Safari Update II

by david on July 24, 2012

A lot has been going on since I last checked in so lets catch up.  After we for back from Ermo.  Johann and I get up at 5:30 so we can be cruising the Huab riverbed by first light to try and locate a good duiker.  Duiker are mostly nocturnal and first and last light are about the only time you can see one.  We ride until about 7:15 and see several kinda good duiker but nothing to write home about.  We are about to give up when he decides to try just a little further down.  All of a sudden Johann spots a tiny little head staring at us through the grass (which is considerably taller than he is) and the truck skids to a stop in the soft sand.  I grab my rifle and he grabs the shooting sticks and we try to ease closer.  This little rascal is having nothing of it and ducks (duiker is Afrikaans for duck) his head down in the tall grass and eases off.  We poke around a little for him but decide to ease out and try this evening. We head back to the lodge for bacon and eggs  and to try and catch up on some work. This afternoon we try for a management gemsbok.

Johann has lots of gemsbok on the property and from time to time they need to be thinned out or the population managed, hence a management gemsbok.  To be a management gemsbok it must meet certain criteria; being past breeding age, broken horn, mature but inferior horns, or any of several other reasons.  We hit the trail about 3:oo to see what we can find.  We spot a group from a ways off and move in to get a closer look.  Willie is Johann’s apprentice PH and he will take the lead today.  is will be good practice at stalking and field judging game.  We stalk for almost an hour and finally get in close enough to inspect all members of the heard.  It turns out there are no management qualifying animals and since it is too late to try another group (if we are to try for the duiker later) so Johann suggest we stalk in really close and I will get on the sticks like I am going to shoot but instead of pulling the trigger I should simply say “BANG” .  Hey I’ll try almost anything once so off we went.  We got incredibly close to a group of about 20 gemsbok and Willie indicated the one I was to shoot and then he set up the sticks.  stepped out, placed the rifle on the sticks, took aim and said “BANG”.  Twenty something heads popped up from feeding looking at the strange two legged creatures suddenly in their midst.  II would have sworn their eyes got bigger and their jaws dropped to the ground.  I think they were too stunned to run and even gave us enough time to take out a camera and snap a few pictures.  We finally turned to leave before they broke and ran off.  That is how you have fun hunting without ever firing a shot.

After “counting coup” with the we hustled back to the truck.  Hopefully we had a date with a duiker.  We dropped off down into the riverbed and eased our way up river to set up  an ambush.  We were too late and he was already out feeding.  He was pretty well concealed so Johann reckoned we could get closer without alarming him.  The plan worked and we got to about 50 yards.  I swapped out the Barnes TSX bullet for a solid and we were ready for a shot.  For those of you unfamiliar with African ammunition a solid is a non-expanding bullet designed to  penitrate very deeply in very big and or very nasty dangerous game.  It also makes nice neat little round holes in small non-dangerous game without destroying the trophy or meat.  This one  made a 9.3 mm hole through the duiker’s spine dropping him where he stood.  When we got close enough  to see I was ecstatic.  His horns roughly measured were over 4 1/4 inches and should qualify this guy for a gold medal in Naamibia’s game standards.  I had my second member of the  “Tiny Ten”  African slam of oof small antelope.  What a great day.

Monday the 21st found us heading to a neighboring farm to look for a better springbuck.  Johann had decided there was something about mine that he did not like and we were going to take another one.  We left before breakfast and had coffee and granola bars while we watched the sun come up on the veld.  Once we started hunting it only took a few minutes to spot a group of springbuck.  We started our stalk.  We had gotten almost into range when my troublesome cold reared it’s ugly head once again, I coughed.  Not loudly but enough to send the herd of  springbuck scampering away.  I got two sets of evil eyes, one from Johann and one from Willie but there was nothing I could do.  The cough was completely involuntary.  Johann sent Willie to fetch the truck and meet us on the other side of this patch of veld while we walked through.  We cover 7-8 hundred yards and Johann catches a flash of brown in the bush.  It was our group of springbuck.  I had not spooked do badly that they left the county they just moved far enough away from the unknown noise to get comfortable.  Game on once again.

We started working closer and Johann soon located the largest most dominate ram.  We moved to within 40 yards stepped between two bushes, set up the sticks and I took aim.  Then the springbuck stepped back behind a bush.  Ok, I’ll just wait him out.  He’ll be out any minute now.  Yes sir any minute now.  Now is when I realize how much of an advantage Camo hunting clothing has over the traditional African olive and kaki.  I stood there for almost four minutes waiting for the ram to reappear.  The other springbuck looked straight at us and never took notice.  One ewe even grazed to within 20 yards of us.  It was amazing to be so close and as long as we did not move we were safe from discovery.  Eventually the ram did step out at 60 yards and the 9.3 dispatched it with the same authority as it had my other trophies this trip.  This ram was really nice and when side by side with the other one the differences were readily available.  Into the truck he went and we were soon on the way back to the lodge.

On the way back to the lodge we were driving through a neighbors farm when Johann said “Holy S___t ! Look at that.  A huge male leopard was running across the road in front of us.  Brakes locked up, rifles were grabbed, and we jumped out of the truck.  Johann new the farmer wanted shed of that cat and would be very grateful if we helped him out with the situation.  This looked like it would be easy.  There was the road, and about 25 yards of veld and then a sheer face of a koppie.  The cat had nowhere to go.  As I should have known nothing in Africa is ever easy.  The veld was so thick we could not see the cat and thick enough that we could not safely enter it and look for the cat.  The risk of claws and teeth meeting up with our backsides was one not to be ignored.  We looked for about 30 minutes and gave up.  Even though we did not get a shot at the cat it was very exciting and the first leopard I had ever seen up close and personal.  BTW I am still golden, 5 shots and 5 kills.

Hope you can check back later.  Please pardon my mistakes I am doing this from an I Phone.

David Brown


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