Safari 2012 Journal Entries: Day 11 – Thursday, July 26th, 2012 (Osonjiva part 8)

by david on September 26, 2012

The sky is already past the orange hues of late afternoon and early evening, and we are in the truck easing our way back to the gate of the hunting concession.  A quiet, muffled rap on the roof of the truck from our tracker brings the truck to an abrupt stop.  Through the open window of the truck, he whispers to Johann that he saw what looked to be a good waterbuck cross a trail as we drove by.  We slowly back up so we can look down the trail, but the waterbuck is no longer in sight.  As we ease out of the truck for what will be my last stalk of the trip, I notice the sun is no longer visible above the horizon and the amount of shooting light available will be measured in minutes rather than fractions of an hour.  We must move quickly and quietly to have any chance at all to catch up with the animal.  Is it possible that, perhaps for one last time, “the game is afoot”? 

            The light is far enough gone that no shadows are visible on the ground when we finally catch a glimpse of the waterbuck.  He could be the same one or the twin of the one we saw last night, as he too is 27 to 28 inches, an average specimen for the area we are in.  I decide to try to get in to a shooting position and we move forward.  I am concentrating on my feet to make sure I do not put my foot on anything that will make a noise when the signal comes to freeze where I am and I look up.  We are very close to the waterbuck, perhaps no more the 20 yards.  Johann asks if I want to take him.  My answer is not immediately forthcoming as I ponder things for a few seconds.  For some reason, I am still unsure.  I want the hunt to end successfully, but I guess I am a still a little spoiled by the quality of some of my earlier trophies.  I have yet to see the waterbuck clearly and have no shot from where I am standing.  I indicate to Johann by pointing to my eyes and then to the bush that I cannot see the animal and need to move.  I motion for the sticks to be set up in a better location and I will get on them and make my decision after getting a look at the animal.  Johann and I use extreme caution and move slightly to the side.  I can see his nose as he grazes quietly on the other side of some brush only 30-40 feet away.  He is moving forward and will soon provide me with a good view and an even better shot.  I am moving in slow motion to put the rifle on the sticks when the decision to shoot or not is made for me.  The wind that had died down some thirty minutes ago gave one final puff for the day and the waterbuck was gone in the blink of an eye.

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