Natchez resident Walter Harrison stays busy with big game hunts
Published 12:00 am Friday, December 15, 2006
By RICK BRELAND
The Natchez Democrat
NATCHEZ &8212; Walter Harrison has done it all.
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He&8217;s been to Argentina for dove hunting. He&8217;s been to Alaska for fishing. He&8217;s gone deep-sea fishing in the Indian Ocean. But his latest trip to South Africa for two months of big game hunting, is the one he says takes the cake.
During the trip, he was charged three times by elephants and once by a cape buffalo &8212; the buffalo being the quarry he had planned for the trip.
&8220;Africa is not for sissies,&8221; Harrison said. &8220;That was what I said to my friend Rabie after we had been charged by the cape buffalo.
&8220;A few days later, after we had escaped from a heard of elephants, he told me that adventures like this one are the firewood of old age.&8221;
Though he doesn&8217;t readily admit it, Harrison is a thrill-seeker. It is obvious in the way his eyes light up when he retells of his adventures.
&8220;My wife told me after this last trip that she had hoped I had gotten it out of my system,&8221; Harrison said.
But Mrs. Harrison will have to wait, as Walter has future adventures already planned.
In total, Harrison has been to Africa four times, and taken 15 separate species of big game. The trophy mounts line the walls of his Natchez home, and the hides adorn most of the furniture in the Harrison home.
The cape buffalo mount has yet to clear customs, but once he receives it, Harrison said that will probably be his favorite.
&8220;The cape buffalo was probably the most exciting hunt I have been on,&8221; Harrison said. &8220;But they were all interesting, all a challenge, and all fair chase hunts.&8221;
This summer, Harrison spent two months with a friend, traveling across South Africa, where he spent 14 days hunting, and the rest of the time traveling.
&8220;You wake up an hour and a half before daylight and drink coffee and eat rusks before getting into a truck with guides, who sit in the back and look for tracks as you drive along dusty roads,&8221; Harrison said.
At night Harrison slept under a mosquito net, and a different set of stars.
For food at the hunting camp, they ate impala, which a member of their hunting party would take nearly every day. Harrison said the weather was cool because the seasons are the opposite of those experienced by those in the United States.
Harrison said he got into big game hunting out of boredom and a need to do something different.
&8220;I used to belong to a hunting club, but I got tired of going to the same place and hunting the same animals,&8221; Harrison said.
But for all his trophies and adventures, there is an underlying sense of pride for Harrison regarding his latest adventure and having actually done what most hunters only dream of doing.
&8220;I feel an extreme sense of accomplishment for taking that cape buffalo,&8221; Harrison said. &8220;It is the animal that has hurt more hunters than any other, and I am extremely proud for having taken one.&8221;