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Thread: My true outdoor stories out of Africa....

  1. #231
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    2 Peanuts too far.....

    I hope this is not a duplication.....
    Makes you think--enjoy

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    He came in from the far side of the crop circle.
    Dust flew from under his feet, as he walked with a purposeful sway of his huge, muscular body. Even from a distance from out of the hide I could see that he was powerful.

    Powerful and mean with supreme confidence in himself.
    As he passed some smaller males and females, he bullied them and chased them for a short distance before resuming his chosen direction. Directly in front of him lay the remnants of heaps where peanuts had been stacked. A multitude of nuts lay scattered in a circle, where the stacks had been.
    He was making a bee‐line for the prime feeding spot.

    A sure sign of his status was that those already at the stack, immediately fled when he arrived.

    He flopped down, and sitting on his buttocks, immediately started feasting.
    Willem and I carefully considered our options. A quick count revealed that there were in excess of a hundred baboons in the circle at that moment. And that was just one of three troops that raided their daily! They had become aware that something was amiss the previous day, when we each shot a big male from our position hide that Willem had skilfully erected in the tree line next to the crop circle.

    They had not discovered us, but kept a good distance between them and the edge of the field where death had overtaken some of them the day before. We knew that they would not be coming closer. It was almost a stalemate situation. After some time we decided to work out the distance to some of the furthest heaps by calculating against the segment wheels of the huge pivot system. We had identified a particular heap as about 400 meters from us.
    The very furthest shootable distance for my .280, and now the big baboon male had sat down smack in the center of it.


    My .280 Remington was sighted in to zero on 250 meters. I had no difficulty with the steel targets at 300 meters at the local Crocodilespruit shooting range where we usually prepare and check the sight in for our hunts. I had developed the loads carefully and anticipated a drop of about 12 inches at the estimated distance to the baboon.

    I settled the crosshair on his head and squeezed off. As the Ruger settled after the recoil, I saw him still sitting, with scores of baboons running in all directions. Incredibly, they could not make out where the danger came from! And their king was still sitting on his bounty. Then he very slowly toppled forward, falling on his face. We tried to pace the distance to him in as straight a line as possible.

    It came out at 440 paces.
    When we reached him, I was amazed at his size, his long fangs and human‐liked feet. His fur was beautiful, with a yellowish tinge. I removed my hat in reverence, and spend a silent moment beside him.

    I noticed that two perfectly shelled peanuts had fallen out of his mouth when he fell forward. They were unbroken, but wet with saliva.

    The 162 gr. Hornady had struck him in the centre of his chest, destroying the heart and snapping the spine on exit. Incredibly there was very little blood. Willem came up and we stood in a moment of intense togetherness, the sacred bond between hunters and prey.

    Then he said, ’It was two peanuts too far. That’s what cost him his life.’

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    We walked back to our hide, each occupied with those thoughts that only come to hunters. For our fire Willem had managed to bring a couple of bags of really dry Rooibos. Although our campsite was littered with wood, we preferred to bring in our own. He used a flint to ignite the tinder he had gathered. As he nursed the sparks into life, I mentioned that a mutual friend had recently retired, and that he was extremely anxious that his pension and savings would run out, and that he would not survive, in spite of him having reached the rank of general.

    He was seriously considering taking a job with an international outfit. With a cloud of smoke covering his face, Willem looked up from where was on all fours, by the fire. ‘You don’t retire and then start surviving’ he said. ‘You first learn to survive, and then you can start thinking about retiring. Survival has nothing to do with the size of your stash; it has everything to do with your mindset. If your mindset is to survive on a stash, whether of money, of power or position, you are going to get clobbered like that fellow out there today. Survival is in the mind.’

    ‘What do you mean?’ I asked. ‘Surely that baboon was an expert survivor man. He was the leader of a big troop.’ ‘Yes he was’ said Willem.
    ‘But where did that bring him?
    He is dead now. Kapoet!
    And why?
    I will tell you why.


    He was so busy surviving as a tough, that he did not ever think of surviving as a baboon. Did you see the outcast male? He was the leader once. And he learned to survive while he was still the leader. So when he was forced to retire, he knew about survival. Today he was foraging on that big heap with one or two others which the other chap passed up, too busy to impress his people. And tomorrow he will be there again.

    So you tell the General to decide whether he wants to feast on sufficient, and be alive to enjoy it, or does he want to feast on his own exclusive heap, and go two peanuts too far?’

    Willem’s eyes were wild and bright, and I was not sure whether the reflection of the flames was the only sparks that I saw.

    With his shaggy coat he momentarily resembled the fallen baboon.

    A shiver ran down my spine.

    As the cold set in I lay in my sleeping bag, listening to the song of the veldt. I dozed off thinking of that baboon. How soft his muzzle had felt. I thought about the troop, his folk.

    I wondered whether they missed him, or perhaps even longed for him. And as a pair of Egyptian gees hurled abuse at some night‐time invaders of their chosen spot around the pivot, I thought about the General.

    And whether he will go two peanuts too far ……?

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  3. #232
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    Sometimes the mind can not comprehend what the eye can not see...

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  5. #233
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    You read this MAMBA story here some time ago,and now it is published !

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

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  7. #234
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    Very cool Observe. Poor lil snek.
    Someday I'm going to pull my life together. But that day is not today. Today I'm driving a stolen police car.

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  9. #235
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  11. #236
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  13. #237
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    solo warthog spear hunting walk-and-stalk
    [no dogs]

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

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  15. #238
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    Thumbs Up! My true 'spear of destiny...'

    The Spirits of Venda......

    Pretorius was in trouble, and he knew it. Ever the adventurer he knew that he would run into difficulties sooner or later. And not just a mechanical breakdown or getting lost or some such mundane trouble. Which was just as well. For his course of action at that point could have had wide ramifications and even dire consequences, not only for himself, but for an entire village.

    Vendaland lies in the north-eastern corner of South Africa, hemmed by the majestic Limpopo river to the north, and the Kruger National Park and the Soutpansberg mountain range to the east and west. It is one of the few pristine places left in Southern Africa. The BaVenda had settled in the area almost eight centuries before. Their culture survives to this day, uninflected by the many influences that have shaped the sub-continent. Their ancestral lineage goes back beyond the kingdom of Mapungubwe, back into the mists of time. And remarkably they have retained their cultural heritage, which makes Venda the land of myth and superstition.

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    And that is exactly what Pretorius found irresistible.
    If you believe in coincidence you will off course have a rational explanation for the events that I am about to describe. But if you are an African you will know the truth. And a shiver will run down your spine.

    Pretorius was exploring in the Thate Vando forest in his 4 x 4, hoping to come close to the mystical Lake Fundudzi, which is shrouded in secrecy. As always he was in his 1958 Jeep, bundu-bashing. The forest is punctuated by many massive indigenous trees, including Jakkalsbessie and Yellow wood. In this forest a select number of woodcarvers are granted permission to responsibly harvest some of these trees, which serves not only as a source of income for the remotest people, but also as a perpetuation of the Venda culture.

    And it was just such a woodcarver that Pretorius encountered that day, deep in the Thate Vondo. A sudden shower came down and he invited the old man into the Jeep where the soft top gave a semblance of protection against the driving rain.

    The woodcarver identified himself as one Patrick, resident in a secluded but nearby village. He had come to collect a few boughs from which he would carve some walking sticks. But Patrick was a troubled man. He confided that he needed money for the funeral of his second wife, who had been taken by a crocodile in a pool adjacent to their village.

    But she was not the only victim. Before her a child had been taken, and quite a number of livestock and dogs. The village was being terrorized by an evil spirit that had taken residence in the crocodile! Patrick begged him to find and destroy the crocodile, and so destroy the evil spirit.
    Now Pretorius knew that the Bavenda have a very special relationship with crocodiles. Some of their most fundamental beliefs centre on the existence of a huge white crocodile in Lake Fundudzi, an animal that they respect for its knowledge and cunning. And in order to obtain and preserve the powers of the white crocodile the Chiefs swallow a piece of white quartz which is retrieved from their bodies once they pass on, and which is then swallowed by the successive chiefs.

    It was therefore unthinkable that the village could take action against the crocodile that was terrorizing their village. Yet the village could not bear the predations of the monster that surely must have become possessed by an evil spirit. They had a problem.

    Out of respect and as a courtesy Pretorius took the old man and his wood as far as the Jeep could go, and then helped him carry his burden to the village. His appearance caused quite a stir, and not only because the villagers seldom saw white folk. He soon learned from the elders that his appearance, with Patrick still in mourning, was regarded as an omen.

    Surely the ancestors had sent this white man to rid them of the evil that lurked in the water. Surely if the white man killed the monster, the special relationship that the Bavenda had with the great white crocodile in Fundudzi would not be compromised.
    But Pretorius also had a problem. As an experienced hunter he would love nothing more than to hunt down the menace. But shooting a crocodile in the Thata Vando would most certainly have dire implications.

    The village elders had sympathy for his problem, but were not letting up on the opportunity that providence had provided. After a lengthy imbizo it was decided that he would manufacture an instrument of death, a spear of destiny, properly ordained with magical trinkets and deliver such to them within a certain number of days.

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    The elders would obtain the assistance of the local medicine man that would anoint and prepare a number of men and boys who would use the instrument of death to despatch the monster. And for fourteen days the women folk would make the Dumba drums speak.

    They would pulse outward the incantation to the ancestors to bless the enterprise, and they would thank the spirit of the Great One in Fundudzi for sending the white man to protect them from the evil spirit that was threatening their very way of life. That was threatening the White Crocodile itself, and the power and knowledge vested in the white rock that the chiefs carried in their intestines, and passed from one to the next.

    Pretorius delivered the custom handmade spear of destiny as agreed upon and on time. And the villagers staked out the pool and tied a goat and a dog as bait for the crocodile. And it came, as they had expected it would. And they killed it, just as planned. And after seven days Pretorius collected the spear and destroyed it comprehensively. And the remnants he disposed of very far from the village.
    Just as he had promised.

    And he never went back to the village again. Ever! As he had promised.
    Many nights he lay awake and sometimes he imagined that he could hear the far off wailing of the Zwidutwane, the water spirits, and sometimes he thought he could hear the Ngoma Lungumda , the Drum of the Dead, whispering in the hushed forest.

    Over the course of the next two years he received from Patrick twenty four traditional walking sticks, carved to perfection by the master carver himself. And Patrick took pains to educate him concerning their symbolic value. They collectively represent the core of the Bavenda lore.

    They started off with the Great Drum of Thoyo- yan- Ndou, the son of Shiriyadenga, their first king at Dízata. They encompassed the many drums, fish and elephant held sacred by the people.
    Crocodiles and pythons. And they ended with the Hand of Friendship. A truly unique collection, which can never be duplicated. And which is seldom seen by anyone, except the few. After his last delivery Patrick vanished.

    And by and by Pretorius came to understand that Patrickís gifts were far more than expressions of heartfelt gratitude. That for the elders and the people of the village the process was rites of passage. That for them he was no longer a white man that had walked into their village.

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    For them he had become a co-custodian of their culture. A validation of their bond with the Great One. And over time Pretoriusís dreams changed. Often he dreamed of being alone in the Thate Vando. At the crack of dawn.

    And he dreamed of the mist slithering through trees and rocks, covering the entire forest like an army of huge pythons.

    Spiralling from the great Lake.

    Bringing fertility to land and beast and humans.

    Validating the blessings of the Great One.
    Sometimes the mind can not comprehend what the eye can not see...

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  17. #239
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    This was another hunting adventure as here remembered by my good hunting companion Colyn...

    Abjater.

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    So many stories have been told regarding baboons and the potential danger they pose to both man and beast. Harrowing tales of attacks on animals and pets and even on humans. On the whole I believe that baboons are relatively benign provided that you do not interfere with them. But if you do find yourself in a confrontation with the old Abjater he verily has the potential to give you a very big fright. And the need for fresh apparel.

    My first memorable experience occurred on the foothills of Hanglip, in the Limpopo province. The area abounds with a wide selection of game, with which the local irrigation farmers compete. Specialist crops such as peanuts, seed maize, watermelon and various cucurbits are like huge billboards inviting the attention of all manner of marauders from miles around.
    Provided you are responsible and ethical it is not unusual for hunters to have an open invitation from farmers to assist in levelling the odds, so to speak.

    On the occasion in question a hunter, whom we did not know had wriggled into our party. It was about eleven when he connected with a huge male baboon caught with his troop in the open fields, feeding voraciously on marrows intended for the fresh produce market in London.

    We all witnessed the shot delivered from his 3006 stoked with 180 gr Pro Amms. On account of the baboon running flat out for the cover of the tree-line at the time and seeing as he was at least 300 yards away I still consider it to have been a good shot. Lucky even. However that may be it put him down in a cloud of dust. And then he was up and running.

    I collected my 12 gauge Defender and made sure the tube was filled with slugs. And then Willem and I went after the hunter in what can loosely be termed a follow-up. On reaching the tree line we found a shockingly large piece of intestine and a copious amount of blood. And the Abjater. Or shall I say we heard him. Blood curdling growls interspaced with explosive barks. Most frightening I do concede.

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    Suddenly things changed. Rather forcibly the hunter suddenly insisted on bringing up the rear, where I was just beginning to settle. With Willem out on point to the left I instantly found myself in the van. The threats of murder and mayhem were suddenly accompanied by the unmistakeable rustling and snapping of undergrowth proceeding in our direction. I could not see more than a couple of yards ahead, so I went down on one knee, hoping to have a better view. Immediately I saw the baboon closing but clearly affected by the wound he had sustained. It must have been at that point in time when the hunter had the unfortunate accident. I am not sure. But I shot the baboon twice and he crumbled not more than tree yards away.

    And then I shot him twice more. In the head.

    The fear induced adrenaline rush had me shaking like a leaf.

    I only regained focus when I heard Willem making some terse enquiries of the hunter. He assured Willem that he had in fact been fighting the urge to have the bowel movement since the previous evening, caused no doubt by food which one of us had prepared. He was not going to accept any responsibility. None. Nada. And he sounded convincing too. As for me. I have my doubts.

    But what I am very sure of is that I will not mess with baboons again.
    Now if it so happens that you come by my place for breakfast you can rest assured that we will receive you with open arms, at the long table in the kitchen, the way farming folks are inclined to do. And while we wait for the table fare to be presented you might look up and notice a peculiar milk jug atop the Oregon sideboard. Now this particular white enamel jug has a long and colourful history. It survived the rigours of several frontier wars and off course the unpleasantness between the Boers and the Brits. If you look closely you will see the graze where the 7 mm bullet tore away the enamel, leaving a shallow dent and permanently retiring the grand old vessel. And if you ask I will tell you of the day in 1930 when Momma and Grandma were confronted by some very arrogant baboons. Admittedly the country had been experiencing a severe drought. There was no food for animals, both domestic and wild. The baboons were almost certainly driven to the point of desperation by many months of famine.

    The men-folk had left on horseback for Ramatlabama, and they had hardly left when a troop of baboons descended upon the yard. As was custom in those days the house was encircled by a closed veranda of which the doors could be secured. Women and children were meant to keep within the safety provided by the enclosed veranda. One fellow perched atop the water tank, presumably as a sentry to warn the others of any danger. The rest caused absolute mayhem. The hen house with its inhabitants was destroyed. A brave dog was killed. And by then almost everyone had taken refuge in the kitchen. There was much shouting and excitement I am told. My mother fetched the rifle and loaded the magazine from a stripper clip. And from the safety of the kitchen she aimed at the sentry through the open window that was protected by a thick mesh.

    Concentrating on the enemy she did not notice the enamel milk jug on the window sill. This explains its current state. The sentry was hit but not killed. He put up a spectacular show what with biting the wound and ripping out his entrails. Almost at once a large male assaulted the veranda, leaping about and putting up a frightful display of teeth and berserk aggression, ostensibly trying to gain entry. Momma stepped back, worked the bolt and shot him dead. For good measure she fired two more shots at other members of the troop before reloading.

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    Very shortly afterwards the remainder of the troop withdrew to the surrounding veldt, scared off by the party of horsemen that had returned at speed no doubt alerted by the gunfire. But it still took a concerted effort by everyone capable of carrying a rifle to drive them permanently away.
    To this day I do not have any detail regarding the ammunition she used. The rifle is still in the family. A Plezier Mauser no less. All I could ever get out of her was that it was her father’s “koŽl geweer” and not the shotgun. I like to think that the rounds were left-overs from the war.

    No doubt about it. Baboons are frightening adversaries. They are intelligent and powerful. There are many accounts of baboons defending themselves successfully against even lion and leopard.

    Most certainly not to be trifled with.

    But still no match for a skilled and determined girl suitably armed with her father’s Mauser.
    No sir.
    Against such odds even family heirlooms have no chance.

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  19. #240
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    I've got a good friend there...

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