Hunting with Wild Dogs!


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Jul 12, 2014
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Okavango Delta
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My wife and I went for a Sunday drive and bumped into a pack of 30 Wild Dogs (As one does on a sunday afternoon drive). The mercury was touching 38'C in the Delta and all the dogs were resting beneath the shade of Mopane and Knobthorn trees, pups on one side all the adults on the other.
The entire pack was fast asleep, not an open eye to be seen. We sat with them for about an hour when a single dog rose from his slumber beneath a bush. As soon as he stood the entire pack fixed their gaze on this one dog and we quickly realized it was the dominant male. Within a matter of seconds the pack was up, frantically running from one dog to another, licking muzzles and making their distinctive "clicking squeel" calls. Those lower down in the ranks were getting dominated and kept in their place by the higher ranking dogs. Showing their supremacy with raised tails, ears perked and a commanding stance.
What was also interesting was the amount of defecating that went on once the dogs stood up. This is of course, apart from the obvious reason of relief, a means by which the dogs can establish and maintain territories, become familiar with the scents of other pack members and also allows males to determine which females are in heat. This is referred to as an Olfactory System of my wife and I however it just smelt just like a lot of dog s****.

We knew a hunt was on the cards and became excited ourselves. Wild Dogs have the highest success rate at hunting over any other African predator. Between 85 - 95% of their hunts are successful, wouldn't we all like figures like that, hey? And with a pack of 30 dogs in the area there isn't much that would escape them. Once all the "formalities" had been done, the pups were left behind and all the dogs went trotting off, lead by the dominant male that had been the first to stand. The hunt was on!
Dropping the cruiser into 4x4 we stuck on the tail of the hunting pack, doing our best to avoid termite mounds and warthog holes. The pace picked up and before we knew what was happening the speedo was sitting nicely on 40km/h and we were right in the mix of a pack of Wild Dogs while they were hunting.
Like a finely tuned killing machine every dog dropped its ears flat, broke away from the main pack and began to flank off to the right and the left, using the thick bush as cover. We kept on down the middle hoping to stick with the lead dog and maybe catch the moment when they caught their quarry. The lead dog had slowed slightly, much to my relief as I was sure we would crack our leaf springs or worse damage the axle. He paused, ears twitching, head turning and then.....lay down in the grass!! My wife and I were puzzled, the dog didn't seem injured or tired and the hunt had only just begun. Then to our left about 100 metres away, we heard the chilling squeal of an Impala meeting its fate. It hit us instantly, the dog had drawn us away from the hunting pack on purpose!! The wiley buggers had seen us a hindrance to their hunt and had come up with a plan to remove us from the picture.
By the time we had caught up with the rest of the pack, there wasn't a single piece of that Impala left. It had been ripped to pieces and devoured in a matter of seconds. Content the pack trotted back to their pups, regurgitated their meal for them and went back to sleep beneath the Mopanes. Sunday lunch was over!
From the time of when they first woke up to when they went back to sleep after the hunt was 25 minutes!!! Unfortunately I never got a single photo of the Wild Dogs with a kill and to this day it is a photo that eludes me.

For me these are the ultimate hunters, their teamwork, form of communication, patience, speed, power, resilience and knowledge of their prey is outstanding. If their was one lesson I could take from these incredible animals and apply it to my own hunting is that without the knowledge and hard work of others, you will never be successful!

Photos Copyright of Jono McHugh

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Close, but not quite.
Still incredible stuff.

good way to spend the sunday afternoon.

nice pics too
some trophy photos there jono .
and a very cool experience ,to boot.......
Thanks for the story and pics (y)
Neat story and great photos.

Thanks for sharing.
Very Good Stuff!!!

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