I’ve watched many a sunrise….
From the cathedral like setting of the Rocky Mountains to the hushed river bottoms on the banks of the Mississippi and I can honestly say none have disappointed.
No sunrise however was more anticipated or surpassed the self - imposed hype of my first viewing of a fire red dawn in Africa. I made a mental note to myself to absorb every moment of it. I doubt I had to….it seeped into every brain cell and fiber of my being of its own accord. Moments such as this do not require a camera to be captured for posterity.
Huddled in the back corner of the hide, a mere 15 yards from the water’s edge, my epic African journey began to unfold.
Animals, big and small, began their cameos at the water hole. Most, I never in my wildest dreams, imagined I would ever actually have in front of me in a hunting situation. And I have a vivid imagination.
Africa is a long way from the rabbits I cut my hunting teeth on some 45 years ago and it’s physically a long ways from my home on Canada’s East Coast. I couldn’t help but wonder what my Dad would have thought of his boy bowhunting Africa with a stick and string.
Although not a world travelled hunter my Dad was my mentor. He didn’t take many species. His hunting, although a huge and enjoyable part of his life, consisted mostly of cutting down on the monthly bills, not adding to them with expensive out of Province hunting trips.
Oddly, he always encouraged me to go on as many trips as I could manage. And I managed a few for sure but none as grand as this particular one coming to life before my unblinking eyes.
It’s quite funny trying to explain these things to a non- hunter. For the most part, they wrongly assume the taking of an animal is the sole goal of a hunting trip. We hunters however, know nothing could be further from the truth. We know its moments frozen in time such as watching those first rays of sun paint the African bush.
I was told I would know what a truly big warthog would look like the instant I saw one come in. I can only describe it as a wall of tusk attached to an animal.
One glance had me reaching for the Black Widow leaning in the corner. I seemed to have twice my normal strength and drew it back with ease. Anchor. Pick a spot. Release.
The hunting gods smiled and the arrow flew true.
I was rewarded with a startlingly loud crash in the thick underbrush. I replayed the events over in my mind and tried to get my heart out of my throat and back in my chest……
Running my hands over the 13+ inch tusks this old warrior carried was the proverbial icing on the cake.
As only a hunter can experience though, when I recall my first ever full day in Africa….the warthog places a distant second to the sights, sounds, smells and memories created in a beautiful far off land.
Truly, a moment frozen in time…