Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/473

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465
ANOTHER BUFFALO KILLED—KOODOOS.

The night closing in, I determined on once more lying in ambush. I waited long in vain; but at last I observed a solitary buffalo—an immense bull—slowly and cautiously approaching my hiding-place, stopping every now and then to listen. When so near the "skärm" as almost to touch it, I pulled the trigger, but, to my great annoyance, the gun snapped. On hearing the click, the animal wheeled about and hurriedly retreated; but, after proceeding about forty paces, he suddenly halted, and, turning partially round, exposed his broadside. Having, in the interim, put on another cap, I took advantage of his favorable position, and again pulled the trigger. This time I succeeded in placing a bullet well in the beast's shoulder. The instant he received the shot he leaped high into the air, and then plunged violently forward. Immediately afterward I heard a deep moaning in the direction he had taken—an unmistakable sign that he was mortally hurt. Nevertheless, what with the severe lesson I had recently received from the black rhinoceros, and the well-known savage nature of a wounded buffalo, I did not think it prudent to follow him. The next morning, however, search was made, when he was found dead within less than a hundred yards of my "skärm," the ball having pierced his heart.

Koodoos were also occasionally seen and killed. Of all that varied and beauteous form of animal life to be found in the boundless woods and plains of tropical South Africa, the koodoo is unquestionably the most distinguished for elegance and gracefulness, united with strength. The height of the male at the shoulder is about four feet. The general color of his body is a "rufous gray," marked with several white bars over the back and croup. The male carries his exquisitely formed head, ornamented with ponderous spiral horns of about three feet or more in length, very erect, which gives him an air of nobility and independence. The koodoo, in short, is a perfect picture; and "when standing broadside on, is decidedly one of the grandest-looking antelopes in the world."