NAMIBIA: Namibia Chapter Two

You have no doubt heard it said that in Africa around every corner there is something that wants to sting, bite, scratch or eat you. In the top picture you see a yellow tree snake invading a large family bird nest that was about eight feet across. Pieter informed me that this harmless looking snake is actually poisonous,
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Bottom picture a black back jackal. In nine trips to Africa it was the first one I was able to hit.
 
So two days in the ground blind and no cat. He had developed a new pattern…..miss two days and come one. We refreshed the bait and Pieter was confident that he would come just at sunset. The bait tree was back in some trees so very much in shadow as the sun set in the west. The blind would get jet black inside quickly. We sat quietly with an agreed upon signal that if needed Pieter, sitting on my right, would tap me twice when the leopard appeared. I would always check my rifle to make sure the illuminated red dot on the crosshairs of the Leupold VX 5 HD was ready to go. The red dot I set on its lowest point of brightness and it would turn itself off after being left untouched for about three minutes. All I needed to do was bump the rifle slightly and the dot would reappear in the crosshairs center.
You never expect to look up and see a leopard because you look up constantly and nothing is there. Leopards move silently and stealthily. However, jackals will scream and birds will react when a cat is about. We had heard jackals screaming the day the female showed up when we were in the tree blind. On this day the area was silent with just the occasional buzz of a darn mosquitoes! I kept looking up to see just the bait hanging in the tree and the log ramp up to that bait. I can’t say how many times I looked at the bait tree and saw nothing.
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Good looking Jackal! Congrats on a great hunt so far Charlie.
 
.......... I can’t say how many times I looked at the bait tree and saw nothing.
It's just short of a million. At least that's my recollection.
 
Two taps on my right forearm! With the naked eye I see nothing at the tree and the bait in the shadows but I sit slightly forward. As my shoulder pushes against the rifle and my Hands take hold of the stock and I place my finger on the trigger guard. The red dot has activated and as I let my eye focus through the light gathering scope I see movement. The magnificent beast was there and he was hungry having evidently come from behind three and jumped straight up onto the log ramp. Micro seconds were flying past! I could see him clearly now and he was stretching up to bite at the alluring meat. I was selecting my spot to shoot and the excitement in me was pulsating. Truth be known my heart rate was going so fast you would have thought I was running a 100 yard dash. Micro seconds pass and I hear Pieter say shoot him. It’s not the perfect broadside we wanted. He was quartering away and stretching to reach has prize. I pull the trigger on the Ruger #1 and the 180 grain Winchester Ballistic Silvertip travels down the stainless barrel at 2950 feet per second with an ear crashing BOOM! I see the leopard drop but from my position in the blind hunched behind the rifle I see nothing else of spots. I hear two growls and then running like a horse galloping down the final stretch at Churchill Downs. A thud and two growls and then complete silence. Pieter had previously instructed me to remain silent so that he could listen to the animal to assess the leopard’s condition and direction of travel. As for me I thought the leopard was running straight towards the blind but I couldn’t see a thing. I sat there waiting. Finally I said “well”???? Pieter, a blunt man of few words, says you shot him a little far back. Damn did I wound this thing Ran through my mind. I wait a moment……Well “what did he sound like Pieter”? He says “sounded like a dead leopard to me”! We sit for a few minutes in silence, darkness and hear nothing. Maybe ten minutes but it seemed like forever! Pieter starts to put things in his pack and turns to open the back door of the blind. He tells me to reload but put the safety on. In 2021 he told me to reload and take the safety off. He puts on his headlamp and I do the same. It is a moonless blackness outside.Shadows have become complete darkness. Pieter with rifle in hand walks towards the bait maybe five yards and with his headlamp and can see blood a scant ten yards to the left of the blind. He is also shining a flash light around with his left hand. He says there he is! There’s your leopard. At first I don’t see him as his back is towards me and he is stretched out at the base of a tree with low hanging limbs. However as Pieter continues to walk In That direction I see spots. Beautiful black spots on a yellow coat. Pieter is getting very close and I tell him to be careful man are you sure that thing is dead. I say I want to be the first to touch him. I bend down and poke the cat in the back with my rifle. Pieter says he is DEAD!
You folks probably heard of a Rebel Yell……well I let one out. My second leopard was on the ground and I had just become Pieter’s first ever two leopard client. The joy I felt at that moment is like non other! Leopard hunting is addictive! At least to me it is! I pull out my phone and snap a picture. Pieter pulls his out to call his son Donie ten miles away at the lodge to bring the truck.
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Beautiful Cat! Well done sir!!!
 
After the shot I had seen nothing but heard the cat galloping away from the bait and it seemed that he was coming for us in the blind. Now standing over this beast Pieter says it was a liver shot. He watched the cat drop off the log and roll completely over twice and growl twice. He could see him bleeding out of both sides as he ran leaving a blood trail that even I could have followed. I had not aimed that far back but the cat was stretching up and forward so the bullet entered his right side and blew straight through and out the left side.
Have I mentioned I was really excited!
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The perfect setup with the blind exactly at a right angle. But that didn’t guarantee the cat would present perfectly.
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Blood and deep marks from a running leopard!
 
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It took Pieter’s son,Donie, about 25 minutes to drive the ten miles to where we were located. And then we got some more pictures.
 
Me in my lucky Cabelas jacket that I wore on the last leopard hunt also. With that leopard across my shoulders I felt like I was on top of the world.
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Congrats on such a magnificent leopard. Your patience and preparation were rewarded in fine fashion. Well done and deserved. Now you have burned another wonderful memory into your banks for a lifetime. Thank you for sharing.
 
Beautiful leopard Charlie, congratulations!
 
Now that is a great cat. Well done. So nice to to get your target animal on a hunt like this. Your culls and bait looked like they provided some extra excitement. Thanks for the report. Love all of the pictures.
Bruce
 
Always love reading a good adventure and congratulations on a beautiful Leopard!

HH
 

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