OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Tracy Pratt, of Ocean Springs, recently went on a dream hunt nearly 16 hours from her home in South Mississippi to South Africa.
Pratt, an avid hunter in Mississippi and Texas for whitetail deer and wild turkey, had one animal on her mind during the summer hunt with Doug Borries and Dynamic Outdoors. She wanted to harvest an impala while hunting four hours northeast of Johannesburg at the Wild Wildebeest Lodge.
For Pratt, the opportunity to successfully harvest an impala, a medium-sized African antelope, would remove the animal from her hunting bucket list.
Equipped with a .308 rifle, Pratt and her guide anxiously waited in a ground blind near a small body of water when a herd of impala made an appearance.
"We sat in a ground blind built with downed tree branches and brush overlooking a pond," Pratt said. "We were entertained by some ducks as they dodged the claws of a fish eagle that swooped down upon them, along with a group of monkeys playing in the trees on the far side of the water that paid no attention to the eagle or the impala that were coming in to get a drink."
With her emotions running high, the impala walked its way to the edge of the pond as Pratt slowly lifted her rifle. The first attempt, however, failed.
"I took a long shot about 250 to 270 yards away, clearly missing the impala as they all took off into the brush," said Pratt.
Being the experienced hunter that she is, Pratt would then sit motionless in the ground blind for what appeared to be an eternity in hopes for one final opportunity.
It paid off.
"We stayed put and about an hour later a huge waterbuck came in at the opposite side of the water about 90 yards from the blind," Pratt said. "Then in comes a beautiful long horned impala walking towards the water near the waterbuck. I needed to reposition myself, as my gun was ready to shoot in the same direction I had previously shot. Only thing, the waterbuck's attention was locked on the ground blind. With every turn of his eyes into the other direction I would slightly move my .308 over towards the impala. I waited for the impala to get into a good position, took a deep breath as I got him in the cross hairs, let out the breath and made a perfect shot. It was truly an amazing experience."