The last Impala

Discussion in 'Bowhunting Africa' started by Fritz Rabe, Aug 19, 2012.

  1. Fritz Rabe

    Fritz Rabe AH Veteran

    Joined:
    May 7, 2012
    Messages:
    172
    Likes Received:
    1
    My Photos:
    22
    Member of:
    PHASA, South African Bowhunting Association (SABA) Instructor, NSRI
    Hunted:
    SA, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, Mozambique, Ethipoia, Cameroon, CAR, Tanzania, Canada, USA, Spain
    The last Impala

    [​IMG]

    The deal was made and the contracts were being drawn up. I sat down and reflected upon what I have just done. Was it the right thing to do or did I just make the biggest mistake of my life?

    These were all things that caused my hands to shake and made me restless. I was frustrated and on edge. I could not get the worry out of my mind although I planned everything very carefully.

    My farm was sold. I spent everything I had to buy it. I worked around the clock and sweat gallons of blood to get it to where it was today. It was part of me. It was me. Now I sold it. These were the emotions that went through me one morning early in December of 2009. It was raining softly outside. The bush was alive and green, happy to receive this gift of heaven.

    I stared outside without seeing. If this deal went south I would be ruined. I was alone and the weather played along with this sombre mood that I was in. I closed my eyes and breathed deeply. Then, like a wet dog shacking himself dry I shrugged the worry from my mind. I decided that I would go out and do what I normally do when I have a heavy weight on my shoulders.

    I grabbed my bow and release and walked out into the warm soft rain. I loved hunting like this. The weather sucked but I really could get right into a herd without them being any the wiser about my presence. I wanted to hunt an Impala male. Not just any male but a really nice one and I wanted to do it well. This would be my last goodbye. I wanted an Impala because they were beautiful, graceful and whenever I see them, they remind me of that farm.

    I walked along the small stream where the water made soft gurgling noises and the raindrops falling on the leaves of the big Waterberry trees covered every possible noise that I could make on this narrow soaking wet game trail. I was wet to the bone but not cold. I moved as slow as a shadow. There was no sunlight to reflect of any shiny surface or to create light and dark areas under the trees. The visibility was maybe 100 yards at the most.

    I came to a crouch as a flicker of movement caught my attention. I had to stare hard to identify the shoulder outline of the huge kudu bull as he stood under a smallish Marula tree. He kept twitching his ears as the water bothered him and it was that movement that I saw. He truly was a big bull with curling spirals reaching high up into the branches of the Marula tree. I left him in peace. He was not what I set out for.

    I crossed the stream so as not to upset the Kudu and have him bark out my presence all over the place. I was not wearing any shoes as they would make an awful sound every time I lifted a foot in the mud. My feet felt their way in the game trail so that I could keep my eyes searching ahead. There were no dry twigs or leaves that could warn anything that I was there.

    I saw them when a head appeared above a small bush with ears flicking everywhere. They were no more than 40y away. I sat down to assess the herd and to see where the big male was. I knew that I found the right bunch and that the male would be close. I saw him often enough and guided many clients after him only to have the stalk ruined by some or other mishap.

    He stood like a statue in the open with his back into the slight breeze. It looked completely as if he was fast asleep but I knew better. He did not get this big because he was careless or stupid. I went down flat. I became the mud and the water. Slower than a snail I crept ever closer. I had to pass less than 10 yards behind two ewes that stood side by side.

    I did not feel the rain or the mud. I did not feel the breeze or the rocks and stones that ate away my elbows and knees. I was completely in the zone. My left hand held my bow just of the mud. My right hand slowly cleared a path through the wet grass so that I could crawl without moving the vegetation and alarming the Impala.

    A lifetime later I came to my knees behind a small bush that was my goal. I removed an arrow from the quiver on the bow and nocked it onto the string. All this happened in ultra slow motion. The Impala ram was still standing where he was when I started.

    I came to full draw and moved half a yard to get clear of the bush. The ram stood perfectly broadside at 12 yards. I knew my bow perfectly and the 20y pin glued onto a spot just below the brisket on the front leg. The shot was completely silent as everything was wet and damped the sound. The arrow went in low on the right shoulder and broke the bone on entry and exit. The 1050gr Arrow with a 180gr German Kinetic went through the Impala without deviating and cut the arteries above the heart and the thick pert of the lungs before the ram knew what hit him.

    He fell flat on his chest and after 10 seconds it was all over. I stood frozen to the spot and did not even blink an eye. The rest of the herd milled around not knowing what happened. Some even walked up to me to see what I was. They could not smell or hear anything because of the rain.

    I felt great! Everything went well and my mood could not be better. This was the best treatment that I could have given myself. Today I sit back and look at those beautiful 25 inch horns and smile a happy smile. The last Impala that I hunted on that farm was the best trophy I could ask for.
     
  2. Hotfire Hunting Safaris

    Hotfire Hunting Safaris AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2012
    Messages:
    105
    Likes Received:
    0
    My Photos:
    9
    Member of:
    PHASA WRSA
    I think this must be the biggest fear and the saddest moment that anyone who has a piece of Africa can ever have.
    Great read, thank you.
     
  3. davidhein

    davidhein AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2012
    Messages:
    109
    Likes Received:
    0
    Member of:
    SA Hunters, SA Wingsooters
    Hunted:
    South Africa (Limpopo, North West, Free State, Mpumalanga, Kwa-Zulu Natal)
    Fritz your stories always captivate me, and I believe all other readers. From your stories here, to your bowhunter articles. They are always an awesome read and extremely well written!
    Congratulations on your lovely Impala
    But really sad to hear that you had to sell your farm. It must have been a very difficult decision to make.
     
  4. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2010
    Messages:
    2,564
    Likes Received:
    35
    My Photos:
    73
    Member of:
    NRA, ATA, PITA, NAHC, NAFC, DU, TU, DSC, SCI, RMEF
    Hunted:
    USA - Canada -Tanzania, South Africa, Zimbabwe
    nice read...

    so what are you doing now?
     
  5. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Messages:
    5,895
    Likes Received:
    98
    My Photos:
    32
    Member of:
    Northeast Wisconsin SCI chapter, Lifetime member of NRA,RMEF
    Hunted:
    Namibia, South Africa (East Cape, Guateng and Limpopo)
    Nice story, very sentimental!
     
  6. Nyati

    Nyati AH Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2011
    Messages:
    2,574
    Likes Received:
    24
    Location:
    Madrid, Spain
    My Photos:
    40
    Member of:
    RFEC, RFETO
    Hunted:
    Finland, RSA ( KwaZulu Natal, Limpopo, North West ), Spain
    Great story, Fritz.
     
  7. Fritz Rabe

    Fritz Rabe AH Veteran

    Joined:
    May 7, 2012
    Messages:
    172
    Likes Received:
    1
    My Photos:
    22
    Member of:
    PHASA, South African Bowhunting Association (SABA) Instructor, NSRI
    Hunted:
    SA, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, Mozambique, Ethipoia, Cameroon, CAR, Tanzania, Canada, USA, Spain
    I made the decision to sell because of the uncertainty of all the land claims in our country. I got an offer that I could not refuse. I sold the farm and today I am glad. I have hunted my whole life and started professional hunting in 1990. Today I am happily doing just that. The farm just served as a base to work from but today I have another base.
     
  8. Stretch

    Stretch AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2012
    Messages:
    604
    Likes Received:
    0
    My Photos:
    15
    Hunted:
    USA , Canada, Botswana
    I could feel the wet mud and grass as your tale unfolded. You have a gift Fritz.
     
  9. bluey

    bluey GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

    Joined:
    May 21, 2012
    Messages:
    2,482
    Likes Received:
    93
    Location:
    38.12.23south 149.50.37 east
    My Photos:
    29
    Member of:
    ssaa, aba ,bairnsdale field archers
    Hunted:
    australia south africa (limpopo, north west,eastcape) canada (b.c)
    as with all the articles ive read that you have written you held me spellbound to the end once again fritz
    you have quite a talent for reliving memories
    thanks mate
     
  10. Norwegianwoods

    Norwegianwoods SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,087
    Likes Received:
    28
    My Photos:
    29
    Hunted:
    Norway, Sweden, England, South Africa
    Great story again.
    Thanks for sharing it with us :)
     
  11. timbear

    timbear AH Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2011
    Messages:
    427
    Likes Received:
    0
    Member of:
    SSAA, NZDA
    Hunted:
    Germany, NZ, Australia
    I'm glad it worked out for you, then. Having taken a few leaps into the unknown (new country, new continent), I can appreciate the trepidation that you experienced.
    Your narrative, as always, was utterly captivating. Reading your reports is the next best thing to being there.
     
  12. Fritz Rabe

    Fritz Rabe AH Veteran

    Joined:
    May 7, 2012
    Messages:
    172
    Likes Received:
    1
    My Photos:
    22
    Member of:
    PHASA, South African Bowhunting Association (SABA) Instructor, NSRI
    Hunted:
    SA, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, Mozambique, Ethipoia, Cameroon, CAR, Tanzania, Canada, USA, Spain
    Thank you to all. There are some memories that will never fade even though they are not glamorous.
     
  13. coaster500

    coaster500 AH Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2009
    Messages:
    37
    Likes Received:
    0
    My Photos:
    6
    Wonderfully somber story and a beautiful Ram ................... a new Adventure for you !!
     

Share This Page