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Short Stories from the Field

Each season, many of our clients experience the excitement and magic that we call a Classic Safari. Several have been kind enough to share some of their stories from the field. If you would like to share a story or photo of your trip with Classic Safaris, you may submit it to webmaster@fultonclassicsafaris.com.  

 

Elephant From Horizon to Horizon

We saw hundreds of elephant, and tracked and observed many, many shootable trophy bulls.

On one evening alone, as the sun set in a red and darkening sky, we saw a herd of well over 200, and perhaps as many as 300, elephant. These elephant included bulls of all ages and sizes, and cows and calves by the dozens. They had been feeding in a dense forest, and as we approached them, they winded us. At first, some of them ran, but then, the vast bulk of them lumbered calmly away from us, across a wide plain to a farther feeding ground deep in the gathering dusk.

Elephant stretched from our left to our right, from the farthest reach of our sight on one side, to the farthest on the other. And they were sixes and sevens and tens and dozens deep. A solid wall and column of elephant from horizon to horizon.

It was a sight that none of us who witnessed it will ever forget.

Mike Robinson
 

Elephant hunting Classic Safaris Namibia

 

Unpredictable Leopard

At five a.m. we crept into the blind. The wind was blowing through the blind from front to rear, and we stayed awake by shivering and waiting for light. I hadn't brought my binoculars and was relying on Gert to keep an eye on the bait tree.

Expecting some warning, I was surprised when Gert whispered that the cat was in the tree, and made the hand motion to shoot.

I put the rifle up on the shooting sticks and looked through the scope. Sure enough, the cat was sitting on the limb like a dog, intent on munching the bait.

I removed my right glove and released the safety, and then carefully lined up the crosshairs on the pale form. Unfortunately, there was a three inch diameter limb running across the shoulder. Crowding the limb as much as I dared, I squeezed the trigger.

"You missed!" Gert whispered.

"What?"

"I saw him bouncing away through the grass."

How could I have missed? I ran through my entire vocabulary of curse words, found a few I liked and repeated them until I got bored with them.

"I couldn't see the bullet hit with the muzzle flash..." Gert allowed as we got out of the blind.

We went back to the truck, letting the light improve.

But during the drive down and around to the sand river then back to the bait tree, I went through the shot a dozen times, and I kept coming up with the same answer. No way I could have missed.

The cat has to be dead. I kept telling myself that anyways.

We got to the tree and to nobody's surprise, there wasn't a dead leopard under it. But behind the tree was blood. First a little, and then a clear trail into the grass and headed toward brush.

"This just keeps getting better and better," I thought, wishing now that I HAD missed.

Gert grabbed his 458 Lott and I had my 375. We started the follow-up. Guns shouldered and safeties off, we eased forward.

One step at a time.

I kept my eyes on the brush, trying to see the cat before he started his charge. To my left Gert was scanning the grass, doing the same.

"There he is!" Gert breathed, then repeated, "There he is!"

I saw out of the corner of my eye, Gert had his rifle aimed at something in the grass to our left. Then I saw the cat.

"If he moves, shoot him!" Gert instructed.

No kidding? I had my gun on the leopard now, and was ready to shoot again for any reason, maybe to just break the tension.

We sidled sideways, across a washout and closer to the leopard.

Finally, Gert leaned forward and tapped the cat on the head with his muzzle.

"You have no idea what you have here!" Gert said to me, then shook my hand. I was laughing.

"He's huge!" Gert blurted.

Gert was running around yelling. I was still laughing, until I checked the blood trail. The leopard had run straight towards the brush, then fishhooked around and hid in the grass. He had died with his feet under him, waiting for us.

Gert tried twice to lift him, failed, then took off his coat and tried again. He WAS huge.

Joe McCray

 

Running After Kudu

With day 10 rapidly approaching I was starting to wonder if I was going to need to make a return trip to Africa for my Kudu. Our evening hunt ended such doubts as we spotted several nice bulls from a dry riverbed and took off in pursuit of them. The bulls would stop at the timber line and spot us as we came into range, running off in their peculiar rocking gate each time. With them headed for a far mountain and safety, Vaughan decided we needed to run after them or lose them. It was a run, stop, set-up and run again scenario that didnít seem like it was going to end. Finally the bulls stopped at the base of a mountain and Vaughan set up the sticks and told me I needed to shoot now if I was going to get my bull. Vaughan indicated which bull was the best and I held for the top of his back and squeezed the trigger. The bull kicked both back legs, ran 10 yards and fell. Vaughan thumped me on the back in congratulations yet I saw the bull get up and run off. Vaughan assured me we would find him as he thought he was well hit.

We waited a while and then started tracking him. I was higher up on a ridge allowing the men to follow his trail without me stepping in their way when I heard rocks rattling ahead. It was my bull trying to escape, busting out of a steep rocky ravine, trying to get away from his pursuers. I put one shot into him, not slowing him down so fired again breaking his spine at the shoulders and dropping him. The second shot had destroyed his liver so he would have been mine soon anyway, but Iíve always felt itís better safe than sorry to have another round in them. I donít think a dram of scotch out of a flask has ever been better than that dram taken in celebration of my Kudu.

Mark Tabert
 

Kudu, Plains Game Hunting in Namibia

 

 

The King of the Mountain

Prior to booking my hunt with Vaughan, I was very honest with him about some limitations I have concerning my mobility. I asked Vaughan if he felt I would be OK on the hunt, and without blinking, he said "Mike, I promise to take excellent care of you, and see that you don't get hurt."

While hunting Mountain Zebra, Vaughan asked me to stay put while he went down the mountain and glassed to see if there were any Mt. Zebra about. Twenty minutes or so passed, and then I saw Vaughan coming back up the mountain, waving me toward him. Vaughan said that he spotted a herd with a nice stallion but it would involve a stalk of several hundred yards to get into position for a shot.

Vaughan carefully led me down the boulder and rock strewn mountainside, constantly checking on my condition, asking if I was still up to it. Eventually, he maneuvered me into a shooting position, and I was able to take the Zebra with one shot. I was so happy, I had tears in my eyes. Vaughan then said he'd go back for the truck and we would drive up to the downed Zebra, but I was so thrilled on having taken the Zebra, that I told him I wanted to walk down the mountain the rest of the way. It took me a while, gimpy legs and all, but I did it. Without Vaughan's taking such good care of me, I wouldn't have been able to take what I consider to be the King of The Mountain. I learned that Vaughan is a man of his word, and you can trust him with your life. I did.

Mike Homcha
 

Plains Game Hunting with Classic Safaris

 

 

Not Typical Eland Behavior

The eland were out there. Somewhere. I couldn't see them through the brush, but Vaughan had them spotted through his glasses.

We were lined up like guineas; Vaughan sitting behind a scrub mopane, then me, uncomfortably crouching, trying to be as quiet as possible as my legs went to sleep. Over my shoulder, Andreas was sitting, looking bored and staring off across the countryside.

A few years passed, and then Vaughan motioned for me to get the rifle up. As I leaned forward, using the mopane as a rest, I could see the eland. Several eland, milling about. Vaughan whispered to take the one to the right. I found him through the scope, and as it turned to move off Vaughan hissed, "Shoot!" Even as he said it, I was taking the slack out of the trigger.

The 416 went off, the eland bucked and ran, and Vaughan looked back at Andreas, who was grinning and nodding.

After waiting for Vaughan to smoke a cigarette, and for feeling to return to my numb legs, we found the big bull laying dead fifty yards away. As we stood around him, the other eight bulls all stood and stared, un-eland like, before moving off.

Joe McCray
 

Plains Game Hunting, Classic Safaris, Namibia Hunts

 

 

Elia and the Snake

On stalks, I preferred being behind Thorsten and have Elia following me. That was until the stalk on my springbok.

We had located a herd of springbok with an exceptionally large male in it. Thorsten felt that if hurried, we could cross a mountain and intercept the herd. We were moving at a fairly quick pace and Elia had moved ahead of me. About midway up, Elia suddenly jumped about five feet to the left, came to a dead stop and was pointing and staring intently at a bush and rocks to my right. Needless to say, anything that could make a local Herero move that quickly had me concerned. Eliaís snake movement with his hand confirmed my suspicion. We watched the snake move off and my concerned shifted to catching up to Thorsten, who was getting further ahead. We turned to resume our stalk, but at Eliaís much slower pace. I realized then that snakes spook Elia! Thorsten, unaware of the snake encounter, kept looking back wondering what was taking so long. It was apparent he was anxious for us to catch up.

Once we caught up, there was no time to explain, as the herd was just where he had hoped. Carefully, we got into position for a shot and a few minutes later I was rewarded with a 16.25Ē springbok. Only after scrambling down to claim my trophy did Thorsten ask if I had a hard time with the stalk thinking that Elia had slowed down taking care of me. I said not especially and explained what had happened. While we had a good laugh at the time, I made darn sure to follow Elia for the rest of the week knowing full well that he would spot any snakes first.

George Galphin

 

 

"Now Comes the Excitement" 

Now comes the excitement. We got a deal offered for a lion on a game ranch being plagued by them, and I decided to take one. So we sat in a tree blind about 70 yards from a bait. About 5:30pm, two lions showed up. After determining which one to shoot, I hit the lion broadside in shoulder, and before I could get off another shot, it stumbled from the shot and took off with the second male into the brush.

After a half hour wait, we started tracking and found blood, but as it was getting late we decided to return in the morning to take up the track. With two trackers, Vaughan and myself, we started off on the track and observed the two lions had split up. We started on one track, and after about an hour and half of walking we decided this was not the wounded lion. We returned to where the animals had split up and took off on the second track. In about a half mile, we located the lion lying broadside under a tree with his head against the base. He was not looking our way. After it was decided this was the lion, I took aim just behind the shoulder from about 80-90 feet away.

As I fired, the lion jumped up and with a roar he started a charge at us. I fired straight on at him and scored a hit, but it did not slow him. Vaughan fired his 458 from about 30 feet which slowed him down momentarily, but did not stop the charge. As Vaughan was reloading, he tripped on a bush and fell with the bolt open, and the lion was almost on top of him. I fired from about 2 feet away through his side behind the shoulder, which turned him off Vaughan, and he came at me. I had run out of ammo in the gun and backing up for more room, I tripped and fell on my back with the lion almost on top of me. I had the rifle in both hands and as the lion came at me. I hit him as hard as I could with the rifle, which broke his tooth as it skidded up the forend. My finger got in the way, and I got cut by the canine.

This startled him for a second. He backed off, and his left paw snapped my lower sling swivel. As he appeared to be coming back for seconds, Vaughan had got to his feet and fired broadside at the lion, which fell over about 2 feet from me.

The entire incident probably lasted no more than 5 seconds but the adrenaline high lasted a bit longer. After our hearts had slowed to a reasonable rate we congratulated each other for saving one another's skins. It took six stitches to sew up the bite, and although this could have gone very bad, it didn't. Vaughan and I now share something that very few people have experienced. He is definitely a person that passed the test of fire.

Sandy Trout
 

African Lion Safaris, Namibia

 

If you would like to share a story or photo of your trip with Classic Safaris, you may submit it to webmaster@fultonclassicsafaris.com.  

 

Home / Hunting Areas / Prices / Featured Hunt / About Classic Safaris / Stories / Travel Advice / News

 

Classic Safaris

With

Vaughan Fulton

 

P.O. Box 86678

Eros, Windhoek, Namibia  

e-mail vfulton@africaonline.com.na

Telephone + 264 61 23 5304

 Fax + 264 88 64 3044

Cell/Mobile + 264 81 127 3571

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Thank you for visiting Classic Safaris with Vaughan Fulton. We hope to hear from you soon to plan your own African hunting safari.