Safeties Off!

Today’s blog comes from one of our country’s most recognized wildlife biologists/outdoor writers/television show host of Trailing the Hunter’s Moon , Larry Weishuhn.  Although universally known as “Mr. Whitetail”, Larry trails the “Hunter’s Moon” throughout the world in search of big game hunting adventures. Tune in for this weeks episode of Trailing the Hunter’s Moon Monday at 3:00 PM ET, Tuesday at 6:30 PM ET, Fridays at 6:30 PM ET and Saturdays at 9:30 AM ET.

One moment cameraman and co-executive producer of my television series “DSC’s Trailing the Hunter’s Moon” Blake Barnett was calmly standing solidly, his right foot planted on one rock and his left on on another straddling a tall grassy area.  He was busily filming Omujeve Safaris’ Corne Kruger and me walking through a narrow rocky crevice as we followed the tracks of a greater kudu.   Suddenly I heard him loudly “AAAAAHHHHH!” and jump from the rock.  At the same time he was pointing at something in the grass which has been below him!

Larry Weishuhn of Trailing the Hunter’s Moon is putting his Kudu in the crosshairs

A few minutes earlier Corne and I while following a lone kudu spoor had seen where a leopard had also started trailing the same kudu track we were on. That leopard track was “smoking hot” fresh.  Immediately I cranked my Zeiss Conquest variable scope down to the lowest power, to insure a wider field of view should we encounter the spotted cat at close range. 

Blake,moments earlier, had decided to get into front of us to film our advance as we tracked the kudu.  We cautioned him the leopard might not be too far away and to move forward with great caution.

When Corne and I saw Blake jump, we also both saw movement in the tall grass below where he had been standing.  We pointed our guns at spotted hide. Safeties off! Just then we saw a spotted cat slinking away….but not a leopard, a smaller Serval. 

Blake quickly decided perhaps it would be best if he simply followed us for a while. 

Larry Weishuhn and Omujeve Safaris’ Corne Kruger with their prized Kudu

We didn’t catch up to that particular kudu.  We lost the tracks on solid rock, and in spite of the best efforts of our tracker, which I had seen in past follow tracks through areas I would never have dreamed he could have.  The leopard tracks veered off toward a “kopje”.  We spent a long time thoroughly glassing that rocky outcropping, but did not see the leopard.

Hunting Namibia, one of my favorite destinations, you never quite know what you might encounter, and it pays to be prepared for anything from a leopard to, to a lion as we did later in the trip, or even a black rhino!