Safari 2012 Journal Entries: Day 7 – Sunday, July 22nd, 2012 (part 3) Big Duiker

by david on August 28, 2012

Johann sends Willie back to fetch the truck (one of the disadvantages of being an apprentice PH) while we take a leisurely walk on towards the waterhole.  The sun is low and the air is rapidly cooling.  With the adrenaline abating from the last stalk, I start to get a chill.  The exertion brought on by the walk has a warming effect.  There are not a lot of words spoken as I take in the sight and sounds of the African twilight.  As I walk, I contemplate how lucky I am to be here enjoying a hunt in this faraway place.  My thoughts are interrupted as Willie shows up with the truck and we head for our date with a duiker. 

The sun is already touching the mountaintops as we speed along towards the riverbed.  We are late and Johann is driving plenty fast along the bumpy roads that crisscross the veld at Tualuka.  I am glad I have a grab bar in front of me, but I wish I had a third had so I could use two on the grab bar instead of one on the bar and one around my rifle.  Thankfully, the drive is not too long and we are soon dropping down into the riverbed.  The sun has fully set now and the visibility is poor in the shadows of the riverbed.  It is too late to set up an ambush so we decide to ease up close to the spot where we saw the duiker this morning and try to spot him before he spots us.

 

Too late for that the rascal is out in the middle of the riverbed and has already seen us.  Johann slams on the brakes and the truck skids to a stop.  We sit unmoving to see what the duiker will do next.  Thankfully, he is not spooked.  After looking in our direction for a few moments, he casually walks over to the thicker cover at the bank.  As soon as he is concealed by a tree, we are out of the truck and moving closer.  It is the same drill as this morning.  When his head is down, we move; when it is up, we freeze.  After closing to 50 yards, I get on the sticks.  I push the button on my scope that illuminates the center dot of my German#4 reticle.  It is dusk and regular crosshairs would completely disappear against the dark-brown coat of the duiker.  The red dot makes it easy to see my aiming point.  Now, if he would just hold still.  He stops for a second and my finger starts the trigger squeeze.  Then he starts walking again and I let off.  We repeat this a few times until he is almost back to the tall grass.  A few more steps and he will disappear just like this morning.  It is now or never.  The muzzle flash temporarily obscures the target.  When the dust settles the duiker is on the ground and I am four for four.  The solid bullet from my 9.3×62 has punched a nice neat hole through him and not damaged the cape or much of the meat.  All is right in my little corner of the world.

My luck is still holding and the duiker is exceptional.  Johann says he is definitely gold medal and probably Roland Ward.  I can’t believe it — back to back trophies that may qualify for the Roland Ward record book.  Maybe being sick and missing out on a PAC elephant was payment in advance for these two trophies.  I’ll never know for sure, but I do know that I am happy, content, and satisfied with the events of the last two days. 

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Technical notes for those of you who asked:

As noted, I am still using the 9.3×62 Mauser.  The only difference is I switched from a 250-grain Barnes Triple Shock X bullet to a 250-grain Barnes banded solid.  Since solid bullets do not expand, it punched a 9.3 mm hole through the duiker and kept on going.   

The scope I used is a Burris Euro Diamond 1.5-6 power with an illuminated German #4 reticle.  If you are unfamiliar with the #4 reticle, picture a heavy set of normal crosshairs with the top missing.  A dot dead center is the only thing that lights up so there is no glare.  With the red dot and no top crosshair, it is easy to get on target quickly and see well enough that, even in low light, you can take a shot with confidence.

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