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Books - DVD & Audio CD -

Sunset on Botswana

The Last Days in the Land of Giants
DVD, running time 1 hour and 20 mins.
Ivan Carter's star has risen rapidly in the world of TV-hunting programs and with good reason: His persona and his performances seem made for the camera. Born in Africa, Ivan has hunted all over the continent, and he has done his share of TV shows and DVDs. This particular DVD is probably one that he never would have wanted to film, for it chronicles the closing of the curtain on hunting in Botswana. Botswana had virtually been a one-species hunting country (elephant), but now the government has closed virtually all concessions and hunting will only continue on game ranches.

That sad news aside, this is a whiz-bang, exciting, and great DVD. It has in-your-face, up-close footage that is rapidly paced with lots of action. There's one episode when a cow elephant almost overturns the 4x4. While a bundle of Botswana hunting films have come out in the last few years, this one is by far the best we have seen.

Filmed in Johan Calitz's hunting concessions, it not only shows us elephant hunting at its best, but it also details how an entire animal can the benefit the local community who get all the meat. Interwoven in the hunting footage is an interview with Calitz about the closing of Botswana and how it will affect the future of wildlife. The film's storyline is driven by superb elephant footage as the last of Botswana's giant bulls are tracked, shot, and celebrated. This film features hunts for seven trophy bulls, all of them well formed from A through Z. There is no last minute, out-of-focus kill shots or annoying segments suddenly and inexplicably missing. Each individual elephant hunt evolves naturally and completely from start to conclusion.

Filmed in swamps, palm-frond forests, and fifteen-foot-high reedbeds, this DVD follows the elephants as the hunters and Ivan Carter pursue the gray giants close enough to hit them with a long stick. In some cases the elephants surround the hunters in a 270-degree circle. If these scenes don't make your heart beat quite a bit faster, nothing will. The movie closes with a hunt that uses Ernest Hemmingway's .577 Westley Richards; the hunter using this rare rifle is Bill Jones, its current owner.

Excitement abounds in this well-done DVD. As you watch the great footage of hunting elephants in Botswana, you will have to feel sad that the hunting in that country has come to an end.
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