Safari, Namibia 2016: Next Link In The Chain. Blog #6 “Klippi”

by david on April 13, 2017

The wind howled all night long. Anyone who knows me well knows my hearing is pretty well (no pun intended) shot. Well, I heard the wind with all its fury from lights-out until the alarm went off.  What a way to start the day. I could break into some flowery prose and describe the morning in some way to make it more pleasant that it actually was, but, truth was, it sucked. We were the only things moving and no one saw anything all morning. No gemsbok for Doug, and there was nothing for me I’d want to get close enough to for a better look. The weather threw us a curveball and we just had to deal with it.

All three of us — Johnas, Josh, and I — felt the frustration of the morning, and the ride back for lunch was a quiet one. The silence allowed my mind to drift and I started to wonder if Doug and I used up our quota of luck the first day, with him taking two first class trophies. I quickly dismissed that thought and decided Africa was just messing with us.  If you have never been, it is hard to explain. Africa is sort of like one of your first girl/boyfriends, like a love-hate relationship. One moment is all lovey-dovey and the next the lines in the sand are drawn and you can’t stand to be around each other. This was one of those line-drawing times, and I was unsure what offence I was guilty of or what I could do to fix it. I finally decided to do what I always did while in middle school, keep my head down and hope it blows over.

Johann decided to mix things up for the afternoon hunt.  He asked me if I wanted to go looking for a klipspringer. Now a “klippi” was not on my list of animals to think about this trip in any shape or form. The only thing I really knew about them was they are one of the ‘tiny ten” trophy animals, and that is a good thing. I also knew they live high up among the rocks in the kopjes, and that is a bad thing. I gave up mountain climbing back in my college days and was none too sure I wanted to “re-up”, so to speak. My friend assured me most of the walking would not require me to be part mountain goat, so I agreed to go along. We headed out to the airstrip and parked the cruiser in the shade. He grabbed his binoculars and the shooting sticks, I grabbed my pet rifle, and we both headed out. He was right. Walking along the base of the kopjes was nice and flat. It was even somewhat comfortable temperature-wise. There were many shade trees at the foot of the mountains, and the shade they provide was most welcome.  For the next hour or so, we eased along enjoying the shade and stopping every 60-80 yards to glass for the tiny antelope. Johann spotted one and told me to stay put while he climbed to get a closer look. My relief at not climbing was short-lived.  Johann poked his head op over a rock and motioned for me to start my accent. While not the same as the free climbing and rappelling of my younger days, it was still an interesting climb. It was over the top of this boulder, around the side of that one, and go under this fallen tree, squeeze between another one and the side of the kopje. Keep in mind I had to do all this without dropping, scraping or otherwise damaging my rifle. I finally arrived, as stealthily as possible, to the area he indicated only to find out the klippi was not on the same kopje we were. I was going to shoot from the kopje we were on across a chasm to the one the klipspringer was on. This shot normally would not be a problem. I would take a moment to catch my breath, put my hat on the rocks to protect my rifle, line things up and take the shot. All of this works really well if you are not hunting klipspringers. These critters are never still for very long. Johann was afraid this one was getting ready to change addresses sooner rather than later. The ram was facing us head-on.  Even though his approximately four inch square chest was a small target, it was a very hittable target. A few moments later, my shot rang out and the diminutive antelope fell.

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