Part two: (Please note that these stories are based on real events and yes a few animals did get hurt.)
With the suitable qualification as dedicated hunter and "crack shot", I decided it was time to test my newfound skills. We set up a hunt for springbuck. To the north-east of Cape Town lies the Great Karoo, with the capital of BeaufortWest. Still further north, now about 500km from Cape Town, is a place called Three Sisters. Not because of the farmer's daughters, but because of 3 identical little hills. And this is where we headed.
The terrain is small Karoo bush, about knee high, and as flat as a baseball field. Nowhere to hide. So what we do is sit in ambush in various places and have the game moved along by beaters on horseback.
As you can see this works very well!
It was quite evident that a bit of training can improve the odds a bit. So the only thing left was to really test the situation. Nothing like some bushveldt hunting for that. So I packed my bags, put on my hiking boots and headed for Alldays. Now Alldays has a colourfull history. The town is situated right on the northern border of South Africa. Above that lies Zimbabwe. The story goes that the landsurveyor who originally set out the title deeds, would work allday and drink heavily at supper. He would pass out, only to awake at dawn. he eventually declared, this place is Alldays and Nonights!
I have even a more colourfull story: My mate owned a farm at Alldays(this is where I was heading). He was busy fencing and had to pay the farm wages one Friday, so he had a lot of cash on him. Now, the bar in Alldays is pretty famous for hunters passing through and having fun. So he put the cash on the table and told the barlady she could have a good cut if she served topless. Well , she did just that. After about the third drink he ordered a round for his mates and himself, said he just needed to go to the loo. He sneaked out the back, followed by his mates, cash firmly in his hand ...! That is Alldays.
I arrived at his place (via a stop at the bar), unpacked and rested up. Over the next 4 days our skills at stalking was tested to the utmost. The bushveld is thick bush, with all the leaves lying on the ground. It is like trying to stalk through a bowl of corn flakes!
But, the hunters prevailed once again.
Back in East London I thought it is now time to stop playing around and go for the real stuff. My sister, who is a teacher, had a teaching friend who owned a farm near Queenstown. he was not sure what was there, but all he could tell me they had Nyala and some other buck. The farm has never been hunted and the game is dying of oldage. I could come and shoot for $1 a kilogram. Man, was I excited. But I acted dumb and said yes, okay, maybe....(heh-heh-heh). Queenstown lies north of East London as is semi-Karoo with grass and thorn veldt. We arrived early and the guy wanted to know what are we going to shoot first. So I thought for a while and said "Nyala". Now, Nyala is a lesser family of the Kudu and a very sought after buck, costing about $1200 to shoot. And I was going to shoot one for about $75!!
Now, we take up position, when my Xhosa guide hisses,"Nyala" And along comes a mountain reedbuck! I speak Xhosa, but not fluently. What I did not know was that a mountain reedbuck is called nyala in there tongue!
So, a bit deflated we move on to the other "buck". After a bit of scouting we locate them, a herd of impala. And within the herd some monstrous rams! I start to tremble and shake, the hunt is on.
At one point my mate and I was sitting on a little ledge, and we could see the herd moving our way. So we sit dead still and eventually we have them under shot. It was agreed he shoots first. At the shot I follow the herd through the beautifull clear vision provided by those woderfull optics from the USA. At a spot there is about a gap of 8ft in the trees. I see red bodies flashing through, and then all I see is horns!!!Instinctively I pull the trigger. It is a hit! Gingerly we make our way, about a 150m away. And there he lay. If I may say so, that was probably one of my shots of a life-time.
And what did he look like. Let the record book speak. By the way, this ram cost the princely sum of $42.
We went back there on two other occasions. I shot another record impala, but did not bother to register it. I also shot a black springbuck and several other nice animals. On our 4th try, the dude had wizened up and closed the farm. He then brought in professional outfitters. man, good whilst it lasted.
Back in East London, my neighbour invited me for a Saturday bushbuck hunt. This takes place in thick bush and ravines, with dogs and beaters to flush them out. The farm is not well stocked and the hunt was slow. I was standing on my spot, when I saw him sneak out from the dogs and beaters. It was HIM, the one I have been waiting for. At that point I have hunted bushbuck for about 10 years and had shot a fair quota. Sizes ranged into the 12 to 15 inch, but never the magic number for a real trophy. And there he was. Again, my Heym 30-06 topped with the famed optics, did their part. This ram, by the way, was the very last bushbuck ram I had shot. Soon after that I moved to Cape Town.
Thanks for sharing a trip down memory lane with me. Most of these photographs are gathering dust. I decided to dust them off and scan them in, as they are still on the "old" neg films. Can you believe that we call them old?
Hope you enjoyed the reading as much as I enjoyed the telling!
Edited by 8shots - May/20/2008 at 09:03