Excerpts from the book Edward Foa «big game hunting in Central Africa».
Hunting season is coming to an end, when we reached the village of Chiromo located on the River Shire, northern tributary of the mighty Zambezi River. It was the middle of September, and in November in Africa, the rainy season begins, with the onset of which the hunting season ends, so the time to take any serious hunting forays no longer had.
Had «to prepare for winter»As they say the natives, — This expression means cessation of all activity and perezhidanie rainy season under the roofs of their homes.
Area Chiromo seemed to us a good place to camp. However, three months later, we were forced to leave the place immediately after the first had been caught off guard by locusts that ravaged all around, then Paloma, which destroyed our homes, and at the end of floods, which claimed nearly our lives. As a result of our expedition moved to the east, in an area called Magandzha where we had occasion to visit and hunt.
During our stay in the Chiromo I mainly engaged in restoration of old ties among the local people. In all the surrounding villages were sent messengers, whose purpose was to find four natives — Mziambiri, Rodzani, Cigala and Tambarika — and let them know that I’m back and I count on their help. I’ve already talked about them in his book «My memorable hunting,» but I still can not miss the event, not to mention again how invaluable services they have provided to me sometimes.
For a long seven years, none of my trophies was not obtained without their participation. It was not as fun, which they did not share with me, and the difficulties that they would not come to the rescue. My native helpers were arrows, but they were natural-born trackers and how could I passed the reading experience and sto- len animal tracks. They also helped me a lot in my scientific research.
Unfortunately, in the vicinity of our new camp Chiromo big game almost was not. On the opposite, left, side of the river stretched the plain: there is an occasional buffalo came under gunfire «hunter-athlete» of the local white settlers. This whole saga is being heralded with fanfare, and of «shooters» was accompanied by numerous servants that after hunting every time organized a festive table for the Lord.
And although local authorities issued a decree prohibiting hunting in this place, every time there was some «psevdoohotnik» which one day were shot seven or eight buffalo and, moreover, subsequently do not bother even to cut them, leaving the carcasses to decompose under the scorching sun. Soon the area was still declared a reserve, and hunt for it has ceased.
For our expedition it meant only this: to hunt properly, we have to leave Chiromo and head west towards the Anglo-Portuguese border, where it was still possible to find buffalo and antelope. In order to verify my new rifle caliber 303 «Metford» I went to the area, where he stayed in the village Nantali, seven kilometers away from our main camp.
The next morning I had the lucky opportunity to hunt: near the village I managed to find a herd of grazing hartebistov (cow antelopes). The new rifle did not fail me in spite of the medium-sized (approx. per. — By African standards) caliber, I was able to confidently hit the antelope, the accuracy proved to be an outstanding fight and returns almost feel. Account trophies gained with the help of my «Metford» was opened: for every antelope took no more than one holder, the repeated shots were required rarely.
Later hunting rifle 303 «Metford» revealed to me the other advantages and disadvantages of both the caliber and bullets of various types for it. But overall I was very pleased with my new acquisition. It was the right choice! In addition, due to lack of a cloud of smoke after the shot (approx. Per. — 303. «Metford» — military-style rifle chambered with smokeless powder), game could not locate the hunter.
Within a few days I had shot several hartebistov, zebra, impala and one Hyland. Mining was the last another convincing proof of the fact that a new long-range rifle and extremely accurate. It happened in the vicinity of the already mentioned village Nantali where antelope Hyland extremely rare. But one morning I had yet to see the animals grazing on the field at a distance of about 400 yards (approx. Per. — 1 yard — 0.91 m).
Coveted Hyland immediately spotted us despite the fact that we instantly disappeared behind the high edge of the thick grass. It costs us a little bit pop out from hiding like a bull guards. I decided to use the only chance to check your «Metford» long-range shot at the big game.
Of course, it is desirable to get closer. There was only one chance to do it: the right of us was a small group of trees from which to antelope was about 200 yards away. He waited until my «opponent» calmed down and began to graze again, I’m on their bellies started to creep up to the coveted spot. This maneuver took me quite a long time, but, being under the cover of the trees, I was able to cut a little more distance. Opportunities come closer no more. Meanwhile, a powerful animal again worried. Apparently, sensing imminent danger, Hyland stared at the place where we first noticed. Before the animal was about 200 yards, as I expected. I immediately took aim, leaning against the tree trunk, and pulled the trigger. After the shot Hyland frantically pushed hindquarters and darted away. I was sure that he was; nevertheless he feared that only slightly podranil large animal. But before our eyes run Hyland replaced by step, and at the same moment he fell into the grass. When a couple of minutes, we all gathered at the trophy, the animal has reached the bullet hit the heart, causing serious damage.
Although I was very pleased with the accuracy shown my new rifle, the case can not be considered indicative Hyland as any hit in the heart, regardless of the caliber and type of bullet leads to the production of true trophy. My recent experience has shown that the 303rd caliber is still too weak for such a large animal, like a wildebeest. In this case the more appropriate it should be recognized that caliber weapons, such as the 577 Express, which affects more reliable big game and arrow can forgive small errors in aiming. For the production of large animal needs a cartridge with a powerful stopping power, which is just not enough of medium caliber.
Some time later, I organized a small expedition with which we went to the north-east of our camp, on Portuguese territory in the vicinity of Mount Chiperone. This outing took us six days. The terrain there proved impassable completely covered with high grass, despite the fact that at this time of year the undergrowth so high — a rarity. We came across numerous traces, among which I have seen traces of a gnu — the first time north of the Zambezi. Elephants also came here, although their tracks and were quite old.
In the meantime, I started hunting hippos along the banks of the Shire River. Until now, I kept only the largest fangs caught me fish, but for the collection of trophies I needed a piece of a large hippopotamus skull. But this trophy, which was necessary to me, everything did not come across, although the choice at this time of the year gives a quite good as at the confluence of Shira and Rui gathered a large crowd of hippopotamuses. But, alas, the ones that I’ve ever produce were either too small or, in the case of older individuals, their teeth are too worn.
During the days that I spent, firing hippos, my companions hunted crocodiles. One afternoon, as soon as we began to eat lunch, comrades in the camp drew to shore extracted another giant reptile. Suddenly around her began to gather a crowd, and all vied with each other to wail that stomach amphibious predator are part of the human body. On closer inspection, it was confirmed that the reptiles were in the esophagus arm, leg and several ribs, apparently belonging to the man. The remains were separated and were a little damaged, but, at least so it seemed in the daylight, we have been subjected to degradation by gastric juice.
I was invited to try to identify the remains, but no one wanted to even touch them, so it was decided to throw all the remains, and the carcass of a crocodile back into the river. Human remains were left to float on the surface and have been seen by sailors sailed a small boat on the river, the senior officer who reported that they had seen carried away by the hand over the white man. The news quickly spread through the countryside, raising a wave of anxiety.
The next day was produced another crocodile, whose stomach was found head and shoulders of the unfortunate whose remains we have found earlier. These horrific discovery that prompted me to continue certainly carve carcasses of shot crocodiles.
Two years later, on Lake Nyasa from the stomach of a giant reptiles exceeds 6 yards in length, it was recovered a set of twenty-four copper bracelets, as well as a lump woolly hair; gluttonous amphibian was not able to digest these items after the deprived life of their owner.
By February of the coming 1895 decided to leave the banks of the River Shire and go for 270 miles (approx. Per. — 1 mile — 1.6 km), in the interior of the continent, where the game was in abundance.
Three months without stopping pouring rain. Young grass grew in height of about two feet (approx. per. — 1 ft — 0.3 meters), the trees were covered with leaves, and some of them were heavy under the weight of the fruit. Between occasional showers sky clears up completely — reigns summer.
This — the best time to hunt elephants and buffalo, but at the same time — the worst for hunting lions, which are now particularly need to keep your eyes open.
Our camp was located on a hill between two small beds of sand flowing into the rivers. We have protected our home fence of twigs and thorns, which was supposed to protect us from intruders. Our village consisted of four tents and ten shelters with roofs covered with dry grass. One of my companions is making most of the expedition members a three-day march, so stay with me my assistant Bertrand and twenty people. The district is 13 miles there was not a single village in the immediate vicinity there was not even any beaten path, everywhere reigned wilderness.
One morning about seven o’clock all the rest were in the camp fire. Just the sun rose. It was decided to try his luck in the hunt for elephants whose traces we find in the vicinity of the camp several times over the last couple of days; silently gathered, we were divided into two groups and hit the road.
It should be clear: in the place where we were, the trees prevails that the natives call «Fula». The fruits of this tree resemble wild almonds, and thickets of trees fill the countryside heady fruity aroma. Its fruit — a favorite treat elephants. As trees grow Fula to enormous proportions and undermine them is not possible, even elephants, the latter are forced to wait patiently for the coveted delicacy itself fall to the ground.
One herd of elephants had already paid a visit to the nearby thickets of fruit trees, but a little circling and making sure that the cherished fruits are not yet ripe, they apparently decided to pay a return visit later. That’s what we are hunters, just waiting.
It was necessary to replenish the meat supplies, and we decided to hunt smaller prey. Where the planned hunting for elephants, making noise, and even more to shoot, is highly undesirable, as sensitive animals most likely will avoid this place. But as the elephants come out to feed, usually in the evening or at night, the shots during the day should not have to scare them.
So we set off again on the trail of buffalo, a herd that we left after only half an hour they were grazing peacefully on a small hill. We have surrounded the area and began to carefully conceal the animals. Going for 100 yards, we were able to see the whole herd: it consisted of fifteen individuals. Among them, there were only three adult bull, one looked the most impressive, he moved in a measured, while on his withers noise flutter whole gaggle of small birds, collected the parasites from its hide.
Since the giant bull, which fell on my choice at first, stood unsuccessfully for the shot, and besides, and too far away, I decided to be content with the bull, which was a very easy target. Without thinking, I shot my selected buffalo on the blade, hoping to put it in place. But it was not there. After the shot the whole herd galloping claimed off. We went on the trail of a wounded animal, observing every precaution, because the terrain is overgrown with dense undergrowth all around. Fortunately, we soon discovered the beast come down. Horn of a bull were very good, but what was annoyed that was not possible to get his senior companion!
Translation Yuri Zahmatova1 April 2010 at 15:46