Safari 2018 #26 Lechwe in the Crosshairs

by david on August 12, 2019

Crawling through the short, sharp grass was no fun, but it is a part of hunting.  I had been in country for 10 days and seen thousands of animals as a photo tourist.  Spectacular and exciting as that had been, it was not hunting. Being on the ground, trying to outsmart an animal in its own backyard, is the real challenge.  Avoiding the other big and nasties that want to make a meal out of your intended prey (or a careless hunter for that matter) ups the ante, making the occasion much more exciting and memorable.  The discomfort of the crawl through thorns and burs was a small price to pay to get into glassing range. The rams had good length, but no mass. They were also young rams with some growing up to do.  We were just about to leave when another ram ambled into view. He was old and his horns were almost as long as his younger cohorts. What was impressive about him other than his age was the mass of his horns.  The bases of his headgear were two and one half to three times the diameter of the others. As we watched he got closer, and the closer he got, the better he looked. He was also older than we first thought. Add these two facts together the decision to take him was a no brainer.  He was the one I wanted.

We slowly moved into an opening in the brush that was concealing us and set up the shooting sticks.  Since the grass was low, I could set them up low and could shoot from a seated position. This is always my preference since I am much steadier for the shot.  I got him in the scope but he refused to give me anything but a head-on shot. He eventually stepped behind some brush and we quickly repositioned to catch him on the other side.  He stepped out and Byron whistled to stop him, and I’ll be doggoned if he didn’t stop and turn to face us again. He started walking once again and disappeared right back into the bushes.  His refusal to cooperate and his movement forced me to get up and reposition myself once again. I had to get up move, a short ways to another opening, and get reset on the sticks, all before he stepped out.  I managed to do so only seconds before he stepped out and Byron whistled to stop him yet again. Wouldn’t you know it? He stopped and turned to face us for a third time. While the ram was trying to see where the strange sound came, from Byron whispered in my ear that the ram was getting nervous and if he moved again, we might lose him.  I centered the crosshairs one his chest and sent a round his way. He hit the ground hard at the shot, but was able to stumble back to his feet and was slowly walking away. I had already worked the action, and another round was waiting to be touched off. When he stopped for half a second, I sent another round his way, this time flattening him.  With my prize down for good, it was time for high fives and smiles all around. Now it was time for us to collect my lechwe

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