Now that I come to think of it, this story really began a long time ago.
Depending on the time of day (or night) and whose doing the telling, the story may vary in fact and to some degree in fiction.
“It was a fine Eastern Cape morning. There was a steady breeze blowing from the west and the trees had started turning autumn brights – winter was clearly on the way. Professional Hunters, Ed Wilson and Carl van Zijl, together with long time hunting buddies, Jeff Edland and Brett Nelson, were on the hunt for Waterbuck. During midmorning, while rounding a bend the hunters stumbled into very impressive Waterbuck bull, there was a joint decision to let the bull pass, after all it was early, and who knows what else the day may bring?”
Up until this point there seems to be a common understanding of fact. The mistake we made by passing up this great bull is where the fiction causes some kind of debate. Like the saying goes: ”A bird in the hand beats two in the bush!” And how we have come to regret that little saying!
“That evening around the bar enjoying the African sunset, mention was made of a particularly impressive Waterbuck bull that was spotted that morning. Professional Hunter, Gary Phillips, not one to see an opportunity pass him by, picked up on this rare piece of information and went straight to the same area the very next morning.
It was therefore no surprise that Jim would be back this year, joining Brett Nelson on his annual hunt to John X Safaris. Afterall, we were out to beat his trophy of a lifetime, a 31″ Waterbuck with the bow.
On this hunt Jim joined Professional Hunter, Juan MacDonald, once again targeting a number of species with his bow. Our coastal area had experienced extremely good rains during the first quarter of the year, making food plentiful and bow hunting difficult. With so many factors counting against us, we decided to relocate Jim’s hunt and opted for an area further north, away from the coast.
Arriving in the North the guys immediately knew their hunt was going to be a great one. The accommodations were superb and the game was plentiful.
While early mornings were filled with numerous spot and stalks, the afternoons would prove most successful sitting in hides over water and salt.
Nyala could probably be considered as one of the most majestic species in Africa. The females with their bright red skins split by definite white stripes, and the bulls so amazingly different with their long hair and blackened grey coats. Jim’s priority was Kudu and Gemsbuck, but Nyala was always in the back of his mind.
Jim took the honours on that first hunt with his Waterbuck and this time certainly took the top Nyala. Personally I can’t make the call on who the winner might be.
What I can say: “A bird in the hand beats two in the bush.” And maybe this time we’ve made the right call and matched Jim’s luck. For that you’ll have to wait and make the call yourself….. Brett and Jeff weren’t letting any opportunities pass them by!