Who would have thought, all those years ago, playing Simon Says would have been preparing me for hunting skills! Recently I had the opportunity to test my Simon Says skills with a Blue Wildebeest. He of course got to be Simon.
Simon Says “run quietly”. Simon Says “Creep low to the ground”. Simon Says “Back step”. FREEZE!! Oh no, Simon didn’t say so!! You get to start at the beginning again! I swear I could hear the local birds were laughing at us when we would get busted.
So my stalking went for 2 days with my target Wildebeest, Simon, calling the shots. I would get close, but no shot opportunity existed.
On the morning of my 3rd day, we spotted a bachelor herd, and in their midst was my shooter male. The wind was perfect for a stalk. We started our game again, but this time the odds seemed to be going my way. When we crept along the brush, we were perfectly camouflaged to the wildebeest. We took an hour and 15 minutes to cover 60 yards. Sometimes we would gain only inches, other times we would stand frozen for several minutes to alleviate any concerns the herd might have. Finally my PH Altus set the shooting sticks up, and I knew the right bull was in range and open. About 50-60 yards away were 7 bulls, I had 2 openings in the brush , but the one on the far left and in back was the biggest male, and the one we were searching for. As I waited for a clean shot, I calmed my racing heart and evened my breathing. Finally the bull in front stepped away, and I squeezed the trigger on the one in the back. Altus whispered “Perfect Shot!!” and we watched and listened. The herd ran to the right around some brush, and we heard a crashing in the brush. The herd then raced back to the left without my bull in tow. We waited only a few minutes then headed off to start the tracking process. Pete immediately found a pin head size spot of blood, and my heart sank, that’s it? I was going over the shot in my head, over and over, when Pete yelled something in Afrikaans. I didn’t understand the words, but I knew my bull was found. He had only gone about 30 yards from my shot; he was indeed what we heard crash into the brush.
He measured 27 1/2 “wide, with great bosses of 10 ½” for each circumference. A few more measurements and Altus informed me that he should easily make the SCI Records. My bull will be always be known to me as Simon, and I will cherish the game we played that day.
Photo Credit: Diane Hassinger