I have always been passionate about being outside. I was drawn to angling at age 6 which I believe was the result of being entranced with all the bits in a tackle box I rooted out in my late grandfather’s garage. My family were certainly pro – outdoors but no-one in my immediate family was an angler, shooter or hunter. Both parents and my older brother were also very supportive of my often annoying compulsion to spend seemingly uncomfortable hours in or alongside water bodies with a rod in hand.
|Dear Anas undulata, thanks for tripping my trigger!|
My gang of normally-muddy buddies and I used to fish for carp in a small stream that ran through our local suburb. Late one afternoon while waiting
for the carp to rise to our floating bread crusts and lazing on the grassy bank, I watched a pair of Yellow Billed Ducks coming in low over the stream, towards the nearby dam where they roosted. I was fixated on their flight. They passed low in front of me, close enough to see their eyes and every detail in their
plumage. In that moment my entire being was focused on those birds; all I wanted was to close the distance between us. I clearly remember thinking “I wish I had a .410 so I could shoot a duck!” Despite my poor choice of gauge, a switch was flipped in me that radically altered my interests. I read Capstick’s influential Death in the Long Grass, I poured over James Mellon’s tour de force, African Hunter, in the local library and started devising ways to actually hunt. I was 13 and absorbed every piece of hunting related literature and every experience related to hunting that I could. A couple of years later my long suffering father realized I was serious about this stuff and organised a trip for us on a ranch we had holidayed on previously. He borrowed a Parker Hale sporterized No.1Mk3 Lee Enfield and an ancient box of PMP ammunition from a colleague. Undeterred from the minor half-moon I received from the scope, I soon after shot my first ‘real’ game animal – an impala ewe. I am forever grateful for that experience. Many years and many animals later I still find hunting to be revelatory and am happy for the revelations and passion. I have never hunted Yellow Bill Ducks, by the way!
So, what are your hunting roots? Did you ever have a revelatory moment that shook your foundations as an outdoor person and without warning made you proclaim ‘I want to hunt!’? What did your friends and family think? Go ahead and share it with us.
© Brian Joubert