Tuesday, April 3, 2007

George, the greatest hunter...

Ghana, Africa, the bush, Greater Accra plains...

If ever I have met a person who meets the description of this title, it is George, the Hunter. 40 years he lived in Africa, of which he has spent nearly every weekend in the bush.

A special bond is between us, we found friendship in the early days.

This event took place on a Sunday morning, 1987. I remember the time well it was 08.00AM. As usual we left our homes 03.00 AM, with all the gear strapped in our jeep. Going early meant we would find the "Adanko", the wild Togo Hare in abundance.

Entering the bush is always an adventure, as George used to put it :" Respect the regulations of respecting". Whatever that meant, in understandable English it meant : " Do respect the bush, heed to our regulations". This was always necessary as you never knew what you will encounter in the wilderness.

The dark night around us, the beams shining far, we rolled into the savannah, jumping over Termite hills. Always on the lookout for game, driving was not easy. You have to concentrate on both terrain and a possible encounter with game.

George is a Master in hunting, the "Okinini Obuomomfo", the greatest hunter, as he was called by the natives. We all knew the villagers, the chiefs, the Fulanis (cattle herders).

During the night, George shot his first hare, then a second. The grass had been burnt down, the bush fires still smoldering in the distance. All the land had a burnt scent, the ashes flying high when we passed the trail..

Daylight breaks, the sun rising with a deep orange on the Horizon, the bush awakes. Only those who have witnessed such event can understand the immense passion one develops for the bush. Nothing can compare to this spectacle, a powerful display of our Nature.

As always George prepares our coffee,and we listen to the sounds of Nature all around us. Unforgettable sounds.

From 06.00AM we hunt Stone Partridge, they normally invade the Manioc plantations and cause devastation there. Because of this, the farmers are always happy when George appears. 5 Partridges  appear, sprawl and George gets all of them out of the sky.

By 07.30AM the sun is rising, the temperatures increase. We walk through the Manioc (Cassava) as they call it. We are drenched in sweat by the time we are on our way home.

My friend has taken over the drivers seat, his 12 bore shotgun placed on his right in a specially made holder. I sit on the back seat, high above and enjoy a good view of the surroundings, the real reason of going to the bush.

Swerving right, left in order to avoid the Termite hills which can knock out your suspension, I am used to it, my shotgun across my knees. In an instance I hear a sharp hissing sound, unknown to me, the jeep still moving. In a rapid action, my friend has grabbed his 12 bore, the vehicle running at normal speed, the steering wheel free. Rapidly I hear 2 shots, throughout the hissing sound never stopped.

The last moment before the shots rang out,  I noticed the large, black Cobra, 6 feet long at least, its head erect, expanded, the eyes turned to us, yet moving away with great speed. The hissing sound is a warning to would be predators. Not for George in whom she found her match, full speed. from the jeep, splitting her in to half, killing the Cobra instantly.

I was like mesmerized, could not say a word. In a split second the event. was over, the snake lay dead. We can not say what ones feeling should be, but I was stunned by 2 things : The hissing sound of the Cobra and the incredible speed at which the shots rang out.

The . years have passed, George has retired and I go no longer to the bush. In those days, he would tell me :" One day you will sit in the rocking chair, and your grand children will come and ask you, tell us how it was in the bush, you and this hunter, the "Okinini Obuomomfo", the greatest of all Hunters...George..

 I will honor him throughout my life for giving me wisdom. May god bless him.

from : Hunting in the African bush, H.R..

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