Caprivi Strip, 2014 Part 15

by david on April 20, 2015

Cat and Mouse

All that is left to do is to stay downwind, catch up to the group, and then get into shooting position. It sounds simple enough, but it is actually pretty darn difficult. We got into the group at least five more times before lunch. When I say “into the group”, I mean even I could hear the elephants breathing. Whether it was a slight gust of wind from a slightly different direction, or some reason unknown to us, the elephants moved off each time. For the most part, I wasn’t entirely sure the reason was us. They never ran and never went very far. They would just go several hundred yards to a half mile, resume eating and milling about. Right before lunch we walked in and out of the group several times without scaring them off or getting a chance at the elephant I had labeled as mine. What we did accomplish was to thoroughly P.O. a huge cow. She did not smell us but she saw us. With her poor eyesight, I was not sure she knew exactly what or how many of us there were. Every time we tried to sneak in from a different direction. She happened to be the one that caught us. The last time, she put her ears back and started our way. She wasn’t really charging but was determined to figure out what was going on and, if necessary, remove the aggravation. With her determinedly heading our direction, the axiom “discretion is the better part of valor” came to mind, and we backed into the bush to get out of her line of sight. Once we were out of sight, we changed directions to stay downwind and got the heck out of Dodge.

With the cow alert to our presence and on the warpath, we decided to take a break for lunch. That suited me as I was hot, tired, and hungry. I also needed to level out the amount of adrenaline in my system. It seems that walking into a herd of elephants has a way of making it go up, and when you come back out the level of adrenaline falls like a rock. This rise and fall had taken a toll on me, and I was ready for sustenance. When we got back on the trail after lunch, we discovered the large group had broken up into several smaller groups. The smaller groups would make it easier to get in close, as there are not so many eyes to avoid during the stalk. The guys picked up the tracks of my elephant and we headed off in that direction. Hopefully we would be able to catch up to and take this animal.  He was exactly what I wanted. First off, he was old. Byron estimated him to be 45-50 years old and not part of the breeding group. Secondly, his tusks were broken off down to only a few feet showing and were worthless as any sort of trophy. Lastly, he was large (about 9 1⁄2 feet at the shoulder) and would provide a lot of meat for the local villages if I could just get close enough and do my part when the time came.

Caprivi 2014 DSC_0342  is a short video clip showing how difficult it is to pick out a particular elephant when they are all huddled in the shade of a few trees.

 

 

Hard to tell one from another when they are all bunched up in the shade. Hard to tell one from another when they are all bunched up in the shade.

 

Although not the elephant I was hunting the short, broken, worn down tusk were what we were after. Although not the elephant I was hunting the short, broken, worn down tusk were what we were after.

 

Wednesday “Lets go, lets go”

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