Tale of two cats

JJHACK

New member
Joined
Jun 21, 2001
Messages
302
Location
Rural Wa. State/ Ellisras South Africa
Another sunny day another hunt in Africa. The two fellas I have hunting with me are father and son. Their limited hunting experience so far is the first three days of this trip. They had a six day trip planned and had already taken the animals they wanted. I had shown them plenty of nice game but they were not going to shoot anything else. It was fine with me, they planned six days and I was at their service for whatever they wanted today. Shopping in town, sight seeing what ever they wanted was my responsibility.

They decided to sleep in and go for an afternoon game drive and then sit at a water hole in the evening to see what game showed up. Sounds like an easy day for me!

I drove them to the furthest boundry of the property and made a big loop driving down roads rarely used and some very bumpy 4X4 track. When I came out of the bad section of roads I saw some Zebra tracks and knew they wanted a zebra if the right chance came up. The father was afraid to shoot a zebra for the criticizm he would get for doing it from his family and friends. I knew if I could get him into the perfect situation he might take one. Seeing the fresh tracks made me confident we would get that chance. It was 10:30 AM. The son suggests we head back to camp as he wanted to get more film. He had run out, I would have offered him some but I usually only pack my digital now days.

So we went back to camp and arrived about 1PM for lunch. I decided to take my 35mm Canon Camera with the big telephoto lens. It's a great camra for game photos. Since they were not hunting why not take some photo's for my website?

We drove back to the same place where I saw the Zebra sign and Slowly drove the road hoping to see them in the bush for a nice shot. These guys are not the walking type. They were horrified to get malaria and were constantly waving their hats at the very few bugs buzzing around them. They could not sit still to save their souls!

While driving down the road I see a weird mark going across the road in the sandy soil while I was searching for the fresh zebra tracks. I slow to a stop and take a closer look. It's a mark made by something being dragged. I look the direction of the marks and see an impala about 20 yards from the road. It's still warm and has a broken neck, and fresh dripping blood from its head and neck. There are big leopard tracks in the dirt right next to it.

I went back to the truck and told the guys what had happened. I took a short rope and tied the impala as high as I could get it by myself up into the tree. My two hunters wanted to get into the cab of the truck in case the leopard returned. They thought I was a complete fool for messing with his kill. Once tied into the best tree I could find for the job I planned my hide for the evening. There was a lot of good locations but I had one very nicely set up at about 70 yards away.

I said to the two hunters that I would set them in a hide by the water around 5PM. They could watch the game come in while I tried to get this leopard. 5Pm is about 1:15 min before dark. The son said he wanted to be with me to watch. I said they could not stay with me because the leopard is to shy and would not come if there was any movement or sound. I said that since they were not going to hunt anylonger I could place them in an elevated stand and I would hunt this cat by myself. The father rejected that idea saying he did not like the idea of being alone without me in the bush.

So much for my leopard hunt! We sat at the water and watched a lot of game come in that they would not shoot. Then as it was getting dark the bug swatting picked up to a frenzy level and the game viewing was over due to thier movement. We drove back to the lodge for dinner. I quickly went to see my partner wanting him to babysit these two guys while I went back to try and shoot the leopard. He said do you think he will come back after eating so much? I asked what the heck he was talking about and he said he had driven by the location just by luck and noticed the impala tied up in the tree. It was about 5:30,he said the neck and shoulder meat was gone. The leopard had returned just as I thought and I was sitting at a water hole with the father and son!

I decided to go back anyway in case a Hyena or another leopard showed up. I took Jacob one of my black tracker/ helpers. I showed him how I wanted him to manipulate the light with the dim outer circle of light not the bright beam. He is clever and understood exactly what he was to do. It was now about 7:30 PM and we sat until 8:45 without a sound and could hear nothing moving. Then about that time I did hear some movement or something faint. I told Jacob to shine the light slowly. This by the way was also the first real test of the Streamlight Stinger rechargable light and at 70 yards distance.

When he moved the light down I was looking through the scope and saw nothing. He switched it off and we sat another 5 minutes before hearing it again. He slowly moved the light down and I see two huge green eyes! However they are very close together? I said it's the smallest leopard I have ever seen! The eyes vanish but I can see the legs of the impala shaking so I know he's ripping meat off but hidden behind the tree and the impalas body.

After a minute or so I see one green eye peeking out from behind the impala and then the second eye. The reflection is so bright I cannot see anything behind the eyes, just a huge reflection of green. I know the shoulder and neck of the cat is exactly behind the neck of the impala so I slowly move my croshair over to the exact spot. Thankfully I have a dual cross hair which has the upper one dead on at 100yards. I don't have to worry about any hold under at this distance. It's dead on the money.

The staredown continued for a while as I waited for him to take one step forward letting me see what it was and it's shoulder or neck. I decided the time was running out and I took the shot through the neck of the dead hanging impala right where I expected the neck and shoulder junction to be of the cat behind it. At the crack of the gun I saw a cat leap into the air at about 7-10 feet and fall dead. Jacob was yelling and jumping and doing some kind of native dance. He was as happy as any tracker I have ever seen with the taking of an animal. As we walked up we realized why the eyes looked so close together, it was a caracal or African Lynx. It was a huge one though much bigger then any I have ever seen. The teeth were worn on this big dude, he was a very old and slender cat.

Certainly not the result I hoped for at the beginning but it was a great exciting hunt none the less. I had always wanted a caracal cat lifesize so I have one now. The Hornady Interbond went clean through the neck of the stiff impala and then clean through the neck exactly where I had hoped it should be of the cat. Without that dual crosshair on my leupold I don't think I would have taken the risk of holdunder for this shot. But my 100 yard practice shooting shows that scope and bullet combination to be spot on at 100 yards. I could hit a quarter with it everytime, well most every time. With that kind of accuracy the risk is low to non-existant for this kind of close range shooting.

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By the way that streamlight stinger worked out perfectly and was never out of juice the whole trip. I used it nearly every night for something. It's small enough not to notice in your fanny pack and bright enough to shoot a caracal cat at 70 yards in the dark!

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ 07-30-2003 16:59: Message edited by: JJHACK ]</font>
 

Calif. Hunter

New member
Joined
Dec 13, 2000
Messages
5,176
Location
La Palma, CA, USA
Is your new signature line talking about yourself, treehugger?
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(By the way, it is spelled "guess," not "geuss." Also, it should be too smart, etc. - not "to smart.")
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Mini Moose

New member
Joined
Dec 10, 2000
Messages
338
Location
Pocatello, ID, USA
like i said in fireside when the same thing came up, when in your history of knowing anyone in the moose clan, have any of us spelled anythign correctly?
 
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