Our plane flew out of Victoria Falls early that morning. As we drove by the sign pointing toward the famous Victoria Falls, I felt bad that we had come half way around the world and we didn’t have time to see it. I was still very shaken up from the night before. The guides from camp had all stayed behind to retrieve the lion. We spent the night in South Africa then flew back home to the states. I could hardly wait to see and hold my kids.
I had a lot of time as I traveled home to reflect on this amazing adventure. So many things had filled my mind. The hunt had gone very differently than I had expected. There were a lot of major disappointments yet I experienced so many unique and incredible moments. I knew I had to spend a few days absorbing all that had happened.
I gained a tremendous amount of respect for John Faul, my Ph. When we hunted with him last year, to me, he was just a fun-loving guide and good friend that helped us hunt some amazing plains game. On this trip, we were placed in multiple life-threatening situations. He often said, “Trust me Rebecca, I will protect you”. I’m not sure whether I really trusted him or not, but each time we faced a dangerous situation, he handled himself with complete control and preparation for that circumstance. He is unquestionably very knowledgeable and skilled as a professional hunter. He takes his job seriously. He never left my side when we were standing 16 yards from a 15,000 lb. elephant that didn’t want us there. He remained calm but ready every time the leopard stood just feet away from us. But most of all, for that half an hour that seemed like an eternity while the lion dominated our future, John was stalwart, prepared and trained for whatever may have happened. As I stood behind him trying frantically to make it to the truck, his rifle pointed in the direction where the lion was, I knew with a surety that he would protect me with his life. But best of all, we never stopped laughing while we were with him.
My journey to hunt the big five with a bow has only just begun. Taking all of the big five in a truly wild and unfenced area is serious business. Hunting dangerous animals in a genuinely natural setting increases this challenge exponentially and I am already facing the most difficult hunt of my life. Returning from my first attempt was disappointing in so many ways but what incredible lessons I learned. These lessons were expensive and frustrating but I gained a tremendous amount of knowledge and preparation for my next trip to Africa. I am well on the road of reaching my goal of taking the big five with a bow but it is painfully clear that I will face a lot of potholes, detours and bumps along this road. I am so grateful however, for the difficulties and disappointments I faced on this trip because I truly believe that the end is so much more rewarding when trials and defeats are overcome and conquered. . For me, if I don’t push myself beyond my own preconceived limit, I know I will never discover what I am really made of.
I am already in the process of planning my next trip to Africa. I can’t wait to return. This entire hunt, good and bad, was filmed for Eye of the Hunter TV and will air on Versus channel, Thursdays at 2:00 pm EST.
If I don’t reach the finish line bruised, battered and exhausted I know I can’t truly savor the seriousness and intensity of such a formidable adventure.
What a great trip! Can’t wait till I return. Stay tuned.
Don’t forget to watch my hunt on Eye of the Hunter airing on Versus, on Thursdays at 2:00 pm EST
Next: Day 1 – Hunt 2 Quest for Africa’s Big 5