Benand Els

It was my sixth year, the last day, last hour, little did I know…. Sharpe’s grysbok is certainly one of the most difficult of the tiny ten to hunt. This mainly due to their selective habitat and mostly nocturnal habits. They stay hidden, lying down, for the majority of the time, only to move around for a few minutes in which they usually nibble around and drink their daily water. For the past 6 years up to this point I’ve been searching for one, trying to defeat the odds in hunting a mature ram in the daytime. I also tried at night over the years but due to me setting a tough minimum horn length boundary of 2 inches for taking a ram at night, ended up passing up several rams but never pulling the trigger. This to my own and several other peoples frustration over the years. In August 2012, Bossie and myself successfully hunted a monster red duiker and tried for Sharpe’s grysbok as well. Though we saw plenty Sharpe’s grysbok at night, and a few in the day time, the mature ram’s outwitted us. We planned to try again over the new moon phase in September 2012, but the early rains ruined our plans as the thick bush did not allow for further hunting. After several phone calls and planning sessions throughout 2013, we booked for August 2013’s new moon period at one of Bossie’s prime Soutpansberg Mountain Concessions. We hunted in all earnest, searching for a monster ram at night until way after 12 each night, and getting up at 6 each morning working the hill sides with extreme alertness and slow movements. Despite scarring a few ewes, the rams eluded us. The odds were against us… The bush was due to the good rains earlier in the season still too thick for this time of the year, which made it more difficult to spot these rabbit sized antelope. And a severe cold front decided to move over the country at the same time as our hunt … The morning sun broke crisp on the last day of the 4 day hunt, as we tried for the last early morning session. A few hours later Bossie and myself sat down and started making plans for the next hunt. Though we still hoped to get one, we knew our chances for was very, very slim. As we headed back to camp in a not-to-alert mode, Bossie suddenly spotted a Sharpe’s grysbok 30 yards to our right. I immediately brought my trusty .30-06 Springfield to my shoulder at which point Bossie whispered “it’s a ram”, he still wanted to say “shoot”, but the recoil dampened his words. All this happened in less than 2 seconds. The 200 gr Rhino bullet travelled through some serious thick stuff, but luckily managed to connect and make a clean kill. To put things in perspective, we were less than 200 meters from the exit gate, 10 o’clock the morning, on our last minutes of hunting … As I knelt down beside this special and beautiful antelope, I could not believe my luck. After 6 years and several hunts, I managed to get a mature Sharpe’s grysbok ram, and to crown it in daylight hours. Thank you Bossie for helping in making my dream come true.