Image a giraffe looking into your blind to try and
figure out what on earth you are and what you are doing. You truly
have the opportunity to see different species of animals all day
long. It’s a far cry from the whitetail woods of the states where
might not see anything all day. Africa is an experience every hunter
needs to enjoy.
After sitting in the blind with me for several days,
taking a few photos of my trophies and participating in the chit
chat around the skinning shed, my wife Ann-Marie developed this
strange desire to give hunting a try. We discussed it after dinner
with our "PH" and decided if she wanted to we would spend then next
morning on the archery range and if she felt comfortable we would
After a couple hours of target shooting with a
Horton crossbow and discussing the hunt we all agreed she was ready.
She wasn’t sure if she would shoot, but at least she was comfortable
if she decided to.
While we changed into our hunting clothes and had a
small snack, our vehicle was loaded and we were ready to head to the
blind. It wasn’t long before our first visitors arrived. A small
herd of impalas made their way to the water hole. A nice ram
appeared from the bush and slowly made his way towards the rest of
silently picked up the Horton crossbow and searched the herd for the
ram. "I’m on him," she whispered. At twenty-five yards I quietly
reminded the new hunter to continue to breath. "You still on him," I
questioned? A hardly visible nod affirms her concentration. "When he
stops, take him." A couple more steps and the ram bends down for a
drink and as I watch through my Brunton binoculars I hear the twang
of the crossbow string as the trigger was squeezed and the bolt took
flight. In the blink of an eye the impala jumps up and after a hand
full of steps he crumbles to the ground and was dead. It was a
perfect shot and a quick humane kill. Ann-Marie had just taken her
first African trophy with her first pull of the trigger. What an
After several hours and an impala ram of my own, we
once again had an opportunity for Ann-Marie to harvest another
Only this time it wasn’t an impala or a warthog. It
was a monster waterbuck! We had watched this herd most of the week.
We had seen the juvenile bulls and the cows several times, but we
had never seen this new bull. He was a smart old bull. He stayed
back and let the rest of the herd drink first. It was as if he had
seen this film before and new what the out come would be if he stood
in front of the blind.
the waterbuck cautiously made his way towards the blind I encouraged
Ann-Marie to take the shot.
"I can’t! He’s too big, you shoot him. I’ll miss
him. I’m too nervous," she said. I told her that was part of hunting
and if you miss him so what! We’ll hunt another day. I picked up the
Horton crossbow and handed it to her, reminding her of the safety
and encouraging her to, "Breath."
I leaned back, picked up my Brunton binoculars and
peaked through a small opening in the blind. When I had him in my
glasses and he was in range I whispered, "Take him." Nothing
happened. "Take him," I whispered again. Only this time the crossbow
I watched the arrow as it passed through the animal
as if it were in slow motion. It was another perfect shot. As I
turned to my wife to congratulate her, she lower the crossbow and
with quivering voice and eyes opened wide she whispered, "I think I
hit him. I think it was a good shot." I leaned over took the bow
from her and confirmed that she had placed the arrow exactly where
it needed to be and her waterbuck trophy awaits her in the bush just
across the waterhole.
Ann-Marie had taken 2 beautiful trophies the same
day with 2 shots. What an accomplishment for someone who had never
hunted a day in her life before that day. I couldn’t have been more
proud of her.
If you’ve ever taken a new hunter along with you and they were
able to harvest an animal you know and understand the emotions that
bubble up when you revisit those memories. Those are the
opportunities in life that can change someone forever. If you’ve
never taken anyone hunting before, take someone. Share your
experience with a person who can benefit from your time in the
field. It could change their life and I can assure you that it will
Paul E. Potemski