Eric, Joe, and Gary hunted blesbok today without any luck. They had already taken all the other animals in their hunt packages.
For the fourth day in a row, I pursued nyala. The first thing in the morning we tried some walking and stalking near the main ranch. We got close to a nice bull but not close enough for a shot before he saw us and spooked.
For the afternoon hunt, we planned to go to the ranch about 30 miles southeast of the main ranch where I had shot my bushbuck and Joe had shot his kudu bull. Joe had been telling us about three nice nyala bulls he had seen out there and now it was time to change our plans and check it out.
We climbed into the pit blind about 3:00 p.m. There was a small waterhole to the left of the blind and a feeding station directly in front of the blind. Hein figured the bulls would come to feed first so we prepared to shoot in that direction. The sun was setting in the left window so we covered it up with one of our coats. Nyala are very wary and would never tolerate the sun shining on us. Also to help hide our scent, Hein lit some zebra dung and placed it in the side window. Apparently the smoke acts as a cover scent.
Heinz, our PH
ah, the sweet smell of burning zebra poop
About 5:00 p.m. Hein looked up and said a nyala bull was coming in. I slowly grabbed my bow. The bull came directly to the feeding station offering a nice, short, broadside shot. The only problem was he wasn’t large or mature enough to shoot. His horns were very narrow and short. But he was beautiful nonetheless. I personally think nyala are one of the most handsome animals in Africa.
This young nyala bull is a bit curious
This bull eventually left but a little later, two other bulls, one large and one medium, headed toward the feeding station. They came in very slowly and warily constantly staring at the blind. We dared not move. Finally they came in and started feeding in easy bow range. The larger bull had very wide and long horns and would make an awesome trophy. As usual, my heart started racing. The bull was feeding broadside in easy bow range. The problem now was that the smaller bull was directly behind him and the last thing I wanted to do was pay for two nyala at over two grand a piece. Finally after about 15 minutes, the smaller bull moved offering me a clear shot at the large bull. I started to draw my bow but somehow the bull heard me drawing and jerked up his head. I froze. When he relaxed again, I let down and waited for another opportunity.
This large nyala bull looks over
It wasn’t long before the bull offered me another shot. He had his head down feeding and was broadside. After him seeing or hearing me draw the first time, this time I decided to draw my bow outside of the shooting window, and then move into the window for the shot. As I did this, I was watching the bull through the camcorder viewfinder. I started my draw and was about half way back when he again heard or saw me. I couldn’t believe it. But since I was still outside of the shooting window, I decided to continue my draw. In retrospect, this was a mistake and was more than the bull could stand. He must have seen more movement and decided it was time to leave. He was gone and I had blown my chance.
From my short experience with nyala, I consider them one of the more wary animals in Africa – more so than the kudu in my opinion. But this experience just goes to show that animals in Africa are not gimmes. Oh well, it gives me something to come back for.
Overall, I don’t know how the hunt could have been better. Between the four of us, we took 18 animals and 8 different species (kudu, gemsbok, blue wildebeest, impala, warthog, blesbok, bushbuck and bushpig). We also saw numerous Burchells zebra, eland, nyala, waterbuck, springbok (common, black, and white), blesbok (common and white), red hartebeest, black wildebeest, duiker, tssessebe, and cape buffalo. We’re already planning a return trip in 2008 and we’ve got our wish-list of species decided. Eric, Joe, and Gary are interested in zebra, waterbuck, blesbok, red hartebeest, black wildebeest, and possibly nyala. For me, the priorities of course will be the elusive eland and nyala. I’m also talking with Dries about a future bowhunt for leopard. Dries and his father comprise one of the most successful leopard outfitters in Africa with a bowhunting success rate near 100%. The problem is getting a tag in South Africa, which are very limited. But that’s the nice thing about Africa, you never run out of species!
Now this is a trophy line
Here is what Eric, Joe, and Gary had to say about the hunt.
“The accommodations, staff and PH were all first class. The entire experience exceeded my expectations by far. I have never had such a good time hunting as I had with Dries Visser Bowhunting Safaris. Matt is very knowledgeable about bowhunting and a great guy to be on a hunt with. I consider Matt not only as a booking agent but a friend.”
“If you like to bowhunt and have ever dreamed of hunting Africa, look no further than Dries Visser Bowhunting Safaris of your hunt of a lifetime. And when you finish your hunt, you will be planning how to get back again.”
Gary Schiesz – Shadow Mountain Outfitters, Tacoma, WA (AZ javelina, mule deer and coues deer, Mexico deer – Ph. 1 ( 253) 537-9698)
A nice kudu trophy to take home
Price of a Hunt
The cost of an African bowhunt is a lot more affordable than most bowhunters think, especially when compared to North American guided hunts. For example, you can go on a 10-day African safari for the price as a private-land elk or Alaska moose hunt where you may or may not harvest an animal. In Africa, you can either hunt with a package deal or pay a daily rate and a trophy fee for each animal you shoot.
For example, Ken offers a “Superbow” package for $4,450 which includes 10 days of hunting and five animals – two large species of your choice such as kudu, gemsbok, and wildebeest; two medium-sized species such as impala, warthog, and blesbok; and either a duiker or steenbok.
Dries has hunt packages ranging from $4699 to $8299 (all inclusive) depending on which species you desire. The hunt packages are a good option if these are the species you are interested in and is a cost savings.
Additional species can be added for an additional per animal cost. Or if a package deal doesn’t fit your desired wish list, you can hunt on a daily rate on a 1×1 guide to hunter ratio (~$300/day) and just pay for each animal you shoot.
There is a different trophy fee for each animal you shoot with prices ranging from $250 for an impala or warthog, $950 for a zebra, $975 for a gemsbok, and $1500 for a kudu or waterbuck. You pay for any animal that you shoot at and draw blood, whether recovered or not. No hunting licenses are required to hunt plains game in South Africa.
Africa with Stick & String DVD
Own your own African Adventure Video
Stick & String Outfitters has produced what is considered the most informational DVD available on bowhunting Africa – “Africa with Stick & String.” This is not your typical wack’em and stack’em Africa bowhunting video. We’ve made it extremely educational, in addition to being very exciting and entertaining. The DVD is a “must see” for all first time Africa bowhunters.
Bill Krenz, bowhunting authority and Editor of Bowhunt America, said it best in his recent review of the video.
“I must tell you that I’ve watched a truckload of videos on bowhunting in Africa, mainly because I love the mere thought of Africa. Your video, however, is the best such video I have ever seen … by about the distance it is from my home in Colorado to the Dark Continent. The photography and editing are exceptional. I especially appreciated the informative and intelligent presentation of so many different big game species and so many bowhunting situations, and I love the straightforward talk about what season to bowhunt in Africa, prices, shot placement, determining male from female, trophy size, even how to pack for an African bowhunt. Everyone dreaming about bowhunting in Africa should get this video. Everyone going to Africa to bowhunt must get this video. It’s the best!”
Over 80 minutes of nonstop action and 19 outstanding bowhunts. Only $14.99 plus $2 shipping.
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About Stick & String Outfitters
In addition to numerous North American bowhunts, Stick & String Outfitters arranges several different bowhunts in Africa including South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia for Plains game and dangerous games. If you have any questions about Africa, whether you are planning to hunt with us or another outfitter, please do not hesitate to contact us.