The first day of hunting and the first day ever as a hunter!? It was with mixed feelings that I set out with the hunter and the tracker this morning, with the sun rising in the east behind the thick and green vegetation and numerous koppies in the distance.
A tough day
The area is without a doubt incredibly beautiful, especially now in the rainy season, with the lush green vegetation. It is thick with the grass growing high and the hunter told me that hunting in this period is very hard, as the animals are well hidden with a great advantage on their side. I was prepared for a tough and long day, as there was no overcast in sight and the sun would soon come down on us hard and hot. Though it was only the wee hours of the morning I could already feel the heat striking my winter-pale body. It was gonna be a tough day.
Koppie after koppie
The farm has frequent numbers of oryx, zebra, kudu, warthogs, baboons, klipspringer, dik-dik, jackal and elephants together with an abundance of birds. The leopard also frequent the area and it didn’t take long before we spotted tracks from the leopard.
The heat was really taking its toll on me, and with the thick vegetation that we had to work our way through together with the heavy climbs up on koppie after koppie, I was already sore in my body. Is all hunting this tough? We climbed the koppies, which is a massive rubble of giants pieces of rock that form tall hills. These are tough to climb, but a necessity in order to get a good overview of where you might spot wildlife. It was quite a windy day and it was nice to feel the breeze, blowing through your sweat soaked clothes, cooling you a bit in the boiling heat. The wind was however not a good thing from a hunting perspective.
We managed to spot a herd of oryx in the distance between two koppies. We made our way down the koppie and tried to approach the location where we’d spotted the oryx, without having the wind reveal our presence. The tracker found the tracks, but as we arrived to the area, the oryx was gone. The wind had apparently notified them about our presence. We fought our way through the dense vegetation to the next koppie and climbed it in order to get an idea of their whereabouts. The wind was really telling on us and this procedure continued until we had to give up with exhaustion and a bit of frustration.
Outclassed by Nature
We made our way to the farm and finished our 20 km walk. It had been a tough morning, but I really enjoyed it. Tracking the animals, trying to find them, fighting the elements of wind, heat and earth. The animals was in full control of our whereabouts and moved without sound as we approached. Nature was clearly a worthy winner today and it shows that the animals are smart and very aware of their surroundings.
I hail Mother Nature for her win over the hunter today. She completely outclassed us. We didn’t stand a chance as the elements were against us.
After a delicious lunch and a good rest we set out in the afternoon by car, climbing koppies and hunting for wildlife and birds to shoot, but this time with the camera. We also took the opportunity to visit a cheetah project in the area. Apparently there’s an abundance of cheetahs in Namibia, with numbers bigger than what can be handled. This creates conflicts like so many others between man and larger predators. Cattle keepers and farmers often shoot cheetahs to protect their own and these aren’t always deadly and instead wounds the animal.
This project takes care of injured cheetahs and detains troublesome individuals, taking them to their grounds in order to try to rehabilitate them. This doesn’t always work.
It was a nice experience to see these big cats up close. They really are majestic creatures though their bodies certainly are a bit out of proportion. I can tell you that being licked by a cheetah is a weird experience…It’s like sandpaper being rubbed up and down your leg. But then again…Who can turn down a full grown cheetah this privilege?
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