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Former Natchezian bags 900-pound kudu, trophy fish in Namibia

NATCHEZ — In just 15 years of hunting, Natchez-native Darcel Angelloz has already accumulated a list of trophies that any lifetime hunter would cherish.

In June, Angelloz traveled to Namibia, Africa, and added a kudu and a warthog to a list that already included a red stag, an alligator and a nilgai (an Indian antelope that was brought to Texas).

“I think the sheer size of the animals (that you hunt in Africa) makes it exciting,” Angelloz said. “You just don’t realize the size.”

This summer’s trip was the second time Darcel and her husband, A.J., traveled to Namibia, and each time they have come back with wonderful success stories.

“We went five years ago, and we loved it so much we went back,” Darcel said. “The first time, we went on a trophy hunt and my husband was able to bring back a zebra and a warthog. I did some me-hunting this time.”

The couple stayed with a family that they met on their first trip, Peet and Nadine Vermaak, and Darcel said hunting in Africa is like hunting in another world.

“There are warthogs crossing the road, and we had kudus jump over our truck,” she said. “We even saw a spitting cobra. The biggest thing is you are driving down the road and a giraffe can be right on the side of the road.”

The couple, who now live in Grosse Tête, La., even hit the rivers and navigated their way through crystal-clear water littered with hippopotami and crocodiles for Darcel to reel in a massive tiger fish.

“It weighed about 17 pounds,” she said. “They don’t come that big very often, and I didn’t even realize what I had on the line. Tiger fish is their trophy fish. It’s the main thing you go for, and they don’t eat them, they mount them.”

One of the benefits of African hunting and fishing is the excellent meals that result from the trophies, Darcel said.

“Kudu tastes better than any piece of meat I’ve ever had,” she said. “They had bream in the Okavango River that weighed 3 to 7 pounds. They were gorgeous and tasted good too.”

A.J. introduced Darcel to hunting when they started dating 15 years ago, and the couple started small with squirrel, duck and goose hunts. They moved on to alligator, deer and Darcel killed a red stag on their fifth anniversary.

Darcel compared the terrain of Namibia to that of south Texas.

“There’s a wide range of land forms,” she said. “There’s mountains, rivers and dunes. We hunted game more in the sand dunes. We stalked. We were mostly looking at tracks in the sand to pick out an animal, and then we had a tracker that would track that animal.”

But hunting big game in Africa is something that Darcel never expected to do when she was growing up in Natchez.

“I think Africa (is my favorite place to hunt),” she said. “Not in my wildest dreams would I have thought coming from Natchez that I would have gone to Africa not once but twice. The most beautiful thing you can see is an African sky at night. There are not a lot of trees and no pollution, so you see a million stars. It’s just breathtaking. We’ve built a bond of friendship with our African family, and we stay in touch and send packages. We hope to go back in the next year or two.”

Darcel said A.J. still has several targets left on his list that he hopes to bag on the next trip.

“My husband wants to get a lion or leopard,” she said. “That’s what he really wants to go for. Back in 1996, before we met, he killed a cape buffalo. Now he wants to get a lion or leopard — a big cat.”

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