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November 22, 2014
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Hunting the Gray Ghost in South Africa


Minutes later, through an narrow opening, less than half a meter between these two big bushes, the nose appeared followed only by the ears and the horns. “Wait for the shoulder and take your shot”, Jopie said. I also recalled my father’s words: “Erika, when you have your shot, take your shot, don’t hesitate.” A second later the muscles on the front foreleg glistened and the shoulder appeared for an instant. I knew not to wait, this was my shot. The noise of the rifle deafened my
ears and I couldn’t see the Kudu anymore. My dread, where had he now vanished to, was broken by Jopie’s slap on my back and my father’s shrieking from the truck...he’s down, you got him.

I regained my senses and looked to see him falling down where he had stood in the high dense brush and now his feet kicking in the air towards the blue sky above. As we carefully
approached the fallen bull, I saw the true magnificence of this mature Kudu, quietly, and peacefully, allowing his spirit to rise above the mountains that surrounded us. Jopie said, it was a good clean shot, as my father said, your shot was perfect, we can’t believe you dropped him in his tracks with only one shot.

By fireside that night, the moment of the hunt, as all hunts, from the beginning of time, when the first caveman picked up his spear and felled food for his family, was retold with friends and family with the same emotion and drama of the hunt.

Our Safari hunt continued the next few days for other magnificent trophies including a Blue Wildebeest, a Red Hardebeest and Blesbok. My mature Kudu bull was truly magnificent with 49 ½ inch ivory tipped horns. My
father judged my shot with utter joy and pride, as only one shot downed each trophy I shot, as I had done with my Kudu. I think I also impressed my PH, but disappointed the trackers, since I made them unemployed! However, the trackers had plenty of work with my Dad and other friends who sometimes needed a second shot and left a long blood trail through the bush for them to follow.

Our hunting through the densely covered hill country and wide open plains at Amanzi, was challenging and a fair chase. We always saw herds of Giraffes, Zebra, Black, as well as Blue
Wildebeeste, Impalas, Spring and Bles Bocks and stately Sables for photographing along our way. We road in an open Range Rover truck and bounced with each rock in the road. Enjoying the painted sky sunsets with my Dad and friends after a long day’s hunt was one of the best parts of our trip.