Home Is The Hunter

Doc Russia finally released his African safari pics for publication, with the understanding that I blur his features — ever since that Minnesota dentist got into trouble just for shooting Cecil The Geriatric Lion in Zimbabwe, hunters have become skittish about showing their kill pics on Teh Intarwebz — so here we go.

In case anyone missed the stats: the rifle used was a CZ 550 Safari (essentially the old 602 Brno ZKK) chambered in .375 H&H Magnum. Ammo was Buffalo Bore 300gr solids. Also, the hunt took place on a game farm in the far-northeast area of South Africa, near the town of Hoedspruit (full details on request by email for anyone who wants to give this a go themselves).

Doc told me he wanted to pot a hyena just because its skull is unlike that any of the usual predators one sees about the house. Being Doc, he had to bag Giganto-Hyena:

Apparently, this was done over bait at night, and despite his first shot being a killing-blow (i.e. sucking chest wound), someone neglected to inform the hyena, so a second shot was necessary.

Then on to serious business,: Cape Buffalo. The pic below shows Doc, his buff and Mr. Free Market (features likewise blurred because of Cecil-bullshit):

Mr. FM also got a buff, and declared it so much fun that he might do it again next year. Because I’m not keen to lose yet another friend to African silliness, I’ll try to talk him out of it; but I must admit that for someone who did several tours with the 1st Paras in Northern Ireland during the unpleasantness of the late 1970s, “danger” is probably a relative term. And Doc’s a rifle-company Marine, so ditto. Maniacs, both of them.

Maybe next year I’ll go along, just to keep an eye on things, and the lads in check.


  1. Mr Free Market! There’s a blast from the past. Is he still writing somewhere? And those beasts will feed a lot of hungry people.

  2. Were I a bit younger and had the money shooting a Cape Buffalo would be my dream hunt. I do like the pictures and my current Texas deer gun is a 6.5 Swedish Mauser round in a CZ with the Mannlicher full stock. See how the big brother to my little gun takes a Buffalo is great.

    I also understand the Cecil crap since I have a friend who goes to Africa every year or two to take pictures and eat with giraffes and she goes total stark raving nuts with the Cecil stuff. There is no discussion or listening to the other side with these folks and they don’t want to hear about the economic benefits of trophy hunting including the sustainability by making theses animals valuable to the local folks.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing the pictures and I know it is a feat to take one of these critters down since they don’t like to die alone.

    1. Re: The “Cecil crap”– it’s one thing to support the canned hunting of apex predators in Africa. There are arguments both ways, though, the idea that “shoot meat in a box” license fees significantly impact wildlife conservation in Africa in a positive way is a pretty hilarious concept. However, it’s very much another to support poaching, which is what the Cecil episode was. Palmer and Co. illegally baited a protected species and poached it (and ineptly at that– a crap bow shot followed by one of the guides eventually tracking it down and shooting it with an actual weapon). That is what most people not aligned with the touchy-feely brigade took issue with. It is what I took issue with, as a hunter of 30+ years.

      If Africa says, hey, canned hunting is legal and we’ll happily take your five figure check and dump it in a slush fund in the Caymans.. ur.. use it to “protect wildlife”, so be it. If Africa says wild hunting is legal under the same pretext, so be it. However, when Africa says, no, you can’t hunt borderline-endagered species nor bait them off protected reserves, that most certainly is not fine, and to excuse such behavior under the guise of “Woo! Hunting!” is rather sad.

      1. Turns out no one was charged with any illegal activity in killing the Cecil Lion, the PH, landowner and hunter seemed to have been doing everything legally. Having said that I would never want to kill any of the big cats with the exception of one of our Texas mountain lions which are fair game all year long if you can find one. I think shooting a lion with a bow is some kind of stupid and I am of the mind that if you cannot get a one shot stop on game you pass up the shot for a better one.

        I have friends who have take all sort of game over there including elephant which I think is strange in itself but my son’s brother-in-law spent years in Africa in the Peace Corp and he was invited along with a village to observe the locals taking their share of the meat. He told me it was well organized chaos as selected family members were taking the elephant apart handing meat out to others who were taking it back to the family piles and he had not idea how they managed to disassemble the elephant so fast without cutting each other to shreds. He also told us about the feast the village had celebrating the event, it changed his mind about that type of hunting.

        Having said all of that my knowledge of hunting in Africa is not first hand, lots of books and listening to stories of folks who have been there. I have not shot a deer in over eight years but I go along with son-in-law and grand sons and don’t mind helping out when they get one. I am an avid bird hunter and I eat what I shoot and one of the pure pleasures in life is having my Brittany go on point, getting the bird up and having the dog return it to hand, that to me is the pursuit of happiness. My hunting experience goes back to 1955 when I shot my first rabbit and my dad taught me how to dress it out and from then on I as a ten year old was on my own to hunt and clean my game. 62 years of hunting

        1. The PH and land owner were in fact charged– said charges were dropped in no small part because in Zimbabwe, money fixes everything.

          Personally, I only hunt for meat, because deer/elk/ducks/pheasant/quail/etc are very tasty, and to a lesser degree as is the case with animals that tend to have population control issues, it’s better my bullet than Sussy Bluehair’s SUV. So, I don’t really get the trophy hunting mentality, but to each their own.

          My only issue in this case is that an awful lot of people who should know better were willing to overlook an illegal hunt due to their empathy with a hunter getting publicly skewered by the hand-wringing brigade.

  3. That last photo is a perfect example of Robert Ruark’s description:

    “They look at you like you owe them money.”

  4. Damn fine pics. Thank you for sharing – such a sad commentary that a proud hunter needs to hide their face from snowflakes, but I understand.

  5. Two years ago I took wife and her mom back to the old girl’s home village of Veseli Nad Moravou for a lovely 2 week vacation in the back of the Czech beyond.

    How is this related you ask?

    Veseli is 27 km, 15 miles, 15 tiny, idiotic, stupid, miles from Uhersky Brod. I coulda walked. What’s in Uhersky Brod you ask? A brewery, quite spectacular Czech beer, my fave while in Czechia, but, wait, there’s more!


    And they have tours. I missed it. I missed it all, I missed the brewery, I missed the armaments factory, I missed them building a safari gun, I missed it all, what a dork. Oh well, we’re going back next year.

  6. Good Lord! How did he go about packing that Cape out of there? It must’ve weighed a ton (literally).

  7. Next year…..Well, somebody’s got to hold the back-up rifle, may as well be you.

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