Hunting the American Tsavo

Unfortunate to my life I have never hunted in Africa, or even been there. That is except through the pages of many a book and story on the subject as well as a few movies that captured live action there along with some realistic hunting television shows. Each has provided some keen insights to hunting that still wild domain. Indeed, the Dark Continent must be some very special land if not a totally hostile place given the array of very dangerous game that possesses those harsh habitats.

I have been fortunate though to have shared campfires with an acquaintance who has hunted in Africa twice and is now planning his third safari. To say I am jealous would be an understatement. I try to quell his stories with those of my own exploits here in America and other locales on the globe. I suspect he scoffs at the comparison, but they are my memories to sustain me never-the-less.

In fact, I go so far as to suggest that America has its own Tsavo. Tsavo being the region in Kenya at the intersection of the Uganda Railway over the Tsavo River. This area in Africa is well known for populations of bush elephant, cape buffalo, leopard, and lion. All these are among the most dangerous animals to hunt on Earth. We may not have these species, but we have our own share of dangerous game to pursue right here in the 50 states.

America’s Tsavo? Dangerous game? Our list includes grizzly bears, brown bears, black bears, moose, and mountain lions. Other game our lands harbor in dangerous places to reach include all the rams, and mountain goats. To reach those is another kind of dangerous in its own respect. To be sure, though rare, hunters have been attacked by elk and deer.

I know, I know, our dangerous species pale in comparison to cape buff, elephants that can squash you in a single step, or lions that could drag you off through the thorns never to be seen again except for the red stains in the sand and remnants of flesh and bone. Gruesome for sure.

Even so, facing a giant grizzly in Alaska, an angry moose in a bog, or a mountain lion on an overhead ledge can be quite daunting. I recall elk hunting in Montana once riding a horse along a mountain trail when a rock came down the wall beside us. Looking up a huge mountain lion was peering down. It sent shivers down my back for sure.

So, America is not Africa, but Africa is not America either. We have great hunting opportunities here stateside. And if you want a thrill, just square up against a mean bear, or a pissed off moose, and you’ll get all the excitement you can handle I’m betting.

By: John J. Woods

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