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NOSA - New Ontario Shooters Association Crest

Suppressed Desires --
African Big Game Safari by Wes and Sue

April 2012 -- Wes W.

(Click on the images here for a larger view.)

Why is it that everything that is enjoyable in Canada happens to be fattening or illegal? Well, that's how it seems most of the time, but we can make a breakaway and go to where the laws don't compromise the desires so badly. That doesn't help the calories, but right now, that is not a part of this story.

Photo of curious giraffe

Susan and I planned a bowhunt in Africa. We've had the good fortune to do this before, and the month of April worked very well last time…so we had high hopes that this pattern would continue. Nobody told those little Spanish boogers…I never remember which…either el Nino or el Nina…something like that…anyhow, they threw the wrench into the fan. You see, bowhunting is a stealthy art, and most of the success is determined by the animal coming to you. African animals are 'way too wired' to even think about sneaking up on; besides, they are usually in a group, so some eyes are always turned your way. That means you had better wait patiently by a water hole until they show up.

The Spanish Gremlins created a late rainy season; in fact, it only ended 4 days before our arrival. Looking at the soggy landscape reminded me of that old poem: "Water, water everywhere." Maybe we should try bowfishing? Never one to let common sense discourage me,Susan and I would try the impossible and sit by a waterhole the animals no longer needed. Just to show us that the impossible rarely is…a beautiful Zebra stallion came to within 42 yards. He probably just showed up by habit…but there he was.

Susan is a very ethical hunter; she had set 30 yards as her maximum shot, so she was crouched in the blind, gripping her bow, release on the string…waiting for the gap to close. I was in the same blind, but things were too critical to snap photos. No matter; I have a metal image of Susan, carved into a statue…watching a zebra, turned to stone. I glanced at my wristwatch by only diverting my eyes. The standoff continued as if frozen in time for 20 solid minutes. That is an eternity in hunting seconds. The Zebra folded his cards and backed away. Susan exhaled a permissible obscenity…then added "So close!"

The next day a troupe of monkeys entertained for a bit…but the word was out. The animals did not need the waterhole. We would have to change our tactics; the bows would go back in the case, and we would use the Professional Hunter's rifles. What started out as a second string (still thinking of bows) concept soon took first billing. Wow! The rifle was fitted with a suppressor!! Not legal in Canada…but perfectly legal here. Hey, this rainy thing just got 'way better'!

Photo of Sue with rifle and shooting sticks

Just like every other Canadian, since I had never fired a silencer equipped firearm, I had a lot of preconceived ideas about this toy. Almost all turned out to be wrong. I thought they would be silent, but inaccurate; I was wrong on both counts. The firearm was a modified M700 Remington in .308 that had a lot of work done to it by a member of the South African Sniper Corps. It was bedded to perfection; the trigger was about 2 pounds but broke clean and crisp, and the barrel was a 20" fluted heavy barrel with the suppressor threaded to the muzzle. The suppressor was about 1 ¼ " in diameter and about 8 " long. A Leupold scope topped off the rig. "Wow! Let's shoot this thing!!!"

We would use South African made PMP 180 grain .308 ammo. Setting up the shooting sticks, we would test fire this in the field conditions that we would use in the hunt. Susan fired the first round. The sound was about that of a .22 RF magnum…and the recoil was almost nonexistent. Susan looked up with a smile: "What a pussycat!" We didn't use any benchrest targets, but the P.H. had placed a plastic water bottle at hunting distance, and Susan's shot took it dead center to her point of aim.

Of course, I wanted to try this too. The same bottle was replaced and I squared the crosshairs on the center of the label. The 180 grain projectile went right where I had placed the reticle. The recoil was in the realm of a .22 RF, the overall effect was just plain fun. This made just too much sense!! No ear-blasting noise, just a very pleasant indication that a shot had been fired. This is as sensible as putting a muffler on a V-8. It does not eliminate the sound…it muffles it. How civilized!!

The bonus was the recoil reduction. In part, the added mass has something to do with it, but the suppressor works its magic there also. The huge surprise was the accuracy; it was a tack driver! In discussing these attributes, the P.H. pointed out that this firearm is often used by female clients who immediately improve their shooting abilities, since there is no great trauma associated with the press of the trigger. This helps make more humane kills, and does not damage hearing. Now, why is this not legal in Canada?

Photo of Sue with a large zebra

Later, Susan would complete her stalk on a Zebra, and use this fine firearm to obtain a clean 1-shot kill. Her desires for an African trophy, no longer suppressed. (Couldn't help that.) As if this wasn't enough, we both played with a second rifle that had a fitted suppressor. This was another Remington that was chambered in .223 and had a Leupold variable target scope of 6.5 to 20 magnification. It too was superbly accurate, and was mostly used for night hunting for camp-meat or culling the smaller animals.

Photo of Wes with a large lion

I managed to "borrow" a standard M70 Winchester in .375 H&H, and used 300 grain soft points. The gods of the hunt and ballistics were kind to me also, since I pulled off what the PH's called "the perfect shot" with the 375 H&H. The lioness had tracked us while we were tracking her....then...just like the scene in "Ghost and the Darkness" wind-blown tall grass transformed into ears and piercing eyes at 40 yards or less....the shot took her cleanly under the chin and snapped her neck...she never moved after that. A huge lioness...8 1/2 feet from nose to tail, that weighed 405 pounds...and was in absolutely prime shape.

Later that night we slept to the sounds of about a half dozen other lions serenading us.... an unforgettable trip. Africa is very affordable; surprisingly so!! If you wish any more info, talk to Wes W. or Susan C., or check out This is a trusted PH who will give you the trip of a lifetime.

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