Hippo Hype

Today’s blog comes from one of our country’s most recognized wildlife biologists/outdoor writers/television show host of Trailing the Hunter’s Moon , Larry Weishuhn.  Although universally known as “Mr. Whitetail”, Larry trails the “Hunter’s Moon” throughout the world in search of big game hunting adventures. Tune in for this weeks episode of Trailing the Hunter’s Moon Saturdays at 9:30 AM ET.

As a child I heard a song, “I Wanna Hippopotamus For Christmas…”.  I had long wondered what it would be like to come face to face with a several ton critter with large teeth and a big mouth, which reputedly kills more people in Africa than any other big animal.  It was years before I had my first “run-in” with a hippo, crawling a trail paralleling Zimbabwe’s Save River while hunting kudu.  My PH Jonathan Hulme and I bumped into three hippos stalking a monster kudu we had seen walking in the river.  Thankfully the hippos going the way way we were buggered into the river rather than charge us.  Their loud splashes spooked the 60 inch kudu…  Ever since I have looked for an excuse to wreak revenge!

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The hippo right before he charged Larry.

Visiting with Frikkie du Toit at the annual Dallas Safari Club convention he suggested I come hunt problem hippo.  Plans to do so were put in place before I left his booth.

The long sharp canine teeth of Larry's hippo, which severed the leg of one of the locals.

The long sharp canine teeth of Larry’s hippo, which severed the leg of one of the locals.

Upon our arrival on the property in South Africa’s Limpopo we learned a couple of weeks earlier a hippo had attacked a small boat, spilled the occupants, then bit the leg off one of the men in the water.  Attempts to destroy the hippo had thus far been unsuccessful.  The ancient and monstrous problem bull was described as missing his right ear.

Our search began.  As you’ll see in the show, we were hugely successful in taking the rogue hippo, out of a pod of three.

What the episode doesn’t show is our being chased by the other two hippos.  Those hippos charged not only us,Frikkie, cameraman Blake Barnett and me, but also the hunting vehicle when pulled it close to the water’s edge.  We, guns at ready, thought several times we were going to have to shoot the other two hippos. Thankfully we did not have to!

What also is not shown in our “Hippo Hype” episode is what it took to truly take the hippo my cameraman/co-producer, Blake Barnett, shot.  We found that problem hippo early morning.  We finally killed him  late that day, precious light remaining; talk about tenacious and wary.  That hippo had caused all sorts of damage to local fields, homes and people.  He would only expose his nostrils when coming up for air.  He finally charged Frikkie and Blake.  Blake shot him up close using my .375 Ruger Guide Gun, topped with my Zeiss Duralyt scope, shooting 300 grain Hornady DGS (solids) as he charged out of the water!

Hunting hippo?  Nothing really easy about it.  Don’t really “want a hippopotamus for Christmas”!  But, I can hardly wait to hunt his kind again!

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