Meet A Hunting Guide

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By Surihe Gaomas ROOIKRAAL Wearing a khaki uniform, with binoculars dangling from his neck 22-year old Abuid Kaovere’s day starts as early as five o’clock in the morning. This particular morning is no exception. He’s up, in full hunting regalia and at his post ready for a hunting excursion with his supervisor and professional hunter, Jofie Lamprecht. Born and bred on the Rooikraal Game Ranch in the Omitara district in the Gobabis area, Kaovere has been a hunting guide ever since he was a child. The ranch belongs to the Lamprecht family and is run by the Hunters Namibia Safaris. Introduced to the profession by his father, a mechanic and jack of all tricks when it comes to fixing the jeeps on the farm, this young man also took it upon himself to learn this interesting trade at a hunting school. “First I have to make sure that the jeep has all the equipment and the rifles have also been packed in already the previous day,” says the soft-spoken young man as he walks around the dark green jeep checking that everything is in its place. At the same time it is also his responsibility to check whether there is enough fuel in the vehicle and water since the hunting expedition will be taking place some kilometres away from the hunting ranch. In essence, he informs New Era that he works a two- session shift. First he work s in the morning from six o’clock till mid-day at 12 o’clock. Then follows an afternoon shift from 15h00 till around 18h00 in the evening. “I love nature, especially the wild game. As a hunting guide you must know all the different kinds of animals you can find in the area and be able to spot them easily when asked by your supervisor,” he says as the hunt is about to start. Kaovere has also learnt about the different species of birds and calls them by name as the jeep negotiates the sandy two-track roadway. All kinds of game, including the Southern Greater (kudu, springbok, water buck, wildebeest, zebra, giraffe) and predators like leopard and cheetah inhabit the 10 000 hectare reserve. As the cool morning breeze hits one’s face, nature opens up revealing the different animal species found at the ranch. Some in herds of ten to fifteen while others group in two or three at a time. “Look there’s an eland,” say’s Kaovere pointing in the direction of a bigger mammal that clearly stands out from the camelthorn trees. Besides a good eye for animals, the hunter guide one should also have good instincts for danger when it comes to predators. “Wild animals just don’t attack you but only if they are provoked or very hungry or thirsty. But in this area, there are lots of waterholes every 100 metres,” he says, adding that he has long overcome his fear for leopards and cheetahs. “At one time I was even about 60 metres close to a leopard and that was very fascinating,” he says rather excitedly. During summer one can find snakes like mambas and what’s commonly known as the ‘boomslang’ in Afrikaans. So what normally happens when you and the professio-nal hunter Jofie Lamprecht spot an old bull you want to take as a trophy? “Well, we first have to stalk the animal in what is called a fair chase. Fair chase is when you give enough space and time for an animal to be able to use its fleeing instincts as much as possible. Most importantly as hunter guide you have to learn to walk quietly on the ground so that animal does not hear much noise,” says the guide informatively. “By this time the rifles should be in a safety lock position so that it does not fire by accident when it falls for instance. Then we make use of the ‘shooting sticks’ on which the rifle can be balanced for accurate shooting,” he adds picking up his binoculars to look at some vultures flying in circles at a distance. “There could be a dead animal there,” he quips before turning back to the interviewer again. Although uncomfortable with the sound of a gunshot initially, he has become accustomed to it and this is made more easier with the use of earplugs which he carries in his pocket at all times. By the look of things this kind of a hunting experience has become part and parcel of his life. As the sun begins to sit behind the mountains, they start to drive back to the ranch and Kaovere has to make sure no game crosses the dusty road by accident. Fortunately only a jackal runs onto the roadway before it quickly disappears in nearby bushes. Upon returning, Kaovere jumps off the jeep and unpacks the equipment and rifles into the storage room. Sometimes, when a trophy is caught he would help with slaughtering and preparing the animal. This is a job he has come to like and wants to do for the rest of his life.