And that is by no means an exaggeration! Some times the planets align themselves in the most unexpected ways and good fortune can come to you when you least expect it. So on the back of a couple of years of poor health in our home and plenty of other drama, this was a very pleasant and unforeseen turn of events.
In the last week we have locked in a visit to The Dark Continent. A two week safari with the primary species being elephant, hopefully an old rogue bull that chooses to cross the Limpopo River from his usual haunts in Botswana's Tuli Game Reserve and into South Africa's most northern agricultural region - cropping and orchard country where it is necessary for the local communities and landholders to do some work to control raiding wildlife.
We will be tracking elephant by day and at the same time putting out baits for the other species which are the focus of this safari - hyena. We are going to invest time into both the Brown Hyena and the Spotted Hyena though the hunting of these two species will be in distinctly different areas - the Brown well west of Musina and the spotted just outside Hoedspruit. The success or otherwise of the elephant hunt will somewhat dictate where we invest most of our time.
On our last safari we had excellent success with a very nice Spotted Hyena coming in to our call on the banks of the Matlabas River after 8 days. A very exciting hunt and a beautifully big animal. We spent 10 days dragging baits and hanging them in trees and building hides but we weren't able to create an opportunity over baits even when they were hit by hyena; wrong place at the wrong time! We found plenty of spoor but didn't sight a single Brown Hyena. We did however see plenty of other game during our night time stakeout - aardvark, duiker, honey badger, porcupine and springhare.
And after some months, today I got the call I have been hoping for. I often tell other hunters that you already have the knowledge to access the country you want to hunt, you just need to create the opportunity to hunt through the relationships you have. Today that theory came good with access to 10,000 acres of prime habitat for fallow deer, pigs and goats as well as the occasional red and chital deer. Hoping that we'll have a date locked in by the end of the week... perfect! Should be a great rut hunt this year.
I do believe I will sleep well tonight - quite the Happy Hunter.