The 48-Hour Safari: The Pro’s Pro

By John Zent, Editorial Director

Eden looked better than everthe game plentiful, the camp spectacular, the staff welcoming.  I was thrilled to reunite with my friend, Jamy Traut, Eden’s head professional hunter.  Jamy is incredible at his job, not only in that he seems to know exactly what the quarry is going to do, but moreover he has a gift for making his hunters relaxed and confident. Spend a couple days with Jamy and invariably you come away convinced your hunting skills have improved.

Because the sun was starting to drop, he needed to hustle us out to the sight-in range and then maybe we’d have 30-40 minutes for a sundown stalk. True to form, he made that necessary zero check positive-reinforcement for believing in our rifles—both Drew and I were shooting the cool, new Kimber M84L in .30-06and our ability to shoot them well.

Stripes at Sundown
Jamy led us to a grove of tangled timber bordering a vast, open plain full of wildebeest, springbok, blesbok, gemsbok, ostrich, zebra, and giraffe. It was storybook Africa, Eden living up to its name.  After quickly scanning the herds, Jamy decided the best potential trophy was one particularly large zebra stallion.

Even from more than 500 yards I could see how he dwarfed his herdmates. Problem was, there were a couple hundred animals between us and the zebra, scant cover and we were nearly out of shooting light. Jamy manuevered us on a helter-skelter chase through the trees, trotting at times, stopping suddenly when he feared we would spook something and touch off a domino-effect stampede. Somehow the PH managed to choreograph the stalk just right, and when we did spook a few springbok or wildebeest, they ran in the opposite direction of the zebras.

The big stallion grew suspicious, however, and was running circles around his harem. Finally he stood for a moment, quartering-on hard at 275 yards, and it was clear this was it—shoot now or wait ‘til tomorrow.

               Zebra

The .30-06 may be considered marginal for something as stout and tough as a zebra. But this was one of those countless times when America’s favorite cartridge did its job. The 165-grain Trophy Bonded Tip drilled through shoulder, vitals, and paunch, penetrating nearly four feet. The stallion went down.

It was a great start, sure, but Drew and I knew we had a lot more to do in the next 48 hours.

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