A Campfire Story For One Day

Discussion in 'Articles' started by Jacques.strauss, May 8, 2016.

  1. Jacques.strauss

    Jacques.strauss AH Senior Member

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    Two and a half sun-beaten, dehydrated and dusty days of glassing and tracking turned into a day that will be told and retold around campfires for decades to come.

    My good friend Joseph von Benedikt brought his twin brother and two great friends Dan & Paul along on their first African Safari Trip in April 2016. Joseph knew the ropes of lady Africa, but his brother and friends were new to the African Hunting rhythms. It was a blast hunting with them from the word go. Friendships were built, life lessons were shared, sun screen shared and dusty temples were an every day occurrence.

    On the last leg of the adventure, I decided to dedicate a couple of days to Daniel Kennedy to try our luck at harvesting his last two trophies of the trip, a greater kudu bull and gemsbuck. Joseph had ticked of most of his wishlist and was glad to share the excitement of the hunt with his lifelong friend by tagging along.

    After two days we had sore feet, sun burned faces, chapped lips, adrenalin filled moments of near shooting opportunities, head aches, and discouraged hearts but no kudu or gemsbuck in the salt. We at least saw 5 shootable kudu bulls a day, but I had told Daniel that if it was my call, I would wait for something special since we had time on our side, he smiled and gave me the thumbs up every time. It made me want to work harder since Daniel had bestowed his trust in me.

    The days were long and exhausting but we relied on our feet to toil along the same scorching African sun as our prey whom lead the way to deep dark corners of the area he knew so well.

    Climbing up a steep hill with a cool breeze blowing in our faces and the sun peeking over the distant hills behind us was such an incredible feeling. Here I was, leading a hunt. A hunt that was seeded years ago before my time. Two great lifelong friends following in my footsteps in search of the gracious grey ghost of Africa. Edging over the peak, peering into the pockets of shadow below us to hopefully find our quarry sent a pulsing dose of adrenalin into my veins. No one knew what we would find on the other side, and that exactly is what fair chase hunting is about.

    There a kudu bull stood, just below a herd of gemsbuck, nibbling on his morning snack, all by himself and our presence going unnoticed...

    I had judged him at around 51 inches in length, but he was not quite old enough yet and we had to pass him up. I signaled to Daniel and Joseph to halt and watch for more bulls around the kudu bull we had seen, while I went 50 yards off to the right to get a better view point of the surrounding area to the west of the hill.

    I caught a glimpse of a kudu bull moving through thick cover right below our position, but I had no clear view of him to judge him properly. I moved once more to get a better view when I spotted three kudu bulls on the red Kalahari soil below the hill we were on. As I picked my binoculars up, a set of cork-screw horns revealed themselves above a black-hook bush. The horns were thick and long. His body dark in colour. His walk showed his age. He was the one we wanted.

    I signaled Daniel and Joseph over.

    We had a quick discussion about the bull, and within seconds the adrenalin in our veins flowed freely. Daniel was a remarkable shot and I was extremely confident in his abilities. We moved to find a clear shooting lane as the three bulls fed along a thick patch of black-hook bushes towards a clearing. Daniel got himself positioned on a rock with his backpack as a rest for his custom .35 Whelen. As the kudu bull made his appearance in the clearing, he paused for a moment, slightly quartering away from us. The Whelen barked, sending a 200grain Barnes TTSX at 2,910 fps down the hill at 462 yards knocking the bull down in his tracks. It was an amazing shot. Skillful and precise.

    The horns were breathtakingly beautiful and unique. An old bull that had roamed these sands and hills for more than 8 years. He measured an astonishing 55,5-inches. After all, Daniel worked hard for this moment. He walked the miles and talked the talk.

    Never did we think that this would only be the beginning...

    We thought we would be back in camp for lunch, but on the way to process the kudu a big gemsbuck beckoned. My trackers took the kudu to skin while Daniel, Joseph and myself set out—without food and little water. There is a lot more heat, hunger, thirst, blood, sweat and tears to it than this, but suffice it to say that right at dusk Daniel made another remarkable shot at 397 yards and dropped an unearthly 40-inch gemsbuck bull.

    My father, Danie Strauss, claims that this day will be told and retold around African campfires for decades to come. Never have two such great specimens been found and two such great shots been made in one day.

    Africa in her own way has a tendency to surprise you with her beauty, her ways and especially with what she has to offer you. That is truly what makes Africa unique. Africa has her hidden gems for any hunter, it takes time, sweat and tears, blisters and chapstick, sunscreen and water and don’t forget old Mr. Murphy to play along to turn your wildest dreams into a mere reality.

    I lay in my bed that night, recalling this once-in-a-lifetime-day. I did not want to close my eyes. Reality was greater than my dreams. If I closed my eyes, this day will soon be yesterday. Sadly, yesterday will never be today. But the memories of this day will have an eternal life around many campfires.

    By
    Jacques Strauss

    Dan\'s-kudu-04.jpg Jacques Kudu.jpg Tracker-Beckz-glassing.jpg
    Dan\'s-oryx-03.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2016

  2. G Skinner

    G Skinner AH Fanatic

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    Sorry I did not read the whole report ...but I do like the pictures ! WOW ! Congrats to you and your friend !
    Glen
     
    CAustin likes this.

  3. Clayton

    Clayton AH Fanatic

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    Beautiful trophies. Beautiful photos. And a wonderful, well written report. Congratulations & thank you for sharing it with us.
     

  4. Royal27

    Royal27 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Well done.

    And well said.
     

  5. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    A very nice kudu bull.
     

  6. Aaron Nietfeld

    Aaron Nietfeld AH Fanatic

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    Hell of a day in the bush!
     

  7. Fr8liner

    Fr8liner AH Veteran

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    Lovely story, congratulations to all.
    Hard worked hunts are the best.
     

  8. Nyati

    Nyati AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Well earned trophies, those really make you proud to be a hunter !
     

  9. Hank2211

    Hank2211 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Agree with Nyati. Well earned, and well deserved. good for you for working to make it happen.
     

  10. rinehart0050

    rinehart0050 GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Great story and two great trophies! Thank you for sharing.
     

  11. caddman

    caddman AH Veteran

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    Thanks for the report and the great photos! Well done.
    That looks like a helluva Kudu.
     

  12. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Great trophies and well worth the effort. Bruce
     

  13. WFet

    WFet AH Senior Member

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    Congrats on another amazing adventure courtesy of Kowas! One cannot ask for more than a hunting trip with the Strauss family!
     

  14. Jfet

    Jfet AH Elite

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    You know its always fun to be able to quote your son on AH.

    Jacques, well done my friend! Please give your mom and dad my best compliments. Looking forward to hearing this story again around the campfire at Kowas(y)
     
    Jacques.strauss likes this.

  15. Wheels

    Wheels AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Congratulations to you and your client. Very good shooting.

    The grass is looking brown fairly early. Did you get enough rain this year Jacques.
     

  16. Ole Bally

    Ole Bally AH Fanatic

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    Baie bladdy mooi ou boet!
    Days in the dust are always remembered!
    The 'cheap' ones never are!
     

  17. Jacques.strauss

    Jacques.strauss AH Senior Member

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    Wheels
    I don't think anyone in Namibia will ever have "enough" rain... ;) But yes, much less than average, but hopefully we will pull through.
     
    Wheels likes this.

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