Back at Work: Safari 2012 Journal Entries: Day 9 – Tuesday, July 24th, 2012 (part 1)

by david on September 10, 2012

For once, I pop straight up at 5:30, when the alarm goes off, and I get myself ready to meet Johann and Willie for breakfast at 6:00.  I can’t believe it.  Today is my last full day at Tualuka, and I want to make it last.  Willie must have gotten up extra early because my favorite breakfast of bacon and eggs is waiting for me when I get to the main lodge.  Johann tells me to eat up as we will be burning up a lot of shoe leather today.  One more large cup of coffee and I am in the truck at 6:30, exactly when I am supposed to be.  There is not a lot of conversation as we pull out into the pre-dawn African morning; it is if there is almost a state of reverence at my last day hunting Tualuka.    

            Management gemsbok is on the “to do” list once again.  We are going to look for what is turning out to be a rare commodity on Johann’s property.  We have been looking for one for over a week now and, except for the one I turned down because I was afraid of spooking the game I was really after, we had not seen another likely candidate.  This morning proves to be more of the same.  We spot two groups and, after maneuvering close for a better look, we see that all are young, healthy and of good trophy potential, the exact opposite of what we are looking for.

            We move to a different area and stumble across an unexpected treat.  Johann has a fledgling herd of springbuck, and we are able to get a good look at them.  Since Johann’s property is 100% free range (no fences), animals are free to come and go as they please.  There have been springbuck on the property before, but they always seem to be only passing through and do not take up residence.  This group seems to have taken a liking to the place and have been here for about eight months.  Johann is most pleased when he sees some juveniles among the adults.  This is great news, as they must have been born on the property.  Maybe the group will stay here, and the hope is the population will grow to a huntable quantity.  As we watch the group we are able to count eight young among the 25 or so adults.  I make a note to keep my fingers crossed and hope the herd sticks around and continues to grow.

            We are so intent on watching the springbuck that we almost miss the lone gemsbok at the fringe of the herd.  Johann takes a quick look and informs me this is the gemsbok I have been waiting on.  He is very old with broomed back horns, and he meets all of other the criteria of a management animal.  This old rascal must be hanging out with the springbuck in order to use them as an early warning system.  At his age, his eyes might not be as sharp as they used to be.  By hanging out with the herd of springbuck, he has many more eyes and noses helping him detect any form of danger that they may come across.  Finally, “the game is afoot”.  This would be a wonderful way to end my stay at Tualuka.

Previous post:

Next post: