Doctor A with wife as an observer in tow set off for Africa. Top of the list is a male and female lion. Not bad for a new hunter to jump to African lions. We landed in Johannesburg, South Africa after a 16 hour flight from Atlanta, and were met by representatives of Thormahlen and Cochran safaris. They helped us through customs and checking in my rifles. I carried a Blaser R8 in a .375 caliber and a Blaser R8 30.06 for smaller plains game.
Hunting lions is unique. When you start following dinner plate size tracks you are immediately alert. We followed the lioness tracks for less than 30 minutes when we walked up on her at 10 yards. She was in the shade of a small tree and my first shot in the right chest caused her to raise up, roar and turn to charge. She cleared about 5 yards when my second shot took her under the right eye and she went down for good. Lying only 5 yards away, I took a deep breath and looked at her massive head and paws before anything else. With a Trijicon 1-4 dangerous game scope, her head and front paws completely filled my scope view as she lunged toward me and I pulled the trigger for my second shot.
My wife said little as she bent over the beautiful lioness. The action was so fast neither of us had time to be afraid. It just happens. The next day 4/25/13 was my 61st birthday and one I will never forget. We left the lodge about 8am and used our Toyota land cruiser with a fine young tracker out front on a seat welded to the front bumper. After driving along sandy roads he spotted a giant male track and we were off on foot. This stalk covered several kilometers as the lion was moving away from us. We pushed him onward and spotted claw marks on a tree that he had started up. Not far from that tree we smelled the lion in some short grass perhaps where he rested briefly. Not far from the grass my PH (professional hunter) started to run and waved my wife and I to follow. He had heard our lion just ahead. As I rounded a large bush, I heard the lion roar then a series of growls. My tracker had the tripod sticks set up and I scanned the horizon after placing the .375 in the top of the sticks. I was becomming nervous as I failed to locate the growling lion, and looked at my tracker who simply pointed up. To my amazement the 580 pound lion was in a tree just ahead looking down and growling menacingly. 3 quick shots from the Blaser with a 300 grain Hornady DGX bullet followed. The bullets did the job as they hit his left chest just behind the shoulder. He fell dead from the tree. I never expected to tree the "king of the jungle", but it does happen my PH informed me. We had pushed the lion hard and he finally climbed a tree to look back and see what was following him so intently. He had a black flowing mane, and was a true giant old specimen of the African lion. I plan to place this mount on a large branch like base in the open second floor of my lake house so I can always see him as he was up in the tree. This was a birthday to remember!