SOUTH AFRICA: BOWHUNT: My First Trip to Africa on a Bowhunt with Hunt the Sun, Kimberley, South Afr

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports' started by archerman, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. archerman

    archerman AH Member

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    My wife and I just returned from our first trip to Africa. We were on a Bowhunt at the Imbasa lodge just outside of Kimberley, South Africa. Mike our Host and his staff, treated us like royalty. The Imbasa lodge is a luxury facility with many amenities such as swimming pool, indoor sauna, Main dinning room, recreation room with a pool table, and living room with library, fireplace, and Satalite TV. All at Imbasa lodge did their best to make use feel welcomed. My PH, Evert and Tracker, Paul went out of their way to make my bowhunting experience one which I will remember for a long time to come. My wife Tatyana and I used their Sauna when we felt the desire to pamper ourselves. The daily food was always wonderful as we ate various game meat like kudu, wildebeest, etc. The kitchen was open 24/7 to whatever food and dessert we might want. I cannot say enough about our experience while staying at the Lodge.

    Each morning upon wakening we were met with the sight and sounds of grazing game like springbok, sable antelope, red hartebeest, and more. We were in African heaven. My wife availed herself of opportunity to take trips to nearby game parks and early morning walks with Leon, one of the trackers at Imbasa.

    The first day of bowhunting found me sitting in a blind about 1 or 2 mile from the lodge with my PH, Evert.
    I was shooting a Fred Bear TD recurve at 65# that I short draw to about 59#. I make my own arrows with Easton 2212 aluminum shafts, 100 grain Magnus 2 blade BHs, and 3 Goose feather 5" fletching with Easton uni nocks. The arrows weight 480-500 grains.

    My PH Evert and I sat in that blind from about 10am to some time around 4pm and saw many different game come to water throughout the day. At one point a monkey (what species I do not know) came in to drink and just about made it to the water hole when it suddenly stopped and started screaming its head off. Must have sensed something was wrong but couldn't pinpoint our presence. It scrambled back to a tree branch and screamed its bloody head off for quite a while and scared off game after game that was attempting to come in. At one point I wanted to quiet it myself, but finally he scampered off leaving our blind in peace and tranquility.

    I really thought that would end our hunt for the day. But since there was still quite a bit of daylight left and Evert had not seemed a bit disturbed about what had transpired, we sat it out.

    Just around 4 or 5 pm game started to trickle back in as it had been a very hot day. Soon Evert noticed the herd of Kudu we had seen earlier coming to water. I readied my bow, knocked an arrow and waited. One by one the kudu came in cautiously and deliberately as most game does at waterholes. First were the female and young bulls. Then I saw a bull that had a wide set of horns but not quite the full three curls of a mature adult. To my untrained eyes I thought this was a good enough trophy for this little trad bowhunter. But to my chagrin Evert said "don't shoot !!!" He then sat down at the back of the blind. I turned at that moment and asked, "why can't I shoot him". "He's too young" is all Evert said. Then he told me there was another more mature bull yet to appear. As I turned back to peer thru the slit cut in the camouflage netting the bull stepped into view and peered right into the blind.

    Well I can tell you what a thrill it was to see his magnificent spiraling horns as he slowly started to approach the water broadside. Just behind him though, was a cow Kudu. Evert said "wait till she moves out of the way before you shoot in case of a pass thru". As soon as he ended that statement the cow stepped out from behind the bull. That left me a clear shot with plenty of room behind.

    I waited till he turned his head away from the blind then drew, anchored, and loosed a perfect arrow into the center pocket of the kill zone. All hell broke loose as the herd scattered back from whence they came, my bull in hot pursuit. I could see the arrow embedded deep into his vitals as he ran out of sight. Evert watched thru his binoculars as they ran out onto the savanna. He watched them for a while longer as I tried to compose myself and contain my emotions. "He's down" Evert said, bringing me back to some sort of composer.

    We exited the blind and headed in the direction of the downed Kudu. He was magnificent, a dream come true for me as he was one of the main reasons for my trip. We found the back half of my arrow some 100 yds from the blind, broken in half and covered with blood. The bull had a mark on his shoulder were the hair was recently missing. Evert said that was because the bull ran into a tree shortly before he fell, at about 200 yds. We just smiled and admired this magnificent trophy.

    Evert called back to camp for the trackers and skinners. My wife was back in camp and she came in too. After dressing out the bull and taking pictures we loaded my trophy onto Everts pickup and drove back to the Lodge.

    What an experience, and on the very first day. Well, my nerves were still reeling as Peter, our server, poured me a nice ice cold MGD with ice and a lemon. ( I am kind of funny that way, ice and a lemon with my beer)

    We all sat around the camp fire relishing in the experience and enjoying what had transpired. The fire was lit and the grill prepared for our first African BBQ of kudu steak as the sun set on our day. WOW this is bowhunting Heaven.

    KuduBull11.jpg TheBlind copy.jpg TheLodge copy.jpg Room copy.jpg
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  2. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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    Thanks for posting your hunt report archerman!
  3. Upton O. Good

    Upton O. Good AH Veteran

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    Congrats on your great kudu, well done. I hunted with Evert on two trips and he is a very gifted man, he knows animals and hunting. I learned very quickly to listen and trust his judgement. He also has some stories of our adventures but he is too professional to embarrass me by telling them to you.

    I also agree that Mike and his staff put on a great trip.

    Congrats again on your great Gray Ghost.
  4. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Another good Kudu.
    Congrats.
  5. Bobpuckett

    Bobpuckett GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Congrats archerman! Fine Kudu can't wait for the rest of the story I know it was more then a one day hunt surely.
  6. Nyati

    Nyati AH Legend

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    Congrats, very nice kudu !

    Thanks for sharing.
  7. archerman

    archerman AH Member

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    HERE IS MY STORY OF THE BLUE WILDEBEEST;

    My first Blue Wildebeest encounter happened two or three days after I had arrowed that nice Kudu while hunting with Hunt The Sun Safaris out of Kimberley South Africa……… By the third day my PH, Evert and I had moved around to different blinds, as he did not like to use the same one twice in a row. That practice allowed things to settle down at each site.. ( The weather conditions were perfect for sitting at waterholes. The days were very hot and game needed to water regularly.)


    We usually entered the blinds or hides, as they are called here in South Africa from the rear door. Mid morning is one of the best times to sit at waterholes as the game usually do not come in till late morning and late afternoon and continue during the evening hours. Hunting plains game this way can be taxing as, at times, there are long hours where there is little or no activity except for birds, tortoise and small critters like monkeys or babboons.


    On this day, we spent much time glassing and watching the movement of the various species that came and went to satisfy their thirst. I was fascinated to glass and observe this wonderful savannah that spread out beyond the confines of the waterhole. With its rich red dirt and spreading acacia trees and termite mounts that raise from the ground like tiny pyramids, some as high as two or three feet, the savannah is rich in game and beauty. The plains spread undulating toward the horizon where it meets up with rolling thick green covered hills which is ideal for game to rest and cool off in the mid day heat. At times, gazing off into the expanse, I dreamed about what it was like in the days when Hemingway and Ruark hunted the British East African plains of the Serengeti with the backdrop of Mt Kilimanjaro off in the distance. They were out on the veldt living in tents with no running water or flushing toilets. Outfitters had to pack tents, equipment and kitchen utilities needed to make an extended stay on the plains. It required a small caravan of jeeps, Land Rovers and a team of skinners, cooks and camp boys and visits to restock provisions in small town duccas. Besides the thrill of the hunt, there were broken axels, personal mishaps and unexpected visitors to camp. Ruark wrote of encounters with native Swahili, Masai and Wakamba, some who told of great herds of Kudu, Rhino or Cape Buffalo. These men offered to show the secret hideaways for money, cigarettes or to be hired as guides.


    At times during the long waits, my mind wandered back to the pages of Ruarks Horn of The Hunter. I was there with the young Robert Ruark, my heart pounding as he squeezed the trigger on a Tommy gazelle or a charging mbogo (Cape Buffalo). Here I was now in South Africa bowhunting, seeing some of the same game species that he wrote about but, now at age 62. It took years of saving and planning to finally pull together whatever resources I could to afford a trip like this. The accommodations were much more appealing/luxurious than back in Ruarks time. That was fine by my wife, who enjoys nature as much as I do but also loves the comforts that Hunt The Sun and Imbasa lodge provides.


    Since my Kudu bow kill two days earlier, I had no opportunity at my other intended species though I saw animals everyday like, Zebra, Ostrich, Warthog, Sable, Roan antelope, Tortoise, Red Hartebeest, Tsessebe, etc. On day four we got in our blind in late morning. By mid afternoon game started to arrive. A herd of Blue Wildebeest came to drink. There were many young and females, some pregnant. They milled around grazing and butting each-other. Occasionally a few would spook for seemingly no good reason. (The wind was in our favor and we were very quiet.) The herd would dart off then meander back bringing some more stragglers. (I can understand why they are called the Clowns of the Veldt.) On one of these return trips we noticed a really nice bull at the edge of the herd. Everts face lit up and he motioned to me that this was a nice old bull with great horns. ( At Imbasa they like to manage the game species by only taking out mature animals. This practice perpetuates a good gene pool and insures opportunities for harvesting nice trophies.)


    I was ready when the bull came in for a drink and Evert gave me the nod. After loosing the arrow from my Fred Bear Take Down Recurve, I could see it struck high and forward of the vitals. That was really upsetting as the shot on the Kudu a few days earlier was placed perfectly in the kill zone and led to a clean swift recovery ( see my story above). An empty feeling overwhelmed me. I can only think that the excitement of seeing that old bruiser just got the best of me and I did not make a clean release. ( S**t happens when your hunting!!!) When the herd peeled out after the shot, my heart sank as I watched the bull take off with the others. There was no chance for a second shot. We exited the blind as Evert called in Paul our tracker. We found my broken arrow near the edge of the clearing. About six to eight inches was missing from the front end and there was much red blood on the shaft which indicated that I might have hit an artery.


    When Paul arrived, Evert spoke to him in Afrikaans, which is a local language that to me sounds like a mixture of Pig Latin (a little) and maybe Dutch. Anyway, I knew this was going to be a really difficult tracking job as these wildebeest are strong and hard to put down even with good shot placement. With the truck that brought us to this blind secured, we were off.


    I was silent at the beginning and Paul was on the tracks of the herd right away. He found blood immediately on the dry dusty red savannah. We followed the tracks for quite a while. Evert glassed out ahead of us and spotted the herd. They were off and running to our left as we intently glassed for my wounded bull. We were still not sure he was with the group, so we continued to follow the tracks in the dirt looking for any blood trail that would indicate he split off in another direction. At one point Evert turned to me and said things were not looking good as the blood trail was lessening. That sent a sickening feeling to my already frustrated psyche but I knew that I had two of the best hunters/trackers and if there was a chance of bringing this beast to harvest, they were the ones to help.


    We continued at a quick pace to keep the pressure up. Paul combed the ground in every direction in hopes of finding sign that indicated the bull split from the group. At one point he saw a set of tracks that went off in the opposite direction from the herd. I could hardly make out the tracks but Paul was on hands and knees checking every blade of grass for blood. He turned to Evert and pointed to a spot of red blood no larger than the head of a pin on the back of a blade of grass indicating these were the tracks of my bull. Everts eyes lit up and we pressed on again in pursuit.

    The tracks took us in and out of narrow dongas. We started to find more spoors out in his direction of travel. ( Evert told me that when a wildebeest or any game for that matter, leave the safety of the herd they are most likely hit pretty hard.) He turned to me and smiled as we headed off at a quickened pace. We followed the spoor for about a mile seeing glimpses of him under a tree or glancing back at us after taking off again. We pressed on and came to a dirt road that crossed our path. We paused to rest and Evert had Paul take a shortcut back to get the truck and some water to quench our thirst as the day was heating up. While we waited for Paul to return we moved under a tree to get out of the beating sun. I could see Evert was excited and he told me how much he enjoyed hunting and the pursuit of game. We were standing next to a tree limb and he noticed that near the tip was a well camouflaged locust looking insect hanging on to the branch. Its surface matched the limb bark pattern exactly which made him blend perfectly. It was huge compared to any grasshopper/locust I ever saw here in the states. It must have been 5 to 6" long. I would hate to see a swarm of them coming across the veldt. As we talked, Evert was more confident that we would retrieve this bull. So now my sinking feeling got a bit of a lift. How the tide had changed!!!


    When Paul returned with the truck we satisfied our thirst and slowed our pace a little as Evert thought this was the time to let off on the pressure and give our bull some time to bed down. The blood we were now following was more pronounced and trailing in a line of about two or three feet at various intervals, so it was quite easy to follow. (Evidently, as I hoped, he was hit in an artery [subclavian artery/vein near the arch of the aorta] that runs from the heart to follow a line just above his shoulder blade and under the Oesophagus.) As we slowly moved on, the trail showed more patches of dark red blood as he traveled in and out of dongas on his way through the savannah.


    We were about a mile or so from the road when Evert stopped suddenly. Paul pointed to a tree ahead and to our right about 50 to 70 yards away. There bedded down under a acacia tree was my bull. At that point I did not want to chance him bolting off again if I tried a stalk to get into bow range. I felt it was my obligation to hasten his demise. So, when Evert asked if I wanted to use his .300 Win Mag, I took the offer. His gun was sighted in for 200 yards. The bull was quartering away so I held a little low and just back of his last rib. I squeezed the trigger and moments later heard the thud of the bullet. He fell over in a heap. I was glad the deed was done but was disappointed not to have a clean bow kill. I know I did the right thing that day.


    When we got to the bull it was obvious there was no ground shrinkage. He had a fine set of horns with thick bosses. His teeth were warn down to the gums. The arrow wound was right where I suspected it to be, just in front of his shoulder blade. He did not have long to live. I was very very happy with this trophy Blue Wildebeest and was glad we were persistent enough to cheat the buzzards and hyenas out of a meal. We took pictures and traded kudos and Paul went to work on dressing him out and then brought the truck close enough so we could (the 3 of us) barely lift him into the bed for the trip back to Imbasa lodge.


    I have heard many stories about the superior tracking ability of the PHs and Trackers in Africa. This day I was witness to Evert and Paul’s abilities and was grateful to be part of the experience.


    When we got back to camp the fire pit was ablaze and steaks were cooking. We unloaded our game, popped opened the beer and basked in the joy of the moment. It was great to be here.


    Hunt the Sun is owned by Mike Birch of Kimberley, South Africa. Their website is


    http://www.huntthesun.com


    Wildebeest9.JPG
  8. Jfet

    Jfet AH Veteran

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    Good stuff! Very good stuff!(y)

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