“Two more join the fine art and tradition of hunting. Enjoy their first encounter as they share their story.”
After two years of laying seeds, talking, and getting two of my friends into hunting the day finally came and we were off to our ranch to see if we couldn’t get them onto an impala ewe or possibly a warthog.
We would be hunting with a 9.3×62 and both had been shooting really well. However we were off to the range to double check the rifle, again both shot extremely well.
The deal was that if we got onto an impala or warthog they would shoot, a zebra I would shoot and anything else will be a pass up. We wasted no time getting into an area where I knew we had a herd of impala as well as some young bachelors and I had also spotted a zebra herd there quite frequently. So this was probably our best chance to have success either way.
We really struggled with the wind as it was swirling heavily and blew our cover twice on warthog. We were stalking slowly through an opening when I spotted our giraffe cow that was heavily pregnant the last time I was there, and that’s when I spotted some movement behind her… She had calved! We sat for about 15 minutes just watching her and the calf. Hunting is not just about killing, sometimes it is really wonderful just watching nature, especially this new life and how the circle continues.
We slowly moved on and less than 50 metres later we spotted some movement and sat down. I quickly browsed with my binoculars and spotted the zebra. We spoke quick and everyone agreed that I would shoot one if the opportunity presented itself. We stalked slowly forward using all the cover we could and then I noticed the zebra moving towards us. I sat and readied myself for the shot as the zebra crossed through a path around 60 metres ahead. The first one however noticed us and startled it got into a slow jog and the rest followed suit. I found the stallion in my sights and waited and that’s when he stopped on the path. He was slightly quartering towards and I squeezed off the trigger…
After a perfect shot he made 30 metres before expiring. As well as being my first zebra it was both my friends first time being on a hunting trip and their hearts were probably racing as much as mine!
Well after loading the zebra light was fading fast and I made the call that we would continue in the morning for our last hunting session.
We were up before sunrise and walked from the house into a different area. We were straight into the veld where my mother spotted some impala the previous afternoon – she also shot a good kudu bull the previous day. It wasn’t long and we ran into some really good rams that were part of a bachelor herd, but no shot was on as we were looking for an ewe.
We continued stalking through and when we eventually crossed the road the impala were doing the same, only about 500m further down. We got back into the bush and stalked directly towards them at a brisk pace. This time the wind was really with us, blowing steadily into our faces. Every 50 or so metres we stopped and I would step out slowly to check on the herd. They were grazing continuously without any worries. When we reached 180 metres we had to cross the road to try get a clear shot. As an impala crossed we would cover a metre, one at a time. Three rams crossed without even turning their heads. Then came the ewe… Without even flinching she was onto us. We were sitting down not daring to move when she froze – extremely sharp!
We sat for a few minutes and she walked off, but before we could get to our feet the next ewe was onto us already! Damn, they really are sharp! I mentioned to my friend that we were around 150 to 160 metres away and that if he was comfortable he could take the shot on her but aim just slightly higher up. He slowly moved into a lying position and waited for me to give him the go ahead. I was waiting for a broadside shot for him to take. Minutes passed, shots came but no clearing.
Then one old ewe made her mistake.. I gave him the go ahead and was watching through my binoculars. BOOOM! She dropped on the spot. A perfect shot.
I gave him the chance to walk up to her alone. Once he had his time we walked forward and handshakes were in order.
And, well, here we go – a new member to our hunting community! This was really an amazing hunt to me and to them. It was a small achievement for me to get some friends involved that are also really passionate about it and to them, well who doesn’t remember their first hunt?
It is important to remember that every ethical hunter, be it bow, rifle or handgun, supports the fine art and tradition of hunting. If each of us can introduce just one new hunter every year our community will expand more rapidly. If we are to continue for many years to come we need to involve more people in our traditions.