ESPN2: Cindy Garrison's a 'Wild' woman

  • Catch Cindy Garrison on her ESPN2 show, "Get Wild with Cindy Garrison,"
    each Sunday morning at 8:30 and 10:30 ET.

    When Cindy Garrison goes on vacation, you can forget a sedate retreat to a faraway beach where peace and quiet are the rule of the day.

    Instead, from one end of the globe to the other, Cindy Garrison loves to live life a bit on the wild side.

    In fact, she loves to hunt dangerous big game, the kind that can either give a hunter the adrenaline rush of a lifetime … or stomp said hunter into oblivion.

    This Sunday, Garrison, the host of ESPN Outdoors' "Get Wild with Cindy Garrison" TV program, will show viewers not one, but two such hunts.

    Video Click here for Cindy Garrison video,
    and look below, at right, to view more.

    The first, a Cape buffalo hunt in Africa, will air at 8:30 a.m. ET on ESPN2. The second, in search of an Australian Outback water buffalo, airs at 10:30 a.m. ET, also on the Deuce. (Click here for this week's re-air schedule of "Get Wild with Cindy Garrison.")

    "I don't get afraid — that's what fuels me," said Garrison, who also was interviewed on "The Outdoors Show on ESPN Radio" on Saturday. "That's why I'm here, for the adrenaline rush."

    "The more dangerous it is, the more I love it."

    Take, for instance, the Cape buffalo hunt that Garrison will guide viewers on this Sunday morning.

    Dubbed "horned death" by author John F. Burger, the Cape buffalo, one of Africa's "Big Five" most-dangerous game animals, is treacherous enough to hunt on the plains. But that wasn't quite dangerous enough for Garrison, who decided to up the adrenaline ante by chasing Cape buffs on the side of Monduli Mountains in Tanzania.

    "The Cape buffalo hunt in Tanzania, it was extremely dangerous," said Garrison, who now has five Cape buffaloes to her hunting credit.

    "Normally, you hunt Cape buffalo on dry, flat land," she added. "But this was "Gorilla's in the Mist" stuff."

    "I had never been in hunting conditions like that before," she said of her August hunt (winter time in the Southern Hemisphere). "We were climbing toward the top of the mountains and it was freezing cold."

    For those more accustomed to seeing Cape buff rumbling and snarling their way across Africa's hot savanna, Garrison isn't kidding.

    In fact, the Tanzania Tourist Board Web site indicates "Monduli Mountain lies north of Arusha and overlooks the floor of the Great Rift Valley. Both leopard and buffalo can be found in the forest areas."

    And it's in that thick, forested area where Garrison found herself toting a couple of serious firearms while seeking a big-game animal that some outdoors scribes have described as looking at a hunter as if he or she owes it money.

    The first gun, a .470 double rifle, was for any in-close shots if a surly buff suddenly came calling in the junglelike conditions.

    "The Cape buffalo there are known to be among the most aggressive Cape buffaloes in all of Africa," Garrison said. "They'll come after you."

    The second rifle, a .375, was no popgun, either; it proved useful for shooting opportunities that were presented in some of the region's more-open terrain.

    While the headgear on these Monduli Mountain Cape buffaloes isn't quite as large as that found elsewhere on the African continent, sheer body size and a snarling disposition more than make up for that.

    "The boss (horns) is not as big, but the bodies on these buffaloes are so much bigger," Garrison said.

    "They're almost pure muscle, since they're constantly going up these mountains they live in, as opposed to grazing on flat land like in Botswana.

    "You hunt them there for the challenge and the danger."

    And it is just that type of challenge and danger that Garrison, a Colorado resident, thrives upon.

    "I guess deer hunters who have experienced buck fever can kind of relate to that," Garrison said.

    "It's just a rush of adrenaline — kind of like an out of body experience."

    Keep in mind that Garrison doesn't consider herself as a trophy hunter these days; instead, she seeks more big-game hunting "adventures."

    In fact, she says that she hunts only in places where the harvest of a dangerous big-game animal actually can help others.

    "That's actually the only reason I hunt anymore," Garrison said. "I lived in Africa for six years and hunted just about everything.

    "I don't take trophies anymore; I give everything to the people that live off those animals, the villagers. To me, that's what it's all about."

    In addition to helping villagers with valuable meat and hides, Garrison says that the money that hunting such dangerous game animals provides for government agencies is helpful in terms of biological counts and sound management practices, as well as in the control of illegal poaching activities.

    "There's a misconception out there that all of these animals are dying off because of hunters," Garrison said.

    "That's not true. If it were not for hunters coming in and giving money to governments to help control the poaching, there wouldn't be any animals left."

    To that end, Garrison is bullish on her love of hunting and her promotion of the sport, especially to women and young people.

    "Give females and kids a taste of the outdoors," Garrison said. "Make it in a way that's not intimidating, in a way that's fun and adventurous, and anybody can do it."

    "It's not a sport just for men," she added. "Anybody can do it. But the key is for parents to get their kids started at an early age."

    True to form, Garrison's parents did just that.

    "My parents were avid fishers and hunters," Garrison said. "They brought us out hunting and fishing and made it exciting."

    While Garrison and her family lived in northern California, they spent much of their free time on a cattle ranch in Oregon.

    "Every single chance I got, on a long weekend, at Christmas, or over any other holiday, I was on that ranch roping and duck hunting and things like that," Garrison said.

    "It's all up to your parents showing you the outdoors," she added.

    And the rest, as they say, is history, leading the ESPN Outdoors TV personality to embrace a lifetime of travel, adventure, exploring new cultures and hunting dangerous big-game animals along the way.

    "For me, I just couldn't imagine doing anything else with my life," she said.

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