The little tusker – Part II

Posted by on May 29, 2014 in The Faraway Blog | Comments Off

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It’s early afternoon on the Rooipoort Wildlife Reserve in South Africa, 106,000 acres of arid acacia thorn paradise. The heat has been building, the kind of heat that puts big pigs on the lookout for a lovely mud bath. Mad dogs and warthog hunters go out in the midday sun – time to go scouting.

I’m with Hans ‘Scruff’ Vermaak, former president of the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa, lifelong DSC member and general good guy. It’s scorching, but a scrape of the boot shows that we have the wind on our side. After twenty one years guiding he’s pretty relaxed in the face of game,  so when I see him light up there must be something afoot. (A hint for new players, when your PH goes into overdrive like that, it’s time for action right here, right now.)

He’s there alright, the heavy swinging head of a massive boar clearly visible across two hundred yards of dried mud. There’s not a shred of cover, the boar is getting antsy and that pair of Egyptian geese looks ready to spoil the party. Up go the BOG shooting sticks I’ve lugged all the way from New Zealand. I’m field testing the Swarovski Z6 1-6×24 on a custom .375, and those wonderful Austrian optics don’t disappoint. The classic number 4 reticle settles briefly, then everything is lost in recoil. By the time I’m back on, all that can be seen through the scope is a slight kick from one leg. Even that is lost as a big paw slaps me on the back and I turn to see Scruff’s beaming grin.

The boar is down, and he’s an absolute beast. Long and very heavy, everything intact for once, even the bottom tusks are impressive. At a glance it’s obvious he’ll go gold medal.

The heat is still oppressive but the memory of that day – of that exact moment – will last a lifetime. Thanks Scruff, and thank you to every PH who has given me such a moment.

- Pete Ryan