Once in a great while, a hunter will get to experience an event that goes straight past the normal experience of sense....and buries itself like a well placed arrow to the heart....penetrating right to our very DNA.....the very fiber of what and who we are as hunters. This picture is one of those moments for me...I clearly remember being as nervous ( and that may be giving me more credit than is actually due) as I've ever been. Its often said that one can feel their heart beating.....but I actually did feel it thru a layer or two of camo. And it was out of control...and there was a brief moment when I thought perhaps I may not get it under control at all....and it was scary and exciting at the same time!
I had been sitting alone since pre-dawn with my black widow recurve bow in a remote blind in the African Bush, watching a small herd of Imapla. As they say, I was "living the dream" of hunting the Dark Continent. And it was better than I had ever imagined. All those years of reading Peter Capstick did little to prepare me when just after daylight...I heard that deep, unmistakable, gutteral, combo of a grunt / roar from a lion- A wild lion that would eat me fast as a free breakfast at my local Mcdonalds back home. Its one of those sounds that even if you have never heard it before....you know it instantly.
Seconds later, it was joined by several others. I can only compare it to the rumble of thunder....and that's no lie. You feel it as much as hear it.
I was frozen with fear ( no lie either). The beautiful/frightening serenade lasted a solid 10 minutes....I dared not move....I didn't reach for the bow.....its a blur but I don't recall doing anything. I do remember being torn from wishing they would stop....to wanting to hear one more mighty roar!
I read one time....when a pride is roaring in a new day...they are not moving....
Then they stopped, so I immediately thought they were moving and fear took over my eyes and ears. The silence was unbearable. A bird would flicker in the bush and I would jump. An unseen impala would roar. A warthog would grunt. I was too scared to actually be afraid....if that makes sense. Its about as alone as I have ever felt. Conversely.....it may mark the moment I felt most alive.
The pride must have moved on to parts unknown for I never did catch a glimpse of tawny hide through the thorny underbrush.
Perhaps 30 minutes had elapsed when I reached for my camera and took a picture from my blind to capture the moment.
The last few days I have been reading some books on old day African Hunting. This morning I went through my pictures and saw this one taken that morning.....and even now, from the safety of my kitchen table, I cannot honestly decide if I wanted to see that pride or not.......