IIN A REMEMBRANCE OF A FRIEND
Rolf was an old-time hunter. He'd been at it since the '60s. He'd pretty much seen it all. He watched as his beloved Africa went through the painful changes towards independence. These changes were painful for Rolf as well but he adapted. He and his lifelong hunting companion Ian Manning would tell stories around the campfire after a hard day of hunting and they never failed to entertain.
I was fortunate enough to hunt with Rolf in Tanzania. We hunted both the Selous and the Masailand.
Rolf could be cantankerous as all get out on occasion. One thing that drove him crazy was me taking too long to make a shot.
One afternoon we were walking back to our camp in the Selous. We were camped on the mighty Ruaha. We had been keeping an eye out for decent sized crocodiles but hadn't had any luck. They were awfully smart and had been hunted before.
Now, for those of you who maybe haven't hunted crocs, you need to know one thing. You must anchor the beast with your first shot. If not and he can still move you will lose him. If he gets in the water he's just gone. He may be dead but he also maybe a quarter of a mile down the river, too.
Well, as we walked back to camp we were sneaking along the river bank when we came across a very decent croc about ten feet off the bank of the river. He was sleeping on a small sand bar. The sand bar was so small that he looked like he was just floating there.
We decided to give him a go. Rolf handed me a shooting stick and I made ready with my trusty Davenport .375 H&H. I was trying to hold my cross hairs on the very small spot between the reptile's eyes. All the while, Rolf is berating me to hurry up and shoot before he gets away.
Well, I finally pulled the trigger and the beast didn't move an inch. Rolf had a policy with dangerous game that he followed religiously. He never used one bullet when he could use two. He insisted on a second shot and I put it close enough to touch the first shot.
Well, we were just tickled to death. Two of the trackers and the skinner jumped in to grab the croc. They got him to shore when suddenly misfiring synapses in his reptilian brain caused him to start swinging his tail. My gosh, you should have seen everybody jump. Now mind you, if that croc whacked you with his tail you were going to be hurting. Didn't matter if the croc was alive or dead.
We measured him out to twelve feet and one inch. An almost perfect match for my twelve foot two inch Texas alligator
I had a great time with Rolf. Every day was an adventure to top the last. We hunted lion, buffalo, leopard and all kinds of assorted plains game.
Rolf's beautiful wife, Carole, was in camp for a week and provided my wife with what I am sure was some appreciated female companionship.
Rolf will be sorely missed. It's a reminder for us all of the inevitable tickings of that clock. Fortunately for me, Rolf will live forever. I would put money on the fact that he is somewhere having a great time and chastising some hunter for taking too long to shoot.
ARTICLE ABOUT MY FRIEND
Rolf Rohwer of Rohwer Safaris Dies
Published: March - 2008
Professional hunter and safari operator Rolf Rohwer died suddenly of a heart attack in his hotel room in Reno the morning of January 25, 2008. Rohwer was in Reno for the Safari Club International convention. His wife Carole was with him at the time.
Rohwer was well known in the international hunting community as a conservationist and highly ethical safari operator. He was one of the founding members of the International Professional Hunters Association and the Professional Hunters Association of Zambia, as well as a respected member of the African Professional Hunters Association. In addition to more than 30 years as an African hunter and wildlife manager, Rohwer was also a wildlife biologist. You may remember our report about Rohwer being gored by a buffalo in Tanzania in September 2006.
Andre Degeorges, director of the African Initiative at the Department of Nature Conservation in South Africa, sent us the following e-mail note about Rohwer: We should not mourn his death as much as celebrate his life. For all the years I knew Rolf despite being attacked by a lion and sustaining other injuries he always joked and laughed about life and each time climbed back into the saddle and kept on riding until it was his time. This was a man with guts, courage and a passion for life and hunting.
A ceremony was held for Rohwer in his wife's hometown in England on February 11. When we spoke with Carole Rohwer at press time she told us that she had already contacted all of Rohwer's booked clients and expected to continue operations of Rohwer Safaris. A scholarship fund is being created in Rohwer's name to support Tanzanians who wish to attend wildlife college and become a wildlife biologist like Rohwer.
“Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you; spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.”