Crooked Horn Outfitters

CrookedHorn

I love using my Crooked Horn Trail Light.

It works great when you’re trying to walk back to the truck at night.

BowKrazy Tip:  Hunting Season is here, be sure to practice shooting while wearing all of your gear and accessories that you will have on in the field.  I enjoy using my range finder hook up and bino system by Crooked Horn.  It is very accessible for bowhunting and makes my life easier while HUNTING!

CrookedHorn

 

 

Jolly Ole` Goose Hunting

TJ and I were up and at`em with the good ole smell of coffee brewing.  I walked into the kitchen to read the temperature gauge that read -5ºF, but with goose hunting on the brain I really wasn’t worried about the chill.  Katie (our dog) was up at this point tail a wagging knowing we were about to be on our way for some shotgun action. I opened the door to let her out and wow was it ever so cold brrrr….   
Living on the river is always an advantage for us because once we are ready we just head out the door and walk a few 100 yards and goosing here we come.  We hiked down to the river, glassing to see if they had any deer or elk grazing late morning; just enjoying the moment of being in the outdoors.  Once getting into our blinds the sense of cold started to set in.  It was cold enough that I immediately started to wiggle my toes and my fingers to ensure blood circulation would move through my feet so they wouldn’t freeze.  The snow had been so deep that when I had set my gun down snow had covered my chamber.  So I was quickly rubbing the snow off my gun so my old trusty Mossberg wouldn’t jam.
The morning started off slow with only a few birds flying high.  It was foggy on the river so the visibility made it a little harder than usual.  The sun started to perk up over the mountains and I could see something big flying over the river, “What is that?” I asked TJ.  As it came closer and closer it was a bald eagle.  The Eagle was soaring over the river and as soon as it flew by us we could see duck action but no geese.  We waited and waited, which felt like forever.  I was really starting to get cold.  My eyelashes had ice on them from the steam off of my breath and they were literally freezing.  
At this point we could hear the honkers and the sound kept getting closer and closer.  My heart started to beat faster; I am wide eyed looking to see where they were.  At this moment the feeling of cold had disappeared.  They were flying down river right towards us.  Katie started to get anxious as she could feel my nervousness, I am telling her “wait, wait, wait,” then in a split second they are right in front of us.  I shot off 2 rounds watching a big Canadian tumble into the river and Katie took off.  The flock was flying in the middle of the river so Katie was out swimming in the worse of it.  I bailed out of my blind running down river to keep up with my dog and the goose.  With my being a worrier I always meet Katie down river so she won’t try to swim up river to me, especially in these types of weather conditions.   I am trotting as fast as I can to keep up with them, WOW does the river run fast, or am I just out of shape?  LOL When Katie catches up to the goose she starts nudging it to me.  I yell, “Fetch it uppp!”  She is doing what she is best at, RETREIVING!  As she has that big ole` jolly goose in her jaws I can see that it is as big as she it.   Finally she was in safe waters and drops the goose onto the ice shelf.  She climbs up shaking and wagging her tail.  I continue to tell her, “Good Girl, come with it.”  I was so proud of my dog. 
Katie and I walk back up river to show TJ our prize.  He was hugging me all smiles.  We got our 1st goose of the season!  We were so happy.  Even though I was all warmed up at this point from running down river and walking back, I had to call the day with one goose.  We had enough for dinner and I was ready to eat some breakfast. 
The most important was being able to experience these adventures with not only my best friend but my future husband, TJ Guccini.  As always Smiling Big!

 

Quest to Africa Complete with NO SWEAT

Journal 3 10/12/12 Lafayette, Louisiana After an amazing dinner with my brother, we awoke to a Cajun depression dish (breakfast that consists of scramble eggs, onions, tators, and cheese).  TJ and I finished eating and packed up our BK truck.  The Louisiana weather was muggy and the truck was full of dew.  The temperature was in the 80’s. Checking into the Lafayette airport was no sweat.  The flight to Georgia was smooth sailing.  We then loaded aboard an over booked plane to New York.  Was that ever a sight for sore eyes?  Watching the impatient people was pretty ridiculous; they would slam their luggage into the overhead and complain.  This flight was a little different story.  It was so bumpy that I thought TJ and I were going to get sick, but once flying over New York and seeing the view it was priceless.  Our feeling of sickness vanished.

The weather seemed very cool maybe in the low 50’s and very breezy.  After a series of train rides we waited for our shuttle to take us to our hotel.  Talk about traffic in New York with people everywhere. The krazy thing was that our driver had never seen a Rifle before and he was so amazed that we had one.  One of the first things that stuck out to me in New York was 2 ambulances at the same intersection going in opposite directions.  After arriving to our Hotel we decided to rest and order in, knowing we had an 8,000 mile flight ahead in the early AM.

Journal 4 10-14-12 Johannesburg then Victoria Falls, Africa 4am wake up.  We took our 5 am shuttle to the airport arriving 2 hours too early.  I tried to snooze on top of my luggage waiting for our South African gates to open.  Check in was quite simple and I met a nice lady officer who was so happy to see a woman huntress.  We boarded our 16 hour flight and were soon up in the air to Africa.  TJ and I came to reality very quickly when the pilot came over the intercom announcing we were flying over Africa.  The sun was rising and just the thought of being in a new Continent was ecstatic.   TJ had felt like the flight was never ending due to his lack of sleep on the plane and I was just mesmerized waiting to land to start our adventure.  Once we landed in Johannesburg we headed towards customs to gather our luggage as instructed by the flight attendant.  We waited patiently never receiving our luggage and soon realized we were not supposed to exit into CUSTOMS.  Silly Americans Right!!!  We quickly got help and ran back through Customs hurrying to our gate.  It was pretty impressive to see so many different cultures as we ran by them.   Once arriving to our gate with plenty of enough time we grabbed a quick bit to eat and learned that tomatoes and mushrooms are a staple to the African Diet.   We then headed back to our gate for our final plane ride to Victoria Falls and instead of taking a train we took a 20 minute bus ride across the tarmac.  At this point the butterflies had set in for us knowing that in 2 hours we would be meeting up with the Tahoe Films Producer Tom Opre and the rest of the crew.  Our pilot must have felt our excitement because once we prepared to land we hit the runway with a bounce (touch and go) and he quickly lifted the plane back into the air.  Our stomachs were behind us now with the force of the plane.  Yes, there was slight feeling of O ****!!! The pilot of the 737 JET came over the intercom apologizing and stating, “OK folks let’s try it again!”  Did I tell you that TJ DOES NOT LIKE FLYING? We knew at this point forward we were fixing to have an adventure of a lifetime!  Smiling Big as I always say!  Upon exiting customs at Victoria Falls we were greeted by some tribesmen and the Tahoe Films team.  Tom and Livy Opre introduced us to my Professional Hunter (PH) Chap Esterhuizen and the camera man Ryan Rowe.  With big grins and much excitement I wasn’t even worried about the 10 hour range rover ride that we were about to face.  Little did I know?  It was HOT already.  Temperature was in the high 90’s.

 

In immediate culture shock I was amazed at the lifestyle of the indigenous people of Africa.  The C.A.M.P Fire Region (Communal Area Management Program for Indigenous Resources) is some of the largest untouched wild areas of Zimbabwe.  Our hunting concession alone consisted of 1.9 million acres of unformed wild African Bush. 

Driving through the rugged mountains was an experience of itself and we soon realized why it was going to take 10 hours to get to camp.  The use of a seatbelt and holding on for dear life was a workout.  Rocks, ruts, 50 plus MPH on sandy bumpy roads, river bottoms, and at one point I literally hit the roof! Seriously! Baja racing or Mud Nationals in Texas doesn’t have any EXTREME’s compared to Africa. With the sun setting, my PH Chap and I started swapping stories.  Did I tell you he has been attacked by a Leopard, Krazy enough on my Birthday?  True Story!  Our drive led us into the late hours of the night where we had to pick up our trackers and our counsel man.  (He is the guy to make sure we don’t wound any animals and that we shoot what we are supposed to).  The Funny thing is that we picked him up at the Bar which they call a Catena.  The village was a means of poverty where all you can think is wow, can these people live here, how do they do it?  But us spoiled Americans just have no idea what it’s like to live this way until you can see it for yourself.

We arrived at camp and met the other staff.  Mr. Allen who is the other PH that was taking Tom on his Dagga Boy hunt.  He was a very charming man.  Dinner arrived around 10 pm and it was chicken stew.  It was yummy to my tummy.  TJ and I settled into our hut as a bit of shock at first.  No electricity, a mosquito net to protect us while sleeping at night and a can of Raid.   We were exhausted so at this point we were looking forward to as our PH would say, “It’s time for a little DJ pillow and Club Duvet.”

Journal 5 Day 1 Hunt 10/15/12 Ume River Martin Pieters Safari We only had 4 hours of sleep before we headed out into the bush.  We were able to watch the first sunrise in Africa.The good news was I didn’t feel too tired but that was soon to come later.  Our morning started off with a drive that included me in the back sitting as high as the roof with the trackers.  We hiked and I saw my first elephant track that was as big as a pizza pan and then the evidence of where he pooped.  The poop looked like soccer balls.  Literally I kicked one around making myself laugh as it was pretty darn neat.  (I beat ya never kicked elephant pooped around and was amused by it)!  We kept on hiking and I have to tell ya, walking in the bush is one thing, but following the trackers is another, they walk as fast as we American’s would jog.  We headed up this spring looking for tracks and as we reached the top, this NOISE of Christmas beetles was so LOUD.  I literally had to put my hand over my ears.  It was overwhelming. 

We continued to track another 4 miles and after sliding down a mountain on my butt we ran into some bush pigs.  My trackers wanted me to shoot them but I kept shaking my head, NO, NO.  No pigs.  They were a little upset because those pigs are really good eating but I just couldn’t see myself shooting a pig.  I really didn’t want any oinkers on my wall.  We then got to the Ume River.  WOW, GORGEOUS.  We saw everything you could hope to see in Africa, waterbuck, elephants, kudu, bushbok, springerbok, hippos, crocs, impalas, doves, and Egyptian geese.  By this point I was feeling a little fatigue, we hadn’t eaten lunch yet and I was starting to feel the exhaustion.  But I kept pushing, no worries, just enjoy I kept telling myself.  We continued to hike through the dry creek bed of the Ume River and noticed a herd of impala in the distance.  Chap wanted to get a better look so we continued on.  After a few miles pursuing the herd the trackers found fairly fresh Cape buffalo tracks.  The sign gave us good indication that this would be where we were going to hunt in the evening.  We headed back to camp for fried chicken and a 30 minute nap before our evening hunt.  Heading back towards the Ume River we spotted old leopard bait hanging from the tree.  Knowing we were on the same turf as loins and leopards only made the hunt that much more exciting.  Starting our hike on foot we saw some baboons and I was ready to shoot but my PH didn’t want me to shoot because we knew the buffalo were near. 

With the amazing trackers on fresh sign we were immediately pinned down by the buffalo.  The herd was only 40 yards in front of us bedded down.  We stayed pinned for a good 1.5 hours all the while watching the buffalo milling around in the trees around us.  In a quick glance a water buck came running up towards us winding us and spooked the herd.  They took off running and it sounded like a rain storm on a tin roof, just the loud crashing in the bush.  As the buffalo ran Chap dissected every buffalo within range for a mature bull.  The herd would run and we would run, the herd would stop so we would stop.  This game happened only a few times before we pushed them too far.  It was such a thrilling experience.  It was now getting dark so we headed back to camp for dinner.  Dinner was great; pork roast and gravy with potatoes. 

Journal 6 Day 2 Hunt 10/16/12 Lake Karibia Martin Pieters Safari 4 am wake up call.  With no electricity the wakeup call consists of camp staff men who comes to your hut and says, “Knock, Knock”.  When you answer that means you’re awake.  NO snoozing in Zimbabwe.  Everyone asked, “How did yall sleep?”  The answer is always the same, “hot, sweating, humid, and sweating some more”. We ate our breakfasts which were big eggs with brown yokes and toast.  We started our truck ride for a good 2.5 hours into the bush. Surprisingly enough we saw a grysbok that I tried to quickly shoot but I wasn’t presented an opportunity.  These are very rare to see so I was a little upset.  But with a positive promising day we passed up some baboons on the road and immediately we all bailed out of the truck to shoot one.  I was so excited.  Those guys are fast.  We followed them and an old boy walked broadside in shooting range and I had a great success.  I was so happy that I took one for my brother.  He requested a baboon so one down off of the list.  They are pretty interesting creatures. 

Driving to another area we got a flat on our front tire.  The trackers changed it so fast, like faster than Nascar!  Little did we know that this was only the beginning of our Mechanical break downs?  As we headed back to the truck and drove down a rocky creek bottom our rear stabilizer arm broke on the truck.  They tied it back together with rope for a quick fix to get back to camp.   Well that didn’t work as we had planned because as we limped back to camp the truck continued to break every few 100 yards.  The only relief that we had was a second opportunity for another baboon.  As we pursued the baboons on a dry creek bottom the baboons ran us into some elephants.  The elephants were not happy, our track forward became backwards in a hurry.   In case you’re in Africa, elephants DO NOT move out of your way.   We backed out and headed towards the truck with no baboon.

The heat really started to take a toll on us.  The temperature was in the 100’s.  It took a few hours to get back to camp leaving us a quick 20 minutes to regroup and load up the boat. 

Chap told us that we would be glassing Lake Karibia’s shorelines for Cape buffalo.  Lake Karibia itself is the largest man-made lake on earth.  It’s estimated that every 200 yards they have a croc and your chances of surviving a swim in the lake is ZERO!  Four to five people are taken by a croc each year while fishing. It was the most relaxing evening so far, absolutely gorgeous!  We glassed seeing elephants, hippos, bushbok’s, impalas, and crocs.  We even saw some fisherman poaching so our PH Chapped called it into headquarters.   No buffalo but a great moment on the Lake.  We were able to watch the sunset and it was truly beautiful.  When we got back to camp we ate some yummy beef roast and gravy. 

Journal 7 Day 3 Hunt 10/17/12 Della Death March Martin Pieters Safari  3:30 am Knock, Knock wake up.  The day we will remember for the rest of our lives!  The Della Death March!  We drove 3.5 hours up a steep valley.  We then started our hike up the top of a mountain and glassed down looking at the terrain of the Omay.  It was actually quite mesmerizing.  You could see for miles and miles.  No buffalo but a memory that was definitely made from the view.   As we rested and enjoyed our moment we quickly started our trek to find buffalo tracks.  After an hour passed our trackers were on 3 dagga boys.  We tracked and tracked and circled up and down.  This was yet the steepest and thickest terrain so far while hunting.  My legs were bleeding at this point and I had thorns stuck in my trigger finger just oozing with blood.  We continued for a good 5 hours finding a poached impala in a snare. It was pretty sad.  The trackers found some more snares so they immediately took them down.  Continuing to trail our Dagga boys the trackers could smell them and unfortunately they could smell us.  With conditions less ideal for tracking buffalo with the sun was pouring down on us we found a shady tree (which can be quite difficult in the bush, more so a shady branch) and rested our feet and tried to cool off a little.

The sweat flies started early and just an FYI, if you smash one they let off an aroma and then they get worse.  With the 120 degree sun beating on us we quickly realized we were out of water and had no food.  Chap and the trackers had to make a team decision to call off these buffalo as we were chasing them in circles and we were miles away from the truck.  We had already hiked at least 10 miles.   Again at this point fatigue has set in; the heat is burning us and with the trackers basically jogging downhill.  The terrain was rocky so the heat was even hotter than what you would expect.  It literally felt like you were breathing in hot air like in a sauna.  My fiancé TJ was feeling it the worse.  He soon started to suffer from heat exhaustion and was starting to see black dots and lost feeling in his hands.  Chap immediately recognized the issue and gave the trackers all of our supplies.  Zela and Tubbs took off without us to get water at the truck that was miles way.   TJ rested under a branch and after each stop within in seconds he was asleep.  At one point he would not answer, Ryan and I jumped up to ensure he was still coherent.  It was one of the scariest moments I have been through in my life and I would never wish this to happen to anyone in their lifetime.   Chap continued to radio to the trackers to get them to hurry to get water to not only TJ but to all of us.  I could hear the panic in Chaps voice but I knew that I had to stay strong.  I can tell you that I prayed a whole lot.  It was only the heat that was causing us to struggle.  The weirdest thing was after each 15 minute rest TJ would jump up and be ready to go a little further and then be down again and those are the moments he did not remember.  We found out later that TJ’s kinetic watch had lost an hour of time during his episode as if he was not even alive.  The trackers soon found us and gave us water and caffeine.  We were all able to make it back to the truck and after a few electrolytes we started to feel much better but very fatigue.  I had eaten a few Sour Cream and Onion potato chips and an orange.   It is now around 5ish and the little bit of coolness from the sun setting felt awesome.  We came over a ridge and zebras were on our far right on top of a hillside.  Chap stopped the truck immediately and looked at them through his binoculars.  The trackers were telling me to shoot one.  I didn’t know that Zebra is the Prime Rib for Africa.  Tubbs grabbed the sticks and Chap and I grabbed the rifles.  My nausea faded and dizziness as I knew that I had to focus.  As we prepared for the shot the zebra ran over the hillside.  Chap grabbed me and looked me into the eyes and said, “Can you do this, are you ready?” I nodded my head and said yes sir.  At one glance we were running up the hillside to the zebras.  As Chap and I were running we were in a pool of petrified wood, Chap grabbed a piece and gave it to me and I put it in my pocket while in motion.  (I was looking for petrified wood for a very special friend of mine John Kirk).  As we got to the top of the mountain the zebras were in range. 

After swallowing sweat flies and blowing them out of my eyes I had a broadside shot and quickly took it.  The funny thing was I asked Chap if he was ready before I shot.  The Zebra dropped and we ran up the hill and looked down to see TJ and the rest of the crew right behind us.  TJ said, “Baby I was not going to miss you shooting a zebra.  I wasn’t planning on shooting a zebra, but in Africa it isn’t always about what you’re planning to shoot, it is when an opportunity presents itself you take it.  I am very proud with the choice I made and thanks to the trackers I had an amazing success with a trophy zebra.  I was even more proud to know that I was able to provide meat to the trackers and that they could take it to their family.  One of the trackers (Zela) had on a New Orleans Saints NFL shirt.  What a coincidence.  The incredible thing was that he carried a front shoulder and a hind quarter on his back by himself. The trackers and Chap saved our lives that day and it is a day that we will all remember for the rest of our lives.  When we were driving back to camp we passed through a village on our way home and the people ran up to the truck screaming, lalalalal, jubula, jubula (which is empty water bottles).  It was a site to see and I was a little scared at one point.  The trackers were throwing out all of the empty bottles and to these villagers it was a blessing.  That made me even more proud.  When we got back to camp we had zebra steaks, mashed potatoes, and gravy.  Umm it was so yummy!   The BEST meal yet.

Journal 8 Day 4 Hunt 10/18/12 Martin Pieters Safari  4 am wake up with a sleepless night of hippos, and blue ball monkey’s.  We slept with wet towels because of the heat and I snuggled up to an ice water bottle for a little bit of coolness.  For breakfast I had cereal and when I poured my milk I could see all of the bugs escaping the liquid crawling out of my bowl.  I am not saying I couldn’t eat bugs but I settled with only eating a half of an orange.  The heat had melted my appetite at this point and it was hard enough to try to eat my orange.  We headed to the croc farm to check the shorelines for buffalo tracks and we took an alternate route andfound a spring with fresh tracks.

We started to hike for about 3 hours and we were hiking towards a fire.  The smoke was making it hard to breathe but we were able to track the buffalo that had bedded down a draw and then up they went over a few ridges to get away from the fire.  We stayed on their trail and as I was following Chap I turned around to see TJ and wham ran right into Chap as he stopped.  We were both giggling so loud.  (They called me a little monkey pack on Chap because I followed him so close).  It was nice to focus on something funny instead of the heat.  Not 45 yards ahead we spotted the buffalo.  TJ and Adam were stuck in the open so they had to try to hide under a little tree that did not protect them from the high sun.  As Chap would glass I would look under his arm and he then said, we need to get you to stand on a stump for you to be able to see. LOL We stayed there for at least 1.5 hours.  The sun was burning the tops of my shoes.  It was nuts!  It was so hot the buffalo wouldn’t even lie down.  We couldn’t see if they had a big dagga boy so we had to back track and go around to get another look. We made it around and no dagga boy.  I was very disappointed because we were working so hard.  I just wanted to be successful ya know.   We drove back to glass the shoreline where I was able to see some fisherman cleaning tilapia.  After talking to the fisherman we were told that the buffalo were coming in and out of the shorelines to feed and drink in the middle of the day and late evenings.

We were glassing and we could hear elephants right behind us only a few yards away.  I knew that if they were going to come out I would slowly roll underneath the pickup.  Even a hippo was curious and was popping his head out of the water to see what we were doing.  It was so amazing. 

Not only did we get to see the beauty of Mother Nature we were also able to watch the sun set on Lake Karibia.We headed back to camp to have zebra stuffed steaks with potatoes and green beans.  As much as I wanted to make a happy plate my stomach would only let me eat a few bites and then I had to go to bed to get some rest.   I snuggled up to my ice water bottle and in the middle of the night I woke up sweating with the heat.  I would try to rinse off wetting my towel for a little bit of comfort but it just never worked not matter how hard I tried to NOT think about the heat.  I almost wanted to lay on the cement but the thought of black mambas made me change my mind.

Journal 9 Day 5 Hunt 10/19/12 Lake Karibia Martin Pieters Safari 3:30 am Knock, Knock.  Breakfast I was only able to eat a whole orange for breakfast.  With a 1 hour drive to a new area I was excited and ready to hunt hard core for a cape buffalo.  (Not like I hadn’t been doing that every day, ya know)!  We quickly saw a heard of impala. 

No shooter bucks but it was nice to see wildlife.  As we drove a little further, Chap stopped the truck and saw a trophy waterbuck.  He said, “Jackie you have to shoot this one, he if VERY NICE!”  I looked through the scope and had a straight on shot.  I noticed as the animals get bigger in size they look at you as if they are going to charge you or run and this waterbuck was definitely not running.  I took a shot at him, a bit low.  At first no sign, no blood!  I was starting to feel upset, sick to my stomach thinking that I wounded an animal, a trophy animal at that.  And then within steps the blood trail started.  I begin to smile so big because I knew he couldn’t be far.  The trackers were on his trail and as we came up above a ridge and we saw him lying down.  He stood up and I took one last shot.  I then started to have tears fall as my adrenalin had taken over. 

I immediately started to get dizzy and I had to sit down with the over excitement.  It was still bright and early in the AM only about 6:30 and then all of a sudden we could hear this noise coming from the bush.  I quickly reloaded (which I should have been already) just in case and stood up, my heart starting to race again.  Believe it or not, out of know where villagers showed up for the meat.  When they heard the gun shot they came to see what it was to see what meat to take home to their families.  Seeing their faces and their big smiles was such a grateful experience.  It really was.  I was so proud of my trophy that day.  My waterbuck was so old that the PH told me he maybe had one more year in him and that he had already lost 3 to 4 inches off of his horns.  But I didn’t care.  I was so happy and smiling big!After loading the waterbuck into the truck we headed to a village for us to drop off the waterbuck to another truck.  Once we unloaded we were on our quest to find new buffalo tracks. We wound up seeing a poached elephant.  We kept on going and 2 of our trackers went on foot to see if they could find any tracks.  We stayed at the truck. When they returned we only got more bad news.  A big Dagga Boy was caught in a snare and the lions had got him.  It was so sad to know that the poachers just let the animals go to waste.   Just for 20 dollars or less.  We continued on foot at this point and we found fresh tracks.  We followed the trackers through the thicket of the grass that is by far 8 foot tall and continued on for a few hours. 

After a few miles into it we came upon an opened area where the grass had been burned a little and the trackers come to a halting STOP!   They all looked around and started to talk in a different language.  Chap was talking with them and looked at me with an upsetting face.  Chap tells me, “Jackie I am sorry it is too dangerous, we can’t go any further.”  In confusion I am like why?  What is going on?  Well, what had happened was as we were tracking some poachers had cut off the buffalo with dogs and they were hunting right in front of us.  Poachers will kill you in Africa if they see you so we didn’t have a choice but to withdraw from our buffalo tracks and carry on back to the truck.  I was just so disappointed, so hard we had worked, so long we had hiked, and nothing, we had to leave.  I just was boggled and upset.  I knew that Chap was doing everything he could but I was just draining myself chasing these buffalo. With the sun high in the sky we were pressed with time to get back to Lake Karibia to see if there were any signs of buffalo.  It was the hottest day yet, and Ryan and I were swaying in the back of the truck just drowning in the heat.  The sun was ripping into us on the 2 hour long journey to the Lake.  We finally made it to shore and I only had enough energy to jump out the truck and lay right in the sand and within seconds I was sleeping.  The others had pulled out the tarp to rest.  I might say my camera pack was quite comfy until I felt coolness in my hand.  I moment of wet cool something????  So I opened my eyes and looked in my palm to see a pile of pure white bird poop.  Yep, a bird pooped in my hand while I was sleeping.  I then grinned and stoop up feeling a little dizzy and found some more sour cream and onion potato chips.  I devoured them not even leaving a crumb.  I then went lay be TJ looking at my legs and armed, scratched to the bone and the filth that my body was covered in. Everyone started to wake up and Chap called into headquarters requesting the boat to pick us up at base 2.  Tom and Livy were already in the boat with their PH (Mr. Allen) so they just decided to come get us.  Chap told me that we would get up extra early and do everything we could to find buffalo on Day 6 and this had been his hardest hunt yet this year.  He said 95% of men couldn’t handle the heat and would take a day off and we just kept pushing.  I told him no worries and we started to load up the truck.  We started to drive along the shoreline and within a few miles BUFFALO!  Chap immediately turns the truck off letting roll backwards to stop.  We grabbed the guns and the stick and off we were.  Glassing over the shoreline the buffalo spotted us.  Immediately they took off running so we took off running.  Here we go with that game, the buffalo would stop and then we would stop the buffalo would run then we would run.  You could literally hear the ground moving as they were running tromping up dust.   The buffalo then went to a point where we couldn’t see them and off to the Jest we were running.  (The Jest is thick thorns and brush that rips through your body, tearing your clothes and leaving you with scars for life).  We are running though the thickets of the jest getting scratched in the head with the thorns and limbs; sweat just pouring off of our face from adrenalin, determination, and execution.  We then came around the shoreline and we cornered the buffalo from the opposite side of the shore.  Chap and I moved out from behind a small bush and we are now facing the herd of buffalo.  NOTHING was in-between them and me except shooting sticks and my 375 H&H Blaser Rifle.  Chap whispered into my ear, “Shoot the one with the snot in his nose, the one with the snot, do you see the one with snot, with the snot hanging, shoot!”  Less than 40 yards away I could see the Dagga Boy staring me in my eyes, he is facing me with his nose facing up trying to figure out what I was.  I squeezed the trigger hitting him in his shoulder watching him stumble.  Tubbs gave Chap his gun and I shot another bullet into him while he was trailing behind the herd only 15 yards away.  You could hear his breath of air as we know it is a shot into the lungs.  The buffalo followed the herd into the bush and the trackers are on the blood trail quick.  At this point everything looks like a buffalo, every black dot, every movement, and every sound crisp.  Truly amazing how your senses take over and you are now not the Hunter but you’re the Hunted.  (Tom, Livy and his PH were charged only days before hand by a Dagga boy.  Tom’s PH saved their lives as their bull slid to a screeching halt just 3 feet away from them with no more bullets.  Stay tuned to Tahoe Films for this episode)!  Chap sees horns lying down and he shoots and then pulls me in front of him to shoot the buffalo again.  (Cape Buffalo KILL 200 plus people a year and Chap had already lost 2 of his buddies from Buffalo in 2012.  Buffalo will lie on the ground and wait until you get near them and then charge).  With great success everyone is happy and cheering.  The trackers come running and hugging me, picking me up and shaking my hand.  Sweat is pouring off my face.  The trackers grab the AX to get the thicket where we could see the horns and we the buffalo, but as we got closer we realized it was a Cow Buffalo.  Chap saying, “What happened, I know you shot a bull, I know it?”

Playing back in his head we were trying to figure out what happened.  We can then see the bullet hole in her butt.  Evidently when I shot the Bull at such close range the bullet must have ricochet off a bone and exited the bull hitting an off angled cow in the butt.  Chap immediately tells me to reload, and at this point we now have a wounded bull somewhere. 

When Tom, Livy and the other PH heard the shots they came to see the success.  They were all proud and we all had this look as to shock as we now have to find this bull.  Chap told the other PH, Mr. Allen and his trackers to run to get his gun and bring Tom and Livy to safety.  We now have 4 gunmen.  We back track to where I shot the Bull the 2nd time.  At this moment, you can literally hear everyone’s heart beating.  The intensity that you can feel on everyone’s face, the sweat beating off of all of us, the blood dripping from our legs, the true EXTREME OF HUNTING is being tested at this very moment tracking a DAGGA BOY IN THE JEST.

Mr. Allen would push me in front of him for me to stay behind Chap and as Mr. Allen would hear something he would push me out of the way to protect me.  I can’t even think what Mr. Allen was thinking knowing he was just charged by a wounded buffalo days before that took 11 bullets.  We continued on the blood trail that had gone to the right where we had gone left before after the cow.  TJ hears brush breaking and the Bull jumps up.  Chap shoots the bull in the back side, making the buffalo do a complete 360 and he falls to the ground.  Chap grabs me and pushes me forward, “Shoot him, shoot him, in the ear, and shoot him.”  I squat down with my 375 H&H Blaser and lay one into his shoulder.  Chap telling me, “Again, again, shoot him in his ear”!  Loosing balance I hit the dirt and reload quickly to shoot a perfect shot into his ear.  I stood up and smiled knowing that finally we have succeeded.  Chap gave me a big ole hug and the rest of the crew.  I was so proud, so happy, the feeling of accomplishment that I had completed my task as the Miss 2012 Extreme Huntress.  The moments, the memories and the feelings of being in Africa of EXTREME HUNTING we will all remember FOREVER. 

We then took pictures and headed out the jest.  It is now almost dark and as we are walking out you can hear trees breaking and crashing 40 yards in front of us.  We all start to run backwards, Chap telling me to reload and shoot the ground if the Elephants charge.  TJ’s only protection is a tripod and he is shuffling behind me, as us 4 gunmen or in front.  We shuffled backwards the rest of the way out of the jest.  As we made it out the villagers were all around us smiling big and so happy that not only did they have one buffalo but 2.  It was pretty amazing to see how they took every piece of meat that is on an animal not leaving anything for the cats.  We relaxed in the boat on our ride back to camp.  I took a shower and came out to the dinner table exhausted.  We had yummy pork roast of some kind with delicious squash stuffed with cream style corn.  It was so good.   With a full belly I was beat and just wanted to sleep because I knew the next day we were going back out to get the rest of the bull out and hunt for one more baboon.  Yep, I wasn’t done hunting yet!

Journal 10 Day 6 Hunt 10/20/12  5 am Knock, Knock.. By this morning my appetite was back a bit.  I was so hungry.  We loaded up in the truck and headed out in search of baboons on our way to the buffalo.  No baboons. We made it to the area where my bull was and hiked into the Jest again.  The villagers were with us at the point.  They had buckets on their heads, bags, knives, and big smiles.  They were so happy to come get their meat and I was even happier for them.  We made it out to where he was and I was so proud.  It was such a warm experience.  We had hunted so hard in the heat with the exhaustion, the fatigue, the nausea, but we had all did it!

The night led us to a fine evening with the whole camp.  We visited and shared our stories.  The Chef was cooking BBQ and his marinade was GUT SOUP.  YEP, it is true.  And I will tell you what that was the BEST BBQ that I have ever eaten, plus we had grits, salad and sausage that was yummy too.  It was so great to have an amazing memory.

Journal 11 Day 7 Heading to Bulawayo 10/21/12  6 am knock, knock.. Packed and ready we ate a quick bite and loaded up in Chaps truck.  We gave our goodbyes and head to meet the other truck on a 3 hour off road trip.  Through storytelling and making memories we arrived to our one destination to meet a van that would bring us to Bulawayo.  It was so awesome meeting so many great people.  We gave hugs and I was very sad knowing it was time to leave Africa at this point.  We loaded up in the van and off to Bulawayo which is an additional 8 hours left.  Tom, Livy, Ryan, TJ and me shared our experiences in Africa.  We arrived to Bulawayo stopping at Wimpy Burger, Yes that is right.  We order 5 hamburgers and then they come out with 3 and tell us that they only had chicken left.  Livy and I said Ok, and then they came out with chicken that umm let’s just say it was pretty WIMPY and we couldn’t eat it.   We then arrived to our little hut that had Electricity!  We took hot showers and had a fan.  Tom bought us a great dinner at the restaurant and off we were to a good night’s rest before our 16 hour flight in the morning. 

Journal 12 Day 8 10/22/12 7 am Breakfast which consisted of yummy fruit, eggs, sausage, toast, and cereal with no bugs.  It was such a delightful way to start our last day in Africa.  We then piled up into the car and went to the town to look at the export area where all of the animals come into in Africa (kind of like a really big taxidermist shop).  That was pretty neat, but really stinky.  We then headed to downtown to do a little bit of shopping.  That was pretty interested.  To us Americans it would be like Black Friday every day.  We then headed to the airport for a sweating wait.  We were off to Johannesburg then to New York 16 hours later.  TJ and I slept almost the whole time on the plane.

Journal 13 Day 9 10-23-12 Waking up to the cool air on the plane and the announcement that we are in America was a great feeling.  We then collected our luggage and tried to go through Customs.  Well that didn’t turn out as expected?  I guess my littleness didn’t appear to be a hunter?  I was pulled into a room and asked to check my gun and about 15 questions on to why I was in Africa.  I guess when I explained everything to him about my gun, grain of bullets I used and my trophy animals he had a new vision of an EXTREME HUNTRESS.  I passed through the gates and then we all waited until 11:30 am for the Pizza place to Open.  YES that was the first AMERICAN FOOD I ate and wanted to eat when I got back was Pizza!  So Good so yummy!   We then said our good byes to Tom, Livy and Ryan.  TJ and I headed to our plane to Atlanta, to board another to Lafayette.  My brother picked us up at the airport and we shared our stories while eating some shrimp and oyster poboys.

I wanted to say thank you to Tahoe Films, Tom Opre for having the Extreme Huntress Contest.  This Contest was an amazing experience and it will be remembered forever.  Tom supporting us in this industry is more than any huntress can ask for and I just want to say thank you so much.  We are the next generation and only we Huntress’s can make the difference.  I also want to say thank you for the support from all of the Communities. Without your support I wouldn’t have got to experience this amazing adventure.  I am so proud to be the Miss 2012 Extreme Huntress!

Look for my episode of Eye of the Hunter™ to air Nov 25 and Jan. 6 at 7AM EST on NBC Sports.  If you miss the Episode you can watch it on Tahoe Films

Miss 2012 Extreme Huntress Jacquelyn Gross
from Louisiana & Resides in Colorado