Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 00:22
Written by Terry Anderson
Friday, 29 January 2010 22:03
Always One More Time
by Terry L. Anderson
After hunting at least eight times with Angus Brown Safaris, you might think there would be nothing left to get the adrenalin pumping. But with Angus, there is always some excitement left in his bag of tricks.
In May 2009 part of the excitement was experiencing Angus and Jenny’s new property, Paradijs. I’ve always archery hunted in the bushveld where hunting was pretty much limited to blinds over water.
The highveld of the Free State could not be more different. With the Brown’s house at 5000 feet and mountain tops at 7000 feet, it feels much more like Montana (our home) than the South Africa we were used to. Canyons with steep rock walls tested this old body. Climbing around the cliffs, Angus pointed out parapets where the Boers (farmers) dug in to fight the British Red Coats more than 100 years ago. Above the canyon walls it is flat plains, making someone from Montana expect to see pronghorn antelope rather than zebra, red hartebeest, and gemsbuck.
If you are getting the visual picture, you must be asking what is a nice archery hunter
like me doing in a place like that? The answer, I like challenge. And a challenge I got!
My first species of choice was the mountain reedbuck, a small target in high grass and boulders. Reon, my guide, got me within 60 yards many times, but the arrows I launched only left artifacts for future archeologists. On the final day with the wind howling and rain coming on the horizontal, I did manage to take a trophy ram with Angus’ 270.
My second species of choice was the lechwe. On a horseback safari in Botswana’s Okavango, I had a chance to gallop with the lechwe at 15 yards and imagined what it must have been like for American Indians to hunt buffalo from horseback. Fortunately, Angus didn’t require that, but instead made arrangements to stalk lechwe on a nearby property. With rams in the rut and hundreds of them, it was relatively easy to get within range and take a beautiful ram with my bow at 25 yards.
My third species was one I had not thought about, but the huge fallow deer stag on Paradijs got me excited. Because Angus is building his fallow deer herd, he made it clear that his stag was not to be the target of my arrow or bullet. With my appetite whetted, however, he showed Monica, my wife, Reon, and me nearby property with abundant free-roaming fallow deer.
While Angus supervised construction of his new lodge, which I’m sure will be spectacular, we took up the hunt. Given the rain and wind, my hopes were dampened. Fortunately, the guide’s keen eye changed that. From a distance, he spotted a huge stag, bigger that Angus’ monarch. With no hope of an archery shot, I stalked to 125 yards with the 270 and put him down with a clean shot.
Oh yes, I did begin by suggesting that there was adrenalin pumping, and there was with each of the species. The real adrenalin rush, however, came while sitting in a Double Bull blind surrounded by two strands of barbed wire. Why, you might ask, were they surrounded by barbed wire? The answer, “Black Death.” That story I’ll leave for Monica.
MONICA: Terry enticed me into the blind with the prospect of seeing animals up close and personal. First it was nyala who were run off by an eland bull. When the eland got skittish, I couldn’t image what would run him off. Terry’s smile should have told me he knew. What he didn’t tell me was that he had seen 18 Cape buffalo near the blind earlier in the day and was hoping they might show up. And they did, at 10 feet. (Terry: More like 15 yards.) Terry’s incessant camera shutter made all 18 huge buffalo stare menacingly into the black hole. I glared at Terry with clenched teeth; “Next time, I choose, not you, when I’m going to risk my life.”
As I write this story, I’m anxiously awaiting another trip with Angus. On short notice,
I’m returning in December 2009, accompanying a friend with cancer
whose “bucket list” includes a Cape buffalo hunt with a handgun. Thanks Angus for helping Dave
and me check this off our list.