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On a recent outing to the Maasai, the villagers asked me if we wanted to go on a hunt. Of course I responded in the affirmative. I asked which animals we were allowed to hunt and they responded,
“We are Maasai, we can hunt anything!”. Then, I stated, I would like to hunt elephant. Although the Maasai are renowned for being fearless they were not too keen to go up against an elephant but since I requested, they agreed to track the elephants and show us a herd. It took the better part of a day to find their trail and as we got closer the trackers picked up their pace. We came to the top of an outcropping and saw about a dozen elephants down on the flats about 300 yards away. At that point I was ready to charge ahead and catch up with them. No, explained the Maasai, elephants are very dangerous, this is as close as we can get. I thought we could get much closer so I jumped off the ledge and gave chase.
It took about 20 minutes to close in on the herd. They started flapping their ears which is how they smell things approaching from behind. The Maasai had remained on the outcropping and were enthusiastically calling us back. We got within 50 feet and thought we had best not get any closer.
They are magnificent when you see them in the wild where they rule the landscape. As we returned to our guides I am not sure whether they thought we were brave or crazy but I think it was the latter.
We were then invited to hunt something a bit more our size to we headed off to hunt Giselle. We had 10 in our hunting party. Three warriors were armed with poison tipped arrows and these archers would shoot the animals as we herded them past their hidden locations. Hunting gazelle takes a lot of time as you try to corral the herd and steer them to the archers. Once they sense your presence they are hard to catch, man can they move. After three hours of stalking we were exhausted and resigned ourselves to eat goat that night instead of gazelle.