Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/475

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467
HABITS—MODES OF HUNTING.

This species of antelope is gregarious, though seldom seen in large herds, five or six being the usual number. The males are frequently met with singly.

As already seen, when taken young, this animal is easily domesticated, and becomes very tame. Notwithstanding, to the best of my belief, no specimen has ever been brought to this country alive.

From the koodoo's secluded habits, fewer of these animals are killed—as regards Damara-land, at least—than any other species of antelope indigenous to Southern Africa. He is sometimes hunted on horseback, and if a hunter has the good fortune to meet with one in a favorable and open locality, there is no great difficulty in running it down; but as the animal holds, for the most part, to hilly and stony ground, and such as is wooded withal, the chase, even if successful, usually proves an arduous one.

The preferable course is to hunt it on foot. Stalking the koodoo was a favorite pursuit of mine, and many a noble stag have I thus laid low. But, on account of the wooded nature of the country it inhabits, the difficulty of approaching unperceived within gunshot is very considerable, and it is greatly increased by Nature, who, with her usual wonderful provision, has provided the koodoo with the most exquisite sense of hearing. Its large, prominent ears apparently act as a kind of focus, against which any unusual noise or sound is quickly arrested in its progress.

The Bushmen have a way of their own of hunting the koodoo, viz., by running it down, not by speed of foot, but by gradually exhausting it. When a hunt of this kind is decided on, a number of these people assemble, armed with assegais, &c. Having started the animal, one of the party takes up its "spoor" at a quick pace, the rest following more leisurely. On feeling fatigued, the leading man drops behind his comrades, and the next in order takes up the pursuit, and so on, until they secure the prize. Sometimes this is effected