A few hours’ drive from Port Elizabeth, in the Eastern Cape state of South Africa, there is a mountain range called Winterberg. With an average of 2,000 meters of elevation, this region provides a habitat for two unique species: the Vaal Rhebok (Pelea Capreolus) and the Mountain Reedbuck (Redunca fulvorufula).
After checking the rifles early in the morning, we started looking for Reedbucks, the smallest subspecies in Africa. They live just above the tree line in small groups of typically one male and half a dozen females.
Our spotting scopes did all the walking for us and we finally located a big ram. We hiked up as close as possible, all the while checking on the animals.
The EL Range tells us that we are 256 meters (840 feet) away from our target, but that the actual ballistic range is 235 meters (771 feet). So I adjust the ballistic tower accordingly. It is a small antelope, not much bigger than a Roe Buck. The bullet finds its mark and drops the ram quickly. What a beautiful stalk and scenery.
In the afternoon, we move to a higher altitude, to explore the mountaintops for a Vaal Rhebok (Pelea Capreolus), a small antelope that weighs about 20 kg (44 pounds) and lives in groups. Their eyesight is unbelievable. It is scary how well they can spot you from more than half a kilometer (1,640 feet) away. Thus, there is no room for mistakes.
We worked hard and scanned the surroundings until the morning of the third day, when we finally found an exceptional ram. We did not hesitate and started stalking the group. The group of a dozen animals is feeding on the side of the mountain. The open terrain forces us to take a long shot. But we have done our homework. So I adjust the scope accordingly, take a deep breath, and pull the trigger. The ram drops to the ground instantly. It is reassuring to know, your preparation and plans work perfectly.
I really like the versatility of the new Z8i scope. It allows you to do some long range hunting with 28x magnification, but at the same time close up hunting in the brush works perfectly with the 3.5x magnification. Certainly the most versatile scope on the market.
Pedro Ampuero lives and breathes hunting. His hunting adventures have taken him to some of the world’s remotest corners, but his homeland, Spain’s Basque Country, is always in his heart. Growing up surrounded by sheep, hunting rifles, dogs, and hunting books, he went on his first hunting trip with his father when he was just five years old. What he loves most is the sense of freedom that he experiences when he is out in the wild. Pedro loves the challenge of confronting nature’s mighty elements. In the mountains is where he discovers his true self. He is always happy to share his knowledge and experience with others because he believes learning from each other is the best way to help everyone to be better hunters.
Pictures by Roberto Fontaneda