By Allan Cilliers:
In 1982 while working as Senior Ranger in the Kavango region I was notified of a crocodile attack on a villager in the Okavango River.
A game Scout Anton Kavera and myself immediately proceeded to a village in the Andara region, located near Bagani.
Investigating the case I was surprised to discover that a large crocodile actually came out of the water and stalked a woman sitting on a small sand bank sorting out her days laundry. The tracks of the crocodile clearly indicated that he slowly came out of the dark deep water, gripped the woman on her back and dragged her back into the water. Another person present tried to help her, but was no match to this powerful reptile. I searched the river for two days by boat, but the deep waters and multiple islands and rapids in this section of the Okavango River made my task extremely difficult. No crocodile or any human remains were ever found.
A crocodile is an opportunistic feeder and it normally kills large prey by drowning. They have acute sense of smell, its hearing is exceptional and it has remarkable eyesight. Like a snake a crocodile can feel ground vibrations, your footsteps from a good distance away.
The fact is a crocodile is one of the most difficult of all game animal species to hunt ethically. Shooting him out of the water and during daylight hours on foot makes them a worthy trophy.
In May after a successful elephant hunt my son Wayne, then continued guiding the client to hunt a crocodile in the Kwando River in our big game concession, Bwabwata East.
Realizing that the client only had 4 days left of hunting Wayne and 2 trackers scouted the banks of the swampy Kwando riverbank for any evidence of likely crocodile basking sites.
One site was discovered on the riverbank, and there was good evidence that a relatively large crocodile was using this frequently, especially in the mid afternoon. Except for a large tree 200 meters away it was an open grassy plain with no adequate cover.
A piece of elephant trunk meat was tied to a peg some 3 meters from the waters edge and some blood and small pieces of meat was thrown into the water.
Having no natural cover Wayne decided to set up a small 2 man camouflaged pop up hunting blind 25 meters down wind from the bait sight.
He set up the blind in such a manner that a side on shot to the crocodile’s neck would be possible.
The shot was to be placed exactly some 5 cm from the corner of the crocodiles mouth, the first cervical vertebrae is on that level. The idea here is to break the crocodile’s neck anchoring him on the spot. If the vertebrae were missed the crocodile would retreat and disappear forever in the dark waters of the Kwando River.
The following morning Wayne climbed the tall tree some 200m away. This made an excellent vantage point to observe the backwater and bait from a distance with a pair of binoculars. At around 15h00, Wayne observed the crocodile in the water, slowly approaching the bait. He then decided to leave the area and to enter the blind early the following day.
By 08h00 on the 3rd day the client and Wayne entered the blind, set up shooting sticks and sat down to wait. After 2 hours a loud rustling noise was heard behind the blind. Peering out, one of the side windows Wayne was surprised to see a elephant breeding herd about 30 meters away heading straight in their direction. Without any hesitation the client and Wayne quickly left the blind and made a hasty retreat over the grassy plains. Remembering what the Ju hoansi taught him Wayne quickly clapped his hands, which alarmed the elephant herd and then ran in the opposite direction.
Although there was a disturbance the client and Wayne stayed in the blind hoping to catch a glimpse of the crocodile.
Wayne explains,At 15h00 after a long wait I observed a flat dark patch almost drifting in the water. Although the shape was almost out of proportion, I recognized it to be, partly the nostrils and eye lids of a crocodile barely sticking out of the water. That shape lay motionless in th