by Keith Glines
My excitement began to build as the rearview mirror lost the sight of condos and the Gold Coast. The limitless horizon and countryside compelled me toward Kilcoy, Australia. I would be tracing the steps of adventurers like Steve Irwin and Crocodile Dundee — the true untamed terra of the Outback.
A couple of hours off the paved roads and we were there, evidenced by the pythons on the road, wallabees dodging the Land Cruiser, and troops of kangaroos. At that moment, I felt a rush of adrenaline — the deep rivers of manhood — the adventurous spirit that FivestarMan talks about. I really began to sense the baseness of authentic manhood. It’s hard to explain, but it is something deep within us. It would only get better for the next two days.
Kingham Safaris, operated by brothers Andrew and James Webster, made this trip the ultimate excursion. The lodges were exceptional and the meals were outstanding. Kingham Safaris strives to live up to the legacy of their patriarch father who started their adventures 30 years ago. Sitting down with Mr. Webster was a true privilege. Hearing his stories were priceless.
It was the beginning of the hunting season, so I chose to hunt a Red Stag. I am relatively new to hunting and all my hunts so far have been from tree stands. Hunting Red Stag would require a stalk.
The Red Stag was introduced to Australia in the late 1800’s by wealthy Europeans who used Australia for their adventurous treks. I am thrilled with the opportunity to benefit from their efforts.
As we began our stalk, I noticed that we not only must hunt by glass — binoculars — but we must also outwit the kangaroos who serve the stag by alerting them of our presence. Upon the kangaroo’s alert the stag continue to withdraw into the hill country. My guide, James, effortlessly navigates the rocks while I have become very aware of my lack of physical condition.
James is neither naive, nor is he a novice to the stag’s movements. He positions us within 70 yards of the one that I want. Exhausted from the climb and excited that I am now leveling out a scope on the biggest animal that I’ve seen, my hands are trembling with adrenaline. I rush the shot and miss.
The walk back to the truck was demoralizing. I honestly felt the discomfort of failure. I missed the opportunity. I missed the moment. It is the first time that I dreamt about a missed shot. I know what it is to take a shot and miss. Wow, it was tough.
The next day, I realized how valuable that moment was. Getting that opportunity again wouldn’t be easy. After a few attempts to stalk a good trophy the next morning and evening I discovered just how difficult this hunt could be. It only made my missed shot more disappointing.
The experience of my guide proved invaluable as James was able to get me positioned on a beautiful stag. Rather than run, thinking that the brush had covered him, he stood strong as I lowered my sights on a 120-yard shot. Having tasted the agony of a missed shot, this time I would not be denied. My inner voice spoke calm words, talking me through each step… breath… squeeze. I would not be disappointed. I got him.
I have to say, this experience is one of the greatest of my lifetime. It truly is a memory. It was an adventure.
Keith Glines is social media strategist, an adventurer,
husband, father, and follower of Christ.