Magnificent, Tiny Trophies

“You have just taken one of the Tiny 10,” said Arnold. “What is that?” I asked with disinterest. Arnold explained that this category included members of the Pygmy Antelope. My ‘first one’ was a beautiful Vaal Rhebok resting in a cooler in the back of Arnold’s pickup as we sped down the highway.

Fast forward three days and hunting on the marvelous 100,000-plus acres near Port Elizabeth had already netted a Burchell’s zebra, a huge Eastern Cape kudu, a large mountain reedbuck, and a very nice red hartebeest. Sometime during the collection of these wonderful trophies, I had decided to change my aim from creatures that could run me over, rip me apart, stomp me into a puddle, or even give me a nasty scratch, to the ‘Tiny Ten’. Three of the four Tiny Tens were in the salt, and the next morning broke with a particularly bright halo. We headed back out to try and call in a mature trophy duiker.

We finally arrived at the target of our hike, an open hillside where we had a commanding view of a valley and the hillside opposite. Arnold blew only twice through his varmint-cum-duiker call, before we heard a crashing noise in the brush in the valley. Fortunately, I had already placed my rifle on the bipod before a duiker bolted from the underbrush.

“That’s your ram,” Arnold whispered.
“How far?” I asked as I aimed.
“He’s seen us, shoot!”

At the shot, the little form collapsed. Let’s go collect him,” said my neverĀ­flustered PH. As the photos were posed, I sat cradling the little ram’s chin, and realized that Arnold, Jambo and Neville had accomplished a transformation. In the span of one safari they had changed a novice African hunter into a glassy-eyed fanatic, one intent on returning as many times as possible to succeed in collecting the remaining marvelous species making up the Tiny Ten.

The author and his trophy Grey Duiker

(Excerpt from “Small Sizes Count!” African Hunting Gazette, Volume 24(4), pp. 72-73, 75-77, 79.)