guess I should have been named Murphy. Seems my bags and bow must have been
checked under Murphy instead of Dukes. Having had many lessons in patience and
being blessed to resolve that everything happens for a reason, I met my host,
Adriaan Rall with a smile and empty hands.
is the publisher of African Bowhunter & Archer magazine, one of the
fastest growing bowhunting publications in the world. Adriaan is also
one of Africa's top PH's (Professional Hunters) Having guided
the likes of Pete Shepley and Dave Holt.
Adriaan has as many of the top ten animals, particularly big 6 and
sable as any
bow guide in Africa. By his side was his
handsome son Adriaan Jr., I would call A.J. throughout the trip.
Welcome to Thwane
Rall was not surprised that I had lost luggage and didn't seem too concerned. I
was puzzled. He made a call to his friend Evert that had a bow shop in the Limpopo area and had arranged to get me a bow and
equipment by daylight the next morning. This is Sat. night now. This kind of
service would never happen in the US, I was finding out quickly the Africans
have a special passion for bowhunting.
The Thwane Staff
enough Evert meet Adriaan and me, got me in camo and arrows and started to
set up a bow for me to use. I could not imagine not shooting my beloved
BOWTECH, but as John Wayne used to say "We were burning daylight."
pulled out what looked like a Star Wars toy, the Liberty 1. A 20" amo bow that barely
weighed 2 lbs. They set it up and it pulled 50#'s. Fine I said, although my
BOWTECH is 57#, my back was sore from the flight from an old back injury. Hmmm.
I mused the Liberty
eh? After all this was the 4th of July, maybe this was an omen. I thought no
more about the coincidence.
were hunting in the Limpopo province in the bushvelt near the Botswana
border. Adriaan owns a game ranch there named THWANE, African for Caracel,
which is like a lynx.
Warthog checking the waterhole
had hardly been in our blind ten minutes when a 50" Kudu bull came in
followed by a large boar warthog. I had taken both species on a previous trip
to Africa so thought I would wait things out,
still missing my BOWTECH terribly.
Author with Impala
penny colored movement caught my eye as an Impala ram eased from the brush to
the waterhole. A nice ram, looked like he would go over 21", might as well
see what this LIBERTY
the ram lowered him head I drew, so into my "hunter's mode" I noticed
no difference, the sight found it's spot the arrow was off. Seconds later the
impala piled up in easy view. Adriaan and I shared a surprised grin of success.
Damn, that thing rocks, I told my host. A complete pass through.
Good eating Guinea Fowl
we further inspected the bow and checked camera and a flock of guinea came in.
The 2nd arrow from the liberty and I had a guinea. I was excited about eating
one, to emulate the African diners so well described in the writing of
Hemingway and Ruark.
called for pick up and Adriaan thought we might as well check a new water hole
on. His ranch encompasses nearly 10 square miles.
Author with Eland
not much daylight the event was like a repeat of the first waterhole. Kudu,
wart hogs and impala, one very nice one, quite tempting. As the sun started to
lower game was moving everywhere. "Tony!" Adriaan grabbed my arm and
startled me, "Eland bull and a damn big one." "He will go top
ten in the world, over 35" for sure." I told Adriaan that I
really had not planned on taking an Eland and if I did I wanted to with my
the large, dark faced bull approached we discussed the possible dynamics of a
50 lb. bow weighing 2 pounds taking a 1400 lb. animal. Wow, it would make a
good story and what a testimony to Howard Winther the designer of the bow.
Adriaan sweetened the idea by telling me that AFRICAN BOWHUNTER was going to
launch the first major article on the bow and such a kill would be worthy of
front page. I thought about this long and hard. Like I said my loyalty lies
with BOWTECH, but I know that the folks there also support archery and my
success and this was a quite understandable situation. I decided if the shot
was offered, I would roll the dice. In Africa
if you draw blood you pay and Eland aren't cheap.
bull walked around, then watered then came past the blind and started to graze
at less than 20 yards, broadside. I would not take the shot unless he moved his
facing leg a bit forward to I could get at the heart. He did. Once again I
noticed no difference as I went in to harvest mode, the arrow disappeared in
the sweet spot and went COMPLETELY THROUGH. The Eland, the largest antelope in
the world, went 30 yards and piled up stone dead in seconds. Now I couldn't
take my eyes of the mini bow.
bull measured over 30 "and should make # 3 in the world, I would take
another animal before dark taking 4 on the 4th of July to set free the Liberty
on the world.
at the lodge, we got word my BOWTECH would be here in the morning. Great I
thought. But also neat I had the opportunity to pilot the maiden voyage of the Liberty. Going to prove,
never defeat yourself with a bad attitude, things often happen for a reason.
manana about the wonderful bowhunting of S. Africa
with African Bowhunter's Adriaan Rall.