Friday August 11th was the last morning that I heard the melody of birds. We were up early again to yet another beautiful day. Simon and I were going to head out alone to try for a bull with the bow and let Andrew sleep in and play with the kids. After a quick bite, we headed out to a nearby flood plane that we had not been to yet. On the way we ran across three or four shooter bulls but they were not in a good position to stalk so we passed them looking for a really stalkable bull in good cover.
After reaching the edge of the flood plains, we did locate a few bulls but again not in ideal situations whether it be the wind, the cover or the pace they were traveling at so we pressed on. Finally, near 10 am we spotted a lone bull slowly feeding up wind with good cover around him so we quietly parked the truck and got ready.
We quickly and deafly made our way through the loose red noise dampening dirt till we reached a brush line that he would appear out of. I made my way to the last piece of green vegetation and waited till he walked out.
When he did I came to full draw on my BowTech and rested the sight right behind his shoulder at 17 yards and hit the release while Simon caught it all on a high speed camera just as before. The bull lurched forward from what looked to be a good shot and headed for the bush with the Carbon Express arrow tipped with the NAP RazorCaps buried deep inside of him.
After a cautious stalk, the right angle and Paul takes aim
A crisp release, you can see the red nock as the arrow enters the sweet spot
After letting him settle down for a few minutes, we started in on him just to keep an eye on his location. Simon informed me that the waiting period normally taken after a bow shot was not a good idea on these animals for three reasons.
First, they do not pour blood from the wound because of the inch thick hide that easily closes over the wound very similar to large boar.
Second, normally a wounded animal goes a short distance before stopping and checking his surroundings and if all is quiet they begin to walk off slowly but surely into thick cover making it near to impossible to track him.
Lastly, once in the thick stuff he just stays there and waits on any potential pursuers.
So we quietly inched in on him and found him standing facing away with his head down. I closed the distance crawling through the underbrush to less then thirty yards and just as I got up to put another arrow into him he began to walk off in a semi-steady pace. We visually followed him at a distance as he crossed the relatively open woodlands but could not gain distance on him with his pace and us trying to keep quiet and downwind. He was at most dripping blood and heading for the thick stuff just as Simon had warned.
Once he entered the swamp thickets, we lost him visually but could follow his tracks. It was at this point that I knew that unless we saw him before he saw us I would not get another arrow into him even though the first one was good.
We had a sneaky suspicion he was waiting on us.
We slowly and stealthily picked our way avoiding every dry leaf and branch that we encountered along the trail. It wasn’t long afterwards, with Simon directly in front of me and slightly to my left, that we heard a crunch from very close.
We both froze in our tracks and there was dead silence. Simon silently indicated to me that he saw a piece of the bull that was hiding within a dense clump of palm trees directly in front of me some eight paces away.
As I reached for an arrow the bull stepped forward sticking his head out of the palm thicket glaring directly at me. I knew a charge was imminent so I motioned for Simon to shoot him right then but he couldn’t see him at all then because of his position.
I was in direct view of the beast at 20 feet with his nose flaring and eyes partially rolled back showing me the classic white eye scenario.
Unfortunately, I had no sizeable trees to duck behind when the inevitable charge was to come. Even though I knew better, I decided to ever so slowly try to nock the arrow with the hopes of putting one directly under his neck. While that thought was going through my mind, Simon looked to me for some type of update or direction but I had no advice to give. The arrow never even made it out of my quiver.
With the slightest movement of my hand backwards, the bull came full bore and head on with me in his sights. His head was swinging back and forth as he mowed down all the saplings in between us.
With literally three steps, he was in front of Simon who was well aware of the proceedings and was swinging his rifle into position. With the swinging movement of the rifle, the bull refocused on Simon and changed direction with one step just as I was about to try to side step out of the way of the rapidly oncoming bull with nothing but a bow in hand. That last step was his last though because Simon put the end of the barrel on his forehead at three feet distance and pulled the trigger. The bull crashed to the ground hitting a tree next to Simon with full force which caused him to flip over violently towards me. He came to rest at my feet and his nose had hit the ground within 24 inches of Simon’s feet. All this occurred in a few seconds but it sure seemed to be happening in slow motion.
A necessary track, a waiting bull, the charge and a ready PH ensures Paul’s safety
When the dust settled, we relived every part of what had just occurred. We were lucky to have escaped uninjured but were grateful for the experience. We tracked the buffalo back to where he charged from and found where he had been quietly waiting for us and took numerous pictures of the whole scene.
After cleaning and caping him, we began the arduous duty of transporting him out of there. We cut down a nine foot long iron wood sapling, lashed the pieces to that and then proceeded to carry him out on our shoulders to a point where the truck could access. The plan before we started the day was to return to camp by 2 pm so we would have time to get everything in order before the charter plane arrived to pick us up. We pulled into camp at 1:50 pm, took very needed showers and had everything ready to go by the time the charter plane touched down.
Then started the long and semi-hectic trip back home weaving our way through all the gun laws and masses of paperwork again. But it all eventually worked out well.
I can’t say enough about the trip. After nearly 60 big game trips all over the world this ranks right up there with the best of the best. All in all, Andrew and I harvested four trophy bulls, two females and the calf for camp meat. The quality of the animals was fantastic with the two rifle bulls going SCI gold and silver medal for rifles and the two bow kills easily going SCI gold. The area is diverse as it is beautiful and as ideally suited to intense and thrilling bow hunting as any place in the world without any of the normal technical problems such as weather, terrain, unpredictable winds or vegetation.
I can’t recommend Simon and Elspeth of Australian Big Game Safaris any higher as I will definitely be back as soon as I can. If you need anymore information on their operation feel free to contact me via our web site at The Hunt Doctors.
Lastly, as mentioned before the BowTech Allegiance bow, the Carbon Express Terminator Hunter arrows and the NAP RazorCaps performed flawlessly on one of the biggest, toughest and dangerous game that exists and did so multiple times. I also want to thank again all the folks that gave me the invaluable information that led to this overwhelmingly successful trip. And finally, the Robinson Outdoors product of Sportsmen’s Edge was a huge help in helping me feel great for the entire hunt despite the 25 hours of traveling. I highly recommend it and you can find detailed information on it on our web site also.