the Hunt


Spooky Fence

After calling the Eastern Cape of South Africa home for 13 years, I can finally call myself a true, hardcore Eastern Caper! As my brother would say… I am Hyellen from the East Cape!

Last week I was invited to a braai at my friend, Roald’s farm, which is about a 25min drive from Bushmans. Off I trucked in Toodaloo (my little Chevy Spark), armed with meat, wine and pajamas and was greeted by 4 beer guzzling guys and the cutest puppy in the Eastern Cape! After about an hour of chatting and stoking the already roaring fire, Roald announced that it was time for the hunt, so off we set. I was pretty content sitting in the front of the bakkie (aka LDV or pick-up truck) with my camera and full glass of wine while the guys squabbled over who got to hold the gun first… Roald won.

Now the purpose of the hunt was to shoot the wild pigs that were running amuck and making a nuisance of themselves on the farm. You can imagine my horror when the first animal sighted and shot was a beautiful duiker. Not the endangered blue duiker at least, but a beautiful, harmless bokkie (Afrikaans for small antelope) nonetheless. Apparently they make amazing biltong…

In the end each of the guys shot a duiker. After the first kill, the only time I got a bit “panicky” was when a rabbit was spotted. As the guys were trying to aim for this poor fluffy creature I was chanting “run run run.” under my breath… Okay… Maybe it was more like “run Run RUN!” Haha. Whatever! It worked and they missed!

Since it was Zaniel’s first kill, he had to be initiated, which meant he had to eat the buck’s (still warm) liver. At first Zaniel seemed quite happy, probably pumped up on adrenaline and feeling all manly. Roald cut off a piece of the duiker’s liver and Zaniel readily took it and smiled for the camera before taking a bite.

What happened next, which I did catch on camera, but think is a bit too graphic to post, turned this hunter’s frown upside down and inside out. Let’s just say, Zaniel’s faced was painted warrior red by his “friends” and his gag reflex was repeatedly exercised as soon as the liver touched his lips… lovely.

What was lovelier, were the photo’s that I took along the way. I took the opportunity to play with my camera’s settings and settling on a shutter speed of 4 seconds and aperture of 2.8, I took various shots (stabilizing my camera on the bakkie door) with my ISO set to between 400 and 1600. The resulting shots were both eerie and beautiful.

So after an eventful evening, I’m left with some experimental photo’s, a few grubby puppy paws on my clothing, but I am still waiting for my homemade duiker biltong… HINT HINT!


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