It’s funny how a telephone chat about a long dead leader of a group of people suddenly happens on Halloween. I stumbled into that conversation between Epi and her sister, while I was preparing to cook dinner tonight. This may be a night of ghosties, ghoulies and long-legged beasties but some spirits do not die and the spirit of Mbuya Nehenda is definitely one of those.

I learned about this Lady when I visited Zimbabwe with Epi for the first time just after we were married. Mbuya Nehenda is a hero of the fight for independence from the British, especially within the Shona Tribe. I heard some the stories of her creeping through the bush to ambush unwary British soldiers, carrying out the killings she felt were necessary to end colonial rule. We Europeans might wish to denigrate her actions but, considering the underhand way that the British acted towards Chief Lobengula of the Northern Shona People, I now understand the anger that finally fomented into the war known as the First Chimurenga.

A thing we need to understand is that Nehenda is a spiritual medium and, as such, commands more than the respect that a normal former leader might garner. For her people, especially in the Mazoe area, she is there with them – always.

Now, Zimbabwe wants her skull back from the British – apparently it was taken away when she and Sekuru Kaguvi were executed for their actions as ‘revolutionaries’. And thereby hangs a problem – The British seem to have lost track of where it is 😦 Although some suspicion falls on the British Museum, it seems likely to me that the Natural History Museum may actually hold her remains and, given some of their cataloguing issues that have been highlighted over the years, we may need a lucky find by a Palaeontologist to discover in which vault that skull now rests.

I fervently hope it is found very promptly so that she may be returned to her people. This is Halloween and maybe she is calling once more to be taken home…

I’m still finding my way presently in my posts. I haven’t shared any music, that Alasdair and I have shared, with you for a long time. So let’s have a couple of tracks. Alasdair introduced me to Olivia Dean via a live session at the Jazz Cafe. It’s available on YouTube and that’s 35 minutes of great music!

He’s my Son and I know he will always listen to new music with a keen ear. We’re still following the career of Fox Stevenson and maybe this track perhaps tells a story of mental health…

It’s funny how looking for one type of song on YouTube can result in you finding something else that you enjoy. Never heard of Nao Yoshioka until now and I’m glad I found her!

I have been remiss in not fulfilling my promise to write more about the game Way of the Hunter. In part my delay was due to my personal mental state but it was also because the game was suffering from a lot of bugs, and I felt stepping back until some of those were fixed was a good thing… I guess we took time out together to get fixed!

Since my last post Way of the Hunter has moved forward a lot with many of the major issues being fixed. So now I think I can finally look more closely at how the game plays. I think I should start with a warning for anyone thinking about playing this game. It gives a pretty authentic hunting experience. Finding the animals can be difficult. Getting close to the animals can be damn near impossible. Then there’s the difficulty of getting a clear shot once you are in range. To quote from one reviewer, “You’ve moved while within 150 meters of the game, so they’ve been spooked. Now they’re running away for the day. This happens every time and with every animal.” – Now there is a degree of truth in that, but I have found it possible to get closer and set up good shooting opportunities. The thing to grasp from the start is that hunts in this game require a patient approach and often it’s good to plan ahead based on the knowledge you’ve gained from tracks. In many ways my hunting in the game mirrors my birdwatching forays – calm, slow and methodical is good.

Choosing the right weapon for the task is important but you won’t be penalised in a contrived manner for using a weapon that is not of the correct tier – most deer are tier 5 animals, so you should use a tier 5 firearm. Most of the time if you stick to this, a single shot will be enough to kill the animal but, not always. Here’s an example of a Male White-Tailed Deer. My first shot was close to head on from over 160m and the bullet lost a lot of energy passing through the muscles before hitting the left lung…

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…As a result, the wounded animal was able to run away with the herd. That meant I had to track the herd to find this deer again. I was able to get within 100m for my second shot which, this time, was from a more ideal side-on position…

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…The Deer went down immediately, obviously weakened by the initial shot and now unable to even try to run away. The key information is in the lower panel on the right, where the highlighted band shows what was hit by the bullet while its energy was in the optimum range to kill the animal. So you can clearly see the effect of the bullet passing through the muscle in the first shot – a lot of its energy was lost. You don’t actually have to be in the optimum energy range though if the bullet has a clear path to the lung – the animal will just take a little longer to go down.

Normally, a clean lung-shot results in the animal running for a short distance before dying. Here’s what an initial blood-spatter looks like…

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…Bright pink is a sure sign that a lung has been punctured. The yellow is the highlighting applied by Hunter Sense which will usually help with tracking the animal. Here you can see a series of highlighted blood drops leading through the brush…

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…ultimately taking us to our dead deer in the trees up ahead. If you turn off Hunter Sense, you can usually still follow the blood trail quite easily. This is an area where Way of the Hunter seems to perform better than The Hunter: Call of the Wild.

Returning to our White-Tailed Deer and look at another of the screens presented at harvest…

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..Here it gives more information about the animal and your hunt – because I had to shoot the deer twice, I only get 4 stars (Most of my hunts are 5-star😊). You can learn a lot about each hunt improve your hunting skills by doing a detailed review. You can also check that you are shooting the right animals to improve the herd – Normally I try to stick with Mature 0 or 1-star animals to improve the gene pool. The game encourages you to adopt this approach and there’s even a task to remove 5 Mule Deer with those attributes which pays quite well😎

Back to the harvest and there are more details in the Hunt and Trophy screens too – Here’s a Hunt screen from a Mule Deer that I downed…

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…It tells how far I had to follow the animal after shooting it in the lung from 80m with the Remington 783 rifle. In the meat info section you can see a category ‘Loss by shot’. This is the quantity of spoiled meat that cannot be used. This is where using a suitable gun is important. If I used a tier 6 weapon from the same range there would be more damaged meat and thus, less financial reward. This feels like a realistic approach to the issue of hunting with a limited choice of guns. In the real world a hunter may only have the one rifle with which to hunt – It might be a 30-30 Winchester (Tier 4) like the first gun you use in this game, or it might be an Elephant gun (probably Tier 8)!

This is now a long post and I have much more to tell, so I’ll aim to cover more in a few days’ time 😎👍