Fun First Time...
What a joy to introduce a "newbie" to the world of hunting! Janice, who is one of our partners at Royal Karoo, was visiting with her family and arrived with a normal photographers mantra of "I shoot with my camera" and "live and let live" - but the fascination of pitting your stalking skill against the animal soon took over - and she decided on hunting a springbuck - one of the more difficult animals to "walk and stalk", especially as a first-time quarry! When stalking a springbuck in the herd, you have many different sets of eyes watching for any foreign movement - which will set the whole herd into "African plains survival flight mode".
Well, it didn't take too long under the expert tutelage of our resident PH, Matt, and Janice was taken through a basic shooting school programme, including shooting technique, safety and shot placement. Soon the "gongs" were falling with every shot and it was time to head into the veld. Matt knows his stuff and soon had Janice crawling up a deep erosion gulley. With the light fading fast, it was with the slightest feeling of anxiety that they reached their pre-determined marker along the gulley, And there they were, no more than 75 yards away. Now the challenge was to get Janice into a shooting position, select a trophy animal and trust that the shot placement lesson had been well-learned. It didn't take long - like an old pro, Janice got into position, steadying the rifle against the rest and squeezed off the shot.
Elation, relief, excitement, adrenaline, sadness - how do you describe all these feelings that wash through you in a millisecond? With adrenaline pumping, Janice hauled herself out of the gulley and in the golden light, it was suddenly photo time...
And in Janice's own words:
"Never in my life did I imagine that I would hunt. It’s just not something that my family has done historically. My husband hunts and both of my teenage children wanted to hunt for the first time.
When I saw how open the terrain is, how much space the animals have and how ethically - and fairly - the hunting is done at Royal Karoo, I decided to try. Our PH (Matthew) was so patient - he'd set up the shooting stick, help me align the shot, remind me to stay focused and calm and, when I felt ready, I would shoot. I missed once or twice because the last thing that I would ever want to do is wound an animal.
I got my Springbuck! It was nerve-wracking and exciting. It’s a tradition in South Africa, like in many places, to have blood put on your face to celebrate your first hunt, which is why there’s blood on my face…
My children both got excellent kill shots. They loved the experience as well as the meat that we ate and the horns that will be mounted on our wall.
It was an unforgettable experience!"