This morning started out with link sausages, eggs, homemade toast, orange juice and coffee that would float a horseshoe. Nice and black. LOL
We split up this morning with Bryan and John staying at the home ranch and Clinton and I driving about an hour away to Michael Buys' family ranch. Michael is one of the partners in Africa Active and they have outstanding animals on this farm. They have a Nyala camp where they are breeding them exclusively and they are adamant about shooting predators. Nyalas are beautiful animals, but I never got to see a shooter. One pic that is here is a brown hyena that was caught in a trap. Since they are considered scavengers unlike the spotted variety, it was released. It was very shy in the trap until one of the trackers started poking it.
Around 11, Clinton spotted some gemsbok lying down in a grove of trees. He told me to get ready and we jumped off the truck while it was still moving about 100 yds past them. He said if you stop the vehicle, they will run off. Turned out they smelled us, as the wind was wrong and they trooped off. They were 6 in the bunch and two of them were awesome. We scrambled back to the truck and drove to an area that was downwind and had the trackers see if they could push them to us. After about an nerve-wracking hour, one of the trackers came out and said that the gemsbok were in some thick brush in the corner of the place. Clinton said to come on and I followed him about half a mile through the brush. He had me set up on a bamboo cane tripod with bushes all around us. About 15 minutes later, they started coming out! They were walking in and out of clearings and one stopped in an opening. He said to shoot, but there was a thick branch right in they way. They kept coming and one stepped out into a big area. He stopped and looked right at us at about 100 yds. "Shoot him!" Well, I pulled the trigger and it dropped, then got up, then dropped and got up and took off. The rest of the herd ran within 20 yds of us! What a rush! When mine ran by, he was staggering and went down. I didn't have to shoot again. We walked up and Clinton said, "Uh oh." I said, "What do you mean?" He said, "This one is a little small. It looks like you will have to shoot another for free." I'd compare it to shooting a 2.5 yr old 10pt. The hunt was tremendous though. We caught a lotta he77 from everyone else over it too. The best comment was from Ivan Keyser who said, "There were two sounds when you shot him. One when you pulled the trigger and one when his mother's teat popped out of his mouth!" LOL
We hunted for another one the rest of the day, but we never sighted another one. When we got back to the jeep after one stalk, Clinton asked me if I'd like to see a Cape Buffalo. I said sure. Well, they were only a couple of hundred yards from where we were walking. We drove up to them and Clinton gets out and says come on, bring your camera. I thought, "I'm 38 years old and am not a thrill-seeker. What am I doing?" We got within 20 yds of them when one started to us. Clinton grabbed me and said, "Get in the back of the truck." I said, "Don't get in my way or I'll run over your arse!" LOL Turned out these were breeding stock and had been kinda handled. BUT, they will grind you into the ground if you irritate them. Impressive beasts. A hunt for one of these would run $9,000.
We got back to the lodge at dark-thirty and Bryan was empty handed. They saw a really nice kudu bull, but it spotted them first. After a lot of ribbing and some good impala roast, my pillow called.
Aahh, another beautiful morning in Africa! Clear skies and frosty temps greeted us again for the hunt. Clinton and John opted to stay at the home place this morning, so we piled into the Landcruiser and took off. We drove for most of the morning, but we didn't see very many animals. We conferred and split up and hunted opposite ends of the ranch. Clinton, Simon & I were tracking thru the bush when Simon froze and pointed. I look over and there are two white rhinos asleep about 50 yds off. I started looking for a big climbable tree. Clinton had said that they usually run off when they are disturbed. Problem is, they don't see very well and are liable to run over you in their escape. So, Simon started clapping his hands and they jump up and take a few steps towards us. At this stage, I'm backing up and sighting in on tree behind me. He clapped some more and they took off. Best decision for everyone. I was afraid I was going to go back to camp to change undies. LOL
Clinton & I tried the triangle pasture/game drive again and we saw something that left us speechless. We were set up next to a big tree in the fenceline with full camo. We had been watching two young kudu bulls make their way towards us. Clinton said to be still and they will pass us up. Well, they were coming on at brisk trot and we were sneaking looks out of the corners of our eyes. About 20 yds off one of them spotted us and did a u-turn. He ran straight at the high fence and I thought, "This ain't gonna be pretty." Wrong! He laid his horns back, folded up his legs and blasted through about 2 feet from the top! The second bull followed and did the same. They acted like they had been doing it every day. We looked at each other and just gawked. Luckily, the pasture that they jumped into was still on the ranch, it was a sable breeding area. It was simply unbelievable the way they compressed themselves.
We met Bryan and John back at camp and the bosses decided to go to Willem Strauss' ranch about an hour away. When we arrived, the first thing we see is a big herd of Blesbok. They are about the size of a whitetail and have blaze white faces. Beautiful animals. Mr. Strauss had one of the few ranches that ran cattle along with the hunting. He had some nice quality cows, too. His place was all brush with only a few roads cut thru it and around the fences, so we had two options: Either drive and spot and stalk, or walk and stalk. We were pretty much after either kudu or gemsbok on this hunt. We ended up driving and did not see much. We did jump one young kudu bull. About an hour before dark, John spotted a herd of gemsbok in the trees and he grabbed me. We crawled, walked and generally snuck up on them and John got me a good shot at a tremendous bull. I have no excuse except gemsbok fever. My heart was sure a-pounding. I must have yanked the trigger and completely missed, as we hunted for blood for over an hour. Pretty disappointing, but-that's hunting.
We drove back to the lodge for dinner and drinks and another fine meal of thin sliced mutton. I didn't even know it until someone asked me if I liked it. Good stuff, Maynard.
Pic 1-Brown Hyena in trap
Pic 2-my gemsbok. I'm having a skull mount and a rug made from him.
Pic 3-Up close and personal with Mr Cape Buffalo.
The next installment will include the story about rescuing the buxom blonde who was staked out on the ground by pigmies and my shooting rod went limp...errr...I mean the barrel got hot and bent. LOL Thanks for reminding me about that one TH.