Hunting > Big Game

Blue Collar Elephants

A quest for adventure leads the author to Africa to track wild African elephants in the Zambezi River Valley.

Do you feel it? No? Well, you will. The timing is different for everybody. For me it started early. I am 51 years old and from a family that dies young. I live with the crushing weight of mortality every moment of my life. I am imminently aware of time and I pass each day with the panicked knowledge that there is so much left undone.

I am a hunter, there is no denying that. In fact, to deny it would be to deny myself, my very existence. And in my hunter's heart is a quest for adventure. I have friends who are every bit the hunter I am who are content with nothing more than chasing whitetails. I suspect it's something buried deep in my soul, a hidden particle of a gene deep in my reptilian brain that compels me; something I can't and don't care to explain, but I am different from them. I'm a throwback perhaps, or maybe I simply haven't decided to repress what makes us hunters. Either way, it's what keeps me awake late at night staring at the ceiling and it's what fuels this desperation of time. I suspect that any honest and true hunter will understand. It's that indefinable thing that drives our lives and prevents true contentment; it's the hunter's thirst.

I want to do it all, but it's wild Africa that sets my heart pounding the loudest, and perhaps no other animal symbolizes African hunting more than the elephant. The trouble is, I was born blue collar and I have never strayed far from my roots. While it costs little to read and to dream about the adventure of elephant hunting, the reality is that it's become a rich man's sport ... with one possible exception.

The allure of elephant hunting for a true hunter, as opposed to a "species collector," is wide ranging and tough to define. But the adventure of hunting the largest, and some say the most dangerous, land-based mammal on Earth is undeniably exciting. In the modern world we are not supposed to admit to being addicted to adrenaline, or that we thirst for adventure with an element of danger. Modern day America has emasculated us and robbed us of our honesty and maybe even our souls. But a hunter walks his own path. I don't care so much about political correctness as I do about sampling life on my own terms.

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