You missed, part three

After missing the easy shot on the Blesbok, we made our way back to the Toyota Land Cruiser. To say that I was upset would be an understatement. It is one thing to miss a difficult, shot but to miss a shot that you would normally make without even thinking about it was another thing.

We headed back to the camp for some lunch. It was a very long ride. I went over that shot at least a hundred times during the 30-minute drive through the bush. Ockert must have told me a dozen times to forget about it. He knew I was irritated at myself. I was actually very embarrassed. Of all of the shots I had taken up to this point during the safari I could have come up with a good excuse if I had missed, but not on this shot.

We arrived at camp and ate lunch, and then planned to rest for a couple of hours before heading back out to hunt. I went back to my hut to nap for a spell but all I did was flop around on the bed. I kept telling myself that I was being ridiculous for getting so worked up. The only consolation I could find in the whole fiasco was that I had not wounded the Blesbok.

In the middle of the afternoon, we all loaded up and headed back out into the veldt to hunt. It was a gorgeous afternoon. I was really hoping we would find some game to pursue. I was anxious to pull the trigger again to prove to myself that the miss was a fluke.

It is amazing what a missed shot will do to a hunter’s mindset. You can make 10 perfect shots in a row but miss one and you begin to question your ability. I can’t explain why it works that way, but it sure does.

I have found this to be just as true when hunting with a bow. I guess missing is unacceptable in this sport. It is probably like a field goal kicker in a game situation. If the kicker misses, he can’t wait to get back out there and redeem himself, to put the gaff behind him. Thus, I needed to squeeze a trigger and knock something off its feet to redeem myself and put the gaff behind me.

We headed toward a different area to hunt. We were really looking for nice Gemsbok. That was the animal that I was most excited about hunting on the whole safari, and we had yet to get a chance at one. We had attempted several stalks but nothing had panned out as of yet.

We drove out into the wild for about a half hour and then parked the Cruiser. Frank the tracker wanted to walk back into an area that he thought might be holding some Gemsbok. We hopped off the rig and gathered our gear and began to hike back through the brush. We were in our usual single file pattern.

We had worked our way off the beaten path for about a half mile when Frank slammed on the brakes and crouched down. He was pointing off to his left. All heads cranked to the left and began to scan the area. My heart rate kicked up a notch. Within a couple of seconds I spotted what Frank was looking at.

About 75 yards away was a nice Warthog that was rooting up the ground in search of a meal. Ockert pulled up the binoculars to his eyes and gave him a quick look.

“He is not the biggest hog I have ever seen but for this area he is decent,” Ockert whispered. “There are not that many in this area, so if you want to shoot one we should probably take him.”

“I want him,” I whispered back.

Here was my opportunity to get myself back on track. Knocking this Warthog off his feet would get my confidence back up to where it should be. Ockert nodded to Frank, and he began to set up the sticks. I scooted over to where Frank was setting up. We were behind several trees. The hog had its head buried in the ground rooting and had no clue we were about to turn him into sausage.

I placed the Remington onto the sticks and peered through the scope. I kept telling myself over and over to take my time and squeeze the trigger. My heart was pounding like a drum. Once again, I was amazed at how that Blesbok miss was affecting me. I began to squeeze the trigger and then there was nothing but the roar of the rifle.

Tim Kellenberger137 Posts

Tim Kellenberger serves as Owner, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief for The Sabetha Herald since 2004. He specializes in sports reporting and column writing, as well as sports photography. Tim is a Grace University graduate with a dual degree in agricultural economics and human resource management. He lives in rural Sabetha with his wife and has four grown children and two grandchildren.

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