PaintballX3 Magazine PaintballX3, November 2012 - Page 73

came alive with the pounding of hooves and trembled and reminded Sieg of standing on the platform at Grand Central Station while a commuter train hurtled by. Then the air filled with the violent sounds of vegetation being thrashed and torn and uprooted. And then there was silence. There was not a sound. The monkeys, the birds, the buffalo -- all had seemingly disappeared into the Tanzanian ether. Over five thousand pounds of galloping animal flesh had stampeded in volcanic eruption and then disappeared in less time than it takes to cook a threeminute egg. Sieg reloaded and stood with his rifle mounted to his shoulder, facing the path of the plunging bull. His heart beat as though it might burst through his sweat-soaked shirt. The PH stood next to him with his rifle aimed in the direction of the other bulls. He congratulated Sieg on a perfect "boiler room" shot and said they would wait a bit before going after the bull. The PH went over all possible scenarios of how the bull might behave, stressing the fact that a wounded bull is the most dangerous animal in the world. If the bull were mortally wounded, it would run itself out, hopefully let out a telltale death bellow, and lie down and die. If it were only wounded, it would take cover and patiently wait to ambush them when they came after it. Or it might purposely choose, as many did, to circle back on its own blood trail and hunt them from behind. This last characteristic is what Sieg and the PH feared most while they waited for the bullets to do their work. Sieg's bull had plowed through the forest's undergrowth, its horns and sheer size carving out a swath wide enough for a car to pass along. The swath then left the forest and entered the tall grass and mopane scrub brush, the most dangerous habitat of all in which to be tracking a wounded Cape buffalo. Sieg's bull stood about four feet at its shoulders, the tall grass and brush stood at more than five feet. The math, as Sieg and his party knew all too well, did not add up in their favor. In the sea of grass before them were many swaths that coursed and intersected throughout the plain, like narrow channels in a tidal estuary. The bull could be anywhere -- down on its haunches in the grass, crouched behind a termite mound, or blending in with the brush. They searched the sky without success for telltale white cattle egrets and tick birds to point the way to the bull’s location. The PH climbed a termite mound to look for moving grass while the tracker looked for a blood trail. Sieg stayed back and watched, his adrenal glands dumping adrenalin into his system for the third time that day. The tracker signaled the PH that he had located the bull's blood trail. Then, not wanting any part of that phase of the hunt, he disappeared back into the forest. Sieg followed a few steps behind the PH, his sensory system as hyper-tuned and engaged as he had ever felt it to be. This certainly was not football with a do-or-die third-and-one or fourth-and-goal. This was do or die…or really die! They advanced slowly, very slowly, with each step making Sieg ever more aware of his own mortality. It came to him that it might well be that the tables had turned and it was now he who was being hunted. The PH stopped and turned to Sieg and pointed ahead. Less than a hundred feet from where they stood lay the bull with its head stretched out between its legs. It had taken cover in the tall grass beside a confluence of swaths, in perfect position from which to ambush them. Its eyes were open and blood leaked from its mouth and nose onto the ground. They had not heard a death bellow signaling the bull's demise, so the PH told Sieg to come in at an angle with his rifle shouldered while he approached from the front. Adrenaline was now pouring through his system as though it were being pumped through a fire hose. The bull was dead. Sieg's first shot had penetrated the bull's vitals and the second had smashed