08 December 2010 by Julienne du Toit

Campfire Stories - The Scurrilous Hunter

It was well after sunset in the wild grassy plains of the Kalahari. I was on a night drive, bundled up with a blanket on my lap and a beanie on my head.

The guide was sweeping a spotlight metronomically across the veld, looking for nocturnal animals - hyenas, lions, perhaps an aardvark or a pangolin.

Aha! A pair of eyes gleamed in the dark. Everyone shifted upright to take a better look. There, pinned in the circle of light, was a knee-high little beast, sitting on its haunches.

Drat. Yet another springhare, surely the most abundant mammal of the dry savannahs. We all slumped down again.

Around the campfire that night, I heard a great story about an unscrupulous professional hunter (PH) who used to operate somewhere near Kimberley.

He’d thought up an amazing scam - miniature kangaroo hunting safaris. Dozens of Americans and Europeans fell for it, carefully taking home stuffed springhare trophies, under the impression they were a vanishingly rare kind of African marsupial.

Eventually the PH was busted and lost his licence. Undaunted, he scrounged a job at a local private nature reserve. But his cavalier attitude was the death of him. His last words?

“Nah, don’t worry about that buffalo. I know him. He’s tame.”

Category: Wildlife

comments powered by Disqus