By now I’m feeling very overwhelmed. We’ve been on Safari for a week now and have just visited the bush school. (see my earlier blog post for the complete tour)
The whole idea of the hunting safari has just taken on new meaning for me. It is so much more than running around chasing animals all week long. The trophy is only a small fraction of the whole hunting picture. It’s the providing food for all sorts of things, food for the kids, food for the community, food for the animals and food for us. It’s the conservation to make sure that these resources remain viable resources and protect the population of the animals.
From our PH, Etienne, I’ve learned so much about the lifestyle of the animals, their breeding patterns, their environment, their sleeping patterns, their feeding patterns, how to help conserve their environment, breed management, seen birds I’ve never seen and the list goes on and on.
Up until now, I’ve just been an observer and photographer for Dana’s hunts. While I went on stalks and tracks, he was the one doing the providing…..and I was along for the walk and the ride….
All week long, I was told I should try hunting and up until now I refused. Part of it was the lack of self confidence I have with a gun. I don’t shoot much, and I’ve never shot a rifle. My biggest concern was the animal. I didn’t want to wound it and have it suffer. It’s a lot of stress to think about all of that…
But after going to the school, I felt a real sense of needing to be a full participant of the whole picture.
So, I finally said YES to hunting, I wanted to be one who could say that I provided some food for the school…not just in words only…
We were looking for a blesbuk or an impala….
Dana had already “tagged” out his hunting package and that left a free day for me. Friday was my day. No pressure, just your husband who has a track record of 100%, his best friend, a camera guy, your PH (professional hunter) and me who has never shot before. I was a nervous wreck, but I was definately determined to go outside my comfort zone and concur the fears of self doubt.
I only got three practice shots at the shooting range before Etienne said…”YOUR READY!” And with lots of confidence boosting from Dana and Larry, we started the hunt….
They were pretty elusive, we would see some Impala, but they were in no mood to stick around. It took about 2 hours before we finally tracked this one down and he actually stood still about a 110 yard shot…..
I took a big deep breath…..got my sights through the scope. Etienne whispered, do you have the cross hairs? Then squeeze the trigger………and I did and to my surprise, DOWN instantly down, he went. I had held up Dana’s track record of 100%. That impala never knew what hit him.
I have to say, that while I don’t like killing an animal, it felt good to know that I could hunt to provide food if ever the need be. I know what it takes to fully appreciate the full circle of hunting and of life and that built inside me a greater respect for the dignity of these animals.
Thanks to my team of confidence boosters!…
Front: Dana, Me, Etienne
Back: Larry and our tracker Franz
Last Monday the meat was taken to the school…
When I look at this my trophy picture, I don’t just see my impala, I see a group of smiling faces, with big white smiles, beautiful happy kids and the memory that will be with me forever. 🙂