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We all took deep gulps of Hennie’s whiskey. He turned to Clarry. “You want to jump from clay pigeons to elephant! Does a wounded clay charge directly at you? Five tons against your one hundred and twenty. David facing a hundred Goliaths all wrapped into one. Then you must angle a raking shot for the brain you can’t even see. It is stuck behind a mass of soggy bone at the back of a head that is twice the height of a doorway and it is a moving target.


Often the trunk is up in the way, looking to crush you. If you don’t hold your nerve and angle that little 500 grain piece of jacketed lead neatly up above the first trunk fold, depending on how tall you are, into the foot ball size brain target set far back between the ears. This elephant is going to wrap you it its trunk, dash you on the ground and then kneel on you until you are a soggy patch of mince and can fit into a little plastic shopping bag. Nothing left to pick up save your boots with your feet still in them, your belt and your hat.”


Let me read you a story from Pondoro Taylor: “A few days later they put 42 shots into an elephant without bringing him down. He charged one of the men, knocked him down and stood on him, snapped his spine, arms, legs and ribs broken. He grabbed the second one in his trunk and hurled him savagely against a tree, then ran to the other one who was firing at him, grabbed him with his trunk, flung him high into the air and when he came down kicked him backward and forward between forefeet and hind feet like a football. Then he walked to a big tree and leaned against it and died.”


We quickly refilled our glasses. Perhaps this big game hunting was not such a bright idea after all. Hennie should know. He was the expert. He had hunted the Big Five. That was why we were here.


He pinned me with a look. “Do you like walking in the hot sun, carrying a rifle that gets heavier with each step. You will constantly be irritated with mopani flies that creep into your nostrils and eyes for moisture. Tsetse flies sucking up your fresh blood. Your feet are blistered. On the spoor of an elephant all day you try to sleep under a bush at night with mosquitoes, scorpions and spiders entering each orifice sucking you for pudding. You are not sure when a black mamba or leopard can drop on you at any time. Are you a masochist?

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