Hunting leopard is a waiting game. We hung another bait yesterday afternoon in a dry creek bed the big cat has been traveling, and pulled a rough wire cage filled with blue wildebeest innards around the area to spread more scent in the air. In the 80-degree temperatures common to Namibia this time of year, the drag did its job rather pungently. Now, we wait. With four baits hung on two farms, the ball is in the leopards' court.
But while we wait, there is plenty of other hunting to fill the days. JJ Reich from ATK got things started with the blue wildebeest that provided its insides for the leopard drag. (It also provided the steaks last night, which were on par with the best beef I've tasted.) JJ followed the wildebeest--the first animal he's ever taken in Africa--with a nice kudu bull. The Federal Premium 165-grain Trophy Copper bullet from his .30-06 made short work of both animals.
This morning I shot an old gemsbok cow so we'd have more intestines to use as leopard attractant and more meat for camp. I used the Kimber Adirondack rifle in .308 Win., loaded with the Federal Premium 165-grain Fusion load. The shot was about 130 yards, with the gemsbok quartering slightly toward me. I hit the cow on the shoulder, just a bit forward of the shoulder center. Later at the skinning shed, we saw the bullet expanded dramatically while boring through both lungs, but it missed the top of the heart. Even with a fatal hit, the gemsbok went 300 yards before stopping in the shade of a camelthorn tree, where I finished the job with another round.
African game is tough, but waiting for a leopard to hit the bait may be tougher.