NAMIBIA: Return To Khomas Highland Hunting Safaris

Adrian

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Day 3 continued:

We drove onward into Karanab.It was still quite early in the day so we drove slowly looking for more hunting opportunities. The track became rockier and the terrain was interspersed with more and more rocks protruding from the ground with camel thorn trees and golden grass between them.

Rounding a slight bend in the track Isaak stopped the truck and he and Adab started a discussion which Adab shred that there were some Kudu way in the distance on top of a ridge.

I looked with them and sure enough I couldn't see them, I asked my companion in the back of the truck and he told me where to look. No wonder I couldn't see them, I was looking on the ridge directly in front of me but the Kudu were on the ridge in the distance, well over a kilometre away, probably closer to two.

We continued glassing before both Adab and Isaak decided there were three bulls which I eventually counted moving between the large rock outcrops on the crest of that hill.

So we dismounted the truck and started walking. The first obstacle to negotiate was a fairly steep descent into a gully, the rocks underfoot were loose and the going was a tricky not to slide down on your ass. As sod's law dictated, there were some Kudu in this gully and our downward progress disturbed them, mostly cows and a bull but fortunately they made their escpae back up the slope and from where we had come from. This was lucky as it would've been easier to push them on in the direction we were to be heading and in time alert the bulls were were after.

In the bottom of the gully Isaak had joined us, he had gone to leave the truck and Juan in the shade to keep the Springbok cool, it was also covered with a tarpaulin.

The going underfoot was easier and we followed the bottom of the gully, Adab regularly testing the wind and discussing the result with Isaak. By now we were heading in completely the opposite direction and taking a very long detour to find the Kudu.

We meandered around the bottoms and by now the heat was building, reflecting back at us off the rocks and slopes. It was a relief to be walking through grass rather than thorns at this point when suddenly Adab stopped. I nearly walked into him so intent I was on following his footprints.
He was glassing ahead into the shade given my a camel thorn.

"Warthog" he whispered back to me. "Very beeeg" I peered cautiously round him and sure enough, about 25m ahead of us the unmistakable silhouette of a Warthog, half hidden in the grass was facing us, studying us intently.
"Do you want him?" Adab asked "He iss veeery nice".
I replied in the affirmative and Adab slowly set the sticks up and I just as slowly placed the fore end of the stock upon them.
The size of the tusks were hidden from me but I knew if Adab said he was big, then I should be having a go to take him.

Some people might wonder why I would be potentially ruining a Kudu hunt for a Warthog but I've learnt that you should take what Africa offers you and if a good trophy animal crosses your path then you should be flexible and take your opportunity. I had never hunted a Warthog before and it was one of the animals on my wish list to try and take so here I was with the chance.

The Warthog was facing me so I waited for a shot. It was never taken. The pig turned tail and ran directly away from us through the grass only presenting tantalizing glimpses and never offering the opportunity for a responsible shot.
It wasn't a problem, we continued on for the Kudu.

After maybe half an hour, I sensed we turned back towards to where I judged the Kudu bulls to be. The ground underfoot started to go upwards and we left the grassy gully bottoms and headed up the slope where the grass grew thinner and the low thorn bush was back and the scree was loose underfoot.

Adab in front and Isaak behind continued to talk in the fascinating language of the Damara which was punctuated by the various clicks and left me wishing I knew what it was they were saying.

The three of us headed towards the area where we expected to find the three bulls. We stopped and glassed and moved and stopped and glassed again. Actually it's more fair to say that Adab did the glassing, Issak and I kept our heads below the skyline to reduce the chances of us being seen. Adab was obviously in sight of our target as he ducked and weaved behind the rocks and various scrub that hid our progress from the Kudu.

The rocks underfoot and thorns had given way to more grass again and the trees were spread out wider by now and Adab motioned to me to chamber a round so I knew we were getting close. I dumped my rucksack and left in the care of Isaak who remained behind with Shaka.

So began the final stalk. I stayed close to Adab's heels once again and carried my rifle at ninety degrees to him, muzzle pointing to the left, stock to the right. We played a game of cat and mouse among the rocky outcrops and thorn trees and crawled and crouched below the level of the golden swathes of grass before we stopped by a camel thorn tree.

I had by now seen one of the bulls standing proudly on the top of the ridge among some rock. I had no idea where the other two were but we focused on this lone bull and paused to get our breath back and discussed our next move.
It was too risky to attempt to get closer and there was about 160m, possibly a bit further between the Kudu and us.
Adab asked if I wanted the sticks set low to take a kneeling shot but pointed out there was a lot of grass masking the target area but I wanted to stand and shoot to make certain of what I was seeing and aiming at so remaining seated he opened the sticks and set them for me to use.

The Kudu was facing our direction so we moved slowly and with regular pauses to avoid him seeing us. With the sticks up I slowly rose from my grassy hiding place and adjusted the height with my foot to make it comfortable. I had a chance to finally study him, a fine animal, that seemed to shine in the sunlight, his horns glinting and it's hard not to take a moment to just admire this regal animal and imprint the image on your mind.
A Kudu is always a treat to see if you're hunting them or not. Such a beautiful animal and a twinge of regret came over me that I was to shoot him but I knew we had worked hard, outsmarted him to this point and had hunted him on his territory and earned the opportunity I now found myself in.

My thumb gently pushed forwards the safety catch and I settled in for the shot. Adab said to shoot him on the shoulder. The bull was facing us and quartering slightly to my left, almost front on but he turned ever so slightly and opened up a bit more area to aim at.
I placed my crosshairs between the top of the shoulder and neck and squeezed the trigger sending the 180gr Norma Oryx speeding to it's target.
The sound of the hit reached me as I saw the bull rear and turn and run away and to my left. I reloaded and picked him up in the scope again, his horns visible above the rocks that he had been standing in. Still following his horns, they disappeared briefly to be replaced with hooves and I knew he was down, a few kicks in the dust as he became visible again and it was over, he lay still.
I took my rifle down, unloaded it and made it safe. I like to make a visible show of doing this so my companions can also see that I have done so.


Adab and I shook hands and Isaak joined us as we went to look at our prize.

It was a fine bull, stone dead to my single shot and I hoped I was on my way to redemption after my earlier problems.
Another handshake all round and we set him up for a few photos.

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Photos done, Adab told me to relax and he and Isaak left me to go and get the truck, Isaak to drive, Adab to clear a road.
I like and appreciate times like this. I can sit and relive the hunt and the stalk in my mind and take some quiet time with my animal and pay some silent respect.

I also like to retrace the steps of the final moments after the shot. I went back to where the shot had struck the Kudu and found the blood from the hit and the subsequent blood trail.

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Looking back to the tree from where I took the shot. It was the one middle distance dead centre of the photo.

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A few more photos.....
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When the truck arrived we winched the bull aboard and collected our gear and headed back to Heusis as it was now the middle of the day.
At the farm the Springbok and Kudu were unloaded into the processing room and once again I admired the skill and dexterity of the skinning and helped where I could before heading off for dinner.




 
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MAdcox

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Great stalk on a beautiful animal. I totally agree with your description of Kudu. Amazing animal to hunt or just watch.
 

ack

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I have a brand new scope I just sent back...What the hell brand can we be sure will hold zero,,always ?.Started spot on but then moved 4" left after I clicked 1" rt..First trip toNamibia we had two Lupies go to hell..The one I have now is a Meopta...are any of them reliable ?
 

flatwater bill

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Adrian..............wonderful report, with great photos. I especially like reports reflecting the courage to admit the misses as well as the hits........well done .....FWB
 

cpr0312

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Nice kudu, congrats!
 

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Loving your tale of Namibia as well as the photos. I especially like the last one of the kudu with your rifle propped on it. Shows everything off so nicely, even the background scenery. I love the colour of his horns...it seems every kudu I see that has been through dip and pack have had the horns turn black and it just doesn't look right. Your springbok and black wildebeest are fantastic as well. Pretty amazing that the little steenbok skeleton was still in the same tree a year later! Looking forward to more!
 

cagkt3

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Congrats on the trip, look forward to the conclusion
 

cls

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Congrats, enjoying the report.
 

Adrian

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I'll be back on it as soon as I can. Work is getting in the way currently.
 

BRICKBURN

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....................
The Springbok leapt off completely unharmed ................. My rifle nearly followed it.
I was pissed off like I can't remember. ...........................

Been there.

Thanks for taking the time to share your hunt with us.
 

KHOMAS HIGHLAND HUNTING SAFARIS

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Adrian! you are my Hero (y)
your report is honest and down to earth! I am very happy the highlands have honoured you with remarkable trophies harvested.
Our hunting season is over now, it was a pleasure hunting with friends from all over the world.
We are doing renovations and maintenance of the water places, buildings and vehicles. Putting much salt out for the wild animals to find rest and peace in our mountains for a good calving period. First rains are on their way, for a prospective new 2019.
Next time we kick up some dust in the Kalahari!
Kind regards from NAM
Philip
 

revturbo9967

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is there any more to this story? what a great hunt
 

Jeffrey Masters

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Adrian,what a complete and incredible narrative of your experience. My last thought was, that can't be it....there has to be more... I hope my experience can be as great as yours. Thank you for taking us on your journey. Incredible Kudu! IT pales in comparison to your memories!!
 

enysse

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Congrats, thanks for the hunting report!
 

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