Thursday, September 17, 2015

Take aim through a lens!

Whose more of a bad ass? Who is the better tracker? Who had the most exhilarating experience? The photographer with the photo on the left on the wall, or the hunter on the right with the trophy on the ground?
I was a young teenager when the campsite exploded with commotion as two lions chased a buffalo through the campsite. Doors slammed. Campers scrambled for their cars. And then the silence of the African Bush. After navigating the bull elephant grazing on the tree above our tent in the morning, we learned that the lions had killed the buffalo just outside the camp. Lions are at one of their most dangerous when eating. A fact my Dad somehow overlooked when he decided that we should find the kill...on foot. At that time of year at Mana Pools in northern Zimbabwe, the grass stands at around 6 feet, at least I remember it being overhead, as well as I can remember the how terrified I was. But also how Alive I felt! After a while we found an anthill to scramble up. And there we stood, Mom, Dad, sister and myself, on this perch looking for our quarry. I am happy to say we didn't find the kill. Twenty years later in the Kruger Park in South Africa, a ranger, a few others and myself tracked a couple of cheetahs on foot. I took no comfort in seeing that the ranger had armed himself with a couple of throwing stones. This time we found the Cheetahs. We kept our distance
I've never hunted. But if its danger a hunter is looking for, or bragging rights I can't imagine any experience more fulfilling then tracking a dangerous animal. Having fly fished for many years, I know that the adventure of tracking, and learning and sharing the quarry's environment like looking for a large predator is the experience. Its the opportunity to get close to our primal self that we crave - I can imagine that is true for a trophy hunter as well. So why kill it. Take aim through a camera lens for the trophy. Then reward yourself with a long hike back to the lodge for a steak and a glass of wine! It will be the best experience of your life!

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