Eric was trying for a mature warthog boar today. For some reason (maybe the late spring), this was by far the toughest animal to find on this trip. Eric saw a few nice female warthogs with nice tusks, but they always had piglets, so he passed. After a couple of days of looking for a good warthog, he finally got his chance. The big warthog boar was near the waterhole for about two hours before he came within bow range. When he finally gave Eric a broadside shot, as luck would have it, a monkey sat down right between the warthog and him, temporarily blocking the shot. But then the monkey moved a little giving Eric a clear shot. But he actually had to shoot right over the monkey. The shot was right behind the shoulder and the warthog only went about 20 yards. He was a huge boar with 11-inch tusks! He should make one ugly shoulder mount:
Eric?s huge, elusive warthog boar
Joe went back to the same spot he hunted kudu yesterday. As planned, the three bulls came back into the waterhole but it took things got pretty comical and it took several hours before Joe got a shot opportunity. Placing brush on the backside of the feeder made the bull present a broadside shot but every time he was ready to shoot, something went wrong.
The first time Joe was in the process of drawing when the camera tripod decided to collapse on its own. The kudu all spooked off and didn’t come back for a couple of hours. This time, again when Joe was getting ready to draw, the Pelican camera case popped open on its own spooking everything again. The third time, a yellow-billed hornbill saw its reflection in the glass blind window and was pecking at itself. You guessed it – all the animals spooked off.
When the kudu finally came back, Joe finally got his hard-earned shot. The shot was only 16 yards and the magnificent bull only went about 80 yards. Man had Joe worked hard for this bull. It had taken him the full trip to finally get his shot at a trophy kudu bull.
Joe is all smiles with his kudu
Hein and I continued to hunt nyala at the same waterhole I hunted yesterday. About 9:30 a.m., eight tssessebe came in and drank. Then a large group of common and white blesbok came in and drank. This was ironic because I wasn’t interested in shooting one but Eric, Joe, and Gary had hunted them hard all week but were not having luck with them coming to water. But of course they had each had nyala bulls at their waterholes and I hadn’t seen one yet. A little later, a beautiful white springbok came in. A common springbok is tan colored with a white underside but they also come in white or black
Common blesbok find safety in numbers
White blesbok ever aware
An uncommon white springbok.
Par for the course, no nyala bulls came in. So about 3:00 p.m., Hein moved me to different waterhole to try for a kudu bull. Kudu bulls commonly come into drink or feed in the late evenings. Eric had previously sat this waterhole and said a really nice bull came in. As we drove up, the bull was already at the feeding station with some kudu cows and waterbuck. The bull looked huge! The animals spooked back into the brush but hopefully they would be back later. As nonchalantly as possible, Hein dropped me off at the waterhole and I snuck into the pit blind.
Before I got into the blind Hein told me if the kudu bull came back, he should come to the feeding station outside the left of the blind. So I opened this window. The sun was shining brightly in the right window so I put my coat over it to prevent myself from being silhouetted. Then I knocked an arrow, hooked on my release, and hung my bow up on the hook.
It wasn’t long before some of the waterbuck cows came back to the feeding station. Waterbuck come to water every day, love the feed, and always seem to be present at the waterholes. A little later, some kudu cows came in but no bull. As the sun started to set, I wondered if the bull would show. But then I saw horns back in the brush. I brought up my binoculars – it was the big bull! My heart rate doubled as I slowly took my bow off the hook and stood behind the shooting window. The bull walked right into the feeder and started feeding with the waterbuck and kudu cows. He looked even bigger than when I first saw. He was incredibly wide and well over 50 inches. The only problem was he was quartering to the blind. He was also wary of the blind and kept bringing up his head and staring at it. I dare not move. For the next 20 minutes I stood ready waiting for him to turn. He gradually was feeding toward a broadside position but was taking forever, the sun was setting, and I was tiring of holding my bow at the ready. But finally the bull turned completely broadside. Now the only problem was the kudu cow feeding directly behind him. Finally she cleared. I drew my bow, aimed just behind the shoulder, and let the arrow fly. The shot hit right where I aimed and penetrated all the way through the bull and was hanging out the backside. The bull ran back into the bush but before he could get out of sight, I saw him his horns wavering above the brush and then he fell over. Man what a rush! I was shaking and out of breath.
After I regained my composure, I stepped out of the blind and called Hein on the radio. Just before sundown, Hein, Levi, and Gary arrived. I told Hein what happened and we just walked to where I had last seen the bull. There he lay looking bigger than ever. After high fives, we took some photos and video footage, loaded up the bull using the winch, and headed back to camp. Again my thanks go to Hein for his hard work and preparation. He had seen this bull at the waterhole before and knew he would probably come in during the late evening. So his plan of moving from the nyala blind for the evening hunt worked like clockwork.
Matt with his trophy kudu
Tip of the Day
If you are sitting alone and you shoot an animal, the first thing you do is call your PH on the radio and inform him of the shot. He will ask you if the shot is good or marginal which will determine how much tracking help he will need (i.e., trackers and tracking dogs). Then as quickly as possible, he will arrive at the blind to start taking up the tracking job. The PHs don’t allow you to leave the blind and start tracking on your own. This is for your safety and to make sure you don’t interfere with the tracking job or possibly jump the animal.
Some of the plains game species in Africa can be very dangerous when wounded – examples are gemsbok and bushbuck. They will try to get you when wounded. In our case, we also needed to watch out for the Cape buffalo. After your animal is recovered and photos are taken, the animal will be loaded into the truck and transported back to the skinning and butchering shed by the PH or tracker. The beauty of Africa is you will usually continue hunting and I have taken as many as three animals in one day.