Last summer I went on a hunting safari in South Africa with my father and brother. I had been fortunate to spot and stalk and successfully shoot a Blue Wildebeast, Blesbuck, and Osterich earlier in the week. As I was stalking those animals they ended in quick shots, generally from the PH's shooting sticks, with the Wildebeast being supported on a nearby tree. It wasn't my preferred setup but I made the most of my opportunities as they presented themselves. It's always important to practice shooting from various field positions and be prepared for any situation.
The only remaining animal on my hunt list was an Impala, an animal that is recognizable as a representation of African plains game even to non hunters. We left in the early morning before the sun was up and drove out to a glassing point overlooking a couple of hillsides and a basin with a clearing and a watering hole. This was the first spot I'd set up in an ambush type situation and it was awesome to sit and glass up Zebra, giraffe, warthogs, etc. as we watched hoping an impala would come in to water. After about 45 minutes of glassing all around we heard an intense grunting sound from across the hill. It's a gnarly sound that's hard to explain but my lack of experience pegged it as a warthog immediately. The PH quickly said, "Impala ram!". I was shocked that an impala made that sound. If you've never heard it, do a YouTube search to see what I'm talking about. We tracked the sound every few minutes as it went down through the thick brush towards the clearing below. He soon came out chasing four ewes around with a couple of smaller rams watching from a distance.
The PH said he wasn't huge, but was still a nice ram and looked very old. That "very old" comment sealed it for me and I decided I wanted to take him. The PH offered his shooting sticks again. I ranged the shot at 378 yards, but with the steep downhill angle my rangefinder compensated to 331. I was much more comfortable shooting prone at that distance, especially on such a small bodied animal, so I quickly deployed my Javelin Bipod that fits so nicely in my pant pocket. I laid out prone and waited for the ram to turn broadside. When he did I was ready and one shot from my Bergara in 6.5 Creed did the trick. Sure, I had time to come up with another stable shooting solution in this case, but having the javelin on hand gave me confidence to set up quickly and be ready. That was both my farthest shot of the trip and also the one I felt most comfortable/confident taking due to the stability of the Javelin Bipod.
Twall113 - African Plains Impala Hunt
- June 08, 2020
- 2 min read