Safari 2014: The Caprvi Strip / Update 03/31/2014

by david on March 31, 2014

I can’t remember if it was Robert Burns or John Steinbeck who came up with something to the effect “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”, but I can sure identify with that statement.  After getting off to a lovely start on my safari preparation exercise plan and shooting plan, things sure “went to heck in a hand basket” in a hurry.  On March 7th, 2014, we had an ice storm, which I forever more will lovingly refer to as “Icemageddon”.  In the end, I suffered only property damage and no personal injury but catching up has been a @*^%!.  My hunting truck was a total loss and my daily driver is in the body shop for a few weeks.  So far, no government agencies have returned any phone calls or e-mails.  I guess I should have expected no less as I am a conservative and capable of dealing with disasters on my own if the need arises.  Less I digress and step up on my soapbox, let’s get back to Africa.  Let’s wrap up this paragraph by saying the insurance has been filed and I am on an intimate, first-name basis with my chainsaw and tractor. 

When last we chatted, I had gone over the “own use elephant” hunt and you were patiently waiting to find out what else I was going to hunt.  What I would like to hunt is a lechwe.  A lechwe is a red-headed cousin to the waterbuck.  I consider him to be a rather stately animal, and I very much want to hunt one.  The problem is they are on a very limited quota in the Caprivi, and I would hate to hold one back and not be able to hunt one because of the elephant hunt running long.  What I eventually worked out is a lechwe would be held for me.  If someone else really wanted it, the PH would contact me and let me know what else is available and I could make a decision if I wanted to switch from the lechwe to some other animal.  This would give my PH a better chance to sell his entire quota and assure him and conservancy the best year possible.  It would also preserve the opportunity for me to experience what I consider one of the best things about Africa – that experience of not knowing what you are going to hunt until you stumble across it. 

Leaving camp in the morning just to see what you can see is one of Africa’s greatest gifts to a hunter.  Most first-time safari takers tend to wear blinders when it comes to game animals other that what are in their trophy package.  They are so focused on those animals as to completely ignore anything else that might stick its head out. That is as shame as like myself I am sure they have missed out on some really great stalks and trophies.  The opportunity to go where the wind takes you, so to speak, takes any and all pressure off of you and your PH.  It gives you a chance to really see Africa.  You can go to not just the places where kudu are known to hang out, or a water hole known to bring in zebra, but all of the other little nooks and crannies your PH knows about but rarely has the chance to take a client into.  It also gives you a chance to learn from your PH.  If he is not concentrating on a certain species, he can point out a lot of other things that you come across.  It took me awhile to learn this lesson but since I have, I try to make a point of having at least one day or one trophy open, allowing me to go in whichever direction the wind takes me.  I strongly suggest to you as well.  

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