Africa Bowhunt Day 1 & 2

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Last Updated: Feb 22nd, 2007 – 18:37:03

Africa Bowhunt Day 1 & 2

By Matt Burrows Owner of Stick & Strings

Aug 21, 2006, 00:44

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Follow
along on with Stick & String Outfitters on a 12-day African safari
for plains game in South Africa.  Matt Burrows, owner of Stick
& String Outfitters, a bowhunting-only booking agency and longtime
Bowhunting.net supporter, will be going on two back-to-back hunts with
two of the best bowhunting outfitters in Africa.  The hunts will
take place from two geographically different hunting areas in the
Limpopo Province of South Africa, the northernmost province. 
Joining him on the second and longer leg of the hunt would be three of
Matt’s clients on their first bowhunt to Africa, Gary Schiesz, Eric
Stewart, and Joe Lilly as hunters and Gary’s son-in-law Alan Keith, Jr.
acting as cameraman, all from Washington state.



Introduction

Africa
is a bowhunter’s paradise and many adventurous bowhunters are beginning
to realize the fantastic bowhunting opportunities there.  Where
else can you expect to see up to 50 animals per day at your waterhole
and harvest half a dozen or more animals during a 10-day hunt? 
You will have more opportunities on a short safari in Africa than you
would have during an entire season in the U.S.  And you will be
hunting up to 20 different plains game species, from the diminutive
gray duiker to the massive eland and all species in between including
kudu, gemsbok, zebra, wildebeest, warthog, and impala.  The cost
of a hunt is also much more reasonable than you might realize. 
You can go on an Africa safari and shoot half a dozen animals,
including air fare, for less than a guided moose hunt where you may or
may not harvest an animal.  Your money goes a lot further in
Africa.

This
is my fourth trip to the Dark Continent and because I had taken many of
the more common plains game species on previous trips, I was after more
unusual quarry.  There are several spiral-horned antelope species
in Africa and I will be after four of them – nyala, eland, bushbuck,
and kudu – what I call the “spiral-horned grand slam.”  I had only
taken kudu before but none of the other spiral-horned species.  To
take all four of these on the same trip will be quite a
challenge.  These species are some of the most difficult species
to take with a bow in Africa.  I will also try and take the
reclusive and nocturnal bushpig.  

My Washington clients
will be hunting many of the more common plains game species including
kudu, gemsbok, wildebeest, impala, warthog, and blesbok.

Hunting Areas

I
will be hunting with two of the best bowhunting outfitters in Africa,
Ken Moody Africa Hunting and Dries Visser Safaris.  As the owner
of Stick & String Outfitters, I have the privilege of being the
booking agent for both of these well-known quality outfitters.  My
bowhunting safari will begin with a short 3-day solo hunt with Ken and
then I would join my Washington clients for a longer 9-day hunt with
Dries.  South Africa offers bowhunters the largest variety of
plains game species of any country in the Africa continent and both
outfitter’s hunting areas are located in the Limpopo Province of this
country but are a long distance apart and offer varied terrain and
species.  Ken’s hunting area is in the far north part of the
Limpopo Province near the town of Musina while Dries’s hunting area is
in the northwest corner near Thabazimbi.  Both locations are near
the Limpopo River valley which is considered the best hunting area in
South Africa.

Flight to Africa

There
are direct flights from Washington, D.C. or New York to Johannesburg,
South Africa through South African Airways.  Until this summer,
there were direct flights from Atlanta to Jo’burg but these flights
have been discontinued.  But I understand that next summer, Delta
Airlines will be operating direct flights from Atlanta and due to the
competition, prices may also lower.  This year the price was
around $2,300 which is on the high side.   The flight from
the U.S. to Africa is long (~18 hours) but not unbearable.  The
trip is so long where it is just easier to get comfortable and not
worry about the time.  Bring your laptop and your I-Pod, watch the
movies, and try to sleep.  I even brought a portable DVD player
and watched hunting videos.   

I flew from my home
town west of Denver, Colorado to Washington, D.C. where I spent the
night and then caught the long flight to the capital city of
Johannesburg, South Africa.  Then I overnighted in Jo’burg and
hooked up with Ken Moody and took a short flight to Polokwane (formerly
Pietersburg) in the far northern tip of South Africa near the Zimbabwe
border.  After about a 3-1/2 hour drive, we arrived at Ken’s bush
camp northwest of Musina.

About Ken Moody Africa Hunting

Ken relaxing

Ken
Moody is the owner and operator of this successful bowhunting
business.  He exclusively hunts approximately 40,000 acres of
private land and his properties are bowhunting-only.  Most hunting
is done over waterholes, feeding stations, or mineral licks from ground
blinds, pit blinds, and treestands personally set up by Ken. 
Ken’s large properties have over 60 waterholes and 40 blinds (i.e.,
hides).  Ken, residing in Tennessee, has been operating his
business for over 10 years, is extremely knowledgeable on bowhunting
Africa, and has an excellent reputation for offering high-quality
bowhunts for a very reasonable price.  His professional hunter
(PH), Nico Neuhoff, has 16 years of professional guiding experience and
is one of the best PHs you will find.  Several nationally-known
bowhunters have hunted with Ken including Ted Nugent, Michael Waddell
of Realtree Roadtrips, and Bob Foulkrod of Readhead/Bass Pro Shops. Ken
also offers bow hunts for the Big 6 (cape buffalo, leopard, lion,
elephant, rhino, and hippo) in Zimbabwe.  My only complaint was
that I only had three days to hunt with Ken.

Ted Nugent with his warthog

Bob Foulkrod with Buffalo

Michael Waddell happy with his Elan

Just
to demonstrate the quality hunting on Ken’s concessions, a group of
nine bowhunters hunted a 10-day period after my hunt and they shot five
kudu bulls from 48″ to 57 inches; some superb, huge warthogs: four
blesbok: gemsbok: many wildebeest: many impala, and a 35″ eland
bull.  Ken’s clients took 53 total animals during their hunt!

Kudu bull

 

Gemsbok

 

Eland

 

Warthog

The
accommodations at his bush camp were also very comfortable with
permanent red brick dining and sleeping chalets, generated electricity,
hot and cold water, and a nice fire pit.  The food was also
excellent consisting of Africa big game and American cuisine.  

Ken
also showed me the 5-star Dongola Lodge if hunters desire to bring
their wives or just want the comforts of home.  The lodge is
top-notch, had three swimming pools, several modern dining and sleeping
chalets, a restaurant, and actually is rated a 5-star lodge. 
There is also an abundance of game for hunting or game viewing and the
property has some of the Big 5 species.  Most bowhunters, however,
stay in Ken’s “bush” camp which is where I stayed.  

Day 1 – Wildebeest, Waterbuck

To
help get over jet lag, we decided to sleep in this morning.  I got
all my equipment ready and shot some broadheads to check my
sights.  Then Ken showed me around one of his properties. 
The countryside was very beautiful with rolling hills, a large mountain
in the middle of the property, huge ancient baobab trees (several
hundred years old), and deciduous mopane forest.  While driving
around, we saw an abundance of game including zebra, wildebeest,
gemsbok, and tons of impala.  It was good to be back in Africa and
I couldn’t wait to get in a blind (referred to as a “hide” in
Africa).  Unfortunately I had timed my hunt poorly because it was
a full moon and many animals would water and feed at night.  But
due the abundance of game, my hopes were still high.

      

For
the evenings hunt, I sat a hide which consisted of a ground blind near
a windmill about ½ hour from camp.  The waterhole was concrete
about 10 feet in diameter and was fed by the windmill located several
hundred yards away.  Three wildebeest cows, five waterbuck cows
and young bulls, a vervet monkey, and numerous noisy helmeted guinea
fowl and francolins came into the waterhole and drank.  It was a
good start to an exciting hunt.

Mud Blind


Vervet Monkey


Wildebeest cows coming in to drink



Tip of the Day

Almost all of the plains game species in Africa are in the
antelope family (zebra are one of the exceptions).  And they have
horns rather than antlers and do not shed them annually.  Also, in
some antelope species, both sexes have horns and in others, only the
males have horns.  For example, for gemsbok, blesbok, red
hartebeest and wildebeest, both males and females have horns and for
kudu, impala, and waterbuck, only the bulls have horns.

There
are no bucks and does for African plains game.  Males are either
referred to as rams or bulls and females are either referred to ewes or
cows.  For all species smaller than nyala, the males are referred
to rams and the females ewes.  And for all species larger than the
nyala, the males are referred to as bulls and the female cows. 
Interestingly enough, for the nyala, males are referred to as bulls and
females ewes.

Day 2 – Duiker, Giraffe

We
awoke early today and I sat in a pit blind called “the moon.” 
Apparently it is called this because the blind is a concrete pit blind
the color of the moon.  The blind was sunken 1 meter into the
ground and sat about 17 yards from a small manmade, concrete water
hole. A salt lick was nearby.  The amount of sign around the
waterhole was incredible!  We saw tracks of many impala, kudu, and
eland and my hopes were high.  Ken told me that last year there
was a 60″ kudu bull frequenting the waterhole that had not been
harvested.  This was one species at the top of my wish list.

Moon blind over water hole

Early
in the morning, four duiker came in separately and watered – two rams
and two ewes.  Duiker are one of the smallest antelope species
weighing only 20 to 30 pounds and only the rams have horns.  But
they are extremely wary and strung as tight as a piano wire, likely a
result of being at the bottom of the food chain.  They act like a
squirrel on caffeine and can jump the string like no other.  One
of the rams was also quite nice with horns extending just past the tip
of his ears which would make him 4-inches or so.  This doesn’t
sound like much of a trophy but is actually a good trophy for a
duiker.   He offered a nice quartering away shot but as I had
harvested one of these animals during a past safari and was after
larger quarry, I passed on him.

A small Duiker

Around
mid-day, a group of kudu cows, calves, and one small bull came in and
drank.  Also a large group of impala including two decent rams
came in.  Mid afternoon a large troop of baboon came and hung
around the waterhole.  These creatures are extremely wary and have
incredible eyesight so you must be very careful not to move too much or
show yourself or they will spot you in a heart beat.  If alerted
or spooked, the baboon will start barking their alarm call and spook
any big game near by.  It is best to just leave the baboon at
peace and let them leave on their own accord because often big game
will follow the baboon troops around, use them as sentries, and then
drink when the coast is clear.  Unfortunately, the only large game
that followed were three giraffe. But they were incredible to watch and
one large bull came into the waterhole and drank a mere 15 yards from
the blind.  He needed to splay out his legs to reach the
water.  What a sight!  What a contrast of species today – one
of the smallest species, the duiker, and one of the largest, the
giraffe.  For hunting during a full moon, I thought I saw quite a
lot of game today.

Yound Kudu bull alert to danger?


baboons scoping the area


Long way down to the water

Ken
picked me up at dark and we had a wonderful dinner and a warm camp
fire.  Nights can be chilly in Africa and nothing touches the soul
more than a warm camp fire and a cold drink.  Africa makes me feel
alive and one with nature.  I hunt as the leopard hunts. 
When I am away from Africa, I long to be here.  When I am here, I
feel at home.  It is in my blood.  I slept like a baby
dreaming of all the animals to come.    

Tip of the Day

The
full moon hugely affects the amount of game that will water or feed at
the waterholes during the day or night.  Ken told me he believes
that only about 50% of the game that normally water during a period of
dark moon will water during a full moon.  The affect of the moon
is so profound that most good African outfitters will not book hunters
during a period of full moon.  So check your calendar for the year
you want to hunt and try to schedule your hunt during the dark phases
of the moon.

Next up:  Day 3 In Africa

NOTE: Stick & String Outfitters is a bowhunting-only booking agency (highly recommended by bowhunting.net)
currently arranging bowhunts to Africa, the West and Midwest U.S.,
Alaska, Canada, and New Zealand.

Trophy Ridge is the inventor of vertical inline pin technology and also
manufacturers the Drop Zone arrow rest, quivers, stabilizers, and
Rocket Arrowheads.

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