GARY'S GUN NOTES
This months' Gun Notes is several days over due due to our African hunt just completed. This issue is just about the hunt as I have not been back long enough to check with our distributors as to what new guns or ammo are being shipped, if any. This Gun Notes is just the Africa hunt without the pics. You can see the pics on my forum from a few days ago.
If you have already read this and are sick of lion hunting stories, I apologize but that is all I have right now.
This little story may well be off a bit as I am still half brain dead from 33 hours of flying plus several hours of time sitting in airports between the flying time. So excuse any mis-typing on my part.
The hunt was in the North West province of South Africa in the Kalahari Desert well known for pissed off African lions.
There were 5 of us.
Erik and Nick Stenberg
The ammo used was...
Nick Stenberg...375 H&H rifle
Erik Stenberg..366 GNR custom TC G-2 handgun
Michael Mendes...Custom 378 GNR in a TC G-2 and a custom 454 Casull handguns.
Blake Naugle...Custom Encore in 476 GNR, handgun
GNR...Custom Encore in 378 GNR and a custom 510 GNR Revolver, handguns.
Michael Mendes was first up, not because he was hand picked to be so but because he was on the side of the Land Cruiser facing lion #1 when we saw him. The lion was already pissed off with his head up out of the dense thorn bushes growling and saying bad things about Michael, most of which were true.
Michael took a shot at the lion at about 50 yards which made the lion decide to be in safer parts of the universe. He immediately turned tail and ran into the heavy dense thorn bushes.
We eased the Land Cruiser up a bit to where we could see the lion again and Michael took another shot or two. I might add here that even though John Abraham, our PH and head honcho of Madubula Safaris was telling us to hit the lion "behind the shoulder" the lion was doing back flips after each shot and was never standing still or even moving at a slow pace. He was doing back flips and spinning in circles so hitting him "behind the shoulder" was something that was impossible at the time. Another thing that needs to be mentioned is that most shots were taken from the high seat in the Land Cruiser because the thorn brush was 5 to 6 feet high and extremely thick. To be able to shoot on the ground standing on our hind legs was almost impossible. I think each of us did take some shots standing in the heavy thorn brush but most of the first shots were taken from the Land Cruiser. Finally after several shots Michael's lion was down and we pulled the truck into the thorn bushes a bit and got out. We dragged the lion out of the thorn bushes when it was obvious he was truly dead. It was a really good male lion. I might note here that due to all the heavy thorn bushes where the lions hung out only one had any really heavy mane and that lion was the only one with a black mane.
Now before I go any further the lions were extremely hard to find. They live in extremely dense thorn bushes. My lion was less than 10 feet from us up on the high seat in the Land Cruiser but we couldn't see him. One of the trackers spotted him but their eyes are so much better than ours.
Next was Nick's lion. While we were finishing taking pics of Michaels lion Erik and Nick had driven off looking for their lion. A while later they rousted a big lion out of the brush and he ran up a tree figuring he was hidden from us. Nick shot him with his 375 H&H rifle knocking him out of the tree. Before the lion could run off he hit him again putting him down for good..
That was it for the first day. The next morning we drove the sandy road looking for fresh lion tracks. That is the only way one can hunt lions in this area of the Kalahari Desert. The brush is all extremely thick thorn bushes and scrub brush, much of it 5 or 6 feet tall. Finding fresh tracks and then following it up in the brush is the only way we can hunt lions in that area.
After driving for a couple of hours we spotted two sets of tracks of two big lions. Erik Stenberg and his PH went into the brush following one set of the tracks. It is a puckering feeling when you are walking thru some heavy brush on a lions tracks knowing he could be just ahead watching us. After a short time they came upon the first of the 2 lions and Erik took a shot at him with his 366 GNR in a custom TC single shot handgun. He hit again and then a third time, all broadside shots putting the lion down for good.
Blake and his PH decided to follow up on the tracks of the second lion while they knew he was somewhere in front of them. Blake was carrying his 476 GNR single shot handgun which is the 50 Alaskan necked down to 475, an extremely potent round. An hour or so after getting on the tracks they got on the lion and Blake took the shot hitting the lion in the ribcage. Two shots and the lion was down.
I might add here that these shots sound easy but they are far from it. First just seeing the lion is rough then he will normally charge you so the first shot can be head on at extremely short range. Then it seldom ends there. A large almost 600 lb cat can be extremely hard to put down for good and normally several shots will be needed.
As we were driving up the red sand road (not much more than a path), we spotted my lion about 200 yards up in front of us standing broadside in the road. After a few seconds he moved off into the thorn bushes. We followed up into the brush with the head tracker along with PH Johh Abraham and myself standing up in the back and after a short drive one of the trackers up on the high seat with us had spotted the lion. I looked for the lion but never could spot him in the heavy brush, but the tracker had spotted him. How, I have no idea, but he said he looks for the eyes. We backed up maybe another 10 feet and finally I spotted the eyes. John said aim for the spot behind the shoulder but that wasn't visible. Finally I chose the area just behind the head hoping for a spinal shot. The 378 GNR hit the cat and he did a big back flip.When he came back down I quickly reloaded the single shot handgun and hit him again. Another back flip. Another shot and this time the lion was determined he was going to get to a large tree about 20 yards from us.
John had told me to never let the cat get to his feet or get into a tree as he will come right at you and somebody is going to get hurt. With this in mind I hit him again with the last 378 GNR round I had in my ammo pouch as he was heading toward a large tree about 20 yards away.
The lion had 3 or 4 holes in him but he was still on his feet and moving. The 378 was finally empty so I pulled the 510 GNR and as he got to the tree I hit him once with it with the 350 grain jacketed soft point going up thru the rib cage and exiting at the front shoulder. Jumping out of the Land Cruiser we eased up on the lion. We could see that the lion had crawled under the lower branches of the tree and John said to hit him again as we could see he was still breathing. I put 3 more rounds from the 510 in his back and that finally did the trick. With one round left in the 510 he finally breathed his last. He was a monster cat, an old male. Living in the heavy thorns had taken his mane off long ago but he was still a huge lion with a large head and as we found out later he was an extremely high record book lion.
He was a scarred up old lion that had probably been pushed out of the pride by younger lions. But a great lion and one of my best hunts ever.
Several of the guys also took other game after the lion hunts were over. But the lion hunt was the high point in these 5 hunters' lives. If we all live to be 100 this hunt will be one of our best memories.
That is it for this month. If you want to see the pics of all these lions and the terrain and more on the hunt go to my forum..http://www.reedercustomguns.net/forum/index.php?id=146281
Until next time,