Day Four Ammended
I forgot to mention my episode with the Duiker. While sitting in the blind where I had killed the Impala, a beautiful male Duiker came to water. The sun was getting low on the horizon and with about an hour of daylight left, I put the crosshairs on the shoulder and squeezed the trigger. Sadly, the Duiker ran off into the scrub with a front leg hinging back and forth. I realize that wounding animals happens, but I really wrestle with that aspect of hunting. I knew right away that the Duiker was never going to be found and I was right. David and Ellson were quickly on the track and found blood, but it quickly became clear that my shot was too far forward. We eventually ran out of daylight and had to call of the tracking. Losing that Duiker really bothered me that night. I still bothers me today. I know that he was likely eaten my a Leopard or a lion, but that is small consolation for my conscience.
The morning found us in the back of the Rover, searching for Zebra. I really wanted a Zebra more than anything else, as for me, nothing symbolizes Africa more than a Zebra. After several miles, Herc stopped the truck telling David and I that he saw some Zebra to our left. Herc grabbed the sticks and we all fell in line. Making our way through the scrub, it became clear to me that the Zebra's habit of hanging out with a mess of other animals was going to make this hunt difficult. After stalking close to a half mile, we were able to close the gap with the Zebra to less than 100 yards. However, all we could see were striped legs under the scrub. While we tried to reposition ourselves to get a better shot, a group of Gemsbok blew the whistle on us and any chance of us getting a shot on these Zebras ran off ito the scrub with the rest of the animals.
Our stalk had taken us over three miles from the truck and the sun was starting to heat things up. When you are Bigfoot tall, duck-walking through the low scrub really takes a toll on you. With sweat dripping from my brow and down my back, I realized that taking a Zebra was not going to be a simple affair. I also had last night's Duiker hunt hanging on my shoulders.
We arrived back at the truck and took a quick water break to discuss what our next move was. We determined that it would be best to keep cruising the bush looking for Zebra and then possibly taking up a blind over a waterhole in the afternoon. With the sun rapidly climbing overhead, we took off into the brush to see if we could find another Zebra. Fortunately, it did not take long. In less than ten minutes, Herc stopped the truck, grabbed the sticks and told us to get out. David quickly took the wheel of the Rover and drove on down the road. Herc explained that there was a single Zebra to our left and that he liked to have David drive the Rover away to distract the Zebra. We quickly closed the gap to 150 yards and Herc threw up the sticks. I mounted the rifle, but thinking about last night's episode with the Duiker, I told Herc that there was too much brush for a clear shot. Herc move up another ten yards and shortened the sticks. I knelt down on one knee, put the crosshairs on the Zebra's shoulder and pulled the trigger. As I worked the bolt, I watched the Zebra spin and disappear into the brush.
I asked Herc what he thought of the shot and his response was that it was hard to tell. As we walked to where the Zebra was standing , I told Herc that I thought I saw a Zebra belly on the left. He put up his glasses and told me that it was likely a rock. We got a bit closer and he told me that I was right! The Zebra had spun and died less than 10 yards from where he had stood when I shot. He was a beautiful old stallion with worn out teeth. Herc speculated that he was a lone old bull that had been pushed out of the herd. He also suggested that he would likely not have made it through another winter. David arrived with the Rover and asked where we had shot the Zebra. He shook his head in disbelief when I took three steps to my left and said, "Right here". David simply cracked a big smile and said, "Very nice!".
We took some pics and loaded the old stallion into the Rover. We dropped him off at the skinning shed and went into the house for some lunch. The afternoon's agenda included sitting at a waterhole for Impala or Warthog.
I will try and post the pics of the Zebra later tonight.
Day Five Continued
The afternoon found us sitting in a blind watching a waterhole. There were plenty of birds, squirrels and monkeys to watch, and even a few shooter Duiker. I did not have the heart to take another shot on a Duiker, so they all got a pass. There were no Waterbuck, Eland or Impala rams to be found either.
With about ten minutes of light left, several Grey Louries started sounding their alarm (we called these birds "bush car alarms"). Hercules sat up straight and told Jen and I to be absolutely still, as he thought that a predator was coming into the water hole. In less than a minute, a Jackal ran into the clearing and stopped less than 40 yards away. The light was fading fast and I could only make out the Jackal's outline. I picked up the 22 mag that we had in the blind for Baboons and slowly stuck the barrel out the blind's window. Hercules whispered that I absolutely could not miss the Jackal, as it would never come to water for the next several years. With darkness overtaking the light, I centered the crosshairs under the Jackal's chin and pulled the trigger. The Jackal let out a loud yelp and ran off into the darkness. We did not have a flashlight with us, but we could feel blood in the sand where the Jackal was standing. We were both confident that the Jackal was dead.
Tomorrow we would take up the track to see if we were right.
Man what a hunt, glad this is working out so well.
Here is the Zebra.
Thanks for the hunt report and pictures. Really nice mature animals! Good stories and good memories!
Great report so far,thank you.I know it has been dry here in South Africa this year but that bushveld looks very very dry.Thanks for the pics.
The morning of day six found us up early and looking for Impala or Warthog. I should note that the farm we were hunting is severely overpopulated with Impala and they offered us a discount that was effectively a 3 for 2 offer. I like hunting Impala and think they are beautiful, so I was more than willing to take them up on their offer.
We decided that we would sit at a waterhole where my bowhunting friend Steve was consistently seeing warthogs. On our way out, we stopped to track the Jackal that I had shot last night. David quickly found a blood trail and followed the track into the bush. The amount of blood diminished rather quickly and David came back to explain that the track had been covered up by a herd of Impala. I was bummed, as a Jackal rug would have been quite the prize.
We got settled into the blind at the waterhole and it did not take long for the critters to start showing up. Lots of young Kudu, some skinny Eland and several monster Blue Wildebeest all made appearances. Sadly, there were no Warthogs or Impala -until just before lunch when a bachelor herd of Impala started coming in. Herc told me to sit tight and wait for all of them to get in and we would decide which one to shoot. Eventually, they all got in and settled down, drinking water and crowding around the salt block. There was no doubt who the boss was, but his rack was far from parallel. Herc really wanted me to shoot an Impala that had the classic Impala rack. Once you get one of those, I do not care what your third one looks like. Eventually, he pointed out a nice mature ram and I took the shot. The Impala literally collapsed into the sand right on edge of the waterhole. Herc slapped my back and let out an excited "Ohhhh Boy!" We took a few pics, loaded the Impala onto the truck and headed in for lunch.
Halfway back to the house, a big Impala ram crossed the road in front of us. Herc stopped the truck and I jumped out. We were quickly on the track but the Impala never stopped running. Herc wanted to sit on the waterhole that was nearby in hopes that he would come back during the heat of the day. As we drove up to the waterhole, we pushed a herd of Impala off the water and into the bush. It was a bunch of ewes with a nice ram tending them. They appeared unalarmed and we quickly closed the distance to about 75 yards and set up the sticks. I mounted my rifle and waited for the Ram to leave the bush and cross the road. As ewes filtered out of the bush, I could make out the ram standing in the scrub on the edge of the road. He was facing away from me and the angle was quite steep. Eventually, all of the ewes had crossed the road and the ram turned to cross the road. After his first step, I had enough of a target and squeezed the trigger. The ram jumped high into the air, landing on the opposite side of the road and disappeared into the bush. We quickly found the ram dead on the side of the road. The Mopane flies were ridiculously thick, so we took a few quick shot and loaded the Ram into the back of the truck.
This afternoon we were going to see if we could connect on a warthog or some baboons.
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this report is what you might call very up to date :)