Excerpts from the book Edward Foa «big game hunting in Central Africa».
About half past six production already in split, was taken to the camp, and we began to prepare from it «biltong» (jerky). At eleven o’clock the night lions, smelling the smell of fresh meat, rolled a huge «live» close to our camp, but soon went away. As soon as the camp drifted off to sleep, when suddenly someone shouted: «Litumbui, litumbui!» — so the local dialect called large ants scavengers. Attracted by the scraps of meat and traces of blood, remaining near the camp, insects, dense rows flooded our camp. Several people jumped up from their seats, quickly fanned the fire and quenched by means of burning embers repelled the invasion. Once everything has calmed down, I grabbed some hot coals and ashes and scattered them in the corners of my camp bed. On this night, the ants tried to repeat the raid, which was again reflected.
The next day passed without incident. Our second team returned to the camp, accompanied by two local who brought me a message from the elders of the neighboring village. There came a lion, who two days ago killed the elderly woman from the aforementioned villages, and last night was again seen near the settlement. I appointed a reward to anyone who brings me the most accurate information about the pop-ogre (this is a common practice, which always gives the result), and soon the two natives have returned with new news.
The scene was «very close» — as runners vying assured me. We immediately moved on and got to this «close» the village only after the four-hour transition at dusk. Nights in the area quite impenetrable, and I at all desire could not imagine how it is possible to see anything in this pitch darkness. I advised the villagers not to leave the hut that night. In the morning it will be easier vytropit predator on the heels.
Yes, and it was too late to organize any ambush. In addition, only a ten minute walk from the other village where the natives to ten nights danced to the drums, and I decided that this noise and scare an ogre.
At half past three in the morning suddenly I heard loud screams and the sound of excited voices of the village, where before it was a walk, and I once with a rifle at the ready hurried there with my companions. Woman burst into tears, throwing himself at my feet, screamed that the lion had abducted her son.
Though the darkness has not yet receded, our group, accompanied by Aboriginal burning kindling went to inspect the place where the tragedy occurred. After a cursory examination, it became clear that the lion grabbed the poor child at the very moment when the boy leaned out of the half-open door of the hut to take a bunch of lying next to wood for kindling.
Unfortunately, this is a common story among the natives: the misfortune that happened to one, does not teach others. I often saw aboriginal bathing in the same place where a few days ago a crocodile devoured their comrade. It goes without saying that the hubbub, which raised the inhabitants of the village, the lion scared. Also, in the light of a torch it is absolutely impossible to consider the following. Therefore, we could do nothing but to wait patiently. Soon it was rassvesti.
In the morning, I asked the local to help me, and ten men volunteered to go with me, observing complete silence. When it was light enough to be able to see the tracks, we came back to the hut from which the child was abducted. But the area around it was trampled perepoloshennymi villagers, and only a small porch adjacent to the hut, we were able to discern the imprint claw predator. A moment later, behind the tiny structure, we stumbled on the tracks themselves.
A bit on the side, we have noticed a trace left foot grasped the child, which the beast, apparently dragged either head or neck. The trail disappeared eater was trodden villagers to the river, and the beast with his terrible burden passed twenty huts unnoticed. In the meantime, we got to the bank of the river, where they found a pool of blood: in this place predator, obviously stopped to seize his prey, to cross the river, the depth of which is about a foot. But then he was a couple of yards upstream, and finally disappeared in a hole on the opposite bank of the river.
Before you follow him there, I sent to explore Tambariku to have it checked, whether there is at the edge of dense vegetation, which was covered with a cleft, although any trace. Soon signal whistle told us that our guesses were justified. On a narrow trail we rushed deep into the thickets. After we crossed a small clearing on the edge of it, we again found a fresh blood stain — here again intercepted predator prey.
Further traces lead us deeper into the bushes on the way back we found traces of blood and chain that belonged to the victim of a lion, and nearby — and a loincloth, to cling to the chaparral. The impressive size of the pool of blood remained at the spot where the man-eater, apparently began to tear its prey apart. It happened, most likely, about an hour ago. And now, coming to the edge of the forest, we were back in the tall grass, when suddenly there was a menacing growl that made us stop dead in his tracks at the site. This was our enemy. He attacked?
Not for long silence reigned. I took the rifle from the guard. After waiting a few moments, I was with a rifle at the ready plunged into the thicket. All senses were extremely tense. I looked at the wall of vegetation in front of him and struggled to hear at least some noise from there, while trying to walk as quietly as possible. Ten yards away in the grass something suddenly rustled. It has been seen as the swaying tops of the stems of plants, but nothing more than that! Very slowly we move forward. Right, I spotted a tree. I made a careful gesture in the direction of the tree Kambombe his assistant, who was able to climb better than a monkey, and he at the same moment he climbed on, sitting in the fork between the branches. «Here the child — he said in a whisper — but a lion is not seen.» Then, looking around, looking to the right: «There he is! Rather, in this area! »
Led by gestures of my assistant, I hurried to the right, deep into the vegetation. Immediately my mind a plan was born spontaneous raids, and I, how could I have made it clear who accompanied the villagers that they rounded the bushes on the left. They had to make a lot of noise, which in turn would cause the lion to move in my direction. I stayed in a small Progal every second waiting for the predator. Kambombe meanwhile hushed voice went on to describe all that he could see from his «observation post» «He leaves… No, he comes back … He stops and looks in the direction of people … He looked up … Beware, it goes to you! .. It is a step … It is already at the ant heap of … Oh, you’d be up here! .. He turns … Here it is! .. Come back, back! «
You can imagine how hard I listened to the words of my assistant. Following the advice Kambombe, I took a couple of steps. The people behind me holding a weapon at the ready. «Shoot only when necessary!» — I warned them. «Not so fast!» — Muttered Tambarika.
Grass, with a rustle of deflection, is expanded in both directions, and the lion appears in some eight hundred yards in front of me. He still looks back, as the noise produced by the beaters, bothers him. But then he turns around — and seeing my figure of the stood. The mighty beast bares his fangs, and begins to growl angrily, staying put. But the predator starts to beat its tail in the air and presses the ears, and, realizing that now follow shot, I do not hesitate for a second, just aim at the back of the head of a lion and shoot. Just through the flames of the shot, I see that the beast falls threw himself dead.
Focusing on the accuracy of my «Metford» I have not lost again. For this shot I used to charge a bullet with a hollow head portion, with which I subsequently had the opportunity to get a lot of trophies. In the case of large African cats using a bullet, I tried to shoot at the junction of the neck with a skull — in this case, instant death is almost always guaranteed. When you shoot at a short distance, it is necessary to consider that, as a rule, most of the hunting rifles at a distance «vysyat», ie bullet hits above the intended point of impact. However, when shooting on 120 yards trajectory aligned.
The victim turned out to be a lion kid of fourteen. He died almost at the same moment when the beast was captured. The big cats are rarely dragged neumerschvlennuyu production, unless they are disturbed. But our lion had enough time to kill his victim: the unfortunate mother heard a scream and immediately realized what had happened, but she was so constrained by the fear that, exhausted, could not even scream. When she came out of the hut, it was too late.
The boy’s body, and the carcass of an animal produced, we were taken to the village. On the child’s body could be seen deep lacerations in the neck and right shoulder. Also, one leg of the deceased was literally split down to the bone. The carcass of a lion in the village dragged eight people. Immediately upon arrival at the local village surrounded us, armed with firearms who who — bow and arrows, and someone — and knives, wanting to vent their anger on the carcass eater.
This is a native tradition that the carcass of an animal killer should be shot and riddled to pieces. It goes without saying that I am little satisfied with this way of dressing a trophy, so I immediately stepped forward and told the locals that because I killed the man-eater, I ask them to return it intact skin with claws and head, while the other remains will give them disposal. I added that now my men will be removed from the skin of a lion, and the one who touches the trophy, not big trouble. The natives were seated nearby and waited patiently until my dark-skinned assistants oshkurivali trophy. Once it was over, the natives began a frenzy in every possible way to torment the headless carcass they shot at her, beat knives and then dragged the remains of all the neighboring villages, later in the evening to burn it on a huge funeral pyre under the cries of women and wild funeral dances.
Even if you are already halfway back to the camp, we still hear the cries and the drums, and only after dark silence. Sitting around the campfire at night and looking at the star-filled sky, I wondered about the fate of the unfortunate black boy and his grieving mother and wondered how many of these obscure tragedies occur every day on the ground.
Translation Yuri Zahmatova28 April 2010 at 17:10