Safari, Namibia 2016: Next Link In The Chain. Blog #3 “Monster Kudu”

by david on April 3, 2017

After the long trip, I thought that a late-morning start would be nice. Not so, as only one “first” morning of the safari was allowed, and we were anxious to savor every second of it.  My desire to return to the bush was gnawing at me to the point of distraction. Mandatory things like eating and other first morning requirements were simply obstacles to be overcome. I could only guess Doug was feeling something similar, since we both stepped out into the predawn quiet at the same time. I took a deep breath and the cold, dry, Namibian air filled my lungs forcing a few extra beats from my heart. I had been absent from the veld for far too long and my body and spirit were remembering where I was. All was as it should be. Neither of us wanted to think about food, but the aroma of fresh coffee and other smells wafting out of the kitchen proved difficult to overcome. We gave in to our rumbling stomachs and overloaded olfactory senses and allotted a few precious minutes of the first morning for a good breakfast. The next order of business was to head to the range to check our rifles. The drive to the range was short, and my rifles and scopes proved true and shot where they were supposed to. When I finished, I sat back with another cup of coffee in the cool of the morning to watch little brother. I guess history really does repeat itself, as one of his rifles refused to shoot to the same place twice just as one of mine had done 10 years ago on my first trip. No matter how we cajoled it or what we tinkered with, the 375 would not group. His ’06 however was punching nice little cloverleaf-shaped patterns at 100 yards. Leaving the 375 for later, we headed into the bush.

I had set up the first part of the trip so that Doug would be hunting with Johann. He was the young PH that started me down the path of becoming a lifelong hunter of Africa all those many years ago. His skill as a hunter and his patience as a teacher served me well, and I hoped the same would apply to Doug. I would be hunting with Johnas, Shona’s hunting guide. I have hunted with Johnas many times before but he was tracking for Johann. Since my last visit, Johnas passed his hunting guide exam and was now licensed to take clients out on his own. Way to go, Johnas! Two newer members of the Shona team would be joining us today. Ben would be tracking for Johann and Josh would be accompanying me and Johnas.

My main objective for this trip was eland. Other than that, nothing was particularly on my radar. There were no eland in our immediate area, so, that morning, I was hunting for nothing in particular. That year had been a good year for kudu and there were lots of them around.  I took a decent kudu on my first trip. His headgear was 49 1/2” long. I had promised myself, since good kudu were hard to find and I had a decent one at home, that if I took another one, he would have to be a really, really good one. “Really, really good”, to me, meant 55” or better. I felt good about my logic. Not shooting anything smaller than 55” would mean leaving a good trophy for someone else. Shooting one over 55” would be a great trophy for me, as the odds of finding a 55 incher are slim  to none. The three of us spent a splendid morning in the veld and stalked several kudu. Some of them were in the 51”-53”, but none would go 55”.  Lunchtime was approaching and we decided to head back towards the Land Cruiser. The decision to have a quick breakfast was returning to haunt me as my stomach was growling like a ticked-off leopard. I put my rifle in the rack and we headed off to eat.

Our route home carried us past the skinning shed and it was bustling with activity when we passed by. Doug was the only other hunter out, and I had to see what animal he had taken. When we pulled up there was a MONSTER kudu hanging there. He was huge bodied and his horns were over 54”. Not the 55” I had randomly picked, but close enough to hurt it. Some hunters never take a kudu. Some take a kudu but, like myself, take one well under the 54” mark. Little brother had not only taken a great kudu, he took one on the first morning of his first safari. I am unsure of the exact odds but my guess is they would be akin to hitting the lottery. Little brother was starting off like a whirlwind.  I could not wait to hear all about over lunch.

Doug Kudu

Little Brothers first African trophy, a monster kudu

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