Wings Over Africa by FX Jurgens

  • Monday, 07 October 2019 10:19
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Wings Over Africa by FX Jurgens: Of birddogs, birds and bonding…

Wingshooting and life have much in common. Some days are simply better than others. There are days when not a single pigeon flies your way, when the spurfowl refuse to flush, and the sly guineafowl manage always to stay one step ahead of you. Fortunately, such days are interspersed with good days and, occasionally, the wingshooter is blessed with a perfect day, when the flocks of rock pigeons seem endless; when the spurfowl fly fast and true, or you finally manage to outsmart those crafty guineas.

The Tuinplaas Farmers’ Society recently held their annual wingshooting event to raise funds for various projects. On a crisp Saturday morning, a large group of wingshooters gathered at a venue in the Tuinplaas area to enjoy a shoot on the surrounding Springbokvlakte. The event commenced with a delicious breakfast, after which each team comprising four to six shooters was allocated a guide and a farm where the day’s shooting would take place. These events exemplify how hunters, farmers and the local community can work together for the mutual good.

Feeling that familiar pre-shoot excitement and anticipation, our four-man team met our guide, Kenny, manager of a large farm in the area. It soon became clear what a truly special wingshooting venue this is; while the farm’s core industry is its large piggery, we saw vast wheat fields, recently harvested, and as we drove up to a field, a flock of guineafowl numbering hundreds flew into the adjacent veld. On the way to the farm we’d also noticed groups of spurfowl ducking off into the roadside grass. Jaco, Ed, Raymond and I climbed out of our vehicles and assembled our guns with the early morning air alive with the calls of Swainson’s spurfowl.

Ed let his German short-haired pointer, Abby, out of his vehicle; Raymond did the same with his pointer, Luna, and the dogs immediately tested the air, picking up the scent of the many birds. Luna expended her pent-up energy and excitement by running about sniffing everywhere before the hunting began. Kenny’s plan was to work the large areas of natural veld bordering the harvested wheat fields, the terrain comprising open grassy areas interspersed with thick stands of thorn-trees and bushes – prime spurfowl country. Kenny chose the blocks with cattle-pens, where the dogs could slake their thirst and cool off.

Read the full article in the November 2019 issue of Magnum.

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