Staff ReportRifle, CO Colorado

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October 10, 2012
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Rifle shells over wedding bells

"I can't stop smiling when I describe my year-long journey that will climax this month, when I hunt Cape buffalo in Africa. "It all started when I won the 2012 'Extreme Huntress' contest, sponsored by Tahoe Films. Well, not really. It all began in the Louisiana Bayou, when my dad and my brother took me hunting. But that's another story. ..."Preparation for Africa has been very challenging. Let me tell you a bit about that."The Extreme Huntress title comes with more than just an extreme hunting trip. T.J. and I had to postpone our wedding, since our wedding dates conflicted with the scheduled hunt schedule. Conflict or not, T.J. and I chose rifle shells over wedding bells. But, hang on, T.J. will be joining me as an observer for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. "Another challenge has been learning to use my new Blaser 375 H&H with Barnes VOR-TX bullets and Aimpoint Red Dot site. Can I say O-U-C-H!? I just did - many times! The rifle kick rocks my petite body after every shot. Really, it is quite comical to watch, me with my big ear-to-ear grin, even if it is going to hurt."An even-bigger challenge has been using sticks. (Shooting sticks are used by rifle shooters. It is kind of like a tripod that you use for a camera, but you lean your gun on them. It would seem to be simple, but it really isn't.) I have never shot off of sticks. Executing this task has been more difficult than I originally anticipated. Yet another joke is, 'Jackie is going to go to shoot her Cape and you're going to see her disappear off camera! Bang. Gone. Where's Jackie?'"Our quest will take us on a 1,500-mile stretch, from my new home in Colorado to first home in Louisiana, then to New York for an overnighter. In the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, our journey out of the country will begin, first with a 15-hour flight to Johannesburg, followed by a trek to Victoria Falls and arrival in Bulawayo, the second largest city in Zimbabwe."We will meet up with Tahoe Films to head to the Omay concession, operated by Martin Pieters Safaris. That's a-10 hour Jeep ride through the rough terrain of Africa. Once we arrive at our lodge and get settled in, I then start my extreme hunt for one of the big five most dangerous game: Cape buffalo, also known as African buffalo. (The others in the big five are lions, African elephants, leopards and rhinoceros.)"Called 'Black Death' or 'widowmaker' in Africa, this buffalo is widely regarded as a very dangerous animal, as it gores and kills over 200 people every year, according to Wikipedia. Among big game hunters, they are considered very dangerous, with wounded animals reported to ambush and attack pursuers."Guess what I told T.J. in case we run into trouble? That's right: 'I can run faster than you!' Is that something you should say to your fianc?"

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The Post Independent Updated Oct 10, 2012 05:26PM Published Oct 10, 2012 05:23PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.