Back at Work: Safari 2012 Journal Entries: Day 9 – Tuesday, July 24th, 2012 (part 3)

by david on September 12, 2012

After lunch (and a short nap), we are back in the truck and after the ever-elusive management gemsbok.  I do not know what it is about gemsbok but they seem to give me more problems personally than any other African animal.  I blow the stalk, miss the shot, or simply cannot find them.  With a great many hunters, it is the kudu that gives them fits, while I seem to stumble on them quite frequently.  I have seen half a dozen shooters on this trip but was not really interested in taking another trophy.  Maybe the reason I see so many is that I am not hunting them.  The fact I am hunting for a particular gemsbok is the reason I haven’t seen the right one.  The hunting gods are funny that way, I guess. 

            This afternoon is a carbon copy of many of the previous afternoons.  We see groups of gemsbok, but none have the right animal in the herd.  We even climb to the top of a koppie and glass, but it is of no use.  The management gemsbok is just not to be found.          

After our last stalk, Johann decides he and I should walk cross-country to a waterhole and see if we can get lucky.  The sun is already at tree-top height, so we take the truck to a jumping off spot.  The views from the observation seat in the back of the truck are phenomenal.  The sun is playing peek-a-boo in between the trees and it is very pretty.  When we reach the appointed location Johann and I pile out of the truck and Willie gets some last-minute instructions on where and when to pick us up.  With those last few words spoken, we head out into the bush.

            We start out with a brisk walk, trying to get deeper into the veld, but as the light fades, the pace slows.  Instead of looking for gemsbok, I find myself looking at the rest of nature.  Everything around me is changing.  The shadows are getting longer and they look like small dark animals scurrying around the ground.  The swirling breeze that has plagued us all day slows and then stops altogether.  We walk up on two steinbuck playing.  They are chasing each other in between and around the bases of two trees.  The situation for a stalk is perfect.  It is dusk, there is no wind, and the ground is covered with a fine dust and has no rocks mixed in.  We tiptoe to within 15-20 feet from the two antelope before one notices us.  It simply takes a few bounds in the opposite direction and waits for us to pass by before resuming play.  The sky is the most amazing of all.  The orange and pinks of only a few moments ago are now a candy blue as the sun finally dips below the horizon.  A few more moments will find it turning to a royal blue just before the stars start their journey across the horizon.  When we finally reach the water hole, there are no gemsbok, just an African wildcat looking for an early bite to eat.  As we wait for Willie to show up with the truck, it dawns on me why there are not many management gemsbok.  Johann is a very good shepherd of his property and I will have a hunter’s paradise to return to time after time in the future.





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