the hunt

I have a lot of photos I can’t post here, from this day. I trialed one of them home to SJ and HK and the response was not to post it, so I’ve taken the critical 2 or 3 photos of myself out, except the “blooding”.

So, John and I headed off to Christiaan’s huge farm. Like most here, he speaks German, Afrikaans and English. His spread is 20,000 hectares and has small farmhouse, the only structure. No foreigner can buy land in Namibia anymore, so these holdings are increasingly rare as the owners die off and the children move to the cities. The government then breaks them up into smaller working pieces for blacks, the land re-distribution policy

A chat before we leave

Christiaan is going to drive, his main hand will help spot game, and John and I will shoot. That’s the rifle on the left I picked the other day after trying them all out, the Springfield 30 06. It’s a little heavier than John’s but seems to fit better

Nearly ready to go. John and I sit behind and above Christiaan, spotter behind

The German pointer. Forgot her name

We drive for a couple of hours across various landscapes

This was a beautiful plain, thinking I wish we had a geologist along to explain

We’re hunting for 2 animals to go to the farm workers. This is a regular thing as game is the diet foundation. What we kill depends on what we see and how close we can approach. On the farm there are hundreds f Oryx and many hundred Springbok, some Wildebeast and a few Zebra, all wild native stock.

I get an idea of how huge these farms are after we drive for a hour (slowly) in a straight line to get to a good lowland location.There are a few ancient 4X4 tracks, but we ignore them in favour of the bee line.

We see an Oryx about 200 yards away, facing us. John tells me this, the first, is my shot. Even with the scope it seems a hard target. Just when I’m settled in to squeeze the trigger it turns. I’ve lost my concentration, try and re-sight calmly, squeeze off a shot and miss. John looks at me a little surprised, but with a smile, as I’ve shot accurately at this distance in practice. We’ve come a long way to find the first animal and I’ve blown it.

Off we drive again. I tell John and Christiaan that I won’t take another shot until John has killed the first animal.

About an hour later, we see a small group, and John sets up for a shot. He decides it’s too far away. It’s barely visible to the eye

John’s kill shot, from about 100 yards

The Oryx is winched into the back of the truck

Mine follows immediately, after Christiaan drives on a short intercept to the pack.

How do I feel about that? It’s the traditional meat for the workers and that’s why we’re here. I’ve not being looking forward to the moment and have narrowed my thoughts to focusing solely on doing a good job at the task, going through the critical 5 or so seconds in my mind from John’s instructions and my practice.

It was a less than perfect day, from an execution point of view, due to my earlier miss. Ideal form is to return with the same amount of spent cartridges as animals: these guys probably never miss, after 100’s of years of killing to eat, not for sport.

Cleaning is fast. Both animals are “dressed” in about 20 minutes

I get “blooded” as this is my first (and between you and me, my last) kill.

So why did I do it? Because this is 100% part of my friends lives here. I eat Oryx and Springbok constantly, and Zebra once in a while. They’ve been very good to me for a month, we explore together, drink together, and I’ve accompanied them on chores in their daily lives. This helped develop the picture of what it’s like to be part of a dying breed, the white Namibian farmer.

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