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'Enigma' Shot Placement

This is a discussion on 'Enigma' Shot Placement within the Firearm Shot Placement forums, part of the HUNT AFRICA category; Common guys,...every one of us who has been hunting long enough surely has had one 'enigma' bagged, at least... Well, ...

  1. #1
    fhm3006's Avatar
    fhm3006 is offline AH Enthusiast
    Sep 2009

    Hunted Namibia / South-Africa

    Default 'Enigma' Shot Placement

    Common guys,...every one of us who has been hunting long enough surely has had one 'enigma' bagged, at least...

    Well, I shot my first 'enigma' in Africa, Southern-Namibia to be specific, just before my 46th birthday, at 05:30 am, on Wednesday the 27th of July - in the winter of 2011.

    Early morning on this fateful day we were dropped off about 15 Km from the farm house where Kudu loves to keep amongst the sweet-thorn brush. We = my tracker Esau and me on foot, as I prefer it. It was really cold and the grass was quite wet, but the sweet smell of wet grass, nature and the bush made me smile. As we stood there for a moment and hear the noise of the vehicle dissipates in the distance, one could hear the surroundings come alive with bird sounds. I looked at Esau "common man lets go find that kudu bull you brag about seeing every week"

    We walked, taking into account where the sun is starting to rise, the light cool wind in our faces. After about 2 hours, having seen some Springbuck, Blesbuck and Waterbuck, we approached the 'hot area' for that kudu of Esau. I told Esau we should maneuver our direction as such for me to shoot with the sun at my back. So we altered our direction and slowly went along a considerable patch of dense sweet-thorn brush taking care so the wind to be towards us and the sun at our backs. Suddenly Esau froze and we crouched next to a small three-thorn brush. He keep staring over the small brush next to us at a dense clump of sweet-thorn about 80 yards from us to our left and he whispers back to me "do you see its horns, can you see it, it is right there"

    I looked and squinted and try to pierce the dense brush with my eyes and then suddenly I saw a small glint of light as the sun reflects from its horn tips. I replied "Esau I see the horns but that is it, I see nothing else" I then decided to gamble, whispering to Esau that I will stay on the spot, and he must slowly backtrack with an angle close to the brush behind where the Kudu was, the buck will sense his movement and focus on him the plan was with Esau going back and closer to the brush and me fairly hidden by the three-thorn brush next to me, for the Kudu to move forward away from him so I could have a possible shot. I went down on one knee keeping my scope on the horns in the brush while Esau is crouched upright and moving backwards.

    After about 2 -3 minutes Esau was about 50 yards backwards to the left of where the buck stood, and then it moved forward. I blinked fast, focus, and saw it move, looking for that open spot but found none. I slowly looked at Esau and him at me then as if he understood he stood upright and moved two steps closer to the brush. Then things start to happen very fast and the sequence of the following events is burnt into my memory as clear as daylight for as long as I live.

    For some reason the Kudu step out of the brush half its length, body facing me and head turned to look back-to the right at Esau. In the 3 seconds it took me to breath, aim for the head and press the trigger I could see it clearly in fact my entire scope was filled with Kudu, I could see the magnificent curled horns, I could see the eye, the wet muzzle, and glint in the hair on its ears, it seem so close I could reach out and touch it... Boom!!!

    I knew I missed the moment the shot went off, hearing the buck breaking brush and branches as it makes its way into the sweet-thorn and in the opposite direction. I shook my head first, then blinked, then stared at the spot where that Kudu has been standing 70 yards from me, but there was nothing there anymore. Esau was still standing where he was, holding his head in his hands and staring at the same empty spot in the brush he could not believe it either, he felt bad for me I knew it. For five minutes with no word spoken, both of us just sitting flat on our bums staring at that spot in the brush - we eventually got up. I looked at Esau and said "Sorry Esau, I was so sure I had him" ... but actually I was apologizing to myself and I think Esau knew it.

    I still cannot believe that I missed at that distance. It is an enigma to me, and it is going to take time to accept that missed shot. I came to realize with my scope set at 165 yards and me going for the head at 70 yards I did not allow for the short distance by lowering my point of aim, I must have shot just-just over the head - probably pierced an ear.

    This sall matter has been bothering me the past month by re-living that moment over and over and by now have taken that shot thousands of times at night - lying in my bed. Rookie mistake made after 35 years of hunting.

    Thus came to be my entry into the distinguished club of "enigma" hunters.

    I hope some AH psychiatry-sessions and words of understanding will remedy my shot-pride and make me feel welcome amongst the "enigma-fellowship" here on AH.
    Fortes Fortuna Luvat

  2. #2
    James.Grage's Avatar
    James.Grage is offline GOLD SUPPORTER
    Feb 2010


    Hunted USA - Canada -Tanzania, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Africa

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    When things like that take place it is like it is in slow motion to be replayed frame by is like you can reach out and touch it...

    great the way...
    James Grage - New Mexico
    Hold a steady Eye & Rifle...
    "Very few of the so-called liberals are open-minded...they shout you down and won't let you speak if you disagree with them." John Wayne

  3. #3
    enysse's Avatar
    enysse is online now AH Ambassador
    Jan 2009

    Member of Northeast Wisconsin SCI chapter, Lifetime member of NRA,RMEF

    Hunted Namibia, South Africa (East Cape, Guateng and Limpopo)

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    Misses thing is do some more hunting and generate some more memories.

  4. #4
    messmate's Avatar
    messmate is offline AH Veteran
    Jul 2009

    Member of Sporting Shooters Association Australia. Australian Deer Association

    Hunted Australia, New Zealand, South Africa

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    I think every hunter has a nightmare or 2 like yours...unexplainable misses. I missed a Sambar at 30 metres once with open sights.You would've thought the gun barrel had a sevre bend in it. I'm sure that deer appears in the night sometimes and gives me the finger.
    Then again we all have 1 or 2 of those magic shots out to 300-400 metres with a 1 shot kill.....buuuttt it's the deer giving you the finger that you remember. Have a drink on him.

  5. #5
    PHOENIX PHIL's Avatar
    PHOENIX PHIL is online now AH Elite
    Apr 2009

    Member of SCI

    Hunted USA, S. Africa

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    I killed a nice 6x6 bull elk last year. I took this bull the morning after my enigma from the same spot I was sitting the night before. Suffice to say, my bull was the great great grandson of the one I made a ridiculously stupid mistake on the night before. The bull I messed up on was easily a Boone and Crockett book bull. I don't know that I'll ever see a bull like that again much less have a shot at one.
    U.S. Contact for HartzView Safaris

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