Dangerous Zebra Hunt
By Brandon Jeffress
Jul 27, 2008 – 8:46:53 PM
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.