Caprivi Strip, 2014 Part 19

by david on April 29, 2015

Special Delivery.

Five hours after everything got started, the butchering process was done. The only thing left was a wet spot. Everything was taken, even the stomach and its contents. I do not have any idea what was done with those parts and I do not think I want to know. All that is left is to deliver the meat, and then the elephant hunt really is over. We got back to camp in time for a late lunch. It felt strange to be back at the lodge eating. The food and company was great, but I think I prefer a field lunch on the trail of a game animal. I still had a waterbuck on license and that was on tap afterwards. With yesterday’s success still fresh on our minds, we set out at a leisurely pace, teaming with confidence. We cruised down the river bank and saw many waterbuck. The problem was they were either on the Botswana side or right in front of the lodge where shooting is not allowed. Several miles downriver, we finally spotted a group of waterbuck. The group was mostly cows, but there was one bull in the group. He was an old bull, which made him a good animal to take out but one of his horns was broken off. His other horn was fairly respectable at an estimated 27-28 inches. Unfortunately, the broken horn was missing a pretty good chunk. I sat and watched the bull for 30 minutes or so pondering the dilemma of the broken horn. Some think a broken or otherwise atypical horn is the ultimate trophy as it is unique and therefore more desirable. I see their point but as I will probably only shoot one in my lifetime I wanted at least a slightly better than average example of the species. Why only one, you ask? Simple – there are so many animals in Africa that one can scarcely hope to hunt them all. It may be possible, given unlimited funds and time, but not too many of us can claim that luxury. Lest I digress too far and get completely off-topic, I asked myself if I should take this waterbuck or not. I stared at him though my scope trying to imagine what he would look like as a mount. No matter what part of him I looked at, my eyes came right back to his broken horn. I could not convince myself to pull the trigger, not on the first day of hunting waterbuck. While I was preoccupied with the broken horn quandary, Byron had gotten a call from the conservancy office letting him know one of the local chiefs wanted an impala for a special dinner. Since it pays to keep the local big wigs happy and we were not having any luck with the waterbuck, Byron asked me if I wanted to shoot the impala for the chief. It sounded like fun to me, so we headed off to the conservancy’s core area to shoot an impala for the chief’s dinner party. The rifles were cased and stowed. With everyone aboard, Byron pointed the Landcruiser in the right direction and we left the waterbuck no worse for wear. Once again, the confidence levels were sky high, as we had seen hundreds of impala in the core area just yesterday afternoon. It should have been an easy task to pick out a suitable table grade impala and still be home in plenty of time for sundowners. I should have known we were in trouble when the words quickly and easily were used in conjunction with a hunt. I can’t tell you how many times I have completely and totally hexed myself simply by saying “quickly” or “easily” in reference to a hunt. The rest of the afternoon was completely jinxed from the time those words faded from earshot. Not only did we not get the chief an impala, we did not see an impala. The use of both words at the same time must have forced the jinx to cross over into the full-blown curse range because we saw no game at all. It was very bizarre, but we went for about two and a half hours without seeing so much as a warthog. We finally gave up as darkness turned out the lights for the evening and we headed for camp. I should have known better to count my sundowners before they hatched.

The last delivery of the day. The last delivery of the day. A little shade to ease in unloading. A little shade to ease in unloading. The broken horned waterbuck.  The broken horned waterbuck.


Friday:  Animals, Animals, Everywhere.

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