The Essence of Life

The Essence of Life

Sunday, August 16, 2015


The Closing of the Second Day

On Monday, 13th July, we started towards the Impala hide before sunrise on a cool and comfortable morning. When we arrived it was still dark enough that we needed a flashlight to help us get set. I adjusted the release around my wrist, knocked an arrow and hang the bow from one of the hooks so it stays easily at hand while keeping the broadhead safely away from the hunters.

Richard poured hot tea in a couple enamel cups and opened a container full of rusks, the hard double baked South African sweet bread, that is almost like hardtack. In order to preserve the teeth, one should dunk the rusks in tea, coffee or milk before eating it. I love rusks and tea in the morning, especially when hunting. Hunting and rusks in morning and hunting and biltong later in the day are just perfect combinations.

The first visitors of the day were a herd of Impala, but there was not a mature ram among them, and sometime later they were pushed away by the arrival of Warthogs, a sow and several immature pigs. They stayed around for a sometime, but again no trophy, which in this case would take the form of nice tusks.

After the Warthog departed a herd of magnificient Eland came to water. There were several cows with their long and slender horns, and a handful of bulls with much heavier spiral horns. The Eland moved around and divided their attention between the water and some feed that Simon had left for them. The cows were a lot more wary than the bulls, and by going round and around they eventually winded us and the herded stampeded towards the bush.

The Wharthog came bag, probably the same animals as before, and by around 10:00 AM me started back to the lodge (actually Richard and Anna's home) for brunch, or was it lunch?

We came back in early afternoon, and the only visitors were giraffe. Shorty is the male, Strippes the female, and then Baby No. 1 and Baby No. 2. Baby No. 1 was almost as tall as his mother. The giraffes are Anna's pets, and they decided not to name the babes any more, as she had a hard time when they sold the previous ones.

Apart from a large diversity and number of birds, no other animals came to the hide that afternoon, but the day ended with a gift of a beautiful sunset that almost made me wish that like Le Petit Prince I could relocate my chair to watch it again.

When planning for this trip, I started to consider which animals I would like to go after. I really wanted a nice Impala and a long tusked warthog, and also Red Hartebeest and Blue Wildebeest would be very high on my list. But in hunting, under ethical and sporting conditions, and especially under the self-imposed limitations associated with bow hunting, the hunter should understand that he who is too picky may go home empty handed.

And although Buffalo Thorn is high-fenced, like almost all hunting properties in South Africa, there is no canned hunting in its one thousand acres. There are three water throughs within the four hides, and the hunter can only be in one of them at a time, the animals can move freely anywhere in the property, and many species can go for days without water.

As I mentioned before, the situation is not intrinsically different from bow hunting for whitetail in Michigan or hunting black bear over bait in Ontario. The surroundings are clearly different, and diversity of species and number of specimens bring constant entertainment to any hunter that loves nature.

During dinner Richard mentioned that he was concerned that for the past two days I had not had the opportunity to take a shot. I assured him that irrespective of that I was having a wonderful time, but that in order to change our luck I would take the first " trophy" that came along the next day.

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