Hard-Core Hunting

Despite anti-malaria medicine induced discomfort, we would drive down somewhat of a road looking for tracks to follow. These huge-bodied eland can walk forever. And if ever spooked, they usually go over to the next zip code before slowing down. The temperature reached 106 degrees every day before noon. We had four trackers and one guy dedicated to carrying five jugs of water — you can’t drink enough of it. If we couldn’t locate fresh tracks from the road, we simply took off into the bush hoping to cut fresh spoor.

The PH advised me to bring a small caliber for guinea fowl and duikers. My good friend and T/C guru, the late Ken French, had T/C’s Custom Shop make a .22 Hornet for this purpose. After a few days of hunting, the Hornet provided fresh meat — which we needed badly.

Covering miles in extreme heat was the daily norm and the eland remained elusive. Our normal day was 10–12 miles, but one “death march” covered 17 miles. If nothing else, this hunt was a great weight-loss program.

After 12 days of grinding it out, we came away empty handed. The PH wanted me to return in a couple of months and I was stupid enough to agree. When I returned home, I had lost around 20 lbs., experienced gastronomical infection and looked like Hell. My close friends thought I had cancer.