Traveling around the world to hunt exposes you to new adventures, but also enlightens you with new hunting skills. Study the hunting strategies and tactics of those who guide you in the unknown environment. New knowledge gained abroad can be useful for hunting at home.
Recently, I was lucky enough to visit Mozambique. There, I picked up a few tidbits of hunting information that are sure to bring a fresh approach to an old hunt, regardless of GPS location.
The practicality of an ax or hatchet
Slightly fading out of use since pioneer days, the hatchet, hatchet, or even tomahawk seems to be less common as an everyday tool. That may change as Jack Carr’s Navy SEAL character James Reece will wield a tomahawk for all orders of justice in Prime Video’s new series “The Terminal List.” Apart from Hollywood, the chopping tools are still working in the Third World and in yours.
A world away in Mozambique, the panga, a more robust version of a machete, is a resource that trackers carry, use and value as a reference tool in the bush. Our trackers, honed in sharpness, used the ax-like tool to clear brush while stalking, to cut down trees during a forest fire, and to lop off the head of a Cape buffalo killed by a lion before dragging it to a new location. for hyena bait. I have been servicing axles online ever since and making room in my truck’s gearbox for a new addition.
There’s always rope around
Hidden behind the seat of my truck and in my backpack, you can always find some paracord. In the bed of my truck there is always a piece of climbing rope to tie down the load at any time. But what if you forget to pack the rope or need extra length in the field to tie down a survival tarp?
Don’t worry, as I found out in Mozambique while helping build a hideout one afternoon. Timothy, one of our trackers, began stripping the bark off a nearby sapling in long, thin strips, effectively creating a natural rope to tie the branches together to form the base of our hideout. A prairie or desert environment may be devoid of trees, but even twisting long strands of herbaceous vegetation can suffice. In almost all other habitats, a sharp tool can provide nature-resistant lashing lengths.
Keep it cool without ice
No rural electrical service fed our Mozambique camp. We were hours by plane from any major city. A village of straw huts was the only nearby civilization and it had no store, not even a 7-Eleven. Needless to say, the ice was a treasured gift. A stocked propane refrigeration system at camp kept food supplies and our lunches for the day cool until they were stored in an ice chest, without ice.
Trackers brought their own lunches and hydration. To help keep the water, stored in recycled soda bottles, at temperatures of 100 degrees, they improvised. Using old, worn, heavy socks and other tattered cloth, they covered and wrapped the plastic bottles that were filled each morning from a deep well. The water came out cool and the shade, combined with the thick layer of fabric, ensured that the water did not reach boiling point for a refreshing snack at any time of day. It was a simple but effective solution to buying a stainless steel tumbler online, especially since FedEx didn’t support this bush zip code.
Shooting sticks galore
There are more models of shot sticks these days than, well, you can shake a stick at. With two sturdy sticks, narrow sections of air chamber, and a small bolt, you can make your own. I have yet to visit Africa and receive a couple of commercially manufactured shooting sticks. They were all built by hand from nature and man-made debris. And it all worked as well as any Primos Trigger Stick.
Aside from being basically free, the other great benefit of handmade shot sticks is that you can make them in any length. A shorter branch gives you the ideal sitting height, and longer tree sections give you models for standing up shots like the ones I found in Mozambique. They are so simple that even a home repair disappointment like me can create a workable set.
Smooth it out, drag a path
You can’t have a trail camera that covers every inch of a hunting property, but you can search for tracks when the trail camera budget is tight and conditions allow. My trackers in Mozambique used to use leafy branches to dust the areas around waterholes, along trails, and near baits to ensure that any animal walking on the smooth ground would leave an identifiable footprint.
For larger areas, like dusty two-way trails, the guides would cut down a bush (too abundant in the area) and tie it to the back of a Land Cruiser. Like western mountain lion hunters driving down snowy roads looking for cat tracks, the trackers would sit on top of the truck the next morning, surveying the two-track trails for evidence of a footprint from our next trace.
smells like shit
Lastly, just like the North American game, African species also use their olfactory senses to detect danger. Constant monitoring of wind direction to maintain our downwind advantage was aided by, well, bullshit. We didn’t cover ourselves with dung, but professional hunter Clayton Wallis would set alight a pile of dry Cape buffalo dung to burn next to us as we watched the waterholes at noon.
The spiraling smoke from the steaming excrement was twofold, he explained. She provided an image of where our scent was heading to determine if our position was worth it. He also believed that it helped hide human scent. I did not argue, since on several occasions animals came from the lee. The Wildlife Research Center will likely have a new poop division based on this same revelation.
Hunting foreign lands opens your eyes to a bigger picture. Enjoy the hunt, but soak up new information that could help you once you return to hunting in your homeland.