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Peter Capstick's Africa: A Return To The Long Grass Kindle Edition

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Length: 240 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Peter Hathaway Capstick is the author of many books on hunting, including Safari: The Last Adventure.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Peter Capstick's Africa
"Through the back of the head," whispered Gordon Cundill in the tiniest of tones.
Keeping my eyes locked on the hazy outline of the huge lion, I eased the .375 H&H Magnum to my shoulder. Even through the low setting of the variable scope, his head looked like a small townhouse with excess shrubbery, just a peripheral halo of mane and mass, facing nearly away from me. With an imperceptable snick, I flipped the magnetic scope post into position, held as best I could through the heat waves reflected by the searing Botswana sun that would have staggered a Venetian glass-blower, and leveled at the spot where I reckoned his head met his neck. High, I would take the base of the skull; low, and the spine wouldbe shattered. Either way, a record-book lion for the wall.
If I pulled the shot aside on a horizontal angle, however, both Gordon and I knew what would happen.
It did.
After five and a half days of tracking and two close encounters of the worst kind, I could only see a long, grass-shielded impression of the Tau entunanyana --as he is so pronounced in Tswana--just his head; one ear and the curve of his skull. I knew he was accompanied by a female, with whom he had been doing what came naturally but at a rate and frequency that would astonish any human. (How's about a roll in the hay every twenty minutes? Maybe you, brother, are up to such acrobatics but I have had back problems recently.) I lined up the sights, knowing the 300-grain Winchester Silvertip would have to bull through considerable bush and grass, and aware that a deflection was not only possible but probable. I eased off the trigger of the custom Mauser anyway.
That was a major and very nearly fatal error.
Whether through bush deflection, lousy shooting (for which I am not especially known), or simple bad luck, the tremendous lion jumped fifteen feet into the air, swapped ends, and came down in what was most certainly our direction. I believe that he charged the sound of the shot, rather than Gordon, Karonda the gun bearer, and me, as our cover was as good as his. With more than five hundred pounds of male lion coming at us as quickly as he could manage, however, the matter was academic and fast becoming immediate. Unfortunately, he had to clear some heavy cover, mostly mopane scrub, before we could take a second whack at him and have, even in African terms, a relatively clear shot.
He broke around a clump of mopane some ten yards from where he had been lying with his paramour, in company with two fully grown but nontrophy-sized lions. When I tell you that he charged, I use the term not lightly. He wanted us. Badly. Later, we were to discover one of several good reasons was that he contained a not inconsiderable amount of buckshot in his guts, about the American equivalent of a Double-0. They were old wounds but had still made a clear impression on his future attitude toward humans.
As he rounded the clump of bush, you can absolutely bet that I had one thing on my mind: putting as many 300-grain bullets into that bastard as soon as possible and before our acquaintance became any more intimate. I had been knocked down by lions seriously intent on biting me on a couple of previous occasions and was not especially eager to repeat the scenario.
I found out later (although I do notremember hearing it at the time, so intense was my concentration in trying to kill the goddamn thing) that he was roaring fit to blow the leaves off the trees and the calluses off your right foot. Lord, but that was one awfully angry lion. (I suppose that had I just caught a .375 Silvertip at the base of the neck, I would have shared his sentiments.)
I shall never forget the gleam of his amber and anthracite eyes through the scope when he got into thinner cover only a few yards away. They glistened and glimmered in the hot sun above the crosshairs and post of the Bushnell scope like uncut gems, radioactive orbs centered on one thing:
I have no idea why everything tries to eat me. Maybe it's my breath. In any case, this was becoming a rather serious matter, especially when I heard a very strange sound just off to my left: a click, followed after perhaps a second and a half by a tremendous boom! I knew, of course, that it was Gordon firing his .500 Westley Richards Nitro-Express double rifle in a rather fervent attempt to keep the lot of us alive.
The only problem was that his ammo was defective and, after four attempts, Gordon had had three hangfires and one complete dud. It was a rifle worth more than a fine sports car (one of three he owns by noted craftsmen/manufacturers), and it had to be just our luck that when our lives were on the absolute line, his big bore--which should have been the precise item required to keep us all paying taxes--failed. Or, to be fair, at least the ammo did.
I shifted my sight to adjust to the fact that the lion was coming in at a five-degree angle and smashed a bullet right where it should have counted, smack in the middle of the chest. Okay, I knew that a .375 H&H Silvertip right through the engine room of anything less than a Tyrannosaurus rex was going to have a very negative effect on the chances of your becoming a grandfather. Gordon and Karonda knew the same thing.
The lion didn't.
He at least swerved at a few yards, and, with a dexterity I thought long gone, I worked the bolt and got a fresh round up the spout. As he turned, I thought, Aha! Gotcha!
Wrong again.
I have not yet had the chance to examine the skull of that grand beast, but I can tell you with a dozen witnesses, three of whom were on the spot when the incident occurred, that I shot that bloody lion exactly behind the base of the left ear. Precisely what the damage was has not yet been determined, but it sure as hell wasn't enough. He spun and came straight for us--and when a lion does that from a few yards, you had betterhave the ammo belt in the Maxim if you want to see the home airfield again.
Gordon's .500 Nitro slapped me again as I heard a peripheral click--boom! Another hangfire!
To say that this lion had me highly motivated would be an extreme understatement. There have probably been men who have worked a Mauser bolt-action faster, but I am inclined to at least give myself the benefit of a tie. I claim not the record, but I will tell you that there was a fourth round in my chamber in an astonishing hurry. As the lion continued his spin, I smacked him up the butt in an attempt to smash the pelvic girdle. Although the bullet hole was not more than an inch from his evacuating mechanism, I might as well have missed the bastard completely. It just made him madder and, trust me, he was mad enough to start with after my first shot.
I heard the snap of Gordon's striker on the .500 again, but this time there was no report at all. Meanwhile, the bloody thing was damned near on us, so old Karonda, the eighty-year-old Subiya gun bearer, decided to have a go at him with the spare .375 he was carrying. I saw it blow a clump of turf into the air some six feet behind the lion, though he later swore he had shot it through the hips. (There was no such bullet mark, more to our bad luck, as Karonda had once saved Gordon's life from a highly imminent lioness under very similar circumstances.)
I believe high-school boys have a term for the position we were now in but it is not for family reading.
I was carrying nine cartridges, all 300-grain Silvertips, and had thus far shot that cat twice through the head, once through the chest, and again up the arse. Gordon, through what I consider magnificent shooting, considering his hangfires, had to date placed at least one big soft-point through his guts. It's not the kind of shot that does much to break a lion down but, let's face it, it must be to some degree discouraging.
Having by now clearly seen us, the brute finished his turn and came straight for us. He was one hell of a lot bigger than the lions you see on television, at the circus, or in the zoo, and I want to tell you he was most definitely on a kamikaze mission. I slammed him again in the chest, which, according to all the textbooks as well as my own work and experience, should have cooled him down considerably. This was, however, not a cooperative lion. I don't think he could read.
You must understand that all this sort of thing goes on in a matter of seconds--if you're that lucky--and it is pure reflex that keeps you alive or gets you killed with amazing rapidity. You just don'tfool around with wounded, charging, record-book lions. Not very often, you don't.
I had now shot him four times, as I said; twice through the noggin, once in the chest, and once more in unspeakable places. Gordon had by that point gotten at least one 570-grain soft-point into him and--it all happened so fast--perhaps a second. (Hitting a running lion at that speed with three hangfires and a dud and connecting with two of the three rounds that actually fired is an amazing feat of marksmanship and shows the kind of, shall we say, intestinal fortitude with which Gordon Cundill is gifted.)
I carry a custom Mauser-action, Blin-dee-barreled, bolt-action .375 by theContinental Arms Corporation of New York. I had it made to hold six cartridges. If one loads directly from the action, however, there is always the risk of breaking the extractor, which is precisely what you don't need in the middle of a safari, let alone a lion charge. I therefore carry four rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber with the hammer down. My last shot was in the chamber of the barrel.
The lion finished his spin and resumed his charge. Gordon was off to my left and Karonda just to my right. As the beast whirled around, I stuck the last round in the rifle into his shoulder and aimed for hi...

Product Details

  • File Size: 4520 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (July 15, 1987)
  • Publication Date: July 15, 1987
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00669LM6K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #277,894 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

After leaving Wall Street, the New Jersey native hunted in Central and South America before going to Africa, where he held pro hunting licenses in Ethiopia, Zambia, Botswana, and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Capstick has also served in that most perilous of trades-- Elephant and Buffalo Cropping Officer.Peter Capstick has long made his home in Africa, the source of his inspiration.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Rafe W. Singer on July 16, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book is the definitive Capstick work. It is absolutely wonderful, and should be required reading for those who want to go to the Dark Continent and hunt the things that Bite and Trample. Capstick's wit is sparkling. Papa Bear Hemingway would be proud.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 2, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Return to the Long Grass was probably the best book I have read in years.I could not stop reading it! I could feel the hot African heat and the chilly nights.I would recommend this book to anyone who dreams of going to Africa on a safari
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jordan Duncan on July 31, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is the second Capstick book I have read (the first being "Death in the Long Grass"), and again I was not dissapointed. In this book he takes the role of the safari client--having retired as professional hunter--, and gives us more of an insight on what it is like to be the client on a big game hunting safari in Africa. He vividly describes the sights, sounds, smells, and the very essence of the Dark Continent.
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By Frank A Mastromauro on November 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you have read other books by this author it will be a familiar read. I happen to enjoy the stories and its well written. Its a little like sitting with a group of folks swapping stories, but interesting especially if like me you have never done this. The only issue, and its very small issue, I wish the author would stop trying to tell the readers, "Its a good thing we hunt and kill these animals, all the money we bring in" I do not knock hunters, but please dont tell me you are doing the animals a favor in a round about way. Thats right up there with other slogans " We bring you peace and freedom, even if we have to kill you a little bit to do it"
Other than that, I recommend this book to folks who enjoy stories about africa , about the wild places that still exist, that he intertwins stories about local people. Its a good read
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By Mestizo on February 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed Death In The Long Grass and Death in the Silent Places. But this one and Safari: The Last Adventure, just aren't as enjoyable. There's something missing. As a Christian, I definitely don't approve of the Gd word usage. I never thought I'd say this, but not every PHC book is as enjoyable as I'd like. Wish I hadn't wasted money on this. And no way to return a Kindle purchase or trade it in at a used book shop either. I'll take my chances with Death in the Dark Continent and Death in a Lonely Land, but that's about it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Peter Capstick (the author) was a modern man, passed away a few years now, one of the last contemporary american white hunters, before white hunters should be native in African countries, and other issues. This book is the second of a two-books series, the first being "death in the long grass". For those who like safary the real way, read this book and you will be in Africa keeping at the good job. Excellent book and written in present grammar style. No ancient uses or means. Absolutely recommendable.
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By Gregg Romens on February 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a travelogue of a trip to Africa, this was a good book. But it wasn't what I've come to expect from Peter Capstick. It was missing his signature turn of a phrase, his wry humor, and engaging storytelling. I got the impression (reinforced by the foreword) that this was a book he was doing to be doing it, not for love of the story he had to tell. His later book on Wally Johnson (The Last Ivory Hunter) recaptures the passion that this book lacks.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dennis H. Weston on August 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book accounts for Peter Capstick's time during a rolling one month Safari on the open plains and inland delta's of south-central Africa. Well before this particular title went to print I was aware of Capstick's fondness to create length and dramatic effect, but I still found myself marveling at the ways he transformed this largely uneventful safari into a two hundred-page novel. The "Opus" of this particular adventure would have be the lion that nearly "had them all" and eventually took something like nine shots to kill. After reading this book I came away with very two distinct impressions. The first would be that Capstick did not come across as a veteran professional hunter who was out for the pure love of the sport. He might have been a seasoned pro with countless lion to his credit but descriptions given throughout this book left me wondering. Another clear impression I took away was that the primary reason he took this trip was so he could write the book. Most sportsmen, past and present, look down on this as it questions some essential reasons behind hunting. Even the legendary ivory hunter James Sutherland, took the time to mention his distaste for this practice in his classic The Adventures of an Elephant Hunter. I also came away sensing a fair amount of animosity between Capstick and his hired professional hunter. Peter was critical of his Professional Hunters(PH) field tactics and all but blamed him and his equipment for the troubles during the lion hunt. This "no holds barred" type of writing may come across as refreshing too many but it is truly rare to see one PH openly criticize another in this way. In the end, his PH would probably had a "take it with a dash of salt" opinion of Peter's written account of their times together. When aked about my own opinion, I would have to concede that the glossy color photos are really the only reason I have for keeping it on my shelf.
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