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Thread: My first hunt

  1. #1
    User
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    Mar 2018
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    Default My first hunt

    I have been meaning to do this for a while, but have finally got around to doing this. I wanted to share the experience of my first hunt and capture it so that I have reference when the memories start to get foggy.

    I had wanted to hunt an impala for a few years before it became a reality. Years ago I helped a friend cut up a hind quarter of impala and made biltong for him, which I found better than any biltong I had tried before. But I don’t have a rifle and had fired less than 15 rounds through a rifle before. I had grown up doing all things bush, but hunting was not one of them.

    As this was my first hunt, I wanted the full and authentic experience. Walk and stalk and do the meat processing myself. I wanted to learn how to do everything and to do it myself. For me, it’s part of the experience.

    I was fortunate enough to be offered the opportunity to hunt on a forum member’s land (gertjie87). I managed to get a friend (J) with a Howa 308 to join me and show me the ropes.

    I spent many hours reading up on this forum about hunting and also where to aim on the animal. The week before the hunt, we went off to the range so that I could get familiar with the equipment. After a couple of hours, J and I were confident enough in my shooting to head into the bush.

    A 3.30am start to the day was followed by about a 2+ hour drive from Pretoria to the farm. We met G there and he gave us the rundown of the farm and the rules. I clearly remember him saying, “You can take impala, but none of the other animals”. Sure, no problem, I thought, I was only after an impala anyway. G heads off, we kit up and head into the bush.

    And we walked. And walked. And walked. There were 2 springbok on the farm. They seemed to be following us. It felt like there were 50! And the blesbuck often got us excited from a distance. It was like they knew we were not after them.

    We saw impala. Some were on the move. Some were out of range and they spooked before we could get close enough. I had two instances where I lined an impala up, but was not comfortable with the distance, so rather pulled out.

    After 3 hours of walking without success, we headed back to the car for a break. Within 15 minutes of getting back on foot, we came around a thicket and spotted about 6 impala about 70-80m away. They hadn’t noticed us and we were downwind from them, with a steady breeze blowing. Perfect! We stayed behind a tree and I prepared for the shot. The ewe that I had lined up was standing broadside and stationary, with her head behind a bush. I closed the bolt, looking through the scope. My heart was pumping and I couldn’t keep the rifle still. I must have stared at that ewe for over a minute through the scope without being ready to pull. I pulled back, took a few deep breaths and tried again. Bang! The herd scattered and then there was this eerie silence. No bokkie. Did I miss? Shit. We followed our markers and started looking. Shit, no blood. Then I looked up and found the ewe lying under a tree about 10m from where it was standing, view slightly obscured by foliage. I didn’t miss, hell yeah! So many emotions rush through at that point – relief, happiness, appreciation, satisfaction, excitement. I had successfully hunted my first impala!

    We took a quick picture and headed back to the house. It was a big ewe, but I had seriously underestimated how heavy they are! We hung it up and started skinning and gutting etc. We retrieved the bullet – it went through the heart and did some bone damage on the shoulder, no exit. I was pretty happy with that, but know there was a bit of luck involved.

    I could see J was itching for his impala now, so we headed out again. And walked. And walked. We saw those blesbuck and springbuck many times again. We saw one impala ram the whole day, the potential shot would have been through a big kudu’s horns at 300m+. No ways we were going to risk that. We just stood there and took it all in. We also startled a bushpig that ran out at about 90 degrees to us. What an experience! The whole nature and bush experience was amazing.

    Eventually J took his impala, probably at around 2:30pm. We headed back to the house, did what we needed to with his impala and loaded up. In total, we walked just over 26,600 steps that day.

    The next day, I went to J’s house and we processed the carcasses. It took us about 4 hours to break the two carcasses down into the individual muscles to make it easier to transport and process further. I had a newfound respect for butchers.

    What a day, what an experience! Thanks again to gertijie87 for making it possible and for being such a generous host. And thanks again to all who contribute on GunSite, the knowledge here is excellent for people just starting out and who want to learn more.

    I have continued to read up and am hoping to purchase a rifle before the end of the year, so that I can do all of this again. I am following the thread ”No idea where to start” with interest, as I am largely in the same boat. A friend is emigrating when the kung flu will allow him to, who has two rifles that I have first option on. Sako 85M 30-06, Tikka T3 .243 with suppressor, or do I get something new?

    Either way, I would love to get back in the bush and do it all again.

  2. #2
    User
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    Aug 2012
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    Stella
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    Default Re: My first hunt

    Well done and congrats. The first bokkie stays etched in the kind.

    Shoot both the rifles and then decide. 30-06 generally packs a wallop.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: My first hunt

    Firstly congratulations

    Thanks for sharing I hope this is the first of many.

    Trust me you will always remember this hunt!!

    Happy many further hunts enjoy it and always stay this excited by the hunt.

    You may already realized that when you have pushed the trigger the hunt ends and the work starts.

    For me as soon as I pushed the trigger I feel a great sadness , for the live that I have taken and how beautiful and perfect the animal is and that I have ended its live and that the hunt is now over.

    I hope you never loose this feeling it must never be killing just or the sake to kill.

    I hope that the hunt will always excite you and that you will always hunt ethically and above all that you will always respect your pray.

    Remember to take lots and lots of photos and also take them in your mind.

    Enjoy the spoils of your first hunt.

    Meat will never taste as good as what you have hunted yourself.

  4. #4
    User
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    Mar 2018
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    Pretoria
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    34
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    Default Re: My first hunt

    I forgot to mention that this hunt took place in July 2019. I just hadn't got around to writing it down until now.

    Thanks for the kind words.

    One thing you mentioned Kaptein that I did not do, was to take enough photos of the whole experience. I was living in the moment so much that I forgot to take pictures, that I now wish I did.

    I was chewing on a piece of biltong as I wrote this. And I agree, having spent so much time watching animals in game reserves to standing over an animal that you have killed is a very different experience. But no part of the animal was wasted and we give thanks for everything that we receive.

    Sent from my FIG-LA1 using Tapatalk

  5. #5
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    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    1,101

    Default Re: My first hunt

    Congrats. Great memories were made by the sounds of it.

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