#Namibia2017: Day 4
Today was a different hunting day, which is awesome, because that’s what hunting should be- different and unpredictable at every turn! We left around 6:30 this morning and headed out towards the blind we had been working on. We got there around 7:30 after picking up the trailer and some supplies, and we all settled in for a good sit. After dropping us off at the blind, James too the cruiser and the dogs and drove quite a way away so as not to spook any of the animals. Addison had a notepad and pencil to keep her busy, Steve had a magazine, and Russ and I had our phones for games and my Kindle.
We had cleared shooting lanes out of the blind and were set up near a water hole. There was a salt lick not too far out in front of us, and between the water and the salt, we hoped for some activity. We had been waiting and watching in the shade of our blind for about 3 ½ hours and hadn’t seen a single animal when a pair of warthogs came in to the lick- a sow and a boar. The boar was big, but his tusks were all broken off, so we decided to let him go and just watched them for a while. The grazed after finishing at the lick and eventually wandered off.
We opened the cooler for lunch around noon and were served one of the nicest meals I have ever had in a hunting blind, complete with real plates and silverware! As we finished up, Russ started playing with one of the many armored crickets that was sharing our space. Addison got over her fear quickly and realized that they weren’t going to hurt her, and the next thing we know she is feeding them chips and meatloaf from her lunch remains! Scared to death to wanting a pet in just a few minutes.
We waited a few more hours after lunch with no animal movement, and then the wind changed direction and started blowing from behind us. We figured that we were done for the day, so Steve left the blind to go and get James and the truck. He had been gone for about five minutes when Russ looked up and sure enough, there was a nice gemsbok walking in to the salt lick. I slowly raised the rifle onto the shooting sticks and looked at him through the scope. I knew I couldn’t take a shot without Steve being present and giving me the go ahead, so I left the safety on and looked at Russ. “As soon as he hears the truck coming, he’s going to bolt,” I whispered. “See if you can sneak out the back of the blind and flag the truck before it gets too close.”
As Russ started to ease out of the blind, the gemsbok looked up and seemed to hear something before we did. Sure enough, the truck motor sounded in the distance, and when I looked up from the scope, the gemsbok was running in the other direction. And that’s why they call it hunting! While we waited for a few minutes to see if the ram would return, we knew he was probably long gone. We had a good laugh with the guys and loaded up in the truck, shaking our heads at our crazy luck.
It had been a long day sitting in the blind, so we started off towards the lodge. As we were driving, we came across a small herd of eland and another small herd of white rhinos. One of the rhino cows was massive, with an incredibly long horn coming off her snout. We watched them for a while before continuing on. We were looking for the chance blue wildebeest encounter when we came upon a small herd of springbuck, and they were all male. Steve pointed out the largest one, who was grazing behind a bush.
I turned the rifle around and attempted to locate the correct ram in my scope. He was moving away from the cruiser, and he kept moving in and out behind shrubbery. Steve slowly back up the truck, and I waited for the ram to step out from behind the bush and turn more broadside. He finally paused and I took my shot- he dropped dead in his tracks. I clicked on the safety and we hurried to unload for pictures. The springbuck has a scent gland on its back, and immediately after death, the gland opens and the ruff flares up on its back. If you don’t move quickly, it will drop before you can catch it.
We shot some pictures and Steve showed Addison distinct aspects of its coat and horns. This trip has been so educational for her, and she can already identify most of the dozens of animals on the preserve. We got a few pictures of just the two of us with her holding the head of the springbuck. It was a wonderful Mother’s Day present to share that moment with her!
We ended the day with yet another amazing meal of lamb and eland backstrap- my favorite game meat so far. The food has been delicious; we’re going to need to go on diets when we get home! We are headed back out to the blind again tomorrow for another hopeful encounter with a gemsbok- wish us luck!