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Why the name 8shots?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/26/2007 at 12:37
8shots View Drop Down
Optics Jedi Knight
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'lord of the flies'

Joined: March/14/2007
Location: South Africa
Status: Offline
Points: 5375

This story I tell at my own peril.

 

The Barbary sheep was standing on a rocky ledge, the valley stretched out far below, when I saw him for the first time. At a distance of about 75 meters I had a perfect shot and I carefully aimed the crosshairs at the spot where his chest and neck joined. I squeezed the trigger, and the early morning silence was broken by an explosion that echoed up the cliff face. The shot sounded extra loud as I was acutely aware that my hunting partner, Mauritus Coetzee, was busy with his own stalk up the steep mountain not too far away.

 

As the picture reappeared after the heavy recoil of the 300 H&H, I expectantly looked for the first sight of my downed Barbary sheep. Having never hunted one before, I was very keen to examine it from up close. Then I heard those heart sinking words from my guide “You missed”.

We had started off early that morning, before sunrise. The winter morning was cold and crisp, but not as cold as it can get in the Winterberg near Tarkastad. We had driven to the foothills of this enormous koppie and as we prepared our gear, the guides urged us to take the shots quickly and cleanly, as we may only have one opportunity. We were also warned that this was going to be a difficult hunt, most probably even an unsuccessful one. We were further told that quite a few hunters have left the farm without being able to fill their Barbary sheep quota. Furthermore, if the sheep spotted us and bolted, they would climb to areas that we could not follow. So, with much trepidation and resolve, we started the climb. Mauritus moved off at a tangent and soon disappeared into a distant kloof.

At first I was climbing with my head up, eagerly scouting the mountainside, but as gravity took its toll all I could do was stare at the feet of my guide, which was almost at my head height due to the steepness of the incline. I had to concentrate on where to put my feet so that I did not fall or loosen rocks. Not far behind us followed our two carriers who would help to bring the sheep down, should the hunt be successful.

We were about three quarters to the top when I called for a rest, as it was pointless to attempt to shoot while shaking with exertion. My guide scouted the area above us and then gave us an urgent, whispered command to stay down and not to move. We all froze and then I slowly crawled to my guide. Despite all his pointing and explaining, I could not see any Barbary sheep. I became concerned that we would be seen with all this commotion going on, so I instructed my guide to start the stalk. I would follow closely behind him, hoping to spot the animals before they spooked.

After a further agonizing crawl up the mountain the guide again pointed for me. Suddenly a family of about six sheep came into focus, all within a range of 70 to 80 meters. The ram was standing on a rocky ledge, the valley stretched out far below...…….

After the noise abated all I could think of was that now I had spoilt my only chance at taking a Barbary ram and probably spooked every sheep this side of the mountain. My luck held, for the sheep had run through a small kloof and now stood looking at us. Again the crosshairs found the ram and the shot boomed up the face of the cliff. Now I would be able to examine this exotic specimen. Again I heard those words “You missed”.

The family turned, and started running up the mountain. At about 200 meters they stopped, with my ram in the rear. Again my 300 H&H boomed, and I heard my guide say “You missed” for the third time. This time however there was an edge to his voice, and he made no attempt to speak softly. For him this part of the hunt was over. We would have to hike around the mountain and find a new family.

Unbelievably the ram stopped once more and gave that last look back that most hunters are familiar with. With the distance at about 300 meters, I decided to take the shot. As the picture sight returned, I saw that the ram had dropped. My guide was stunned into silence, for up till now he must have been thinking that I had been shooting with blanks.

I nearly sprinted up the mountain in my eagerness to examine this exotic species, leaving my speechless guide far behind. However, as I got to within 25 meters, the ram suddenly jumped up and headed at an angle higher up the mountain. I quickly brought the rifle back into my shoulder and released the safety catch at the same time. (This action has been ingrained in me through many years of hunting bushbuck in the Eastern Cape). As I picked the ram up in my scope I could see a fair amount of blood and knew that my (fourth) shot was good. I tried a snap shot, but missed. The ram continued running and hid between two huge rocks.

I quietly approached the rocks, but as I peered around them, he saw me and bolted. This time he ran along the contour, directly away from me. I could not shoot as it would have been up the rear. I angled up to higher ground and waited for the guide and his helpers to catch up. They followed the spoor and soon put him up. I took another snap shot but missed. Again I searched for the higher ground as I moved ahead of where we saw him go down the second time. When the guide put him up I was ready. The rifle was in my shoulder and the safety catch was off. As he came broadside below me I fired and heard the bullet slap. Still the ram carried on going…

I climbed down to where he was when I had fired. Against a rock that he had passed was silver lead from my bullet and a splat of blood. It definitely was a hit. This time the ram angled downwards.  We all cautiously stalked a large bush that he was seen heading for. I went around the front to head him off; when my guide called me back. The ram was holed up inside the bush. When I lifted the rifle, there was a howl of terror from the helpers. They wanted to move far away to safety before I let fly!

And so finally, after 8 shots had boomed and rolled over the cliffs, I could examine my Barbary sheep in silence.

 The Barbary sheep or aoudad is the only wild sheep indigenous to Africa and named after the Barbary Coast, an old name for north Africa, where they occur naturally.  It inhabits rough, rocky, barren and waterless tracts where it grazes on grasses, herbaceous plants and stunted bushes. They are expert climbers and can ascend and descend slopes so precipitous that man can negotiate them only with great difficulty. Consequently they are difficult to hunt.

The sub-family Caprinae contains several species, including the Barbary sheep (Ammotragus lervia), which is intermediate between sheep and goats.

Distinct from all other wild sheep, their unique feature is the mane of long, soft hairs on the throat, chest and upper parts of the forelegs of the male. Both males and females have horns that sweep upward, backward and then inward. The horns are rather heavy, wrinkled and measure 50 to 70 cm in length. Rowland Ward is 26 inches or 66,04 cm. Barbary sheep are tawny in colour with white on the inside of their ears, chin and legs. Their shoulder height is about 70 to 90 cm, with females weighing about 50 kg to 60 kg and males up to 135 kg. They live in small groups, collectively referred to as a family.

Barbary sheep have successfully been introduced in the southern parts of North America, Spain and parts of South Africa. Therefore, if a hunter is not to hung up on the idea of only hunting game that occur naturally in the area, this introduction allows a hunter to hunt this great animal without having to incur the high cost of traveling. My family will also vouch that the venison is of excellent eating quality.

After examining the ram from close up, I checked to see where all the bullets had gone. My first bullet (fourth shot) had entered up the back, going forward and exiting on the side of the neck, as it was facing up the mountain. The bullet traveled too high to cause any major damage. My second bullet (seventh shot) struck the gut area, going through at a ninety degree angle. Again no vitals were struck. The last bullet (eighth shot) at close range was deliberately through the neck, as I did not want to risk damaging the horns.

As we started descending, Mauritus and his group came walking along the contour about 200 m below us. I excitedly waved, but only received the silent treatment from them as they climbed and fell their way around the mountain, obviously hoping to put distance between us.

I was at the vehicle for about two hours when the two way radio came to life. I was tersely asked to bring the vehicle along some obscure track to the other side of the mountain. Once there, the other side of my hunt unfolded.

After Mauritus and his guide had negotiated the steep kloof referred to earlier, they painstakingly stalked a family of Barbary sheep they had spotted. They eventually decided to wait in ambush, as the family of sheep was slowly grazing in their direction. As my first shot rang out, the sheep lifted their heads and were about to relax when the second shot boomed. This caused the sheep to turn away from them and nervously start moving up the mountain. When the third shot rang out they did what Barbary sheep do for a living; fly up cliffs. The fourth and fifth shots got their after-burners going. He doubted that they even heard shots six, seven and eight.

Apparently his guide had some unprintable comments to make after each shot, as he knew what lay ahead: a long march around the mountain.

They were nearly beaten by the mountain and about to make the decision to descend, when they spotted a beautiful ram. Mauritus’ first shot was true. All his guide could say was “you take one shot, but the other one, he takes eight shots!’

And so the name stuck. The reason for all these missed shots is another story, but in essence I am left handed and was shooting with a newly inherited 300H&H Sako DeLux with a right hand Monte Carlo stock. Did not work for me!!

 

Three pictures The Mountain, The 8 shot Barbary Sheep and The Group Photo.

 



Edited by 8shots
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/26/2007 at 12:46
jonbravado View Drop Down
Optics Master
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Joined: October/05/2006
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that's a good read - tahnks for the post!!!

 

and a fine looking beast.

 

J

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/26/2007 at 13:50
Bigdaddy0381 View Drop Down
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Georgia peach

Joined: February/27/2007
Location: Georgia
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8shots,

Very nice Sounded like a great hunt other than the barbary kept ducking the first 7 shots .

 

Awesome pictures also

 

Big

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/26/2007 at 14:03
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Optics Jedi Knight
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'lord of the flies'

Joined: March/14/2007
Location: South Africa
Status: Offline
Points: 5375

Thanks for your kind comments. Yes, we have a lot of varied hunting available to us in South Africa. If a person shops around it is also not too expensive. I have subsequently had a new left hand stock fitted to the rifle.

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/30/2007 at 17:43
Duce View Drop Down
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Joined: September/19/2006
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Great story and pictures I hope you have more stories of hunts in Africa for us

 

Duce 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/01/2007 at 04:47
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Optics Jedi Knight
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'lord of the flies'

Joined: March/14/2007
Location: South Africa
Status: Offline
Points: 5375

Thanks for the kind words Duce. I have lots of hunting pictures, each one with its own story. I'll try to make some time and post some more at some stage.

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