Look Out Pumba!
A Short Story from Larry Potterfield
A very nice warthog, shot with my first generation of the 'Nearly-Perfect Safari Rifle' in 375 H&H.
I have never actually hunted for warthog, but have shot a few. You see, warthog isn’t something you go to Africa to hunt, like kudu, sable, bongo or the big five. A warthog is a great trophy, but it is generally an animal you just happen onto while hunting something else; and then, it is simply a question of the size of the tusks and whether taking the shot would interfere with your hunting mission for that day.
This was a strange encounter. We were actually hunting elephant and were on the plateau, above and near the escarpment of the Mbaragandu River valley in Tanzania. This plateau and river was likely formed by the great East African Rift System that developed 25 or 30 million years ago. We stopped the safari car and walked quietly to the edge of the escarpment to glass the huge area below, between us and the distant river, thinking we might spot something interesting where the bush was thin.
We saw no elephant, but 75 feet below and 150 yards out was a very nice warthog. He was by himself and rooting around in the leaves – completely unaware that we were watching him. Why he was so far from the river with no apparent water supply, we didn’t understand. It only took one quick look for me to know he was a shooter, then eye contact with my professional hunter for confirmation. The tracker set up the sticks and I shot him – simple as that.
But now we had to fetch him out of there, and that turned out to be quite a job. We looked as far as we could see both ways on the rim of the escarpment. Down, nearly straight down, didn’t look any easier than where we were, so this was as good as we were going to get. The good news was that a safari car always has lots of rope for tying up baits and building leopard and lion blinds, so we found a good tree to tie to and rappelled to the bottom to collect our trophy. Not too tough; but climbing back to the top, on the same rope, took a whole lot more effort. It certainly was a grand experience and I will never shoot another warthog, without remembering this one.