Student receives chance to hunt in Africa

Megan Lane/Staff Writer

What is a typical summer vacation? A trip to the beach, visiting the grand canyon?

For sophomore Ryan Giarusso, the answer is traveling to Africa for 12 days in search of the perfect hunt on a local hunting reservation with his dad and uncle.

Giarusso, who normally hunts pheasants, white-tailed deer and the ocassional duck and prairie dog, ended up with with quite the kills. The animals of prey were an impala, black wilderbeast, blue wilderbeast, springbuck, kudu, steinbuck, Burchell zebra, duiker, vervet monkey and warthog.

For Giarusso the thrill of hunting is only natural.

“I love the oneness with nature and the thrill of the kill. In Africa, I felt closer to nature than anywhere else. You almost feel like you are a part of that world, if only for a little while. When you start stalking an animal, everything slows down and your senses get so sharp. As you look down the scope, you have to force yourself to calm down in order to get a clean shot. That thrill is like no other.”

Giarusso has been accompanying his family on hunting trips since he was eight, and hunting with a gun since he was 12.
Fear obviously did not affect Giarusso.

“Africa is a really dangerous place. It is still the wild savanna, and humans are still part of the food chain. We only had one encounter with a rather aggressive rhino, but that was it. My guide had had some rather dangerous encounters in the past with all sorts of dangerous animals, but being with a very experienced guide calms your fears, and you just enjoy life in the wild.”

After Giarusso came home from Africa, he brought home more than memories.

“My dad and I are having 14 animals preserved in some way. Lots of shoulder mounts, the zebra is being made into a rug and the warthog tusks are going to be made into a bottle openers. The mounts take about eight months to make.”

Giarusso said he’d recommend this trip to anyone and that he would do it again in a heartbeat. “The experience is like nothing in the world. Nowhere else can you shoot three different big game animals in one day. In Africa, that’s a serious possibility.”

For those who see Giarusso and other sport hunters as uncivilized or wasteful, Giarusso said that people should know that it is not always wasteful.

“In Africa, the skinners and trackers used all of the animals, so by no means is it wasteful. As for being uncivilized. If you compare a rifle kill to a lion kill, you will definitely agree that hunting is civilized. Most of the people that are against hunting have never ever been around it. That’s like saying that football is a terrible sport but never even watching it be played or talking to the people that play it. Most of my animals went down with one shot and never even felt a thing. Hunting encourages teaching safe firearm practices and conservation.”

Class of 2014

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