Gosh, I hope somebody picks me up at the airport! What have I done? There’s no renting a car and driving home now. Leaving my new found comfort zone, I took a deep breath and stepped into the airport. Oh my gosh, WHAT IF nobody is there to pick me up? Then what?
There was a sea of hundreds of people with cards in their hands waiting to pick up excited passengers, and then there was me. There was not a card with my name on it. I didn’t know the name of the place I was going or if I could even figure out how to get hold of anybody. Oh, life sucks! What have I done?
I wandered around for about 15 minutes trying to come up with a plan, just in case I couldn’t find anybody to pick me up. Oh lucky me, it is Fred, a sight for sore, tired eyes. THANK GOODNESS! BREATHE and WALK!!!
We grabbed my luggage and headed to the truck. A great sense of relief settled over my body. I know somebody in South Africa!! Somebody picked me up!
The next day he asked, “What do you want to hunt first?” I had only come to “hunt” a warthog. They weren’t that cute and they were the least expensive to shoot. WE headed to the blind for my first hunting experience.
I watched as several species of animals filed by, some stopping to eat and drink, others just cautiously watching and waiting. There were Kudus, Impalas, Blue Wiltebeests, Red Hartebeests, Eland, and animals I had never seen or heard of before.
As I looked through the scope, and down the barrel of the gun toward these amazing animals, I would ask, “How much is that one?” They were
all too expensive for my pocketbook, so I decided to wait for a “cheaper” animal. Then, there they came. A wild, foot loose and fancy free family of warthogs. They trotted in and just made themselves at home. I aimed my gun, looking through the scope wondering how much it was going to cost to shoot one.
“How much is that one?” pointing toward one of the smaller ones. “Don’t shoot that small one, wait for a bigger one. “ I didn’t get my answer, so I asked again, “How much is that one?” “Not that much.” Though I knew MY not that much, and a South African ranch owners not that much were probably two very different “not that muches.” I waited for a bigger one. I’m only going to be here once, I may as well get the big one. Besides, I taught summer school so I had a little extra cash.
In he trotted, the grand Pumba of warthogs! Fred reminded me again where to shoot him, so I aimed and pulled the trigger. BAM! He took off, and all the animals scattered!
But he only made it about 20 yards and he collapsed. I got him, right where he told me to shoot him. Next it was time to take a picture, as all hunters do with their kill. Touch it? I don’t think so! My first photo with my dead warthog was quite comical, squinty eyes and a grimace on my face. I am not sure how much money I had just spent, but I was now a hunter. I couldn’t wait to tell my son I got something on my first outing, with my first bullet.
The following day it was time for a Kudu. No way, I couldn’t afford to shoot a kudu. Besides, which one was the kudu again? I didn’t remember what it looked like. I looked through some hunting magazines to see just what it was. It was really too beautiful to want to shoot. After some convincing, I decided I would work more at the bike shop when I got back and tutor after school so I could get me a Kudu.
We headed to the blind and waited. I took my magazine with me with the page with the Kudu earmarked, for future reference. I waited and waited. In the meantime an ostrich strolled by and a couple of Impalas. Then there he was, a 650 lb animal with massive horns or antlers. I am not sure which they have. I asked Fred to hand me the magazine. He wondered why I had decided to read at that very moment, when the chance of a lifetime was standing right in front of me. But I opened the magazine and pointed to the picture of the Kudu and asked where I should shoot him. Fred pointed to the spot on the magazine Kudu.
I got my gun ready and waited, and waited, and waited. The kudu stood and stared at me for at least 45 minutes. I wanted to get him in the side, not head on but he wouldn’t turn. A gust of wind rustled some leaves and bushes and it startled the Kudu. He turned to run and I took a shot!
Fred asked if I thought I got him. I thought maybe I did, but I wasn’t sure. We sat for about 15 minutes or so before we got out of the blind to see if I had got him. We went toward the direction that we saw him run and looked for blood. We found some! And then found some more! We tracked the blood for about 20 yards and I looked ahead and there he was. He had collapsed in the bush.
Two animals, two bullets and I didn’t even have to get up at 4am like my son does to go deer hunting in the states. It was picture time again. It was a little easier this time. After “the help” got him loaded into the truck, I even decided to give “skinning” the Kudu a try.
Fred suggested an Impala next, but I had to stop! I couldn’t pay my son’s college tuition if I kept this up! The next few days would be life changing!