A Sharp Eye and a Good Shot


In the school holidays, fifteen year olds, Tim Hughes and Malcolm Mackendrick went shooting  on Giraffe Farm.

A Sharp Eye and a Good Shot

At fifteen, home for the school holidays, Tim and his old CJR Junior School friend from Connemara Gold Mine, Malcolm Mackendrick, decided to go camping on Giraffe Farm.

A Sharp Eye and a Good Shot

The lads were able to look after themselves for a week ‘camping’ in a rondavel next to a secure Cato hut for tools and cattle dip concentrate on Gervas’s Giraffe cattle ranch on the Gokwe Road.

Dorothy, Tim’s stepmother, provided the two young hunters with blankets and food. Using the back farm roads, Tim drove the ’39 Chev pick-up he had restored.  The lads took the farm’s .303, Tim’s .22 plus a 12 bore double barreled shot gun with boxes of bullets.

Two African herdsmen, Meshek and Johan, lived in kias (huts) on the property. They were tasked by Gervas to patrol the ranch to check fences and the wellbeing of his cattle. Without Gervas’s knowledge, Tim and Malcolm persuaded the two men to be their personal game trackers assuring the Africans that they would be well rewarded with plenty of meat.

Early on the first morning of the camping holiday, the herdsmen soon had the hunters on the fresh spoor of some wild pigs. “Nantsi!Ngulube” (There! Pig) whispered Meshek pointing into some dense bush.

“Ipi? Mina hayikona bona yena”, (Where? I can’t see it) said Tim. After a few seconds there was a slight movement. Now Tim saw a large African bush pig. It was a clear shot. Tim bowled the boar over with a .303 bullet through its brain.

Using their knobkerrie axes the Africans soon chopped a straight branch of a msasa tree (brachystegia spiciformis). They used the inner bark of the same tree to tie the pig’s feet to the pole.  Meshek and Johan hoisted the heavy boar, secured to its transporting pole, onto their shoulders. They walked out of the dense bush to a vehicle track where Tim could drive his pick-up for the pick up.

Tim and Malcolm drove the trackers to their kias and gave them all the meat. Later that same evening they each shot a guineafowl, one for their own meal that night and one for the following night. The next day Tim’s father, Gervas, arrived with labourers to dip cattle.  Shooting was banned.  Dorothy had sent a lunch for the boys along with the her husbands meal.  They They watched the dipping together and Gervas left by mid afternoon with his men.

The lads went spotlighting that night.  By swinging the pick-up passenger door with the spotlight attached, Malcolm dazzled a duiker (small antelope).  Tim shot it. The hunters kept the hind quarters and gave the remainder to the Africans.

Not many days later they both decided it was time to return to Melrose farm and back to lovely home cooked meals.

Many Thanks to Tim Hughes of Queensland, Australia for the  picture and the excerpts from his unpublished manuscript  Matambega and Son written in the 1980’s.