Four Paces from Death (part 09)

by david on December 6, 2012

      A cow and her calf decided to come out of the river bed and into the bush.  The problem was they wanted to use the narrow opening that we had picked to wait in.  The wind was blowing strongly in our faces so the cow could not smell us.  We were using the brush behind us to break up our outline but she could definitely tell something was not right.  She would snort and sniff and, when she could not smell anything, she would take another step toward us. She got to within ten or eleven feet, about four of my paces, when she finally stopped.  She blew, snorted, stomped her front foot, and then lowered her head and shook her massive horns.  After watching her getting more agitated by the second, it dawned on me that my pulse and adrenalin were off the charts once more.  I was too afraid to breathe or swallow to try and get it under control.  I knew better than to move as it would draw her attention to us and possibly provoke a charge.  I am not sure how but I managed to sit still and listen to my heart pounding like a drum solo.  The fact that Phil was between the mother buffalo and me and that his rifle was pointed in the right direction was of little comfort to me at the time.  For emergency contingency plan “A”, I thought about using the cheeks I was sitting on to try and walk backwards in to the bush, but they would not move.  I then briefly considered plan “B” by wondering if I shut my eyes so I could not see her if somehow she would not be able to see me.  I quickly decided that doing that might mean the equivalent of committing suicide by buffalo, and so I kept focused on her.  So, now, it was time for plan “C”.  Before I could come up with a plan “C”, she gave one last shake of her massive head and was gone from the opening with her calf close behind her.  Thankfully, she had decided that the unknown shapes in the bush were not worth further investigation.

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