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My true outdoor stories out of Africa....

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  • My true outdoor stories out of Africa....

    O.K. Guys, I'm new here, [different continent & different culture..] and will start off with a short real- life story attempt --Enjoy!

    Eye to Eye with a big Black Mamba!

    This adventure took place one year during our annual week long survival hunting /camping excursion-mainly for warthog- in the Limpopo Bushveld of South-Africa.

    For guys like us, these ‘primitive living’ ethical hunts are the best of hunts--far better than the advertised up -market hunts for Kudu, Impala, Blesbuck etc. out of luxurious lodges!

    Now, as an older hunter, I still like to climb trees for a better look-out point, so when I saw this huge Baobab tree +_ 100 m [340 ft.] from a natural water source, I just had to go for it!

    To my surprise, somebody else had long ago tried to build a tree house high up in this tree—well, even better, I thought!

    The old wooden 'ladder' up to the first branches of the Baobab tree did not look safe anymore, so I decided to first fasten my kit with a 30m [100 ft] ski- rope out of my back pack and then to afterwards pull everything up once I was securely in the fork of the first branches.

    Once up there in the fork of that huge and ancient baobab tree, the next climb up to the floor of the 'tree house' with the backpack and rifle becomes -let’s just say –a bit 'difficult'.

    Let me tell you, Baobab tree branches are ‘smooth’, and army boots [which I was wearing at the time] are not really meant to be used as tree climbers!

    Exhausted, I finally carefully let the floor of the tree house take my weight-so far so good!

    Taking my binoculars, I started scanning the Bush-veld surroundings far below me. What a beautiful sight to see the lush green Bush-veld trees and to hear the melodious twitter of the birds in the surrounding tree tops.

    It was such a peaceful moment of contentment, bliss and ‘one-ness’ with nature, that life couldn’t be any better at that moment!

    After --I don’t know – maybe 2-3 minutes of total absorption in the beautiful panoramic surroundings beneath me, I suddenly become aware of a small movement to the right of my head in the tree house.

    Now just imagine this picture for yourself. … I innocently turned my head towards the right, and shockingly find this HUGE 3 m [+12 ft.] Black Mamba with its head poised at about 6-8 ft away from my face…….

    It seemed to be looking with menace straight into my eyes, with what looked like a death grin below his small unblinking pitch black beady eyes!

    To say that I was nearly frightened out of my wits at that moment is a huge understatement of such a totally unexpected confrontation/situation!

    I’m sure that when my heart started beating again after a couple of seconds; it cleared out the cholesterol from my arteries all at once!

    Now look. I am also a conservationist, the same as all real hunters, but at moments like these, maybe 40 m [130 ft] up in a tree, confronted by a disagreeable and arguably the most venomous snake in Africa, if not the whole world, whose personal space and territory had just been rudely invaded by an alien---you don’t think about conservation at times like this my friend, only about survival!

    To make a long story short-I slowly moved the barrel of my rifle in its direction to my right and shot AND hit it without aiming at very close range! [As a right-handed shooter, I thus shot and hit it very, very luckily from my left or ‘wrong’ side]

    Needless to say, that afterwards, I did not go hunting for warthog for the rest of that day!
    Even today, years after this episode, when I look at the old photos again, I still get the shivers when I think back at that close shave and what could have been……

    I was literally +_30 k [20 miles] from the nearest people and about 120 km [65 miles] from the nearest decent hospital!

    If untreated, it’s neuro-and cardio toxin is 100% fatal inside of 20 minutes!
    I still go ethical survival hunting, but I now treat all Baobab trees with a healthy dose of respect for more reasons than just providing me with nearly all I need for survival in the bush.
    [Food, tea, rope, shade, shelter, sometimes water etc.]

    What is the moral of this story?

    Well, there are a few lessons to be learned from my near fatal experience, and you can decide for yourself what you would have done if you were me high up in the tree that eventful morning.

    With the luxury of hind sight, I fully agree that I’ve made a couple of blunders that, as an experienced hunter/camper, I should never have made in the first place.

    I also mourn the death of one of the old kings of the bush, at the apex of his food chain in the ecosystem.
    [3 m = 12 ft and +_ 15 yr. old, a really big Mamba can be 4.5 m =15 ft. and up to 20 yrs. old.]
    I sometimes think that maybe I should have taken a chance and let him live.

    Then I again re-live those hectic and nightmarish couple of seconds high up in an old tree house, and think that given the circumstances, I have made the right decision.

    What do you think?

    Attached Files
    Last edited by Observe; 07-06-2015, 02:33 AM.
    Sometimes the mind can not comprehend what the eye can not see...

  • #2
    Coming across one of those rascals would sure increase the pucker factor.

    = 2

    If we cannot define a simple word like greatness, how can we ever hope to use it as a measuring stick to know when we have risen beyond average?


    • #3
      It's a Small World

      Observe has some really cool stories for those interested in hunting things that can hunt you back. A while back he posted a story about a hunt with some hounds and that really piqued my interest. I started asking him alot of questions only to find out the hounds were not his, but belonged to a friend of his. He told me if I would send him my email he would have his houndsman friend get ahold of me.

      A couple days later I received an email and whenever two hound guys get to jawin', the talk always turns to breeding and other ne'er do well houndsmen. I was extremely curious about the why's and wherefore's about his hounds and type of hunting in comparison to how things are done over here. Eventually, I got around to asking if he had ever bought any hounds from over here and it turns out some of our hounds share some of the same blood. Not only that, but he is friends with several people I am very well aquainted with. And then he mentioned one guy he has spoken with quite a bit who also sent him a book recently. That guy is the one who I just bought my last two pups from. Come September, I will be sitting in a Wisconsin bear camp with all of the guys he mentioned knowing and being friends with.

      Had I been on a hound forum and ran across Observe and his stories, I probably wouldn't have been too surprised to experience the six degrees of seperation. We met over on SB though and happened upon a conversation about hounds by chance. I guess it really is a small world.

      = 2

      If we cannot define a simple word like greatness, how can we ever hope to use it as a measuring stick to know when we have risen beyond average?


      • #4
        Both the tree and the snake are beautiful in their own right, but if you had left him, someone else might have climbed the ladder and died.
        quam minimum credula postero


        • #5
          I'll bet the mamba would tell the story a lot differently if you'd traded places with it in the story!


          • #6
            If you want to see a black Mamba movie scene rent, Kill Bill vol.2 , bad snakes lol they say it's the only snake that can kill an Elephant


            • #7
              airdrop, it might be the only one that CAN, but I can imagine the largest specimens of some Amazon breeds that would be happy to try. Snake would be thinking he'd lucked onto the biggest tapir ever!
              quam minimum credula postero


              • #8
                That's a lot of snake. It looked like it needed killed to me.


                • #9
                  Great story Observe. I would imagine the surprise, for both of you.
                  I'm drunk tonith.


                  • #10
                    live is full of action and tough out there....

                    Attached Files
                    Last edited by Observe; 06-30-2015, 03:38 AM.
                    Sometimes the mind can not comprehend what the eye can not see...


                    • #11
                      Stunning Pictures, feel free to add some background, where taken and so on.


                      • #12
                        No, I can not claim ownership of these beautiful action photo's,but I thought you guys would also like it.
                        Truly a rare sighting!
                        More wildlife photos to follow later...
                        Attached Files
                        Sometimes the mind can not comprehend what the eye can not see...


                        • #13
                          This reworked story of mine was posted a while back on another site also,but I thought to share it here with you guys as well,as it is still relevant...

                          [U]The cruel demise of ‘Aina Moja’ the caring Rhino

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                          Safe on a huge 20 000 ha private game ranch in Limpopo, she lived in the beautiful Bushveld near Potgietersrus with her older sister and some 16 other members of her kind. Both sisters have a small Rhino calf of less than a year old, and they had separated themselves from the others to guard jealously over their small offspring.

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                          As it is now July and winter time, the natural food is a bit sparse, so their caring owner are giving them each afternoon some additional game pellets to keep the mother’s conditioning up, as their two calves are still suckling.
                          Then, after feeding time on the late afternoon of Friday 5 August 2011, some human filth like predators slink like hyenas out of the bush on this private animal sanctuary and cowardly slay the innocent older sister with an old .303 rifle, as well as gut shooting another pregnant rhino, who suffered a lot before she became too weak from her gunshot wounds [it transpired later that it was from a ‘stolen’ police R-5 [5.56 mm] automatic rifle] and her horn was then subsequently brutally sawn off while she was still alive!.
                          The reason for these barbarian’s ‘bravery’ is the lure of the god Mammon offered by aliens to Africa from a country far away to the East.
                          Though a developed and very modern race themselves, some of these eastern vultures still have a misguided believe in the magic aphorized qualities of the poor rhino’s horn.

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                          The very next morning the crime has been discovered and a massive manhunt were launched by the police, nature conservation officers and others, where helicopters, armed trackers, dogs and 4x4’s were used. By that same Saturday evening, three of the armed gang of 11 perpetrators was apprehended in the remote and dense bush in a deep kloof [ravine] with the .303 rifle still in their possession.
                          These three cowardly hyenas were then also found to be illegal immigrants from a Northern neighbouring country to my beautiful South Africa…..

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                          Without any remorse about the killings/poaching as such, their only excuse was that they needed the money because they were ‘hungry’!
                          As if that is a good enough reason to illegally go to another country and then criminally and heavily armed invade somebody else’s private property to commit such a hideous crime. Then in this ‘hunger ‘driven state they didn’t even ‘eat’ any of the meat,-but harvest only the horns?
                          [Do they think us all senile like their own banana republic’s autocratic racist leader -for life -that they have fled from?]
                          I arrived on this game ranch two weeks later on Friday 19/8/2011. There I witnessed a heartwarming and beautiful miracle of nature. The small calve of the slain mother rhino were feared to die, as he cannot be caught by hand and is still too small to safety dart to take to another location.
                          On my arrival I was shown where the surviving sister had proudly taken over the role of surrogate mother for her and her late sister’s calves!
                          She was promptly named Aina Moja [the kind one].

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                          They were all in good health and seemed to have recovered from the trauma of the brutal poaching two weeks previously.
                          In amazement about the caring nature of this rhino mother, I took a lot off photographs of her with her ‘new family.’[Her and her murdered sister’s calves]

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                          With a song in my heart about the goodness of nature and the wonders of the wild, I left them and depart for my home far away.
                          I was in shock after I received the phone call on Friday 26/8/11, and still have a lot of anger in me…..
                          On the previous evening [Thursday 25/8/11] the poachers had struck once again and killed another rhino bull, as well as Aina Moja, [--both with multiple .375m wounds all over] and then hastily have sawn off their horns before fleeing cowardly away….
                          Then just out of sheer spite or a senseless madness, this filth had also killed both her two innocent small calves that only wanted to stay near their mother as youngsters tend to do, in a brutal killing spree as well.
                          [Both youngsters died from multiple light 5.56 mm assault rifle bullets from head to tail…] [both!!!]

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                          As I sit here, I ponder about the meanness and greed of some people who deemed themselves to be above the law because of corruption, money, power or their own inflated and twisted ego’s.
                          Is this the beginning of the end for free roaming wild animals as we know it?
                          Will our children’s children still have the privilege to see these animals wandering free out in the wild?
                          It is a huge financial expenditure for a private individual to buy, keep, breed and take care for these wild animals [e.g. Rhino’s], and nobody can continuously absorbs such huge monetary losses inflicted by these ruthless ‘hungry’ criminals.

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                          Will we one day come to a point where it is just not economically viable anymore, or just too dangerous [as poachers are already shooting on sight at anybody who [even innocently] ‘surprise’ them in the poaching act] to try and keep such wild animals on private property?
                          Mustn’t we start to adopt the same shoot to kill on sight of any poacher found on private or state game reserves as already implemented by some other African countries?
                          [It is not as if anybody ‘by mistake’ climbs over a 2.5 m high 22 strand wire fence and also an electrified fence to boot carrying an illegal and unlicensed .303 or stolen R5 automatic rifles, to know that you are trespassing and up to no good!]

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                          And what if in future there are only a couple of sad specimens of these once majestic and free roaming animals left in Zoo’s?
                          [Rhinos are already being poached in South Africa alone at a rate of one Rhino per day [+ 380 p.a.] on average for the last couple of years!]
                          How will these stinking rich hyenas [poaching cartels] then spend their money to satisfy their twisted ‘urges’?
                          Start hunting humans?
                          [Today human trafficking is already such a painful and shocking reality.
                          And isn’t it so that most of the final destinations for these poor and unfortunate human trafficking victims are already to the very same countries as these illegally poached Rhino horns and Elephant tusks are going?]

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                          Where will it end?
                          Will it ever end before its too late?

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                          What are we as ethical hunters going to do?
                          What can we do?
                          Jail time is like a hotel to them [though there is a big possibility of attracting Aids while ‘inside’…!]
                          What really needs to be done is to get hold of the idiot bastards that advertise snorting rhino horn is better than Viagra..!
                          Today I mourn you and your offspring Aina Moja [‘the kind one’], as you are no more……

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                          May these human filth hyenas forever flee in terror before the wrath of the Lions!

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                          Attached Files
                          Sometimes the mind can not comprehend what the eye can not see...


                          • #14

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                            Sometimes the mind can not comprehend what the eye can not see...


                            • #15
                              Wow, powerful story. So sad what some will do without anything the even approaches human empathy.
                              Defund the Media !!