Safari 2012 Journal Entries: Day Five – Friday, July 20th, 2012 (part 1) Springbuck and Wildebeest

by david on August 14, 2012

I am up at 4:45 am so that we can be on the road to the Ermo concession by 5:30 am.  Ermo is near Etosha and is one of five contiguous farms that make up a concession of 78,000 acres.  We want to be there at first light to start glassing so we can make the most of our day.  I feel some better but am still not quite human yet and I am moving slow this morning.  After depositing my gear at the truck, I have just enough time to grab a large cup of coffee and climb in the truck before the appointed deadline.  It is 5:30 on the nose as we pull away from the lodge and are headed north, north, west towards Ermo.  Johann, Willie, and Tjokkie are talking strategy while I concentrate on not spilling my coffee.  We will be hunting springbuck and wildebeest today.  I have hunted springbuck unsuccessfully once before when the wind was blowing a steady 20 mph.  It was an impossible morning then and we tried something else in the afternoon.  Hunting wildebeest is going to be a new experience for me and I am looking forward to it, despite feeling like I have come out on the short end of wrestling with a gorilla.     

            When we get there, Johann pilots the truck to the highest spot he can find to have breakfast and do some glassing.  Before my three partners head off in different directions to glass, we break out the breakfast box.  The only thing I feel like is coffee, but I spot a few granola bars and take one.  It goes down well with the coffee and I decide I’ll have another round of each while the guys glass for game.  It does not take long before we all regroup and formulate a game plan.  There are two herds of wildebeest, one on each side of the mountain.  The wind is swirling and is going to be a problem.  One herd is in a place with a little more cover, and that is where we head first.            

            I would love to tell you that we made some perfect stalks, got in close, and then decided that there was just not the right animal in the group.  That would be a great story, but I would be taking a little too much creative license.  Truth is, we get just close enough to start glassing each herd, and a swirl of the wind sent each group looking for a less crowded area at warp speed.  The second group is a carbon copy of the first group.  We hike for about two miles, get close, and then, before we could even glass the herd thoroughly, a slight swirling breeze carries our scent to them.  They were gone in the blink of an eye, leaving nothing but a thick cloud of dust in their place, which is very frustrating.  With the second stalk blown, there is nothing to do but wait while Tjokkie goes and fetches the truck.

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