I have been hunting since the age of seven when I shot my first duiker with my grandfather's 1903 Winchester.22 Repeater when it jumped right over me into a dense bush...
I have been hunting since the age of seven when I shot my first duiker with my grandfather's 1903 Winchester .22 Repeater when it jumper over me into a dense bush up to the past weekend on the plains of Koster in the rain on the back of a Land Cruiser when I shot one of my five blesbuck at 498 metres with Father's Musgrave 30-06, loaded with off the shelve Winchesters of 180 grain A-Frames.
During my 30 years of hunting I have tried every form of shooting: birds, target, small game, large game, "walk and stalk"Â�, night hunting, long, close, and a springbok that was darting away from the hip with a .300 Win Mag, right beneath the ear at 374 metres. That buck was given to me as a present by the farmer because of that shot. I have shot a waterbuck at 308 metres with my late uncle's .308. With my .375 "bolt action"Â� Sako I bagged many springbok at Postmasburg with long shots, as well as a rushing buffalo at close quarters.
With .375 Chapuis Dubbel I gave a rhino number three and number four in the heart - it cost me nine shots altogether, and almost my life. Without "back-up"Â�.
At night I shot two elephants with a weak little torch in some or other bush in Zimbabwe with a lively .416 Rigby, one shot each, with the fear of death in my veins.
One shot from 22 metres with my trusty old Sako on a hippopotamus in a nasty mood - at night...
And in the past 30 years I have followed an eland that IO have wounded afoot for more than three days on end, and tens of other times after wounded game. One of these I recall very well when I was in matric and wounded a pig that took off to the bush with me in hot pursuit... alone and barefoot, just before sundown. Fortunately I found it and it tasted like a gourmet meal around my campfire in the bush that evening.
But the past weekend changed something inside me.
Those blesbuck at Koster broke my heart. The ran and they ran and they ran. Out of fear for the Land Cruiser, the sound of the bullets and the rain. I felt that I missed the ethics, the art and the honour of the hunt on this jaunt.
With no defence and nowhere to hide they ran like rats underneath every wire. But fall they simply had to...
I have culled, I have been sick and tired of hunting animals, night hunting, stalking and pot hunting. We will all agree that there are many methods and reasons for hunting of the shooting of game. Among those is our ego.
This weekend I didn't even pay attention to a spoor, the wind or time. I only concentrated on the long shots and saving or mercy shots. To me. it was not hunting.
Equipment (and the price thereof) plays a large part to assist in shooting, especially long shots. I represented SA at shooting for three years - at high school in the Bisley team - and I was a sniper in the SA Defence Force.
But for me as a person who loves shooting, hunting takes place in the bush where the art of the hunter determines his success, regardless of his partner, his equipment or his ego.
My old rifle, my quarry, on my Creator's farm, a hunt for my utilisation and joy, but with pride and appreciation. That's what it's all about.
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