Oliver Howard] [Wolfe.

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1 headman wages per month, $14.00

2 gun bearers (for both) " " " 25.00

4 askaris (for all) " " " 16.00

I cook " " " 10.00

I personal "boy," or butler " " " 9.00

I syce, or horse boy " " " 5.00

30 porters at $3.34 each " " " 100.00

Food for all 40 men " " 30.00

Extra expenses for occasional guides, etc 21.00

Total for all men, wages and food $230.00

Besides this monthly expense there is an initial outlay,
according to the government regulation, requiring for each
man one blanket, a jersey, and a water bottle, amounting
to about $1 to $1.50 per man according to quality, or, say,
in all about $60 for the forty men. Then, in most cases
the hunter has to supply the headman, gun bearers, cook,
and " boy " with a suit of khaki clothes, coat and trousers,
which cost about $3 the suit. This would add to the initial
expense another $15. A good horse costs about $200, more
or less, and a fair, strong riding mule from $100 to $150,
while good donkeys can be had from $14 to $18. These
animals are sold again at the end of the safari, realizing, if
in good condition, about sixty to eighty per cent of their
original cost.

The " askaris " are a kind of native soldier, whose duty
it is to look after and help the men during the march, to



pitch the owner's tent, as well as to watch at night in turns
around the camp fire, and they are, therefore, really indis-
pensable for his comfort and safety in the jungle.

Adding all these expenses up, and allowing for " addi-
tional extras," such as railway trips, and the hunter's own
food supply, a four months' safari, during which time the
sportsman, with ordinary luck, will be able to secure most
of the big game of East Africa, will cost approximately :

40 men's regulation outfit once for all, $60.00

5 men's khaki suits " " " 15.00

40 men's wages and food " " " 960.00

A good riding horse " " " 200.00

Possible extras " " " 215.00

Total expense for four months $1,450.00

Possible return from sale of horse 150.00

Total expense $1,300.00

The price of the hunting license must be added to this
expense, and from the beginning of 19 10 this will cost the
sportsman $250, giving him, as we have already seen, a
certain amount of different kinds of animals, with the ex-
ception of elephants. If he wants to kill one elephant he
has to pay an additional $50, and if he desires a license to
shoot a second elephant he has to pay a further additional
fee of $100, so that the total price of the general license,
including the right of killing or capturing two elephants,
amounts to $4CX).

Therefore, if the safari is carefully looked after, a four
months' trip, including the above-mentioned licenses and
all expenses, would not need to cost more than about
$1,700, and may be run for even much less than that.



The reason why one man for a long jungle trip needs as
many as forty men, which would give him about thirty
porters for carrying loads, and possibly only twenty of
these would carry food, is that in most of the outlying dis-
tricts, where the best game is to be had, no food or
" posho," as the porters' food is generally called, can be
obtained locally, and forty men will eat just about one load
of posho of sixty pounds each day. This again would
only carry the safari along for less than a month, but
within that time the hunter probably passes by some East
Indian's store, or a native village, where it is possible to
buy the needed loads of posho. And besides this, at the
start each man may carry his own food for six to eight
days in a small muslin bag, which is added to his load.
Then, if much game is secured, it is possible to feed the
men on smaller rations of posho, so that twenty loads
of posho, for instance, would in such a way be sufficient
for four or five weeks, within which time the sportsman
is now reasonably certain of being able to buy food locally
in almost any place in British East Africa.

If, however, the hunter desires to go very far off from
inhabited country, he can arrange for the posho in an-
other way — by taking, say, only twenty men in all, just
enough to have them carry the camp outfit, guns, and a
few loads of food, and then use twelve donkeys to carry
the rest of the men's posho. As each donkey carries
from one hundred and twenty to one hundred and fifty
pounds, and only feeds on the grass, it is possible, in such
a way, to be out from fifty days to two months without
buying fresh supplies. If rations are cut down, when
meat is very plentiful, it may be possible to be away


Camp of the Tjadf.r East African Expedition, 1906, at Solai, B. E. A.

The Advance Guard of the Caravan Crossing a River ux the Way to



even for two months and a half or more with such an

On my first expedition to East Africa I engaged a great
many more men than most hunters need. At times I had
over one hundred porters in my caravan, and on one of our
trips the number rose to one hundred and seventeen. The
reason for this was that I was collecting specimens for the
American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
When I informed the director of the museum of my in-
tention to go out to Africa on a hunting trip, and that I
was also willing to use the opportunity to enrich the col-
lection of the museum, he volunteered to give me letters
of introduction to British officials to secure special permits
for me in the field. He also gave me one of the best pre-
parators of the institution, Mr. Herbert Lang, who acted
as our official photographer and taxidermist, and to whose
faithfulness, skill, and untiring efiforts much of the success
of the expedition was due. The museum further supplied
most of the curing materials, special skinning knives and
other things needed for the work in the field. When a
scientific expedition goes out into the jungle to collect
specimens for preservation in museums, it needs a great
deal more curing material, special drying boxes for bird
skins, traps for smaller mammals, etc.

Then, again, the scientist, when he secures an animal,
not only takes ofif the head and the skin of head and neck
for trophies, as the mere sportsman generally does, but
has to conserve the whole skin of the beast. But not only
that, in a great many cases he also desires to bring home the
leg bones, as well as the ribs and sometimes the whole
chest, without cutting the ribs apart, and all the rest of the



skeleton. This again necessitates a great many more por-
ters than the ordinary hunter needs. Thus, for instance,
it required forty men to carry the skin and skeleton of
my largest rhino from the place where he fell to the camp,
where the skin was cut thin and prepared, whereas if this
rhino had only been taken as a trophy two men could easily
have carried anything that the sportsman would have liked
to take home with him. My first trip to East Africa has
several times been mentioned in the annals of the museum
as the " Tjader East African Expedition." About one
third of its actual expenses were afterwards contributed
by the American Museum of Natural History, which re-
ceived the greater part of the collection, or somewhat over
four hundred specimens of mammals, reptiles, and birds.
The rest of the '' spoil," besides a couple of dozen trophies
which I kept for myself, was presented to the Royal Swed-
ish Academy of Science in Stockholm.

In getting the safari together it is often of great im-
portance to take porters of different tribes, such as the
Wa-Swahili, the Wa-Nyamwezi, the Wa-Kamba, and the
Wa-Kikuju, as they are then not so apt to try any con-
spiracy or mutiny of any sort, wliich hunters have some-
times had to contend with; and it is also possible to get
more work out of the men by playing one tribe off against
another, for they all want to show that their tribe is better
than any other. This worked very well indeed when I
sometimes had to make exceptionally long and hard
marches over difficult territory and waterless tracts of the

The porters generally like to start out very early in the
morning, long before the svm rises, so as to be able to



cover the clay's march of some fifteen to twenty-five miles
before the heat of the noon hours. In such a case, as soon
as camp is made, and firewood and water brouglit in,
most of the men have the whole afternoon for rest and
play, if they are so bent, and the hunter a fine chance to
bring some additional game to bag, after the greatest heat
of the day is over. To gain this point, I have often started
the safari as early as 3.30 and 4 a.m., particularly if we
had moonlight, or else a few minutes after five, when the
eastern sky begins to show signs of the morning light.
If one can use a well-defined path, the early morning march
is very pleasant, but it may otherwise be dangerous, and
particularly so in dense bush country, where a lion or rhino
may be lurking around, and suddenly take exception to
having his own territory invaded.

I remember one early morning on the beautiful Laikipia
plateau, when we had left camp before 4 a.m., and the
whole caravan of some hundred and fifteen men was slowly
moving along the northern banks of the beautiful Guaso
Narok River, going downstream through rather thick
bush, how suddenly one of the men right behind me half
whispering said:

"Bwana, naona vifaru viwili mbele karibu," or, in Eng-
lish, '' Sir, I see two rhinos near by in front."

As I tried to peer through the bush in the half dark,
the bright moon having disappeared for a moment behind
some rather thick clouds, I saw one large and one half-
grown rhino, only some twenty yards off, standing in a
little open space, at the edge of which our path wound
its way. They were evidently a mother with her young,
and therefore very " unsafe " indeed. Having already had



to shoot more rhinos than allowed on m)'- license only to
protect our lives, and it being too dark anyway to take
careful aim, I stopped, with one of the gun bearers, to
stand guard while the caravan passed by on the other side
of some bush. The men had been told to walk as quietly
as they could. As the porters marched very closely to-
gether, it did not take them perhaps more than two minutes
to pass the little opening on which the rhinos stood. Dur-
ing this time the old female *' sniffed " and " puffed " and
tossed her head, evidently scenting the men, but unable
to make up her mind whether to charge or not, while the
youngster continually changed his position from one side
of his mother to the other. Finally, as the last man had
passed, I retreated carefully, " covering " the mother with
my gun, until she was out of sight. The caravan porters
seem, as a rule, to have very little personal courage, for
twice afterwards, when a rhino charged down on us in
front, a great many of the men far behind, and out of
immediate danger, threw down their loads and stampeded
for the nearest cover like so many frightened cattle !

It is of great importance for a successful safari to have
an experienced and efficient headman, who understands
how to handle his people, for if he does not know how to
make himself respected and instantly obeyed, the whole
caravan is soon demoralized. The best thing to do then
is to " degrade " the headman and select the best askari
to take his place. I was once forced to take this measure.
It worked very well, indeed, as the askari whom I made
headman turned out to be a splendid " captain," and every-
thing went on beautifully after the change.

When a hard day's march is done, and the hunter has



succeeded in bagging some coveted trophies, it is a great
pleasure to sit down near the big camp fire, after a good
but simple dinner, and let the men perform their war
dances, sing and chant, and tell their very often interesting
stories, until the oncoming darkness reminds the sports-
man that it is time to " turn in " to gather new strength
for the morrow's adventures and possible hardships.



Almost since time immemorial the lion has been called
the " King of beasts." Most writers of natural history
still bestow this high title upon the big feline, largely on
account of its generally majestic appearance, courage, and
fierceness of its character. Yet a good many prominent
African hunters do not share this opinion, and have from
experience learned that the lion is not so " noble " and
" fearless," except when wounded or cornered, as it is
cowardly and mean. From my own limited experience in
lion hunting, I side with the latter, and think that for many
reasons the elephant is much more worthy of the exalted

The lion is the only representative of the large cat fam-
ily which grows a mane, covering often not only head,
neck, and shoulders, but sometimes also fully half of the
back and chest. The mane of the African lion diflfers a
great deal in size and color. Contrary to the general opin-
ion, the lion of the Old World also carries a mane, al-
though perhaps not of the average size of that of the
African lion. Another and rather queer characteristic
of the big feline is a large, strange-looking tuft of hair at
the end of its tail, which very often at the extreme point
carries a small horny appendage, surrounded by a brush of



coarse hair. Much has been said and written about the
reason for this kind of " horn " on the Hon's tail, and some
have thought that it served as a goad, v^^ith w^hich the hon
provokes itself to fury, when it lashes its flanks with the
tail, as it often does when angry. With the exception
of the smaller or larger mane of the male, the hair of
both lion and lioness is very short and close. Its color
varies from light yellowish brown or tawny to dark brown,
turning, in the manes of some old males, into an almost
perfect black. The skins of young cubs are almost in-
variably plainly spotted, which is often the case in full-
grown young lionesses. The manes begin to make their
appearance first during the third year, and a lion's age is
estimated anywhere from thirty to fifty years.

Lions vary a great deal in size and weight. Measured,
as a rule, from the tip of the nose to the very end of the
tail, Indian lions have been found as long as eight feet
ten inches, whereas the famous lion and elephant hunter,
Mr. F. C. Selous, gives records of specimens of lions he
had shot in South Africa which measured respectively ten
feet six inches, ten feet nine inches, and eleven feet one
inch. The largest lion I have ever shot measured ten
feet two inches from the tip of the nose to the end of the
tail, the tape line being laid along the curve of the body
before skinning. The height at the shoulders of full-grown
specimens also varies from three feet to three feet six
inches, and I have heard of a lion shot in German East
Africa which stood fully three feet nine inches high, but
this is probably rather extraordinary. Still more does the
weight of full-grown lions vary, and not only the size
of the beast, but its general condition makes a great dif-



ference in this respect. Lionesses have been found weigh-
ing from three hundred pounds to four hundred and
twenty-five pounds, and full-grown males tip the scales at
four hundred and fifty pounds and more, one of the larg-
est on record having weighed five hundred and eighty-
three poimds. This was an unusually large male lion, in
the prime of life, killed in the Orange Free State, in
1865, i" ^ locality where game was very abundant. That
specimen, therefore, was in splendid condition.

The lion inhabits at present not only the greater part
of Africa, from the Cape Colony in the south to Abyssinia
and the northern parts of the Sahara Desert in the north,
but it is also found in many places in southwestern Asia,
where it still occurs in certain parts of Mesopotamia and
Arabia, as well as in northwestern India. It is now more
and more rarely seen in the latter locality, and it is only
a question of a few years when the beautiful beast will
have been completely exterminated within the limits of
India. In ages past, and even within historic times, the
lion was found in southeastern Europe, in such countries
as Roumania and Greece, and bones and skulls of pre-
historic lions, of unquestionably the same species, have
been found as far north as Germany, the British Isles, and

In South Africa lions are now very scarce in the dis-
tricts south of the Orange River, where the white man
with his modern firearms has almost exterminated the big
cat. In other parts of Africa, however, it is almost ab-
solutely certain that where large herds of game are still
to be found, there the lion also abounds. On the othef
hand, in places where there is a scarcity of game, one


Young Lion Walking Toward the Camera.

Lioness Killed on the Athi Plains.


rarely finds the great feline, the appetite of which seems
tremendous. It is said by prominent African hunters, and
corroborated by the natives themselves, that, where game
is plentiful, an adult lion kills a good-sized animal almost
every night. In places where it has not been much shot at,
the lion sometimes hunts even in the daytime, if it, for
some reason, failed to secure its prey the night before.
This I myself firmly believe, for the first lion I ever killed
had just slain a zebra, which it was devouring, when a
good Winchester bullet, at close quarters, intercepted the
meal ; and this happened about ten o'clock in the morning
of a perfectly bright day and right on the Athi plains, only
a few miles from Nairobi.

As a rule the lion hunts just after sunset, when it can
more easily stalk its prey unobserved. Its favorite food
seems to be zebra meat, but any good-sized antelope will
do just as well if, for any reason, a zebra cannot be secured.
There have been instances, although they are probably
very rare, where a lion has stalked even a full-grown buf-
falo, but only extreme lack of other food would make
the lion bold enough to attack such a powerful animal,
which certainly has many times over the strength of the

On the foothills of Kenia I was once told by some
Wandorobo, the wildest and most primeval natives of
British East Africa, who also are, as a rule, the best
trackers and pathfinders in the jungle, that they had once
witnessed a fight between a lion and a full-grown buffalo
cow. The lion had just sprung upon its calf and killed it,
when the infuriated mother suddenly appeared on the
scene, and, with lowered horns, rushed at the murderer



of its " baby " with such speed that, before the lion could
jump up, it was caught on the horns of the buffalo and
tossed many feet into the air. No sooner had the lion
touched the ground than the angry mother was at it again,
and although the big cat succeeded in cutting some terrible
gashes on the neck of its assailant with its claws, and
actually bit off half its nose, yet it was finally crushed to
death by the horns of the buffalo. As soon as the lion
was dead the cow stood bleeding and trembling over the
dead body of its offspring, until the cruel but delighted
Wandorobos shot it with their poisoned arrows, and so
put an end to its sufferings.

When the lion kills big game single-handed it does it
generally in the following way: It first stalks its prey,
until it is so close that a few mighty leaps will bring it up
alongside the same. Then it suddenly seizes the victim's
nose with one of its mighty paws, while with the other
it catches hold of the back of the animal, and so in an
instant pulls the head sideways and downward with such
force as almost invariably to break its neck at once, or
else gives the beast a tremendous bite at the back of the
head, which instantly kills it. Sometimes the lion begins
its meal by tearing its prey open, first drinking the blood
and eating heart and lungs, before it begins on the rest
of the body, but it often prefers starting with the hind-

Very often the lion simply lies in hiding near some
water hole or drinking place in a stream, near enough to
reach its prey with a single mighty swoop. It seems very
strange that herds of zebra, for instance, will night after
ii^ght go down to the very same watering place to drink,


t ^


Large, Black-maned Liox Killed ox the Sotik Plains, May, 1909.

Same as Above.
Note the enormous size of the mane, the longest hairs of which measure

seventeen inches.


where they frequently have had the excitement of losing
one of their " comrades." Someone has said that the ani-
mals seem to understand that, as soon as one of them
has been killed, the others are safe for that night at least,
and so they often continue to drink and feed as if nothing
at all had happened. I have also noticed that in the early
morning the animals seem to have no dread whatsoever of
the lions.

Once on a march over the Sotik plains with the whole
caravan, the second gun bearer stopped me and, pointing
a little to the left, said: " Bwana, tasama simba wawili
huko " (" Sir, look out, there are two lions over there.")
Turning in that direction, I first only saw a number of
Coke's hartebeest and some smaller gazelles quietly feed-
ing, and did not believe that the gun bearer could be right.
As he insisted that the lions were there, I took the strong
field glasses and saw, to my amazement and joy, three full-
grown lions, stretched out on the ground, not fifty yards
away from the nearest antelopes, which must have passed
even much closer to the lions, judging from the way they
were feeding !

Were the antelopes perhaps intelligent enough to know
that the lions, having had their " fill " during the night,
would not attack them in the daytime ? Or could they have
known that lions after a hearty meal are unable to run
fast enough to catch an antelope? This is indeed a fact,
for I had soon bagged the largest of the trio, a splendid,
black-maned lion, which was too full to run very fast and
long, its stomach being filled with zebra meat, bones, and
pieces of striped skin. It may be remarked here that
neither lion, leopard, nor cheetah seems to be able to run



very fast for any length of time. For a few dozen paces
they go with great speed and in long leaps, but then their
wind seems suddenly to give out, and they fall into a heavy
gallop, or canter, when an ordinary riding pony will soon
outdistance them.

One of the most interesting and at the same time sure
ways of hunting lions is to have a man gallop after them
on horseback until the lion, unable to escape any longer,
suddenly stops and turns on its pursuer, giving the sports-
man an excellent chance to shoot his trophy at close quar-
ters. On one of the first days of my sojourn on the Sotik
and Loita plains I had two very interesting lion hunts
in this way, the account of which I here copy from my
diary :

". . . After marching with the whole caravan for about
five hours this morning, we came up to a rather high point
in the plains, where we rested for a few moments, and
where I looked around with my field glasses to see if I
could detect something that looked like a watering place,
for it was now evident that our Masai guide had not told us
the truth about the distance to the nearest water. With
the glasses I now plainly saw three lions a little to our left
and about a thousand yards off. One looked unusually
large and had a very black mane, while the two others
seemed to be either young males or possibly a maneless
male and a female. I was very anxious to bag one of these
lions, particularly as they lay right in the line of our
march, so I dispatched my brave * lion chaser,' Asgar, to
gallop away with the hunting pony to hinder the biggest
lion from running away, until we could come up.

" Now followed the most exciting and interesting chase



that I have ever witnessed ! As soon as the three lions saw
the horse, they all ran off in different directions, Asgar
following the big black-maned one, and evidently gaining
on him with every second. My gun bearers and I fol-
lowed on the run, as fast as we could possibly go. When
Asgar came within about fifty yards of the lion, it sud-
denly stopped, viewed him for a few seconds, and then
turned with a roar and rushed at him. Asgar instantly

Online LibraryOliver Howard] [WolfeBack log and pine knot; a chronicle of the Minnisink hunting and fishing club → online text (page 3 of 26)