2 LEOPARDS IN ONE WEEK
We have hunted with CEC Safaris in 2007 and took several outstanding plainsgame trophies. Angel and myself decided to go back for leopard hunting with hounds in 2008 again with CEC Safaris. We arrived in Namibia in September 2008. At the airport we had a warm welcome from both Cornie and Elaine. After 1 hours drive, we reached their beautiful lodge named "Hunters Retriete" east of Windhoek. Cornie and Elaine are both proffesional hunters and run their own exclusive, very high standard hunting outfit in Namibia with the most passion and proffesional service you can get. Going into their website at www.cecsafaris.com , you shall find the most wonderful references and dream trips than can become a reality with this fantastic outfit.
I hunted with Elaine and Cornie with my friend Angel. The very first morning we started looking for leopard tracks. Elaine have already put out some baits before my arrival to start checking the cats patterns. Me and Angel was hunting on two different concessions about a hour apart from each other.
Me and Elaine were looking for tracks the first morning, but nothing fresh, only old tracks of a huge male at the waterhole. We checked the baits, but no luck. The dogs arrived the first night and the next morning we went out together to check for fresh tracks. Elaine knew that this old tracks was a old, huge Tom. She has hunted him with two clients before me over bait and this cat outsmarted them every time. She would tell me how this cat would walk onto their tracks when they leave the blind at night and follow them to the vechicle. She said that she is sure that he was watching them sitting in the blind. His right front paw was injured as some point, because he was stepping outwards and Elaine mentioned that this might be the reason he is so smart, somebody must have hurt him. While we were checking for fresh tracks, Elaine stopped and told the dog handler to go ahead, she just want to take a look closer the the mountain. There was a very narrow road, not really in use that we took and not 200 yards down this road we found these monster tracks. Her face light up and she called the dog handler on the radio.
We start following the track and not far down this same tracks , we found a drag mark of a female leopard with three little ones. The drag mark of the animal she caught went up the mountain and we were so tempted to follow just to see the little ones, but this monster track as fresh as any hunters dream was the most important thing in everybodies minds at that moment.
The dog handler and the dogs started following the tracks and the leopard went up a high mountain. The track was so fresh that they were literally running on the track. We drove around to the other side of the mountain to see if we could see the cat from that side, but no luck. Elaine rushed back to where we start taking the first tracks and with a smile on her face we start driving up that very slippery, rocky, steep mountain. It was pretty nerve wrecking. On the very top of this mountain, she all of a sudden, slammed on her breaks and jumped out of the vechicle. Could not believe my eyes. There two dogs was chasing this huge Tom onto the mountain opposite the one we were. Elaine told me to get out , get my rifle and we started climbing down. There were only two dogs and the dog handler and the other dogs was no where in sight. The dogs saw us and started pushing the cat towards the valley between these two mountains. The cat got to a stilstand under a thick bush and Elaine told me to get ready. I could not see the cat at all, so we started climbing down a little more. About 50 yards from the cat, he was growling like grazy and I could see the movement in the bush. I shot, the cat turned around, ran out and started fighting with the dogs. By then the dog handler and the other dogs arrived as well. This cat was not in a good mood at all and was looking straight to me and Elaine. Elaine told me to shoot again and this time I hit him in the vitals and he fell down. We gave him a insurance shot and start climbing down the mountain to where the cat was lying. The adrenalin was still pumping through everybody's veins.
What a beautiful trophy. Everybody was hugging and kissing each other and Elaine even had tears in her eyes. After two unsuccesfull hunts she finally outsmarted this cat, thanks to the dogs. She went to a rock , sat down, closed her eyes and prayed. What a awesome experience. 85 kg and one of his front teeth missing, made this trophy even more special. Hunting leopard with dogs is the most exiting hunt I have ever done. Could not wait to tell my Friend Angel tonight in camp.
Having my cat out of the way, I decided to join Cornie and Angel for his cat. They were looking for fresh tracks and eventually on the 5th day of the safari found some good size tracks that was considered a very good trophy. They put the dogs out immediately and follow the tracks about 5km where they lost the tracks by mid day. The next morning they went back and sure enough, they found the same tracks moving back into the same direction they came from the previous day. Putting out only two dogs first, the dog handler started following the cat. Angel and his ph, Cornie waited anxiously for news from the dog handler that gave them instructions to leap frock in front of the cat and see if he crossed the main road to a very big mountain range. They saw the tracks going over the main road and signal for the dog handler to bring the rest of the dogs. After another hour , the cat circled around, back track on his own tracks and confused the dogs. By that time everybody was exhausted and deciced to break for lunch. After lunch they went back where they have lost the track, starting tracking slowly and then the dogs took off on a fresh track and everybody was very exited. Following slowly, Angel, Cornelius and myself went up a very big mountain. We then received the news that the dogs had the leopard up a tree. Climbling up slowly over the crest of the mountain, we could hear the leopard growl and by now light was fading fast. The situation started getting tricky. Cornelius motioned to everybody to stay behind, instructed Angel to check and see if his rifle was loaded and slowly moved down towards the cat that was sitting in a shepherd tree about three metres off the ground. The cat would charge down the tree, slap at the dogs and run back up into the tree. By now, one of the dogs was wounded and Cornelius got Angel in position. Angel saw the cat up in the tree and again the leopard growl and charged down. Everybody was nervous. He went up the tree again and as it reached the top, Angel fired a shot. The leopard fell out of the tree and the dogs rushed up to the dead cat. Cornelius went over to the cat and made sure that he was dead. Angel came down and there was a big back slapping and congratulations. A couple of minutes later the rest of the group joined them and we were all so happy.
That ends a very successful hunt for both of us - TWO LEOPARDS IN ONE WEEK with CEC SAFARS, NAMIBIA, AFRICA
THIS IS A MEMORY OF A LIFETIME AND WE WILL GO BACK FOR SURE.
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