South Africa — Final day

IMG 6482LSON Managing Editor Conor Harrison recently returned from a trip to South Africa. He kept a journal of the trip and, for the past two weeks, we have published his notes from the hunt. This is the final installment.

5.23.12

Final day of hunting!

It came and went too quick, as it does on most hunts. Even though it has been an amazing 10 days, I am ready to head home and see my wife and daughter.

The great impala hunt continues this morning and I am accompanying my dad and stepmom on the back of the truck as we ride to a new property that I have not hunted yet. It is the same place that Dawn took her zebra on a foot stalk several days ago.

We arrive at the ranch as the morning sun is topping over the acacia trees.

We haven’t gone more than 100 yards from the ranch house when we see a large herd of impala with lots of rams running around grunting at each other.

Dad and I bail out of the truck for a stalk. Ten minutes later, dad has the .308 over the shooting sticks trying to get a shot a big ram, but too much brush in the way prevents a shot.

Another 10 minutes down the road and several more nice rams appear. Again, we bail out of the truck for another quick stalk. This time the impala cooperate and dad puts a nice shot on a great ram. As we are approaching the ram, a herd of cape buffalo break cover 40 yards in front of us. Thankfully, they go the other way or it would have been a sprint back to the truck.

In situations like that, you don’t have to be the fastest person, you just can’t be the slowest!

I have decided to shoot with the rifle today, as it is our last chance to hunt. I had opportunities at impala with my bow, but a miss and several close calls resulted in the switch.

After another 15-minute drive, a lone ram is spotted. Certainly not the biggest ram I have seen this trip, but he will do fine.

A quick stalk from the truck and one shot through the shoulder of the ram drops him immediately.

We are on the edge of a big plain, with wildabeest and a buffalo herd grazing in the background — a perfect place for pictures. We get some great photos with dad before loading up the truck and driving to take pictures of the buffalo.

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IMG 6491I hope it won’t be, but something tells me to enjoy every second of this hunt with my dad, as this could be the last day we spend together in Africa.

There will be other hunts, for sure, but Africa is a long way and I don’t know how often the opportunity will come about in the future.

If this was our last hunt together in Africa, I enjoyed every minute of it.

Once pictures were taken of the impala, we head to the buffalo herd and get some great close-ups of these big creatures. They are impressive up close and personal.

Back to the lodge for a late lunch and then to the room to pack, as we are leaving camp early in the morning.

Late afternoon is spent around the campfire, telling stories and reliving funny moments of the hunt.

The bushbuck and impala hunts were certainly highlights, along with spending time with family.

I will be back to Africa one day, and I look forward to it.

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