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SPONTANEOUS HUNT - PART 2 | Klipspringer, Warthog & Duiker

Updated: Sep 13, 2020

The following mornings plan was to search for one of the big klipspringer rams that were witnessed on the trail camera images. We stopped the vehicle on top of a hill on one side of a trickling creek. After sorting out my hunting gear and day pack we headed down towards the creek and slowly stalked along the edge upstream. There was little wind if any and when I could feel it on my face I was confident that we would see some critters. There was pug marks on the game trail identifying a 'rooi cat' was stalking a feed in the darkness of the night previous.

Slow and steady with lots of glassing was the plan. As we approached the properties boundary I spotted a female klipspringer on the opposite side, drinking at a small pool in the creek. Most of the creek was thick with reeds however where the pool was situated had good visibility. The female took off up the hill and a ram emerged from the dense riverine cover to replace her at the water. He was an old male with a huge set of horns. You know an animal is good when the PH gets excited.

The ram didn’t know we were there, our stalk had worked out perfectly. The shooting sticks were laid out and I took aim. As I lined the crosshairs up on his tiny chest he stopped drinking, whipped his head up, looked hard to his right and bolted away up the mountain. I followed him in the scope as he darted from thornbush to thornbush until he went over the top of the mountain. It was amazing how quickly he got up the rugged, rocky mountainside and I finally experienced for myself why their name translates to rock jumper. I thought he winded us but after a moment the neighbours ute came rolling down the hill from where the klipspringer had looked before he took off. At the time I couldn’t even hear the vehicle. African antelope are wired to flee, they have a vast number of predators trying to ambush them and these tiny klipspringer are on the bottom of the list so it was no surprise that behaved the way he did.

Maans and I were gutted that the opportunity was foiled by something that was out of control but what happened next was even harder to swallow! We spun around and headed up the opposite face that the klipspringer bounded up. We were only 50 or so meters into our walk when another decent ram stepped out from some large boulders. I lined up on the ram, the terrain was uneven an the shooting sticks weren’t completely steady. He stood broadside and I let the shot go. The klipie ran immediately and didn’t look at all injured. I asked Maans what he thought happened. He said he saw the bullet hit a branch not far in front of us which sent the projectile on a wayward course. We checked for blood and deemed the shot a miss. I was shattered, happy of the fact the animal wasn’t injured but knew this would add some pressure on the already short hunt we had planned.

The rest of the stalk was a little uneventful other than bumping into a dazzle of plains zebra on the way back to the vehicle. It was getting close to lunch time so we headed back to the river boundary for a nice braai. After lunch we took off in hope that we could find a klipspringer in the afternoon. Maans explained that the best times are very early morning and late afternoon but we couldn’t get one sitting at camp. Just as we pulled clear of the farmhouse a big bodied warthog was spotted running through the tall, dry grass parallel with the track. Maans told me to quickly get out and take any pig I get the chance at because he needed camp meat for the workers.

I walked up the track in the hot afternoon sun looking to my right, searching for a grey shape between the brown grasses with the wind coming from behind me. As I rounded a slight bend in the track I noticed a warthog standing on the right hand side. I think my scent stopped the pig in its tracks but as it noticed my shape it took off across the track to my left. I followed the grey object in the scope and squeezed the trigger as the pig got to the other side of the sandy track.

I walked to the track edge where the warthog had entered the bush and waited for Maans to catch up to me. He said he heard a hit and asked if I was confident with the shot. I was fairly confident with the shot but on a running shot like that I felt it could be a little far back. We searched the spore for evidence of a hit but there was no blood. The decision was made to leave the tracks for 15 minutes as to not push the animal if it was wounded. We stood in silence, only 10m from the track edge, the awful feeling of injuring an animal was starting to come over me. The sun was starting to get hot, I turned to look back at the car track, as I swung around I noticed an odd shape in the grass. It was the warthog laying on its side, half covered by the grass, one ivory tusk poking up, gleaming in the sun. We were stoked to find a great boar and that he wasn’t lost or wounded in the bush. We loaded up the boar and took him back to the workers. The look of gratitude was a great feeling, there is a language barrier but you can see that they were appreciative of the protein that I was more than happy to provide for them.

Unfortunately the rest of the afternoon was a little uneventful on the klipspringer front so we cooked dinner early and prepared to sit in a blind in hope for a big bushpig boar. The trail camera images showed the pigs coming in after dark which made us decided to sit until 10 or 11pm, considering we had hunted hard all day we couldn’t stay in the blind all night. On dusk a warthog boar, lone wildebeest bull & a mob of zebra came in. The wind was good and I was optimistic. We waited it out as long as we could in the dark of night but no bushpigs were harmed!

I was due to head back to Renosterpan the next morning however my ride back wasn’t available until after lunch. We decided to try one last time for a klipspringer ram. On the way through the property we spotted a great duiker. I found him in the scope, his head was covered by a solid tree trunk but I could see vitals. The crosshairs were settled but I could not see if he was a ram or not. When the duiker ran Maans asked why I didn’t shoot the monster duiker, from his angle he could see a huge set of horns. An opportunity missed!

Further along the trail we spotted a group of klipspringer made up of three females and two rams. The females spotted us and split, two went to the left and one went right. Both rams followed the lone female. After a moment I spotted the big ram coming back out of the thicket heading towards the two females that went left. He stopped perfectly broadside but once he was still Maans was unable to pick him up. I told Maans I can see a ram in the scope, he replied “if it’s got decent horns take him because I can’t see him.” I squeezed off and the ram went down. It was lucky the females split up because I don’t think the ram would have shown himself again had they taken off together. My klipspringer ram was an ancient old thing. He had a huge set of horns with secondary growth showing he had been around the block a few times.

We carried on down to the main river to look for a baboon or bushbuck. We spotted a lone baboon male but I couldn’t catch up with him as he hustled through the bush. The evidence of his presence in the area could be witnessed in small portions of smashed wild fruit that was scattered throughout the rocky outcrop. His bark was heard regularly as he tried to locate the rest of his troop a few hundred meters away. We also stalked in on a solid bushbuck ram but he gave us the slip after only a kilometre or so. They are sneaky buggers in the riverine cover.

We were on the way back to get the klippie from the cool room when we saw a good duiker bedded in the shade of an acacia tree. When he stood to see why we were interested in him I took the shot. He was a neat little antelope and a great way finish up my 2019 safari expedition.

Needless to the 2019 hosted hunt was another success although explaining to my wife why there are more animals coming home was tricky when I got home. I love filming clients while on the hosted hunt, delivering the final video is almost better than pulling the trigger for myself. Filming and photographing safaris has given me a new excuse to visit a place that I can’t get enough of.

* All of the meat from the animals taken on this hunt was utilised and not one ounce was wasted. The wild, organic and sustainable protein that a safari provides brings sustenance to a protein starved community in Africa and all of the people we donated the meat to were grateful and happy when we arrived. This was the best feeling of the hunt.

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