It is time to head to the trail cams check them and to pick them up.
We ran into Steenbok again, Impala, Kudu.
A jackal was in about the same place as yesterday. This time we were early. Amazing that he patterned that closely.
I was already down and ready when the Jackal stopped.
That was it. Not a perfect shot and I had to finish him.
A repeated word of advice. If you want a rug, never use TTSX. It is not a good result.
Oh well, the Jackals are culled here as a matter of course and I just joined in again.
You know that feeling I had?
Well I find proof on the camera.
The Grass blind was hit by a large female. Great pictures.
I would not have taken her, but it's nice to know my Leopard sense was on straight.
She also took the bait we tossed from a previous day and carted it right up to the top of the tree.
Manuel noticed it first and chuckled. I took a picture with the phone and had my own laugh.
This tree has been like a grocery store for my entire duration here and this one thinks she has to store old bones at greater heights, just to be sure.
Waste not, want not, I guess.
More Genets in the trees, more bloody Mongoose.
So tempting to find a .223 and start a market hunting operation.
We go to Gemsbok blind to see that bait has been hit too. Really?
I load the pictures onto the computer and notice several of the pictures have nothing in them. No discernible animals in the photos.
Why did the camera go off? What is going on?
Finally, I zoom in and I look very closely at those five images on the computer.
There is a muzzle and the top of a head in two of the pictures.
The Leopard fed from the ground. Holy crap!
Incredulous, I have A take a picture of me standing by the bait. Amazing reach.
He showed up after four days of nothing.
Leopard hunting is an incredible pursuit.
It is time to see if I can find the large male Oryx.
We ran into a large herd of Eland cows and calves on our way out from the dam.
I try another aborted stalk on Ostrich. They are all just as spooky as yesterday. It is not even the same birds.
It is official; the species are spooky.
I cannot find my broken horned guy. He must have known I was after him still.
We ran into another fresh Leopard track as we are walking to the blind.
Damn, they are everywhere.
I will likely have nightmares of Leopard creeping in the grass.
We go and sit in a blind for Oryx that is close in to the lodges.
Everything was scared off when a vehicle drove by. Not sure what that was about.
Finally after everything had calmed down an Oryx comes in. ONE! Not a herd, ONE!
From the property that has thousands, One comes in and its Male. Bizarre.
Lucky me, it is also a trophy.
I decide that is it.
One from the .270 straight into chest .
It was down in 8 feet. Shot placement is king.
Take the Oryx to the skinners to set them on the way to find the bullet.
The R100 copper mine is still in operation.
I regret to tell you we forgot to check the shed before I departed.
So, I am likely in debt to the holder of some Barnes Copper shares. Next time.
It is time to review the collection of trophies.
A has to measure all the trophies for the PH's register at the salt cage. He is earnest in his efforts but he is not the most overly accurate measurer in the world.
It is great to watch all the guys take this so seriously. It's official paperwork and they are treating it as such.
If I really want an official score I will do it myself when I get them home. As it is, I know my register will be completed correctly.
The young workers are all borrowing some reading material to study for their Hunting guide/ PH courses. It is exciting to watch these young guys looking forward to improving their lot by being able to guide hunters.
As they flip through a manual they are shocked by the amount of material and the detail they are required to know.
Slightly daunted but still excited about the possibilities. I wish them all well.
Obviously A has been a great role model for them.
We head back for an early lunch.
Since I am leaving shortly I do not refuse my host his generous offerings of Amarula/Cognac and Red wine. This is accompanied by Beef in Sauce with macaroni and a Tomato Egg Tuna salad that I have come to love.
Oryx, Fresh fish, Beef, Chicken, Eland, etc. were all on the menu.
The only repeats were those items that were specifically requested.
I quit attempting to follow the menu, I just knew it would be good.
I do not tend to blather on about food, but the food has been great. Every last meal I have had.
Formal three course meals for lunch and dinner, with everyone seated in places. You are served attentively and constantly.
Breakfast to dinner you merely have to ask. More often than not, I am having to say No to further offerings.
Nothing like being served.
There were two professionals directing my hunting experience here; PH's as Ozondjahe. Francois Robberts the head PH and Hunting Guide Agustinus was with me most days.
Both these men knew his stuff backward and I would not hesitate to hunt with either one again.
Under Namibian law there is a differentiation between PH's and guides. Hunting Guides are restricted to a particular farm or property, whereas PH's can hunt anywhere. There are some other distinctions regarding species but that is not relevant to my hunt.
I got another compliment today about "having good eyes" from A.
I did not even note the details anymore. It is just a positive thing to hear the appreciation of your hunting skills.
J's niece took her first game animal today.
She went out with her grand-pere Jean and made a perfect shot with the 223 and took a trophy Warthog.
I congratulated her and she was very humble in her acceptance of the congratulations.
It is awesome to see her success and welcome another huntress into the sorority.
All in all, it was an exhausting, sometimes adrenalin pumping, exhilarating, frustrating and always enjoyable time to hunt at Ozondjahe. Chasing Leopard is work. Even with all the set up before I ever showed up, it is work.
The cats, the wind is always changing.
I was driving the bus on this hunt. I was not just a client sitting and being the "trigger man".
I am sure my inexperience played a huge role in my success.
Next time I will just go sit if I get that feeling, no matter what. Even at a bait that has not been hit.
Francois Robberts knows his cats and works hard for you and A was always there waiting with me all the way and we shared the entire hunt.
After lunch Wilfred takes me on a drive to Windhoek to stay at the Roof of Afrika hotel.
I fell asleep in the car three times on the way to Windhoek.
Thanks for the professional driving. I arrived safe and sound.
It's off to the bar and on to the next adventure.
A very smart cat and you can't begrudge that kind of smarts. Amazing stuff.
This is also the same cat that was tending a female immediately beside this exact bait tree three days before I arrived.
Both were laying out lounging in the middle of the day.
He's lucky he did not do that while I was there.
He never went into the tree and exposed himself. He approached and stayed in the hollow underneath cover and below the horizon.
I console myself (delude myself) that we could never have seen him from the blind if he showed up earlier.
(Recall those muzzle and head shots)
If I could have been here another week, as most hunts for Leopard are that long, we might just have created another result.
I provided the Proof in the pudding at the start of this segment to show you it can be done.
The next hunter in got the Leopard after TWO days.
Thanks for taking the time to read the report.
I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed reliving it during the writing.
most excellent write up bricko
shit hot pictures mate( next photo comp will see you right )
congratulations on a hooogely succsess full hunt and also to the lucky leopard hunter after your good self
thanks for letting us share your memories
yup great story telling, and you had me there with the starting photos, kept waiting to get to the part with you shooting the cat......shame it didnt happen for you, but i can tell you had a real great time trying to get one, but thats leopard hunting , and there is always next time :beer:
I think we have al enjoyed your hunting story. Sorry you didn't get the cat. Make it that much sweeter when you do get one. The more you work for an animal the more you appreciate them. Looks like you'd got some good trophies. We can tell that you had a good time. Thanks so much for sharing with us. Bruce
Good stuff Wayne.Gives you an excuse (like you need one) to go back and try for a leopard again.
You had an incredible adventure that I bet you would trade in a minute.
Your story was absorbing, your picture were spectacular.
It was an incredible adventure and I would not trade it...., for certain.
That is pretty funny, Excuses to return! Like anybody who has had a great hunt needs to create one.
They are actually integral to the hunt itself, I've found.
Those nice warm fires on the cool nights:
How do you beat watching game come to water at a well lit waterhole while you have dinner:
Pangolin up close and personal was like winning the lottery.
To have been that close to Leopards was quite astonishing really. I never expected it.
I did not think about it really until it happened. I was really lucky.
I learned a ton and do actually hope to use it one day.
I do know that you do need to make sure you have enough time booked for a Leopard hunt, just in case.
Wayne, Thank you for the amazing hunting report, I wish I could write like that! It was a great read. I'm glad that you had such a great time I only wish that I could have been there with you. Until next time...
The risk of failure is what makes the truly great hunts great, it is a big part of what drives that emotional rollercoaster that we all love so much. Im glad you had a great time and had so much success on the plains game side of things and congrats on the opportunity to once again hunt for your FIRST Leopard, I am sure your success will be doubly sweet.
Mule deer and Colorado elk seasons almost done! Hunters driving farm roads, looking for racks, their PH driving them along, I ask that you not pull into my drive. The buck behind me, on the boundary line of the GMU somehow knows. The hunter laughs, I would invite you in to see my Searcy rifles but social distancing prevails, darkness arrives and the buck slides away into secret tree grove...