My Last Shot at Kudu by Robin Barkes

  • Monday, 12 September 2016 10:11
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My Last Shot at Kudu by Robin Barkes: With age comes wisdom... well, at least some of the time.  But age also brings new perspectives

While idly feeding sticks into the flames under a savoury pot of guineafowl one evening, a notion struck me. Maybe, just maybe, there are other seasoned hunters who’ll read this, and knowingly nod their grey heads and allow a sympathetic smile to soften their weathered features. So here’s the story about my first kudu hunt of 2016 and the reason why I’ve had a change of heart – if the reader doesn’t understand now, wait 50 years and you will.

Our hunting ground was part of a wide valley that stretched the full length of the eastern side of the Groot Winterhoek Mountains, in the south Western Cape. The area comprised rolling foothills as well as flatland covered with scrub, succulents and thickets of thorn trees.

I was halfway up a small hill when the last sound of the drop-off truck faded away. Now only the occasional clink of a dislodged stone disturbed the silent beauty of the surroundings. Eventually, I reached my shooting position where a rocky crest provided cover and a perfect vantage point. From there, I could spot kudu crossing the open scrubland to the thick riverine bush that wound its way around the foot of the hill. From there, sprawling forest of thorn followed a dry watercourse out across the plain.

The June weather was unusually warm, so I took off my heavy jacket and used it to pad the rock I sat on. Next, I removed a wad of tissue paper from my shirt pocket and wiped the lenses of the scope on the Model 98 Mauser – an unusual rifle to be seen in the hands of this old muzzle-loader. There were four .308 lead-tipped car- tridges in the magazine and five more in my pocket. The landowner had told us hunters to shoot only kudu bulls with middle-sized horns – no penkoppe, and no trophy bulls.

Read the full article in the October 2016 issue of Magnum.

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