Today Eric took another animal, this time a wildebeest, and was getting close to filling his hunt package. Two wildebeest bulls came into the waterhole and he shot the larger of the two. The shot was right behind the shoulder and the bull didn’t go far and Alan was able to capture the entire hunt on video. This wildebeest’s horns are very different. The bosses are huge but the horns come straight out and then up, unlike most wildebeests that curl back in. Eric and his PH Ben were happy campers.
Eric scores again
loaded up and ready to go
After a sleepless night for me, we were back on the blood trail at dawn. Hein and Levi followed the blood trail across the main ranch dirt road and into an open area where the blood trail petered out. Due to a very wet spring, the grass was very tall this year making tracking difficult and the tracker lost the blood trail. The tracking dogs also could not follow the track because of the day-old blood trail. But preferring thick bush, Hein knew the eland would not stay in the open area and would seek thick cover. So we stalked through several thick areas looking for eland tracks and the animals themselves. By this time, we had lost hope of finding the bull expired and the PH carried his rifle to dispatch the bull if we could find him alive. That is just the way it is done in Africa. It would have been darn near impossible to get within bow range of the bull if he was still kicking.
Finally, just before dusk the trackers did a drive through some thick cover and out came three large bulls across a two-track road several hundred yards away. Through my binoculars I could see that the last bull was mine. He was pure gray compared to the others which were tan and he had a long “ruff” on his forehead indicating he was a mature bull. I couldn’t see the ivory tips of his horns but was pretty sure it was my bull. The bulls headed into some other thick cover and it was too late to try another drive. We would have to come back tomorrow and try again. The bull was still alive but would eventually die because the arrow definitely penetrated one lung. Just after dark, we again dragged all the two-track roads in the vicinity of the bulls to look for fresh tracks in the morning.
We all met back at the lodge and had a wonderful dinner. I again had difficulty sleeping. It had been a long, frustrating two days of tracking and now we would be into the third.
Great food, great company and talks of the hunt
Tip of the Day
In Africa, if an animal is wounded, the outfitter will make every effort to get you into bow range for a finishing shot. The tracking dog is normally used and if it catches up to the wounded animal, the dog will start barking and try to bay up the animal. And occasionally you can get close enough for a finishing shot but often this is not possible. The countryside is very thick and noisy and it can be very difficult to get close enough for a bow shot. Therefore, if an animal does not appear that it will expire anytime soon from the arrow wound, a rifle is commonly used to dispatch the animal. This is better than risking the possibility of losing the animal to the jackals and hyenas or not recovering the animal at all.