The Lady Bowhunts for African Elephant – Pt 3
By Teressa Groenewald
Oct 6, 2007 – 8:48:13 AM
|You won’t find a sign like this in the US. My first thought was, ‘heck, we can just wait here for them to cross’. Ha,
After the hour and a half drive to the Kazwari River valley, we finally found the tracks of the 26 elephants we heard about the day before. We tracked them for about 5 K’s until we got up on what we thought was a lone bull. We maneuvered around to try and get into position but it was 2 cows, one with a baby, and a small bull. We were only about 20 yards from them and had to back away VERY slowly because the cow with the baby was overly alert.
The other cow was sick, which made the younger one even more agitated. The bulls we were after were behind the cows there was no way to get to them because of the wind. So with our safety in mind, Dudley decided it was best to try our luck elsewhere. The truck was a long way off and I mean a long way off. We took off toward the truck. Most of the way back we could hear the elies but they were still too far away.
It was hot that day. I don’t know what the exact temperature was, but if I had to guess, I’d say it was easily in the nineties. After a short break and some lunch, we headed out in the truck to check a few nearby areas, one of which had fresh tracks of three good bulls. It was decided that we would start there in the morning.
May 13 (Mothers Day)
It was a frustrating day. We were unable to find the bull that had left the tracks yesterday. We’d thought they would still be in the area, but they had since moved on. We cut some other fresh tracks, a lone bull, the ideal stalk, but were rudely interrupted by three poachers chopping down a Mopane tree to get some honey.
Gettus and Innocent snuck up on them and only were able to nab one of the three. The poacher Gettus caught had a Leopard tortoise tied in a sling. A very serious offense because of the tortoise’s protected status. After Dudley handcuffed the poacher to a tree and left Adam, the local council game officer to hold him until the police arrived, we drove down to the Ume River Valley to take a look around.
We jumped three big bulls as we were driving around. Dudley slammed the truck to a stop, I grabbed my bow and arrows and everyone else scuttled off the truck in record time. We followed the tracks for just a few hundred yards to where the elephants had settled down to feed. I had a perfect broadside shot but I was almost 50 yards away.
The shot was 20 yards outside of my self-imposed limit. The elephant stood there for a few seconds and ran off. We stalked as long as possible until we ran out of light, and decided that we’d rather come back in the morning and try then.