2020 Arkansas Warrior Hunt
Nominate a military member/veteran for our 2020 hunt!
With the first taste of cooler temperatures the excitement builds. Hunting season across the county has begun. With COVID-19 still causing havoc all over the world. We have been cooped up way too long.
Enjoying the outdoors really became more precious to us than ever before.
Now, understanding the importance why the fight to keep our freedom has never been more important. The opposition against, is relentless on taking away little by little those freedoms. SCI fights vigorously against any attacks to those rights here and around the world. We thank you for your support. If you are not a current member please join if your membership has expired please renew.
The European Pheasant shoot is approaching quickly. October 25th. Go to our website and join the shoot. This is a limited event to the first 20 paid hunters…We have a special hunter than has signed up for the hunt…Safari Club International CEO Laird Hamberlin. He resides in the Memphis area and it would give you a chance to meet and ask any question you may have about the SCI.
Our Christmas party is booked for December 5th at Riverfront Steakhouse in North Little Rock. We will have a great dinner with a few giveaways. Shortly we will be sending out RSVP so be looking for and please respond to invitation. We will be practicing safe distancing as required.
Our annual banquet will be held at the Embassy Suites on March 27th. Our goal due to COVID-19 will be offering as many U.S. based hunting and fishing trips along with guns, jewelry, art, outdoor gear, and some other goodies.
Those that purchased hunting and fishing trips at the last banquet please keep in contact with the outfitters. They all want you to get your trip booked when the time allows them to do so. Outfitters have been the hardest hit with the COVID-19 pandemic. Their livelihoods depend greatly on the future of opening up on travel and rebooking.
Be safe but enjoy every opportunity you can in using the outdoor adventures we have at hand.
BY BRYAN FITZGERALD
It was early morning on June 3, 2019 and I was sitting in the North Fork River where it joins the White River. A gentle breeze was flowing with the river dropping the temperature below 60 degrees. I could see our objective swimming in the crystal-clear water below. I was with three friends from Texas who had never caught a German Brown Trout. Larry Rider was in my boat, and his stepson, Butch West, was in another boat with his brother-in-law Jack Hopkins.
As luck would have it, I caught the first Brown Trout, and it was a nice one. We fished this spot for an hour and a half. I caught a second Brown Trout and Butch caught two as well. My largest was 18” and his largest was 17”. All were released back into the river. Larry and Jack failed to catch a Brown Trout. We then moved into the White River where the fishing would pick up with the adding of Rainbow Trout.
This trip began at the March 3, 2019 Fundraiser for the Arkansas Chapter of SCI. Larry and his wife Martha were with me and my wife Marilynn at the Banquet. Mike Harrison of the Norfork Trout Dock had donated three trout fishing trips to be auctioned off during the Fundraiser. Larry suggested buying two trips. Each included:
*Two full days guided trout fishing trip for two people on the White/North Fork River in Arkansas.
*A guide, boat, motor, bait, tackle, and shore lunch.
*Lodging not included. Fishermen must stay a minimum of two nights at the resort at regular price. Our price was $165/night plus tax for four people.
When I booked our trip, I explained how I had bought the trips at the SCI Fundraiser and I was bringing three fishermen from Texas who had never trout fished in Arkansas and had never caught a German Brown Trout. They assured me that they could solve their problem.
There is no limit to the number of Rainbow Trout you catch, but you can only keep five. The guide can keep five trout for the shore lunch, but he cannot give you his limit. The pace of fishing picked up quickly when we started fishing in the White River. My guide, Kenny Moody, took us upriver. The other guide, Vic Jones, took his fishermen down river. Larry and I probably caught 15 Rainbow Trout each by 11:30, when we met with our friends for our shore lunch. The guides had picked a shady spot on the bank of the White River for our chairs. There was enough room for them to cook and serve our lunch. Lunch consisted of a heaping skillet of hash brown potatoes, plenty of fried trout, baked beans, and a salad. Butch had caught the most number of fish. He and Jack show off their catch that was used for lunch.
BUTCH & JACK
After lunch we continued fishing for Rainbow Trout until about 2:30, and then we headed back to the North Fork. Our guides were not going to give up on catching Brown Trout.
Sure enough, Larry caught his 17” Brown Trout and Butch caught his third Brown Trout. Now it was time to go to our cabin and celebrate with an adult beverage.
Our cabin was a nice two-bedroom, one bath with a large living room kitchen combination. It had central a/c and a large TV. There was a large porch overlooking the White River. For larger groups there was a walkout basement with a bath and additional bedrooms.
For our evening meals, we drove 15 miles into Mountain Home, a town of 12,253 with a good selection of restaurants. Sunday night we ate at Chili’s. Monday night we chose a local Mexican restaurant that had excellent service and food.
At 7:30 the next morning we were back at the dock to go fishing. Like the first morning, we went back to the North Fork of the White River to fish for Brown Trout. Like the first morning, I caught the first Brown Trout, a hard fighting 20” fish. Butch caught his 4th Brown Trout. This one was 19”. By the end of the trip, Butch had caught 5 Brown Trout, Larry and I had each caught 3 Brown Trout and Jack had caught his Brown Trout. SUCCESS! All the Brown Trout were released back into the river.
This time we all fished down river for Rainbow Trout. Fishing was much better down river. There were times when I was catching trout as fast as I could release one fish and rebait. I was convinced that this was the reason Butch had caught more fish than I did the first day. WRONG. Butch said he was averaging 12 trout per hour. He was just the better fisherman.
SECOND SHORE LUNCH
Our guides found an even better spot for our shore lunch down river. The menu was the same, a large skillet of hash brown potatoes, plenty of fried fish from Butch, baked beans and salad. After lunch we continued to fish down river from the dock. At 2:30 we headed back to the North Fork of the White River to fish for Brown Trout. The high lights of the afternoon were Butch catching his 5th Brown Trout and Larry catching a Golden Rainbow Trout.
LARRY RIDER & GOLDEN RAINBOW TROUT
Due to flood damage to the Jim Hinkle State Fish Hatchery in 2017 AGFC started buying trout from a private fish farm in Missouri. On May 6 of this year the AGFC stocked 7,500 Rainbow Trout, including less than 100 Golden Rainbow, in the White River below Bull Shoals Dam to the North Fork River.
The trip was an outstanding success. The whole trip, Butch would say “I cannot believe the fishing. I never expected to catch this many trout.” Arkansas trout fishing is on his to-do list for next year.
It is beginning to feel like fall finally. The cooler temperatures, leaves coloring up, and hunting season gets into full swing. It’s certainly my favorite time of the year as well with most people.
We just finished our first ever fun shoot at Blue Rock Sportsman’s Club (10-6) in NLR. This was open to all members and guests. It was not meant to be competitive but an experience in the clay shooting sports. There were 45 shooters ages 9-75, parents, grandparents, and friends for a group totaling upper 60’s. The great thing about this was several had never shot clay targets, skeet, trap, five stand, or moving targets of any kind. It was truly a learning experience even for many that have been shooting shotguns but not clay targets.
We had the idea of putting this event together and the turnout exceeded expectations. The shooters were not the only novice to this event. Thanks to the many that stepped in to help in scoring, pulling targets, and refilling machines, we got it done. I know anytime you want to mention those that helped, you always leave someone out. I am not fully aware of all the names or organizations that helped or attended so I apologize in advance. Saline County Shooting Sports (parents) pulled skeet and scored most of the rounds along with our members. That was a tremendous help to the success of the event. With the introduction of clay shooting, youth participation, promotion of our chapter, and signing up nine new members, the day was a success.
Our Next Event is approaching on October 28th. European Pheasant shoot……You must hurry to the website to register. Our chapter comps a portion of the cost to members and non-members that sign up memberships at the event.
First twenty members that sign up will have their names put into a drawing for an Orca 45 quart cooler with AR SCI logo valued at $349.00. Non-members over 18 months to qualify. Max of twenty entering and will be awarded at our Banquet March 2nd. We signed 9 at the fun shoot so we have 11 remaining. Sign up or get your friends signed up with SCI………$30 discount from regular dues to boot!
CHAPTER OFFICER AND BOARD CHANGES
After serving many years from the initial start of the Chapter in 1990, Bryan Fitzgerald has decided to step down as Treasurer. Bryan has had many roles in the chapter from being the second President (1990), Secretary, and most recently Treasurer for the past 14 years. He has played a vital role in the promotion of the Arkansas Chapter and in its growth. Bryan wants to pass his role to the next generation that will continue to carry on this important part of the Chapter. Amanda Gore is going to handle these duties on a short-term basis.
This position is open and needs to be filled. Anyone that is interested should contact me ASAP with any questions they may have. It is a very important that we have someone fill this position that has desire in playing a vital role in the chapter. Bryan has agreed in helping transitioning his experience to the next Treasurer.
I personally want to thank Bryan in his dedication to the Chapter. He became a good friend to so many over the years in his involvement with the chapter. Our friendship has taken us on several hunts and even travels with his wife Marylyn.
Dr. Rick Gore has also decided to step down as a board member. He also served as past President and was on the board for several years. Rick has also played a vital role in the promotion of the chapter. His participation in banquet preparations along with input has been priceless. I am hoping we can still draw on him in the future.
What I do know is that being apart of this chapter and working with so many involved, you become very close. That relationship is strong because we enjoy and believe in the same principles. Retaining the rights we have and being able to pass on to the next generation.
New Board Members
(If you would like to serve on our board, please contact me immediately. We are looking to fill several spots!)
They have already been helpful in pushing forward the venture in our social media program. All are younger and more in tune with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. What I do know is there is so much information passed through these formats we can get more of our messages out faster.
Social Media Promotion
Our Chapter has hired Clay Newcomb Media to promote a social media program for us. He is a native of Northwest Arkansas, and publisher and editor of the only Bear Hunting Magazine in the nation. This task can only be successful with content. Content from our members is greatly needed. Hunts, fishing trips, travel experiences, do’s and don’ts in traveling. If you have any photos you would like to share we would greatly appreciate it. Trophy hunt pictures must be clean and respectful of the quarry. If desired, we can blur out faces of folks who wish to remain anonymous. This foray into social media is just now getting started so content is needed to build site. The more we have the quicker we can make a presence in the social media field.
Save the Dates:
Christmas Party- December 1st Riverfront Steakhouse 6:00
Banquet date set for March 2nd Embassy Suites Little Rock
Thank you for reading this message and supporting your chapter.
EUROPEAN PHEASANT SHOOT
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2020
CAVINESS CATTLE AND QUAIL
4906 C T ROAD
HAZEN, AR 72064
$250 PER GUN
INCLUDES BIRD CLEANING AND MEAL
LIMITED TO 20 SHOOTERS
REGISTRATION OPENS AT NOON. SHOOT BEGINS AT 1:00 PM
MEAL FOLLOWING SHOOT
ALL SCI MEMBERS SHOOTING WILL BE ENTERED TO WIN AN RTIC COOLER TO BE GIVEN AWAY AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE HUNT
2 3/4 INCH SHELLS ONLY
ORANGE HAT OR CAP AND EYE PROTECTION REQUIRED
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT JIM LEE
VP@SCI-AR.COM OR 501-472-1376
by Morgan Helderman
My adventure starts March 14th, 2020 at the SCI banquet for the Little Rock Chapter. My husband, Mark, and I had been wanting to take a hunt together ever since he taught me how to shoot a gun back in 2014. We had never had an opportunity for us both to go due to our work schedules and vacation time. Before we left the house we decided that we would look for a hunt that could turn into a small vacation for us.
When we got to the banquet, we looked over the live auction hunts to see our options.
One hunt stood out to us, it was a Hog and Axis Doe hunt. We were fortunate to talk to Mike and Cathy Wheatley, the owners of MC Outdoor Adventures and Hickory Knoll Ranch before the auction began. They filled us in on more details on the hunt and other possible hunts at their ranch. After talking with them, we knew this would be a perfect hunt for us. We ended up paying more than retail value of the hunt because we wanted to help support the local chapter. After the auction was over we talked with the Wheatley’s and told them we would call in the coming weeks to set a date.
A few weeks later we called and set our hunt date for July 24 – 26, 2020. Mike was extremely helpful in answering all our questions and concerns.
As we drove up to the gates of Hickory Knoll Ranch on July 24th, 2020 excitement filled the truck. This would be my first hunting experience. I had practiced with my rifle before the trip and felt confident I would be able to make a clean and ethical kill.
We were greeted by Mike and Cathy Wheatley, Carter Hall, and their dog Gunny.
After we got settled in, we began to visit and discuss the plans for the night. Mike showed us pictures of the Axis and where we would be hunting in the morning. Then he showed us the layout of their property on the map and where we would be hunting that night for the pigs. We changed clothes, grabbed our rifles, and loaded into the side by side they called the Wagon.
Cathy would be my guide for the trip. That night we went to the stand they call Aoudad to hunt for hogs. She set up a tripod for my rifle to sit on to help hold it steady. I placed my custom-built AR 15 in 300 Blackout on the tripod. Cathy explained to me that Mike would come by with the Wagon and lay some feed down shortly, and then at 7pm the feeder would go off.
When the first group of hogs came out from the left, Cathy whispered to me, “Pick one, follow it until you can take your shot.” She also reminded me where to aim, right by the ear. I picked my pig, took a deep breath, and pulled the trigger. PIG DOWN! Its legs started shaking immediately. Heart racing, I turned to my left and looked at her. She gave me a fist bump.
She told me to keep watching it, as she has seen them get up and run. As I watched my pig, her feet continued to shake. After a minute or so they stopped. This was my first hunting shot to take, and my first kill ever.
Cathy told me that was about a 30-yard shot and she thought the pig weighed 65 lbs. This was 7:15pm.
At 8:25pm I thought that would be it for the night, until a second group of pigs came out from the left. At first all I saw were baby pigs, and they began eating corn. I waited for the female hogs to come out. I would be able to shoot the mom when we saw one. A few minutes later we saw two females come out. Cathy told me again, “Pick one of the bigger ones and aim at the ear.” I picked my pig. They were about to leave when I got my shot. The pig immediately fell. Then the legs started shaking. I kept watching through my scope to make sure she did not get up.
Heart racing again, we gave each other fist bumps. We let Mike know I had gotten another pig and we were ready to be picked up. Cathy told me that the second pig was probably 100 pounds, but we would wait and weigh them when we got back to the lodge.
Mike and Cathy loaded my pigs on the front of the Wagon and headed back to the lodge. We pulled up to the skinning shed, Carter and Mike got my hogs feet hooked up so they could weigh and skin them. The first pig I shot weighed 65 pounds and was hung on my right. The second pig I shot weighed 113 pounds and was on my left.
TWO DEAD HOGS
The next morning, we woke up at 5 am and loaded into the Wagon at 5:30. Cathy and I went to the Protein 1 stand. We saw several White-tail Deer and a few Axis came out from our right. Unfortunately, I did not get to take a shot as the Axis got spooked and ran off.
That evening, we set out to try one more time to get an Axis. Cathy and I went to the Hay Barn Stand. This was a ground blind that was metal and larger than the others we had hunted.
Because it was larger, we did not need to be as careful when talking. Mike came by and laid some corn down just as he did our first night. Several White-tail Deer came to the feeder and began to eat. Then to my left in the tree line I saw some deer. I asked Cathy if they were White-tail because it was hard to see. She looked through her binoculars and said, “Those are Axis.” I got ready and started looking through my scope so I could see better. We saw three Axis, two small ones and a buck. It took us a few minutes to see the buttons on one of them, so I knew I would not be able to shoot that one. The other was a doe and I started looking closer. Cathy told me she may be too small, but to keep looking. Several minutes later, she called Mike letting him know what we were looking at and telling him the doe was really small. He gave us the go head to take the shot.
At this point, the doe was behind the feeder. Unable to take a shot, I kept on her and moved with her. She finally moved to the right of the feeder giving me a better opportunity. Each time I was about to pull the trigger a White-tail buck would bend down, and his antlers would block my shot. A few minutes later he moved far enough away, I pulled the trigger. All the deer in the area scattered. I looked at Cathy. “Did you see her jump?” Cathy asked me. I told her I only saw the deer scatter. This being my first deer to kill, she told me that was a good thing. It was about 110 yards away. Cathy called Mike and told him I got her and to bring Gunny, to help track her down.
Once Mike and Gunny pulled up, Gunny went straight to work. He found the doe about 50 yards away in the trees. We got her out with no problem.
When we got back to the Lodge we took her to the skinning shed. She weighed 57 pounds.
CATHY, MORGAN & AXIS DOE
This was a great first hunting experience for me. Mike and Cathy Wheatley, and Carter Hall made this a fun experience. The food was great, and the company was even better. We formed some great friendships. We highly recommend MC Outdoor Adventures and we are looking forward to our next adventure there.
I must start out by apologizing for the long delay in getting out Chapter updates. We were lucky to have our Banquet just a few days prior to the state shutting down of event gathering all together. We were luckier than 40% of the other chapters that had to cancel or try to reschedule this fall. Our attendance was down from last year (-40%) with the hovering of the COVID-19 already in the air. Those that attended certainly did their part in bidding and enjoying the evening. Revenues compared to last year was only down 22%. Our offerings in silent, raffle, and auction were as good as we have ever had. We had around 24 guns spread out over all three combined!!!! Most of the hunt/fishing trip auctioned were North American with exception of a fantastic New Zealand hunt.
We also awarded the Arkansas Warrior 2020. Major (retired) Robin Tolliver was in attendance with her husband and two beautiful girls. M C Adventures is going to put their family up at the Hickory Knoll Ranch in Texas for an adventure they all four will never forget. Thanks to Cathy and Mike Wheatley.
The money raised has supported the following:
|AR. Hunters Feed the Hungry||$2,000|
|Saline County Shooting Sports||$1,500|
|Avilla youth sporting||$1,500|
|Youth Hunter Education Challenge||$5,250 – We supported both state and regional competition.|
|SCI Colorado Wolf Initiative||$2,000|
|Blue Rock Gun Club||$2,600|
In early 1991 I began planning our second African Safari. I was looking for a low fence hunt in Zimbabwe. Charlie Craver recommended George Parkin with Matabele Hunters. I contacted George and booked a 14-day hunt. At the 1992 Dallas Safari Show, we met with our friends, David, and Nancy Theis, as they were booking a 14-day safari with Boer Cortzee in South Africa. They were including a trip to Kruger National Park before their hunt. I had just taken early retirement from Southwestern Bell and had plenty of time. I asked if we could join them for the first week of their trip and go to Kruger. They agreed. I booked a 7-day safari with Boer starting May 23, 1992.
The excitement started early. We were to fly TWA from Little Rock to New York JFK via St. Louis arriving at 4:55pm. In New York we were to board South African Air at 6:30pm. The TWA flight was canceled due to mechanical problems. How do we get to New York? We flew United Air to New York via Charlotte arriving at 6:00pm. We nervously waited for our luggage and ran with our cart to the next terminal. Too late. Our South African Air flight had completed its security check and locked up.
We went back to the United desk for help. They said our schedule was not proper, and they could not help us. We went to TWA. They said they did not bring us to New York, and they could not help us. We went back to United and begged. They said if we could get South African Air to release the tickets they would try and help. Nancy and I went back to the South African Air terminal to get their release. To our surprise, our plane was still on the tarmac. They said that they could get us on the plane but not our luggage. We ran back to get Marilynn, David, Jordan, and our luggage. They took our luggage and took us to an upstairs waiting room. After an hour or so, they told us our luggage was on the airplane. Around 9:30pm they took us to the plane. They were out of drinks, and the passengers were out of patience. I loudly thanked them for waiting for us. They were not impressed
Boer met our plane and took us to his home in Vaalwater. The next day we headed to Kruger Park. It was an interesting drive.
NANCY, JORDAN, AND DAVID THEIS
PHALABORWA ENTRANCE TO KRUGER NATIONAL PARK
Boer made reservations for a three-bedroom chalet at the new Mopani Lodge in Kruger Park. There was a large water hole just outside the lodge fence where animals would come to drink. We were free to drive though out the park. We were to stay inside the car and be back to the lodge by night.
CHALET AT MOPANI LODGE
Although you should stay in your vehicle, there was a rest stop with restrooms where you could get out. Next to the rest stop there was a deep ravine maybe 25 feet deep. Standing on the rim of the ravine, we could see a bull elephant, a hippo, and a crock. We thought we were safe until we walked along the rim. That is when we saw elephant tracks coming up. The elephant got tired of us, waved his ears, and made of false charge. Marilynn screamed and ran for the vehicle swinging her camera wildly in the air. I hurried there as well.
FALSE CHARGE ELEPHANT
We had a fantastic time driving though Kruger National Park. It is huge. You can see many animals, some remarkably close. We could not resist feeding the baboons.
BUFFALO COMING TO WATER
Sadly, we left Kruger and drove to Hluhluwe. It was another scenic drive. At a viewing pull out, we met Elvis of South Africa.
There is thick cover and mountains in the area around Hluhluwe. It was in a deep secluded valley near Hluhluwe that South Africa found the last surviving White Rhino. They created the Hluhluwe National Park to protect the survivors. All the White Rhino today, came from this heard. Marilynn, Nancy, and Jordan borrowed a car and toured the park. At one point they were met with a roadblock.
David and I came to this area for Nyala. David hunted with Boer, and I hunted with his son, Kan. They told us that their last clients had taken Nyala in the 28-29-inch range. Naturally, we raised our expectations to that level. The first day Kan and I walked into the bush about 400 yards from the road to a manmade water hole. As we approach the water hole, we saw a giant lizard. I do not remember what it was called, but it was about four foot long.
As we drove out that evening, we saw a big Common Reedbuck. This was not on my wish list, but it was very impressive. David thought so too. He shot it the next morning. I found a Nyala the same morning. I was not sure of its size. A voice behind me, said “Big Nyala, Shoot”, so I did. It was a nice Nyala, but not as nice as the previous clients had taken. Kan denied telling me to shoot.
We cut a trail to the road, carried out our animal and waited for Boer to pick us up. On the way back to camp, Boer spotted a Nyala for David. They slipped out of the vehicle and made a stalk. When we heard the shot, we went to see David’s Nyala. Like mine, David’s Nyala was not as nice as the previous clients either. I came to
believe that Bore did not hunt big trophy animals. He hunted big trophy fees.
While David and I were hunting animals, Marilynn and Nancy were doing their own hunting for souvenirs.
NANCY AND MARILYNN
MARILYNN AND ZULU DANCERS
Bore took us to the Zulu Safari lodge one night. We walked through the entrance into the courtyard beyond. The young Zulu girl dancers were huddled around a campfire. As we approached they stood up and removed their sweaters. Nancy’s nine-year-old son got an education. The Zulu dancers at the Safari Lodge in Hluhluwe may have been the high light of the trip for Jordan
The next day we drove into the Orange Free State. This Province is mostly open plains where you find Springbok, Blesbok and Black Wildebeest. We stayed in Ermelo and hunted a ranch nearby. At the time, I was the only shooter, and I was after the Black Wildebeest. When we drove onto the ranch, the Wildebeest knew the drill and ran. Running is natural with them. That is what they do. Long shots at a moving target are not what I do best. It was ugly, but I got my Wildebeest.
BRYAN & BOER WITH BLACK WILDEBEEST
David proved it was not my rifle’s fault. Springbuck and Blesbok were on his wish list, and they were on this ranch as well. He used my 7mm to shoot both with one shot each.
The next day we left our old and new friends. Boer and Kan took David and Nancy to his Baltimore Camp to continue their hunt. Boer’s daughter drove Marilynn and me to Joberg to catch our plane to Zimbabwe. On the way she took Marilynn to an African specialty shop. BIG PROBLEM! Either Marilynn stayed too long, or Boer’s daughter drove too slowly. We missed our plane.
We checked into the Airport Holiday Inn for the night. I called George Parkin to tell him we would arrive the next day. I went to the bar. Surprise! I found Rick Russel and Larry Dyer, friends from our SCI Chapter, in the bar. I told them about missing our flight to Zimbabwe. After a couple of drinks, I was feeling better.
The next day we caught a flight to Bulawayo to hunt with George Parkin. Nancy, Jordan, and David Theis continued their hunt in South Africa with Bore Coetzee. Nancy and David have been one of our favorite travelling partners for the past 28 years.
We left David & Nancy in South Africa and flew to Zimbabwe. George Parkin met us at the airport in Bulawayo and drove us 80 km to his ranch in Nyamandhlovu. We would stay in his home and hunt his and neighboring ranches. We shared his home and ate with his lovely family. The first night I asked for scotch and soda. He had the scotch but not the soda, but what he did have was a pump the converted plain water into something very similar to soda. For our first meal we had a delicious roast. We asked what we were eating, and they told us Zebra.
VERANDA AT RANCH
We went for Eland the first day. We drove off the black top road onto very sandy soil. Any animal that crossed this road would leave fresh tracks for us to follow. We soon found fresh tracks of two bull Eland. We tracked the animals for a couple of hours. The Eland circled before bedding down so they could watch their tracks. They saw us and ran.
On the way back to the ranch, we found an Impala that George judged to have 23-inch horn. I took this gold medal Impala which measured 23 ½ inches. George was the best judge of animals that I had ever hunted with.
The next day went to the same place looking for Eland tracks. We found fresh tracks and followed. After a few hours the tracks left our hunting area and entered government land.
We had to stop. On our way back to the ranch, George spotted a Reedbuck laying in a grassy field. All you could see was his neck and head. It was a fine trophy.
Day three we tried again for Eland, but again we tracked the Eland until they left our hunting area. We found a Sable on the way back to the ranch, but it was not in our hunting area either.
LESLEY AND MARILYNN
EATING AT TENT CAMP
I wanted a Leopard, and West Nicholson was the best area for Leopard. George had a tented camp there. George and his family, a couple of their friends and Marilynn and I loaded up and drove 2 ½ hours to his tented camp. We wanted to shoot Impala for bait. Impala were plentiful, and I shot a couple. We cut them up and hung several baits. He had someone who would check the baits each day and call in a report. The hunting turned out to be very good. While we were there, we shot a beautiful Sable. It was nearly dark when George spotted the Sable. I had trouble finding it in my scope. The Sable went down, but it was not a well-placed shot. We had to follow up to finish the kill.
GEORGE & BRYAN AND SABLE
With the Leopard bait hung, we returned to the ranch. I wanted a warthog. George’s friend Martin lived a short distance down the road from George and had lots of Warthogs on his property. We drove through his gate, and before we got to his house, we saw a nice Warthog. That was easy. Martin invited us to dinner that night.
George had a bad scar on his right thigh. George’s family and Martin’s family had gone on an overnight fishing trip on the Zambezi River.
At dark, a wind blew in and started moving their boats. George waded into the water about knee deep to secure the boats. He was attacked by a giant crocodile. It had grabbed his right thigh and was dragging him to deep water. Martin went into the water and tried to pull George away from the crocodile. The crocodile reached out with his paw and brushed Martin away. He then pulled George under the water.
When they surfaced again, Martin dove onto the back of the crocodile. The surprised crocodile released George. Martin said that it was like diving onto a dining room table. They both got out of the river safely. George needed skin grafts to close the wound on his leg.
George had been a policeman in Victoria Falls before the communist revolution. He and Martin both fought for Rhodesian government. Martin was a famous sniper during the fighting. A few years after we left the Zimbabwe government assassinated Martin. They attacked his home. A firefight broke out. Then, they set his house on fire. When he came out, they hacked him to death with machetes. A couple of years later, they shot his mother as she went to the mailbox in front of her home.
One day as we were riding in the hunting vehicle, we came upon two Jackals attacking a young Steenbock. We ran the Jackals off and saved the Steenbock. We released the animal a long distance from the Jackals.
MARILYNN AND THE YOUNG STEENBOCK
I shot twelve animals on this safari. The two most remember were the Eland and the Kudu. We had tracked Eland for five days and had not got a shot. On the sixth try, our luck changed. Like the five times before, we drove down the sandy road looking for tracks. We found the tracks of a large heard. We started following. Everything went our way. We encountered a small heard of female Kudu. We stopped, and they passed with out spooking. We almost walked into the heard that was bedded down in tall grass.
I do not remember what stopped us. We were standing still and looking, when a female Eland raised her head out of the tall grass. She was 20 yards away and trying to get our scent. George whispered: “I know you do not want a female, but if she spooks the whole heard will run.” So, I put my rifle on the shooting sticks and took a careful aim at her neck. She was dead. At the shot, the whole heard stood up. The heard bull trotted toward us and stopped no more than ten yards from us and looked. I was still on the shooting sticks. I slowly moved the cross hairs to just below his chin and squeezed the trigger. I had two Eland on the ground.
My thoughts were what do we do now? We have two huge animals on the ground. How do we get then into the safari vehicle? George had a plan. He had a large rubber mat in the back of the safari vehicle. We placed the rubber mat next to the female and rolled her onto to mat, hooked a chain to the vehicle and drug her to a tree with a large limb about eight feet off the ground. He hung a pulley on the limb and used his winch to lift the animal into the vehicle. This was repeated with the bull. We had quite a load.
The Kudu hunt was near the end of our hunt. In the evening we drove out in his back yard. There were a lot of green shrubs. We immediately started seeing Kudo. Very good Kudo. I had asked for 55-inch Kudu. We saw a couple that he knew were over 50-inch that we passed on. I had asked for a widespread on the horns. He saw one that he thought would go 60-inch, but it had a narrow spread. I said no. Then we found my Kuku.
MY 55 ½-INCH KUDU
George received updates from his man in West Nicholas about the Leopard baits. No luck.
In addition to the animals already mentioned, I took the following animals: Tsessebe, Southern Duiker, Steenbock, Blue Wildebeest and a Zebra. The cost of the 14-day hunt was around $12,000.00.
HWANGE NATIONAL PARK
The first night we visited the tree house bar to watch animals.
TREE HOUSE BAR
We were enjoying adult beverages and watching Elephants drink from a water hole just the other side of a molt. There were two young bulls who got into a shoving match to see who was boss. We felt safe with the molt separating the park from the resort. We watch until it got dark. As it turned out we were not as safe as we thought. A couple who had been watching the Elephants decided to climb down the steps and return to their room. They found that they were trapped inside the tree house. An elephant had walked down the driveway to feed on the Marula fruit that had fallen from the trees. The bartender called security, and they came with a jeep to drive the Elephants away. We took this opportunity to return to our room.
ELEPHANTS AT THE BOTTOM OF STAIRS
The next morning, I went to the restaurant in the hotel to get coffee and Danish
rolls. Marilynn heard a knock at the door. She went to the door and there was no one there. It happened again, and again when she opened the door there was no one there. She listened. The knock was coming from the balcony door. See looked out window to see monkey knocking on the door. The monkey was looking for a handout. When I returned to our room, Marilynn told me about the monkey knocking on the balcony door. When we checked into the Hwange Safari Lodge, they warned us not to leave any doors or window open. The monkeys will come in a make a mess. We could not resist the temptation. We very carefully fed the monkey.
We had a great time game viewing from the lawn of the Hwange Safari Lodge. There were lawn chairs near the molt separating the lodge from the animals. A few weeks after we returned to Little Rock Bryan Gamble and Katie Curk were setting the same chairs hosting the Today Show.
GAME VIEWING AT HWANGE NATIONAL PARK
After two nights at Hwange we moved to Victoria Falls for one night at the famous Victoria Falls Hotel. There were newer hotels in Vic Falls, like were we stayed on our first trip, but we wanted the historic value. We visited Victoria Falls in 1990 with Martha and Larry Rider after our hunt in Namibia.
VICTORIA FALLS HOTEL
The falls were just as magnificent as before, but park along the falls had deteriorated some. It is still one of the seven wonders of the natural world.
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