Hunting season is upon us

Hunting season is upon us

When a hunter hears the word September, it’s like a shot of adrenaline to his or her system.

As for me, now that I am 65, I can get a resident Kentucky Senior Sportsman License for $12. This covers all deer permits, spring and fall turkey permits, a trout permit, and all migratory bird/waterfowl permits. I would still need to purchase a Federal Duck Stamp if I go duck hunting — guess they cater to us “old folks.”

Update on our African skulls and hides, as of Sept. 3, they arrived to Atlanta, then went to Chicago via air. Now they are on their way via truck to Madera, California to my friend Kurt Santoro of Lifelike Taxidermist. Look up his photos on Facebook and see what outstanding work he does. We had all our logistics done by Tom Kelly and associates of Trophy Shippers from Elk Grove Village, Illinois, also a sponsor for Safari Club International.

Back in Africa, following my wife Taryn’s steenbok, and again, I want to make something clear: Just as in the hunting shows you see on television, it’s not like hunters just step out of their front door and shoot something and go back inside for breakfast. These hunts take months of planning, scouting, training, practice and a lot of luck. We have simply been blessed to have had great mentors and friends who have helped us achieve these dreams.

After dinner our guide Hannes and a younger guide, J.J., loaded up the truck, and we went night hunting for Taryn’s bushbuck. The bushbuck is a smaller version of the nyala (like that helps — Google it) and mainly comes out to feed after dark.

Our first stop was one of the crop circles I talked about previously. Even though these fields are surrounded by chain fence, these animals can jump over or dig under the fence.

As we drove, Hannes would scan the field and the fence with a highly powered spotlight. I couldn’t believe how fast he could pick up the glowing eyes of the animals and identify them.

We did see one very nice buck outside the circle, but the brush was too thick to get a clean shot. After leaving the circle, we drove alongside the river, hoping to catch them getting a drink in the late night hours, but the ones we did see disappeared in seconds.

The next morning after breakfast, we got a show from the local monkeys as they played in the trees and were serenaded by beautiful songbirds.

I had asked Hannes if I could take a nice impala because we had plenty of time and I wanted a nice impala rug for my office. Taryn had taken a nice one on our safari in 2014, which is mounted alongside her blesbok on a pedestal in our cabin.

We had a bit of a drive, so Taryn and I sat in the front with Hannes. On the way we spotted one of the locals stealing wood from Kuvhima property. This may not sound like a big deal, but the thieves cut through the Kuvhima fences, leaving holes for the animals to get out of the protected area.

We arrived at Camp Mabula, and as we drove throughout the concession, we were treated to a true safari, with sightings of many species of animals and birds. At one point we had a huge waterbuck male within 50 yards of our truck. Even though this was one of the animals I had initially had on my list, we only had the 22/250 with us, which is not really big enough for an animal that large, and I still had visions of the huge eland bull I had seen in Andre’s office and I didn’t want to blow our budget clear out of the water by taking both.

We ended our day with a beautiful-colored sky on our return to camp.

More to come next time, but I want to pass along a thought that I heard from a minister lately that I find applies to me and maybe you. “As I get older, I find that my deficiencies make me rely more on God’s sufficiencies.” Pray about that.

God bless.

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