TERRE HAUTE —
Here I sit in a hunting blind in South Africa with an adventurous soul, Mack Adams. The dove and guinea fowl are calling with the sun warming the morning chill.
This all started when five rednecks decided to venture into the heart of Africa. Max Winchell, Dan Farmer, Greg Boyd, Mack Adams and myself were prepared for a wonderful adventure.
Dan Farmer was the late comer, deciding only two weeks before leaving. Dan is a perfectionist by not only owning a machine shop, but he builds rifles and does long-range shooting for coyotes and prairie dogs.
While sitting with Dan in a blind for days, he would sit from early morning to dark. Wart hog, Njala, impala, kudu and monkeys were watched until a very good wart hog stepped into the sights of his rifle at 20 yards. No, he didn’t take another step.
Greg Boyd is a laid back, great person that decided to … oh, wait a minute there’s a bush buck and two impalas feeding to my left at 30 yards, got to be quiet!
Mack is like a bird dog on point, he wants a trophy impala. Anyway, Greg is dove hunting and having a blast. Yesterday, four of us harvested a feed sack full of birds. Our African helper, Alec, was running trying to keep up fetching birds. I watched Greg make a shot of a lifetime. He was sitting in a chair from shooting so much, so with gun in hand, a dove flew over the top of his head behind him, he looked back over his left shoulder, pointing the gun backwards behind him and not shouldering it to make a direct hit on the bird.
Max Winchell, a veteran African hunter, had sat for two days in a blind hugging his bow while looking for a wart hog. A large herd of impala came in and the pressure overcame him, so a female impala went to impala heaven.
Oh, no! The bush buck is literally only a foot from the blind and you can hear him eating grass. Mack Adams looks like a bug-eyed bullfrog and the bush buck walked away to about thirty yards. We swapped places for him to shoot. I turned on the video camera and he took the shot. The bush buck dropped in its tracks. Great job, Mack.
Back to Max Winchell, the last I saw him, he looked like Rambo and headed out on his own to set up where he placed trail camera’s that showed wart hog, njala, impala and monkeys.
On May 19, Mack took a good wart hog in an area owned by a gentleman named Gys. The wart hog was at 15 yards when he pulled the trigger. No, not another step.
Yours truly had a great day yesterday stalking a Red Hartebeest. Cobus spotted them early in the day, knowing I wanted one. They like the open grasslands, and as soon as we got into the open, we spotted one watching us. They are a dark red color that has horns going straight up then curving to point straight back, kind of looking prehistoric.
I was packing a 375-caliber rifle with a scope big enough to take a bath in the end bell on it. You can hunt Cape buffalo with a .375. Bulls and cows look identical. Cobus glassed the herd for quite a while to point out the bull. With me being a poor shot, 150 yards with shooting sticks was my only option. The first shot was a total miss, but the bull stopped to see what was going on, and after the fourth shot in him he finally went down. With Cobus doing the spotting, tracking and with me throwing lead, I got a trophy of a lifetime, because the hartebeest will make the S.C.I. or Safari Club international record books.
Here we go again, Mack is taking the safety off of his rifle with two very nice impala bulls 50 yards out, with other younger bulls and females. He takes the shot and the gun didn’t go off. That was nerve racking. With the gun loaded and the impala still there, the gun went off this time and it was that impala’s lucky day, for he lives to see another day. That’s hunting for you.
Cobus picked us up and told Mack “I will take you to get an impala.” After stalking for a while, Cobus pointed out a large horned impala saying “there he is, so take your time and take your shot.” Yes, Mack is grinning from ear to ear. The animal didn’t suffer.
Last day, last hour of the daylight and Dan Farmer wants a Njala. As the animal showed himself at the base of the mountain in very thick brush, Dan starts his stalk, looking like a lion sneaking up on a zebra.
A Njala is a very exotic looking antelope type animal with four tan legs, stripes and spots in a dark coat and a main on its chest and a tail with long hair on all of the rump. It has a beautiful set of horns. Dan picked his shot and a trophy of a lifetime will be hanging on his office wall.
Cobus and Claudette should open a restaurant because they fix wildebeest 101 different ways. Check out Javauu Safaris at www.javauusafaris.com.
When you drive away from camp on your way home and you are waving good-bye, your heart is filled with joy and grief for you feel like you are leaving your best friend with a world of memories.
Kenny Bayless can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.