Hunting the Gray Ghost in South Africa
The local people, whom we saw in the towns along the way, were friendly and helpful; but now, out of town, there were no people nor houses. Luckily we spotted headlights coming down the dusty road towards us, and a young mother with three kids bouncing in the back of her SUV loaded with groceries cheerfully volunteered to drive the two lost New Yorkers to the Amanzi ranch and had us follow her in the total darkness of night. We made it, thanks to Ann’s helpfulness.
At Amanzi that evening, we were warmly greeted by old friends, the Fourie Family and staff and treated, or perhaps teased, by our first dinner there of Kudu Lasanga! After dinner, the white wines flowed and by fireside we planned our hunt with their oldest son, Jopie Fourie the PH. It was decided that we would to rise early, at daybreak, and scan the high wooded slopes for Kudu taking in the warmth of the early morning sun following the chilly fall evening of an Afrikan night.
We had sighted in my CZ7 Mauser with a 2.5 x 6 Zeiss 32 MM Scope, and I knew I could be right on even at 200 meters with a rested shot on the Hunting Sticks. I trusted my Dad’s hand loads of 7x55 with 139 gr. nosler partition ballistic tip, a very light bullet for 500 lb. game. The challenge, we believed, would be in a rapid, fast and sure shoot with questionable visibility. The Gray Ghost would not be a standing still target with a bull’s eye painted on his shoulder and the brush would be heavy and dense in the area we had chosen for the morning hunt.
The morning was still and dark. The coffee and freshly baked biscuits were hot and satisfying. We loaded the truck with a days worth of provisions and water and carefully placed
our rifles and binoculars in secured holders. As our truck slowly entered the valley we could see first gleaming rays of the morning sun breaking over the Eastern mountains and sending slivers of golden light across the mountainsides. A half hour later the mountainsides were fully bathed
in warm Afrikan sun and we trained our binoculars intently on the slopes for the slightest movement of a Kudu.
“There he is,” whispered the Professional Hunter, Jopie, as he pointed to a small break in the trees showing a reddish colored rock and a large Kudu bull standing broadsideon it. I immediately reached for my rifle, chambered a round and raised it to my shoulder as Jopie continued to whisper, that’s the ONE. As the rifle reached my shoulder, I looked through
the scope, and saw the empty rock. True to his name the Gray Ghost had vanished in an instance.