This morning Gary and Hein sat the treestand overlooking the salt lick again. They spotted one nice gemsbok bull but he only came within 80 yards of the treestand before winding the hunters. Then seven blesbok, another species Gary was after, came into 40 to 80 yards and bedded. One blesbok female stood sentry for over half an hour just out of bow range while the other blesbok bedded.
Gary and Hein then moved to another pit blind called “The Rock,” near a waterhole and feeding station. As usual, the gemsbok were already there when they arrived and spooked off. But this time about 1-1/2 hours later, the herd started coming back. Eventually they came into feed and started feeding. There were eight gemsbok total with one huge cow and a nice bull. The cow was probably over 40 inches long but Gary had his sights set on the bull. He had to wait half an hour before the bull finally presented a quartering away shot at 21 yards. The shot was perfect, hitting right behind the shoulder, and the bull only went 132 paces. The bull was very nice with thick bases and long horns. Gary had definitely earned his gemsbok. He had hunted hard for the last 3 days just for this species and was very gratified to finally be successful. It was his number one species and he couldn’t have been happier.
Gary with his nice gemsbok bull
Joe hunted kudu again at the ranch southeast of the main ranch where he had seen the three nice kudu bulls on Day 6. The bulls came in again but of course the bull Joe wanted never presented a good shot angle again. The other bulls stood broadside at the feeder but the medium-width bull Joe wanted always fed quartering-on where he could keep an eye on the blind. Just before dark, Joe and Stefan decided to outsmart the bull by placing thorn brush on the backside of the feeding station so next time the bull would need to feed broadside.
I hunted nyala again from a pit blind near a waterhole and feeding station. Hein sat with me and it was an area he had seen at least two good nyala bulls. But again, all that came in were ewes and lambs. A group of seven tssessebes also came in and drank. These animals have reddish, tan hides and short horns. They are relatively rare and expensive to shoot so I passed on the opportunity. Then a beautiful white springbok came in. These animals are normally tanned colored but they do come in black and white. I hadn’t shot a white one before and asked Hein how much they cost. He told me there aren’t enough to hunt and to wait for the nyala: A little bit later; three young warthog boars came in and jumped into the feeder.
Tssessebe female is a striking animal
A beautiful white springbok grazes
About two hours before dark, Hein and I moved to another waterhole to hunt kudu. The hide was a popup blind set up over a feeding station and natural waterhole. The blind was heavily brushed in. An unbelievable seven nice kudu bulls came into the feeding station at various times! The bulls ranged from about 49 inches to 55 inches long. Unfortunately, the big one that Hein wanted me to shoot was the most wary, saw something he didn’t like about the blind, and walked off without feeding. The other bulls, although having nice horns, were not fully mature. To maintain their fantastic trophy quality on the ranch, hunters are only allowed to shot mature kudu bulls. Nonetheless, it was awesome seeing all those magnificent bulls.
Tip of the Day
Some U.S. hunters that have not been to Africa before have the misconception that hunting animals in Africa is like “shooting fish in a barrel.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. Due to all the predators in Africa (e.g., leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, jackals, caracals, etc), game animals are very wary and spooky. And when they come to water, they expect danger, either from these predators or from bowhunters. If they see you move, hear you, or smell you, they will go elsewhere. Many of the more wary species such as zebra, kudu, and eland will “stage” a hundred or more yards from the waterhole and watch for danger as the other species drink. If you remain quiet and still, then these species will often venture in for a drink. But sometimes they just wait for dark. Bowhunting in Africa may appear easy on the TV shows and videos just because of the sheer numbers of game.