Poacher

Poacher by Leon Mare Read Free Book Online

Book: Poacher by Leon Mare Read Free Book Online
Authors: Leon Mare
Tags: África, Bush, wilderness, smuggle, elephant, rhino, shoot, poach, kruger park
trophy value would exceed that amount
tenfold.
    ‘Don’t worry, little brother, if the ranger
interferes, I’ll handle him.’
    He was hoping to sound more confident than he
felt: somewhere in the back of his mind a small voice was trying to
tell him something, which he preferred to ignore.
    He knew Sam Jenkins well. This was no
ordinary ranger. Rumour had it that he had followed a band of
poachers way into Mozambique, killing them one by one.
    This, being highly illegal, was most probably
just a story. Still . . . with Jenkins you never knew. With so many
stories floating around there had to be something special about the
man.
    Nevertheless, he thought confidently, you
don’t fuck around with Joao dos Santos either.
     
    By the time Louis arrived, accompanied by his
chief black ranger and one more man, Sam’s Toyota was loaded and
ready. The black rangers used to carry antiquated .303 rifles but
they’d recently been issued with new semi-automatic R1 rifles. Sam
preferred his Sauer & Sohn 300 Winchester Magnum, topped with a
powerful Bausch & Lomb scope.
    They drove both trucks to a hill a few
hundred metres from the carcass. Everything was off-loaded and
while the rangers were carrying the stuff to a big tree at the base
of the hill, Sam and Louis drove the trucks a kilometre back along
the fire break. They hid the trucks in a deep donga and camouflaged
them with branches and grass. On the way back to the hill they kept
to the overgrown shoulder to avoid leaving boot prints in the fire
break. Not that the poachers would be approaching from this
direction, but with an opportunity like this they didn’t want to
leave anything to chance. The vehicle tracks were of no
consequence, as the fire breaks were regularly patrolled.
    ‘So, what are you going to do?’ Louis
asked.
    ‘Shoot the buggers if they give me half a
chance.’
    ‘No, you bloodthirsty bush mugu. I was
talking about this brand new crumpet you saddled yourself with.
Literally.’
    ‘Oh. Yes. Well, frankly, I don’t know. Have
to think about it.’
    ‘You realise, of course, what Estelle, her
family and your family are going to do to you when this lot leaks
out. A man doesn’t have to be a prophet to know you’re going to be
in the wringer. And you are the bright one who is always accusing
me of thinking with my knackers.’
    ‘Shut up. This is serious, and I haven’t got
the faintest idea what I can do.’
    ‘You can drop this new woman like a hot
potato and hope details of your carnal weekend never leak out. In
fact, I reckon that’s about the only thing you can do.’
    ‘No,’ Sam said, shaking his head.
    ‘You’re in heat. Sit it out and cool
off.’
    They were approaching the tree under which a
rudimentary camp was being pitched.
    ‘Aaron, you and James get to the top of the
hill and start looking. And for God’s sake stick to the shade when
you are using binoculars. We don’t want to advertise our presence
to the whole of Mozambique.’
    Sam tuned the two portable radios to the same
wavelength and gave Aaron one. ‘Remember to keep the volume control
way down.’
    They were going to camp at the base of the
hill, and have radio communication with the two lookouts on the
summit. The lookouts would be relieved every four hours. It was not
a hill in the true sense of the word, but one of the rocky outcrops
that were scattered throughout the otherwise flat bushveld. It gave
them the advantage of being able to survey the surrounding flats
for kilometres around. Another advantage was that they could shield
a gas stove between two boulders at the base and were therefore not
limited to cold rations.
    After a cup of tea and a pipe Sam took his
gun and crawled to the summit. ‘You guys go and have tea,’ he said
and started glassing the eastern horizon, taking care to shield the
lenses of his binoculars from the sun.
     
    Joao and Rui were in the command tent of a
military camp near the border, talking to Colonel Lysenski. Joao
had just

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