A wet nose hunter, a massive Kudu and the immense honour.
by Anton Human
(North-eastern South Africa)
2nd March 2018.
During the experience in 1963 was I not yet fourteen years of age.
Although I grew up in Pretoria South Africa am I blue-blooded for the sticks.
I lived not for school but for being in the veldt. Mostly by myself. And appreciating God’s creation.
The area I am referring to was then in the far Northern-Transvaal of South Africa. Very hard country to survive in with the kindest people anyone could ever wish for to meet!
The farms were two adjoining twelve hundred hectare open farms. Five strands four foot six cattle fences only. Warthog, Bushpig, Duiker, Steenbuck, Impala and Greater Kudu were the going menu. The vegetation was mainly mixed with predominant brush and shrub Mopane in Kalahari sanded areas and appropriate vegetation on limestone outcrops.
It was and is very difficult to walk or stalk in the limestone areas with one inch limestone pebbles. Very. In the Kalahari sand areas it was not plain sailing either. Multi-barbed Tribulus terrestris
thorns were everywhere and for a young boy shoes are just a hindrance. As soon as the going gets hot I used to drop my shoes with the accompanied hassle to retrieve them. One pair of new school shoes became jackal feed. I could never find them and was severely reprimanded which cleared this hunting with shoes issue instantly furthermore.
Where the thorns hindered the stalking in the sandy areas the bare feet swifted over the loose limestone pebbles almost unheard and made up, but, not that the limestone areas did not have thorns either.
Without fail was I off at four in the morning and at my hunting area of choice before the sun arose. What an incredible honour.
My pipe was a model 70 in .22 hornet with .223 barrel. Fifty five grain purchased soft point bullets. Kynoch and Remington Peters can I recall. It was shod with a model J4 three quarter inch tube Weaver scope on pivot mounts. It had a post reticle and I mean a POST! Certainly the very best for snap- and night aiming. You can not miss it. You are on your target in an instant.
In all humbleness must I proclaim that if I and a kudu bull both went into a Mopane thicket did it not have more than a seventy percent chance that we would both exit alive. And I very well realize that is some statement.
On a certain day was there another hunter in the area where I was hunting as well but a reasonable distance to my west. The vegetation was in good leaf. I progressed very slowly. Like a ghost, most alert, still visibility was limited.
For me the model 70 safety catch action is cumbersome so when in stalking-mode I always had all systems at the ready.
Then in a few seconds all was over bar the sound of an animal dropping. I became vividly aware of a large animal racing directly at me and was ready for self protection in a flash. A very big kudu bull came straight at me. Dead-on. It was in full flight and probably alerted by the other hunter. When it became aware of me exactly in its path of escape it was very close. Not more than fifteen metres and only had three strides to attempt to avoid me. I followed it with a shouldered weapon and at no more than four metres I let fly behind the shoulder when it was a stride past me.
Now it could be appreciated that I was scared and frightened out of my wits. Didn’t know weather it was an enraged cattle bull or whatever. My personal switch was flicked very quickly. Into defense mode so when, in that flashing instant I realized that the possibility for biltong/jerky was at hand I triggered while only pointing the rifle, though in motion, though I had the scope off the iron sites on the pivot mounts.
I must have had a high percentage adrenaline in my system and in order to get the rattles out of my bones did I pull up my hand brake to come to my senses and attempt to pack the puzzle. I gave a few steps ahead and saw a few hairs on the ground. Past the first hurdle. Now with such a little wound a blood spoor is neigh impossible though it is there, and so much the more difficult to trace in red sand. It is a complete different kettle of fish in limestone areas. I found a few minute drops rolled into tiny little balls but proved true on the touch. The actual tracking was not difficult. Then I remembered I heard some sort of a crash into a tree.
I was concentrating so intently on the task at hand that I never heard the other hunter, who was a grownup, behind me. When he spoke and with my strained nerves I was just about into another fit. First of all he confirmed that the shot sounded good. Nor a gut shot. Assisted me to take spoor and a hundred and twenty metres from the shot we found the second biggest kudu bull that I have ever seen. What an increadible honour. And I have shot a fifty six and sixty inchers since. In addition have we been to the Kruger umpteen times and in hunting situations more times that I care to recall but I can honestly state that I saw one animal with larger horns once only and this one in mention must have been sixty five or sixty six inches. That in itself was a very special experience as well.
For about eight years was a .22 Hornet all I had to hunt with. There were very strict grownups in control of hunting matters which would have ended matters abruptly if any side-stepping was involved. They allowed me to hunt because it was successful. Actually very for my age and calibre rifle used. And. Yes. There was one Kudu cow wounded and lost which haunts me to this very day but by-and-largely did I actually have good marks in hunting. The light calibre forced me to go right in and up close. Or abandon with an animal vacating danger zones.
Never ever have I lost an animal as wounded when I punctured a lung. Bullet placement repeated ten thousand times. There are not two answers.
About Weaver pivot mounts. I had this model 70 rifle for in excess of fifty three years. I idolized it. Still do. Took special care of it. Of all my rifles and for fifty three years must I have used the hinge action on the mounts a thousand times or more cause for a very long time did I used the iron sights, and, NEVER EVER was it necessary to resight this rifle for as much as a single click once it was zeroed. NEVER.
Then did I own a 30-06 with a K4 Weaver scope. Also with a post reticle no pivit mounts and on a particular hunting expedition an unknown individual bumped the weapon so hard that there was a dent in the steel tube. This merely required only a few clicks to correct and for longer than thirty years that I had the pleasure of handling these products was it only a pleasure and if you see to it that the mating bases are dust- and grit free it clicks home every time.
Thank you ever so much Mr. W.R. Weaver!
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