Before Wade Nolan left for
South Africa I promised him that I would have Zebra pictures to show
him when I returned to Indiana. Day seven was about trying to get on
a Hartman Zebra (also known as the mountain zebra). The Hartman
Zebra is only native to Namibia and was an animal I really wanted to
take. This is the exclusive region of the world where it can only be
found. The Erongo Mountains make up the western buttress of the
property where the zebra live. The Erongo?s are what is left of a
mega volcano that once stood here in the West African desert. The volcano
collapsed on its self a zillion years ago and left the 5000 foot granite
and basalt peaks that now stand in what was once the central cone.
To find the zebra we need to head to the back boundary of the property
and to the base of the mountains. Once there we would scout the seeps
and glass to find a group that lingered at the foot of the mountains
where natural water still existed.
We drove a Land Rover to the
back of the 12,000 acre property so that we could walk with the wind
blowing into our face. The back side of this Dries Visser property
is unlike any other in Namibia. It is only fenced on three sides. The
back side is open to the vast Erongo Mountains. The mountains stretch
for 35 miles to the west. Leopards are the prime toothed predator here.
Just a week ago a neighboring rancher spotted a lion track at the base
of the mountains. Lions range free, just to the east, in the vast Kalahari.
This is a wild place.
Our strategy was to go until
we could smell them or see them. My PH Wensel had completely sold
me on this idea that you can smell Zebra when they are a few hundred
yards upwind from you. Once we had them located he said that we
would spot and stock our way to 40 yards. I had shown him earlier
in the day at the shooting range that I was very accurate out to 45
yards. I had fallen in love with my new Bear Truth 2 over the last two
months and had the critical confidence to make a challenging shot if
I needed to.
When we started walking Wentzel
pointed toward some rocks. He said we would walk towards that rock koppie
(pile of rocks) and try to glass for zebra. This was not going
to be a two-minute hike and I was very happy that I had spent the last
90 days working out hard to be in shape for this type of outdoor adventure.
We began the trek through knee high grass and every imaginable sticker
bush towards our first destination.
About 30 yards before we reached
the base of the rock copy I noticed a very strong scent and immediately
Wentzel turned to me and whispered ZEBRA. He suggested we climb
to the top of the koppie to mask our silhouette and glass. Once
we reached the top, he immediately saw the zebra standing at 300 meters
away between two other rock koppies. Of course, I could not see
them no matter how hard I looked through my optics. Zebras spend all
of their time smelling the air for predators, primarily lions, leopards
and humans. In preparation for this safari I have been taking an internal
body deodorant for two months called NULLO. I saw it work to mask scent
while blind hunting and now I would try it out in a spot and stalk situation.
As I stood there gazing, trying
to see the animal we had trekked so far to find, I heard Wentzel walk
in front of me. He sprang back and said. “Get your bow, I want you
to shoot this.” I immediately thought that a Zebra must be closer
than what we thought.
I was wrong. What he shared next was
my worst fear about going to Africa! He said, I want you to shoot
this black snake with your bow.
An 8 foot
long black snake with white stripes was slithering towards us. I asked Wenzell if it was a black mamba, which is one of the most dangerous snakes
in the world. He said no, it is a zebra snake. Immediately
relieved, I drew back my bow as he added, ?it?s very poisonous though.
Some people call it a spitting cobra?.
Great, I am 7 yards away
from a spitting cobra with my bow. I put my first pin on it and
released the Trophy Ridge arrow with the Grim Reaper broadhead.
The snake spun in circles, with his head up like the cobra he was and
hissed after my arrow passed through its body. Amazingly the mechanical
Reaper had opened instantly on the snakes 2 ½ inch body and made a
three-way slice right through him. The blades had sliced his spine in
It lay motionless on across
the rocks and Wenzel suggested I get a big rock and throw it on him.
I was afraid to move because their might be another snake so I suggested that
I shoot him again. My second arrow passed through five inches
below the head and the snake let out a loud hiss and you could see it
spit venom away from us. The snake fell down in a large crack
in the rocks and I was in a surreal state. I had just shot a huge,
deadly snake with my bow (twice). I suggested that we sit down
for a moment, as I needed to relax. My heart was really pounding from
that experience. I placed the camera right where the snake was
on my first shot and we sat down. Too close for comfort!
At that moment we heard a loud
?huff? sound and turned to see the zebras had moved to within 50
yards and had spotted us and were letting us know they spotted us.
We had completely forgotten about the Zebras. Wentzel looked at
me and said, we have a very little chance of getting this zebra with
our bow now. He suggested I leave my bow there and we take up
the spot and stock with rifle.
I agreed, so we climbed down and
went to where we last saw them. The scent of these animals was
so strong that we could follow them even though they were over 100 meters
away. One hour later after a couple of close shot opportunities
we finally got one to stand in the open at 120 meters and offer me a
I placed a perfect shot on the zebra and it only went 30 yards. This was a hunt I would remember
forever. Not just because I had taken an animal that I dreamed
of taking, but also because I had come face to face with a spitting
cobra and was able to take him too.