Our thought as the wind reached gale force strength for the third day in succession. Johnny Posey and his son, Logan, were back on their third hunt with John X Safaris. We’d enjoyed a fair amount of success hunting what we could with the state of the weather, concentrating on the plains dwellers while leaving the mountains for a later stage.
When day three rolled along we knew it was time to brave the mountains. A Klipspringer and Vaal Rhebuck was our safari’s two main priorities. The wind was still hard it, but past experience taught us that every obstacle has its benefits. While the wind wasn’t optimal for mountain hunting, it sure did cut down the games’ options of where to shelter.
With that in mind we headed out. Within hours we found a world-class Vaal Rhebuck, we’ll above the 8” mark. We devised a strategy and set off in the hope that our ram would still be put by the time we reached the top of the mountain. A couple of hours later saw us cresting the predetermined cliff. If he was still there he’d be no more than 200 yards below us, the perfect setup. We slowly crested, hugging the flat bank of rocks. Hoping to spot our quarry any minute – we proceeded with caution. After twenty minutes of hard classing it was safe to say, Vaal Rhebuck 1 – Hunters 0.
Having made it to the top, we saw no reason in heading straight back down. The day was young and water was plentiful – we were right in the middle of where we would be glassing for both Vaal Rhebuck and Klipspringer. We pressed on in a westerly direction.
Within an hour we were back at it – a pair of Klipspringer was holed up in a cliff opposite our glassing position. We crawled down the ridge and settled into a shooting position. It was important to have Johnny setup up out of the wind. Our only view was that of a female, lying down quartering away from us. Off to her left was the rump of a mature animal, but not enough was showing for us to make a call, let alone consider a shot. Klipspringer roam in pairs, occasionally with the previous years’ lamb and at rare occasions a male may boast with two breeding females. The wait was on.
I’m sure our wait was no more than 45 minutes, but it felt like 4 days. When the second animal finally showed itself we made our call. He was a good ram worth perusing. Johnny squeezed off his 257. The shot flew two feet wide. Wow! The wind was much stronger than anticipated. Not aware of our position the Klipspringer jumped up onto the nearest rock, giving us a second opportunity. I asked Johnny to hold on the ram’s rump. Off went the shot, this time a miss by mere inches. That was it. The Klipspringer had seen enough to realize danger was at bay. They disappeared over the edge. Right, Klipspringer 1 – Hunters 0.
Having come so close on both priority species during the course of the morning, we decided to move on. The area was good – in fact great. There are not many areas where you could expect opportunities on trophy quality Vaal Rhebuck and Klipspringer in the course of a single morning. We knew we’d get our chance, but pushing to hard was not the right thing to do on this particular occasion.
Having scored with three of the Springbuck slam, only the Black Springbuck remained to pursue. A particular Black Springbuck ram had given us the run around for most of the season, always ahead of us, steering clear of harm’s way on a monthly basis. This time we’d devised a strategy.
The following morning saw the hunters rising to bright sunny skies and not a breath of wind. Conditions were perfect. A decision had to be made. Do we head back to where we’d enjoyed opportunities the previous day, or should we head into a new area? The pros and cons were debated, finally opting for a new area.
The area in mind boasted large numbers of Klipspringer with limited Vaal Rhebuck. While it may have come short on Vaal Rhebuck numbers it made it up with exceptional Kudu. Never a bad thing when hunting in Africa.
As with the weather our luck changed too. Soon we’d spotted five different pairs; at least three of the rams were shooters. At times like this it’s important to commit to one particular ram, the minute you jump around with too many options on offer one often comes up short.
We selected the ram that we felt was the oldest. While there was another that was slightly longer, he was most certainly not of a similar age. Our ram had the characteristic secondary growth at the base and his length matched that of a ram well past his prime. The right trophy to pursue.
Our Klipspringer was barley in the salt when another bout of foul weather rolled back in.
That afternoon saw us head back out to face the elements, we weren’t about to give up on our Vaal Rhebuck ambitions just yet. With a stroke of luck we found a monster. While finding the big ones is one thing, having a hunter who can make them count is a completely different scenario all together.
Having hunted all we were after in the north we headed back towards the coast to wrap up the last few remaining days of the safari.
During the course of our hunt I’d mentioned to Johnny that Bushpig were hitting the bait on a regular occurrence prior to his arrival. With that in mind we decided to give the hide a try the first night back at base camp. We were settled in by 17.45, waiting for the pigs to make their appearance.
That evening we enjoyed a few quiet ones around the camp fire. The following day would be our last; we hoped to provide Logan with an opportunity that he may to have something special to remember this once in a lifetime trip with his Dad.
The weather had not always treated us kindly during the course of the hunt, but still we achieved a remarkably high trophy quality across the board. When all was said and done both father and son agreed there could have been better places to be, but none as good as their South African hunt with John X Safaris!
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