diaphragm. But I was certain it was good. I would later learn that, as I recoiled and ran the bolt, this 2,000 lb beast leaped straight up, about 7 feet! Then, to my amazement, he turned to his right and simply started to stroll off from my left to right at the edge of the woods. Churu grabbed the sticks and set them up on an intercept. There was no lane….no chance. I bent down to look…”Got it!”

I opted for a squat position, feet flat on the ground, triceps on knees, butt on my ankles and I waited the few seconds for the sauntering mass to reach my window. As he approached I got in the scope….head….chest…..right shoulder….POW. I didn’t even run the gun. Perfect broadside low shoulder shot. I stood and called the shot only to see the Eland, which never dropped to my knowledge, turn and run straight away from us about 60 yards. We ran thru the wooded area to the other side. There he was, behind a bush at 50 yards. But which way is he facing? Ahhh, got him! He was nearly broadside his neck pointing to my left, his head turned back toward us, ….amazing how well an enormous animal can conceal himself!

Offhand shot under 50 yards, mentally called high in the shoulder due to brush below that point. He dropped like a piano had fallen on him. When I approached him, he was struggling to get up off his left side and I shot him point blank in the chest. In death, his eyes remained open and the left one bore a triangular patch of we tears. It truly saddened me; the shooting was over in less than three minutes, but I wished it had been done more quickly. Eland are magnificent. This one was huge, just two weeks before the rut, yet the 31 inch horns hardly matched the body. He deserved a quicker end. What went wrong?

After Action Report:
The first bullet never touched this pickup-truck scaled beast, though called behind the left shoulder. It remains a mystery, despite the fact that he jumped like he’d been hit with a cattle prod and just walked off like he had a bad belly ache. I went as far as to lift his tail to see if I might have performed the perfect Ashley Ass Shot. Nothing. On skinning and gutting, nothing. I had completely missed an Eland, from a steady rest at 43 yards with no sense of rush at all!

The second bullet, absolutely, for certain thru the left shoulder, would have made the Warren Commission proud. It hit him center of the chest and broke his left shoulder without exiting...from a BROADSIDE position! The only way this could have happened is if I had shot him 10 yards prior to broadside and missed that shoulder by 2 feet!

The third bullet, called high on the left shoulder smashed thru the spine in the center of his neck….again about 15 inches from the intended spot.

We went back to the first two shooting positions to take a look. We found nothing definitive in the first lane, but located the ¾ inch, center-punched sapling dead center of the second lane. I was so disgusted that I never looked at the third position.

Here’s what I suspect:
The first shot was deflected by brush early in flight. It went into the Great Void. I’m pretty self-effacing about my shooting skills, but even in my darkest moments, I can’t believe I missed by more than 3 feet in one direction or another from a rest at half a hundred yards.

Pete confirms the second shot was taken broadside. The only explanation is that it was deflected to the right by the sapling, just catching the left front of his chest, and was “snagged” back to the left due to deformation of tip or spin. It broke his left shoulder. I nearly threw a fit when the skinners reported that they couldn’t retrieve the bullet! Pete didn’t assist in pushing the issue.

The third bullet is anyone’s guess. Three for three deflected? Even I’m not that unlucky. Call it a huge miss from a rifle that I call game shots with correctly 90% of the time.

But I do know this. The next morning I demanded that we recheck zero. One round from the .338 Blaser at an empty pack of cigarettes, over a hot truck hood, in less time than I took on that Eland. I center-punched the pack off the tree. There is nothing wrong with my rifle.

Dinner was Warthog chops; there’s a reason why every other camp I’ve been to uses Warthog only for biltong: I’d rather eat a microwaved, 7-11 pork chop sandwich.


Rich Lucibella
September 9, 2006, 09:36 AM
Saturday, September 9th: Bushpig

Pete had informed me that he wanted to take a box lunch for today and stay out.
“You mean hunt from 5am ‘till 6pm?”, I asked.
“Well, there’s a big international Rugby game on at two. I thought you might want to drop by my parents and watch it with me.”
“Ummm, why don’t you guys take the afternoon off.”

So, we headed out for the morning hunt, hiking the river for Bushbuck. We saw several, but no males. At about 9am we came along a herd of Bushpig, which run smaller than Warthog and much smaller than Texas hog. Pete pointed out the boar (a good one, I’m told by others in camp) and I shot it as it walked, left to right, just like that Eland. Only this one reacted as it should. He jumped up and fell over….graveyard dead.

Position: Standing from sticks
Range: 80 yards
Angle: Shooting Downward
Rifle: Blaser .338
Call: “High in the heart”
Hit: High in the heart, thru both lungs before exit

Danny got his Eland today. An absolutely handsome one, smaller than mine, but with larger, finer horns. Way to go, Danny!

We took the rest of the day off.


September 9, 2006, 10:27 AM
In defense of your pro hunter, here's a clip from an email from one of the more famous hunters I know, Lee Jurras:

"....On my first trip to Africa I took a 458 Browning and a SuperBlackHawk 44 Mag. 20 Rds of 500gr. SP and 20 rds of 500 Solids plus 100 rds of 180 gr. JSP for the 44 Mag... When my Pro Hunter saw the 500gr, Soft Points for the 458 he said, "what are you going to do with those", told him I thought probably Lion...He said, "you been reading too much Jack O'Conner"...then he said what are you going to do if a Cape Buff charges without notice of we come up on an Elephant? He said "we only use solids ", solids will kill a Lion OK, but you don't want to get caught with SP's in the magazine when you need solids...Think about it....Well I said I'll trade you these 20 SP's for 20 Solids, he said NO we'll sell you 20 solids, take the SP's home and shoot them at Deer or something..."

Guess Pete might have been Lee Jurras' pro h, on his trip?:D

I will say, after reading your accounts, that I'm giving serious thought to a .510 Wells(600 grains, at 2200 fps, and using the 458 Lott, with 350-450 grain Barnes X bullets, at 2500-2900 fps, for plains game.

The bullet deflections on the Eland are certainly something I will learn from. That Eland is simply huge, and beautiful.
2000 pound animal? WOW!!!
Looks like when plains game weigh as much as my car, a 458 Lott isn't unreasonable...

Your buffalo is AWESOME!!!

I've a couple buffalo stories for ya. First is a guy built a 4 bore, gut shot a big buffalo, and he still went 60 yards before going down.

Another is O'Connor had one buffalo that took 11 rounds from 450-470 Nitro Expresses, before going down.

TOUGH animals. Enjoy the rest of the hunt, and, thanks for the pics, and great writing. Makes me wish I was there.


September 10, 2006, 09:23 AM
Thanks Rich, throughly enjoy reading your exploits and feelings on this trek.


September 10, 2006, 04:43 PM
Those bastards are tough. Good job.


September 10, 2006, 05:01 PM
It was as if I were there. The ups... the downs... I laughed, I cried... I wanted to sock the PH in the nose.

Thanks for the read and pics. Beautiful place.

September 11, 2006, 02:14 PM
Just awesome, Rich; congrats!

Wild Bill Bucks
September 11, 2006, 02:38 PM
I don't think I'm going to be able to like Rich anymore.:( :D

Long Path
September 12, 2006, 07:21 PM
Bill, I've been eagerly listening to (or reading) Rich's hunting stories for around 5 years or better, and the pleasure of his stories is that the only bull is the one he shot. Rich is self-efacing to a fault. He will NOT give himself the benefit of the doubt, ever. Thus you may have no doubt that the perfect heart shot on the bush pig was indeed a perfect shot; Rich earns your trust that he would have told you so if it were otherwise.

I learn a lot from Rich's stories, and am truly thrilled for him when he meets with success.

I'm completely of a mind with Rich on the softpoints.
Alas, here is where the beauty of H&H Hunter's beloved doubles comes into play-- you can carry a solid and a SP loaded at the same time.
But that lever gun can sure speed up a load change from SP to solid!

September 13, 2006, 12:39 AM
ha, this was a nice distraction - now if only i wasn't swamped with other stuff to do!

great stories though, i think i'll just print them out and hand them in as my christmas list until i accrue enough holiday credit to get there - give it maybe 20 or 30 years :P

Wild Bill Bucks
September 13, 2006, 10:58 AM
Long Path,

Sorry if I rubbed anyone the wrong way, it was meant as a joke. I am in awe of Richs pictures, and would in no way, call into question either his character, or honesty. I'm just jealous:D

I'll probably never be able to hunt in places like that, and have enjoyed reading his stories. Again I apologize, for any mis-understanding.

Rich Lucibella
September 13, 2006, 02:53 PM
No offense here and I doubt Matt took it that way either.

I honestly have never read Jack O'Conner. Just finished a book of Ruark's never-been-printed-in-book-form articles, though. I HIGHLY recommend it. Edited by Jim Caseda....if anyone's interested I'll post the info on my return.

On the Issue of Solids:
My experience is this:
100% of Africa PH's advise solids on a wounded buff.
For the first shot, however (and that's the subject here), it's about 50/50, with the willingness to allow bonded bullets rising as the caliber exceeds .375 H&H.

So, you start your Buff hunt in my shoes. The PH is carrying a 470 Nitro Double with solids; his Second carries a 375 H&H also with solids. Both know how to use them....very well; both are far more experienced in putting down charging Buff or Elephant than I. Either will see the animal before me, unless I'm the US Hunting Wonder. Either will react before me, unless I'm willing to spend $12K and a fair piece in a foreign jail as would have happened in Tanzania, 2001, had I simply shot the charging Elephant (without knowing a mock charge from a real one) while the PH and Govt Game Scout un-assed the area. Let's face facts here.

I'm holding a 7 shot 50 Alaskan, with the approximate stopping power of a .458. I'm hunting Buff. We already know the last six rounds will be solids. The question is what will the first be? My answer: a bonded lead bullet.

Why? It does far more damage to soft tissue than a solid. Perhaps my lung shot Buff would never have needed a follow up, just the time to smoke a cigarette to expire. I don't know. But I do know that solids are for three things only: Spine, Forehead and Shoulder. Hit anyplace else and you've just expended an appreciable amount of that wonderful kinetic energy in the air somewhere on the far side of the animal.

So, unless you can consistently hit spine, shoulder or forehead at 70 yards. I'm simply not that proficent in the field though my Buff have been take to 104 yards. But this one was at 70, so let's use that number. For me, I'd go with a quality bonded bullet that will flatten, cut rip and tear and penetrate as deeply as possible. The alternative is a smooth suppository shaped projectile called a solid, whose only function is to smash the brick wall of heavy bone.

As to needing a solid in case you're attacked by the itinerant Buff from Nowhere....unwounded Buff attacks are about as rare as being bit by a poisonous snake, so I guess it would be a 50/50 tossup as to whether you should carry your heavy or a 12 gauge with bird shot. ;)

But here's the down side: when you Buff hunt you often get sidetracked. I did by a large Zebra which my PH told me to shoot. I did so and it dropped to a spine shot (for a few seconds) and then took off looking none the worse for wear. Would a good expanding bullet have kept him down vs the diamond drill function of a solid? Dunno, but I know the chances would have been better.

My partner hit a Buff high in the chest with the demanded solid from a .375 H&H. His PH called it a miss because the Buff never blinked and they only tracked it because he gut shot the animal on the run. Think a good Barnes X might have been a better choice for the first shot than a solid? I dunno, but I know if he hadn't hit it a second time there'd be one angry Buff wandering around.

Oh, by the way, a while before the Buff was shot my partner "missed" a very large Kudu with one of those solids.....because that's what was loaded. The miss turned out to be a solid hit and the animal was burned the next day by a hunting party that assumed death by Anthrax. And these people have been at the game for 30 years.

Rich Lucibella
September 13, 2006, 03:12 PM
Monday, September 11th: Kudu
Today we let Churo and Taka lead the hunt. Churo was evidently an expert poacher in his day; they make the best trackers. They took us down to the river; we removed our shoes and waded to the other side. We sat in the tall grass for about 3 hours. Pete fell asleep in the shade while reading a book; Taka fell asleep; I wanted to go to sleep. Nothing doing.

Lunch was a rather gelatinous rendition of Meat Loaf and an indefinable quiche.

We started late for Kudu; at 3 PM. Churo wanted to hunt close to camp, where there was little hunting pressure. We soon spotted a bull 10 yards off the road, in a bush. We continued about 200 yards and turned around; the bull would be on our right side; James took the right side driver seat while Pete and I stood on the left side running board; as we approached the spot, we jumped off the running truck with Churo and Taka; James continued on.

The bull had departed so we tracked him, catching up to him twice. Both times he ran. Back to the truck to circle the section. About an hour later we found him,100 yards off the road on the right. Same drill and I bailed with the .338.

Try as I might, and angry as Pete can get, I refused to take the shot from three different positions; the first was from sticks (set too high again) directly thru a large tree branch. The second was….well, I forget the second. Pete’s aggressive behavior had returned and he grabbed me by the right arm, and literally dragged me about six feet, the Blaser loaded and cocked in my hand! I’m not certain why I didn’t stop the hunt right there; I guess I was just focused on the Kudu.

The final position was mine, from a tree barricade. I went high; I went low. I simply couldn’t get a shot that wouldn’t require a “I ‘hope’ this gets thru 60 yards of brush”. A Kudu deserves better than a busted jaw from a deflected bullet.
Pete was livid. “He’s not gonna wait forever for you.”
I gritted my teeth, trying to block him out. “I know”, I replied.
The Kudu ran off.
Pete stumped off.
I got in the truck and just closed my eyes and breathed for about 3 full minutes….”Almost outta here, Rich. No need for a scene now.”

Just after sundown, I was daydreaming of seeing that Bull before anyone else and piling out of the truck to stalk and shoot it myself. They’re not much different than an Elk with real good hearing. I opened my eyes and continued to scan…..perhaps luck does favor the pure of heart. Coming up on the right, 30 yards off the road was a distinctive patch of gray; I pointed it out before even the trackers as I stepped out on the running board, facing Pete. From behind the right side steering wheel, Pete had already begun the peepee dance, trying to crane his neck behind him toward Churo then back to me.

“That’s HIM”, he hissed.
“Pete, give me the 50 and let me go.”
The truck rolled on as he looked over his right shoulder at the Kudu then back toward me. “OK, go”, he offered as James handed me the wrong rifle.
“No time for do-overs; I’ll gladly do this with the .338 so long as Pete just keeps driving down the road”, I thought. I turned forward and stepped off the truck, trotting with it a couple of steps to keep balance. I then swung to my left 270 degrees, facing across the road. The Kudu was nearly broadside at 45 yards, looking straight at me. Right knee in the dirt, left elbow on left knee (not one of my favorite positions, but it’s quicker than a sit and steadier than offhand).

I heard the solid “thwunk” of the hit before Taka could annoy me with those damned sticks! The Kudu ran about forty yards and fell over dead. When I got to him, there was a ragged exit on his right just behind the off shoulder, clockwork hanging out of it. Taka and I tugged and pushed him over on his right side. I was ecstatic…there was a perfect hole centered on the left shoulder. The Perfect Shot…and all without Pete’s hands on my gun or my arm! Who’da believed it possible?

Pete drove up. I told him about the daydream and then seeing the animal before the rest of him.
“Well, there wasn’t much of a ‘stalk’, but I saw him, I made the plan, I shot him.”
“Yes, but you really should have shot him with the 50.”
“I know….that’s why I asked you for it.” Moron.

PH’s: The Bull was barely 45 inches, though mature. Had I known this, I would never have shot him…we would see three the next day, well over 50” each. But it is not my job to measure trophies; that’s Pete’s job. It’s my job to shoot the animal in as sporting a way as possible; not Pete’s job. If Pete were concentrating on doing Pete’s job, rather than my job which I’m perfectly competent to handle (when he stays out of my face), we wouldn’t have shot a runt horned Kudu. Come to think of it, we wouldn’t have shot a runt horned Eland either.

Sticks: These guys are crazy about sticks. I swear, if you walked to the edge of a rock cliff and spied a trophy Kudu 150 yards away in a grass field, these guys would yank you from a prone or a sit to have you shoot off sticks. I understand that many of their hunters have never shot from anything but a deer blind or offhand; but after 11 days of this, you’d think they’d understand that I’m a little bit familiar with positions other than sticks set too high behind bushes. The shooting sticks are great in any situation in which your only alternative is offhand; but they’re slow and require lots of movement.

Back at camp, we learned that Wednesday is sold out for an early flight back. Travel agent will keep trying and we’ll call nightly.

Dinner: Chicken with nothing wasted. I snagged a recognizable drumstick and dug in. Yum…..can’t get this at home.


September 13, 2006, 03:18 PM
Congratulations Rich!

I'm not even "into" hunting, but I've greatly enjoyed your journal and pictures. I hope the rest of your trip is successful. :D

September 13, 2006, 03:51 PM
when your done with this whole hunt before you leave i would tell off that PH/guide or whatever that jackass calls himself, and perhaps a bit of backhand as well. sounds like a class act.

September 13, 2006, 04:44 PM
I think the whole issue came up because you brought a lever gun to Africa. This just seems to get some people to see red.

If it was me, I'd have been using Barnes X bullets. Saeed on another site, has taken over 100 buffalo using those, and, they work well. He's using a 404 necked down to 375.
You get the petals either opening or coming off, and then a heavy wadcutter going straight through.
How's the penetration of your .50 alaskan on African game? Do you think the soft, at the velocity you are using, might limit penetration too much? Did you bring Barnes X bullets for that gun?


That maybe the guys thinking, but, I think more likely, it's just PH's are a conservative group, and, they've scene a lot of stuff not work, and, it puts them in a bad position, having to follow up wounded game.

Counterpoint: How did you end up with this *******, Pete?
I've never heard of a PH being such a complete idiot. Sounds to me, that due to the lever action, he figured you as an absolute rookie.

You are paying for this, and, I'd address it right now. This guy Pete is screwing up your vacation, and not doing his job. Anyway to change hunters, and or get credit for his inability, or willful screwing up your hunt?
Sounds to me like he intentionally picked poor game, or, he's incompetent, because of his initial rifle prejudice.
Figure he'll get your safari over fast. He gets the same amount of money, regardless of the number of days he works. I SURE WOULDN'T TIP THE BASTARD.!!!

What is the guys name, so I make sure I never get near him? How did you book your trip, and how do I make sure this doesn't happen to me in 2008?

Your experience has made me seriously look at my caliber choices. If you run into a guy like this as a PH, it would be better to have a .458 Lott, with the 350 grain Barnes X bullet, at 2900 fps for plains game. Even if he said only use solids, a fast, 350 grain solid, at 2900-3000 fps should do the trick, don't you think? Maybe a 416 Rigby blown out to 510 wells, with 600 grain bullets if you get a 'solids only' PH? I'd almost think about ONE caliber, either 458 Lott, or better, 510 Wells...

The best of luck...

September 14, 2006, 10:03 AM
For his tip..grab him by the arm and tell him his tip is too quit grabbing guys by the arm. :D I have had a couple of jerks for guides and it is no fun.....although in Africa both trips were with great PHs that were a ball to be around.....sorry for your luck there Rich. If you are like me I am also sorry for your flight home which can be a dang long flight. :barf: Thanks for the stories.....Doug

Long Path
September 14, 2006, 11:49 AM
I disagree. Leaving on a sour note would be foolish. No, I wouldn't tip Pete. The trackers and skinners, yes (if they did their jobs well.). But Pete has failed Rich as a guide-- should that mean that Rich failed in his hunt (for a lot of good memories)? Nah. Rich did some good hunting here, and came out like he does-- with some class.

Rich is a class act. He doesn't have to resort to cheap shots.

Frankly, I'd just refer ol' Pete to this thread for his elucidation. Then send the URL to every big-game hunter you know. What's the name of Pete's guide and outfitter service again, Rich? :D

Long Path
September 14, 2006, 11:50 AM
Sorry for the confusion, Bill-- I definitely caught that you were bing facetious. :)

Long Path
September 14, 2006, 11:53 AM
Oh, and by the way, Rich-- that's a beaut kudu, even if you do call him a runt. And the pic was well-taken, too. (Pete does sumpin' well!)

I do notice that it's just you in the pic. How very appropriate-- you spotted it. You stalked it (briefly, but it was your stalk). You shot it without "help."

Rich Lucibella
September 15, 2006, 01:51 PM
Pete is a phenomenal Hunter....I mean First Rate. He's just not a great PH. But, I don't know what he looked like last year, before losing a tracker to an Elephant and having another mauled by Cape Buff.

I don't believe his problem was the 50. He's been impressed with it from sight in and was most impressed when he kept reloading on Buff and I didn't. He's not about to give up his double, but it wasn't my gun. Burnout perhaps, but it doesn't matter.

It's been a very difficult 15 days; but this isn't like asking for another waiter at a restaurant or refusing to pay for the stale Grouper. Your PH has so much control of your next day that, if you're unhappy, you either 1) fix it up, 2) suck it up or 3) leave. I chose a combination of the first two. I've made the best of it and learned a lot. How can you avoid the same experience?

Demand a personal visit from your PH when in the States for SCI. Overnight him. Feed him a few drinks. Determine if you want to live with him for a couple of weeks.

The following two part hunt is posted with reservation. It's quite personal, bordering on maudlin. But it's written by me, for me. I read these journals before I come back for recollection and guidance.

In rereading this Waterbuck experience, which only finished 12 hours ago, I think what I'm reacting with such sadness to is the rampant commercialization of killing game rather than hunting it; of squeezing every dime out of the hunter, rather than pouring every joy of hunting into him; of getting that "trophy on the wall, rather than having a sense of having done something right....or a PH that allows you to correct a mistake.

So, here goes.

Rich Lucibella
September 15, 2006, 01:55 PM
Thursday, September 14th: Waterbuck
Seeing how many Waterbuck Pete had scanned and passed over and just how skittish and elusive the big ones were, I agreed to shoot one if it was a good one. Well, we’ll title this one, “Learn to clear your bubbles under combat conditions”. It did not go well.

We did two morning stalks for Bushbuck and never saw a good male. At 9am, back in the truck with me on top, I had just started into a cold Coke and a sandwich. Pete pointed out a Waterbuck about 90 yards off the road in the brush. I nodded.

Suddenly someone was shoving the .338 at me. Nothing gets wasted here in Africa. Nothing. And that includes my sandwich. The morning cooler generally contains 3 sandwiches. Pete would have one, I’d have one and the trackers would split one. Not fair, I know, but I don’t run the camp or stock the larder. I’d regularly give them part of mine, half of my coke or slip them a Coke on my own. They were always appreciative.

So there I was, Coke in one hand, sandwich in the other, with Taka pushing the 338 at me in the decelerating truck. I handed the Coke behind me to James, but my brain just wouldn’t let go of that sandwich! Grabbing the rifle with my right hand, I jumped off the truck. Once down, I slid the sandwich between the index and last three fingers of my left hand, as I fell in behind Taka and the truck continued on. That left my left thumb and index finger to hold the fore-end, which they did as I ran the bolt.

20 yards back down the road we spotted the Waterbuck in profile with no intervening brush. Taka jammed the sticks in the soft dirt and I got into the rifle, very pleased with myself for the sandwich deftness. That’s when things went to hell. I centered the crosshairs on the shoulder and squeezed the trigger. Nothing happened. As is usually the case when nothing happens, the shooter momentarily tugs the trigger only to see the crosshairs dip as he realizes that the safety is still on (or in the case of the Blaser, the rifle uncocked).

Things start to go real bad at this point, but I still will not let go of that damned sandwich! I shove it between my teeth and run the bolt, only to have a live round flip out (adding to my and performance anxiety). I push the cocker and get back in the scope.

During all this, some 95 yards downrange, there’s a very large Waterbuck talking to himself in his native tongue.
“Oh, look, another tourist with a rifle. Bet he misses.
Hey, what’s he doing down there, taking a lunch break?
Oh, I see, he’s having a bit of trouble clearing his bubbles. Yup, he’s a tourist, all right. Hey, tourist, you need a do-over? OK, I’ll wait. Slow down, little man. I’ve got all day.”

Just about this instant, sandwich firmly clamped in my teeth, I’m getting back into the scope, having my own conversation.
“You’re entire shoot is gonna go to hell if you don’t get this done quickly.
He’s gonna bolt any second.
Shoot, Shoot, Shoot!”

I touched it off before the crosshairs firmly settled; the 1/2 second “shortcut” that always spells doom and disaster for the marksman. The Buck reared backwards and took off into the brush. I silently called it low in the forward chest as we tore off after him. A bad shot. By the time we found the blood, Churo and Pete had caught up to us.

There was a fair amount of blood, but no parts on the far side of the hit. Within 300 yards, the blood trail was thinning out. A minute later Churo pointed. Taka went right, Pete left, me left of Pete. As I came abreast of Pete and started to raise my rifle at the Waterbuck, heading directly away from us at 30 yards, Pete raised is double. Having been beside that cannon when it went off on the Buff, I was not at all eager to sample it again. I lowered my rifle and began to backpedal as the Waterbuck gained ground and disappeared, his left leg obviously broken. Churo called the break high up, just below the shoulder.

“Why didn’t you shoot”, Pete turned and asked.
“Because I thought you were going to shoot when you raised your rifle.”
He said nothing. (He would later say that he was going to shoot, but didn’t because Taka had not plugged his ears.)

I then granted Pete and Taka the right to use their own best judgment in terms of a follow up shot, which is only fair to the animal, since I’m the last in a single file line of 4 and hardly in a position to take two steps left or right and shoot immediately. (Personally, I think in situations like this, the client should go just behind the lead tracker.)

Pete sent us forward while he went back to the truck in hopes of getting ahead of the wounded animal to ambush it. 15 minutes later, Churo pointed to the left. The Waterbuck was standing, partially exposed, on a hillside to our left at about 70 yards (as I recall it). Churo set up the sticks; whether he let go before I got my rifle into them or I screwed up, is uncertain to me. All I know is that the sticks fell forward into a bush and I took an offhand snapshot at the Buck. He took off to the left and I fired again, blind, as he disappeared behind a bush. Taka also fired sometime before my first and second shots. The Waterbuck never slowed down. He was unhit and moving fast on three legs. It was gonna be a long day.

And so it was. We never went back to camp for lunch. Instead we tracked that animal from 9am till dusk, catching glimpses of him at least a half dozen times. Pete got on him with his Mauser .375 once or twice but never pulled the trigger. The Waterbuck continued to move in a circle to his left every time he was spotted. Pete would attempt several times to get ahead of him in his own circle and use us as “beaters” to ambush him. Again, I should have been with him, not behind as a “beater”. I shot the animal; he was my responsibility. Then again, my first thought was to put the wounded animal down. I was miserable.

Feeling like a third wheel at someone else’s dinner date, following the action from the back of the line, I finally made the excuse that I’d fall back about 30 yards “to decrease the noise”. I did so, but I also moved left about 40 yards; running a parallel course with Pete and the trackers in sight the remainder of the day. Most of the time, when he heard us, the Buck would turn left, favoring his bad leg, often running back behind us. My only hope was to catch him as he did so. Pete did get a shot off once from an ambush, but missed. We found the impact graze in a tree trunk.

When the sun set, we quit for the day. The trackers had done an almost mystical job of tracing his path and confirming every quarter mile or so with a drop of blood or a smear of it where he lay down. It was always wet and slick, rather than sticky, in the hot sun. He stayed just ahead of us, circling left in known territory. They tracked him, bloodless, over rocks, back and forth over a stream and thru at least one herd. They never faltered. In grudging respect of Pete, his own intuitional tracking is simply eerie.

The only good news of the day is that Danny got his Kudu. A record for the camp for the year.

Dinner was, I think, Wildebeest. But it was certainly tail once again. I didn’t care. I went to bed early thinking, “Two animals wounded and unaccounted for. That’s twice the number I’ve left behind in 38 previous days of hunting this continent. Hotshot!”

Rich Lucibella
September 15, 2006, 02:05 PM
Friday, September 15th: Waterbuck Continued

Didn’t sleep well last night. I was mostly awake from about 2:15. I had dreams of Mookie and that long walk with him, limp in my arms, praying he’d miraculously be OK. I woke up and went back to sleep…I dreamed he’d never died, that his death was the bad dream; that I found him, alive, at a shelter. I woke up again.

Come breakfast time, I was determined that I’d finish this Waterbuck myself, one way or another….that no one else would get a shot before I killed it. I knew I wouldn’t get any help from Pete; he fully intended to shoot it and there’s no way that I’d win that argument. But this animal deserved to be put out of his misery by the man who put him in it.

So, I simply packed in as tight as possible and kept my head up. The trackers picked up last night’s track and soon found where he’d bedded down for the night, the blood congealed, nearly dry. Soon the track showed fresh blood. We spotted him, close by, several times but nobody got a shot off. Pete attempted two ambushes, but the Waterbuck stayed ahead of him.

Just before 8am, we were back again at the 50’ wide river/stream, having come in a long circle to within yards of where we crossed last time. Pete came into the river clearing first, just behind Churo. He immediately raised his rifle to our 2:00 and fired the big double twice, fast, as only a double is. The first shot had missed the Waterbuck as he was climbing up the far bank; the second tore thru the right back ham exiting the front of the leg and then thru the right front hoof. The leg broke and he toppled back into the water. I moved to the right several paces and saw the animal, broadside, up to the top of his back in water, struggling.

I raised the lever action 50 Alaskan, with Pete, Taka and Churu a couple of paces to my 9:00. Pete ordered me further forward and I complied by moving two deliberate and exaggerated giant steps. I fired at a shallow angle about 18 inches in front of the animal’s exposed back, hoping for boiler room. The result was a splash where I aimed and more struggling from the Waterbuck. I then ran along the bank until I was looking straight down at him from a distance of 10 yards. I fired the second bullet, a 460 solid, into the water, where I thought his vitals might be.

This beautiful, noble, shy creature instantly stopped struggling and slid beneath the surface, with a growing cloud of red to mark the spot. The bullet had entered the right side neck, high and forward of the right shoulder. The skinners later found the solid in the left side shoulder. We never did explain an exit hole on the left side of the neck as the body was dressed, skinned, quartered, in the cooler and ready for wherever they’ve sent all the other meat to, within an hour. I suspect that neck exit was my first shot of these two, since I called it good and Pete had called his a miss. The original shot from yesterday had missed the chest completely, from what I could tell. It broke the left leg high, just below the shoulder.

It matters not what bullet made which hole anymore, other than the first. This animal’s suffering is finally over. I helped drag him to the bank and actually laid my hands on him silently apologizing for his pain. He deserved better, just as Mookie did. I write this only a couple of hours later. Our flight is tomorrow. I’ll work out then why this silly Waterbuck has affected me more than any animal I’ve previously shot. I’m bone weary tired and it’s past time to leave here.

When we got back to camp, I let Pete and the trackers have the last session of the hunt off. Returning to the field would truly be a sacrilege.

I settled up my bill and, on my demand, Pete assembled the entire Staff and read their names from a list. I shook each hand and paid them their tips in American cash that I had sorted for the purpose. I then tipped Pete in a less than generous manner and we parted company. He left immediately for an elephant hunt tomorrow.

The garish top-off was Eland steak for dinner. My Eland. Served with great fanfare, they were huge plate filling T-Bones which nobody finished. Neither marinated nor otherwise prepped, they came off the grill, tough and tasteless. I wonder if the trackers have yet finished the Leopard parts they were given last week. I clearly saw and esophagus on the grill. I'll bet they know how to cook them.


September 15, 2006, 02:28 PM
Thanks for a moving story about your hunt. I'm personally trying to imagine just what I would do if some idiot grabbed me by the collar and tried to move me ANYWHERE. Did it never occur to him that you had a large caliber RIFLE in your hand? LOL! You did an amazing job of salvaging something that could have been an unmitigated disaster with that PH.

I know absolutely nothing about how African safaris are paid for, but I take it that the more critters you shot, the more your PH gets paid? Or am I missing something? Did the meat get used by villagers, by the way? And are you bring back the trophies (can't imagine the cost on that...!)


Long Path
September 15, 2006, 04:44 PM
Rich, go back and look at your notes on "the death spiral." You're in it, babe.

Now you've got a couple of days of travel to kick yourself. No good.

I'm not there. I have only your subjective viewpoint to consider what's going on over there. But I know that every shot that you've made that could be questioned, Pete has called a miss. Every time that you could have been demeaned, he's done it for you. As a completely honest and actually self-effacing man, you've agreed generally with him, and gotten a good kick in on yourself, too. In an effort to win back some of your PH's respect, you've actually been jumping up to kick your own ass before he could get one in! Well, let me tell you-- he's only an amateur at that game-- any man with even a bit of self-assessment can beat himself up better than any three others.

You did a good job of breaking the cycle once or twice, but the damnable thing about cycles is... they're cyclic. :) Pete's 'tude came back, and you again felt the added pressure of having to prove yourself to a man that worked for you. I almost typed "unnecessary pressure," because I absolutely know that the pressure that he was putting on you was completely unwarranted. But for you, feeling the pressure was not an option-- it simply was there.

You should feel some pressure when hunting a game animal. That little bit of stress is why we hunt. Add in an African hunt on dangerous game, and the stress increases, but most of us guys here would say in a good way. That stress should NOT be compounded by the PH. His admonition about it being a dangerous situation with a wounded dugga boy in the brush is well and good and absolutely appropriate; his other actions beyond number are not.

Rich, the problems on the waterbuck hunt (day 14?) began on the zebra hunt (day 1?). You tried to overcome them, and succeeded to a great extent. But I've seen you shoot that .338 very, very well off-hand. The shooting that you've described has been the perfect example to me of a concept that I've never heard named before you coined it, but have seen many times in shooters in competitions and hunts. I've seen it in other sports (golf, of all things), but it always involves a man losing faith in himself, and overthinking the situation, until he loses skills that he had down cold, just the week before. Each miss is a confirmation of his "proper" self-disgust. Even a laudable shot gets no attention in the cinema of the mind, which must repeatedly replay the low points.

You're a good hunter, Rich. Remember the high points:

You spotted and bagged the Kudu on your own.

You completed a classic stalk and shoot of a very, very tough big buff (a story that you will remember for the rest of your life, and which I envy you for.).

You popped the Klipspringer and the bushpig handily.

You saved the hunt for Danny. You saved much of the hunt for yourself.

This has not been a failure, Rich. It's been a trial. Sometimes, those make pretty good adventures.

I look forward to hunting with you again. And hey! Look! It's almost time for you to break out that Bubba-ized Handi-Rifle again! :)

September 15, 2006, 08:44 PM

What you went through reminds me of the kind of harassment/hazing you get in the military, or, most recently for me, in a college refing camp. A guy gets right behind you, yells at you, pushes you around, points out your smallest mistakes, and makes a Federal case out of them. Under those conditions, I lost it, started screaming at the guy, and game was over. Yes, he got under my skin. Since he's the ref reviewer for the State of Kali high school championship games, I'm not likely to ever get one. But then I'm not black, female, oriental, hispanic, and 30, either,etc. all of which are represented out of proportion to the racial mixup of refs in NorCal, anyway.
But, it was worth it to stand up to the guy, and give him both barrels.

Under that kind of pressure, and harassment, it's very difficult to keep your cool, and, shooting requires being totally focused.

Bottom line is at this point, the experience has beaten you down, and, you find error behind your every action.
Life seperates it's self into categories. Those things you can do something about, and, those you can't. You are not going to solve Africa's history of screwed up race relations, poor pay, etc. though you did make a big difference by spending the money to go hunting there. You aren't going to solve Pete's demons. After what you posted, it sounds to me that Pete has transfered his responsibility and blame for the injury of his companions, from where it should be, with himself, to you, and his clients.

Regardless of what you see, Pete has a problem with what he's doing, and, clients. I'm not going to trust your judgement on why those situations are occuring. I think he would have picked ANY excuse to demean, and degrade any client at this point, and, any deviation from industry standard is probably something he's going to go back to the boys and tell stories about. He's going to place the blame on anything but where it really should be, squarely on Pete's shoulders.

Those demons are clearly Pete's, and, if I was in his shoes,
I would be looking for any excuse, but to face the facts that I might well have been responsible for the death, or injury, of two of my friends.

Under the circumstances, be greatful that no one died, or was injured. Pete's actions seem to be set on recreating
the situations that caused the injury of his trackers. He created the tension, and situation that made shooting very difficult, almost as if that was what he wanted. Perhaps he has to atone for his actions by tracking dangerous game himself, injured, and perhaps there is some deep secret, that only he knows, that his mismanagement caused the death, and injury of his friends.

Again, the animals you shot are beautiful, and no one ever said Africa was easy. YOU HANDLED THE SITUATION AS A MAN, WITH DIGNITY, AND WISDOM. I'D BE PROUD TO HUNT WITH YOU ANYTIME.

God Bless, and keep your chin up. You've done very well, in a very difficult situation.

Pete's the one to blame for your injured games' pain, not you. Creating a situation where a client can shoot well is his job, not yours. I just hope God rewards Pete with what
he deserves, for the pain and suffering he's caused to the Lords' creations. I'm SURE HE will.


September 16, 2006, 02:34 AM
Is this the hunter, Peter Fick, and the company?



Rich Lucibella
September 16, 2006, 10:57 AM
Doesn't matter. The Pete in this story is not here to defend himself and I don't think I should positively identify. If anyone is going to Zim, contact me direct and I'll confirm.

Thanks to Socrates, Matt and springmom for the sensitivity. I'm in Joburg now. It's over and I can speak a bit more freely than I felt able at the camp.

The darkness that you see in my past two days posts was not so much kicking myself for the shot. It was an error; an unacceptable one, but it doesn't detract from my overall confidence in my shooting.

What I was reacting to was, I now realize, the overwhelming commercialization of the experience. I read guys like Ruark and Hemingway while preparing, enroute and in the field. Jock of the Bushfeldt, Denatured Africa, classics.That's the Africa I'm looking for and have glimpsed in former hunts here. I could care less about the horns or the trophies on the wall.

I've been blessed to have hunted with three other PH's each of whom understood this and seemed to enjoy the same things. This entire Zim experience seemed to be about putting game on the ground; worse, just to put blood on the ground, it mattering not who finished it. I've never seen that kind of pressure anywhere I've hunted, stateside or here, and it took its toll on me.

Acting out against the PH would have done me no good; I was stuck there for the duration. All I could do was attempt to slide past him until tip time and then make a statement, in addition to sending a follow up email of the experience.

Matt's right....I beat him once and he caught me again. Still, the Waterbuck was not his "fault"; it wasn't my "fault" either. But it was my error. External pressure is not a bad thing in shooting. It's just not appropriate in a hunting environment. Especially not that kind of pressure to shoot, shot, shoot. The game deserves better and they knew up front that I was in no great rush to kill another Eland or Kudu.

Matt has pegged me and Socrates has, I think, pegged Pete to a "T". I don't think he's the same PH he was last year. The guilt of having a tracker killed because the PH wasn't even carrying a rifle must be enormous. His disdain for clients (at least for me) is, I agree, an issue of transference; and his warped gratification when something was wounded (that he could later kill) belies a need for validation that has no room in Professional Hunting.

Soc put it perfectly when he said, "Creating a situation where a client can shoot well is his job". I couldn't agree more. And, over our objections they were hunting Cape Buff on Day 1; both were put down by Day 4. That makes no sense from the standpoint of merchandising, hunter safety, or respect for the game.

I hope he gets past this or finds another line of work. Meantime, I'll be contacting Danie Van Graan, a real hunter's PH, to shop SCI this year for Danny and I to hunt in 2008....Botswana or Tanzania again, I think.


September 16, 2006, 12:26 PM
Wonderful pictures and storytelling Rich. I am sorry to say we have yet to have the African experience but have enjoyed Alaska and Texas guided trips.
The trips where we were "allowed" to hunt for ourselves are certainly the most enjoyable and memorable. The two I regret having taken part of were a Halibut charter and a knife hog hunt. With both I was left feeling much as you described, Like a spectator, there to observe the masterful hunting or fishing skills of the guide.
We have had the oppurtunity for do-overs on both and the second go-roun' was definitely a charm.
Needless to say, remember the positive, forget the negative and look anxiously forward to the next time.
Safe trip home.
P.S. That Bushpig certainly "LOOKS" as big as a Texas hog.

September 17, 2006, 06:10 PM
Compelling read.

What I was reacting to was, I now realize, the overwhelming commercialization of the experience. I read guys like Ruark and Hemingway while preparing, enroute and in the field. Jock of the Bushfeldt, Denatured Africa, classics.That's the Africa I'm looking for and have glimpsed in former hunts here. I could care less about the horns or the trophies on the wall.

I've been blessed to have hunted with three other PH's each of whom understood this and seemed to enjoy the same things. This entire Zim experience seemed to be about putting game on the ground; worse, just to put blood on the ground, it mattering not who finished it. I've never seen that kind of pressure anywhere I've hunted, stateside or here, and it took its toll on me.

+1 - Enjoyed evey word. Welcome back home.


Rich Lucibella
September 18, 2006, 12:22 AM
Home, showered, rested and well fed.

One custom built DRC Custom 50 AK, one Blaser .338, one Leupold 1.75X6 scope plus Blaser mount, one Leupold 3X10 scope plus Blaser Mount, one Mad Dog Panther-

Missing in Action; not in South Africa Airline's system.

Such are the vagaries of "hunting". :mad:

September 18, 2006, 10:07 AM
Holy cow. Tell me you have some idea of where they are and how to get them back. :eek:


September 18, 2006, 10:20 AM
My last trip to Africa my bag was missing for almost 3 weeks....I know...not guns or near as important as guns but yet knives, favorite boots and other old familar things that are like comfort food....finally dropped off at my house and not one thing was missing or even looking like it had been tampered with.:cool: I know ...try to keep the blood pressure down and good luck....I am sure you will get them back. Doug

September 18, 2006, 11:04 AM
Hopefully you had them insured. Same thing happened to me on a hunting trip to Manitoba for Moose, and caribou. Guns and other luggage never showed up until my insurance company filed a claim against the airline. Magicly it re-appeared in their system and I had it a week later.

Best of luck on getting it back.

September 20, 2006, 10:12 PM
Seems to have stired the hornets nest over at accurate


Posted 19 September 2006 23:20
I just returned from my first African safari. I was in the same camp as Rich to hunt Leopard and plains game. I arrived there a couple days later than he, after taking a Buffalo in the Chewore Safari Area with Mokore Safaris.

After reading his accounts about his PH Pete, the food and Mokore Safaris in general, I'm appalled. I had exactly the opposite impressions. The staff was highly motivated & professional, the food was outstanding and the hunting exceptional.

The only blemish to my safari experience was having to share time in camp with "the worlds authority on everything".
I tend to dig my heels in when confronted by people who are rude & arrogant, people who enjoy trying to control every situation and trying to control the people around them. People who, in my opinion, drink a little too much. I walked away from every possible confrontational situation because that's what my mama taught me to do. However, after reading what had been written here, I had to put in my two cents worth.

I'm just an average guy who doesn't have alot of money. I had to save a long time to make this trip. All I can say is I'm starting to save in ernest for a return trip to Africa, this time I will take my wife along. I will book my next hunt with Mokore Safaris without any hesitation.

Rich Lucibella
September 21, 2006, 06:28 AM
Well, I'm not going to get into a Board War over this. There were only two other hunters in the camp plus one wife. I found them each quite pleasant though I hardly spent a great deal of time chatting them up, let alone holding myself out as authority on anything when my own shooting was not stellar.

Regarding FE's very different experience, this was freely admitted by me in an email to the owners:
As to the hunt itself, I think the experience of those who hunt directly with Neil or Gary is far different than for those who hunt with Pete, though he has been there much longer. Pete may be the single best hunter I’ve ever met; but being able to hunt does not make one a PH. I suspect that Pete was a very different man in the ‘05 season than in ‘06, after tragedy struck his party in one death and one mauling of his crew.

I'm not out to bash Mokore or Pete. The journal entries clearly demonstrate that I take full responsibility for my shooting, good and bad. I'm simply saying the experience was hardly comparable to three other Safari's there. FE has no other experience to compare it to.

As to my drinking "too much", that would be about right from the perspective of a tea totaler. FE doesn't drink and I respect that. I do. After the hunt. Sometimes liberally. I don't think anyone can accuse me of having been intoxicated at camp, having handled a firearm after taking a drink, having taken a drink before or during the hunt (or at lunch) or having failed to be quite sober and ready to go at 5am reveille.

Capt. Charlie
September 21, 2006, 11:32 AM
Any luck in retrieving your guns, Rich?

September 21, 2006, 12:18 PM

I just spent 30 minutes reading the entire post, WHAT A STORY!!!

Thanks for sharing the experience with us, I am glad for all the great things that you experienced and sorry for the bad, I hope that you get your guns back.

Long Path
September 21, 2006, 02:37 PM

September 21, 2006, 02:58 PM
Meantime, I'll be contacting Danie Van Graan, a real hunter's PH, to shop SCI this year for Danny and I to hunt in 2008....Botswana or Tanzania again, I think.

Danie is a great guy, Ive met him altho cant afford to go over there..... Jim West was over hunting with him last year and had a wonderful experience, I know another fella that is heading over to hunt with him again.

Danie uses a lever rifle sometimex btw.


Rich Lucibella
September 21, 2006, 03:15 PM
Great toon, Matt!

Guns have been located and they're enroute now.

Glad Jim got together with Danie. Danie and Engonyameni have taken some heat here (from those who have never hunted there) as being a "high fence game ranch". You often hear this of RSA hunts (when you're not in RSA) and I always have to chuckle. For instance, Mokore is as varied and wild as it gets for game. A million acres but it's still fenced. I would never think to call it a "Game Ranch" in the derogatory sense that others use the term about RSA hunting opportunities. Someday, I'll figure out the distinction. I suspect it has to do with whether you're in South Africa or not in South Africa at the time. ;)

September 21, 2006, 03:21 PM
Rich..glad to see you got your guns.

The best reccomendation for Danie is from Col Cooper...good enough for him, should be good enough for anyone.

One of our customers is headed over there for baboons...he has a baboon fetish...since you cant use ARs over there (guess them baboons are long range runarounders) hes taking one of those new reminton 223 pumps (that use AR mags) with a 16.5 inch custom muzzlebraked fluted barrel and a Nightforce 5.5-15 scope......yikes:eek:


September 21, 2006, 06:22 PM

“Jeff Cooper is in extremely grave condition at this hour. Previously hospitalized for possible surgery, he suffered a heart attack and was revived in the hospital. The heart muscle suffered serious damage.
It was posted at 19:28 hours EDT.”

Col. Cooper
Gunsite Academy, Inc.
2900 W. Gunsite Road
Paulden, AZ 86334-4301

He is ina Hospital last I heard in Phoenix, But this would probably get it to his family.
Latest is that he is fading fast.

Prayers are in order.


Rich Lucibella
September 21, 2006, 06:55 PM
Last word I have as of 2 days ago was that he was sent home.
My info may be dated and he may be back in the hospital. In any case, wherever he is now, he remains an Icon; he stands for Pure Truth and Honesty in hunting reports.

This is The Man that got me into hunting in the first place; having invited me to join his party on his 80th birthday Africa hunt. He taught me the importance of the Journals that now get me into trouble. ;) He taught me the importance of recording, as a camera, the events, shooting positions, distances, loads and results leading up to and culminating in The Shot. He personally dictated the list of books that I needed to read before hunting Africa: Ruark, Hemingway, Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, Daniel Streeter....even Capstick. I read them all.

It's because of Jeff that I insist on absolute honesty in our hunting reports. It's because of Jeff that my successes are mentioned in two lines, while my failures are recorded in two pages (for the mouth breathers to thump their chests over). I thank Heaven he introduced me to the endeavor prior to all the "He was dead on the first shot; I only shot him three more times as a coup de grace" hunters I've since met. And, believe me, there are far too many of them out there for the amount of oxygen on this planet.

Cooper has given this Community more than it deserves. On the day he lays his head down to final rest, it is not he who will be diminished.

Dave R
September 21, 2006, 07:07 PM
Agreed. Cooper was a giant. His influence has spread, in ways both flagrant and subtle, all over our sport. We'll all be poorer for losing him.

I wish someone would pick up his crusade to make Medal of Honor recipients exempt from Federal Income taxes, given that they have more than paid their way in the world.

Johnny Guest
September 21, 2006, 09:40 PM
Thank you.

Thanks for this excellent thread, and for all your reports from the field. For sharing your priceless experiences in a place I'll never be able to experience. Thanks for the forthrightness --brutal honesty-- we've come to expect from you. For having the determination to try and make your African experience your own, and doing it in your own way.

I cannot offer proper thanks for all your contributions to the field of firearms knowledge, responsible firearms ownership and use, and to the cause of American liberty. They are too broad to cover here.

I've previously offered my gratitude for your generosity. I've shared your hospitality, your food, your spirits, ammo, transportation . . . And your conversation and companionship.

And now additional thanks are in order. Your few paragraphs above acknowledge some of what we all owe to Jeff Cooper. I'm happy to have known him, to have studied with him, learned from him, and enjoyed his hospitality . He's easily among the top ten men I respect most in the world. But, great as is my affection and respect, I could not express our debt to him nearly so well as you have. Thank you for those words you wrote.

In the weeks or months to come, hundreds of those he's influenced will eulogize Jeff. Somehow, I doubt any will do it with greater eloquence than you have.

Thanks again.

September 24, 2006, 03:58 PM
Rich - Steve (sm) to whom I chatted with today on phone - suggested I come read this thread.

Now I know why!! Fascinating, rivetting - and I admire your candour and honesty regarding your various shots. It must be so easy to make excuses, whereas you told it all totally up front.

Thank you for a remarkable adventure - as enjoyed from my computer screen.

September 24, 2006, 05:48 PM
After reading this again, I have to say it's easy to focus on the bad stuff. Still, overall, that's one heck of a buffalo, and, a great experience.

While not a perfect safari, the end result was on heck of a trip.



September 25, 2006, 06:15 PM
"Col. Cooper passed this afternoon. Here is the note from Ed Head at GUNSITE:

At the request of the family it is my sad duty to report the passing of
our founder, Jeff Cooper. Jeff died peacefully at home this afternoon
while being cared for by his wife Janelle and daughter Lindy.

There will be a private internment at Gunsite by invitation, with a
public memorial service at the Whittington Center at a date to be

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.



Ed Head
Operations Manager
Gunsite Academy, Inc.

Go with God, Colonel... the gates of Valhalla stand open."


October 22, 2006, 07:02 AM
Well, a little followup. Some friends went asian buffalo hunting. The guy paying used a .510 Linebaugh Maximum on a SCI sized asian buffalo, at 40 yards. He pulled the shot, and, the bullet went 5-6 feet, down the side, between the ribcage, and skin. Now we have VERY pissed off 1600 pound buffalo. Bullet was 525 grain cast, at over 1350, same stuff I shoot in my Max, all the time.

Back up rifle was also the shooters, who insisted upon using a lever action, .50 Alaskan. Bullet was 500 grains, at about 1700 fps. Hit slightly behind the heart, going through both lungs, since the bull was now moving, NOTHING. NO REACTION, except to keep on running.

The bull was later tracked, and finished, but, it took quite awhile.

The backup shooter originally brought a double barreled 450 nitro express 2, which, with 500 grain bullets, at 2150 fps, has a steady record of knocking the stuffings out of buffalo and bison, knocking them off their feet, enough to make the second barrel a finishing brain shot.

After much discussion with the principals, I'm rebarreling my CZ 550 to 416 Rigby, since I agree with Rich that that's REALLY the best place to start with buffalo rounds...


Boston T. Party
December 28, 2008, 04:02 PM
Absorbing posts, Rich, thanks!
I appreciate your candor.
I've also missed and shot poorly. Tis human.
Learn from it to not repeat it is our solution.

Col. Jeff Cooper: He was also the main influence on my
going to Africa, which I acknowledged in my dedication of
Safari Dreams. His writing style and sensible ideas
are always a pleasure to re-read.

He was unfairly underappreciated in the safari literature field.
I learned as much from him as I did from Ruark, Capstick, etc.