UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: BOWHUNT: Arabian Oryx & Gazelles With Barari Hunting

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Asia & Middle East' started by mrpoindexter, Feb 26, 2019.

  1. mrpoindexter

    mrpoindexter AH Fanatic

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    I just got back from a hunt in the United Arab Emirates with Barari Hunting. They were formally known as Telal Hunting and just changed their name in the past month or two.

    Located just outside Al Ain in Abu Dhabi, about an hour and a half from Dubai, Barari is the only place one can hunt an Arabian Oryx in its native habitat. They also have Sand Gazelle and Mountain Gazelle, both native to the UAE. I did book a three day hunt for all three animals. For those wanting to hunt with a rifle, I suspect they could complete the three animal hunt in less time than it took with a bow.

    I will upload the hunt report over the course of the next few days as I parse through my photos and my journal.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 18, 2019

  2. Matt_WY

    Matt_WY AH Veteran

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    Looking forward to hearing about it!
     

  3. mrpoindexter

    mrpoindexter AH Fanatic

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    Pre-hunt

    I have a hunt in Abu Dhabi scheduled for late February. While the timing works out well in that I will be in the UAE for a food show in Dubai just prior, which saves me 48 hours of travel time, it is coming at a really jammed up time of the year. The indoor national championships are the week before I leave and we have a very large farm show as well. This collectively gives me very little time to practice my hunting bow or make any last-minute adjustments to my gear.

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    I have been looking forward to this hunt. I am going for Arabian Oryx – an animal that was not long ago classified as “Extinct in the wild.” My last 3D outdoor archery competition, I decided to try out the new Garmin Xero A1i sight on my Monster Safari and it works like a champ. I order one for the Halon and place an order for some new 675 grain arrows as I am running very low (only 5 undamaged arrows) and don’t want to go on a hunt with less than a dozen arrows just in case. The arrows arrive a couple days before I depart. The sight won’t arrive in time, so I remove my Garmin sight from the monster safari, keeping my old sight as a backup just in case. Hunting in the desert with no tree cover will probably be the toughest test for a reflected LED sight pin system. It could handle the sun in Fresno, so I think it will handle the Arabian desert sun as well.

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    My food show is fast approaching and I pack my bags and head to Dubai. When I arrive, I discover that during my rush to get my bags backed, I only put in one hunting shirt. It has scent block, so I think that will be put to the test or I will be washing my shirt at night and hoping it dries by morning.
     
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  4. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    :A Popcorn:
     

  5. mrpoindexter

    mrpoindexter AH Fanatic

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    Wednesday, Feb 20

    I finish the food show, head to the hotel, change my clothes and check out, then make haste towards the airport to pick up Janine Joubert. After my first hunt in Africa, I came to the conclusion that if I try to self-film my hunting, my hunts will suffer and I will still have marginal results with the end video product as I must focus more on the hunting. Janine is one of the owners of iGala productions, who has filmed all of my safaris after the first one. Usually, I have Henco DuToit as my cameraman, but when she heard about the hunt I was doing in Abu Dhabi, Janine expressed a great interest in coming herself for this one. There is a long line of people waiting to get taxis to the airport after the food show and it looks like my first hunt will be to find a taxi. I have all my luggage with me as we will be headed to meet our PH straight away. I rapidly walk down the road to try and get upstream of all the people looking for a taxi. (There is Uber here in Dubai, you can even Uber a helicopter via Uber Chopper, but it isn’t as fast as just flagging down a taxi.) This is a relatively easy hunt. The taxis are easy to see and come when you call them. For the antis whose only experience with wildlife is at zoos and parks where animals are habituated towards people, this is what they think hunting is and yeah, it is pretty easy. I have a cab within a couple minutes and am on my way. I am pretty certain the Oryx will not be so simple to get.

    Janine’s flight is delayed but we are on our way by 9pm or so and head to the Dubai outlet mall to meet our guide. His hunting truck is not chipped to be able to go into the city here. As it is my third trip to Dubai and I am very comfortable getting around, I told him we can just meet him on the edge of town – no need to send us an escort. We meet, get loaded into the car and head out to Al Ain.

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    Hans is a very cool guy. He is the same age as I am, but looks older than me, so he is already making me feel good about myself. I quickly realize that like me, he forgets where he is going when deep in conversation and we miss a turnoff. In retrospect, we really should have started the teasing then as that was a great opportunity that is gone forever. Much like the unspoken rule that you don’t pass an animal on the first day if you would take it on the last, I should have seized upon the moment. Luckily, he would present us with more opportunities.

    [Hans Enslin, PH at Barari Hunting]
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    We arrive at the hotel just after midnight – almost. Hans has driven past the entrance by mistake and has to make a couple U-turns. I look at him and ask him if he really is a guide. He is not so amused – yet. I say yet because the second time he mistakenly drives past the entrance, Janine and I are quite seriously having a very good time at Hans’ expense. I ask him how if he cannot find a 10-story hotel with its name emblazoned on the size, how is he ever going to find an Oryx in the desert. Yes, we are having a great time already.

    We agree to meet at 6am in the lobby. As it is the middle of the week, I still have work emails piling up and attend to as many as I can before I get to bed.
     

  6. Matt_WY

    Matt_WY AH Veteran

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    Interested to see how that garmin sight works. I've been eyeing them longingly.

    Re scent lock shirt ..... If scent lock actually works, why aren't more wives buying their husbands scent control underwear?

    :E Shrug:
     

  7. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    great start. Looking forward to the rest.
    Bruce
     

  8. mrpoindexter

    mrpoindexter AH Fanatic

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    I will tell you my thoughts - scent block works on keeping the garment from smelling, but it won't turn methane into perfume. My shirt didn't smell bad after 3 days.

    I need to buy another Garmin sight so I can have one on each bow. You can interpret that how you want...
     
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  9. mrpoindexter

    mrpoindexter AH Fanatic

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    Thursday, Feb 21

    We meet Hans in the lobby at 6am. This will be our first day of hunting in Abu Dhabi. We arrive at the Telal resort about 6:30am and have breakfast. The spread is very impressive and the food is amazing. This is a five star resort and it shows. As the weekend is approaching, the lodge is fully booked and we are the first guests to arrive for breakfast. The buffet is both gorgeous and untouched, much like the pristine, unspoiled sand dunes we later drive though. For a moment, I regret not staying at the lodge. Then I remember the price and the realization that more money spent on lodging is less money to spend on hunting.

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    Speaking of spending money on hunting, I have purchased a lot of new gear for this hunt. I have some new arrows from GrizzlyStik. I was down to 5 arrows left from my prior batch and needed some more just in case. When they came in, I see they are now thinner than before. Victory is now custom manufacturing them and while I have not had enough time to check their tolerances, they look very good and I am excited to use them. I will need to adjust my sights though. Speaking of, I had purchased a Garmin Xero A1i sight for my monster safari bow and have been so happy with it, I wanted to put one on the Halon. I purchased one just the week before at the Vegas Shoot, but unfortunately, it did not arrive in time for this hunt. I decided to take the sight off the dangerous game bow and take it with me to put on the Mathews Halon 32-6. I feel bad for spending so much time dialing in my bow, taking well over an hour with the practice butt, but I would rather spend an hour fine tuning my sights than five hours walking. Hans told me in conversation that if you ever really want to see somebody’s property, wound an Oryx or wildebeest. You will see most of their ranch… on foot. I decide that I don’t want to walk through that much desert.

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    Once finished, we are ready to hunt and Hans drives us to one of the blinds. He is unsure of being able to walk and stalk a bow kill on Oryx, but I insist that even if it is not possible, I want to give it an honest effort so we put the bow butts back by the blind, drive around and find some Oryx. Then we park the truck and start working on the stalk.

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    As anybody who has bow hunted will attest, spot and stalk hunting is not easy. In the desert, to say it is more challenging is quite the understatement. There is literally zero effective cover. The vegetation is spread out and so small that one cannot really hide behind it anyway. Looking out 300 yards in all directions, there might be one single shrub thick enough for a man to hide behind. For two full grown men and a cameraperson, forget about it. Instead, we have to simply use the sand dunes and stay below the ridge crests. Sadly, the distances between are so great that I cannot even shoot from the top of one ridge to a target half way between. We will need to find an animal and ambush him from the top of the nearest ridge. Time and time again, these Oryx will spot us and as we attempt to move on them, they will head to the top of the highest ridge and all face opposing directions. It is only February and it is already warm here. More of a problem than the heat, though not noticed yet, is the sun is cooking my pale but soon to be red skin.

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    Finally, we catch a break and are able to get close to a herd. 47 yards out – certainly not ideal but inside my range that I am comfortable taking a shot on an animal. Sadly, no ideal bulls in the herd. There are a couple that could do. Hans says they are mature but still a bit young. While it was very hard to get a good shooting opportunity and not a lot of hope that the stars will align again, we elect to try and get one of the three largest bulls on the property. We do know now that it is possible to get close to these animals with a combination of hard work, a good plan and a lot of luck. Janine and I head towards a tree for some shade while Hans goes back and gets the truck. Since it isn’t a hotel, he is able to find it rather quickly and soon we are off to other parts of the property in search of some older Oryx.

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    We find the oldest bulls on the property. They fall into the same method of heading towards high ground and then scanning the horizon. Interestingly, they do not seem to have a strong herd mentality and are willing to split up. Watching them head in different directions, we take advantage of the spread and move between them, driving them further apart. Now, we are able to choose one and stalk it solo, effectively eliminating any help he had as a lookout.

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    We move around and around, trying to get close. Each time we see him, we drop behind a ridge and close the gap. When we come over the ridge, if he has moved away from us, we have generally the same distance, but occasionally, we are able to get closer and eventually, we are within 150 yards. Soon, we will be in bow range. Then, he does the unexpected. This oryx finds an somewhat flat area with good broad views and he decides to bed down. I think he is being rather smart. Hans refers to him as an asshole. I can sense the frustration, but if I can survive an international flight in coach with a broken seat, I can wait this guy out as well. After quite some time, he moves on and we continue the stalk.

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    We are now inside bow range and are set with some additional challenges. The wind has picked up. Additionally, it will take a few seconds for me to draw, range, air and fire. What felt like a great idea with the Garmin sight now might be tested a bit. Even just the one second it would take me to range him might be too much time as we really do not have even a hint of cover when we pop up over the ridge to shoot. I can shoot quickly, but I don’t want to feel rushed in my shot and it is hard not to feel rushed. I hit the sight trigger a second time and bring up fixed pins. I ask Hans to range him and I fire off a shot – 54 yards. It felt good, but just as I released, I felt a strong gust of wind. Maybe it just came on and maybe was there all along and in the moment, I didn’t notice it, but my arrow certainly did and 54 yards is a long distance to travel through strong horizontal winds. My arrow hits, perfect elevation, but left of the vitals. For a split second, I was fearing I hit him in the gut, but very soon realized I hit him in the hind quarters. The arrow is sticking out about 8” out the other side and his profile looks like that old arrow hat that Steve Martin used to wear in his comedy routines. This is far better than a gut shot as my oryx is now somewhat hobbled.

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    I don’t see any chance of losing this animal. Even I can track him in this sand. Still, I feel that I must find a way to get close enough for a follow up shot quickly. Hans suggests getting the rifle from the truck. He says he won’t have to shoot my animal, but if it charges, we will need a gun. He heads back to the truck while I watch the area to see if the Oryx heads over the ridge. When he returns, I find that our backup is a .223 – obviously a very small caliber for a backup but better than nothing and hopefully something unneeded. We head in, following the tracks. There is some blood but not enough to suggest I hit a femoral artery and this will require a follow up shot.

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    Hans is amazed that the arrow has not broken off somewhere. There seems to be too much arrow on each side of the animal for it to come out either side and yet the shaft looks like it is holding up to the strain of the animal walking while an arrow is lodged through its hips. We can see that he does not want to climb to a higher elevation and also does not want to run. It only takes a few minutes to close the distance and line up for a follow up shot. He is moving, but slowly. At 46 yards, I have a good quartering angle and he seems to have stop moving for a second and I let another arrow loose. It hits him on the right side behind the ribs and exits the left side in front of the ribs. It takes less than a second to see blood coming out of his mouth and nose. There is no doubt that I got both his lungs and he will be dead in just a few seconds – or at least he should have been.

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    Perhaps it is the adrenalin from being shot already and perhaps the oryx are just damn tough and stubborn animals, but this guy is refusing to die. He goes down but wants to get up and keeps trying. I do not want him to suffer, but I am unsure about putting a third arrow into him and potentially getting his adrenalin going even more. We leave him in peace and head back to the lodge, drop off some gear and come back to retrieve the animal. Thankfully, Hans is able to find the oryx. I guess I am lucky that I didn’t shoot him in town or we might have been looking for hours.

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    When we got close to him, I noticed several things. First was the amount of scarring on his body. They guy has been in a lot of fights. The hair was short and not very soft and he had a blue tinge to his coloring. I have noticed that on many of the older bulls I have seen, but not on the younger ones.

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    I don’t carry a tape measure when I hunt, but I place my arrow at the tip of his horn. The arrow is 28.5” long and the shaft ends before it reaches the base of the horns. The Safari Club International keeps a record book of animals. Although some people use it for bragging rights, it serves as a useful historical document to track the quality of wild herds. If they are being overhunted or mismanaged, it stands to reason that the genetics will become depleted and measured statistics will get worse over time. As this is actually the very first Arabian oryx hunted in its home range since they have been reintroduced as a returning indigenous species, I believe this will be something important to track. This would be a “world record” animal regardless of score. That said, it appears that it scores better than any Arabian oryx ever shot in Africa (as an introduced species on private game ranches). Both horns exceed 30”. Hans believe he was 6 ½ to 7 years old.

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    We take some photos and video and then bring the animal back to the skinning shed. This is a magnificent animal and as much as I would love a shoulder mount of him sitting in my living room over the fireplace, I want more people to learn about the ongoing efforts to restore these animals the ranges from which they had been extirpated. I tell the guys to skin him for a full body mount. Hopefully we can get US Fish and Wildlife to approve bringing him back into the States and I will try and find a good location for him to be seen by the public with some information about Arabian oryx.

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    I now start to fully feel the pain of the sunburn and we look for some medicine to apply and head back to the hotel. Janine and I agree to go wash up and meet back in the lobby for dinner in about half an hour. It is seafood night and we eat quite a lot. At this point, we realize we didn’t have lunch. I answer as many emails and messages from work as I can and then get some well needed rest.
     
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  10. LivingTheDream

    LivingTheDream AH Elite

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    Congratulations!! If you get this in a museum someday please let us know, I would love to go see it!.
     
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  11. Matt_WY

    Matt_WY AH Veteran

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    Sounds like a super hunt!
     

  12. cagkt3

    cagkt3 AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Amazing!! Congrats!
     

  13. Eric Anderson

    Eric Anderson AH Enthusiast

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    You are the man. I can’t imagine spot and stalking with archery in the middle eastern desert.
     

  14. Wheels

    Wheels AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Congratulations on a fantastic stalk on a unique animal. Looks like a wonderful place to hunt.
     

  15. Bullthrower338

    Bullthrower338 AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Great adventure
     

  16. buck wild

    buck wild SILVER SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    I heard you were going from JH when he stopped by Texas. Good to read a successful story .
     

  17. mrpoindexter

    mrpoindexter AH Fanatic

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    Friday, February 22, 2019


    I wake up before my alarm. While I was asleep, the western world was working and I spend all the time I can working up until I head down to meet Janine and Hans at 6am. My neck and ears are hurting from the sunburn, but thankfully we will be sitting in a blind today. Given our experience yesterday, I don’t see there being much chance of getting within bow range of one of the gazelles. Aside from them being more skittish and wary than the oryx, they are in much larger herds and sneaking up on a solitary animal is quite difficult, but trying to sneak up on a herd of 15-20 would be a wasted effort.


    The bow blind is quite well done – probably the best blind I have ever been in. It is recessed about 2 feet below the ground, concrete walls and floor with carpet to keep it quiet. The walls are painted black to darken the interior and the roof is an insulated in sandwich panel similar to the ones I have in my cold storage at work. Although hot outside, it is cool and quiet in the blind. There are nice shooting openings on three walls with camera windows near each shooting window.

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    There are two waterholes about 25 yards from the blind and we sit and watch as the oryx come in first and later see a few mountain gazelle and many sand gazelle. It is a nice change of pace from the walk and stalk that also affords me time to write in my journal.

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    I saw a herd of oryx soon and then later the sand gazelles showed up – just a few at first and then it grew to about seven on the horizon with three of them coming in to bed down at the base of three old dead bushes that seemed to be on mounds coming from the sand.

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    We have plenty of oryx come in and eventually the sand gazelles come in close enough to inspect their entire herd and decide what we would like to get. The sand gazelle horns seem to fall into three categories of shapes. The most common style looks very much like a typical springbok’s style of horn albeit with slightly more slope to the back. Some of them go nearly straight up with very little splaying and a slight rearward trajectory. A less common style tend to splay out more and we see a very nice male with such a pattern.

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    Once we had chosen our target, we needed to get a clear shot and the oryx decided to descend on the area. After about 10 minutes of watching intently, my ram had moved to a different area that required me to change shooting windows. In construction, there is a saying, “measure twice, cut once” and taking a riff on that, I double check my target. Good thing as I was looking at the wrong one at first. It wasn’t a bad one, but not nearly as good as my chosen ram. He was 14 yards away and I had a nice quartering away shot that would help avoid string jumping – something important as I had no idea if these jump the string. While Hans has stated he hasn’t seen them jump the string, they don’t exactly have a lot of points of data.

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    Between the silent nature of the Mathews Halon when shooting a 675 grain arrow and the very well built blind, the gazelle never heard it coming and as he was quartering away, he didn’t see it coming either. The arrow went through him, scarcely slowing down and hit the sand about 15 yards past him. The sand gazelle ran just a few yards – perhaps twenty feet or so and then stopped. He swayed back and forth a bit and then turned and I saw the blood pouring out of his nose. He took a few steps away from the blind and then began turning in circles slowly as he began to suffer the effects of heavy hemorrhaging. I watched as he staggered in a circle about five times with a steady stream of blood coming out of two holes and his nose and mouth. He fell down less than 20 yards from his initial spot and both the oryx and gazelle herds stood by and watched him, seemingly unaware of what caused his demise right in front of them. We stayed in the blind for a few minutes and the rest of the animals waited a couple minutes before they all decided it was time to leave. It was seriously calm enough that I could literally have shot another one right then and there had I wanted.

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    Five minutes after I shot him, we were out and inspected the animal. He was dead. It had surprisingly soft fur. Hans set him next to one of the mounds with a small part hollowed out underneath, explaining that they burrow these out to use for protection from the heat and also from the sandstorms and use them to keep warm in the winter. As I looked around, I noticed a lot more of these.

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    Early in the day, I noticed a small rip in my pants – just about 1.5 inches long near the front pocket. After much moving around, I now noticed that it was probably 6-7 inches long. I had already mentioned to the crew that this was probably the last hunt for these pants. Now I am not so sure they will even last the day. After the photos, we head back to the skinning shed with my gazelle and I try to find anything I can to temporarily mend my pants. The best I can find is duct tape and a stapler. Collectively, that buys me about two hours of additional life in the pants before the rip continues to expand. I just hope I can make it through the day before my underwear starts to show.

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    We head back out, this time to another blind – not too far from where our first successful stalk of the oryx was the day before – the one where we had some marginal males and decided to let them go.

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    A decent mountain gazelle comes in and we discuss taking him or not. I suppose I could say “don’t pass on any animal on day two you would shoot on day three” but before I come up with that gem, he is gone. Opportunity missed. We stay in the blind until nightfall but no other good candidates for the mountain gazelle position come in. There is another gazelle here that Hans needs “taken care of” and that is a lone Indian Chinkara gazelle that needs to be removed before they cross breed. I looked it up on the SCI record book and found that it has been shot by a bow only once before and that was by Jim Shockey!

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    I keep a watchful eye but never see the Chinkara gazelle.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 1, 2019

  18. Tom Hawk

    Tom Hawk AH Enthusiast

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    Awesome hunt
    What was a Chinkara gazelle doing there?
     

  19. mrpoindexter

    mrpoindexter AH Fanatic

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    Hunted:
    Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, UAE, California
    It was brought in by mistake when they brought in some mountain gazelles. I don't know if it was an honest mixup or somebody was trying to "sell" them as mountain gazelles, but they have culled out all of the Chinkara except one that is still left. I only saw it once when we were driving out to set up my bow and never saw it again. Bummer, as it would have been a freebie for me and still counted as a Chankara in Asia. I don't think it was as big as Shockey's, so it probably would have been a world #2 bow kill had I found him again.
     

  20. BenKK

    BenKK AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2018
    Messages:
    828
    Video/Photo:
    90
    Likes Received:
    909
    Location:
    Northern Territory, Australia
    Thank you for sharing such an interesting and unique adventure!
     

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