NAMIBIA: Return To Khomas Highland Hunting Safaris

Adrian

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Location: Farm Heusis, Khomas hochland, Namibia.

Outfitter:
Khomas Hochland Hunting Safaris.

PH: Isak !!Hueb (Adab).

Tracker/Driver: Adab, Isaak Songo, Marius Gariseb.

Owners: The Hennings Family.

Dates: Arrival 1st October 2017 - departure 10th October 2017.

Rifle: Mauser M12, wooden stock in 30-06 using Norma Oryx 180gr bullets.

Sights: Meopta Meostar R1 4-12X40.

Shotgun: Beretta 686S 12 bore with 32gram Express cartridges in size 6.

For the third time in as many years I found myself heading back to Namibia and to Khomas Highland Hunting Safaris. Philip had kindly found a slot to allow me to hunt on Farm Heusis again.

I had no way of knowing I would be fortunate enough to be returning on such a regular basis but I worked for it. Every hour God sent me I worked for my hunting trip, most of my days off have been used to work overtime to enable me a ten day break under the African sun.
Getting up at 03:30 to leave home at 04:00, drive for an hour and forty five minutes, do a twelve hour shift and then return home or staying away from home to do the same the next day before going home and working my regular job was not something I enjoyed - but I knew that at some point in October I would be sat on a hill top in Namibia and know it was all worth it.

I flew at 21:00 on the 30th September from London Heathrow on African Airways to Johannesburg, a couple of hours there and then my connecting flight to Windhoek where Philip had arranged to pick me up.

It's worth mentioning now that I flew with my rifle and shotgun and it could not have been easier.
I checked in online, arrived at the airport, declared to an airport employee I had a firearm, they opened up a check in desk just for me and they checked it all through to Windhoek.
There was no charge for handling a firearm and no excess baggage charge. I was not required to tell the airline in advance.
A piece of paper and a check by the border control officials and I was good to go.

The journey passed by as was to be expected,no drama and no delays.
Until I got to Namibia.
It was faster to fly from Johannesburg than the time it took from stepping onto the tarmac to shaking Philip's hand on the other side of immigration.
It took two hours just to get my passport stamped in a crowded hall, packed with three plane loads of visitors.
My gun case and bullets were waiting for me and within ten minutes the formalities were done. Someone had found my suitcase and brought it to me while I was in the police office which saved me a bit of worry wondering where my case might be after two hours on a conveyor belt.
I appreciated the help and gave the guy who helped me a few rand as a thank you.

I met Philip on the other side and that airport was crammed. Philip said he had never seen it so busy.
A quick visit to duty free for some cigarettes and we were off to the farm, picking up Marius and a few more workers along the way at a crossroads just outside Windhoek.

Arriving at the farm I was shown to my very comfortable and adequate room which was a single chalet containing two single beds, a wardrobe with integral drawers, a small dresser, a fridge and an en suite shower and toilet and wash basins.

Philip had suggested we wait until morning to check and zero my rifle which suited me fine.

I got changed and made my way to the covered outside dining area at the end of the house. It was good to be back and see familiar faces, as well as a few new ones.

Dinner was with the family that evening, a braai with zebra steaks and home made smoked sausage courtesy of Philip's brother Jan and some pressed, spiced minced meat on sticks made by Philip's mum.
It was all very good food and I slept well that night.

Philip had suggested we meet at 07:00 for breakfast and I didn't take much waking up, it was good to be in Namibia again and go outside and breathe in the cool, clean air. I wandered over to the kitchen where coffee and juice were waiting. Emma the cook in the mornings and at lunch times fried some eggs for us which were very welcome.

Collecting my rifle once breakfast was done, we headed to the range to zero it. The range is just outside the farm gates so not far to go.
Before I mounted my sights, I wanted to try a couple of open sight shots, never having used them before. I was happy to see they hit the target within two inches of each other, a little high and to the left. Good enough should they be needed.

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With the sights on my rifle it was good to see they were pretty much where I expected them to be, a slight adjustment to shoot slightly high at 100m and a final shot to confirm and we were good to go.

I went back to my room, gathered everything I would need for the morning, bullets, binoculars, camera, etc and went back the yard where Marius had brought the hunting car round. Marius drove me back in 2015 and for a day last year and he is a nice guy.
A new face came to greet me while I put my bag in the back of the car, it was Adab who would be my PH for the duration of my hunt. I instantly liked him and looked forward to many hours following in his footprints.
Philip was accompanying us on that first morning along with Shaka, the Bavarian Mountain hound.

Loaded up we hit the track and headed out into the bush. The plan for that morning was to drive out and then walk and stalk through the low lying and relatively level plains, interspersed with dry river beds and gullies.
I didn't really care, I was just happy to be back in the bush and going hunting.

We departed the truck and set out on foot.

I followed in Adab's footsteps, treading where he trod as much as possible and I would become very familiar with the heels of his rubber and canvas boots which are peculiar to Africa.

There were many vultures in the trees along our route, I love the sight of these birds, somehow they scream wild Africa as they sit there with their foreboding presence and hunched appearance.

We walked head into the wind and saw Steenbok darting away in the bushes as well as much bird life.

The going was easy but my breathing was fast as I always find, my lungs unused to the thin clean air, more used to breathing the warm damp fug of the UK but I would acclimatize.

After a while we came across a small group of Black Wildebeest. Initially we saw two but with careful manoeuvring we came to a position where we could see more animals about 250m ahead of us in the shade of some acacia trees. There were a couple of older bulls and some younger and smaller beasts.

Creeping forward carefully we narrowed the gap and Adab and I glassed over the small herd. He selected the correct animal and while the sticks were set up kept me informed as to where it was. I was unsighted because I was stood close behind him to minimise any movement that might be seen.

Eventually I came forward and readied my rifle on the sticks.

At this point I need to say that the Black Wildebeest had been a bit of a brain worm for me.
The first year I hunted with Philip we stalked through similar terrain and we came upon two bulls which he offered me to shoot. Being my first safari and naive, I declined. A decision I regretted ever since.
Last year I wanted to hunt one and on my last day we stalked into a herd, an older bull was chosen and I shot it.
It ran with the herd but everyone was relaxed about the shot because the reaction of the animal to the hit was good so we gave it a while to allow it to drop before going to find it.
We followed a good blood trail that morning, plenty of sign and we were sure it would be down.
No such luck.
All day we searched for that Wildebeest, hours and hours and many kilometres of walking and even again the following day before I left for home. It was never found and it had bugged me to this day.

So, thirteen months later I was in a position to finally put my Black Wildebeest brain worm to bed.
I was on the sticks, maybe about 160m distant from my target, slightly uphill and waiting for the shot to present itself.

My target animal seemed to be aware of us and he stood looking, facing towards us slightly quartering.
Adab was giving me instructions and telling me where to place the shot.
I had a good image through the sights and my bullet was to find it's way between the shoulder and neck and travel on downwards into the lungs.
I was confident. My rifle had just been zeroed and I was steady so I squeezed the shot off.

There was a big puff of dust behind the Wildebeest and I immediately thought this was a good sign that the bullet had passed through.

To my amazement the bull turned and ran. I reloaded quickly and was ready for a second shot but they were gone over the horizon.

I was still trying to come to terms with what happened. I couldn't believe I wasn't walking up to my first Black Wildebeest.

Plain and simple I had missed. I couldn't get my head around it. Everything was perfect. My Black Wildebeest hoodoo continued......

While my mind was processing all this I realised that I had followed Adab in the direction of the departed animals and we were stalking again.

Shortly after, in the middle distance a group of Blue Wildebeest were meandering across a flat area and to their right as we looked were the Black Wildebeest that I had disturbed a while earlier.
We started after them again.

The terrain was undulating low ridges and gullies so each time we crested one we looked and on the top of one such ridge we saw the Black Wildebeest walking left to right so a direction was made to intercept them.
For some reason the Blues started running away from us even though I'm certain we were not the cause of their flight.
I assumed the herd of Blacks had spooked and they had all run off.

Just then, Philip who was a little way off of Adab and myself gave a low whistle and unbelievably the group of Black Wildebeest were heading back in our direction over the top of the ridge we were ascending and about 80m away.

Adab had the sticks up and my rifle nestled comfortably in the rubberized V on the top.

"Wait" he whispered in my ear as we tracked the single file of animals. "The last one" came another hissed instruction.

The animals galloped down our slope and started up the one we had just come down and the last animal stopped suddenly and turned it's head towards us.

I remember the shot and through the scope I saw, as if in slow motion, the bull sit down on it's haunches and roll over on it's side before the sound of the hit came to my ears.

Staying on the sticks I reloaded and covered it, fully expecting it to get up and run off but to my relief, I could see the lung blood bubbling from the exit wound and I knew I finally had my first Black Wildebeest.

Adab turned to me and very seriously said: "Adriano, I seenk you have shot a very nice Black Wildebeest".

I shook his hand gratefully and mumbled something which was gratitude but I hope he understood me.

Philip came over and we made our way to the fallen animal and it gave a few last defiant kicks as it's nerves ceased to work but it was stone dead.

There was a lot of relief on my part after my earlier miss and handshakes all round while Philip broke a sprig of acacia, dipped it in the blood of the bull and handed it to Adab who in turn removed his hat and presented the foliage to me with another handshake and a "Waidmannsheil". "Waidmannsdank" I responded and placed the twig in the velcro fastening of my cap.

We moved the bull for photographs and for the first time could see just how nice the bull was. An old boy with fully hard bosses and an impressive length and sweep to his horns. I was extremely glad to have taken this fine old animal and knew his genes would have been passed on over many previous years.

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Philip called up Marius on the radio and went to meet him while I was still reliving the hunt. I idly pondered the fact my bullet had struck higher than I thought it might compared to where I aimed but put it down to the fact I might have wobbled slightly on the shot as I had swivelled quite a way on the sticks tracking the running bull.
Soon after Marius and the truck came into view and it was all hands needed to load the Wildebeest onto the back.

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Back at the farm I helped unload and hung around with the guys while they commenced the skinning and butchering.
I like hanging out with them while they go about their business. Not only do I learn from watching but I like to help out if I can. I wouldn't dream of doing the skinning because those guys have got it down to an art but if I can hold a leg here or pull skin there I'm glad to do it. I shot it so I like them to know I'm not going to leave them to it. It was a team effort and I'll stick around until they've finished and help when and if I'm able.

Once done and the meat hung in the cooler it was time for lunch. It was a fine spaghetti bolognese made with zebra mince and was amazing. I wondered how I would manage back in the UK without a fix of fresh zebra.

It was hot after lunch so everyone retires for a siesta for a few hours.
I was still buzzing so sat out front of my chalet and drank a coke and smoked a cigarette before going in for an hour of sleep.

More to follow.......



 

cpr0312

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Nicely done on the BWB! Look forward to more!
 

billc

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Looking good and that is a dandy black wildebeest.
 

Ridgewalker

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Yes Adrian that is one very handsome Black Wildebeest! Adab was right for sure!
They are on my bucket list and I can only hope mine is similar!
 

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Thanks for sharing your report!
 

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Adrian
Congratulations with your wildbeest.
Thank you for choosing Namibia for you African safari.
We are looking forward hearing the rest of your experience.
 

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Looking forward to the rest of your report. Great looking wildebeest.
 

Art Lambart II

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Nice BWB I hope to find his brother next July.
 

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Great Black Bull !!! Awesome.
 

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Great going, so far...
 

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So, to carry on.

Coffee and cake was at 15:00 and after a couple of mugs of coffee and a good attempt to reduce the amount of apple cake on the plate I gathered my things and met Adab and Marius by the truck.
Unfortunately Philip had fallen ill and he stayed behind.
It was suggested I bring my shotgun for the afternoon outing so I retrieved it from my room along with a box of cartridges.

We set out into the hunting grounds and soon came across some Guinea Fowl just off the track. I took the 12 bore and loaded it and stood ready in the back of the truck.
Marius drove on and some of the fowl flushed to my left. I picked one bird as it crossed from right to left about twenty yards away and was rewarded with seeing it fold at my single shot.

Remaining standing in the truck we repeated the exercise once more and I accounted for another bird as I shot to the back of the truck and we now had two Guinea Fowl in the bag.

Soon after we approached a small dam, behind which was a small waterhole. Adab and I dismounted the truck and snuck in behind it while Marius drove around the water to flush any geese that happened to be there.

As it turned out, there were only two and after some frantic to-ing and fro-ing, the geese flew off well away from where I stood.

Back in the truck again and Marius drove to a bigger dam that I had been to before on my visits to the farm.

Adab and I got out and I stuffed my pockets with cartridges and we crept up the dam wall while Marius drove on around the water a couple of hundred metres away on the far side.
There were a lot more geese here and they flew eventually helped on by another member of our team, a youngster called Juan.

I have no idea if that is how you spell his name because it sounded like 'schjzoo-an' but as my command of the Damara language is non existent save for the two words Adab taught me, I will refer to him as Juan in this narrative.

Back to the geese.

There were probably about forty birds on the water and they took off in small groups in various directions.
One such group came over from my right and I missed the bird I chose with both barrels. The shots stirred the geese up even more and another group came in my direction so I picked the outside bird and scored a hit. Swinging through I picked another target and again folded the bird up.
I was satisfied to have claimed a left and right and had two birds dead in the air, landing with a thump and a splash respectively.

As I waited for more geese to come my way I mused that the last time I had used my shotgun was in England to shoot Canada Geese. Now, I was in Namibia shooting Egyptian Geese. Funny eh? It really is an international sport!

I accounted for one more goose and missed a few more before they had enough and flew on to somewhere quieter.

The goose that had splashed down had now been blown to shore at the foot of the dam so we retrieved the two in front of us and picked up the other from the bush as we passed it on our way out in the truck.

I put the shotgun away and we headed up into the mountains. It was so good to be back among the highlands again. Every turn and every ridge crested afforded another view as good as or better than the last.

We saw plenty of Kudu, Mountain Zebra, Warthogs, Steenbok, Hartebeest and Gemsbok on our way until we peaked at a spot I had been to before. I recognised a tree that we turned around.
Two years previously I had drunk a can of coke under that tree, looked up and saw the remains of a Steenbok dragged into the branches by a Leopard. I looked again and the Steenbok carcass was still there, more bones and strips of dry skin now as it had weathered away over time.

We started back down the mountain but didn't make it far before Adab spotted some Gemsbok high above us on the skyline. They didn't seem alerted by us so we decided to stalk one for the kitchen.

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We started climbing and I followed faithfully after Adab's rubber soled boots and the distance soon closed to a couple of hundred metres.

There were more animals than I had first seen. Hidden among the low thorn bush the numbers were, for me, impossible to count let alone pick a young animal for the kitchen.

Adab however picked one and we followed it, getting on the sticks for a shot before being thwarted by another animal getting in the way or it disappearing behind a tree or bush.

We must have been there for half an hour, crouching in the bush, watching and waiting. The herd had now moved round to our right and offered us tantalizing glimpses of grey hide and black and white faces.

Suddenly Adab beckoned me alongside him. I had been keeping him between the herd and myself to offer a less conspicuous blob to be seen.

He pointed out the animal I was to take about 160m distant and broadside on. I aimed at the spot halfway between back and belly, in line with the front leg confident that my bullet would pass through both lungs and kill the Oryx quickly.

I squeezed the shot off and as I reloaded expected to hear the 'thwack' as my shot hit home.

I didn't hear it. In fact the Gemsbok ran off completely unharmed.

I was crestfallen. I was certain of the shot and I felt really bad that Adab had gotten me in position, we had waited and waited for the shot, followed the target and when I had the chance his client had missed.
I apologised profusely, still not certain why I had missed, all I knew was that I had and I felt more disappointed that I had let Adab down after his hard work. He of course outwardly was fine about it and philosophical. I remained puzzled.

Back at the Farm I went for a shower before joining the family and others for our evening meal. Zebra meatballs with tagliatelle and salad and it was good.

Just after nine, everyone departed for their sleeping quarters and I made my way back to my room and thankfully the replaying of my Black Wildebeest hunt that morning overshadowed my miss that afternoon and I soon fell asleep.

Apologies for the photo not being immediately visible, no idea why.
 

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Adrian

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Day 2:

My alarm rudely shattered my sleep on my second morning in Namibia. I gave it a few hits on the snooze button before hauling myself out of bed and dressing.

I made my way across the yard to the kitchen where Emma had coffee ready. Philip's brother Jan was there already so we drank a companionable mug of coffee and I declined breakfast as I was still feeling stuffed from the previous evening's meal and just made do with coffee and juice.

At 07:00 Adab and Juan arrived by the truck. Marius wasn't driving today so we had Isaak as our chauffeur for the day.
I had hunted with Isaak last year and he guided me to a great Gemsbok in the mountains and a superb Red Hartebeest bull one late afternoon in a dry river bed as well as some cull animals too.
I didn't post a report of last year's hunt so please allow me to most the afore mentioned animals hunted with Isaak here:

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Ignore the bullet hole in the side of the Hartebeest. The first shot was a head on shot in the chest to which the animal collapsed on the spot. Isaak and I shook hands and started walking towards it only to see it get up and run. I took another shot as it crossed in front of us but it wasn't necessary as we found out. My first shot had killed it, smashing the heart and lungs.
Goodness knows how it managed to get up and run but I did, dead on it's feet.

I digress.

It was good to see Isaak again and to hunt with him. He and Adab are superb hunters and guides and I knew that I was hunting with the best.

We set out to look for a Kudu and potentially a Springbok.

It was off up into the mountains to search for the Kudu. There are many Kudu on Farm Heusis and the chances of finding a good bull were high and I was looking forward to the day ahead.

We drove and stopped and glassed and drove and stopped and glassed for a few hours, we saw a few Kudu but none were suitable for hunting, young bulls and cows.

Eventually we came out on top of the highlands. The views were spectacular so we stopped and all exited the truck to glass the surrounding land.

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The guys in the above photos were at the time looking at and assessing two Kudu bulls on the furthest slope away in the middle of the photo.

I could just about make out the shapes, they were looking at horn sizes.

We spent a while looking at they thought it was worth a closer look so piling back into the truck I hung on as we sped to close the distance and we could attempt a stalk.


More to come.....
 
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cpr0312

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Congrats on the animals form last years hunt also! Look forward to hearing about pursuing the kudu!
 

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Great start to your hunting tale. So I gotta ask the obvious. Is the sights on your rifle off? Beautiful BW by the way. Congrats Bruce
 

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We must've traveled about 3km on by the time the truck stopped and Adab and I got off and began our stalk. We climbed up a slope out of sight of where the two Kudu bulls were last seen. They hadn't gone far but were slowly heading away from us and as we caught up and saw them close it was clear to even my uneducated eye that they were still too young to be shooters. Adab said they were still at least three years too young.

Back at the truck we mounted up again and set off still looking for the right Kudu bull. We had looked over most of the mountains and seen plenty of game, Warthogs, Gemsbok and Zebra as well as birds.

The terrain and landscape levelled out gradually and we headed east to the plains to look for a Springbok as there was still a little time before lunch.

Driving slowly and looking through the bush eventually we saw a small group of Springbok to our right. They saw us too and took off across the track in front of us. There was a discussion between Adab and Isaak and at the conclusion Adab signalled for me to get my rifle ready.
Apparently there was a sick or injured ewe in the group and I was to shoot it if I had the chance.

We followed the group playing a game of cat and mouse as they appeared and disappeared in and out of the bush.
The injured ewe offered fleeting glimpses but I was set up and ready to take a quick shot if a chance presented. I don't shoot from the truck but on occasions like this when a sick animal needed to be culled or for a jackal I will do so.

The Springbok eluded us so I made safe my rifle and we continued on.

A few hundred metres later we found some more, either the same group or a different lot, I couldn't be sure but Adab grabbed the sticks and motioned for me to follow him.

We had a short stalk along the track watching the Springbok to our left. Adab stopped and deployed the stick and the rifle slotted home covering the small herd.

Whispered instructions told me where to look and there was a mature ram. He was stopped but other members of the group were milling around and I had to be patient while I waited for a chance of a shot. He moved forwards, a thorn bush covering him from a shot until finally he came clear facing to my right and a clear broadside shot was there.
Adab whispered again, telling me where to place the shot behind the shoulder where the chocolate strip along it's flank ended.

I took the shot and to my horror I saw a ewe which had suddenly bounded out from behind a bush react to my shot before I heard the impact.

I reloaded feeling very uneasy and followed Adab across to the site of the hit. There was a lot of blood and we followed the trail finding chunks of bone, all the while the unpleasant feeling inside growing.

Adab confirmed I had hit the wrong animal as we tracked the path of it's flight. Isaak had joined us with Shaka the dog and Juan. Shaka was let slip and he picked up the trail closely followed by Adab with Isaak and myself following on.

After about 500m Shaka had found the wounded Springbok and as I approached I was horrified and ashamed that my shot had gone so badly wrong. My bullet had smashed through the rear leg removing most of the bone and destroying muscle and tendon.
Isaak asked if it was ok to slit it's throat and of course I agreed, I didn't want the animal to suffer anymore than necessary and the deed was done.

I felt bloody awful. It was the worst moment I have had as a hunter and Adab and Isaak could tell I was pretty upset by it and they reassured me it was hunting, nothing an be perfect every single time no matter how much we try to make it so.
They were right of course and pointed out that we had found the animal very quickly and it didn't suffer more than necessary.
They offered to set the ewe up for a photograph but I declined. It wasn't how I wanted my first Springbok hunt to end. One consolation was that it was an old ewe with long horns and probably post breeding.

The truck was brought around and we loaded her up and made our way back to the farm. I helped as they skinned her and put the meat in the cool room before going for lunch.

I couldn't remember what it was. I wasn't feeling hungry and as soon as possible afterwards I retired to my room for a sleep before we went out again in the afternoon.

I couldn't sleep. I went over everything that had gone wrong. The delight of the morning in the mountains had evaporated.
I had misjudged the range.
I could do nothing about the appearance of the ewe at the precise moment I fired of course, It was just appalling luck that my miss had coincided with her appearance.

Anyway I did fall into a troubled sleep and when I awoke and had a coffee I was full of regret but thinking a little more clearly and putting things back into perspective.

For the afternoon hunt we drove just over a kilometre to the main road and we turned right heading for the farm next door where I had hunted the year before.

This property, Karanab, was part of the Khomas Hochland conservancy and permission was in place to hunt there. The landscape varied from flat thorn bush to grass areas,rocky gullies and riverbeds and mountains again. It seemed to my eyes a little more harsh than Heusis despite being so close but it was good land to hunt on and I had success there with Isaak.

Shortly after we turned off the road and onto a track the vehicle stopped and Adab said we would go on by foot. Compared to some of the stalking I had experienced, this was easy going. The flat ground was hard and scoured by wind exposing small stones and the vegetation was low thorn bush spaced far enough apart to make walking through easy but made spotting game hard due to the density of it as you looked ahead and to the sides.

We hadn't walked far, maybe 600 metres when Adab spotted a shape half hidden in the bush ahead. It was a Springbok.

The Springbok seemed aware of our presence and moved slightly forward to see what was heading in it's direction.

I looked out from behind Adab who was looking intently at the animal in front of us.

"He eees verrry nice" came a hushed remark from my guide.

I looked through my binoculars and tried to make out how he could judge and saw for myself thick bases on the horns and I couldn't argue, he did look very nice.

Slowly, ever so slowly the sticks were put out and I carefully moved to the side of Adab and rested the rifle and flipped up my scope covers.
The ram was maybe just under 200m away and from zeroing the rifle the previous day to be one inch high at 100m I knew that if I aimed spot on, the bullet would fly to where I wanted it to.

Adab cradled my elbow as I took aim and told me to take my time. The ram took a few steps forward and cleared the bushes offering a perfect broadside shot as he looked towards us..
.
I followed the brown stripe up to just behind the shoulder and controlled my breathing and the shot went off, the bullet heading at 2700fps to break through the Springbok's ribs and drive on through the lungs and top of the heart.

Except it didn't.

The Springbok leapt off completely unharmed and made a wide semi circle before disappearing.

My rifle nearly followed it.

I was pissed off like I can't remember. I had never missed or fouled up so many times before but mostly I was letting Adab down.

We took a half hearted look to make sure there was definitely no hit but there wasn't. Another miss and Adab and I agreed that perhaps we should have another go on the range the following morning. I couldn't agree more.
There was something more than my shooting going on here. I knew I could hit what I aimed at on almost every occasion and had done so many times before.

Isaak had been off with Shaka in the bush tracking the path the fleeing Springbok had taken but it was futile. That ram was not injured and had gone.

All in all it had been a lousy day and all I wanted to do was put it behind me and start again.

I was knackered but it still took ages to sleep that night.
 

Adrian

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Day 3:

The next morning I was up and after fruit juice and coffee Adab and I headed just outside the gate to the range.

I loaded up with two bullets and took two shots.

The target was an A4 piece of paper with the aiming point dead centre. My shots were hitting the top of the paper.
I have no idea how or why but since zeroing two days previously my point of aim had shifted way too high. This must've happened fairly quickly because I remembered my shot on the Wildebeest was a higher than I expected and I had been using my rifle since the first morning, hours after checking and being happy with the zero with it a long way off.

I couldn't figure out how or why. I had brought a padded rifle slip to protect it in the truck and prevent hard jolts even though it had been loose in the rack the year before with no loss of zero.

Whatever happened I was very glad that it wasn't a result of me shooting poorly and my disappointments of the previous day and afternoon the day before was now explained.

Hopefully Adab could also see that I wasn't as bad as he might be thinking.

A few shots later and everything was as it should be so when Isaak and Juan arrived we loaded the hunting car and set out for another day of adventure and hopefully more success.

We were headed back to Karanab again that morning and we turned off the road at the same place as the day before.

A large group of Springbok were in the thorn bush to our left and we saw each other at the same time, the Springbok not hanging around. Adab and Isaak had a chat and we drove on, eventually turning into a clearing where a tall scaffold type frame stood completely naked. It was a high seat or blind but devoid of any cover and had not been used for it's intended purpose for some time.

However it made a fine look out point and Adab quickly scampered up followed by Isaak.
I remained at ground level hoping that it was firmly embedded in the ground because it's been a long time since I did a first aid course and if it did topple over there was no point us all flying through the air.

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Shaka looked on with a degree of curiosity.


There was quite a discussion going on from on high and after five minutes or so the two guys returned to ground level and said they had seen the Springbok either at or heading towards a waterhole not far ahead.

The three of us set off leaving Juan at the truck with a good pocketful of sweets.

The going was easy as can be seen in the above photos. The ground started to fall away and we were walking downhill through the bush until we came across more lush growth and an earthen wall loomed in front of us. there was a small waterhole on our right that had plenty of bird life visiting, Sand Grouse, Guinea Fowl, ducks, geese and many other small but brightly coloured varieties took flight at our approach but didn't cry alarm.

The earthen bank was roughly twenty feet high and Adab ascended with me following and Isaak with Shaka behind me.
As he reached the top I hung back allowing Adab to take a good view of what was going on on the other side.
He spent a minute or so taking stock of what was there before crouching down and talking to me.

He said a big Kudu was approaching the water that was on the other side and we should give it a short time for him to start drinking. Both he and Isaak remarked it was late in the day for a Kudu to drink.
Apparently the Springbok were on the far side of the water and there was also a lone Red Hartebeest there too.

I cautiously poked my head slowly above the parapet and took in the scene before me. The Kudu was only a short 30 metres in front of me. The Red Hartebeest was in the process of making himself comfortable and was lying down as I looked. There were Guinea Fowl aplenty, a couple of Warthogs and Baboons far up the dried up area of the waterhole, I judged about 400 metres away to the right as we looked and the Springbok, maybe thirty or forty of them were straight ahead on the far side of the wet stuff.

The Kudu was drinking and completely at ease. It had an impressive horn on the left side of it's head but the right was broken off about a third of the way up.
Adab asked if I wanted it as a trophy and ordinarily I would've accepted as I quite like an abnormal or broken trophy but I was looking at the Springbok.
I did wonder quietly if he offered it because I might stand a chance of hitting it. I mean, not even I could miss a Kudu at 30 metres. Could I?

Anyway I said I would prefer to look at the Springbok first and Adab and Isaak glassed the herd along with myself.
They found the ram before me as I would expect and they told me where to look and I picked him out fairly easily. He was moving through the herd from left to right and my two companions confirmed he was a shooter.
We watched him move out to the right of the herd and Adab asked if I wanted the sticks set up.
I declined and removed my cap and rested it on the top of the dam wall and eased my rifle onto it to cushion against the sharper stones.

Flipping the scope covers up I found the ram just as he was getting mounted by a younger one. He shook off the attentions and started to trot back to the left stopping to look around him.

My crosshairs picked him out and I waited for a couple of herd members to clear the field of fire and I settled in for the shot.

I was comfortable and the shot let go without me even thinking about it. When the recoil was recovered I heard the smack of a hit and saw that ram go down on his side, legs in the air and he didn't move again.

I reloaded and covered him but it was done. Safety on I turned to see two very white smiles across two brown faces and I silently muttered a word of thanks to whatever African hunting deity was looking over me that morning before letting out a huge sigh of relief.
I turned and lent back against the top of the dam wall and looked at the ground between my feet, my rifle butt resting on the ground and barrel against my shoulder.

After the last day and a half you have no idea how pleased and relieved I was to make that shot. Confidence surged through me again and I knew I could still shoot straight, hopefully Adab might have a little more faith in me as well now.

I was grinning as I looked back to make sure the ram was still lying there. He was so I took a few photos while we waited for the rest of the Springbok to disappear into the bush.

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In the following two photos you can see the ram lying on it's side, belly towards the camera. The white shape pretty much central in the image.

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After a few minutes we trekked over to the fallen ram. It was a sweet walk for me. I had pulled off a reasonably long shot after an awful couple of days and it was my first trophy Springbok. I felt as if a big weight had been lifted from my shoulders and I was even more pleased to see the ram I took had horns worn down on the front, a real old ram and the right animal to take.

We set him up for some photos and I made sure both guys were in them.

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Adab went off to collect the truck and Isaak and I moved the ram into the shade while we waited. Isaak judged the shot to be 220 metres.
Looking back to where I took the shot.

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Adab arrived in short order with the truck and we loaded the old Springbok aboard and headed on into Karanab.

We were kind of heading back in the direction of Heusis but as it was still quite early we drove slowly away from the flatter areas and the road started going upwards and the terrain became rockier as we were to traverse the hills and ridges and riverbeds.

More to follow in a couple of days................

 

Ridgewalker

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A couple of days! Come on Adrian I want more:(! Just kidding! I’m really enjoying this with every honest emotional detail!
 

cpr0312

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Tough days and missed shots happen to all of us! You ended up with a very nice ram the next day!
 

Adrian

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A couple of days! Come on Adrian I want more:(! Just kidding! I’m really enjoying this with every honest emotional detail!
Yes, sorry, will be away from home working overtime to afford next year's trip.
 

MAdcox

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Beautiful Springbok, congrats on the shot
 

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