The 4:45 am alarm came way too early for me on Monday morning. I am one of those people who does well surrounded by people for a few days...but then I need some solitude to recharge. By Monday morning, I knew it was time for some recharging! So, I slept in and spent quiet time in our roundavel reading and trying to journal. (I was still too overwhelmed for words too record much more than, "are we really here?" Ha!)
Late morning, as I was sitting in front of our room, Jim came walking up unexpectedly. I had not heard the truck come in from the hunt. He muttered something about our Professional Hunter's tracking skills leaving much to be desired and stalked into the room. I followed him inside, feeling a little bit concerned, when I saw the grin playing at the edges of his mouth. After 30 years of marriage I have learned that this was a sign that something big had happened.
Actually, it was Blue Wildebeest big.
It seems that when Jim met Arno to head out that morning, he told him that since I wasn't going there were no holds barred for what it took to get a wildebeest...crawling on hands and knees, long hikes, thorns and underbrush, belly crawling, whatever...let's just go for it. And go for it they did. It seems this monster bull had recently lost his place in the herd after being Alpha Male for some many years. He had battle scars all over him, but was now hanging out with a herd of Blesbuck.
After an hour's stalk, which did include belly crawling and laying in the grass, Jim made a perfect shot while sitting on the ground to take this beautiful, old bull. The base of his horns look like weathered wood they are so rough and rugged.
After brunch, I sat by the pool and read a little while before changing into my hunting clothes. While waiting for the guys to get ready, I hung out at the fire pit with Tianda.
For the afternoon hunt we went after Blesbuck. They are some wary little suckers that will take off running at the slightest hint of trouble. I can't tell you how many times we were watching a group of them through the binoculars and all of a sudden they would just take off running...full speed ahead! And I am not just talking about when we were hunting them either! I couldn't get any good pictures of them for that reason. I really needed a camcorder to catch them on film as they were always moving!
That evening, we tracked a group of four males for quite a distance. We knew we were following the same group because there were two white ones and two brown ones. Most of the time you could only spot one of the white ones off in the distance. Once we would start to draw up near them, this one white one (who I supposed to be the lookout) would catch a glimpse of us and off they would go again -- running full speed ahead.
We were finally able to move to where a grove of acacia bushes stood between us and them. We could see that they were going to walk through a clearing about a hundred yards in front of us. Jim was able to get set up for the shot before the Lookout stepped into the clearing. He had Jim beaded in from the beginning, but wasn't quite quick enough to stop him from taking the shot as soon as the large male stepped out.
And off they ran...again! Jim was questioning whether or not he had missed when we heard a crash in the grass a short ways off. While Arno was leading the way, all I could see was this.
I had been so focused on the Blesbuck in the distance that I nearly stepped on Jim's!
Arno was working with Bullet to bark more when he came up on an animal, so the two of them played around while we were waiting on Simon to show up with the camera.