Watch out for the signs

Watch out for the signs

Sanctuary Hill has been busy as September is almost gone already. Corn piles are out with mineral blocks, my wife Taryn’s blind is in place and the trail cameras are starting to show consistent movements — no big racks yet, just does, spikes and forkies.

It has been way too hot here to do much hunting. From what we’re seeing, the corn and the blocks should be year round as condition of our deer look like they could use a boost. No big grain fields close to us like y’all have up there. Our food plot with turnips didn’t come out very good. I should have sprayed first and tilled a bit deeper.

Before we go on, I’ll tell you about another jungle I braved last week. Those who have been to an Ohio State football game lately know what I’m talking about. My daughter Ariel and her husband Nicholas drove up from Franklin, Tennessee to go to the game with me. I graduated from OSU Ag Tech Institute in 1976, got a lifetime OSU alumni membership and have been to at least one game a year since, except last year due to the pandemic.

I thought I remembered where we usually park and no problem, right? Construction, construction and more construction. Driving around with thousands of people funneling toward the stadium on a very hot day, I started to lose my mind. “Jesus, take the wheel.” He did, and the signs showed us a place to park. Still hot, but just being there with thousands of fans cheering for the Buckeyes is a journey of its own (and we won).

Returning to our African safari, we are into our second week, and God has blessed us tremendously. We are way ahead of schedule, so I had asked our guide if I could take a nice impala for my office.

So on Saturday we got up early to check the area, hoping to catch Taryn’s bushbuck at first light, but nothing. We checked several areas for impala but ended up back at Camp Mabula to set up near a tower blind in the middle of this huge open area and wait for evening when the animals would come out of the brush to feed. Taryn and our tracker Adam drove the truck off into the bush to wait.

Pretty soon animals began to appear. We had a whole family of warthogs scamper by us, and in the distance we could hear what sounded like a lion roar. Hannes said the impala sound like a lion roar during the rutting season. Although we did see some, they were all young. I had once again an enormous waterbuck, in the fading light, pick me out and stalk me. Our guide Hannes had walked out of earshot, and as the buck approached, I realized I could be in trouble. The huge buck stopped within 80 yards to assess what I was.

I had the crosshairs of the 22/250 right on his chest, and if a bit closer, I might have shot, but once again my vision of the eland came back as the waterbuck ran away.

That night we once again drove through the brush looking for Taryn’s bushbuck, but the only interesting things we saw were a huge porcupine and a big aardvark.

The next morning we were back to see what the big field had to offer. As Hannes glassed from the edge, he sent Adam back to the truck to get me.

There were two impala bucks fighting on the far side of the tower, so Hannes said “stay on my heels” as we stalked about 400 yards toward them, keeping the tower as a shield.

When we got to the tower, Hannes set up the shooting sticks and said, “This is as close as we dare get without spooking them.” I asked for the distance, which was 226 yards, as the bucks stopped fighting and faced us, side by side.

More to come, but you know, just as life can get as crazy as driving in football traffic or even stalking the wild animals of Africa, we can easily get lost, scared and frustrated and lose our focus. That’s when we need to stop, pray, focus on God’s word and look for the signs God has placed right in front of us to give guidance in this crazy world.

It works. Bless y’all.

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