Follow the adventures of MWF Managing Director, Rob Olson, as he “goes back” to Namibia, but this time, with a rifle. Rob will be providing Blog posts on a near daily basis while he is in Namibia on a hunting trip of a lifetime.
Day 1 – May 26, 2017
Well, I’m finally on my way. I won the Brandon Wildlife Association’s African hunting raffle in 2015. I entered the raffle, mostly because I just can’t say no to BWA President Donny Teale. I bought a ticket, not thinking I’d win, because to that point, I hadn’t ever won anything really! For a lot of reasons, it feels like this trip was meant to be.
I had such an emotional Fall in 2015 back when I won this hunt. I lost my longtime hunting partner and mentor, my father, on Remembrance Day that year. Not long after, I had a crazy health episode, a stroke-like experience where I got up to get ready for work and shortly after found myself sitting on the floor and not knowing what happened. While I was home recovering, BWA drew my ticket and called me to tell me I’d won the hunt in Namibia. I couldn’t believe it. It was a bright spot at a tough time. And I almost didn’t accept it.
To be honest, I felt a little odd accepting the prize, being an MWF staff person. I’d have preferred if a volunteer had won. Well, let’s just say I couldn’t say no to Donny for a second time. He insisted I go and that was that.
Don got me on the phone with Rainer Halenke, one of the owners of the Die Keiler Hunting Consortium in Namibia. Die Keiler is a partnership of sorts, made up of four family-run ranches, located throughout the country. We had a great conversation about my hopes for this hunt. I really wanted to log a lot of miles on foot in that beautiful landscape.
Truth be told, this wouldn’t be my first rodeo in Namibia. I spent time there back in 1996 as a footloose and fancy-free young backpacker. I was on a long personal journey, traveling across Africa on a mission to see as much wildlife as I possibly could.
I hadn’t planned on spending as much time in Namibia as I did in ’96. I really knew nothing about the country when I first went there but I was shocked by the immense beauty. Namibia has the highest sand dunes in the world. I would spend the afternoon climbing them and then sit and watch the sun set on dunes as far as the eye could see. The myriad colors were stunning and inspirational for a young man trying to decide what path of life to take back then.
When I was backpacking around Namibia in 1996, I wondered if I’d ever go back and actually hunt. I’ve never been much of a trophy hunter. Sure, I got as excited as the next person when a big buck crossed my path. But meat always was, and still is my main focus in hunting. Big buck, small buck, fat doe…..it’s all good to me. In fact, give me the young buck or fat doe most of the time. It’s how I was mentored.
In ’96, many of the antelope seemed to stand around and look at you a long time, kind of like a mule deer. Except for the Kudu that is. They always seemed skittish and hard to see. Kind of like elk. Especially the older bulls. They were hard to see and photograph even in places where there was no hunting occurring. Many called them Grey Ghosts and the rumor was that they were hard to hunt on foot in the brush and hills of Africa. I always though I’d hunt Kudu if the opportunity arose.
Well, opportunity arrived in the form of this BWA raffle prize and Rainer said there were strong Kudu populations on the Farms of Die Keiler. His advice was to come in late May since that is the time they are in the rut, and that would be my best chance to fool a mature Kudu hunting on foot.
Things were real busy Spring of 2016 at the Federation. We were neck deep in our night hunting campaign and the Provincial election was bearing down on us. I just couldn’t get away. Die Keiler graciously let me extend the hunt to May of 2017 as I am writing this, I am sitting at Gate 79 in Toronto getting ready to get on a flight to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and then catch a connecting flight to Windhoek in Namibia.
It feels like a homecoming of sorts and that this was meant to be.
Next Post May 26, 2017 Part II »
For more information on the Die Keiler Hunting Consortium please visit: