Hunting Rates

Blue Duiker

09 Dec 19 - Nico

It turned out blue duikers are some of the most underrated animals to hunt. To be honest, the entire tiny ten antelope of Africa are very underrated. When Derek sent me an email to say he is coming out with a client who wants to hunt for blue duiker, I knew we had a great challenge on our hands, but I love a challenge and we were super amped that we finally got the opportunity to hunt this tough and elusive little buck.

A Month before their arrival, we went to an area of ours where we know these little critters live in abundance, but the brush is thick and the valleys deep. However, we found a suitable spot where we put up a water point, not more than 200 meters from the nearest road. It was absolutely crucial that we came as close to a road as possible, since the water point had to be serviced regularly and finding such spots are not easy. The valley lies in a west-east direction, which means the wind will blow either west up the valley or east down the valley.

So, we got our water set up and we put a trail camera right above the water so can see everything that comes by. I’ve seen blue duiker here before so I was confident that they’d come in very soon. A Week later I go by to check out the camera and what do you know, a hand full of duikers has stopped by every day. Wow, to get more than one coming in every day is a massive accomplishment. There must be at least five different animals and it’s almost as if I’m on the border of numerous blue duiker territories. Can it be that I found a spot where their territories overlap? This is huge. We got our spot. We went ahead and put up a blind. We kept it simple by just putting up a piece of shade cloth behind which we’ll sit and planting pork bush in front of it to cover it up.

Finally, the day arrives. We leave camp early to try and beat the sun. We get there just after 6am with enough time to set up and get comfortable. The distance from blind to buck is 30meters. The weather forecasted that the wind would blow up the valley from the west into our faces, but now it’s blowing from the other side, which means all our scent gets carried all the way to the water. This is a problem. We’ve got the Remington .222 with a solid bullet on the sticks and the camera on the tri-pod, so all we can do is wait and hope that the wind would turn.

Hours go by and not a single sign of blue duiker, however, a couple of Knysna loeries entertain us with their beautiful colours and horrendous noises. Who could have thought that such a beautiful bird can make such ugly noises? I start to doubt myself. Did I choose the right spot? Did I pick the right time and day? Are we too close to the water? I pic up my phone to check my weather app, maybe we’ll have a better chance in the afternoon. All of a sudden I hear Dave say “is that a good one? Can I take him?” I look up and see the duiker drinking from the water. “Wait” I whisper to him as I pick up my binos to double check what the buck looks like. You won’t believe when I tell you, but seeing the horns on a good blue duiker at 30meters can be quite difficult. He drops his head to take a sip from the water which gives me a good angle on his head. “Yeah that’s a good one, close your bolt and take him when you’re ready” I whisper to Dave who by now, is super anxious to shoot. Dave finally pulls the trigger. The duiker drops on the spot with his head almost in the water. “What a shot Dave”. Dave opens the bolt to eject the empty shell. Success! Man, what a hunt. Everything from a month ago until now. The anticipation, the doubt when we sat down and for hours didn’t even see one, the excitement when finally one shows up. We just laughed. This turned out to be one of the best hunts ever. I cannot wait for the next one.

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