The abandoned ‘Copper Queen’for another restless nights sleep.
It was a sleepless night. We stayed in an abandoned country store that had no roof, doors or windows that we affectionately referred to as the Copper Queen Hotel. I’ve never had to wait so long for something I wanted so badly. My mind was churning with thoughts of what if or worst-case scenarios. I just couldn’t sleep. I suppose I did get a little but at best it was restless. Dudley had said that we weren’t in a hurry to get up, so we took our time around camp drinking coffee and having breakfast. The conversation was only about the evening before.
We watched the shot on Ed’s camera a few times and agreed it was a perfect shot. Although we weren’t in a hurry, I was pretty anxious to get going. It took us quite a while to make a trail down into the valley in the truck. From there we looked for an easier path to get to the elephant. With a local villager helping, it wasn’t too long before we were standing where I’d shot the night before. The blood there was pretty sparse but it got heavier as we crept to where we had heard it moaning before we left. It was such a relief to see how much blood there was. Unfortunately, he wasn’t there.
I was getting nervous. Dudley got Gettus on the track while we kept our eyes open for any sign. We had a pretty difficult time staying on the track. The elephant for some reason wasn’t walking like we thought it would. He was going around in circles. There was blood on both sides of the trail. Mike found the fletching and part of the arrow just so we knew we were on the right track. It took quite a while to go the 500 yards that the elephant had made it before finally expiring. I cannot even begin to tell you the amount of relief I felt when Gettus said, “Hey,” and pointed to where the elephant was lying. It was almost like it was a dream come true when I first laid eyes on it.
What an incredible moment. All the work, time, effort, planing, training and hunting came together.
All the work, the training, the sacrifices, the doubts, they were all over in a moment. I was just in awe. I could finally have some dessert and some wine. Because the sun was already low in the sky, Ed asked if there was any way we could return the next morning to do some re-enactments of the stalk and shot when the light would be better. Dudley said it would be fine, and that we’d have to come back tomorrow anyway to get it skinned out. Doc and Joyce had heard from Dudley’s wife on the short wave radio that I’d shot my elephant (Dudley called her on his satellite phone to give her the news, so she radioed the camp) and had driven the four hours to celebrate with us. They were at the truck when we came out of the valley at near dark already indulging in a sundowner or two.
Teressa, Dudley Rogers the Outfitter and fallen giant.
Back at the ‘hotel’ we had supper and a few drinks and I was off to bed for the best night of sleep I’d had since I got there.
The villagers came out to greet the hunting party.
We were up and about at around 8:00. Breakfast was quick. We were off, back to the river valley to do what was left of the filming for Ed, take some pictures and to get the skinning started. It only took a couple of hours to get everything done.
The skinners stayed to finish up after we left. As we walked out of the bush, we were met by somewhere around 500 villagers, all of them waiting for a share of the meat. It was pretty cool knowing that I’d be feeding that many people with my elephant.
After the long ride back to camp, I hurried to my chalet for a hot shower, my first in three days. It was heaven! I finally got to wear some different clothes. Before dinner, Ed had Dudley and I do some interviews while it was still light out. The dinner drum sounded and I got to eat some desert for the first time in about a year.
That night Mike and Joyce left camp to make the drive to Bulawayo with all of our clothes and gear because we couldn’t take everything with us in the Cessna. The rest of us sat around the fire telling stories and jokes, drinking wine and listening to Doc play his bagpipes. We would be off early tomorrow to fly to Bulawayo then to Johannesburg and home.
With this amazing hunt Teressa became the first women to ever take an elephant with a bow. Her next plan is to be the first woman to take the ‘Big Five’ with a bow. Our bet is she’ll do it. And hopefully share each hunt with us at bowhunting.net CONGRATULATIONS Terressa Groenewald!