Safari 2018 #25 First Hunt of the Trip

by david on August 9, 2019

Thursday September 20th

I was up at 5:30 to meet Byron at 6:00 for my lechwe hunt.  The temperature was still warm but at least bearable. The rest of my group had opted for an early-morning game drive and were up as well.  It was nice to get ready without worrying about waking Janice up. The heat bothered her less than it did me, but I doubt she slept much better than I did.

Once I had a cup of coffee to go, Byron and I drove a short ways to pick up our game scout in Kwando. Wallen was there waiting on us.  He was a young fellow and eager to get started on the hunt. Another short drive found us at a suitable location for me to check my rifles.  They had been bounced around in an airplane and out of my possession for 10 days now. I owed it to the game I was chasing to check the scope and make sure the bullets landed where I wanted them to.  Two shots placed two bullets in the center and two inches high at 100 yards. Right where they were supposed to be. Twenty minutes later, we were loading all of our gear into the small conservancy skiff and a few pulls on the outboard motor’s starter rope and we were easing our way upstream.  The temperature on the water was cooler than inland (almost cool in my short pants and shirt sleeves). Being on the water is always good. Hunting on the water is even better.

At first the only lechwe we saw were on the Botswana side, strictly off limits.  We were on our way to a small island, where Wallen assured us we would spot lechwe.  The first lechwe ram we saw was a solitary old rascal with good horn length. Being the first animal we saw, however, we decided to see if he had any neighbors.  We slowly motored up the river and around a bend and three more rams came into view. Two were good enough to warrant getting a closer look. We decided against starting the engine and used the current to beach the boat.  After loading my rifle, I stripped off my socks and shoes and stepped into the water. I was a little more than nervous about stepping into the living room of crocodiles and hippos, but it did not seem to bother Byron or Wallen so away we went.  After a short wade it was up a small bank and a 100 yard crawl through some very short grass. And I mean short. I have seen fairways on some golf courses with longer turf. Byron elected to leave his rifle behind at this point so he could take the shooting sticks, allowing us to travel faster and lighter.  It gave me a sense of pride that he trusted my shooting enough to leave his only means of backup behind.


I young lechwe on the Botswana side. I young lechwe on the Botswana side.


 Whoa where did you come from?  Whoa where did you come from?

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