#Namibia2017: Day 3
Addison started our third day with a bang- literally! She got a little excited about getting to breakfast and wasn’t completely awake yet and ran face first into the sliding glass door. Luckily, the glass was thick, and so is her head, so no permanent damage was done to either party. It definitely woke her up, though!
We loaded up and took off to see if we could find a blue wildebeest. We have spotted several over the past two days, but we usually only see their tails as they are running away. As we were driving, we came across the biggest bull elephant on the property- he is MASSIVE! Pictures don’t do him justice, because he is a glorious animal. We stayed right with him as he lumbered along for a while before watching him walk away. Awesome thing to see right off the bat.
We continued to drive and search. Russ and James stood in the back and would let us know if they spotted anything. Lots of different animals, but not the blue wildebeest. We came on top of a rise and saw something unusual- a stallion mountain zebra, and he was all alone. Usually the stallions are incredibly difficult to find in this area away from the herd, so we looked all around to make sure he really was on his own and that his herd wasn’t close by. We couldn’t see any other zebra, so we decided to pursue this old loner.
As soon as we turned the cruiser in his direction, he trotted off. We danced back and forth for several miles, with him stopping every couple hundred yards, but never giving me a clear shot. He headed into some thicker brush, so we dropped the game trailer and continued our pursuit. Steve said that he may not stop until he hit the mountains miles away, but we kept up with him and stalked in behind any bushy area we could find. We almost lost him once, but with our great trackers, we were soon on his trail again. Finally, we came around a large tree and there he was, broadside and to my left. I knew I didn’t have a lot of time before he took off again, so as soon as I lined him up in my scope I fired.
I knew by the sound of the impact that it was a solid hit, and sure enough, he didn’t go very far before he went down. What a relief after a crazy pursuit!
As we were getting out of the cruiser to admire the zebra, I looked off to the left and realized a rhino bull was standing less than fifty yards from where we were. He was headed away from us, but Russ snapped a few pictures before he left.
We loaded up the stallion- all 800 pounds of him- and headed towards the processing buildings. I love how efficient and resourceful the people are here in Namibia. They understand the importance and value of protein, and they don’t let any of it go to waste. While we may hold an American viewpoint on certain species of animals, and consider them pets or zoo like creatures, in Namibia, they are game meat just like cows, pigs, and chickens are back home. That stallion was massive, and carried several hundred pounds of meat that will go to feed a lot of people. We toured the processing stations and the men who work there are incredible, taking all of the wild game and turning it into sustenance for everyone around. So thankful for the opportunity to be a part of it all!
We headed back out in search of the elusive blue wildebeest, but never saw one that wasn’t on the run. We did see lots of other animals, including a beautiful little bright green bird called a swallow-tailed bee eater. They are beautiful! Addison had another encounter with her least favorite animal in Namibia thus far- the armored cricket. She would love nothing more than for us to kill every single one we see!
After lunch, we continued our search for the blue wildebeest. We saw a few, and even attempted t pursue one bull, but we lost him in the thick brush. While we were searching, we stumbled upon a small herd of elephants. We actually sat for quite a while and watched them, specifically the youngest calf. He mostly stayed hidden between a few of the other adults, but he peeked out occasionally to check us out. He finally tired of us and flopped over for a nap. Not gonna’ lie- he was pretty stinking cute! We left that small herd and ended up seeing the rest of the main herd- several dozen elephants total. They were a little way from the road, so we snapped a few pictures and carried on. Such a neat sight!
We were starting to think about heading back for dinner when we came upon a group of black wildebeest. Although we weren’t interested in them, they did seem to have a buddy with them straggling behind- a nice blesbuck ram. These animals have distinctive white blazes on their face, and this guy was a looker. He was walking pretty steadily after the wildebeest herd, so I lined him up in my scope to see if he would stop and give me a shot. Sure enough, he paused for a moment and I squeezed the trigger. We saw it hit and he took off, continuing towards the retreating herd of black wildebeest. He quickly bunched up and started to go down, but thought otherwise when Blackie caught up to him. Blackie is Steve’s little tracking hound, and he is lightning fast out of the truck once the rifle is fired.
The ram took off over a small rise and disappeared with Blackie in pursuit. I started to second guess my shot placement, but when we topped the hill, we spotted the downed blesbuck by a small tree with Blackie standing watch. Adrenaline had carried both animals farther than we thought they would go, but I was thankful that the ram was down and had expired quickly.
What an ending to another amazing day! I am continually blown away by the adventures that are literally around every corner here in Namibia. I think that is one of the reasons that I enjoy hunting so much- the unexpected twists and turns, and the need to adapt in every situation. I love this life and am so grateful for every redefined moment it provides.
We ended the day by enjoying another amazing dinner- lechwe and pork- and getting to visit with Steve’s wife and son. Tomorrow we head to the blind for gemsbok- and possibly a lucky encounter with my new nemesis- the elusive blue wildebeest!