Hard hunting isn’t enough

My heart pounded loudly, my breathing already fast with sweat pouring down my back as we lay punctured by thorns, dirty and deadstill in the hot dry African sun. Gemsbuck, two of them, 40 yards away and still oblivious of our presence. The gemsbuck moved closer, alternatively feeding heads down with their horns sticking out above their shoulders (a good indication of a superior trophy) before walking towards the next edible grazing area, always alert.

Hard hunting isn’t enough 1Long black horns, easily 40 inches in length, sweeping like twin rapiers through the air as they ever alert surveyed the territory ahead with huge dark eyes that compete well with Leica Geovid binoculars (with built in range finders keeping you just out of range). They wondered closer, 25 yards, then 20, 15…., my grip tightened on my trusty .375 H&H, we were well within their ”fight zone”, the space which any animal often chooses to fight and not flee when threatened and those horns were long and sharp, glistening in the late afternoon sun. Diane lay motionless slightly behind me, clutching her .30-06 ready to spring into action.

Aristocrats, Knights of the Desert, Prince of the plains are a few of the more common descriptions which try to depict this noble animal, this time however we were looking at “princesses”, their horns lacking the bulk of mature bulls. The wind swirled and with a snort and a cloud of dust they were gone. We unfolded our stiff limbs and continued with our search with renewed vigour from the rush such special encounters bring. We were on Day 2 of the hunt, my clients Ron and Dianne Raydon from Houston, Texas. They were on their second hunting trip to South Africa, Dianne was looking to hunt a few good trophies with Kudu and Gemsbuck on the top of her wish list.