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Reflections on the fiftieth anniversary of the Wilderness Act.

By Diana Rupp

My first wilderness elk hunt was ten years ago, but I still remember it vividly. There was the fourteen-mile horseback ride from the trailhead north of Missoula to the snug collection of canvas wall tents that formed our elk camp in the Scapegoat Wilderness. From this base, we rode out every morning—sometimes spending three or four hours coaxing our mounts up faint trails into backcountry canyons—and then tied the horses to logs or pine trunks. We spent the idyllic September days hiking up eight-thousand-foot peaks, bugling from canyon rims, and skidding down timbered slopes in search of elk.

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Five new hunting books that should be on your reading list.


In Craig Boddington's new book, Deadly Encounters, the author flips the usual hunting narrative on its head by telling the stories of encounters with dangerous animals that don't end well for the human. His stories of hunts and other outdoor adventures gone wrong involve lions, elephants, leopards, bears, and even bison. He discusses and dissects the incidents to examine what went wrong and how hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts can avoid becoming the hunted themselves.  

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Each of these bovines presents a unique hunting challenge.

By Craig Boddington

The Cape buffalo of Africa is genus and species Syncerus caffer; and the water buffalo, native to Asia, is Bos bubalus. We call them both “buffalo” (as we do the American bison, which is yet another genus and species), which is confusing. The Cape buffalo is a signature African animal, but for some reason, many people refer to Cape buffalo as “water buffalo.” While this mistake is common and adds to the confusion, for totally unknown reasons I have never heard anyone refer to a water buffalo as a “Cape buffalo.”

As hunters, I think it’s important to understand that water buffalo and Cape buffalo are significantly different animals. In biological terms, they are not as close as white-tailed deer and mule deer (which do share the same genus), and thus might be considered as disparate as sheep and goats or even elk and mule deer. They do have similarities. Both are cloven-hoofed ungulates; both are primarily grazers.

 

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As more people take up hunting in order to eat healthier, a new study is exploring the importance of wild game as a food source.

 

By Diana Rupp

In today's world, our food mostly comes to us purged, processed, and packaged. We acquire it not by growing it from a seed or raising it from a calf, but by swiping a card or clicking a mouse. Burgers sizzle on our grills, be we've never been to a feedlot or slaughterhouse. We crunch an ear of corn, but the machinery that planted and harvested it remains only a vague impression gleaned from a drive down a Midwestern interstate. It's incredible, really, how separated most of us have become from the basic elements that keep us alive.

That's one of the many reasons we are so lucky to be hunters. Like traditional farmers and ranchers, we are some of the few in the modern era who have not entirely lost the connection to our origins, the understanding of the personal responsibility we have toward the ecosystems and animals that nourish us.

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Iron sights are still useful in some hunting situations.

 

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A chat with the man who handled elephants, lions, and cheetahs during the filming of the 1962 classic movie starring John Wayne.


By Thomas McIntyre

Of the cast and crew, both human and animal, who assembled half a century ago in east Africa to make the iconic safari movie Hatari!, only a few are still around.  Star John Wayne, director Howard Hawks, and screenwriter Leigh Brackett all died more than 30 years ago, and actors Red Buttons, Bruce Cabot, Gérard Bain, and Michèle Girardon have joined them.  Most of the professional hunters who worked as technical advisors, guides, doubles, security, wildlife wranglers, and capturers, have also passed on.

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Fill out the form below to ask Africa expert Dr. Kevin "Doctari" Robertson a question. Doctari will do his best, but responses to all questions are not guaranteed.

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Question:


I am planning to have a double rifle built for use on buffalo and elephant. I am undecided between .450 NE, .470 NE, or .500 NE. I understand that ammo is more common for .470 and .500 NE. Do you have any recommendations?

 

Answer:


An interesting question, because there are many things to consider. As you mention, one of them is ammo--and this is an aspect that concerns me.

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Question:


 What are the suitable applications for the .35 Whelen in Africa? Especially with 275-and 310-grain Woodleighs?


Answer:

Your question is well timed because I am currently with Monty Kalogeras at his Safari Shooting School in Mason County, Texas. There is a very nice .35 Whelen here I have just shot. It is Monty's elk rifle of choice, with 250-grainers. This is fortunate because this is not a popular cartridge in Africa and I like to have personally shot all the cartridges I'm asked to write about.

I have long been a fan of the 9.3 x 62mm, which is very close to the .35 Whelen.  My Nine Three, as we call it, now has in excess of 650 buffalo to its credit. This is because this caliber (.366) is the legal minimum for the thick-skinned heavyweights in Zimbabwe --the country where I hunted professionally for two decades. I liked 300-grainers for buffalo, and with 286-grainers this rifle was also my favorite Zambezi Valley antelope rifle.

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