The hunt for the wild hare!

Nothing beats the excitement of a kill in a bushveld hunt.

It is the greatest thrill.

Only those who experienced it can attest to it, only those who herded cattle and goats in Chibako valley can remember it, only those who were spectators of the fierce bull fights of Chitekete grazing vlei will  truly connect with it, only those who slid with naked buttocks in Musavezi River’s slippery slide can relive it, only they can testify to the adrenaline a hunting kill pumps into the veins of both the hunter and the hunted; only the brave. 

 The rural herdboy of our time understands the drill. A milking cow which is released from its pen before dawn  and is allowed to feed on grass dripping with early morning dew produces more milk than a dairy cow confined to a whiteman’s cattle pen, notwithstanding the privileges the whiteman’s  milking cow enjoys.

And so at 4:00 am sharp, we released the milking cows which we aptly  named; 

   “Hore”, the dark cloud

   that produces 

   torrential rain.

   “Masaga,” numerous 

   bags of farm produce

   “Choice,” the hornless

   producer of milk that 

   produced more than 

   them all.”

And so myself, my nephew Rodrick and my young brother Fari the Furious selected the milking cows from the murky muddy kraal at 4:00hrs before sunrise, and herded them to the dewy contours of Mai Dhevison’s fields near the great Msuma tree. 

Of course, our faithful dogs Tsiga and Spider accompanied us. 

And of course we were on the lookout for a kill,  a village herdboy of our time was a natural hunter, it came with the territory.  

As the dairy cows devoured the dewy grass, my nephew Rodrick of alert hunting instincts scanned the terraine of Mai Dhevison’s fields adjacent to the Great Msuma tree, a predator on the lookout for prey.

And he spotted it.

A rabbit was concealing itself under the shrub of the Mzumbani plant which many believe is the real McCoy for the treatment of the Covid 19 ailment. 

And Rodrick froze. 

A forest rabbit, which others call a hare, is very sensitive to sound or noise. Once it detects danger, it sprints and dribbles to safety like lightning. 

It is much faster than humans and most dogs.

To capture it, you must outwit it, outsmart its survival instincts. 

And so Rodrick communicated to my young brother Fari the Furious using signs.

In response to Rodrick’s signal, my young brother Fari the Furious quietly  brought the dogs close to the Mzumbani bush where the rabbit was hiding and Fari the Furious threw a rock at the Mzumbani plant and the rabbit shot out of the shrub like a bullet. 

   “There it goes, there it 

   flees

   Catch it Spider, kill it 

   Tsiga.”

And the race of death started, with Tsiga and Spider sprinting  after the  hare, screaming, while Rodrick edged them on with a piercing whistle. 

   “There it runs, there it

   races

   Cut it off Tsiga, cover 

   up Spider.”

There is nothing as exciting as a dog-rabbit high speed chase. You scream instinctively  and jump involuntarily, like a soccer fan attending the final game at the local  stadium. 

The dogs were close to the rabbit, almost touching it with their cold noses, but the rabbit dribbled with dazzling skill, and headed for the ant bear hole in Mai Dhevison’s field of fat round nuts. 

As the rabbit sneaked into the ant bear hole, Spider leapt at it in a swooping dive and caught it around the waist, and spun around with the rabbit in its mouth, the way a premier league goalkeeper saves a spot kick.

Spectacular! 

The dogs smothered the rabbit and killed it, and guarded it and waited with wagging tails, for they were trained not to devour their Master’s prey, for they were just the foot soldiers, their masters were the predators. 

We returned home as heroes, dangling our catch like a trophy, as my mother ululated; 

   “Shall we receive what 

   you caught for us oh

   Sinamano! 

   Our providers who hunt 

   in the forest preserved 

   for Only The Brave.”

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