Bongo, Sitatunga Hunt Report- Cameroon
Enysse, it was a great hunt, but a difficult hunt. There was no rain for the first 8 days, making tracking bongo impossible. Once we did get rain, we ended up following - and baying - two females with very large feet (!), and we found two males, which refused to bay, and just ran from the dogs. When we did find the track that eventually led to our bongo, it was about noon, and we tracked through the thickest jungle I have ever been in, for about three hours. It is not an exaggeration to say that we literally crawled through some of the bush, got wet crossing a stream, got muddy going through a swamp, and were attacked by what seemed to be every insect in the forest for the entire time. We (more likely I) were on the verge of giving up - we needed to get out of the jungle before dark - when one of the dogs let out a short bark. We assumed he'd been chasing guinea fowl, as one of the dogs had shortly before, so told one of the trackers to control the dog. Within seconds, the tracker said "le bongo est la" - the bongo is there - and we were off. I took a shot - open sights - at about 20 yards, with lots of greenery in the way. I was very lucky - as it turned out, my bullet went through a tree on its way to the bongo - and hit him a bit high, but that high shot spined him, and down he went. We ran up to him, and got the dogs clear, and I gave him one in the heart, killing him instantly. i was soaked from perspiration, and basically fell down in exhaustion at that point.
Credit goes to my PH, Guave Johnson, who didn't let up and wouldn't let me let up either. Frankly, the heat and humidity were far worse than I had imagined - I come from a colder, and very dry - climate. Here's the bongo:
And here's the tree the bullet passed through
The day after, we continued to visit all of the places we'd been looking for sitatunga. We had planned to visit one spot, but the four whell drive on the truck broke, and we couldn't make it up a hill. We turned around and decided to visit another spot we'd tried several times, which didn't require going up a muddy hill. As soon as we got there, we saw the sitatunga in the swamp, looking away. Up went the sticks, and one shot through the heart and lungs brought him down within 5 yards. So after 11 days of no luck and lots of hard work, all of a sudden, it all happened within about 24 hours. Got to love hunting.
Here's the sitatunga:
So very pleased with the final result!